Showing posts with label Elaine Levine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elaine Levine. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

TBR Review: Logan's Outlaw (Men of Defiance #4) by Elaine Levine

Confident and coolheaded, nothing shakes a Man of Defiance—except a woman he can’t resist...

Sarah Hawkins survived capture by the Sioux, but after her escape she faced public scorn. Now, she’ll do anything to start over, and the dusty town of Defiance promises the anonymity and security she needs. Before she melts into the shadows, though, it’s her mission to put a great injustice to rights, and that means jeopardizing her safety once more.

But this time, she’s not alone. Without meaning to, Sarah has fallen under the protection of Logan Taggert, a rough-and-tumble trader unused to caring for others—and yet unable to ignore the tempting, tenacious woman’s plight. Though she refuses to trust him, Logan won’t leave her side, keeping her one step ahead of danger…even as she takes hold of the very thing he never thought he’d risk: his heart.
Logan's Outlaw by Elaine Levine is the fourth installment in the Men of Defiance series. I read Leah and the Bounty Hunter, Book 3 and enjoyed the "real, somewhat gritty western" atmosphere in that story, and plan on reading the complete series. Logan's Outlaw is a western romance with plenty of violence and events covering the not-so-pretty history of the West. This story takes place during the painful times when the Sioux Nation was in flux, when gold was found in the Black Hills, and while some tribes were left with little choice but to move to reservations, others fought to maintain their way of life.

The story begins with Sarah, a white woman who survived torture as the white captive of a Sioux chief. This beginning worried me a bit, I've read these types of books before (from the 70's and 80's) where Native Americans are often demonized or romanticized. However, pretty quickly I realized that in Logan's Outlaw, Levine goes out of her way to portray both sides of the story. I can't tell you how politically correct the book is, you'll have to decide that for yourself, I can say that it is apparent that Ms. Levine conducted research before writing this story and did not romanticize either side.

Through Sarah, Levine explores life in the aftermath of a surviving white captive who was tortured and married to a Sioux chief. Also through Sarah, the author addresses the subject of how land, when not gained through treaties, was taken through foul means. Through White Cloud and his people, Levine explores the wisdom of the culture and how deeply they were wronged, and through Chayton her exploration goes into the pain and loss of the plains people.

Logan is the linchpin in this story. His position as a trader allows him to straddle both sides, and he appreciates and experiences the pain from both sides. Actually Logan turns out to be the perfect knight for a woman like Sarah. He understands what she went through, has endless patience with her, and all the right connections and courage to save her from her Sioux husband and to protect her from white scorn. There were very few moments when Logan showed his flaws... and even then, his reasoning was quite human. I wondered a few times along the way if there are men out there with his kind of patience. As a fictional romance hero, though, he is just that... quite a hero.

The romance between Sarah and Logan serves as the central focus. When Logan meets Sarah at a coach stop, she is a wounded, traumatized soul. Logan takes one look at beautiful and haunted-looking Sarah and fearing that the coach leaving to Cheyenne is headed for danger, appoints himself her silent protector and joins the group on their journey. That journey is a harsh one. They are attacked by a band of Sioux warriors, their coach is burned and the passengers killed. Although Sarah and Logan survive through Logan's knowledge and brave cunning, their adventures through Cheyenne, Defiance, and eventually to the Circle Bar Ranch continue to be filled with danger.

Levine uses the journey and the different obstacles that Logan and Sarah encounter along the way, including persecution by some goons that are after Sarah, to develop their relationship and romance. When Sarah and Logan find out that she is wanted for forgery, Logan marries her and slowly but surely begins the process of helping Sarah heal from the terrible fears and horrible nightmares that plague her from her days as a captive. She doesn't believe she'll ever be able to have a normal relationship with a man again, and he's willing to have her on any terms as long as he can protect her. How can Sarah not fall in love with Logan?

There's nothing pretty about some of the violent scenes portrayed in this story. There are burned bodies, scalpings, and people are killed ruthlessly. There's no sparing a character for the sake of making this a pretty romance, even as the characters experience their happy moments. This is a warning for readers who cannot tolerate violence with their romance.

Levine's prose is not complex or lyrical, as a matter of fact I find it rather straight forward and easy to read and the dialog can be said to be awkward at times, however the plot carries the day in this romance. Levine handles Sarah's healing, the aftermath of being tortured and raped, quite well (those torture and rape scenes are not shown in the book). The action is there from beginning to end, with quiet, romantic moments in between where Sarah and Logan get to know each other. Logan's attraction is instant and more protective than passionate in the beginning with passion taking over later on in the story.

Logan's Outlaw, like Leah and the Bounty Hunter, is a gritty western with both central and secondary characters that are confronting seriously hurtful situations. In contrast, the romance is sweet and by the end of the story there's a sense that the love found by our couple will endure. A quick western historical romance read, full of action that might not be enjoyed by everyone.

Theme: Western Romance
June Review
Category: Historical Romance/Western
Series: Men of Defiance
Publisher/Released: Kensington/March 2012
Source: Kensington Books
Grade: B-

Visit Elaine Levine here.

Rachel and the Hired Gun
Audrey and the Maverick
Leah and the Bounty Hunter
Logan's Outlaw

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Latest Book Haul!

How's everyone this Sunday?

I'm still not ready to post reviews. It has been a long week and I'm still going through a reading slump! This is not good for me, or for my wallet. When I don't read, I buy! (Good news for retailers, of course). So my post today is about all the books I've added to my Kindle (as if I needed more books). Plus a few of the books I received for review.

These are the 10 purchased additions to my TBR from this last week:

Contemporary Romance:

I Want Candy by Susan Donovan
Perfect Partners by Carly Phillips*
Solitary Man by Carly Phillips*
The Right Choice by Carly Phillips*
Donovan seems to be a hit or miss with me as an author, but the books I like by her I really like. I hope to like I Want Candy. And, well... Carly Phillips has been releasing lots of her books lately and I haven't been reading them! I need to get back on that horse.
*(All three books by Carly Phillips are re-releases, but I have not read them)

Urban Fantasy:

Discount Armageddon: An InCryptid Novel by Seanan McGuire
Rosemary and Rue: An October Daye Novel by Seanan McGuire
This is an author I've had on my list for a couple of years now. I've had Rosemary and Rue in my hands at the book store and placed it back for later. Well, this is it, this is the year I'll be reading McGuire. Discount Armageddon was reviewed by KMont and the book looks good, so I'm going to give it a try to see how it goes.


The White Knight (The Dark Horse) by Josh Lanyon
Gay: A New Path Forward by Nicholas Janovsky
Moontusk: Rendevous in a Ruined City by Bruce P. Grether
Between Dances by Erasmo Guerra
I didn't have The White Knight by Josh Layon and that means I'll be reading it, somehow I missed this one. Gay: A New Path Forward is an educational book about the gay culture (gay/lesbian). And, Moontusk: Rendevous in a Ruined City by Bruce P. Grether is the beginning of a fantasy series. The second book just released and I'm curious. :) Between Dances by Erasmo Guerra is gay erotica.

For Review:

Touch of a Rogue (Touch of Seduction #2) by Mia Marlowe
Logan's Outlaw by Elaine Levine
My Lord Vampire (Immortal Rogues #1) by Alexandra Ivy
Simply Carnal by Kate Pearce
I also received a few books for review this last week. Of these four authors, I've read books by Elaine Levine, Alexandra Ivy, and Kate Pearce. I recently enjoyed Leah and the Bounty Hunter by Elaine Levine, and have Rachel and the Hired Gun in my TBR, so I'm looking forward to reading Logan's Outlaw.

Hmm... I need to start reading again!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review: Leah and the Bounty Hunter by Elaine Levine

To Leah Morgan's mind, the last thing her hometown of Defiance needs is another gunman stalking its dusty streets—especially one as sweet-talking and fine-looking as Jace Gage. Despite her warnings, the infuriating man seems determined to meddle in her life and risk his own, all for a town that can't be saved and a heart she locked away long ago.

Professional bounty hunter Jace Gage has cleaned up plenty of corrupt towns in his lifetime, and he knows he can handle whatever Defiance's thugs have to offer. But the town's most lawful citizen is another story. Beautiful, willful and exasperating at every turn, Leah is the one person capable of bringing the ruthless gunslinger to his knees—and capturing his desire with a single kiss. . .
Defiance is a town besieged by gunmen and its sheriff. Most of the good men and women have left the town, although there are a few of them still left. Countless men have died in their attempt to kill the sheriff and save the town. Jace Gage, known as the Avenger, is a bounty hunter and known for cleaning up towns single-handed and moving on to the next one. As a last resort, the Marshal sends him in to take care of the gunmen and arrest the sheriff. Unfortunately Jace has also been charged with protecting Leah Morgan while he's in Defiance. After he meets Leah, Jace realizes that this is a task that might ultimately be tougher to achieve than dealing with the sheriff and his killers.

Leah grew up in Defiance and loves the town and its people. It's the only home she knows or remembers. Her mother died there after many years of taking the sheriff's abuse and her mentor Joseph, a mountain man, taught her how to take care of herself in the surrounding mountains. Leah wears men's clothing, shoots and hunts like a man and takes care of providing meat for the town during harsh winters. She is loved and protected by the townspeople of Defiance where she keeps her own little house and maintains the bread baking business that her mother left behind after her death.

This sounds familiar, the gunslinger and the girl dressed up like a boy, right? That's what I thought when I first began reading the book too. However, I was really taken with the characters and the western atmosphere in this story. The first thing that hit me was the "real feel" western atmosphere and the no holds barred violence used in the gun fight scenes, the meanness of the thugs, and the precarious situation in the town. Elaine Levine didn't skimp on those and it really set the stage for the story and for Jace as a character.

At the beginning of the book we're told that Jace is a bounty hunter and a gunslinger for hire, but pretty quickly Levine shows the reader that he's a real killer and a good one. Jace is a man with a tortured past, a past where he was deceived and paid a horrible price for trusting and loving. Leah also has a traumatic past and problems with trust, so it takes these two people a while to get over their baggage, although Leah holds on to hers longer than Jace.

Jace falls hard for Leah! He goes nuts for her. He's a man whose potential for violence and for going off the edge are well documented by Levine. His love for Leah saves him and he's not sure he can survive without it. I love that Jace doesn't really change but that his true personality comes forth with his love, although you can tell that the killer will always be there under the surface.

Leah's love is a bit more complex and I thought conditional. It takes her too long to see under the facade of the man that is Jace -- not that I totally blame her for not wanting a stone-cold killer as her man. Although tough and knowledgeable in many ways, Leah is immature and quite vulnerable as a woman. The way she grew up and the truths she learns along the way are all part of the problem and Levine shows the reader the reasons behind Leah's actions. Jace and Leah deserved to find each other, and I was glad when they found that happily ever after, especially Jace. I really enjoyed their passionate scenes together, which grow in heat as the story moves along.

The secondary characters are wonderful in this story too. The townspeople play a great role in making this story work, friends, thugs and villains alike. I particularly like the gray areas that Levine uses to develop some of the secondary characters... those pesky good guys that don't always wear the white hats. Good stuff.

All in all Leah and the Bounty Hunter is a western historical romance that I enjoyed more than expected because of its excellent atmosphere, good characterization and pacing. I particularly enjoyed Levine's characterization of Jace and the townspeople of Defiance.

Category: Historical Romance/Western
Series: Men of Defiance
Publisher/Release Date: Zebra/August 1, 2011
Source: Kensington Publishing
Grade: B

Visit Elaine Levine here.

Rachel and the Hired Gun
Audrey and the Maverick
Leah and the Bounty Hunter