Marji Laine

I Love a Good Mystery!

Cowboy Up! A New Book Review


Back Story on this Review: I have to admit, it was the third “indie” book that I picked up to read.  Most of the time, I’ll push through and read a book if it is remotely interesting, but I couldn’t bear to waste my time with the others. The first one didn’t interest me. The second one seemed to make all of the “first-time author mistakes” that I’ve read about on blogs. After wading through pages of back story and unimportant details, I was beyond bored and couldn’t force myself to continue. 

I won’t review those books. First, I hate to be negative. I know the authors have poured their very soul into their literary babies and I wouldn’t want to hurt anyone. Second, I couldn’t do a review justice since I didn’t finish the books. 

Pet Peeve Alert: I’ve read several reviews in Amazon and Barnes & Noble where the writers admit that they never finished the books but gave them horrible ratings and ranted through their reviews. I just don’t think that’s fair. If I don’t read a whole book, how do I review it? Simple answer is – I don’t. 

So when I picked up Cowboy, my opinion was already a negative color. Another “indie” book set my standard pretty low since I had few positive experiences with them. I needn’t have worried. 🙂

Staci Stallings has two books out in her Harmony series. I read the first of them, Cowboy, and was so delighted with it. 

Ms. Stallings drew together an emotional romance and a moving story of new-found faith. I enjoyed getting a peek into the world of country music. Her lyrics and song titles seemed so natural, I could easily believe the Ashton Raines was a real person.

The author used a unique voice in sharing the story. The characters shifted back and forth between their points of view very quickly. At first it distracted me, but I found I enjoyed seeing the same event through different eyes. She wrote in an unconstrained style that, though it broke “rules,” displayed great writing ability. 

The middle of the story existed in short phone calls exchanged with a perfect stranger, but I didn’t find them tedious. In fact, I waited for the phone to ring with the same anticipation that Beth, the main character, displayed. And when the stranger’s identity became known to her, I struggled with the hero and his frustrating position. This wonderful story transports Cinderella to the modern era, graced with lime-lights and a two-stepping rhythm. I couldn’t put the darn book down!

And no, I didn’t read the last page early, like I can usually beaccused of doing. If I had, maybe I would have put it down before 6:15 AM afterreading it all night long. (I have to start reading my books earlier in the day!)

I would bet that CountryMusic lovers would especially flock to Cowboy. While I’m not a C/W fan, I am a fan of Ms. Stalling’s book!

On Friday, I asked about your most recent book. So today, I thought I’d ask you about your favorite music stylings. I like to listen to worship music or 80s disco when I’m not writing. But when I am writing, I prefer movie soundtracks and classical. NEVER prefer C&W. I promise I AM from Texas!


Author: Marji Laine

Marji is a recently "graduated" homeschooling mom whose twin girls have blessed her by sticking around the nest for a little longer. She spends her days directing the children’s music program at her church and working with the authors of Write Integrity Press to put out the best possible version of their books. Raised in suburban Dallas, she got her first taste of writing through the stories of brilliant authors of their day, Mignon Eberhart and Phyllis A. Whitney, and through stage experience. After directing and acting in productions for decades, Marji started writing her own scripts. From that early beginning, she delved into creating scintillating suspense with a side of Texas sassy. She invites readers to unravel their inspiration, seeking a deeper knowledge of the Lord’s Great Mystery that invites us all.

5 thoughts on “Cowboy Up! A New Book Review

  1. Happy to share excellent writing, Staci! Looking forward to trying out LUCKY!


  2. I'm the same way, Brandi. I have a few movie soundtracks that I use when I'm writing or working, but I love old disco music. Lame, but it gets me moving and energized!


  3. Loree, THANKS!Brandi… I actually make a soundtrack for each book I write. I'm a big music person, and I find it helps shape the rhythm of the book as well as giving me insights into the characters. Most of all, you have to do what works for you!Thank you, Ladies! And thanks Marji! That last part made me LOL!


  4. I like 80s metal and hard rock. Cheesy to some, I know. I also like classic rock, blues, and jazz. When I'm writing, I listen to instrumental music such as string ensembles, else I cannot concentrate. 🙂


  5. The book sounds good. I'll check out the series.