48 books like Splinters

By Thorny Sterling,

Here are 48 books that Splinters fans have personally recommended if you like Splinters. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Brokeback Mountain

Barbara Elsborg Author Of Edge of Forever

From my list on gay cowboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by men, the way they think and behave, the problems they have in their relationships. The very first gay romance I wrote was a cowboy story – Cowboys Downand who doesn’t love cowboys? They’re enigmatic, strong, rugged, ultra-masculine. But what if they were also gay? I think it’s that challenge, to show another side of a role that has so predominantly been drawn in one particular way in western books and films. I think gay men must have to work even harder to be accepted as a cowboy than in many other industries and exploring that is enthralling.

Barbara's book list on gay cowboys

Barbara Elsborg Why did Barbara love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Nowhere Ranch

Barbara Elsborg Author Of Edge of Forever

From my list on gay cowboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by men, the way they think and behave, the problems they have in their relationships. The very first gay romance I wrote was a cowboy story – Cowboys Downand who doesn’t love cowboys? They’re enigmatic, strong, rugged, ultra-masculine. But what if they were also gay? I think it’s that challenge, to show another side of a role that has so predominantly been drawn in one particular way in western books and films. I think gay men must have to work even harder to be accepted as a cowboy than in many other industries and exploring that is enthralling.

Barbara's book list on gay cowboys

Barbara Elsborg Why did Barbara love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Wild Trail

Barbara Elsborg Author Of Edge of Forever

From my list on gay cowboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by men, the way they think and behave, the problems they have in their relationships. The very first gay romance I wrote was a cowboy story – Cowboys Downand who doesn’t love cowboys? They’re enigmatic, strong, rugged, ultra-masculine. But what if they were also gay? I think it’s that challenge, to show another side of a role that has so predominantly been drawn in one particular way in western books and films. I think gay men must have to work even harder to be accepted as a cowboy than in many other industries and exploring that is enthralling.

Barbara's book list on gay cowboys

Barbara Elsborg Why did Barbara love this book?

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.  

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…


Book cover of The Blacksmith and the Ex-Con

Barbara Elsborg Author Of Edge of Forever

From my list on gay cowboys.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by men, the way they think and behave, the problems they have in their relationships. The very first gay romance I wrote was a cowboy story – Cowboys Downand who doesn’t love cowboys? They’re enigmatic, strong, rugged, ultra-masculine. But what if they were also gay? I think it’s that challenge, to show another side of a role that has so predominantly been drawn in one particular way in western books and films. I think gay men must have to work even harder to be accepted as a cowboy than in many other industries and exploring that is enthralling.

Barbara's book list on gay cowboys

Barbara Elsborg Why did Barbara love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of A Fiery Match

Carmen Peone Author Of Captured Secrets

From my list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love.

Why am I passionate about this?

Because I have lived on an Indian reservation for more than three decades, own and train horses, have competed in horse shows and competitions, have worked with one of my sons on a cattle ranch, and I’ve been happily married for almost forty years, writing contemporary Western romance became the perfect fit. I love reading clean romance stories with strong female characters. My degree in Abnormal Psychology from Eastern Washington University has proved useful in my development of characters and their fears, the lies they believe, and how to overcome their struggles.  

Carmen's book list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love

Carmen Peone Why did Carmen love this book?

These authors had me on the edge of my seat in A Fiery Match. What’s better than a Texas love story set on a ranch with exciting characters and danger? Not much. I admired Janie Olson’s feistiness and drive she obtained from her time in the Army. The way the authors polished Fire Chief Mack Griffitt's rough edges was organic and fun. Though the book is filled with tension, the matchmaking busybodies toss in a helping of humor, which made for a super balance of suspense and comedy I thoroughly enjoyed. 

By Natalie Bright, Denise F. McAllister,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She left as the ugly duckling and returned a beautiful swan—only she doesn’t know it.

The day Janie Olsen arrives back home, it’s to find major upheaval amidst a prairie fire on her family ranch. When she takes charge, thanks to her years in the Army, she does more than just ruffle the feathers of the town’s fire chief—she sparks an unsuspecting match.

Fire Chief Mack Griffitt is used to calling the shots. But when an upstart, feisty woman shows up out of nowhere and tries taking charge of his fire scene, he’s forced to put his large boot down.…


Book cover of Phoebe Clappsaddle and the Tumbleweed Gang

Doris Fisher Author Of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

From my list on cowboys and rodeos.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have always been fascinated by the Wild West. Native Americans, cowboys, rodeos, settlers, farmers, and the great National Parks of the West. I’ve been fortunate to see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, and many western national monuments. My first elementary school was Sequoyah, named for the great Cherokee who created the Cherokee alphabet. While researching early library methods of transportation, I came across books being delivered by stagecoach in the west. That eventually led me to discover the amazing life of Jackson Sundown. I hope these books on cowboys, buckaroos, and rodeos enchant you and your little ones like they have me.

Doris' book list on cowboys and rodeos

Doris Fisher Why did Doris love this book?

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.

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.


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

Sarah Bird Author Of Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

From my list on capturing a 19th century American voice.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I dreamed of being Margaret Mead. When I realized that Margaret already had that job, I turned my anthropologist’s eye for the defining details of language, dress, and customs to fiction. I love to tell the untold tales--especially about women--who are thrust into difficult, sometimes impossible, circumstances and triumph with the help of humor, friends, perseverance, and their own inspiring ingenuity. I have been able to do this well enough that, in 2021, was honored with the Paul Re Peace Award for Cultural Advocacy for promoting empathy through my work. I’m a bestselling novelist and essayist living in Austin, Texas with my husband, son, and terminally cute Corgi.

Sarah's book list on capturing a 19th century American voice

Sarah Bird Why did Sarah love this book?

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.”

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.


Book cover of Armadillo Rodeo

Doris Fisher Author Of Jackson Sundown: Native American Bronco Buster

From my list on cowboys and rodeos.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma and have always been fascinated by the Wild West. Native Americans, cowboys, rodeos, settlers, farmers, and the great National Parks of the West. I’ve been fortunate to see Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, Glacier National Park, and many western national monuments. My first elementary school was Sequoyah, named for the great Cherokee who created the Cherokee alphabet. While researching early library methods of transportation, I came across books being delivered by stagecoach in the west. That eventually led me to discover the amazing life of Jackson Sundown. I hope these books on cowboys, buckaroos, and rodeos enchant you and your little ones like they have me.

Doris' book list on cowboys and rodeos

Doris Fisher Why did Doris love this book?

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!

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.


Book cover of Smonk: Or Widow Town

Alden Bell Author Of The Reapers Are the Angels

From my list on in the tradition of William Faulkner.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a writer, I’ve been deeply influenced by Southern literature—especially the work of William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor. Even though I’m not from the South myself, I am drawn to Southern writers’ immodesty. I believe much of contemporary literature is too timid. It is about the mundane, the everyday.  It does not elevate; instead, it diminishes.  Much of the literature of the South is biblical in its sensibilities.  It is unafraid to deal with the big universal issues with language that is equally big and universal.  It does not pander to modesty or postmodern selfconsciousness. It is audacious. It’s the kind of writing that made me want to write.

Alden's book list on in the tradition of William Faulkner

Alden Bell Why did Alden love this book?

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.”

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.


Book cover of Undeniably Yours

Carmen Peone Author Of Captured Secrets

From my list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love.

Why am I passionate about this?

Because I have lived on an Indian reservation for more than three decades, own and train horses, have competed in horse shows and competitions, have worked with one of my sons on a cattle ranch, and I’ve been happily married for almost forty years, writing contemporary Western romance became the perfect fit. I love reading clean romance stories with strong female characters. My degree in Abnormal Psychology from Eastern Washington University has proved useful in my development of characters and their fears, the lies they believe, and how to overcome their struggles.  

Carmen's book list on romance that rope you into cowboys and love

Carmen Peone Why did Carmen love this book?

Whispering Creek Ranch, in Texas, is the kind of ranch I’d love to own. It’s filled with Thoroughbred horses, cowboys, and hope. I enjoyed how Meg Cole deals with her father’s massive empire after he unexpectedly passes away. The handsome cowboy who fights to keep the horse part of the place as he falls for his boss is my favorite character. He’s firm and dedicated to a vision she can’t see. He’s also the anchor for his siblings – one of them being a rebellious younger sister. This story is filled with grief, humor, and healing.   

By Becky Wade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

2014 Carol Award Winner for Romance
2014 Inspirational Reader's Choice Award Winner for Long Contemporary

When Meg Cole's father dies unexpectedly, she's forced to return home to Texas and to Whispering Creek Ranch to take up the reins of his empire. The last thing she has the patience or the sanity to deal with? Her father's Thoroughbred racehorse farm. She gives its manager, Bo Porter, six months to close the place down.

Bo knows he ought to resent the woman who's determined to take from him the only job he ever wanted. But instead of anger, Meg evokes within him…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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