Kristy McCaffrey writes contemporary and award-winning historical western romances. She likes the peculiar, the fascinating, and the scientific; animals and the outdoors; her husband and children; history, symbols, and mythology. Grab a cup of tea and hang out by the fireside. Let's travel together.
Wednesday, September 27, 2017
All Reviews By Kristy McCaffrey
I've included Amazon links, but most of the books are also available at Barnes and Noble, iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, as well as print and audio.
The Lost City of Z
This book is part memoir, part modern-day adventure. Mr.
Grann recounts the life of Percy Fawcett, who in the early 1900’s explored the
dangerous Amazonian jungle along the Brazil-Bolivia border. Fawcett was in the
rarefied company of other extraordinary explorers such as Richard Burton (who
searched for the source of the Nile) and Ernest Shackleton (an early explorer
of the Antarctic), all members of the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Fawcett’s repeated expeditions into the jungle—along with his amazing ability
to survive lethal indigenous tribes, starvation, piranhas, and the particularly
ghoulish occurrence of maggots under one’s skin—left him convinced that a
mythical city (the Spanish conquistadores called it El Dorado) existed
somewhere in the area. His preoccupation would eventually lead to his
disappearance in 1925. He was never heard from again. Did the lost city of Z
exist? Read the book to find out! A gripping and well-written account of the
intersection of compulsion and passion within the human spirit.
A satisfying short read about single mom Angel Harper trying
to run a vacation ranch in Arizona and the cowboy/firefighter who turns her
world upside down. Boone Donovan isn't looking for romance but sparks fly the
moment he meets Angel. With many obstacles between them, not the least of which
is Angel's reluctance to let a man into her and her son's life, this romantic
tale will have you rooting for them. And don't miss the follow-up story,
Phoenix Heat, about Boone and Angel's daughter Harper. I loved both!
East coast city girl K.C. has come to Wyoming for the summer to work at a ranch. She's warned to stay away from bad boy Chay, but that soon proves difficult to do. Ms. Downing has written a romantic novella with a sexy hero and a smart heroine. Loved it! And don't miss the follow-up story, City Boy, Country Heart.
Breanne O’Donnell is training in the druidic arts when her
mentor Heremon is murdered. A mysterious knight named Ashlon Sinclair is left
behind, ill and unable to recall what happened. Breanne nurses him back to
health, but he is English and she is Irish, so she keeps his identity hidden.
But Sinclair, a Templar Knight, is in pursuit of a chest that has been stolen
from him and he ingratiates himself into Breanne’s clan to locate it. He’s also
drawn to Breanne but his nomadic life leaves him conflicted about what he can
offer her. She has seen with her second sight the fate that intertwines them
and worries for his safety, believing that he must leave her to stay alive.
This is an enchanting story filled with magic and Irish lore. Breanne is a
strong heroine and Ashlon a compelling and romantic figure, and you won’t be
able to stop reading this steamy love story until the satisfying conclusion.
Single-mom Violet Parker has got problems. Unless she can
sell a house, she’s about to lose her job as a realtor. Her prospects involve a
house-sniffing, enigmatic man named Doc (although he’s not an MD) and a
handsome Ken-doll client whose efforts to woo her may be too good to be true.
Throw in a paranormal mystery involving several missing girls alongside
Violet’s ensuing anxiety about the safety of her own two children, and you’ve
got a nonstop thrill-ride of a tale, which I dare you not to read in one
sitting. This is the first in an ongoing series told from Violet’s
point-of-view (Book 8 is soon to be released). Ms. Charles has a flair for
dialogue and humor, and you’ll fall in love with Violet and all the quirky
side-characters that populate Charles’ version of modern-day Deadwood. But be
prepared: this series will grab you and you’ll disappear until you’ve read each
and every book.
As part of his incarceration, outlaw Slade Barlow has been placed on work detail at the Prescott farm. Thrown in the calaboose on tenuous charges, he needs to keep his head down and bide his time until he can flee the Widow Prescott and her two daughters, Jillianne and Camille. But he hadn’t counted on his growing feelings for Jill or the fact that someone is stalking their property. As he digs deeper, he comes to realize that he may be more deeply involved in the mystery of Jill’s deceased father and the time the man spent away from the farm than he’d like to be. And, at the end of the day, can he walk away from Jill? This is a solid western romance with great descriptions that will put you right in the time period. Slade is a tormented hero, Jillianne is a kindhearted heroine, and their romance will hold you in its grip until the end. Don’t miss another winner from Ms. Lence!
In this historical western romance, Violet Webster is
looking for her father and her only option is to become a mail-order bride.
Garrett Sutherlin, her betrothed’s son, has been sent to escort her, a task
that will free him from living under his father’s dictates. Ms. Devlin takes
this standard trope and delivers a richly-drawn tale with a likable heroine and
a compelling hero. Fans of this genre will love the story! I certainly did.
Calvin “Choctaw” Taylor is a young Indian scout contracted
to guide a peace ambassador into the stronghold of the famed Apache leader
Cochise. Accompanying them is the man’s adopted Apache daughter Nahlin.
Together they enter one of the most dangerous areas in the old west—the Dragoon
Mountains. Their journey is one of bold intentions, treacherous encounters with
both Indians and white men, and, ultimately, agonizing heartbreak. This is a
well-told story of historical fact woven within fiction, of well-crafted and
flawed characters, and a plot that will leave you guessing and eager to reach
the conclusion. I highly recommend.
Ms. Brown considers vulnerability in all its many forms,
whether it be in the workplace, in schools, or in your own home. Through years
of research she’s compiled real-life data and offers practical and stark truths
about how to deal with the shame inherent in our culture as a result of being
The simple truth is that “to feel is to be vulnerable.”
Brown addresses fallacies of vulnerability: It’s not a weakness and it’s not
letting it all hang out. It does require trust and boundaries. She stresses the
importance of developing shame-resilience: recognizing shame and understanding
its triggers, practicing critical awareness, reaching out, and speaking about
it with a trusted someone.
The last part of the book deals with parenting and how we
can all do better by simply engaging with our children, developing our own
ability to be vulnerable and mirroring that to them, and forgiving ourselves
when we’re not perfect. Perfection is a form of shielding and freeing ourselves
of our “armor” is an important first step. “I am enough, I’ve had enough, and
showing up, taking risks, and letting myself be seen is enough.”
This book is amazing and authentic, and Ms. Brown hasn’t
taken the easy road—she digs deep into the subject matter, offering insights
that are painful yet ultimately healing.
Cooper Thorne lives in Battle Creek alongside his adopted brothers,
Rand and Brett. They were all raised in an orphanage and now steadfastly guard their
independence and freedom, which means no matrimony. They’ve even formed a ‘Bachelor’s
Club’. When determined Delta Dandridge arrives in town fully expecting to
become Cooper’s mail-order bride, his answer is a swift no. He never sent for
her, so refuses to honor a promise he never made. However, Delta decides to
remain in Battle Creek and forge a new life for herself, and Cooper can’t seem
to avoid the woman. And soon enough, he doesn’t want to. Ms. Broday’s novel is an
entertaining western romance with great banter between the leads, wonderful
side characters, and a steamy love story. The perfect tale to curl up with
In this follow-up to Book 1: Fluency, we find Dr. Jane
Holloway and Dr. Alan Bergen on the alien spaceship discovered near earth. They
are now headed to the home world of the creatures who mysteriously perished on
board. Guiding them is the only survivor, a massively intelligent squid-like
creature who controls the ship and is telepathically linked to Jane. Because of
this connection, Jane is now the commander. The tale unfolds as they make first
contact with a species known as the Sectilius. I really enjoyed this story,
especially the relationships between Jane and the entity and the prickly
romance between her and Bergen. Thankfully, it comes to a satisfying ending and I'm eagerly awaiting Book 3!
The Farallon Islands—a rocky and barren chain of jutting,
granite peaks—sit just 27 miles from the San Francisco coastline. A handful of
biologists reside in this remote outpost to study the bird, pinniped, and shark
populations. Every fall, great white sharks arrive to feed on the local seal
population and Ms. Casey delves into the research undertaken in the surrounding
waters. It’s a story of grit and terror, and a testament to how little we know
about these fascinating and monstrous creatures. Casey also recounts the
history of the island—at one point, the eggs sold in the Bay area markets were
collected from the massive seabird population, nearly depleting their numbers.
The main attraction, of course, is the sharks, with personalities as varied as
the people who investigate them. By the end of the book, despite a lingering
fear of the giant fish, I couldn’t help but gain a healthy respect for the apex
predators of the ocean. This is a riveting and enlightening read.
In Love Proof, lawyer Sarah Henley must work opposite her
former lover from college, Joe Burke. He broke her heart six years prior and
never had the decency to tell her why. This premise may sound too simple, but
in the hands of the talented Ms. Brande, a solid, compelling love story
unfolds. I definitely lost sleep reading this on vacation.
The romance is hot, the legal proceedings are entwined just
enough to give context but not overwhelm the story, and the characters are
likable and credible. But not perfect. When the romance is re-ignited, Sarah
and Joe face an ethical issue as they work on opposing sides of the same case.
How that unfolds, as well as Sarah’s own reservations about Joe, create the
obstacles they must overcome. It’s a reminder that despite mistakes made along
the way, everyone has the power to become a better version of themselves.
Sit back, relax, and enjoy a great read. You won’t be
In the title of this memoir, author Paula Young Lee refers
to both Paris, France, and Paris, Maine. How she connects the two disparate
places speaks to the overall theme—you never know where you’ll end up, but
chances are, it will be a place that softens the quirky edges and incongruent
personality traits that never quite fit together.
Lee is a Korean woman raised in the United States by a
father who preached Christianity in rural America—mostly in the backwoods of
Maine. Paralyzed from the waist down, his belief in God never wavers, but Lee
constantly questions and strives to stretch beyond the dictates of Korean
For a time, she lives in Paris, France. When severe food and
other allergies besiege her, she develops a love of meat. Hers isn’t just a
cursory fascination; she’s taken it to the next level, trying to understand
where cuts of meat originate in an animal and sharing recipes that are hundreds
of years old.
A wanderer, she doesn’t desire to be tied down. Then she
meets John, a divorced lawyer from Paris, Maine. The bulk of Lee’s story
unfolds as she and John spend time with his folks, siblings, and extended
family. And they are hunters. Lee expounds on tracking bear and moose. She
explains in great detail how to dress a deer in the wild upon its execution.
She describes the process of a pig roast with such detail that you’ll smell the
succulent meat and your mouth will water.
Deer Hunting in Paris
is a love story. John and Lee couldn’t be more different, but on a deeper level
their relationship works. Her appreciation for the animals and the process of
hunting wins over John’s family, and while many will cringe over the gory
descriptions of how an animal is gutted and quartered, there is a sense of the
order of nature here. Living close to the land—a skill many of us have lost—isn’t
for the faint of heart. Lee has qualms as well, but in the name of love she
pushes through. Her forthright and honest prose had me laughing aloud in parts,
and her esteem for the natural world and the man she loves make for a unique
and compelling read.
In this paranormal technological thriller, we meet a diverse
crew of characters: Lela, a laser-focused journalist with no life; Mike
Juniper, hiding a past as an evangelical minister and owner of a homeless
shelter; Sarin, a woman who may be far older than many realize; Cheston, a
computer hacker and voyeur; and Hannah, a young blind girl who will play a
pivotal role in the storyline. Evil has come to Portland, Oregon, and the
pathway is the Dark Net. I don’t want to say too much more because the story unfolds
with many interesting twists, and I was quite glued to my e-reader until the
end. Mr. Percy offers insights into our digital age that will astound and
horrify you, while giving us an edge-of-the-seat terror ride. I highly
recommend the novel and I wouldn’t be surprised if it eventually turns up in
the movie theater.