Posts Categorized: western

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

20 Aug, 2014 by in adult, blog tour, carolyn steele, sweetwater books, western, willow springs 1 comment

I received this book for free from Cedar Fort in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Willow Springs by Carolyn Steele Blog Tour and Review

Willow Springs

by Carolyn Steele
Published by Sweetwater on August 12, 2014
Genres: Adult, Romance, Western
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
Source: Cedar Fort
Buy the BookGoodreads
Crissa Engleson, an immigrant from Sweden, fled Boston hoping to start a new life, unknown and unencumbered, in the West. The quiet Pony Express town of Willow Springs in the Utah desert seemed the perfect spot until the intrigue of her past and rivalries of the town’s leading families envelope her. She falls in love with an Express rider, Drake Adams, but their courtship is thwarted by blackmail and treachery. Crissa must decide which is stronger: her desire for Drake, her own safety, or her love for the two young children left in her charge.

Willow Springs is written for anyone who enjoys Westerns, History, Romance or Intrigue. Men and women alike have expressed great interest in this story.

Willow Springs blog tour
Where to begin? Wow, this a whirlwind of a book! So much plot packed into a small amount of time. Lots of drama, twists and turns. Carolyn Steele’s Willow Springs reminded me a lot of Carla Kelly’s romance novels, also by the same publisher. If you a re fan of the Wild, (and I mean, WILD) West, or books set in the 1800’s, you will like this one. Crissa is a Swedish immigrant who leaves her homeland bound for America. Once arrived, her life is about as complicated and cursed as they come. Luckily she has some great people to take care of her when sinister plots unfold.

There are definitely darker elements to Willow Springs such as rape, prostitution, murder and violence. For my taste, it was a bit TMI in some parts. I’m not sure I would categorize it as completely clean. Though sex is not described in detail, it is a prevalent theme of the story.

I always enjoy historical elements in romance. And the main hero Drake was wonderful. The cover–gorgeous! There were a few editing issues, but since we received an e arc, I’m hoping those are fixed in the final copy. Lots of action, some fun references to the early Mormon church and an intriguing enough read that I finished in one day.

Not a bad debut! Thanks so much to the author for her kindness and to Cedar Fort for having us as a part of the blog tour.


About the Author 1386622

Born and raised in Utah, Carolyn Steele was introduced to western novels at a very young age by her grandfather, the son of a gold miner. She has been writing technical and marketing communications for most of her adult life. Her nonfiction articles have appeared in numerous national magazines. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communications from the University of Utah. Married and living in Salt Lake City, Utah, Carolyn loves researching obscure history then weaving it into stories. She also enjoys family dinners with her children and grandchildren, photography, travel, golf, reading, and all forms of needlework.


Enduring Light Blog Tour & ARC Giveaway

10 Dec, 2011 by in roamnce, western 7 comments

Fire and Ice is pleased to kick off the Enduring Light blog tour hosted by Cedar Fort books. We have a review, some recipes from the book and an ARC giveaway as the first stop on the virtual blog tour.

Enduring Lightby Carla Kelly
Paperback, 392 pages
Expected publication: January 8th 2012
by Bonneville Books
ISBN 1599559846
Book Source: publisher
4 stars

She leaned toward him and rested her elbows on the brass rail at the foot of her bed. “All right, cowboy, just when did you fall in love with me? I’m definitely curious now.”
He regarded her in the moonlight. “I knew I was a no-hoping goner when I caught that ridiculous hat of yours on the platform at Gun Barrel.”
Julia sucked in her breath. She tried to be severe. “Mr. Otto, nobody falls in love that fast!”
“I did,” he said simply, as he left her room.

Julia Darling is finally able to marry Paul Otto for eternity. But it’s a harsh world for a rancher in turn-of-the-century Wyoming, especially a Mormon rancher. When alienation and threats begin, Julia must prove she’s her husband’s equal in strength and endurance as she learns to let go of scars on the outside and inside.

Bestselling author Carla Kelly has woven a new story of a determined rancher, his wife, and how they discover the depths of love.

Last year I savored every minute of Carla Kelly’s first historical Western romance written for the LDS market. So when Cedar Fort asked me to Enduring Light I was thrilled! The follow up to Borrowed Light, book 2 finds Otto back on his Wyoming ranch tyring to repair the damage and Julia is in her Salt Lake family home healing physically as well as emotionally. She is suffering form PTSD and nightmares as well as dealing with self-doubt as a result of her new scars. She can’t imagine why any man, let alone, the man she loves, Otto would want her. She and her parents are feeling the loss of Julia’s sister while Otto faces fierce persecution that comes with the knowledge that he has converted to the Mormon faith. It’s the turn of the century and prejudice runs high on the open range. No one in the ranching business welcomes the change. Together with faith, perseverance and Julia’s spit fire spunk the two have so many more trials to weather.

Carla Kelly’s writing is filled with history and small little details that help readers feel pulled right into the book’s time and place. From the holiday windows and lace at ZCMI to the smells and frights of the harsh Wyoming was of life you’ll feel as if you are living a day in the life of Julia and Otto. I literally wanted to jump right into the storyline and taste a bit of Julia’s home cooking on the Double Tipi ranch. Kelly has built solid likable secondary characters that you can;t help becoming attached to. I’ll admit the one drawback I had is that Enduring Light is quite a bit spicier than its predecessor. There is quite a bit of information about married life with sexuality being discussed openly and because of content I would rate this a book best suited for adults. In then end, Kelly incorporates a theme of hope, endurance and courage in the face of fear. There’s even a little suspense and action built in there.

I’m so happy to have found such a talented author in Carla Kelly. I met her at Barnes and Noble and through reading her blog plus correspondence I can say she is so much fun to work with! Can’t wait to read more from her…and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more. In the mean time you and I cook up some of the yummy food mentioned in both books.

Some Recipes from Julia’s kitchen:

Snow Cake
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 2/3 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp. vanilla or 1/4 tsp. almond extract

Follow recipe for mixing butter cakes. Bake 45 minutes in a deep narrow pan.

Cecils with Tomato Sauce
1 c. cold roast beef or rare steak finely chopped
salt and pepper
onion juice
Worchestershire Sauce
2 T. bread crumbs
1 T. melted butter
Yolk of one egg, slightly beaten
Season beef with next salt and pepper, onion juice and W Sauce; add remaining ingredients, and shape into the form of small croquettes, pointed at ends. Roll in flour, egg and crumbs, fry in deep fat, drain and serve with tomato sauce. (Julia substituted ketchup, for the sophisticated palates of her guys on the TTP.)

About The Author: A newcomer to Cedar Fort, Inc., Carla Kelly is a veteran of the New York and international publishing world. The author of more than thirty novels and novellas for Donald I. Fine Co., Signet, and Harlequin, Carla is the recipient of two Rita Awards (think Oscars for romance writing) from romance Writers of America and two Spur Awards (think Oscars for western fiction) from Western Writers of America.

Recently, she’s been writing regency romances (think Pride and Prejudice) set in the royal Navy’s Channel Fleet during the Napoleonic Wars between England and France. She comes by her love of the ocean from her childhood as a Navy brat.

Carla’s history background makes her no stranger to footnote work, either. During her National Park Service days at the Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site, Carla edited Friedrich Kurz’s fur trade journal. She recently completed a short history of Fort Buford, where Sitting Bull surrendered in 1881.

Following the dumb luck principle that has guided their lives, the Kellys recently moved to Wellington, Utah, from North Dakota and couldn’t be happier in their new location. In her spare time, Carla volunteers at the railroad and Mining Museum in Helper, Utah. She likes to visit her five children, who live here and there around the United States. Her favorite place in Utah is Manti, located after a drive on the scenic byway through Huntington Canyon.

And why is she so happy these days? Carla looks forward to writing for an LDS audience now, where she feels most at home.

To Learn More Visit: Blog Tour Schedule /Author Blog /Author Facebook/ Book Poster page /Publisher Blog/ Publisher Twitter

Giveaway: Cedar Fort has offered one advanced reading copy of Enduring Light to the followers of Fire and Ice as part of the official blog tour. To Enter to win fill out this form. US mailing addresses only, ends December 24, 2011.