Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ARC Review: Tougher in Texas by Kari Lynn Dell

Series:     Texas Rodeo #3
Pub. Date:Aug. 1, 2017
Publisher:Sourcebooks Casa.
Length:416 pages
Source:NetGalley

In short, this is a special book. Anna over at Herding Cats and Burning Soup is always gushing about her cowboys, and that made me realize that I haven't read many cowboy books. So I set out to rectify that situation, and I decided to start with a new-to-me author, Kari Lynn Dell. I think I am glad I started with this story because I definitely want to pick up her other books now. While there was some character crossover from earlier books, I didn't feel lost or confused with the story. So I think you are fine starting w/ this book if you haven't read the others. I also think you will want to go back and read the earlier books (like me) once you finish this one.

Our cowboy, Cole Jacobs, was such a unique hero. A six-and-a-half foot stoic and awkward cowboy, who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome in the years leading up to this current story. I think this is the first hero that I have read on the autism spectrum, and the author handled the situation very well. Cole was relatable and his issues were realistic, and I was able to empathize and engage with him as a reader. He was somewhat wholesome, but had some steamy thoughts that worked with his idiosyncrasies to make him an all-around cute and lovable guy. 

Shawnee Picket is a tough-as-nails rodeo chick. I wasn't sure I was going to like Shawnee at first. I thought her attitude and lifestyle were just going to be too hard and loose for me. But all of Shawnee's bravado is a mask for her own insecurities and difficult childhood. While I didn't relate to her as well as Cole, I still liked her as a heroine. I thought she was a good match for Cole, sort of the yin to his yang, that complimented him in every way.

Cole and Shawnee made a great team on the rodeo circuit, and I loved reading that aspect of the story. You can tell the author is familiar with the activity and lifestyle, and I really enjoyed all of the detail she included about the gear, the animals, and the job. It made me feel like I was there, and taught me a few things in the process!

Dell did a good job at drawing the reader into this story. I felt like I was part of the rodeo, and I was drawn into Cole's desires and dreams for his life. The last bit of the story got me a bit teary eyed, which is always a good sign. I love being emotionally invested in the characters. I will definitely be reading more of Kari Lynn Dell in the future.

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, Sourcebooks Casablanca.