Sunday, October 3, 2010

Give me a Texas Ranger Anthology review

Book: Give me a Texas Ranger Anthology
Author(s): Jodi Thomas, Linda Broday, Phylliss Miranda, & DeWanna Pace
Release date:  July 1, 2010

(Back Excerpt) Born to protect and serve, these rugged lawmen are the stuff of Texas Legend. New York Times bestselling author Jodi Thomas teams up with Linda Broday, Phylliss Miranda, and DeWanna Pace to bring you four red-blooded Rangers and the women who tamed their hearts…..

“The Ranger’s Angel” by Jodi Thomas

         Outlaws, stagecoach chases, and Texas rangers, oh my! This pretty much sums up Annalane Barkley’s day. One moment she was on her way to Camp Supply to meet her brother. and the next she’s holed up inside a stag coach station with outlaws ready to pick her off if she steps outside. It doesn’t help that every man inside the station keeps giving her unnerving glances. Therefore, when Texas Ranger Wynn McCord offers her the chance to get out and away, Annalane hardly even thinks of saying no. Little does Annalane know that she may be in just as much danger with this ranger as she was with the outlaws.
Wynn McCord has a mission. He is to deliver a highly important letter to the Quaker who serves as the Indian agent in the area. This letter may stop the fighting between the Indians and the settlers, so Wynn refuses to fail. He just didn’t plan on thestage coach getting chased by outlaws or on meeting the enchanting Annalane Barkley. Quick decision-making leads Wynn to asking Annalane to escape with him and to his pleasure, she agrees. Now the two of them just have to make it to Camp Supply before the outlaws or something else catches up with them.

          I’m going to state it up front I loved the heroine but disliked the hero. Wynn comes across as an ass. During a scene when Annalane is passed out and asleep Wynn decides to take certain liberties by kissing her and feeling her up. A little while later while Annalane is sleeping again he contemplates having sex with her passed out form. He later decides against it because he shouldn’t force himself sexually upon her when she is exhausted and sleeping “the first time”. Insinuating that perhaps after they’ve had sex once it would be alright to have sex with her against her wishes while she is passed out or sleeping. After reading his sentence I wanted to see him get shot by the outlaws, or possibly by Annalane herself. I loved Annalane because she knew Wynn had wronged her and was contemplating how to kill him. Her dialogue is so brilliant when she’s thinking of everything she’d like to do to him for forcing himself upon her. Needless to say, Wynn doesn’t change much in the story. I really don’t see how Annalane and Wynn got together and stayed together. It was one of those instances when I read the romance but didn’t feel it.

Final Rating: 2 bunnies

Undertaking Texas by Linda Broday

       Texanna Wilder needs a hero and she doesn’t care who it is. Marcus LaRoach has been after her and her property ever since her husband, Sam, was killed. Now LaRoach has it in his head that he can just hog-tie her all the way to the church. When it appears that no one around town cares enough to save her, out steps Texas Ranger Stoney Burke.

     The last thing Texas Ranger Stoney Burke expected to see when he approached the mob was a woman being dragged like an animal down the street. He certainly didn’t expect the woman to be his best friend’s widow. Texanna has always been the girl for Stoney, but he lost her when he wouldn’t leave the Texas Rangers and settle down. Now it appears that Texanna has reared herself right back into his life, and she’s taking his heart hostage yet again.

       I really liked this short story. Linda Broday brings together two former flames in an event that probably did happen in the Old West. This event, of course, is someone trying to steal a widow’s livelihood. In Texanna’s case, this is a barbershop and undertaking business. Texanna, her son Josh, and Stoney were very endearing characters and for such a short story surprisingly well-rounded. I enjoyed reading Texanna’s and Stoney’s relationship and was glad things worked out well in the end for all. My only complaint was that the story was too short. I really wish Linda had made it into a full novel instead of a short story. I think then things that were rushed could have been paced out better. All in all it was rather good and one of my favorite short western romances I’ve read in awhile.

Rating: 4

One Woman, One Ranger by Phyliss Miranda

Ella Stevenson refuses to be forced into marrying someone she doesn’t want to. Therefore, as proprietress of the “Molly Lou’s,” she feels it’s her duty to protect her girls from being forced into a marriage they don’t want. And that’s a possibility, because the justice of peace has decided he’d like to earn a buck by forcing everyone in town who isn’t legally married in the state of Texas to marry. Unfortunately a spat with the local sheriff has led Ella down the very road she’s been protesting. She either marries her so-called “husband,” Ranger Hayden McGraw, or she’ll be sent to the gallows. Right now, Ella isn’t sure what would be worse.
The only thing Hayden McGraw was planning to do in Buffalo Springs, Texas was get the new “warrant to arrest” papers that were being sent to “Molly Lou’s.” He didn’t expect to get hog-tied into a spat between the sheriff and pretty Ella Stevenson. He especially didn’t plan on having to marry her to save her from the gallows. Unfortunately, that’s what he gets.

I’m afraid this story bored me. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it wasn’t good, either. The whole story just fell flat. Hayden and Ella were both cookie-cutter characters, Mary Sue and Gary Stu respectively. They said nothing and did nothing interesting. During the scene where the sheriff is trying to arrest Ellie she starts making some protests that doesn’t even make sense. She goes on saying her place isn’t tardy, that nothing illegal goes down, and that there is no reason for her to girls to be married. This left me confuses since the sheriff didn’t mention any of those things. He was arresting her for hitting him and causing a public scene. It had nothing to do with her establishment. There was also the puzzle of why the sheriff was threatening her so much. It didn’t make sense at the time. Later we find out the sheriff was only threatening to her so he could arrest her and search her premises for her barkeeper’s moonshining factory, something that was right under her nose. The fact that she didn’t see it made her seem a bit slow. I have no comment on the relationship except that it was a typical Mary Sue/Gary Stu one. The end.

Rating: 3 bunnies

The Perfect Match by DeWanna Pace.

   Ding Ding Ding. The match between Laney O’Grady and Texas Ranger Thomas Longbow has begun. In her corner, Laney O’Grady is battling to earn money to adopt her stepson back from his menacing uncle. She’s also working to prove to the court that she would be a suitable parent and can provide for the boy. The possible weakness in her strategy is the particularly handsome Texas Ranger who has taken her heart.
In his corner, Thomas Longbow is attempting to stop an illegal boxing match between Irishman Pete Meher and his rival Bob Fitzsimmons. This is easier said than done since it appears that everyone, other than the politician’s who hired him, is doing everything in their power to keep this fight on; everyone including the widowed Laney O’Grady. Some type of transaction has transpired between Laney and Me, Meher, and Thomas is determined to find out what it was. That is if Laney doesn’t deliver any knockouts to his heart and soul in the process.

   If “Undertaking Texas” was the best of the anthology, then this one came in second. It was also be the cutest. I found Thomas and Laney’s relationship to be charming, although we really didn’t get a lot of them to expand on something that could have been better. This is another instance where I wish the author had made the short story into a full length novel. There were so many new and interesting ideas being brought up due to the fact that the story is set four years before the turn of the century. Things such as “nickelodeons” and early cinemas and the reaction to trains making travel by horse travel becoming obsolete were just some of the developments the author brought up in the story. It made me want to read more about the reactions of those who lived at the turn of the century. That nitpick aside, Thomas and Laney’s story was an interesting one filled with some mystery and intrigue that left me quite satisfied when I finished the story.

Rating: 3 1/2 Bunnies