"Wild Horse Springs (Ransom Canyon Book 5)" by Jodi Thomas

Dan Brigman, the sheriff, interested me; I found him likable.  I enjoyed the Cinderella-like boot left behind in the middle of the road. If the boot fits, it must be hers, and Dan enjoyed helping Brandi try it on. They embarked on a "wild" affair to remember, a brief moment to cherish forever. They didn't have much time to engage one another in anything wild because there were so many other things going on - a crime spree in the small town.  I felt like Dan didn't know much about Brandi, and when their affair came to their agreed-upon end, it didn't make me too sad.

I didn't read the first books in the Ransom Canyon series, and it may have caused some trouble understanding Lauren, Lucas, and Tim's parts in this story. Lauren and Lucas were supposed to have a steamy connection, but to me, their attraction fizzled instead of sizzled. I had no interest in them. Perhaps their characters are more captivating in other installments.

The aspect of the book that I favored was about Thatcher, a troubled young adult and the little girl in the red coat. This element of the story, which didn't fully kick in until near the end, captivated and kept me reading. Thatcher's personality and voice were comical and brave, highly entertaining. By the time I'd reached the last page, I did want to find out more about the little town called Crossroads.

I enjoyed Wild Horse Springs (Ransom Canyon Book 5) more as a small-town Texas drama than as a romance. I believe I will try other works by this author, perhaps more of the Ransom Canyon series.

"Oh Baubles: A Christmas Romance Novella" by Harmony Kent

First of all, the enticing cover of "Oh Baubles" caught my eye, and immediately, I wanted to read the description. This story broke my heart and renewed my faith. The death of Charlene's husband was tragic, but when I read the details of how he died, it melted me. No wonder she was reeling at the loss of his love. I cheered for the hope of new love with John. Scenes are told from Charlene's and then retold, but from John's perspective, which is unique to me, but I'm not sure I liked replaying each encounter. A short story with a catchy title and plenty of human drama; it's worth reading. I would recommend it.

"The One Discovered" (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) by Yvette M Calleiro

The One Discovered (Chronicles of the Diasodz Book 1) has me torn. I found parts of the plot interesting and wanted to find out more information about some of the characters, but the story moved slowly. Sofia's relationship with Rafe seemed awkward, and it was difficult to believe their couple status. They felt no romantic passion for each other and perhaps would have been better as simply best friends. I liked how Ar'ch appeared in Sofia's dreams and then in person. Tattoos turned into real weapons; how cool is that? The scenes where Ar'ch and his brother fought evil beings left me a little confused; I couldn't form a picture from what I read. Dialogue needed to be less formal between the teenagers; conversations were strained. I plan to give book 2 a chance because I want to find out more about Liana and Damiana and how they affect this tale and view Sofia's evolving relationship with Ar'ch.

'The Ex Chronicles' by Maura Beth Brennan

The Ex Chronicles by [Brennan, Maura Beth]

Angie decides to confront her boyfriend and his mistress... What could go wrong? Well, read and find out. Pleasant short story - pay attention to its description; it has but 23 pages - packs a comical punch, and most of the blows land directly on the narrator; luckily, Angie's bruised ego pales in comparison to the consequences faced by her cheating man. I enjoyed this quick, entertaining bedtime read.

"Jewel" by Jan Sikes

Jewel by [Sikes, Jan]

This story parallels one of my favorite tunes — an entertaining variation. Born poor white trash, Jewel is scared, and her momma's sick. They don't have money for food or rent, but Jewel and her sister are handed over to others who will change their lives: Jewel's in a far different way than her sister's. Confused, Jewel must trust her mother to do what's right to save them. How sad to leave what you know, even if lacking comfort and necessities, for an uncertain future. A great short read with a consistent tempo, I finished it in one sitting and enjoyed it thoroughly. Recommended.