For Always on My Mind:
Thought provoking on a number of levels, Always on my Mind is heart breaking at times, sometimes anger producing, and offers an opportunity to sit back and think. Do not miss it.
On a scale of 1 to 5, Always on my Mind deserves a 6.
Kat Henry Doran, Wild Women Reviews.
5 Stars. This book was such an enjoyable read. I really liked how the story starts off with the main characters first meeting, weaving through their relationship, and then to their parting. The story takes the reader through their years apart and finally to a reunion. The author does a great job of holding your attention through the progression of time. A well-developed setting places you in the 1970’s with vivid scenes and language. The main characters are interesting to watch as they grow. Cassie becomes a strong and independent woman. Coop is stubborn and set in his ways, and you’ll want to smack him sometimes, but this is what makes him such a good character. As you turn the pages of each chapter, the anticipation rises as you wait for Cassie and Coop to find each other again. There’s a good supporting cast, providing an additional layer of enjoyment. At the end, I wanted a bit more. I wanted more from the reveal of the secret Cassie had been keeping from Coop, and more of their reconnection. But that’s just me and probably because I was so absorbed in the story. Drama and packed with emotion, I highly recommend this book.
Reviewed for Still Moments Magazine.
…I’d have to say that one of the most compelling features of this romance was the fact that we were presented with a love story that was far from perfect. Our characters had flaws, and acted in ways that were often hard to differentiate right from wrong. But that’s what made it real and relatable. The fact our tale was set in the early 70’s, when war raged from afar, birth control was something to be debated/judged, and those who were more conservative clashed with those who were more liberal, we find ourselves confronted with a time that feels simultaneously foreign…yet achingly familiar.
Romance Novels for the Beach
For BAD BOY,BIG HEART:
I’ve read several of Andrea’s books in the past and I’ve never been disappointed. She writes from the heart, not just her own, but straight from the hearts of her characters. I never feel as though she rushes her story or short-changes her readers with cookie-cutter heroes, heroines, and plots.
KC and Chay’s story, as it unfolds in Bad Boy, Big Heart, makes me catch my breath on the very first page, as the author introduces me to KC and Chay and to the world where I’ll watch them fumble through the complexities of life and love, Wyoming! ….
I never summarize the story in my reviews, but I do like to tell you what I like and I liked a lot. I liked the push and pull between KC and Chay, their diverse backgrounds being a natural catalyst to igniting a spark. I liked the secondary characters that fill the big Wyoming background with color, humor, and authenticity. I love the rich dialog that kept me smack in the middle of every scene. I loved the ending…like a sunset ablaze with color that warms the heart as it sinks into tomorrow.
–Lynda Coker, Between the Lines and More, 5*
“A variety of contemporary western love stories in this collection by eight authors, my favorite being western romance writer Andrea Downing, will not be a disappointment for those who love the genre. Andrea, herself has her heart in the west …”
–E.B., 4* Review on Amazon
“…an exciting, suspenseful, fun, and romantic read that is just pure enjoyment. I loved the interactions between the two characters and how author Andrea Downing so skillfully takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride right along with the characters. The result is a fun, romantic, suspenseful story that you’re sure to enjoy.”
“What I particularly liked about this novella is that it wasn’t just a summer romance. It was also a summer for growing up, and this applied to both our lead characters. K.C. has come to Wyoming to get a break from her overbearing parents. She feels she has to do what they say as they paid for her undergraduate education, and will soon be paying for her MA degree and living expenses for graduate school in New York City. Definitely a pretty penny right there! Her time with Chay though shows her that some things are worth fighting for, and she’s willing to break out on her own from her parents if it means a possible future with the cowboy.
Chay too grows as a person during his summer with K.C. He’s finally willing to give his heart to a woman, and take a chance on love. As the novella progresses it seems damn near impossible that they’ll end up together considering everything standing in their way. Will she give up school to be with him? Will the rugged cowboy take on the skyscrapers of the Big Apple? Can they try a long distance relationship for two whole years? And then you have K.C.’s high class parents who decide to come out West for a little visit with their daughter. What else could possibly happen?”
Lauren, Romance Novels for the Beach
.FOR DANCES OF THE HEART:
“What a storyteller Ms. Downing is! She knows just how to word her story to keep you interested but also engage your other emotions. The flow of this book is amazing and the characters delightful. I could empathize with these people. I felt the pain and uncertainty they were dealing with. I could imagine the day to day life they discovered in Texas. You’ll be passing word of this book to all your friends and book clubs. It really is a fantastic book for discussion. Get your copy.”
–Melanie/KissablySweet1, Have You Heard My Book Review, 5*
..”.the author does a good job writing a smooth transition from one character to another. A well-paced and interesting plot with a hint of suspense, pulling you into the lives of these characters. .. The humour and emotion draws you into this story and keeps your attention.”
–Darlene LF, Still Moments Magazine
Carrie Bennett is a very successful romance novelist and to the outside world appears to have it all. But looks can be deceiving as she has a daughter, Paige, whom she worries about constantly, and has spent most of her lifetime on her own.
Needing to research her next book, Carrie drags Paige along with her, to Texas. Paige is suffering a lot since the death of her fiancé, and is tired of her mother’s constant scrutiny, and acts out by being angry with the world. As they travel from the airport they give a lift to returned soldier, Jake Ryder, who is heading home to his father, Ray’s, ranch.
As Carrie, Paige, Jake, and Ray are thrown together in this small community, feelings and passion stir to life. But Ray and Jake have their own issues. Ray drinks himself to sleep most nights to assuage the guilt he feels over his eldest son’s death. While Jake has been carrying a heavy secret in an attempt to save his father further pain. With a bitter ex wife, and someone intent on revenge, life at the ranch takes a dangerous turn. Will Carrie play it safe, guard her heart and leave Ray behind her forever? And will Jake ever get a chance to tell Paige how he feels, when he becomes the target of a dangerous enemy?
DANCES OF THE HEART by Andrea Downing is an entertaining, contemporary romance. Carrie and Ray have both had disastrous relationships in the past, but it was interesting to watch their different ways of dealing with their new feelings. Learning the backstory of Ray and Jake’s life added an emotional element to the novel, and gives the reader an understanding of the dynamics of their relationship. The main love story of the novel is Carrie and Ray’s, but I enjoyed the snippets that we see of Paige and Jake’s situation. DANCES OF THE HEART by Andrea Downing is a fabulous Texan romance with plenty of action to keep you entertained.
–Linda Green, Fresh Fiction
“…Trusting relationships between these characters do not come easily, making their effort a compelling journey for the reader. Author Andrea Downing serves up a buffet of emotions: anger, sorrow, romance and the type of love that is real, raw and captivating. … Carrie in her judgment is as real as it gets and Ray’s honesty speaks volumes. When a few mysterious incidents that have everyone on the ranch walking on eggshells and the plot begins to twist, the reader will have a hard time putting it down!”
Margaret Faria, InD’Tale Magazine
FOR DEAREST DARLING:
“The writing of this book is fluid. It’s so flawless you don’t even realize how far you’ve gotten in the book until you read THE END. I loved Emily’s power and confidence in herself. It’s the type of book I like to read. Women who can take care of themselves but prefer to have a man by their side. Not as a crutch but as a helpmate. The fun and wildness of this book make the characters so lovable you won’t soon forget them. I highly recommend this read! Can’t wait for more.”
–Melanie/KissablySweet1, ‘Have You Heard My Book Review,’ 5*
“A picturesque visual of the Wyoming landscape places the reader in setting of this story. The writing is fresh and the dialogue is smooth. Packed with emotion from the first page, the plot is captivating. I found the ending a bit rushed, only because I wanted the story to last longer. If you’re looking to curl up with a good book, I highly recommend this one.”
— Darlene LF. Still Moments Magazine, 4.5 Stars
“This story takes the common mail-order-bride trope and turns it upside down! It rarely follows the normal course; instead, it gifts the reader with twists and turns that surprise and delight…it is an expertly penned confection for those who have just a smidge of time and need a quick, fun fix.” –Ruth Lynn Ritter, InD’Tale Magazine
“…Dearest Darling by Andrea Downing is a page turning mail order bride tale that doesn’t really follow the standard formula. Instead, the plot is fresh – after all, it isn’t often that a story starts out where the wrong woman receives tickets West and decides to use them! Don’t let the size of this book fool you. Even though Dearest Darling is only 88 pages, Andrea Downing provides well fleshed characters and an interesting plot that made me feel like I was reading a full length novel.
With plenty of attention to detail, the author paints a clear picture of the setting, allowing me to visualize it as the characters did. Ms. Downing also provides plenty of emotion, and it was easy to be drawn into Emily’s longing to belong, and the peacefulness she felt with Daniel was sweet. Speaking of Daniel, he was the perfect male lead: kind, considerate, but determined to send Emily back. I will say that there was one sexual situation, but it was very beautifully written. I am a huge fan of the mail order bride genre and this story was certainly unique. Instead of a predictable tale, I found several twists which kept me guessing as to how the ending would eventually turn out!”
—Brenda Casto, Readers Favorite, 5*
“These are not just ordinary characters. They will slip off the page and stay with you for a while. This story makes you think about what risks people take in order to find happiness and the complication and hurdles that result. The element I love best about author Andrea Downing’s writing is her absolute control and use of dialog. It’s always snappy, character revealing, and plot progressing. And setting comes in second, because after reading one of her books, I can put the location on my ‘been there’ list. The descriptions are always rich and full of small details that make me feel as if I’ve actually experienced them. Thank you so much for a heart-thumping story, Andrea. I look forward to reading many more.”
—–Lynda Coker, Between the Pages
“Dearest Darling is a well-plotted, excellently written story in which author Andrea Downing word paints Jackson Hole, Wyoming in such a way that one feels, sees and experiences the vastness of the prairie between mountain ranges. …Several surprise twists keep the pages flying. Clever plotting, nice ebb and flow of dialogue, action, and tension. Not a word is wasted.
Throughout Dearest Darling I cheered for Emily and Daniel, hoped they’d find resolution. Andrea Downing has outdone herself with this clever tale of crossed stars. Loved it, highly recommend it.”
—Karen Casey Fitzjerrell, award-winning author of The Dividing Season
“The romance was pitched perfectly, lots of “do I, don’t I” moments, subtle looks and indecision that had me wanting to lock them in the bedroom until the sorted things out!
I loved the twists that appeared, they weren’t obvious or expected. These led to a fantastic ending that left me satisfied with the story. That takes a lot of skill to pull of in just 26,000 words…
Overall I found this novella to be an adorable story and get away from life for a little while. It was an easy read to boot, allowing the reader to get straight to the story. Despite its short length, Dearest Darling had well drawn characters and a plot that felt complete and finished.
I give this a 5 for being a good all rounder.”
–Laura of Lurking reads
“…I never thought I would condone a man’s decision to find a mail-order bride, but by God if this book didn’t accomplish that feat. The description of his loneliness living in the wide open plains of Wyoming was so easy to picture, and heartbreaking enough that you could really understand why this puppy dog of a cowboy went to such lengths to find a companion… Daniel is a cowboy to drool after… ”
–Lauren at ‘Romance Novels for the Beach’
“Andrea Downing has crafted a masterpiece with Loveland. Her fast-paced romantic western keep readers wondering how the story can ever be resolved…Downing is a strong writer who has written a worthy premiere novel. She handles romantic scenes with flair while showing the nitty-gritty of ranch life in the 1880s. Loveland is packed with action and emotion, leaving the reader wanting more. Loveland is one of those books I hated to have end. A hands-down five-star novel.” Mary E. Trimble, Captivating Stories from the American West to West Africa
“…Downing does a good job of keeping various challenges and obstacles in constant supply—not just for the benefit of the romance, but to help readers understand the innate hardships of western history. There is also an abundance of plot twists and turns throughout Loveland which make for a few genuine surprises.
In all, Downing does a nice job of taking a rather formulaic genre to create a well- balanced story which is a definite step up from most classic romance tales. I highly recommend this book for lovers of romance, chick literature, and historical fiction enthusiasts.” —Wise Bear Media
“Andrea Downing does a very good job of depicting the hard life on a ranch in the late 1800´s as well as the struggles of a high-society woman to gain independence. I like the authors descriptive style and the pace throughout the book is very high, with one dramatic event after the other unfolding…The author does a good job in adding a lot of interesting historical detail and a fun group of supporting characters to give this classic romantic story more depth. I would recommend Loveland for lovers of romance and historical fiction enthusiasts.”
–Daniella, The TBR Pile
“Andrea Downing’s Loveland is a historical western set in 1880’s Colorado during the heyday of the Wild West. The author pays meticulous attention to detail and historical accuracy and manages to recreate the ethos and atmosphere of the era without burdening the story with excessive information. Loveland has a mood rather like “Little House on the Prairie” or maybe “Bonanza”, immersing the reader entirely in a time and a place. Additionally, the story moves back and forth between the culture of the old west and Victorian England, creating startling contrasts between the two societies, which serves to reinforce the distinctness of each. My hat is off to the author for her mastery of world building and historical recreation….Secondary characters are especially well developed and distinct. Love scenes are sensual. Loveland appears to be Downing’s first published novel, which makes it an even more remarkable achievement. This is one of those rare occasions when I’d go higher than five stars and the author truly deserves it.”
Melissa Snark, Snarkology http://melissasnark.blogspot.com/?zx=831c794d3978bdc8
““Loveland” is a fantastical frontier epic! The author does such an incredible job of immersing the reader in the old west, that they can nearly feel the grit of the dust on their face. The characters come alive and the conflict calls for page-turning impatience. Downing also creates a strong female character that doesnʼt make the mistake of overshadowing her man. Instead, the lovers are cheered and adored at every turn. Why I reckon this unʼs a keeper!”
Sandy Ponton, InD’Tale Magazine
~ “Think of all the lies you might be telling…instead, of course, of the ones you’re tellin’ now.” ~
This excerpt from page 112 sets the tone of this novel for me. It’s fun, feisty, and completely enjoyable. It’s also serious, emotional, and historically fascinating. Author Andrea Downing spins a romantic tale of separation and reunion, of cultural differences and emotional discovery. Her characters play their parts so well, it’s easy to slip into their world and believe in their reality. Great storytelling! Even though the happy ending is a given, the journey was much more satisfying because of the snappy dialogue, the pivotal plotting, and the realistic progression of Alex and Jesse’s emotional connection. I’m happy to give this book Five Stars!
Lynda Coker, Between the Pages
Loveland is a story that moves at a good pace and did not let this reader down. The dread and sorrow that Alex endured, with her father, could be shared by this reader. The love Jesse and Alex share shines throughout the story. They are genuine, convincing characters in a tale of romance and heartfelt moments, especially with the many conflicts they faced. Andrea Downing pens a family drama that allows the reader to almost reach out and relate with the players. She fashions some wonderful visualizations which are hard to forget.”
Cherokee, Coffee Time Romance
“A lovely read to see two people from two different places come together and make things happen. … Watching Alex and Jessie is maddening at times and loving the next.
The author does a great job with the characters and descriptions though out the story. Makes you want to fall in love with a real cowboy. I would love to read more by this author.”
Babs, Romancing the Book
“I absolutely loved this book. I am so very thankful that I was given the chance to read it. Ms Andrea Downing did an amazing job. I felt like I was back in the 1800′s living Alex’s life. Alex and Jesse’s love is about as true and true love can get. If a love was ever doomed from the start it was this one between a Duchess and cowpoke, but this love story will touch your heart and make you smile through the tears. Alex is a head strong, determined, beautiful young woman and her story is one I will revisit many times. This book is worth every penny go get it now!!!”
Randi, Always a Book Lover
In addition, the following authors have written these kind words:
My first impression of Andrea Downing’s premiere novel, Loveland, was that it was a classic western tale with all the goodies one expects from the genre – a willful and beautiful heroine, a quiet but strong hero, family intrigues set against a broad western landscape, and a cast of stock characters worthy of a John Ford movie. But in a relatively small number of pages, Ms. Downing packs more drama, romance and heartache than most books twice the size. … It’s great to see that this classic genres can still be told with heart.
–LaDene Morton, author of What Lies West
Loveland by Andrea Downing takes its name from the area near Loveland, Colorado, the story’s setting. Alex, the heroine of the story is a young woman raised in affluence and entitlement, on the fringes of royalty in England. …. When Alex was eight she was sent to live at her father’s ranch under the guardianship of her father’s brother. A couple, who live on the ranch, provided her with the stability of a home life. The hired hands adored the little girl and Alex loved them all, but one, Jesse, was special in her young eyes. She loves ranch life and would have happily lived there forever, but at twelve-years-old she is pulled out of that life and sent back to England to live with her father, a cold, distant man, and her loving, older brother, David. Five years later she comes back to the ranch determined to live in this place she has always loved.
Loveland is the story of a love between the headstrong Alex and the patient Jesse. Theirs is a love complicated by her need to establish a self-identity and the misfortunes the ranch suffers. The winter of 1886, fierce blizzards rage across the country wiping out the majority of the herd. In frustration and anger, and some greed, Alex’s uncle, the ranch manager, embezzles large sums until the ranch is on the brink of bankruptcy. A talented painter Alex sets out to use her paintings and inheritance to save the ranch. Knowing she has clout and instant recognition in the higher circles of society in England, and because she has learned that her father is dying there, Alex leaves the ranch and Jesse, vowing one day to return. But life is a complicated process and doesn’t always follow the plans we set for ourselves.
I always enjoy stories of the old West, and who doesn’t love a good romance? In my estimation Downing’s Loveland rates a two thumbs up.
—Eunice Boeve, award-winning author of To Ride A Shadowed Trail
…. Downing includes so many intricate pieces of history that she places the reader squarely into the story. Her depiction of the terrible “ice age” that hit that country in 1886-87 will put a chill in your bones you won’t soon forget. The characters are richly developed, the descriptions are slipped in with the action deftly as she weaves this story through the time period to its satisfying conclusion
—-Velda Brotherton, award-winning author, http://www.veldabrotherton.com
FOR LAWLESS LOVE:
“…Lawless Love by Andrea Downing is a quick, fun, read. I loved Lacey. She is a hell-cat. She is no damsel in distress and if you think she is, then you will learn your mistake a little too late … Dylan is the type of guy I would want in a marshal. Also he is the kind of man I imagine when I think of a marshal…kind, handsome, honest, and knows how to treat a lady…Andrea’s love for the West was evident in this book.”
–CHERYL, Manic Readers
“..What a darling short story! Ms. Downing deftly spins an engaging story about love and justice. Set in the mid-1880s, readers are transported to the Old West, where stealing a horse was a hanging offense and resourceful women had to brave the harsh elements. “Lawless Love” features a bold heroine tenaciously handling what life has dealt her family. This lovely romance also provides an earnest hero with a steady moral compass who quietly yearns for the seemingly out-of-reach goal of wife and family… Andrea Downing cleverly weaves a unique and fulfilling romance that will have readers seeking more of her talented work!”
Anna Fitzgerald, InD’Tale Magazine