The Outlaw’s Redemption by Renee Ryan ~ My Review

About the book~
Who would guess the most formidable adversary former gunslinger Hunter Mitchell ever faced would be a fiery, violet-eyed female? Now that he’s served his time, Hunter intends to claim the daughter he’s only just discovered. While the law is on his side this time, his daughter’s devoted aunt certainly isn’t. 

Annabeth Silks can’t bear to let a onetime outlaw take little Sarah. As the daughter of an infamous madam, she knows the hardship of an unstable home. But every glimpse of Hunter’s reformed character dares Annabeth to look beyond his past…to the family and future she never thought to find.

My Thoughts~
Hunter Mitchell, a former gunslinger fresh out of a two year prison stint, returns to the brothel where he killed a man, intent on retrieving his daughter from Mattie Silks, the brothel’s owner. Reformed and longing for a chance to start fresh, he won’t allow Annabeth Silks to keep him from the sweet nine-year-old girl he just discovered was his. Annabeth can’t bear the thought of losing her niece, but even tougher for her to imagine, is leaving Charity House to live with Hunter as Sarah’s nanny, especially when her heart longs for more.

Initially, I passed on this book, non-committal about a reformed outlaw for a hero, but I’ve read other books by Renee Ryan and liked them, so I scooped it up. I’m glad I did.

What I liked…

I really appreciated the way Hunter treated Mattie, the brothel owner. By treating Mattie with respect and dignity, Hunter sealed the deal with Annabeth’s heart.

Relationships are complicated. I liked that the author didn’t sugarcoat Annabeth’s relationship with her mother. Ryan portrayed their unusual bond realistically, showing the embarrassment, the shame, the stigma. Annabeth loves her mother, but doesn’t appreciate being labeled a madam’s daughter or the risk of losing her reputation and home. Mattie also loves her daughter but isn’t willing to give up the finer things in life for her daughter’s sake.

I also admired how the author handled Hunter’s past. When he arrives on scene, he’s already reformed. Ryan shows us Hunter’s commitment to being a better man without being preachy.

What I didn’t like so much…

Hunter had actually been married twice, which I found a bit confusing in the beginning and unnecessary.


I really enjoyed this story and getting to know Hunter, Annabeth, and Mattie, all strong characters. Great job, Ms. Ryan!

The Outlaw’s Redemption releases on 7/1/13 with Harlequin Love Inspired Historical, but you can preorder it here~ Preorder Link

Disclaimer: Sending a huge thanks to Harlequin Love Inspired Historical and NetGalley for providing me with an advance review e-copy. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.

Have you read The Outlaw’s Redemption

Do you agree with my review? What were your thoughts?

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Pelican Book Group announces the return of Easter Lilies

————Permission to forward————

Pelican Book Group announces the return of Easter Lilies. While Easter Lilies was originally run as a short story contest, the resurrected Easter Lilies will not be a contest, but conducted as an annual special release much like our Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. Each year, one Easter Lilies story will be released on each day of the Easter Triduum. (Yes, only three stories per year.) 
2013 Defining Scripture for Easter Lilies is: Solomon 2:2 “Like a lily among thorns is my darling among the maidens.”
Submission Guidelines:
Easter Lilies are historical or contemporary romances. In addition to adhering to the guidelines for the White Rose imprint, the following is also necessary: 

  • The defining Scripture for the year must be used as a basis for the story. (This scripture will change each year on October 1st) 

  • Stories should be between 15,000 and 25,000 words. 

  • Both the hero’s and heroine’s points of view may be incorporated, however, we’d like these stories to be “hero-driven”, so ideally, stories should focus on the hero’s love developing for his heroine. These stories may be historical or contemporary, but they must be set around the Easter holiday. 

  • Heroes and Heroines should be between the ages of 25 and 35. 

  • In addition to using the current year Easter Lilies scripture as the reference, some symbol of the Easter Lily must also be incorporated. Easter lilies have long been a symbol of purity, motherhood, the trumpet herald of the Angel Gabriel as he visited the Virgin Mary, of resurrection, and more. (Feel free to research and use different symbols. These are listed as example only). How you incorporate any of the symbols is up to you. Whether it’s an actual flower that the hero gives to the heroine (or vice-versa), or a piece of jewelry, or a spiritual experience. The use is up to you. Perhaps your hero is a Christian musician who plays the trumpet. Perhaps your heroine has lily earrings that have been passed through her family. Perhaps your hero had a “resurrection” of his faith through some experience past or present, or maybe your heroine is a mother. How you incorporate the Easter lily symbolism is up to you. It can be subtle or overt, but it has to be there.

Submissions for Easter Lilies are accepted August 1st through September 30th each year. Submissions for Easter Lilies that are received outside this time frame will be discarded without response.

These guidelines and submission information can be found at:

SHORT-STRAW BRIDE by Karen Witemeyer ~ Sharing My Review

About the book~

Four brothers. Four straws. One bride.

No one steps on Archer land. Not if they value their life. But when Meredith Hayes overhears a plot to burn the Archer brothers off their ranch, a long-standing debt compels her to take the risk.

Years of constant vigilance hardens a man. Yet when Travis Archer comes across a female trespasser with the same vivid blue eyes as the courageous young girl he once aided, he can’t bring himself to send her away. And when an act of sacrifice leaves her injured and her reputation in shreds, gratitude and guilt prompt him to attempt to rescue her once again.

Despite the fact that Travis is no longer the gallant youth Meredith once dreamed about, she vows to stand by his side. But will love ever be hers? Or will Travis always see her as merely a short-straw bride?

Sharing My Humble Opinion~

A young Meredith (Meri) Hayes trespasses on the infamous Archer land to retrieve her lunch box after a bully tosses it over the fence. Travis Archer promised his dying father that he’d protect his three brothers and the land they’d grown up on. After all, it was his fault that his father died. When he rescues Meri, he breaks that promise to take her home, but that’s the only time he ever left the Archer land. Travis’s kind, compassionate spirit sparks dreams in tiny Meri’s heart and she never forgets him, even when another man proposes. When Meri overhears a plot to possibly harm the Archers, she risks trespassing again to warn Travis and his brothers.

Although I felt the prologue made for a slow beginning, I’m so glad I didn’t put Short-Straw Bride aside. It was so worth it! 

I love how the author wove subtle themes into this book, like how Meri rushed headlong into difficult situations, without thinking or praying. How many times do I plow ahead, only praying for guidance after I’m in the midst of the situation? 
And Meri helped Travis realize that he had been depending on himself to protect his family, rather than trusting God. How many times have I done the same thing? 

I loved Short-Straw Bride! I read it through in two sittings, barely allowing myself to be distracted except to sleep. It had the perfect blend of romance laced with passion, humor and suspense to keep me turning pages long past my bedtime. Can’t wait to get my hands on another Witemeyer book!

Purchase Link

How often do we proceed with our own plans and only then ask for God’s blessings rather than seeking His will first? 

Disclaimer: I snagged this book when it was offered free on Amazon. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.