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Casey by Kelly Hunter

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 2nd June 2017
Casey by Kelly HunterCasey by Kelly Hunter
Series: American Extreme Bull Riders Tour #3
Published by Tule Publishing on May 23rd 2017
Pages: 145
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four-stars

Rowan Harper has traveled the American Extreme Bull Riders tour circuit with her stock-contractor father since she was four years old. She's seen the best rides and the worst wrecks. And then there's TJ who impressed her most when he didn't ride at all.

T.J. Casey walked away from his rightful place in last year's bull riding finals in order to bury his father. His sponsors are gone, but he's back to stake his claim. He wants the buckle, sure, but he also wants the woman who treats her bucking bulls like lambs.

Can T.J. really score the championship and the girl? Or will he have to choose between the two..once and for all?

T.J. Casey’s eye has been on Rowan Harper for a while, a woman who has only known bull-riding and breeding all her life, yet family tragedy has derailed him from pursuing her outright. It’s only when he’s back, comfortable in the saddle this time around that he asks her out, though not without more accompanying family drama that could threaten the happiness they have with each other.

Much of the story is told with wry humour and with deliberate pacing, building on bits of revelation of their lives and back stories that makes you appreciate the growing intimacy and the slow-burn that builds up over weeks between them. It’s certainly a change for me but one that is enjoyable nonetheless.

Casey’s and Rowan’s relationship is first clandestine, then public but deftly handled by Kelly Hunter in a way that leaves no space for excessive theatrics between 2 adults who really do know the type of behaviour that’s befitting their ages. It doesn’t hurt that Casey and Rowan are good together, mostly because they are distinct individuals—both of them not fitting in the stereotypes of characters typically populating the bull-riding circuit—who actually know what they want and aren’t too afraid to get it. Casey’s steadfastness and his encouragement of Rowan’s continued discovery of herself, starting with something as innocuous as going dress shopping is as appealing as Rowan’s unwavering determination to carve out a distinct career for herself in a place that she has been all her life. For these reasons, ‘Casey’ is an easy but unique read—more heartfelt than action-driven—but capped off with a fitting HEA that doesn’t feel trite nor rushed.

four-stars

Sympathy for the Devil by Kelly Hunter

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Young Adult 16th October 2014
Sympathy for the Devil by Kelly HunterSympathy for the Devil by Kelly Hunter
Series: International Bad Boys #4
Published by Smashwords Edition on October 8th 2014
Pages: 106
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three-stars

Bad boy Caleb Jackson has a secret. At eighteen he'd fallen for his brother's girl - hard. One steamy summer night, Bree Tucker had offered him her innocence, he'd offered up his heart, and together they'd set the sheets on fire. And then she'd fled the town.
Ten years later, Bree is back and the passion between them burns brighter than ever. This time, Caleb makes his intentions ruthlessly, publicly clear. He wants her. He aims to claim her.
And to hell if old secrets will out.

Caleb carries a burden that no one but Eli knows about and it’s this weighty guilt that has translated into an unmovable sense of responsibility and loyalty to the rest of his brothers over the years. But wrongly-kept secrets obviously have a way of blowing up in people’s faces and this is no different.

Even with a decidedly New-Adult feel to the book, considering its short length, I was swept away – in that short hour or so that it took me to finish the book – by the family’s storm in a teacup that threatened to ruin the hard-fought relationships between the brothers.

My gripe really is the oft-used man-whore stereotype here that made me roll my eyes in exasperation. There’s a reason I like Eli’s cautious approach to relationships because he’s simply so different from these bad playboys. Yet Kelly Hunter’s succinct but lyrical exposition and of the characters’ feelings and thoughts – all contained within 90 or so pages – is impressive and while there aren’t epic narratives or existential angst here (I’d be surprised if there were), seeing Caleb and Bree get their act together after a decade is a satisfactory experience.

three-stars
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