For a top five "must reads" list, I reached out to KIM ROCHA, who blogs and reviews books on her site, Book Obsessed Chicks as well as being a feature columnist on Romance at Random. She has a passion for romance, a soft-spot for Westerns and a love for great books.
So, take it away, Kim.
Thanks for inviting me to Get Lost in a Story, E.E.!
Many don't know that I am quite the recent romance reader. I used to strictly read horror before I finished school, and when I had my first child, my reading days were over. I sporadically read here and there, but didn't really get back into it until 2008. Even then I was only reading paranormal until I met Beth Williamson in 2011 and she sent me her novella, A Cowboy's Muse. My obsession with the West began. Sometimes trying to explain to other romance readers that Western romance isn't always about the cowboy can be frustrating, but when I can give them examples and sometimes they take my advice, it's a wonderful thing!
Trying to whittle my way into giving you my Top 5 is like asking which is your favorite child, but I will do my best! These are in no particular order by the way.
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Cowboy Take Me Away
by Lorelei James
This last book in Lorelei James' Rough Rider series can also be a gateway to the series. This is how the McKay clan began with Mom and Dad McKay, Caroline and Carson. Cowboy Take Me Away is one of those books that makes you want to go back and read the entire series over again despite the fact that you may have a TBR pile a mile high. These rough and tumble McKay and West people are unique and engaging and Ms. James has given them a legacy for readers to devour.
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Train Station Bride by Holly Bush
Back in 2012 when I picked up Train Station Bride by Holly Bush, I didn't know what to expect from this new author to me. The original cover was a sepia tone photo of the inside of a train car, sort of nondescript, but as a photographer, I wanted to know more. This is one of the best stories I have ever had the pleasure to read. It takes a down-on-her-luck girl from the East and brings her out West in hopes of a better life as a mail-order bride. The whole "getting to know you" theme is so amazing and the story that Ms Bush brings to light is a lasting one. Train Station Bride has recently been re-released and is a must read, as are the rest of Holly Bush's books.
by Cat Johnson
Author Cat Johnson has been thrilling readers for years with her hot cowboys and military men. In her Oklahoma Nights series Cat brings us a fresh new take on cowboys and some pretty amazing reads. Cat's third book in the series, Three Night's with a Bull Rider is my favorite in this series to date, and not only because it's got a pretty hot cowboy in it. Let's face it, what girl wouldn't want a handsome bull rider? Jace and Tara's story is striking because it takes two unlikely to be together characters and give them so much passion that cannot be denied. Cat Johnson's ability to make the pair who have such disdain for one another come to desire one another so deeply is what I love about this book and Ms, Johnson.
The Sweet Spot
by Laura Drake
by Laura Drake
The Sweet Spot by Laura Drake hit me hard. It's right up there with my favorite Bertrice Small book and that is saying something. Ms. Drake takes a couple who were once in love, separates them with the ultimate tragedy for parents and then after a time rekindles that love. This book teems with so much emotion and hope that it has earned its permanent place on the top of my favorites list. Laura Drake is a brilliant writer, she engages the reader from the first line to the end.
Brody by Emma Lang
Beth Williamson writing as Emma Lang's Brody in the Circle Eight series is still my favorite because the character Brody himself is the epitome of my alpha hero.To date, I base all my opinions on alpha heroes on Brody. When I first began this series with the first book, Matthew, I knew Brody's book was going to be something else with the spitfire Olivia Graham and the dedicated Texas Ranger. Their quest brings danger as well as romance and it's another book not to be missed.
Kimberly Rocha is the founder of Book Obsessed Chicks book blog. She lives on Long Island with her family who patiently moves out of the way on book club night. They lend a hand for the Book Obsessed Chicks annual BBQ, bringing authors and readers together on Long Island, NY. Kimberly is also a talented photographer with an infectious laugh. She contributes the monthly “Western Roundup” column to the Romance at Random blog, works full time for www.MyAuthorBiz.com and www.MyBookCRAVE.com on the marketing team.
Here's where you can find Kim:
Website: www.MyAuthorBiz.com http://myauthorbiz.com/info/index.php
E.E.: I love reading your reviews because you've got such a passion for this genre. How did you get started as a reviewer/blogger?
Kim: In the Summer of 2010 I went to my very first author event in Boston for Lara Adrian. When I left that weekend I was so inspired that went home and started the Book Obsessed Chicks blog with another reader and also started my book club of the same name, which now has 5 chapters. The reviewer part came naturally since growing up I loved to write and loved to give my opinion! Well I found out that I am not an author, but I do love to tell people about the books I enjoy.
E.E.: What do you love most about Western romance?
Kim: What grabs me most about Western romance is the state of mind. I live in New York where things happen so fast, it's hard to slow down sometimes, but the kicking up my heels and reading a Western brings me to a place I'd really like to get to know. I love the cowboy/ranch culture and the differences between East and West.
E.E.: What will always make you smile, even on a bad day?
Kim: My Facebook friends are a constant source of smiles. Just from one post I can get a crowd of faithful followers to make me feel great. A great book will do that to me as well!
E.E.: Where do you read and how often?
Kim: I read everyday that I am home. When I am at a conference I can never concentrate, but there isn't one night at home, lying on my sofa, I don't have a book or my iPad in hand. I am also really OCD about finishing a book in a sitting. It doesn't matter if the birds are chirping and my eyes are burning when THE END appears, I have to get it done.
To celebrate my birthday, I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card, as well as autographed copies of three of my books. Just comment and enter the raffle.
We want to know your favorites. What Western historical or contemporary romance should be on our list of "must reads"?