Across the States in 50 Books Part 2

Since we aren’t going as far as around the world, these shorter breaks are just enough to let us relax, right? Don’t for get to tip the sky cap and we are off!

11. Utah. I don’t know a lot about this state. I do know that while camping and pitching a tent in the near dark during a windstorm, one of my good friends said something about not wanting to be carried there by the storm as she wouldn’t get along well with the religious folks there. A group of four burly young men who were helping us wrestle the tent laughed, and one of them informed her that they were all of that faith. D’oh! And there certainly are a lot of books based on sensationalism due to, in my opinion, intolerance. I’m going to ignore those sorts. Here’s a romance that starts in Las Vegas and pickes up 9 years later in Utah. Fallen Star Trouble by Autumn Piper (Ooo, good name!) has a pretty high rating including one reader who stayed up late to finish it. That’s what I’m looking for!

12. Colorado. What do you think of for this state? Snow and skiing, legal weed, maybe Mork and Mindy? Mile High Stadium, and a crazy airport? How about Motorcycle Gangs? Not the hellish ones, or at least I don’t think a father would let his daughter be involved in that kind of gang. And these days, motorcycle gangs are usually weekend warriors bent on taking off the business suit and catching bugs in their teeth. Whee-Ha! Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley has that magical element of a bad boy who loves a good girl, and only wants to protect her. When she realizes his worth, the sparks fly on the wind. This book had over the top happy love it reviews.

13. New Mexico. You do not need a passport to go to New Mexico. I just want to be clear on that. Also there are lots of artists communities and a whole lot of ancient mysticism available to anyone who is open. My choice is a “great mix of a sweet romance, mystery, and humor.” According to one reviewer. Smash into You by Shelly Crane apparently plays the paranormal card close to the vest, and you don’t see the weird stuff coming until you are well hooked by the story. Really sounds good to me.

14. Texas. You may or may not need a passport to go to Texas at the time this gets posted. Any day now, I expect to hear that The Lone Star State is now a separate sovereign country. When searching for books that take place in this state, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry tops the list. I have a feeling most of us have seen the movie, and more than once. I really want to find a cowboy book that may have been overlooked by most readers. I’ll keep looking, but in the mean time, this sounds like a fun and entertaining read. Daisy’s Back in Town by Rachel Gibson. Mixed reviews, but a plot that gets me every time.

15. Oklahoma. Sing it with me, “Where the wind come whipping down the plain!” Yeah, oil and cowboys and dust bowls, oh my. A little paranormal to spice up the state whose motto is Labor Conquers All Things. Rachel Caine’s Weather Wardens series starts with Ill Wind, a road trip and a love story for us mortals.

16. Kansas. Where do we get so many cliches about states? “Aunty Em: Hate you, hate Kansas, taking Toto. Dorothy.” There is a cliché about romance books, that men just don’t write them well. To see if that is in fact a fact, let’s select The Fabulous Now by Tim Tharp. Soon to be a major motion picture, so read it quickly for bragging rights. (Although IMDb did not find it)

17. Nebraska. In grade school I read a story that took place in Nebraska, dealing with corn and a family with strange names. I can’t even remember them, but the corn all ended up popping. Or did I dream it? Well, continuing to find men writing really good romances, this book is praised by the man’s wife! Tom McNeal’s To Be Sung Underwater looks at the possibility of rekindling first love. The protagonists also are not kids or even New Adults. My Scribophile group has talked about founding a category romance for Old Adults. This isn’t quite that much, but it’s at least mature people.

18. South Dakota. Still in cowboy land, but also Native American land*. Another cliché is that Male/Male romances are written by women for women. My take on that is they are written by writers for readers. I am so thrilled to have found The Good Fight by Andrew Grey. Yes, the story contains a strong romance element, but the real story is the character of John Black Raven, and his struggle to get his brothers and sisters out of foster care and into his custody. I’ve worked in the system, and I can tell you things don’t always work out for the best. The reviews of this book are over the top in praising the realism of this timely topic. * From sea to shining sea, it’s all Native American land. I get that. Just saying you will find more history in some areas than others.

19. North Dakota. A huge state with a tundra-like climate, and more Native Americans. In fact, I wanted to choose a book that is first in a series called, creatively enough, Native American Romances. But the reviews are mixed and the write off came when one reader pointed out the hero is a mere 20 years old. Now maybe a man grows up faster in ND, but I’m going to have to pass. And I found a great romance to highlight. Love Finds You in Wildrose, North Dakota by Tracey Bateman. One twin marries and goes off with her new husband. Separation can be hard on twins, so her sister travels to visit, and finds the worst possible situation. No only is the married twin dead, there’s a malnourished infant and a grieving husband to deal with. I’m hooked.

20. Minnesota. This state is the birthplace of my mother and her five brothers and four sisters. You can believe I got the walking to school in the snow stories. As far as I know, none of my relatives on that side of the family are werewolves. We’re all familiar with the idea that the full moon causes the shift from human to wolf. Lots of modern shape shifter romances exist in a world where the individual can usually control the shift, and does so any time they want to. What if the cold of winter caused the wolf to come out? And what if the wolf has secretly been bonding with a human girl, and wants to stay human? I can’t wait to read this one. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater is the first in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. (Note: this is a serial, so you will want to read all the books in the trilogy to get the whole story. Also there seems to be a new romance in the second book, so there you go.)

Well, that’s our destination so far. Next Sunday I’ll be looking at ways to write and stay healthy, then back on the road. Get the fire going in the cabin and put your boots up on the table.


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