Review: Once a Champion by Jeannie Watt

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Once a Champion pushed all the right buttons for me.  Both the heroine and hero are wounded in believable ways, and both are struggling to make sense of their new realities.  Matt is an aging rodeo star with a torn up knee, a will to compete that won’t die, and no other options in life.  He refuses to take good advice and retire for the sake of his body.  He knows that he has at least another good season in front of him, if only he can work past his injury.  Liv has been raised to always be agreeable, to always give in to other people’s happiness, despite how unhappy it makes her.  She has been drilled that she must always compromise for the sake of family and relationships, until that doesn’t work for her any more.  And what draws the line in the sand for her?  An injured horse that she refuses to give up on.

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Review: Rodeo Dreams by Sarah M Anderson

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I purchased Rodeo Dreams from Harlequin.com back in December when they had a sale on eBooks.  Silly me, I didn’t realize the hoops I would have to jump through to read the titles I purchased there on my Kindle.  Unlike Amazon’s simple system for downloading purchased books, I had to download the Overdrive app, go through the hassle of setting up a new account because I used a different email address than the one I had used previously, and then I had to download each title, one by one.  The whole process pissed me off, and I decided that even with a discount, it’s not worth buying direct from Harlequin.  The books and the app were temporarily lost (I don’t use that Kindle very often, and yes, I collect Kindles like some people collect socks. It’s a terrible weakness of mine).  Since I haven’t been feeling well this past week, I was looking for something different to read, and lo-and-behold! I remembered about all of those Harlequins sitting somewhere on a Kindle (somewhere!).

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Review: Her Rodeo Man by Cathy McDavid

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I really enjoy Cathy McDavid’s novels, so I’m a little puzzled why I haven’t read more of them.  I like that her characters are every day people.  There’s not a billionaire in sight, just ordinary folk working hard to get through each day and provide for their families.  They could be my neighbors.  They could be me.  McDavid has a way of taking average problems and building them up into something that’s easy to relate to, and like Donna Alward, simple daily tasks become compelling efforts to better oneself and make the most of each protagonist’s strengths. 

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Spotlight and Giveaway: Rough Rider by Victoria Vane

This morning I have an excerpt, trailer, and giveaway for Victoria Vane’s latest Rough Rider.< ?P>

Rough Rider

By Victoria Vane

Sourcebooks Casablanca

Contemporary Western Romance

February 3, 2015

ISBN: 9781492601159

Two wary hearts …

Janice Combes has two loves, bucking bulls and Dirk Knowlton. But Dirk only has eyes for a dazzling rodeo queen. How can Janice ever compete while mired ankle-deep in manure? Exchanging playful banter with Dirk is all Janice can expect—until the stormy night he knocks on her door dripping wet and needing a place to crash.

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Novella Review: Rodeo Rebel by Donna Alward

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

I am a big fan of Donna Alward, so when I saw this free novella, I scooped it up and immediately sat down to read it.  Like her other books, this short story just clicked with me.  I could easily relate to Megan; she’s a hard working vet during the week, but she loves participating in rodeo during the weekend.  Pax isn’t a bad guy, he’s just a bit misguided.  Five years ago, after a traumatic event puts him in charge of the family business, he abruptly breaks things off with Megan after she leaves for college.  He ignores her calls and emails, leaving her broken hearted and confused.  Hadn’t they fallen in love over the summer before she left for school?

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Review: What a Texas Girl Dreams by Kristina Knight

 

Title: What a Texas Girl Dreams

Author: Kristina Knight

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

 

Monica Witte has life the way she likes it. She comes home to be babied every few months and the rest of the time she has no strings holding her back. But after her horse is injured in a rodeo performance, Monica knows it’s time to come home and face her family – warts and all.

Trickett Samuels works best on his own. The large-animal vet likes his quiet life in the Texas countryside. When Monica Witte blows into town, demanding a quick fix to her horse’s big issues, his life is turned upside down. Trickett doesn’t understand Monica’s need to perform before perfect strangers or why she wants to keep the truth of their relationship from her family. And the more he gets to know her, the more he wonders if he can convince this Texas girl that having roots will only help her soar higher.


Review:

When I was approached by the author to review What a Texas Girl Dreams, I hesitated for about a millisecond.  How could I turn down a book about a vet and a rodeo star with an injured horse?  I couldn’t!  I can’t resist books with horses, even though they are becoming the bane of my existence (yes, Elle, I am referring to you). 

Monica Witte competes on the rodeo circuit, and she likes her life just the way it is.  Living out of a suitcase, racing barrels with her trusted horse Jinx, hooking up with no commitments when the mood moves her.  After she meets Trick, a large animal vet practicing in her small hometown in Texas, her mind is more on the man than on the barrels.  After Jinx is injured at a rodeo, she sets aside her pride and heads back home, hoping the rehab her horse and then hit the road again.  But when Trick examines Jinx, the prognosis isn’t good.  He suggests that Jinx’s career might be over, but Monica won’t accept that.  She thinks that Trick is trying to keep her in Lockhardt, close at hand.  When therapy sessions don’t seem to be helping, Monica starts to worry that he might be right.  Then she starts itching to be home in Austin, training her other horse, despite her feelings for Trick.  She just wants to be on the road again, safe from her confusing feelings for him.  She’s not cut out for a long term relationship, and being in Lockhardt has her so confused she doesn’t know what to do.

At first, I did not like Monica.  She seemed so selfish to me.  It’s obvious that her horse has a catastrophic injury, but she doesn’t want to accept it.  Instead, she thinks that Trick is just trying to make her stick around so they can continue the affair that she started with him a few weeks ago.  She thinks that if she just increases the rehab time, Jinx’s leg will get better and she will be able to compete with him again.  Then I started see that most of Monica’s behavior is based on fear.  Fear that Jinx won’t get better.  Fear that she’ll fall in love with Trick and then make him hate her because the rodeo is in her blood.  Fear of what she’ll do and who she’ll be if she can’t race barrels again.  Once I understood that she’s just afraid of being hurt or of hurting Trick, I started to like her.  A lot.  It just took a few chapters to see where she was coming from.

Monica hasn’t had a happy childhood.  Her father couldn’t commit to one woman, and he fathered three children with three different women.  Then he remained a distant figure in her life.  She barely knows her siblings, and she has allowed all of these factors to convince her that a committed relationship is impossible for her.  She’s too much like her father and has too much drifter in her to settle down with one man and raise a family.  From the moment she meets Trick, though, she is obsessed with him.  He’s on her mind day and night, and she just can’t get him out of her head.  What she thinks she wants with him is a no commitment fling;  she makes him promise to keep their relationship a secret and to not let her family know anything about it.

What I liked about Trick is that he realized that Monica was skittish as newborn filly, and he gave her the space she asked for – at first.  When he decides that things need to be a little more agreeable for him, he starts courting her.  I thought he was sweet and thoughtful, and that he weighed his need to have Monica by his side with her fear of committing.  He never pushed too hard, and he let her think she was calling the shots.   He was willing to compromise to keep her, even if she wasn’t as willing to do the same.

What a Texas Girl Dreams is a fast, passionate beach read, perfect for an afternoon by the pool.  I’m curious to read more by Kristina Knight, because this book pushed all the right buttons for me.

Grade:  B

Review copy provided by author