10 books like Splinters

By Thorny Sterling,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like Splinters. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Brokeback Mountain

By Annie Proulx,

Book cover of Brokeback Mountain

I’m pretty sure this was the first story about gay guys that I ever read. I had a book of Annie Proulx’s short stories I’d been meaning to read and stumbled across this particular one by accident. I only saw the film a long time later and that bowled me over too. The story is beautifully written, though find it so sad to read (and watch). Individuals struggling to come to terms with the way they feel is the essence of so many romances and this opened the door to all those that followed. She’s a brilliant writer.

Brokeback Mountain

By Annie Proulx,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Brokeback Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The inspiration behind 'Life of Pi' director Ang Lee's 'Brokeback Mountain' is one of the short stories to be found in this haunting collection of Wyoming tales.

'Brokeback Mountain' is set in the beautiful, wild landscape of Wyoming where cowboys live as they have done for generations. Hard, lonely lives in unforgiving country. Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar are two ranch hands, glad to have found each other's company where none had been expected. But companionship becomes something else on Brokeback Mountain, something not looked for - an intimacy neither can forget.

'Brokeback Mountain' was made into an Academy…


Nowhere Ranch

By Heidi Cullinan,

Book cover of Nowhere Ranch

This is the story of a cowboy whose family throws him out because he’s gay, and the relationship he strikes up with the rancher he goes to work for. There is a lot of hot sex in this, it was certainly the most extreme I’d read at the time. But it’s handled sensitively. The emotions of the two men are all over the place at first and the author does a great job of taking the reader on their journey of discovery and made this reader believe their happy ever after.

Nowhere Ranch

By Heidi Cullinan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nowhere Ranch as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love will grow through the cracks you leave open. Ranch hand Roe Davis absolutely never mixes business with pleasure-until he runs into his boss, Travis Loving, at the only gay bar within two hundred miles. Getting involved with the ranch owner is a bad idea, but Roe's and Travis's bedroom kinks line up against one another like a pair of custom-cut rails. As long as they're both clear this is sex on the side, no relationship, no interfering with the job, they could make it work. Shut out by his family years ago, Roe survived by steadfastly refusing to settle…


Wild Trail

By A.M. Arthur,

Book cover of Wild Trail: A Gay Cowboy Romance (Clean Slate Ranch, 1)

This is the first in the Clean Slate Ranch series. An opposite attract story set at a dude ranch. The lives of Mack – the ranch owner, and Wes – the tourist who’s an actor and doesn’t trust cowboys collide, and it takes a while for the two to sort themselves out. I like opposites attract stories and these two couldn’t be more opposite. A.M. Arthur has written a lot of cowboy tales and they all have a brilliant sense of place as well as intriguing characters. I’ve not read one I’ve not liked.  

Wild Trail

By A.M. Arthur,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Trail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcome to Clean Slate Ranch: Home of tight jeans, cowboy boots, and rough trails. For some men, it’s a fantasy come true.

“[A] passionate, trope-heavy romance…scintillating romantic tension and steamy sex scenes.” —Publishers Weekly on Hard Ride

Mack Garrett loves the rolling hills surrounding his Northern California dude ranch. Leading vacationers on horse trails with his two best friends is enough—romance is definitely not in the cards. When a sexy tourist shows up at Clean Slate, he’s as far from Mack’s type as can be. So why is the handsome city slicker so far under his skin in less than…


The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con

By Jackie North,

Book cover of The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con: A Gay M/M Cowboy Romance

Jasper is the blacksmith at a small guest ranch. Ellis is the ex-con who is so traumatised by his experience in prison that he can hardly speak. The moment I knew that I was instantly hooked. It’s a slow burn, comfort-hurt story where the blacksmith works his own particular magic to mend the broken Ellis. Lots of heart-wrenching feels and a touching tale of how someone can fall and be helped to rise again. It’s lovely. Hits all the right buttons for me.

The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con

By Jackie North,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“If anybody ever needed him, Ellis did. Ellis was broken. Jasper liked to fix things.”

Jasper has the perfect life. He’s a blacksmith at a small guest ranch in Wyoming. The last thing he needs is to have that perfect life interrupted by a shifty-eyed ex-con, but the ranch needs the tax benefits the ex-con program will bring.

Traumatized by his time in prison, Ellis can barely speak. He’s about to be offered parole. He knows he will hate working on the guest ranch, but what other option does he have?

It’s not love at first sight. It’s not hate…


Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

By Melanie Chrismer, Virginia Roeder (illustrator),

Book cover of Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

Phoebe Clapsaddle was a southern belle who lived on a ranch. This fiction book involves the Tumbleweed Gang who made an acquaintance with Phoebe after they visited her town. Appalled by their lack of manners and impolite speech, Phoebe decides they need her southern charm and culture. Phoebe teaches them lessons in riding, roping, and good manners. There are more Tumbleweed Gang adventures in other books, too. I know the author personally. Phoebe Clapsaddle’s name is in her family tree. Though she didn’t know if Phoebe was a southern belle cowgirl, the author loved her name so much, she wanted to write a book about her as a main character.

Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

By Melanie Chrismer, Virginia Roeder (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Long ago in south Texas lived a Southwestern belle named Phoebe Clappsaddle. When the good-for-nothing Tumbleweed Gang blew into town, it was time for Phoebe to teach them a lesson in riding, roping, and good manners.


Armadillo Rodeo

By Jan Brett, Jan Brett (illustrator),

Book cover of Armadillo Rodeo

Just looking at the colorful illustrations in this book make me want to look at it again and again. When Bo, the armadillo, mistakes a red cowboy boot for an armadillo friend, chaos happens.
With his poor eyesight, Bo follows that ‘red armadillo’ to the Curly H ranch for some rodeo time shenanigans. He gets bucked off a horse, eats a fiery jalapeno pepper, is kicked up on the dance floor. After he discovers his red friend is not an armadillo, he heads back with his ma, knowing he can find more fun at the Curly H, whenever he gets bored!

Armadillo Rodeo

By Jan Brett, Jan Brett (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Armadillo Rodeo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Bo spots what he thinks is a "rip-roarin', rootin'-tootin', shiny red armadillo," he knows what he has to do. Follow that armadillo! Bo leaves his mother and three brothers behind and takes off for a two-stepping, bronco-bucking adventure. Jan Brett turns her considerable talents toward the Texas countryside in this amusing story of an armadillo on his own.


Cryin' for Daylight

By Louise S. O'Connor,

Book cover of Cryin' for Daylight: A Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend (Texas Coastal Bend Series, No. 1)

Louise S. O'Connor, a fifth-generation descendant of an early settler of Texas has always loved the stories of the "old timers,” the cowboys and hands who worked the ranch where she grew up. O’Connor spent seventeen years collecting oral histories about ranch life on the Coastal Bend and compiled those stories into Cryin' for Daylight. Though published in 1989, the language of O’Connor’s isolated, rural, mostly elderly subjects rings with 19th Century authenticity.

I treasure O’Connor’s labor of love for its emphasis on the tragically neglected black cowboys. One such cowboy supplied the title by swearing, “We loved to work cattle so much, we’d just be sittin’ around cryin’ for daylight to come.”

Cryin' for Daylight

By Louise S. O'Connor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cryin' for Daylight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Cryin for Daylight contains the memories of people deeply involved in a ranching culture transformed by technology, urbanization, mechanization, and other economic and political interventions of modern life. These are real people speaking: men and women, bosses and workers, black and white, Catholic and Protestant, cooks and helicopter pilots... diverse individuals tied together by the land and their labor on it.


Smonk

By Tom Franklin,

Book cover of Smonk: Or Widow Town

Franklin’s book is one of the key inspirations for my book, The Reapers Are the Angels. Combining a frontier western sensibility with Faulkner’s wicked gothic brutality, Franklin tells an engrossing tale of a young prostitute who finds herself mired in a world of outlaws, perverts, dandies, and murderers. Frantically running back and forth between high comedy and guttered grotesquerie, this story feels like it’s just barely clinging to its own rails—and that sense of dangerous tipping is what feels so thrilling about it. What Franklin inherits from Faulkner is a wide-eyed beguilement with degeneracy—or what Conrad would call a “fascination of the abomination.”

Smonk

By Tom Franklin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Smonk as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1911 and the townsfolk of Old Texas, Alabama, have had enough. Every Saturday night for a year, E. O. Smonk has been destroying property, killing livestock, seducing women, cheating and beating men, all from behind the twin barrels of his Winchester 45-70 caliber over-and-under rifle. Syphilitic, consumptive, gouty, and goitered—an expert with explosives and knives—Smonk hates horses, goats, and the Irish, and it's high time he was stopped. But capturing old Smonk won't be easy—and putting him on trial could have shocking and disastrous consequences, considering the terrible secret the citizens of Old Texas are hiding.


In the Valley of the Sun

By Andy Davidson,

Book cover of In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel

My second book, which is about to go out to publishers, is a vampire tale. My intrigue with the cost of transformation, mortality, and morality, led me to this genre. It’s about a vampire’s desperate need to redeem his soul and the tragic consequences that befall a man who was his friend. In my search for comps for this book, I discovered an amazing author, Andy Davidson. I was captivated by his book, In the Valley of the Sun. I searched him out to let him know he elevated this genre for me, and his southern gothic setting was extraordinary. I can’t think of a better recommendation if you’re connected to the world of vampires. 

In the Valley of the Sun

By Andy Davidson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Valley of the Sun as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One night in 1980, a man becomes a monster.

Haunted by his past, Travis Stillwell spends his nights searching out women in West Texas honky-tonks. What he does with them doesn't make him proud, just quiets the demons for a little while. But after Travis crosses paths one night with a mysterious pale-skinned girl, he wakes weak and bloodied in his cabover camper the next morning-with no sign of a girl, no memory of the night before.

When motel-owner Annabelle Gaskin offers the cowboy a few odd jobs to pay his board, he takes her up on the offer. By…


Big Bad Cowboy

By Carly Bloom,

Book cover of Big Bad Cowboy

Small-town Texas cowboys with some Little Red Riding Hood mixed in? Yep. So good! The book starts off with steam, then moves on to laughs, but the real story is in the love. Travis and Maggie don’t feel it at first, and Travis has his nephew to think about when he comes home to his family’s ranch to provide a home for Henry, but times are hard. Travis tries to pick up work, but stubborn Maggie is always in his way. Big Verde, Texas is a small bluebell town filled with the loveliest secondary characters since Jan Karon’s At Home in Mitford. A menagerie of quirky side characters rounds this read out perfectly.

Big Bad Cowboy

By Carly Bloom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Big Bad Cowboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Travis Blake had dreams that stretched beyond Big Verde, Texas. He never planned on running his family ranch or becoming a father, but when his little brother gets into trouble, Travis must return home to pick up the pieces. With the ranch struggling, this big, bad cowboy needs all the extra income he can get. But he never expected to compete for a big job with the irresistible woman he shared a steamy, unforgettable, no-strings Halloween fling with. Trouble is she has no idea it was him...

Maggie Mackey needs this job and she knows she can do it better…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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