EEEE Gads! Why the heck did I read a Western? A Review of Mended Hearts by Olivia Devereaux

Yeah, so, I just read this little Western story.  In general, other than non-fiction as a whole, the lump sum of everything Western (as in America’s traditional “Old West”) is at the bottom of the barrel of stuff I’d want to read… and I almost never scrape the bottom of the barrel.  So why the heck did I pick this up?

Two reasons.

Reason  #1:   I am submitting a short story to the same publisher “Still Moments Publishing” … and as any good author should do, I wanted to research something that they recently put out (April 2012 in this case.)

Okay, so …  this publisher has tons of titles…

why pick something you know you won’t like?

Reason #2:  A little bird told me that this story was submitted for consideration in an anthology, but they did not think it was a good fit.

However…. They liked it so much they wanted to publish it as a stand-alone.  They even created a new “western” category to their offered listings to slip it into.

All this drew my attention, so I bit the bullet (Tee Hee) and resisted my urge to cringe at the [very stark, boring and very western] cover.   I bopped over to Amazon and popped a copy into my Kindle.

Here’s the jist of this 28-ish page story:  A family is living out in the middle of nowhere.  Dad gets hit by a stray bullet and dies.  The next day the son finds another guy (a stranger) in their barn bleeding from a gunshot wound.  The widow takes him in and cares for him, hoping that when he wakes up he will be able to tell her what happened to her husband.

Yeah… boring.  Not a spaceship in sight.  However…

 Let me tell you something …  I think this lady could probably re-write Humpty Dumpty and be able to get my attention.  Within a few pages, I totally forgot how much I hate the Old West as a genre.  I was completely absorbed in the story, and emotionally connected to the characters.

Oh! Let’s not get carried away there.  Reign yourself in, Buckaroo!

Normally I have a laundry list of things to pick out.  You know… general writer’s mistakes that make me cringe.

In this novel?


I bow down to the writing Gods and say “Why Why Why can’t everyone write this cleanly!”

The writing was crisp, fresh and for the first time this year – NO TYPOS.  Yay!  Extra cookie just for that, because that has really been ticking me off lately.

So, what was wrong with it?  I had to rack my brain, but I will nit-pick on two very minor things.

Number one:  This woman’s husband just died.  She is still has dirt on her skirt from burying him… and this other guy shows up.  She is instantly attracted to him (but at least feels guilty about it.)  This is what bothered me about this:  She is portrayed as really loving her husband.  So, I put myself in her shoes …  If my husband just died a few hours ago, I would barely be able to look at a man … let alone find one attractive.  I just found that unrealistic. – subtract half a cookie.

Number Two:  I hate when names sound alike.  It confuses me.  Maybe it is because my eyes read quickly, and only pick up certain letters, but this is just a pet peeve of mine.  The Woman’s name is Ella, and her son’s name is Eli.  Now, I realize this may have been one of those “name your kid after you” things,  but every time I hit “Eli” my eyes read “Ella” and I had to go back and re-read because I got confused.  –Subtract another half a cookie

So, for these two nit-picky things, I am nibbling away at one full cookie.

Yeeee Hawwww!

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this little-ditty, yes-sir-eee.  If the writing were poor… if it had not flowed so well, and if the characters were not so well rounded, I may have remembered I was in a Western.  If the chemistry between the Widow and the patient wasn’t so dern good, I would have been annoyed by her initial attraction to him for longer than a page.

The writing was just dern good.

So, what’s the verdict?  She lost one cookie in the creamy bad stuff section.  And, sorry, it’s the rules … I need to take away another due to lack of explosions.  So that leaves three out of five cookies.

Oh!  Wait Jennifer!  You gave her an extra cookie for having no typos!

Well, yes-sir-eee you’d be right about that, Buckaroo.  That is a grand total of Four out of Five Oreos for Mended Hearts by Olivia Devereaux.

[She cringes]  Ewwwwweeee!  I just gave a nice review to a Western.  What is this world coming to????


24 responses to “EEEE Gads! Why the heck did I read a Western? A Review of Mended Hearts by Olivia Devereaux

  1. interesting take on a book review!

  2. Dag nab it, now I want Oreos. I read another fantastic book that was almost perfection but I could never get past the heroine falling in love with a 2nd man almost immediately. How?!

  3. I don’t like Westerns as a rule either and similar names make me crazy. Your review, however, with Oreo rewards yet, is lip smacking good.!

  4. I love your reviews so much! They always make me giggle. This does sound good though…and I’m not even biased against Westerns like you, so maybe I’ll like it even more than 4 Oreos.

  5. I love oreos, and for that reason alone *raises eyes and hopes you don’t notice* I don’t want you to ever review any of my books. 😛

  6. I love how you really embraced the cowgirl in you! lol

    Like you, I’m usually a SciFi- or mystery-type gal, but you’ve made this western sound mighty appealing! 🙂

  7. Great review! Now I must read. Ugh. Another to add to my TBR list

  8. I don’t normally read westerns either but I read a book last year for my book club that was a western and it is one of the best books I’ve read in years. it then went on to win one of Canada’s highest literary awards and was nominated for a bunch more. If you have a chance read “The Sisters Brothers.” Your review makes me wonder if perhaps there isn’t a new kind of western writing, one with broader appeal to those of us who don’t ususally read westerns.

  9. Fantastic review, and at 28 pages it’s not too much of a time investment to dabble in a genre that doesn’t usually appeal. This may be a good method for me to adopt in order to broaden my genre reading base.

    I agree about the character names, I have enough trouble keeping up with who is who in books as it is!

    • Yeah… I started reading some shorter stuff for a plade ride. I kind of like it. I thought shorts would annoy me, but a few I’ve read are actually quite good.

  10. I’ve never read a Western, not have I ever watched one but I’m trying to be more open minded. Recently I’ve started reading an *non fiction* (the first I’ve ever read.) It’s an autobiography, but it doesn’t say much for me: I have to read it, else I’ll be kicked off my English course 😀

    • Ha! Don’t worry. Non-fiction is definitely an aquired taste. Some people love it, some steer clear. I would be in the steer-cleer category. (Unless thier life involves explosions) 🙂

  11. Sometimes it’s those books you least expect to like that surprise you… I love discovering new books that way.

  12. What a wonderful review!

  13. I’m not much of a western fan myself. Give me paranormal or sci-fi romance anyday. Having said that, once in a while one sticks out that looks like it might be worth trying. Sounds like you found one.

    *BTW, I hate when authors have names that look too similar as well. I have to keep re-reading to figure out which character they are talking about and that can be distracting.