Review: The True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge

Review: The True Cowboy of Sunset RidgeThe True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge (Gold Valley, #14) by Maisey Yates
Series: Gold Valley #14
Published by HQN Books on December 28, 2021
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384


“There were so many layers to him, and she had no idea how to dig down and get through them. Maybe there was no way. But there were these moments. Unguarded and beautiful, when she could see bits of the depth of him. And she had a feeling that not even he really wanted to see it. That he was in denial of all the things he was. And she could understand it in a way, because she didn’t particularly like to examine pieces of herself either.”

FINAL DECISION: Exactly what I needed. This is a serious emotional book about two adults who have experienced a crisis in their lives and are rebuilding. From the beginning “one-night stand” to Mallory and Colt spending time together getting to know one another’s story, I really was engrossed in the story of these two people.

THE STORY: Mallory Chance has just ended a 15-year relationship and to mark a new beginning, she goes to a bar to see if she can find the man she hasn’t forgotten about in six months. There she meets her fantasy man and they spend a single night together never expecting to meet again. Of course, he ends up being her new landlord. Colt Daniels has come to town after a tragedy had him leaving his job as a rodeo cowboy. The two are determined to keep their distance until the infant daughter of a deceased friend is left in Colt’s care and he needs Mallory’s help.

OPINION: This was an immensely satisfying book for the soul. Two good people who are making their way through life, trying to do the right thing. Failing, getting up, and moving forward. I was thoroughly engrossed in the story as I wanted to know how things worked out between Mallory and Colt.

The book starts out hot as Mallory and Colt have a one-night stand. The heat between these two carries the book through a lot of quiet moments as Mallory and Colt struggle through figuring out what this new phase of their life is and what the purpose and meaning in this life should be.

The book is emotional in a real and human way — not overwrought or unnecessarily dramatic. Instead, two humans work through their past baggage to find out how they can move forward in a productive way.

I really liked that both of these characters are strong and independent. They have needs for one another and others in their lives but they are not clingy or dependent — just human seeking connection.

This is a feel-good book that was very enjoyable and made me happy as I finished the last page.

WORTH MENTIONING: I had never read this author before but as soon as I finished this book, I purchased the rest of the books in this series to find out the supporting characters’ backstories.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE TRUE COWBOY OF SUNSET RIDGE is the fourteenth book in the Gold Valley series. The book can be read as a standalone. This is my first book by this author, and while there are other characters that appear from prior books (obviously), I didn’t feel like I had to know anything about those stories to like this book.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.



Review: Bombshell

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: BombshellBombshell (Hell's Belles, #1) by Sarah MacLean
Series: Hell's Belles #1
Published by Avon on August 24, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 394


FINAL DECISION: An incredible disappointment. The book was a slog to get through and there was no chemistry between the hero and heroine unlike in the prior series where they appeared. MacLean has been a disappointment for her last several books. I hope she gets back to what made her books magical.

THE STORY: Two years ago Lady Sesily Talbot was rejected by Caleb Calhoun, but she also gained the friendship of a group of women who have mysterious intentions (no spoilers!) Sesily’s scandalous activities have a purpose. Caleb has spent years trying to avoid the sister of his best friend and business partner. The American has his own secrets that keep him away from the frustratingly attractive woman who he can’t forget.

OPINION: This book is a mess. It feels like a collection of “choose your own adventure” romance tropes and sayings rather than a well-constructed story. It took me a long time to write this review because it was almost impossible to be interested enough to get through the book and then to have to write such a bad review for an author that I have loved for about a decade.

The first problem with this book is that there really isn’t any reason for these two to be apart. We are teased with the idea that there is some huge reason why two single people who clearly have the hots for one another don’t get together. Because Sesily is not constrained by the “proper” woman behavior of her day and Caleb is an American who doesn’t seem to adhere to societal restraints himself, there really isn’t an external conflict keeping these apart. Instead, the story relies on Caleb two years ago having pulled away from his growing attraction to Sesily because of “something”. Unfortunately, that reason ends up not being satisfying and seemed really contrived.

I did enjoy the introduction of the other significant women who will appear in the series. Their stories were intriguing, but like many first books in the series, too much time was taken up with developing these new characters. In this book, the introduction of new characters detracted from the main romance. Perhaps this flaw wouldn’t have been so obvious if the book doesn’t also stuff in updates from prior series as well. We get an update on all the Soiled Ss. While I generally am happy to read more about other characters, I kept thinking … when is this story going to progress. Unfortunately, there wasn’t really any interesting plot or conflict, or romance to keep this book going.

I also thought that some moments were highlights, such as when they first kissed. The language and the moment were perfect. This book, however, suffers mightily from being contemporary with a thin veneer of history. I’m not picky about such things, but I read chapter after chapter and thought whether the same story could be EXACTLY the same word for word in a modern story. MacLean is often guilty of putting excessively modern sensibilities (language, attitudes, situations) in her historicals recently, but usually, there is an interesting grounding to history (such as the ice business in the Bareknuckled Bastards series). This story, however, lacked that base and thus it felt more ahistorical than normal.

Endlessly disappointing.

WORTH MENTIONING: There are plenty of references to other MacLean books for long-time readers to discover.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BOMBSHELL is the first book in the Hell’s Belles series. The hero and heroine of this book, however, appear in the Scandal & Scoundrel series (most significantly THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS).

STAR RATING: I give this book 2 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.