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I enjoy reading books by Best selling authors. I want to dissect their works to see what ingredient(s) got them to their best selling status. And since, I enjoy westerns, I was doubly excited to read “Coltrane Corners”. To begin with, it had a well crafted back cover blurb and a nice cover.

However, 1/4 of the way through, I was already shaking my head. Few books make me as frustrated to read as this one did. If not for some redeeming qualities, I might have been tempted to give up.

For starters, Elizabeth Coltrane, the main character, has returned home after six years “back east” at some fancy school. It was supposed to turn her into a proper lady, as well as time spent eastward was to help her physically. As far as I can tell, all it did was turn her from a pleasant, fun, and likeable young girl into a childish snob.

She is immature, and not at all likable compared to the backstory provided. Spoiler–six years ago the guy she had a teen crush on said some insensitive things that drove her away. That was six years ago. She was a girl of fourteen. Yet she clings to it like a crutch now, and uses it as a cause to treat Chase Cameron, the male main character, as terrible as possible. I wished she would grow up already and stop looking at that one single event through the lens of a fourteen-year-old.

And truthfully, the men were not much better. Lots of indecision on their parts. It sort of ended up reminding me of the old Life cereal commercial with Mickey and the two boys. The boys kept saying, “I’m not gonna eat it, you eat it.” as they push the bowl of cereal between them, until one finally decides to give it to Mickey to try. Except there is no Mickey in Coltrane Corners to take responsibility for Elizabeth’s flame and her father. So they push the past between them like immature boys.  Personally, if one of them would have grown a pair, and treated Elizabeth like the grown lady she was supposed to be, instead of the child she acted like, the story could have been much less redundant. Truly, Daddy would rather pay his ranch hands to follow his daughter around and spy on her instead of just telling her the truth about a danger around the ranch. Not very mature of anyone.

The redeeming qualities of the story was the language. It was very natural to the time and setting. It seemed well researched and organic. The metaphors were amusing and clearly pictured. Chase was very likeable, from his endless patience in dealing with Elizabeth’s endless tantrums and stunts to his protectiveness of both her and her father. I found myself rooting for Chase, even if he isn’t the strongest hero in print. It seemed he was the strongest one in the book.

Spoiler, my pet peeve is male characters who make macho, chauvinistic, know-half-the-story, stereotypical assumptions. I see red when I read that stuff and want to claw someone’s eyeballs out. I wish we could have bad guys without the assumptions that the woman is naturally a whore. Apparently not if she hasn’t “spread ’em” for that guy.

All in all, “Coltrane’s Corners” was an acceptable read, not something I would want to read again. If one can get past the redundant backstory telling and the chauvinistic arse-holes sprinkled along, the action and dialogue will make up for it.

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rustlers-and-romance

This story began with a rough and rocky start. A woman was getting beat–again–by her alleged boyfriend. It left a sour taste in my mouth and I almost stopped reading right there. But I reasoned there was hopefully nowhere else for the plot to go but up, so I turned another page.

To be honest, it was hard to swallow and I wondered why this woman–the story’s heroine–was staying for yet around round of abuse. After a flip of the page, she has left the sod, apparently for good. I let out a ragged breath and turned the page again.

Lauren McCray left Michigan in a haste, fleeing the vile and completely hate-able Clint Jackson. She eventually crosses enough state lines to run into Chase Montgomery, a slow drawling rancher you can’t help but instantly stumble into. Or fall for

Grammatical errors abound, which distracted from the read. It is a good story but I felt it could have benefited from another round of edits. The suspense was tight, the characters–especially the secondary ones–well-developed, and the story line moved along at a nice pace.Yes, there are rustlers involved, and I won’t spoil it except to say it was not exactly who I thought it might be. And there is very fast romance between Lauren and Chase. Personally, considering her terrible track record, I thought she ought to wait a bit before dashing off to love-land with Chase, but sometimes it just happens that fast. And Chase is just the protective rancher that you want to cuddle with and start your day with, and definitely end you day with.

Overall, “Rustlers and Romance” was not a bad book to read, fairly short at 129 pages, and worth spending an afternoon or evening curled up with.

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