Thursday, September 7, 2017

Review: The Last Outlaw

The Last Outlaw (Outlaw Hearts - Book 4) by Rosanne Bittner

Publication Date: 9/5/2017
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Imprint: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Western Historical Romance
Pages: 448

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

On the web: websitefacebooktwitterinstagram, goodreads

Books in the Series:

Outlaw Hearts

1. Outlaw Hearts
2. Do Not Forsake Me
3. Love's Sweet Revenge
4. The Last Outlaw


Excerpt from courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


"An emotional powerhouse!"―RT Book Reviews 4 1/2 Stars, TOP PICK! for Do Not Forsake Me
"Fresh and alluring."―Publishers Weekly STARRED for The Last Outlaw

True Love Never Dies

Times have changed, and the old Wild West is a thing of the past. Nestled in his beautiful Colorado ranch, surrounded by family, infamous former outlaw Jake Harkner's hung up his guns for good and finally found a measure of peace―but dark memories haunt the woman who has always been his strength, and not even Jake is certain he can save his beloved Miranda this time.

All he can do is swear to remain by her side. But it takes more than a hope for peace to outrun a past defined by violence, and it isn't long before Jake is embroiled in a rescue mission he simply can't refuse. Life has brought him back full circle as he rides into Mexico to save a young girl from a dreadful fate...leaving Miranda behind one final time, fearing that the man she loves more than anything is destined to die the way he's always lived―by the gun.

Readers of western historical romances usually know the name, Rosanne Bittner. She has been called the queen of this sub-genre and if you haven't tried one of her books, it's high time you did. With the final book in the Outlaw Hearts series, The Last Outlaw, Bittner brings to culmination a love story spanning over 30 years. Jake and Miranda Harkner's story has captivated readers with it's spine tingling action and epic love. Bittner once again takes readers to the heart of the Colorado ranch country and into the lives of a family in crisis. The era of the gunslinger is ending and Jake is struggling to find his place in this new world, while his wife Miranda claws her way back from a devastating attack. Strap in tight readers, this story is far from over!

What I liked:

Though I have not reviewed any of the other books in the Outlaw Hearts series, I have read them. Rosanne Bittner is a favorite of mine in the western historical sub-genre. This series has been such a wonderful glimpse into the west through the eyes of one family. The Harkner's are the epitome of the ranching family. They've worked hard to get where they are and the patriarch of the family, Jake has been pivotal. It is not often a romance writer uses a hero and heroine in their autumn years. Jake is over 60 in this book, but still very vibrant and alive. While Miranda is ten years younger, she is represents the strong western spirit and tenacity. I liked the fact that Bittner did not shy away from that in order to capture a younger audience. This love was epic and it required an epic ending. Bittner did not disappoint.

Jake, like many a man has a past. He struggles with that and it haunts him to an extent. Self worth issues are something many of us can relate to. Now, times are a changing and Jake must change and adapt to a new way of life, where he can't use his guns to solve his problems. The politics and climate of the west is becoming tamer and he must figure out his place. Bittner did a wonderful job of showing a man who has fought for his place and loathes to see it slipping away. From an outlaw to a marshal to a rancher, but what will he become now?

At the end of the previous book, Miranda suffers a heartbreaking attack that leaves her devastated. Her recovery is long and arduous. She is clearly suffering from PTSD and it will break the heart of the reader to see this once strong and passionate woman reduced to shreds. But in true Bittner fashion, Miranda will come out stronger than before and watching her rebuild her foundation was amazing. I loved this part of the story because it showed courage and faith and how family makes all the difference.

What I didn't like:

Like many western historical's you only have a certain amount of content to work with. I struggled a little with finding some elements of the story a little to repetitious. Things I had seen before or tropes already used. But not surprisingly Bittner always seems to turn it into something that takes unexpected twists and turns that captivate and keep the reader glued to the pages. 

Bottom Line:

This was a great ending to a wonderful series. Rosanne Bittner knows how to write a good western romance. Though somewhat repetitious in idea, the execution was unique. Bittner gives reader a older hero and heroine that should be done way more often than it is. She tackles themes like self worth and inner demons like a pro and handles PTSD with kid gloves. This an author you really need to try. Not a book I would recommend to be read out of order, but that's okay, this entire series should not be missed.

The Last Outlaw is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag.

About the Author

USA Today bestseller and award-winning novelist Rosanne Bittner is highly acclaimed for her thrilling love stories and historical authenticity. Her epic romances span the West-from Canada to Mexico, Missouri to California-and are often based on Rosanne's personal visits to each setting. She lives with her husband and two sons in Michigan.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Review: Summoner

Summoner by S.D. Grimm

Publication Date: 9/4/2017
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Imprint: Entangled Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy, YA & Teen
Pages: 330

(Received for an honest review from Entangled Teen)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes

S.D. Grimm on the Web: website, facebook, twitter, goodreads

Excerpt from Summoner by S.D. Grimm courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature


When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls Dzwitchingdz—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.
And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.
Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become Dznormaldz again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.


The newest book by author S.D. Grimm is a combination of the paranormal and a young adult romance. This ain't your mama's scariest ghost tale but it does have some witching, divining, a spirit summoner and a guardian that might catch your interest. Grimm's coming of age story delves into some complex story elements, like inner demons and grief. Readers looking for something different as the fall season gets underway will find this title right up their creepy alley. 

What I liked:

S.D. Grimm is a new author for me, so I was, as usual, a bit skeptical going in. There are so many titles in the paranormal and fantasy genres that are repetitive and just run of the mill. Grimm does and excellent job of giving readers a refreshing take on an old staple, the ghost story. Divining for water, I've heard of, divining for bodies? That's a new one! 

I liked the whole cemetery scene in the beginning of the book a lot because it started showing the reader the world that Grimm was going to build. It introduced the reader to what a 'summoner' is and how it would effect the story. I thought Grimm did a great job getting the scary vibe going, but also in introducing the lead character, Allie.

Allie is a young girl dealing with the loss of her mother from Cancer. Unfortunately, something that has touched many of our own families. I thought Grimm's take on grief and loss was poignant and compelling. Survivor's guilt is a real thing no matter what type of situation it is. Grimm allows the reader to see inside Allie's struggle and how she eventually made it back to herself. I liked that the author didn't just sweep it under the rug. This is something that stays with you.

Allie finds out that her next door neighbor Cody may hold the key to getting her out of a potentially sticky situation with the spirit she divines completely by accident. Cody is a guardian and a very interesting one at that. He has his own inner demons and is dealing with life with a disability after losing his hand. I loved the fact that Grimm gives the reader an unorthodox hero. Cody may not seem like the perfect demon slayer but he shows that no matter your adversity you can overcome.

What I didn't like:

When I got this title to review I was expecting a spooky tale just in time for the fall season to begin. I tend to read titles that are a bit ghostly this time of year. Though this story started out that way, it became more of romance in the end than a paranormal tale. There was nothing wrong with the romance but I think it would have benefited from having the creepy factor ramped up a bit. 

In the beginning Allie is just becoming more active and inclusive with her friends again after the loss of her mother. Obviously grief changes you. She was taking her life back and she had people in it that mattered to her. Unfortunately, that got a little lost as the story went on and we heard nothing about her friends and more and more about just Cody. I wanted some back story on the people she had in her life. I wanted them to play a bigger more important role than just the first scene of the book.

Bottom Line:

This was a good story. The romance is sweet and tender and I liked both the male and female lead. I loved the way the author handled the ideas of grief and inner demons. Her use of an unorthodox and compelling hero was very well done. But I wanted a little more creep for my buck. Ghosts are scary.Don't let me forget about that along the way. Wish the momentum from the first scene in the graveyard had carried throughout the tale. And if you introduce me to someone as a side character, I want them to have a place in the story. I don't want to wonder if they are going to appear anywhere else in the story, I want to know they will.

Summoner is available NOW from your favorite book seller.

I'm giving this one 4 our of 5 apples from my book bag.  

About the Author:

S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction. That's to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, and isn't much taller than a hobbit. Her patronus is a Red Voltron Lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and her lightsaber is blue. She believes that with a little faith, a lot of love, and an untamed imagination, every adventure is possible. That's why she writes. Her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog. You can learn more about her upcoming novels at