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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

Tanner by Sarah Mayberry

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ Reviews 1st May 2017
Tanner by Sarah MayberryTanner by Sarah Mayberry
Series: American Extreme Bull Riders Tour #1
Published by Tule Publishing on May 9th 2017
Pages: 178
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two-stars

After flying half-way around the world to surprise her boyfriend, Evie Forrester finds herself heartbroken and stranded in a strange city. What could be a total disaster becomes something else when a tall, dark bull rider turns out to be a white knight in disguise. Evie isn’t sure she needs saving, but Tanner Harding is a difficult man to deny. He’s even harder to resist…
Tanner Harding can tame a monster bull with ease, but he never expected to be floored by someone like Evie. Sparks fly between them until injury threatens to end Tanner’s career –and suddenly he’s the one in need of a rescue.
Evie can’t turn her back on her wounded hero and, as Tanner struggles with his recovery, she’s not sure she can guard her heart against him either. Tanner knows Evie has slipped under his skin, but she lives in Australia and his future is under a cloud. Can two people with too many reasons to walk away make the bold decision to stay?

Unknowingly setting herself up for heartbreak when she empties her savings and hops on a flight on the off-chance that the one-night stand with a man she’d known all her life wants her as badly as she wants him, Evie Forrester’s trip to America suddenly seems like a wasted one when it’s clear that Troy Jensen has moved on fully and wholly from her. Her only saving grace is Tanner Harding, another bull rider whose white knight complex insists on taking her in.

Unfortunately, Tanner and Evie weren’t exactly a couple that worked for me, perhaps because the start of this pairing felt too much like an accidental slip into a ‘relationship’ when Tanner was actually a rebound for Evie—for a woman who was hurting for her unrequited love—and Evie was simply someone whom he couldn’t resist. I couldn’t see the draw that brought them together apart from the very obvious physical attraction and Evie’s impulsive naïveté was off-putting at times, particularly with the more worldly Tanner who preferred women like him. It also seemed too easy for Evie, despite all the years of being in love with someone else, to shrug off the heartbreak and fall for Tanner in a matter of days because he’d been good to her, so she did seem emotionally flaky, and well, too needy for my liking.

I do like Sarah Mayberry’s writing however and that’s primarily the reason I requested for this book. Normally I expect heart-wrenching moments with every Mayberry book, but in this case oddly enough, the bull-riding scenes provided me more wide-eyed-wonder moments that had scarce little to do with the romance. From the looks of it, I probably wouldn’t continue with this series and that has more to do with the series not being one I could see myself getting into rather than Mayberry’s assured writing.

two-stars
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