Category Archives: B+

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin

Title: The Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin
The Texas Trail Series, Book One
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Genre: Inspirational, Historical, Romance
Length: 272 pages
Book Rating: B+

Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley


The six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896 begins with Lone Star Trail.

Judson (Jud) Morgan’s father died for Texas’ freedom during the war for independence. So when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (the Verein) attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them.

After Wande Fleischers’ fiancée marries someone else, the young fraulein determines to make new life for herself in Texas. With the help of Jud’s sister Marion, Wande learns English and becomes a trusted friend to the entire Morgan family.

As much as Jud dislikes the German invasion, he can’t help admiring Wande. She is sweet and cheerful as she serves the Lord and all those around her. Can the rancher put aside his prejudice to forge a new future?

Through Jud and Wande, we learn the powerful lessons of forgiveness and reconciliation among a diverse community of believers.

The Review:

Lone Star Trail by Darlene Franklin is a captivating story about faith, friendship, family, and ultimately, love. From their first meeting, the Fleischers find their new life in America closely intertwined with the Morgans, a deeply rooted Texas family.

Strong character development brings Lone Star Trail vividly to life. Wande Fleischer is a hard working and cheerful young woman who quickly adjusts to her new life. Texas is a harsh land that exacts a heavy toll on the Fleischer family, but Wande’s strong faith guides her through life’s joys and sorrows.

With his father’s untimely death, Jud Morgan was forced to grow up quickly and become the man of the family. Fiercely loyal to the state that has taken so much from him, he distrusts the German immigrants. When misfortune befalls the Fleischer family, Jud begrudgingly offers his assistance. Initially suspicious of the German customs and traditions that Wande introduces, Jud slowly realizes he shares the same values and faith as the Fleischer family and the German community.

Well rounded secondary characters provide depth and tension to this tightly plotted novel. Marion Morgan’s unconditional friendship eases Wande’s transition to her new life. An additional subplot revolving around Marion presents added conflict and interest to Lone Star Trail.

In Lone Star Trail, Darlene Franklin teaches an understated yet powerful lesson about acceptance that transcends time and culture. The underlying message of faith is gently and subtly demonstrated by the actions and thoughts of all of the key characters.

Lone Star Trail is a richly drawn and multi-layered novel. Fans of historical inspirational fiction are going to love this first installment of The Texas Trail series.

This review was originally posted at The Readers Roundtable


Leave a comment

Filed under B+, Darlene Franklin, Historical, Inspirational, Long Star Trail, Moody Publishers, Romance, The Texas Trail Series

Hooked by Cat Johnson

Title: Hooked by Cat Johnson
Studs in Spurs Book 4
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, LTD
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: Category
Book Rating: B+


His last eight seconds could lead to the longest, most satisfying ride of his life.

Studs in Spurs, Book 4

Annie Grant is at the top of her game as an on-air interviewer for the pro bull-riders tour. In all those years standing within microphone range of thousands of sexy cowboys, she’s never been tempted…until now. Now that respected veteran Luke Carpenter is no longer with his longtime girlfriend, he’s back on the market. And Annie is buying.

Luke knows his days are numbered. Every year the rookies get younger, the bulls get ranker and, like it or not, the time is coming when he’ll be hanging up his spurs. After a sizzling hot night with Annie, he realizes that maybe this old dog can learn some new tricks. But quicker than a bull can spin, things get complicated.

A tragedy forces Luke into a no-win decision: hang onto the tail end of his career, or retire early for his family. Either way, he can live with his choice. Question is, can he live without Annie?

Product Warnings: Contains knock-your-boots-off cowboy lovin, some up close and personal interviews of the oral persuasion, and a happy ending…cowboy style.

The Review:

With Hooked Cat Johnson has added another paging turning installment to her bull riding series Studs in Spurs. After years as professional acquaintances, Annie Grant and Luke Carpenter finally enjoy one achingly sweet first date followed by a night of scorching hot sex. Just as their romance is heating up, a tragedy sends Luke home and their relationship seems to end before it has the chance to begin.

Hooked is an engaging novel that is filled with emotion. The characters are beautifully drawn with realistic flaws and vulnerabilities. I love how even though Annie is filled with uncertainly about approaching Luke, she conquers her fear and makes the first move. Luke’s anxiety and nervousness about re-entering the dating world is adorable and his inner dialogue during their date is hilarious.

While Hooked is definitely a romance, Annie and Luke spend a lot of the novel apart. Much of the story is seen through Luke’s eyes as he copes with the aftermath of the tragic event which takes him off the bull riding circuit. It is an unusual approach, but I found that it worked really well for this couple.

Hooked is a compelling read with a unique plot. It is a poignant novel with a great deal of substance and emotional depth. There are a couple of scenes that brought me to tears so be sure and keep the tissues handy.

Cat Johnson does a superb job of keeping the Studs in Spurs series fresh and unique and she brings the sport of bull riding vividly to life. As always, readers will be impatiently awaiting her next installment in this delightful series.

Leave a comment

Filed under B+, Cat Johnson, Contemporary, Hooked, Romance, Samhain Publishing