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.


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

Review: Betting on Texas by Amanda Renee


Title: Betting on Texas

Author:  Amanda Renee

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

More Than The Ranch At Stake  When Miranda Archer bought Double Trouble Ranch, sight unseen, she was eager to leave city life behind and start fresh in the Texas Hill Country. But the property came with some unexpected extras: a few cattle, a couple of horses…and one surly cowboy.

From the minute Jesse Langtry first laid eyes on Miranda, she captured his heart. Beautiful and determined, Miranda is everything Jesse wants in a woman. There’s just one little hitch. Jesse’s dream girl just stole his ranch!

Sure that rural life will be too much for Miranda, Jesse bets her that she won’t last a month at Double Trouble. If he wins, she’ll sell him the land—if she wins, he’ll leave for good. Pushing each other away seems to bring them closer—and that’s where the real trouble begins!


Once again, I am drawn to a cowboy book.  Betting on Texas by Amanda Renee even has horses.  Bonus!  Surly Jesse is a horse trainer, and they are actually featured predominately in the story.  Yeah!  Unfortunately, Jesse knowingly puts Miranda in some hazardous situations, which did make me think less of him.  A horse trainer of all people should know better to put a horse and a human at risk like that. 

Miranda Archer is embarking on a new life.  Having won the state lottery, she purchases a ranch in Texas, loads up her meager belongings in her brand new pickup truck, and heads for greener pastures.  What she finds isn’t exactly the solitary haven she’s expecting.  Instead, she discovers that she also owns several horses, a small herd of cattle, and some chickens in addition to the farm house and acreage.  Oh, yeah, and there’s that angry, angry cowboy, Jesse Langtry, in residence, too.  Jesse has sacrificed the better part of the last 15 years  working on the ranch, training sought after cutting horses and managing the property for the former owners.  They had a hand shake agreement that Jesse would buy the ranch when they were ready to retire.  Unfortunately, the older couple is tragically killed in an accident, and the ranch is placed on the auction block by.  Jesse is outbid by Miranda, and he is pissed!  How could this rich, city-slicker from DC just stroll into town and take away his  dream?

I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did, but the story didn’t gel for me.  The adversarial relationship between Jesse and Miranda turned me off.  Jesse completely and unfairly misjudges Miranda, which makes him hard to like.  They are constantly bickering about the ranch, which is legally Miranda’s, and Jesse blames her for buying it from under him.  He is so bitter that I just couldn’t buy into their relationship.  He puts her at risk several times with the horses, and I couldn’t get over that.  Horses are large animals, and when handled by inexperienced people, they can be dangerous.  Heck, they can be dangerous when you know what you’re doing!  To leave her to load a horse onto a trailer after getting mad at her; I just can’t imagine a professional horseman doing something risky like that.  After getting dumped off of my mare the same day I read a majority of the book, for no other reason than she was feeling frisky, I know how quickly things can go wrong with horses.  This probably won’t be a major sticking point for most, but it was for me.

I did like Miranda.  She put up with Jesse’s sullen behavior and tried not to let it bother her.  She met his dismissive treatment of her head on.  She didn’t let him alter her plans to have the home she had always dreamed of.  When life bit her in the behind, she quickly made adjustments to ensure that the animals and the people who were now depending on her were taken care of.  Her initial poor reception in town was entirely due to Jesse spreading false rumors about her and her plans for the ranch, and she acted forcefully to try to counteract the gossip he had spread about her.  Even though he did this before he met her, it’s hard to forgive a guy who would try to sabotage a complete stranger like that.

To settle things between them, Miranda and Jesse make a bet, and the winner ends up with the ranch.  Because of Jesse’s determination to win the bet and get his dreams back on track, it was hard to buy into his sincerity when his feelings for Miranda started to change.  I wasn’t sure if he really did like her, or if gaining control of the ranch was playing into his change of heart.  In fact, it wasn’t until the last two chapters that I even started to like him. 

Betting on Texas was a mixed bag for me, and I blame the confrontational relationship established early in the story for my tepid respond to Jesse.  It was hard to look beyond Jesse’s desire to own the ranch, and his less than chivalrous behavior rankled at times.  Even though Betting on Texas didn’t work for me,  I am looking forward to getting to know Jesse’s brothers better in Home To The Cowboy, the next book in the series. 

Grade: B-/C+

Review copy provided by publisher

Review: Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan


Title: Slow Dance with the Sheriff (Harlequin Romance)

Author:  Nikki Logan

Publisher:  Harlequin

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Ex-ballerina Eleanor Patterson is the darling of Manhattan society—until she discovers her pedigree background is a lie. So she heads to sleepy Larkville for answers….

Sheriff Jed Jackson never expected to rescue a stunning woman from a herd of cattle, or to be so fascinated by the vulnerability beneath Ellie’s tough city veneer. Yet watching her unwind is irresistible, and as he helps her learn to dance again he wants to give both Ellie and himself a new beginning….


Okay, so I somehow got sucked into the Larkville Legacy series, and after reading the first two books, I am quite eager for the third.  I don’t remember reading anything by Nikki Logan before, though I do have a few of her Harlequin Romances that I picked up during the final days of Borders’ going out of business sales.  Glad I grabbed them now, because Slow Dance With the Sheriff pushed all of the right buttons with me.  It had some humor, some sizzle, and a whole lot of powerful emotional responses from me.  Why?  There is a dog.  He is damaged.  There are two people.  They are damaged.  Because they both find it in themselves to love the dog, they all get a happy ever after.  How freakin’ cool is that?  There aren’t even any horses in this one, and since it takes place in a small Texas town, I expected at least one or two.  Nope, just a bunch of stupid cattle.

Ellie Patterson is seeking a home.  She needs someplace where she fits in, and in 30 years, she has yet to find one.  It seems that her entire life is one of disappointment.  She quit  ballet after discovering that her wealthy father was making huge donations to the company.  She couldn’t live with the humiliation of knowing that he bought her place with the dance troupe, instead of earning it herself.  She is still single and emotionally detached from any man, much to her mother’s dismay.  If she won’t keep dancing, she should at least marry in the spotlight.  Then, when she discovers her mother’s secret, she’s  shocked, but also hopeful.  Her mother was already pregnant with Ellie and her twin brother when her mother married, and she is doesn’t share one drop of blood with her father.  Even though she has never fit in with her New York family, maybe she will finally find a place to belong in Texas with the Calhouns.  Without a second thought, she rents a car and drives to Texas to meet the family she didn’t even know she had.

Problem?  First, Jess Calhoun is on her honeymoon, and she be gone for a few weeks.  Second, she is ambushed by an errant herd of cattle.  Third?  The oh-so-sexy sheriff who saves her is just as damaged as she is.  He is distanced from everyone and everything but his dog.  He likes things that way, too.  After making a life altering mistake when he was in charge of the canine unit in a big city, he has sworn off emotional entanglements.  He is happy being the sheriff of a small town, patrolling his county and keeping the law and the peace in his little corner of the world.  Life is quiet.  Life is calm.  Life couldn’t get any better.  Until he has to save Ellie from that errant mass of bovine stupidity.

What I liked best about this story is how both characters, despite their overwhelming fear of emotional, and in Ellie’s case, physical, contact,  both pushed each other to take risks.  These were baby steps, but each successful nudge pushed them closer together, until they had developed a strong bond, with trust firmly at the foundation.  Jed’s strength allowed Ellie to feel comfortable and content for the first time in her life.  Ellie’s wariness and vulnerability, coupled with her unbridled joy at finally discovering the courage to get out there and live, gave Jed a  much needed push to start living himself.  Even when he takes the overused plot devices to heart and tells Ellie that theirs is just a  temporary attachment, you know, to the depths of your soul, that Jed is only fooling himself.  Once he and Ellie begin to trust each other, you know that it will only be a matter of time, despite the rages and the denials, before they stop fighting and recognize how perfect they are for each other.  Add the unshakable approval of one traumatized police dog, and Jed and Ellie really had no chance to escape from that devious thing known as true love.  Their chance of escape?  Zero percent.

I immediately connected with the protagonists, and I constantly urged them to overcome their fears, to stop fighting against the inevitable tide that would eventually buffet them together.  Plot devices that normally drive me nuts worked here, without question.  And interwoven through everything was Deputy Dawg, that poor battered soul who needed nothing other than a warm pat and a kind word.  I think that this sliver of the story touched more more deeply than it would have otherwise, because I know how comforting and soothing a dog’s presence can be.  Now that it’s not there, I know how devastating it is when it’s not there.  At the end of this story, when all Ellie and Jed wanted was love and forgiveness, all they had to do was look to Deputy for an example of how that is done.  Nothing can bridge that chasm of unconditional love and forgiveness like a dog. 

I was occasionally jarred out of the story by some unfamiliar, and to my ears, awkward turns of phrase.  Both Ellie and Jed are supposed to be American, but they didn’t always  sound like it.  This is my one nitpick.  Nikki Logan is Australian, and every now and again, her characters sounded like they were too.  I wasn’t expecting this deep in the heart of Texas, so I do feel obligated to mention it. 

So, volume two in the Larkville Legacy has kept me engaged in the continuity of the series.  Curse you , Harlequin!  Check back for my review of the next book in the series, Taming the Brooding Cattleman.

Grade:  B+

Review was purchased from Amazon

Interview with Nikki Logan, Author of Slow Dance with the Sheriff


Nikki Logan is a veteran Harlequin Romance author.  Her latest release, Slow Dance with the Sheriff, is the second book in The Larkville Legacy series.  Eight authors collaborated on this continuity, and I thought it would be fun to chat with as many as possible as I make my way through the series.  I was thrilled when Nikki dropped by to talk about her book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Nikki Logan] Writer seeks reader who loves long walks on beach, toasty log cabins deep in forest & plenty of wildlife. GSOH an advantage.#AuthorPersonals

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Slow Dance with the Sheriff?

[Nikki Logan] This story is part of an eight-book series (we call it a ‘continuity’ because each story continues the central thread, adding to it in some way) based in fictional Larkville just outside of Austin, Texas (though they’re not all set there). My book is second in the series and features a never-left-New York ex Ballerina, Ellie, who comes to Larkville to personally check out the truth behind a letter she received from a woman claiming to be her half-sister. Ellie wants to suss out the truth before throwing her whole family into disarray. But, thanks to some hurtful and angry words exchanged with her mother, she leaves New York in an uncharacteristically rash fashion and arrives in Larkville only to find all the Calhouns away from the ranch for a couple of weeks. She has no choice but to accept the reluctant assistance of the town sheriff who cops the brunt of her barely contained anxiety about the downward vortex that is her life. But of course he’s gorgeous and gracious about it and she finds herself falling fast…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Slow Dance with the Sheriff is part of the Larkville Legacy series. Can you share how you and the other authors worked together to write these books?

[Nikki Logan] Getting eight authors from all corners of the globe together to figure out the finer details of such a long and complicated family relationship wasn’t easy. The eight of us primarily used an email loop to communicate and we started with the continuity ‘bible’ which is a number of documents sent to us by our editors which gave us our essential character outlines, descriptions, info about fictional Larkville and some suggestions on what made each character tick.  Each of us got that information at roughly the same time and then a few of us launched madly into fleshing it/our characters/the setting out via the loop. But, of course, each of us had a different place in the schedule and different deadlines. Although I was book # 2, my deadline was the first of everyone and so I had to write like a demon once we had locked down the basics and then try and stay across changes and developments as I wrote.  But I was well into my next book by the time the authors of the seventh and eighth books were starting to plan theirs.  It was staggered.

So that Google group and its archives came in really handy for going back through everything and getting it right.

The most fun (for me) was creating the world of Larkville.  I’m responsible for Nan’s Bunk’n’Grill, the Larkville Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Hollis being a woman 🙂 Then it was up to each of us to insert enough of the ‘world’ into our stories. But of course not everyone got to set their books in Larkville so other authors had to try and extrapolate the ‘world’ and feed enough of it into their stories to make it nest neatly within the series.

The biggest challenge was taking a few-line outline dashed off by the publisher and bending it to fit my voice, my style of story and my interest. I’m really happy with the way the whole story worked out, it’s true to the outline provided but also true to me and characters I would have loved to write anyway. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Eleanor/Ellie?

[Nikki Logan] 3 words: On the cusp.

So much about her life is about to change for the better and she has no idea. But she’s taken her first real risk and it’s going to pay off big time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Jed would never have in his bedroom?

[Nikki Logan] His firearm (because although he’s security conscious, being a Sheriff, he moved to Larkville to have a different kind of pace in his life, and keeping his gun in his bedroom would dishonour that intent).

His muddy boots (because his Gran raised him right and because he has a loft bedroom so that mud would track all up the stairs)

A phone (Bedrooms are for sleeping or recreation and Jed would think that being contactable wouldn’t fit with either of those things)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Ellie had a theme song, what would it be?

[Nikki Logan] “I Will Survive”.  She’s been through a lot, but she’s finding herself in Larkville and every bad thing that has happened to her has only made her stronger.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Nikki Logan] My father was an original ‘MadMen’ advertising exec type and one of the top creative directors/copywriters in his field, so the bulk of my creative genes came from him. His father (my grandfather) told the most spectacularly intricate, engaging stories that he just made up out of his head (or seemed to) and so clearly my father got it from him and his Welsh genes.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Nikki Logan] Tea – refreshing the cup gives my eyes a break from the monitor and sipping a piping hot cup of tea helps me think

Silence – I write best to silence (including internet silence) and edit best to classical music.

My dogs – there’s something about their steady breathing and reassuring presence…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Nikki Logan] Reading is such a rushed and rare thing for me now… and it’s been a while since I read someone new (because when I do read its usually the latest installment from someone who already knocked off my socks a few years ago)… But I was totally blown away by seeing WAR HORSE in New York last year.  I picked it randomly when I had a free evening and wanted to see a NY show, and knew virtually nothing about it. It picked me up and transported me, breathless, to another world and I completely bought into every part of that experience. It was so engaging, so immersive so emotional and so visceral. Exactly all the things I enjoy about a good read. Except it wasn’t a read!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Nikki Logan] I find this impossible to answer. I grew up in a house always filled with books, and with a mother always propped up at the kitchen bench with a cuppa and a good book. I don’t remember when I started to read I just know I always have. I used to read whatever the school library had (I loved romance even then and would devour ‘Sweet Dreams’ romantic YA novels and also ‘choose your own ending’ stories) and then as I got older of course Mills & Boon (of which my mother had hundreds) and all my mum’s sci-fi/fantasy books (of which she also had hundreds, tho I was selective in what I read).

But to try and answer this I looked to my bookshelf to see what I still have from when I was very young. Two books stand out – one a book of the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen (the dark versions) which I still go back to even now for story ideas and another called “Gnomes” (Nuygen & Poortvliet) which is an anthropological examination of Gnomes as a different species. This book was such a haven at difficult times and transported me to a wonderful and mysterious place.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Nikki Logan] I’m not very good at refilling the well, I have to say. I work seven-days-a-week between writing and my day job so there isn’t a lot of down time. But I try to spend it with my man and my dogs. We like to all pile into the cruiser and go somewhere that we can all romp free together. Well, they romp and I wander sedately and catch up.  Movies, the lazy- (or busy-) woman’s book. And of course reading but there’s just no time…

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Nikki Logan] Through my website/blog (, or on my fanpage on Facebook ( predominantly. I try to reply to anyone who contacts me with questions or comments.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order Slow Dance with the Sheriff in print or digital from the widget below.


Here is a list of the entire Larkville Legacy series, in order by release month. I have enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I plan to try and read all of them.    I love continuity series, so Harlequin once again hit my happy button.

The Cowboy Comes  Home by Patricia Thayer – JULY

Slow Dance with the Sheriff by Nikki Logan – AUGUST

Taming the Brooding Cattleman by Marion Lennox – SEPTEMBER

The Rancher’s Unexpected Family by Myrna Mackenzie – OCTOBER

His Larkville Cinderella by Melissa McClone – NOVEMBER

The Secret that Changed Everything by Lucy Gordon – DECEMBER

The Soldier’s Sweetheart by Soraya Lane – JANUARY

The Billionaire’s Baby SOS by Susan Meier – FEBRUARY

Here are all of the covers –

Lark Ville Legacy

Interview with Gwendolyn Heasley, Author of A Long Way From You

Gwendolyn Heasley is making a repeat visit to the Cafe.  When we chatted with her last, her debut novel Where I Belong had just hit store shelves.  Today, Gwen is back with us to discuss her latest release, A Long Way From You.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Gwendolyn Heasley] I’m a native Midwestern with New Yorker parents. I love a story more than anything in the world. My greatest career ambition is to have readers relate to my characters and be moved by their stories.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about A Long Way From You?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] On the plot level, it’s the story of Kitsy Kidd’s summer trip to Manhattan to attend art classes.

On the inner level, it’s the story of Kitsy exploring who she is when she’s away from everything she’s ever known.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Kitsy?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] Peppy. Caring. Brave.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Kitsy would never have in her purse?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] Anything designer or frivolous. Kitsy doesn’t have many physical possessions, so her purse would be very bare. She might carry a lip gloss, but that’s the only make-up she’d ever have on her. She would have something to remind her of her brother Kiki, her most important baggage.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Kitsy’s single most prized possession?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] A poster of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

[Manga Maniac Cafe]  Which of your characters are you more like: Corrinne or Kitsy?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] I’m a little bit of each. I’ve lived in cities and small towns although none as small as Kitsy’s hometown of Broken Spoke. Both Kitsy and Corrinne possess contradictions (which is the basis of a good character in my mind) and I also possess many contradictions. Depending on the situation, I can be shy or loud, timid or brave. I think situation dictates character. We are all capable of acting in many different ways. Throughout my life, I’ve vacillated between being a Kitsy and a Corrinne.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] My life. I mine my own emotional experiences for ideas…but after that, I try to let the characters take their own journeys. (My characters are often more grown-up and mature than I was at that age.)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] Coffee. Diet coke. Silence although I’m always hoping that I can turn into a writer who listens to music while working.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] I recently read Sara Pennypacker’s Summer of the Gypsy Moths and I loved it. It has amazing Gothic elements but is written at a very accessible level.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin made me into a fanatic reader. I think series can be extremely inspirational for young readers. I wouldn’t be who I am today without the BSC.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] I love TV and movies (nearly) as much as I love books. I’m also a big fan of exploring my wonderful city (Manhattan), traveling, skiing, running, interneting, and attempting to cook. I’m also planning my wedding, which is a mammoth but wonderful undertaking.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Gwendolyn Heasley] Hearing from my readers is my favorite part of this job. (And I take readers thoughts very seriously and often incorporate suggestions into my next work) I promise to respond to every email I receive, so please write me at

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can purchase A Long Way From You, as well as Where I Belong, from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below. Available in print and digital

Review: One Hot Cowboy Wedding by Carolyn Brown


Title: One Hot Cowboy Wedding

Author: Carolyn Brown

Publisher: Sourebooks

ISBN: 978-1402253645


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

A marriage made in Vegas…

Hunky cowboy Ace Riley wasn’t planning on settling down, but his family had other plans for him…The only way to save his hide, and his playboy lifestyle, is to discreetly marry his best friend, Jasmine King.

Can’t possibly last…

Feisty city–girl Jasmine as just helping out her friend—that is, until their first kiss stirs up a whole mess of trouble, and suddenly discretion is thrown to the wind.

One hot cowboy, one riled up woman…
And they’ll be married for a year, like it or not!


Every now and again, I don’t get along with a book.  It doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s very frustrating for me.  Some books take a while for me to warm up to the characters, and some stories need a little more setup than others.  I am by nature an impatient person, but occasionally trudging doggedly onward hits pay dirt; it just takes a bit more time for me to become engaged in the book.  Other times, regardless of how far I shuffle along, the book continues to do nothing for me.  This is the case with One Hot Cowboy Wedding.  I soldiered on until about 80% on my Kindle, and decided that I did not care about the protagonists, and that I didn’t care if they found their HEA. 

My biggest gripe with the book is the dialog.  At times I didn’t think that the characters were speaking English.  They were speaking Tex-lish.  What is that, you ask?  This is Tex-lish:

“Water’s not deep enough for skinny-dippin’, but we might go skinnystretchin’.  If you think the children won’t follow us to tattle on each other.”

Ace chuckled.  “Skinny-stretchin’? Ain’t never heard of that.”

“Shuck ‘em all off and lay down in the water, let it bubble over us like a Jacuzzi with cold water instead of hot,” she said.


I couldn’t relate to the characters, or the descriptions of their emotions.  Madder than a wet rooster in a thunderstorm?!  I know that roosters can be pretty surly, but the thought of a wet, angry rooster just didn’t do it for me.  Maybe I became angry with Ace and Jasmine because they didn’t have to worry about what they said or how they said it.  If the word “ain’t” ever came out of my mouth, my parents quickly corrected me and requested that I stop using it.  My finicky spell-checker protests vividly when I type it, as well as when I drop the “g” from verbs.  I haven’t read Carolyn Brown previously, so I don’t know if the twangy forms of speech are supposed to be humorous.  I didn’t find it so; it only gave me a headache, especially when I stopped and realized that the state of Texas, one of the largest buyers of textbooks, sets the standards for the learning material purchased by the rest of the country.  Really?  UGH!

The other thing that drove me absolutely bonkers were the frequent references to Ace’s tattoo.  His barbed wire tattoo is meant to symbolize that no woman will every get near his heart.  While I love a nice tat as much as the next girl, I don’t have to be reminded of it every other page.  I got it!  He is inapproachable and isn’t going to fall head over heels for any woman.  Only he does.  Quickly.  I am not even going to go on a tangent about Jasmine’s tattoo, which is a John Deere tractor on her butt.  I can think of lots of things to permanently etch on my behind, but an ugly green tractor isn’t one of them.

Unfortunately, this book did not work for me.  While I love cowboys, I did not love Ace.  I just wanted to continually correct his speech.  There are many positive reviews for One Hot Cowboy Wedding and the rest of the books in this series, but sadly, mine won’t be one of them.

Grade: DNF

Review copy provided by publisher


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