Cowboy Crush Review: One Brave Cowboy by Kathleen Eagle


Title: One Brave Cowboy

Author: Kathleen Eagle

Publisher: Harlequin

ISBN: 978-0373656257


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Behind the bravado was a complex man. War hero. "Indian cowboy." Walking wounded in search of answers. Cougar needed to build a new life, and he’d start with what he loved most. Horses. Which brought him to the Double D Wild Horse Sanctuary. And into the orbit of ranch volunteer Celia Banyon and her very special son.

The boy had suffered an unspeakable accident, and his mother felt unspeakable guilt. But something about Cougar brought her back from the brink. He represented her chance to be a woman again. Now, suddenly, one name wasn’t enough for what they could have if they’d just let themselves. Healing. Love. Family. Forever. In fact, the possibilities were endless….


I think this is the first book I have read by Kathleen Eagle, and I can guarantee that it won’t be the last.  I enjoyed this story very much, and quickly came to love Cougar, the emotionally fragile hero.  Both Cougar and heroine Celia are carrying around a ton of baggage, so it was gratifying to see them learn to lean on each other and not bear all of their guilt and remorse alone.  If ever two people needed and deserved each other, it is these two characters.

Cougar is a former soldier.  He is like a leaf in a stream, though; aimless, undecided, and struggling to find direction in his life.  He is suffering from PTSD, so when he meets Celia, a divorced mother suffering from her own difficult past, they are drawn to each other like the kindred souls they are.  Their attraction for each other is instant and spontaneous, burning quickly out of control.  I bought completely into their romance because they are both so desperately lonely.  They need each other, and they deserve the peace and comfort they find when they are together.  I loved the romance; it’s blazing hot yet sweet at the same time.  I felt reassured that they would find their happily ever after, even with all of the issues plaguing them.

Celia is divorced, and her ex is a complete and utter jackass.  I could not stand this selfish guy!  All he’s after is a hefty insurance settlement for the injuries suffered by their young son Mark.  Even though Greg was one-dimensional, it was fun hating him.  There are some villains that you just love to hate, and Greg is one of them.  He belittles Celia every chance he gets, he mocks Cougar every time they meet, and he sees his son as a large bank account.  He does not deserve a HAE, though it would be fun to see him suffer a life-changing event and transform himself into a decent human being. 

I loved the subplot of the book, too.  Cougar is looking for an inner peace, and he chooses to pursue it through his love of horses.  He has adopted a wild mustang, and he intends to train it for endurance events.  Both Cougar and Mark connect with the wild horse, and their training sessions help to heal them both.  This was a story thread that I found compelling.  I have horses, and even when they are being less than cooperative, I still enjoy every minute I spend with them.  The stress of the day vanishes the moment I step into the barn. 

If I had to nitpick about the book, I have to say that the problem resolution was too easily won and too overly simplified.  There are huge mental and emotional issues at work here, but they are all but erased by the end of the story.  Despite this, I could not put the book down once I hit the halfway point.  Now I have to backtrack through Kathleen Eagle’s prior releases, because I am dying to learn more about the secondary characters in One Brave Cowboy.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

Cover Shot! My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka

I loved The A-Circuit, so I’m super excited to see that there will be a follow-up book.  The horse is a cutie, but I am not so sure that I like the model.  I certainly don’t like what she’s wearing.  I can’t image tackling a few jumps dressed in that!  It would make Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction appear tame.  Wearing that is like wearing flip-flops to work your horse; just think about what you might step in, and better yet, a steel or aluminum shod hoof trampling on your toes.  Despite the fashion disaster that’s waiting to happen, I can hardly wait to get my hands on My Favorite Mistake by Georgina Bloomberg and Catherine Hapka.

Tommi, Zara, and Kate are all elite riders on the A Circuit. Tommi, the billionaire heiress, is training a young horse to prove she can make horses a real career. But when her new beau, Alex, convinces her to skip a horse show to party in the Hamptons, the results could be disastrous. Zara, the celebutante wild child, is finally taking her riding seriously. Until the new "nanny" her dad hires threatens to upstage Zara’s party girl status. Then there’s Kate. She doesn’t have money to burn like the others, but she does have Fitz, the barn’s resident hot guy. But when the pressure of being a working student builds, Kate’s perfectionist tendencies threaten to get in the way of her relationship and her riding.

Readers who are growing out of the Canterwood Crest series or searching for an A-list fix have found just what they’re looking for in the A Circuit series.

In stores March 2012

Gone Fishing!

Ok, so I am really going riding, but that doesn’t have the same connotation.  My buddy persuaded me to go trail riding this morning, and as the significant other had to work, I thought why the heck not.  This will be Blondie’s first time on the trails, and the first time I have gone in two years.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just the slightest bit apprehensive about  whether or not Blondie will behave, but since Laurie’s mare can be a handful, too, I figure at least I am in good company if Blondie decides that walking through the woods is the scariest activity ever.   If I can snap some pix of the wilderness (local Metro Park) I’ll post again later. 

I hope all of you enjoy your Saturday!

Labor Day 2011!

I am kicking back today, chillaxing.  I went riding with my barn buddies this morning, and now I don’t want to do anything but sit around and read.  Instead of posting about books, I’ll share pix of my baby pony instead.   What are your plans for today?


Have a wonderful Labor Day!

Review: The Trouble With Being a Horse by Emily Edwards


Title: The Trouble Being a Horse

Author: Emily Edwards

Publisher:  Single Stride Publishing

ISBN: 978-0986671500


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

The main character, Olivia, is an eleven-year-old girl who loves horses and finds her greatest happiness with them. The rest of her life is not so great: her family mostly ignores her and don’t really understand her, and she’s a bit of a social outcast. She feels unhappy a lot of the time, as many young girls can feel, and in a low moment of unhappiness she unwittingly wishes to become a horse, as she thinks this will solve a lot of her problems. Olivia is shocked, to say the least, when she is actually turned into a horse. Thrust into the unprecedented situation of being a girl in a horse’s body, Olivia is unsure of what to do. She feels strongly that she should keep her unusual state a secret, and joins a group of wild ponies, but is forced to seek help after sustaining a bear attack. Luckily, she winds up at a good stable, and meets Jenny, the daughter of the man who runs the centre, and together they form an unbeatable team in the show ring. But when Olivia can’t resist showing off how much she knows, she puts her secret and friendship with Jenny in jeopardy. Olivia must decide whether she wants to remain as a horse or return to her life as an ordinary girl, and in the process is taken on a journey of self-discovery.


Olivia is your typical horse-crazy young girl.  She lives for her riding lessons and for hanging out at the barn.  Her family doesn’t have a lot of money so she has muck stalls and perform odd jobs at the barn to pay her way, but she doesn’t care.  She loves horses, and she wants to learn to be the best rider she can be.  She is frustrated that her family isn’t supportive of her equestrian goals, and when she is forbidden from riding anymore, she rebels.  She goes to the barn anyway, and wishes that she was a horse.  She thinks that life would be much easier that way.  She feels unloved and unappreciated at home, and the uncomplicated life of a horse seems ideal to her.  After a bizarre twist of fate turns her into a horse, Olivia learns just how wrong she is.  Being a horse isn’t nearly as easy or carefree as she thought!

This book offers a twist on the usual horse-theme – the protagonist actually gets turned into a horse.  Now a horse-girl, she ends up in the care of Jenny and her family.  Able to understand everything that is asked of her, Olivia tries to be the perfect horse.  Only being the perfect horse isn’t as easy as it sounds.  Jenny quickly becomes frustrated with her new mount, because she does everything before she’s even asked.  It’s as though Jenny doesn’t even need to be part of the equation for them  to win at horse shows.  Olivia’s perfect horse act has also garnered a lot of unwanted attention, and after a tragic accident befalls Jenny’s father, Olivia learns just how hard it really is to be a horse.

I thought the premise of this book lived up to its promise.  While Olivia understands everything that is going on around her, she can’t make the humans in her life understand her.  She finds it frustrating and frightening that she has no control over her life now that she is a horse, and that she can’t take anything in her life for granted.  An accident changes everything, forcing her into an unpleasant new home.  Now that she has had so much time to think, Olivia realizes that maybe being a girl wasn’t so awful after all.

This book will delight middle grade girls who enjoy horse and animal stories.  There’s a ton of suspense, and I actually started worrying about how Olivia was going to deal with the ownership change that put her in a horrible situation.  The ending was just a bit too simplistic in regards to how Olivia’s long absence was dealt with, but over all this is a satisfying read.  Olivia returns home with a new perspective, which helps her to better understand both the people and horses in her life.

Grade: B

Review copy provided by publisher