Friday, March 16, 2018

Audiobook Review: Cowboy SEAL Homecoming by Nicole Helm

Series:     Navy SEAL Cowboys #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 2, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Romy Nordlinger
Length:10 hrs 24 min
Source:Publisher

Cowboy SEAL Homecoming is set on a horse and cattle ranch in a small town in Big Sky Country - Montana. Three wounded Navy SEALs have returned to the ranch with our hero to start an equine therapy center for wounded veterans, but must heal themselves in the process. 

Rebecca Denton is an extremely sheltered young woman who was left half of the ranch by her recently deceased stepfather. After having meningitis as a child, Rebecca was coddled and sheltered by her smother, who still treats Becca as if she is naive and incapable of caring for herself and knowing her own mind. As a result, Becca has made friends on the farm and has a wide array of furry companions like Ron Swanson (the goat) and Rasputin (the rooster), among others. Becca talks to the animals as if they were people, which gives you some insight into her life and loneliness. Deciding to open an equine therapy ranch for wounded veterans with her stepbrother and his comrades is a huge step for Becca, but one at which she is determined to succeed (and have her way). I liked watching Becca come out of her shell and start to stand up for herself, her wants and needs. She didn't back down from the military men, and she earned their respect in the process.

Alex Maguire is the prodigal son returned. The ranch seems to hold difficult memories for Alex, dating back to the death of his mother and the feelings of helplessness that ensued. Returning home after the death of his father, wounded and in denial, Alex will be forced to face that he can't control every situation. He was stoic and broody, and suffering the after effects of war-time tragedies. My heart went out to Alex and I hated his nightmares and dissociative states. I wish that more of the book was spent on Alex getting help, but I suspect future books in the series will focus more on that area. 

Alex and Becca are step-siblings, but they did not grow up together and barely had a relationship. So the romance between the two didn't raise that ick factor that I have garnered from other step-romances. Becca's level of sheltering was a bit of a shocker, as I can't imagine someone today being in their 20s without being kissed or seeing a shirtless man. However, Alex's worldliness balanced out Becca's sheltering and they moved along at a believable pace for the duration of the story. This was not a steamy romance, but I don't think any higher level of heat would have been believable.

Unfortunately this book got lost in the narration for me. The narrator had a hard time holding my interest, and I didn't feel that her voice matched the story. The performance lacked enough depth to differentiate the characters, which made everyone sound the same. When you have military tough guys in your story, you want to be able to hear their voice independently of the female characters. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this audiobook that I received from the publisher, Tantor Audio.

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