Mistletoe Cowboy (Spikes & Spurs #5) by Carolyn Brown
Sourcebooks Casablanca (Oct 2012) | Ebook, 352 pages

Western Romance

Carolyn (aka BCC), knowing my soft spot for sexy cowboys, asked me to read this as part of our SmeXmas event. One look at the cover and I was drooling like a kid with her nose pressed against the window outside a candy store.

All the elements were for a really hot, sexy read. A hot stud of a cowboy and the firecracker granddaughter of the former owner, stuck in the cabin during one of the worst snow storms in years. This is the basis of many a romantic comedy film or numerous romance novels. The good old “First they hate each other, before falling madly in love with each other” plot. I’ll admit, I am a sucker for this as much as the next romantic at heart. Yet, with this book I struggled to finish it. Each chapter was a bit of a struggle.

Now it is not to say that the writing is terrible, because it’s not. Brown certainly knows how to set a scene and I could clearly imagine the surroundings. Also the characters aren’t that bad. True both Creed and Sage, do come across as the stereotypical romance Hero and Heroine, but there was no motivation for me to root for them to get together. There was no real conflict with both parties putting aside their differences very quickly.

Sage did keep arguing with herself, with the fact she wanted her gran to reconsider selling the ranch. This slowly progressed to ways in which her gran could stay on the ranch along with Creed. We find out that this “neediness” to have those she cares about stemmed from the fact she had lost both her parents when she was young. Sage appeared to be suffering from abandonment issues, which causes her to act in this manner. Though I think this was an attempt to humanize her, by the end of the book she became a bit too whiney for me.

Another aspect that began to grate on my nerves was this “Painting Gods” thing that she had. Since Sages occupation was an artist, she often would take guidance from her Painting Gods in order to create her works. I give kudos to Brown for describing in detail how Sage created her masterpieces, but after the third painting I did begin to get a bit fed up with the metaphors “hidden” in her work. For me, this just didn’t seem to gel.

As for Creed, well I didn’t really get any feelings from him other than he was what you could call a good old fashioned cowboy. He loved his family but needed to spread his wings and the Ranch was an ideal solution.

My main gripe with Creed was that for a commitment-phoebe, he quickly decided that he wanted to marry Sage. I know! I know! “This is the ultimate romance book!” I hear you cry. “Reasoning should be left at the door. This is the fantasy of love at first sight; he is your soul mate, type book.” OK, but my tastes have changed and this book just doesn’t satisfy that part of me any more.

The conclusion to the book was sweet enough and it was rather nice to have a book with a proper happy ever after. I think for me, I just couldn’t get over the whirlwind romance of it all.

The plot came across as an almost “paint by numbers” romance novel with very clear convenient plot devices thrown in, in order to get the characters to go in a particular direction. This is most clearly seen with the abandoned pregnant mutt and the cat that had just given birth to kittens. I could see instantly these were to be the catalyst for Sage and Creed bonding, but I didn’t get why there had to be both the dog and the cat.


By now you can tell that I didn’t enjoy this very much. This isn’t a reflection on the book itself, but merely on my taste in books. At one time I would have loved this type of book, but my reading habits have changed and this type of book wouldn’t be in my TBR pile.


Website  | Goodreads


  1. Love Drunk Cowboy
  2. Red’s Hot Cowboy 
  3. Darn Good Cowboy Christmas
  4. One Hot Cowboy Wedding
  5. Mistletoe Cowboy
  6. Just A Cowboy & His Baby



A self confessed geek who likes all things paranormal (except zombies as they scare her) Genre wise she likes horror, paranormal romance, urban fantasy and historical fiction. [Gemma no longer reviews for BCC]


Laura December 21, 2012 at 2:26 pm

*Gasp*! 2.5 stars???
Looks again 2.5 stars… For Carolyn Brown Christmas novel *grumbles* Christmas, hunky cowboy, plus it’s Sage’s story?
I wonder if maybe you needed the history of the characters too as I’ve read nearly all of them, I think that might have made you route for the characters a bit more?
Well balanced review though. X


Gemma December 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

When i read it, i didn’t know it was part of a series. That may be why i didn’t really like it. Thanks for not holding it against me. :)


Becs December 22, 2012 at 2:26 pm

I find it difficult to enjoy a book when it’s part of a series and I haven’t read any of the previous books, sorry it was a let down. Great review Gemma x


Gemma December 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Thanks Becs. I didn’t know it was part of a series when I read it. Maybe if I had read some of the previous books i might have appreciated it better


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