Texas Rodeo #3
Narrated by: Johanna Parker
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: I received a complimentary copy from Tantor Audio. This did not affect my rating and my review is voluntarily provided.
Rating: 4.5 Bookworms
Challenges: #2017NewRelease, #AudioChallenge
Rodeo producer Cole Jacobs has his hands full running Jacobs Livestock. He can't afford to lose a single cowboy, so when Cousin Violet offers to send along a more-than-capable replacement, he's got no choice but to accept. He expects a grizzled Texas good ol' boy. He gets Shawnee Pickett. Wild and outspoken, ruthlessly self-reliant, Shawnee's not looking for anything but a good time. It doesn't matter how quickly the tall, dark and intense cowboy gets under her skin - Cole deserves something real, and Shawnee can't promise him forever. Life's got a way of kicking her in the teeth, and she's got her bags packed before tragedy can knock her down. Too bad Cole's not the type to give up when the going gets tough...
Hooboy! This series continues to get better and better! I've so enjoyed geting to listen back-to-back and now - I'm a little bummed I have to wait until April for #4. One the brightside, since the stories keep getting more entertaining, I *know* it'll be worth the wait. *wink*
Dell expertly brings her characters to life. I feel as though they're my friends and I adore them all for their little quirks. In Shawnee, I got a girl with a personality as big as Texas. She's always up for a good time and has many. But she's also a loyal friend, looking out for those she cares about even if she won't let herself admit it or really let anyone close. See, Shawnee experienced a few spectacularly tragic events when she was younger that keep her from looking or expecting deeper. She lives her life to the fullest on a superficial level believing the other shoe is definitely gonna drop. Cole is this big mountain of a cowboy. He's everything you'd want in a friend, co-worker, and yes, man. He's autistic so he has a few things that make him even more interesting as well as endearing. He also suffered a tragedy when he was young and that gives him another commonality with Shawnee - on top of rodeo-ing and being from West Texas. Cole - well, he just might be my favorite cowboy in this series so far with his lists and trouble getting words out... *sigh* He trips my trigger.
- Genuine, realistic settings
As I said in at least one of my previous reviews of this series, Dell captures life in West Texas well. She also vividly brings to life the rodeo and all that entails. From the sounds, smells, and excitement in the arena and the chutes, as well as the drone of the road when traveling to the next locale, and lastly the gut-wrenching fear over cowboys and horses being in danger, Dell conveys it all with heart, emotion, and a genuineness that is indicative of someone who's lived it.
- Thought-provoking content
The Texas rodeo series is romance but the romance is secondary to the story, in my opinion. After finishing Tougher in Texas, I realized Dell had made me consider a lot of things over the course of this series. Making mistakes and how we learn from them, letting go of a dream that's an impossibility to embrace a new and better one, not living a life dictated by how others see us - Tougher in Texas made me think about embracing life EVERY DAY. None of us know what tomorrow will bring so we shouldn't live guarded. Like the song says, we should live like we're dying - do it, experience it all. And never, ever deny yourself love.
Although Parker stumbled a few times with keeping her voices consistent and she also mispronounced a few Texas towns (something you wouldn't know unless you're from Texas), I'm still so enjoying her narration. For the most part, her voices are great and her delivery and pacing keep me engaged. So of course, I'm looking forward to the next installment!