Blog Book Tour | “A Cowboy’s Pride” (Book Four: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock Whilst feat. reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch” and “Falling for a Cowboy” books one and two in the series!

Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I would imagine your curious about this post – specifically, why it is a bit more unique than my usual blog tour reviews!? I had the chance to read the first book in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ and the second in the series ‘Falling for a Cowboy’ ahead of reading the newly released fourth novel ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’. Try as I might, I was not able to secure a copy of ‘Bad Boy Rancher’ through my library ahead of the tour, so for now, that is the only novel in this series I haven’t had the joy of reading!

As you might already know – I have a fierce passion for reading novels in sequence when it comes to book series. I can’t always do this – sometimes I have to skip around the order or other times, I might pick up a book I hadn’t realised was a series in-progress – generally, this oft-times happens when it comes to Harlequin series – either through this lovely imprint (Harlequin Heartwarming) or the Love Inspired Suspense imprint which you might remember this past July I was talking about rather exclusively!

Therefore, a few things to note – I am reviewing the fourth novel for the blog tour, however, before I share my thoughts on what I found inside the fourth novel, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what I loved inside ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’ & ‘Falling for a Cowboy’! If you missed my author interview with Ms Rock last year, you might not have realised I read the prequel to this series ‘A Cowboy to Keep’ – of which this was my key takeaway on behalf of how Ms Rock started this lovely series of hers:

You’ll notice a thread of interest in the Romances I love to read – they are supporting what I call ‘relationship-based romance’ wherein the heart of the relationship and what curates a connection amongst those who are dating strengthens the appeal of reading the stories themselves. Reading Romances like I do, I get caught up in the lives people are living – some make hard choices which I cannot always relate too but are right for them, therein, each time we read, we’re not only ‘time travelling through our own living histories or the historic past’ we’re stepping into different pairs of shoes of people who are living wholly unique lives whilst attempting to pursue a relationship where both parties are standing on equal ground. Romances are a lift of joy to read – even if the circumstances turn dramatic or suspenseful – if at the heart of them, there is hope for the couple at hand, odds are I am a ready fan of how the stories are being written – across publishers and imprints.

As we progress through how Jackson and Dani continue to intercede on each others’ behalf, we start to see how the seeds of their romance were firmly planted in their hearts. They each had a toll to weigh against the yearnings of their hearts but it’s how Rock shows their individual growth towards a resolution the reader rallies behind to see happen is what makes the story hold it’s salt against the ‘dangers’ lurking in the shadows. You truly want all the soul wrestling on both their parts to be for ‘something’ and as the concluding chapters show – redemption might take awhile to receive, but it’s the journey towards it that is somethings more important than how it arrives!

There were some intense moments where you weren’t sure if Jackson or Dani were going to get out of this alive – where the job of being a bounty hunter was shown exactly how dangerous of a livelihood this is to maintain countered against the will of a woman’s heart to do what is right even if she knows she might be jeopardising her future. You grieve for them both – for the past they both cannot accept without further anguish and for the futures they both are seeking which they never felt either of them deserved! There is a lovely ‘twist’ in the ending – one even I hadn’t thought of as I thought for sure this was going to play out differently – my gratitude to Ms Rock for keeping me on my toes straight til the ‘end’ as it was the sweetest reward!

This is one reason, Ms Rock stood out to me – as she’s one of the Harlequin authors I genuinely enjoy to read – she has a way of capturing what I love about the essence of a Contemporary Romance but with the ease of knowing I won’t be flinching for word usage or language issues. Sometimes it’s nice to have a reprieve in that regard!

She dives straight into the heart of what is affecting the well-being of her characters – from the psychological groundwork to the soul wrestling angst of trying to own up to your own mistakes whilst sorting out how to live at the same time. She’s tackled hard issues affecting her characters lives but does it in a humbling and honest way – seeking to share the truth of their choices whilst countered by the truth of the circumstances which has led them to this conclusion on where they individually stand.

-quoted from my review of A Cowboy to Keep

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Borrowed Book By: I made a purchase request at my local library for “Christmas at Cade Ranch” as I had previously ILL’d (inter-library loaned) the ‘prequel’ “A Cowboy to Keep” as a way of understanding the foundation for the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to read and share my thoughts on behalf of this first novel. I was not obliged to post a review and decided to share my thoughts with my readers for my own edification. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Christmas at Cade Ranch by Karen Rock

Synopsis for “Christmas at Cade Ranch”

The Christmas they never had.

James Cade has one priority: keep the family ranch running smoothly in the wake of his younger brother’s death. With Jesse’s ex, Sofia Gallardo, and her young son, Javi, stranded at Cade Ranch over Christmas, this task just got a lot harder. The longer Sofia and Javi stay, the harder it is to imagine the ranch without them. James couldn’t save his brother from his inner demons, but he can give his nephew a secure future. Maybe more—if he can figure out how to trust Sofia, and stop feeling like he’s betraying Jesse. Because trying to stop thinking about beautiful, determined Sofia is impossible.

– previously featured during an Author Interview

Christmas at Cade Ranch
by Karen Rock
Source: Purchase REQ | local library

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9780373368617

Also by this author: A League of Her Own, Author Interview (Christmas at Cade Ranch) Karen Rock, A Cowboy's Pride (Spotlight w/ Notes), Winning the Cowboy's Heart, A Rancher to Remember

on 7th November, 2017

Pages: 384

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My review of Christmas at Cade Ranch:

The first six paragraphs were originally shared on behalf of reading the chapter sampler of this novel – I’ve edited those thoughts a bit but they are still reflective of what I was thinking about as I started to read this novel for the first time straight-through.

We find Jewel (the spunky cowgirl heroine of Cade Ranch), Justin (Jesse’s surviving twin) & James are taking over the duties of Cade Ranch – trying to keep the place solvent and everything running as smooth as they can manage, despite the hurdles of trying to sort out how to ‘move forward’ after such an alarmingly tragic loss. You can easily ‘step back’ into the series – as the prequel did such a great job of ‘setting the scale’ of the series by placing you into the heart of what makes the Cade’s such a strong family!

Here — we get the fuller back-story about Jesse – even though his addictive habit did kill him in the end (due to circumstances his brother, had no way of knowing would impact his future) – it wasn’t the addiction which caused his death; it was something related to being an addict. Despite this, he left behind a girlfriend and a son; a son whose five years old now – meeting his grandmother, Aunt & Uncles for the very first time. This is where we find James – the reserved & cautious elder brother who wouldn’t trust you if you looked honest – he has find a way to validate your intentions, your heart & your motivations.

In so many ways, James reminded me of Jackson! Those two are alike the most of where they are the hardest to convince your on a better path in life – even if your first attempt to ‘make it’ proved to have some obstacles in the road to overcome. Dani & Sofia would love being sister-in-laws because they each had to fight hard for what they were getting out of life – they both made certain choices which affected their futures but what united them, was their hope & belief that second chances are never too late in arriving. Sofia is as jumpy as Dani, too! I don’t blame either of them – the Cade brothers are a wee bit scary due to how they appear to be unbending & unwilling to accept you ‘where you are’. Of course, that’s one fast way to short-change their personalities – but both James & Jackson don’t exactly have the best ‘bedside manner’ so to speak! Their affection might be hard-won but if James is anything like Jackson – his heart will soften long before he allows Sofia & Javi (her son) to exit his life for good!

Seeing this part of the story – how it’s unfolding to bring everything ‘back to centre’ at Cade Ranch – where it all began and where the future shall be written for the siblings – as this is land inherited through past generations – you can gather the fuller depth of where Ms Rock is taking the series! The continuity is wonderful – I feel like this is the best place to re-insert us into the series – it is on the foot-heels of finding out about Jesse from Jackson’s POV whilst opening the door for Sofia to tell her story – what is remarkable is how it feels like both time-lines are running nearly concurrent to each other, rather than having any gaps in the momentum of the ‘next’ section of where we alight into the Cade family’s journey.

One thing to note – is I agree with the sensitive way in which Ms Rock approaches her harder hitting subjects – in this instance, it’s with addiction & recovery. Previously, it was addressing being involved in a bank robbery (Dani’s story-line) — each time Ms Rock knits us closer to her characters, she does it with compassion and empathy. In many ways, I enjoy this aspect of her writings the most – she puts in a lot of thought & time to get the lives of her characters to not only be realistically pleasing to us, the reader, but to honour the real-life counterparts who might be living a similar life. Even the fragility of Joy, the Cade’s mother – is aptly described – of being stuck ‘betwixt & between’ – of not knowing how to proceed forward after losing one’s son. I could relate to this due to not only my own personal losses but the losses of others, of whom, have felt this muddling ‘inbetween’ feeling wash over them – to where they needed to find something to ‘focus on’ outside of their grief before they realised they could ‘transition’ through their sorrow.

What does irk your ire quite a bit though is how James won’t quiet the voice in his head over Sofia! She has enough anxiety coursing through her veins without his added input to cast more shadows over her head! It is like walking between lightning strikes and hoping your not going to be struck whilst you reach the safety of a building! He has a short fuse when it comes to tolerance – he pre-judges her based on his experiences with his brother Jesse and that isn’t half as fair as it might sound because no one should be judged against another person. Even if they both had struggles with addiction – every person is different and no one should have to feel that kind of oppressive weight bearing down on them; it is too much to bear really. Sofia needs reassurances in her life – adding more stress to shoulders already buckling under the pressures she puts on herself is not aiding her ability to move forward; if anything, it’s making her question if she is strong enough to overcome her past.

A good portion of the novel centres around the cyclic season of addiction and how addicts struggle to keep clean. Sofia and Jesse were both struggling with their own addictions but Sofia found a way through the worst of those storms – so much so, what infuriated her the most about James is that he did not or rather could not see what she’s accomplished thus far forward since she was able to maintain her sobriety. I think the hardest part for Sofia, as a lot of her issues stem from her father’s persecution of her existence (long story!) – being around James was like she had recaptured what she had escaped from her father.

Ms Rock does a great job of taking you into the heart of addiction – first through the opinions of family who feel they are being helpful but in reality their falling a bit short with a few good observations. Secondly, she takes you into an NA meeting to hear the stories of other addicts who are struggling just like Sofia to quash their innermost doubts and to remain above the pains of addiction whilst re-setting their lives free of the substance of their choice. It was in one of those meetings where Sofia felt both ashamed to be present and rather awkwardly at first, comfortable amongst those who she could relate too.

Ms Rock also highlights what it is like to have a controlling personality – someone who is unable to yield or bend – this was spoken about in regards to Sofia’s father but in the present time-line of the series it is mostly directed towards James who has a definitive way of ‘taking over’ and claiming roles he was not meant to lead because doing so would jeopardise another person’s sense of self.

One of my favourite parts of the story is how closely Sofia and Joy (the Cade siblings mother) bonded over being in such close quarters whilst she was recuperating. Joy still had quite a bit of spunk left in her and she had a right to want to keep living her life to the fullest she could. Sofia inspired her in equal measure of Joy inspiring Sofia to take new risks and to keep bettering herself for her future and her son’s (Javi). Javi was an impressionable child but he also understood what was important in his young life. I can see why Sofia stressed about how he might react around James and why being around James for both of them was proving to be a bit too difficult.

One of the beautiful things about this series is how redemption and second chances permeate through the stories. Erstwhile, you are becoming closer in acquaintance with the Cade family themselves – the ranch they live on becomes the anchour to their lives, the place where they gather and they grow; where love nurtures their present and where it breathes hope into the future. Each installment of this series builds on the last story in sequence – thereby, by the time you start at A Cowboy to Keep whilst reading each new story thereafter, you are given a wonderful portrait of a resilient family. A family whose honest about the hardships in life and where good or bad, this is a family who remains evermore true of themselves.

The only part I struggled with to be honest was which Cade Sofia felt had caught her affections as to me it seemed like the case had been proven against the match. So much so, I had hoped the ending was a bit different – where she would have struck out on her own, independently and perhaps had dated a different Cade brother as I wasn’t convinced even in the end, the one she felt she loved was the best one of the bunch. I think it is because of his personality but also, of how well Ms Rock showed both sides of the romance – she took a lot of time developing these characters and so for me, in the end of Christmas at Cade Ranch, I felt the character who had grown the most was Sofia. She truly had transitioned from the woman who was full of anxiety and fears to a self-reliant woman who embraced all the pieces of her life; including the bits she was not as confident about acknowledging. On the opposite end of the story, I felt James hadn’t transitioned enough and that was the rub for me in the concluding chapters.

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Borrowed Book By: As I have been borrowing this series through my local library, I requested “Falling for a Cowboy” through my library’s ILL services (inter-library loan) and thankfully it arrived ahead of the blog tour for “A Cowboy’s Pride”. Interestingly enough this copy originated in the state where this series is set and I believe I’m the first person to be reading ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’ as it doesn’t look like its been in circulation for very long! I am always amazed at the distances stories travel to us when we use our ILL services! I was not obliged to post a review and decided to share my thoughts with my readers for my own edification. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Falling for a Cowboy by Karen RockSynopsis for “Falling for a Cowboy”

Doesn’t he get that she’s blind?

Barrel racer Amberley James wants to join the premier rodeo circuit more than anything, but she faces the ultimate hurdle when she loses her eyesight to a rare genetic condition. All she’d ever wanted seems out of reach. Giving up is the only option…until her best friend and local hero Jared Cade steps in. The last thing she wants is Jared’s help. But his persistence at encouraging her to get back in the saddle is ridiculously annoying. And undeniably inspiring…

Falling for a Cowboy
Source: Borrowed from local library (ILL)

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335633453

on 2nd January, 2018

Pages: 384

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My review of Falling for a Cowboy:

Amberley ought to have heeded what she was experiencing whilst she was attempting to race the barrels as one thing you don’t want to do in life is ignore the wonky ways in which your field of vision can become compromised! You feel for her too – as you noticed she did not have the best role model in her life (her father) as he only believed in competing to win rather than for personal enrichment and self-improvement. Meaning, sports are meant to be important to the person playing them but not to the degree that you have to win in order to justify your participation. As a child athlete, I can attest to competing with a healthier attitude which is more focused on the sport itself and increasing your personal ‘best’ in order to find truer achievement in the sport you’ve chosen to undertake. I had my share of ‘wins’ – from ribbons to medals (in swimming) but in the end, what staid with me the most over the years is when I swam for the sake of swimming and seeing if I could challenge myself to improve my time without worrying about the rest of the swimmers in the pool. Barrel racing apparently is similar – your against the clock, not your competitors – its just you, the horse and the course.

When Jared came to her rescue during an interview, you could see his cheeky playfulness at work – as Jared was one of the Cade brothers who had a lighter approach to how he lived. Where James was the serious controlling brother, Jared was practically the clown of the sibling group! In this instance, Amberley was fighting off her anxieties about her eyesight and the fatigue of needing to make an exit from the interview itself which was dragging on a bit for her tastes. You have to question why someone doing an interview would not be cognisant of their interviewees needs!? Either that or to them the story is more important than you know common sense, civility and empathy?

Ms Rock did a great job of filling in the back-story about Jared and Amberley’s connection to each other – how they worked side by side and supported each other’s competitive endeavours? I hadn’t remembered her being mentioned previously and although, Jared was in the background of the stories, I never could say I had a very strong impression about who he was as a person. This is one reason I appreciate the kind of series the Rocky Mountain Cowboys are – as they slowly build upon the initial foundation of where we meet everyone and then, each in turn, get to have their own say about where they ‘fit’ within the family and within the world which was built for them to thrive inside.

You could gather the sense both Jared and Amberley do not accept anything less than winning – in that regard I differed in my own opinion about competitive sports as winning is lovely but it is not the most important reason you compete. You compete for yourself and your always competing against yourself – endeavouring to get better as you train and you perform, but in the end? If you enjoyed what you were doing in your sport of choice and you felt you were gaining something out of it, that’s the reason you play. You grow whether you win or you lose and sometimes, if you place second or fourth, you might find the experience more gratifying than placing first. Just depends. Every competition is different. I have no idea why some people think you have to win in order to be happy in the sport you love or why so much pressure is placed on winning when in honest truth, if your not enjoying the sport or the moment in which your practicing/competing it really is a moot point.

The feud with the Loveland’s is re-highlighted again – as Jared (of course!) would find himself tempted by a dual of billiards with Maverick – the two were middle siblings in their families but that is where their similarities ended. The irony of course, like most feuds of this kind – the whole debate about who is right and what is right or what even happened to put such a decisive wench in their trust of each other – goes back at least 100 years from present day! The hard bit of course is how close they live to one another (their neighbours!) and how quickly old wounds can become freshly revisited.

Rock does a smashing job of bringing in the emotional reactions of a person whose recently been told their eyesight is minimising and will soon make them legally blind. Not completely blind but they will have to adapt their life and their lifestyle around their new limitations of sight. Except of course, for some people who are workaholics or highly competitive persons like Amberley – this is unacceptable. It marks them as being ‘less than their peers’ which to us, on the outside is ridiculous as no one with any sense would view them as such but to them, without their sight, they are not alive. They can’t do what they regularly do in the ways they used to do them so any suggestion to do something differently is going to affect them at their core.

Rock shows how Amberley wanted to shut down, turning her back on the world at large and even tried to push away Jared, her mother and even riding – as what use was it to do something blind? Her whole thought process was constricted against the doctor’s opinion about her vision field worsening and the prospects of her future erasing before she had time to act on achieving her dreams. The sad bit though there is how far adaptive technologies have come to aide those who are experiencing limited sight and who want to keep striving towards their goals. In some ways, it seemed strange she turnt away from her horse and from riding – as one thing horses can do (same as dogs) is make up the differences between what we can do and what they can do with us as a team. This is one reason horses are beneficial at re-connecting those who are facing medical difficulties with equine therapy as the horses can break through those barriers people try to carve out a wall between themselves and the outside world. In Amberley’s case, she needed to accept her condition and then take strides towards learning how to adapt around it. The honesty Ms Rock was able to stitch into Amberley’s reactions and Jared’s is rather brilliant as it relates both sides of the experience quite well.

Reading about the trials Amberley was facing brought me back to the *9!* seasons I streamed of #Heartland via NetFlix last year. I want to continue watching the series one of these days as much as I want to own them on dvd – however, peering into how Amberley felt about riding Harley and how Harley himself was changing her opinion once she could get over her own emotions and internal spiral – she started to realise a few important things she was dearly overlooking! Such as the strong connection she shared with Harley and the reasons why being there for him were a bit more important right now than wallowing in her own self-pity!!

One of my favourite scenes is where a potential rider at the camp for equine therapy mentions how if she won’t ride, they don’t have to either – as a direct result of identifying with her current struggles with accepting her limited vision sparked the reaction which re-set her life back into balance. Sometimes you have to hear about your own behaviour from an outside source – your parents, our close friends or your significant other (if you have one) are too close to give you that kind of ‘realistic’ feedback. The hardest part you see is not leaning on ‘crutches’ – on making excuses for why you can’t do something just ‘because’ of your new diagnosis and of finding ways ‘forward’ when you can’t separate your past with your present.

One of the things Jared and Amberley shared in common was the distinctive voice of their fathers’ threatening their sense of self by affecting their entire state of mind. Both heard echoes of their fathers’ in their hearts – struggling to put distance between what they told them whilst they were alive and the absence of their presence now in death. The haunting way in which both fathers’ could still have such a strong impact on their children ought to have been a positive one but in this particular case, both Jared and Amberley had left-over baggage from their fathers’ to the extent they struggled to move forward in the present. The short version is their fathers’ set the bar too high and never allowed wiggle room for anything ‘less than’ what was expected to be achieved.

I had forgotten Justin was Jesse’s twin brother – though I knew this particular Cade sibling had the most angst to work through, Ms Rock does a great job of foreshadowing how we’ll transition into his story in the installment after this one Bad Boy Rancher! I am looking forward to reading that one – as like I said, I ran out of time to have it sourced through my local library before the blog tour. With more installments arriving in 2019 and 2020, I blessedly have a bit of time to fetch a copy!

As we progress through the story, observing how Jared comes up with highly creative means to prove to Amberley she can stay independent and be both a member of the Carbondale community inasmuch as a competitive rider, you also see the tenderness of how their connection to each other start to shift. At first, whenever Jared tried to share his feelings for her, his affections had the opposite effect as she wasn’t ready to embrace his overtures. The more comfortable Amberley was growing in her new reality of living with limited vision, the more she was able to start to see other facets of her life in new rays of light.

I have to admit, my favourite bits to this story were when Amberley or Jared were riding – I miss horse-back riding myself on a regular basis, so seeing them in the saddle for a lot of the action sequences was a true blessing. That’s one reason I love reading Westerns as much as I do as everyone gets to go off riding for a considerable bit of the time whilst your soaking up their stories! Harley also reminded me of a horse I rode in childhood – with patience and a kind heart, willing to do whatever his rider needed him to do.

Oyyy vie. You’d think by now the Cade and Loveland siblings could at least find a way to make peace with the fact they might be in each other’s lives due to the curious attraction of two people their related too! In that regard, I felt the lead-up to how this suddenly taboo relationship between the two families was written rather well! Especially since it was carried over from Christmas at Cade Ranch and done in such of a way to be believable! You really get invested in this family, even if you feel some of the adult children are behaving in a way that really irks your ire – as the only one thus far whose found a bit of common sense (courtesy of Sofia!) is James! Imagine that!? (laughs)

Falling for a Cowboy is seriously the best title this story could be given as it truly knits out the heart of what happens between Amberley and Jared! Of all the stories thus far along, Jared and Jackson inched a bit ahead of James in regards to how their romances touched my heart! This is a series which keeps evolving with each new installment – pulling together brilliantly the continuity between the stories and aligning you within a setting and a family you dearly enjoy spending time with as we get to tuck inside another lens of perspective which unites us into the Cade-Loveland saga Ms Rock has writ for us to read!

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Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of [2017], having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) whilst I was visiting as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. I had to put the memes on hold for several months (until I started to resume them (with Top Ten Tuesday) in January 2018). When I enquiried about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. I am unsure how many books I’ll review for them as most are offered digitally rather than in print but this happily marks one of the blog tours where I could receive a print book for review purposes. Oft-times you’ll find Prism Book Tours alighting on my blog through the series of guest features and spotlights with notes I’ll be hosting on behalf of their authors.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Cowboy’s Pride” direct from the author Karen Rock in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Blog Book Tour | “A Cowboy’s Pride” (Book Four: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock Whilst feat. reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch” and “Falling for a Cowboy” books one and two in the series!A Cowboy's Pride
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

Old wounds run deep

Only the truth can heal them…

Rancher Cole Loveland has no interest in dredging up the past, but his ex-fiancée, Katlynn Brennon, has other plans. To save her struggling TV show, she’s come back to Colorado to investigate the infamous Cade-Loveland feud. Trusting Katlynn again isn’t easy—she’s already chosen her career over Cole once. But he’s beginning to realize that true love, like legends, never dies.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335633804

on 4th September, 2018

Pages: 384

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming

Converse via: #Contemporary #Western + #Romance

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The Rocky Mountain Cowboys series:

A Cowboy to Keep (Prequel) (see also Review)

Christmas at Cade Ranch (Book One)

Falling for a Cowboy (Book Two)

Bad Boy Rancher (Book Three) (Synopsis)

A Cowboy’s Pride (Book Four)

About Karen Rock

Karen Rock is an award-winning YA and adult contemporary romance author. She holds a master’s degree in English and worked as an ELA instructor before becoming a full-time writer. Currently she writes for Harlequin Heartwarming and her first novel for the line, WISH ME TOMORROW, has won the 2014 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2014 Golden Quill Contest and a finalist in the Published Maggie Awards. The first novel in her co-authored YA series, CAMP BOYFRIEND, has been a finalist in the Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards.

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a note from the author:

Welcome back to the Cade and Loveland family saga! So far, we’ve been following the lives and loves of the Cade family. A Cowboy’s Pride is the first book featuring the Cade’s lifelong feuding neighbors, the Lovelands. Unlike the passionate, strong-willed, impetus Cades, the Loveland cowboys are tight-lipped, slow to anger, stubborn and protective of each other and those they love. This book is about second chance romance, family drama caused by old scandals, and learning never to take love for granted or squander a chance at happily-ever-after when you are lucky enough to find it… especially the second time around…

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My Review of a cowboy’s pride:

When you first find out the dilemma facing Katlynn at her job, you truly feel she’s between the proverbial rock and a hard place – should she relate the story of the Cade-Loveland feud or should she keep those details to herself? How would you choose between knowing your job (your career, really!) was on the brink of combusting in front of you and the idea (of yours) which could very well savage the destruction of it? I would not want to be in her shoes – as it is not as easy as just simply saying “Use the idea!” as there are lives involved which would become affected by choosing to run with a lead you know would gain popularity with the viewing public.

As Katlynn re-emerges into the Loveland lives – she finds Cole isn’t as keen on having her round nor is she feeling especially comfortable for the experience herself. If anything, they both have a lot in the past which this assignment is dredging up for them both. Hers is a complicated past, fraught with a difficult upbringing and a disappointing engagement (to Cole no less!) whereas his life has its own share of secrets; the kind no one would want to be leaked out into a national tv series!

Finding these two at passionate odds with each other was fitting – as the whole feud surrounding the Cade and Loveland families is about how two prideful and passionate ranching families can’t find peace about their co-joined past and move forward without the animosity. Seeing her return to the Loveland ranch – talking with Mr Loveland and Cole, you could gather the sense this was the last place she expected to find herself now. For Katylnn had altered who she was in many regards – she didn’t consider herself ‘ready’ for camera so she took steps to alter her appearance – not just from the physical changes Cole observed which were taken out by a plastic surgeon (of all people!) but from the superficial as well – such as hair colour, style of clothing and to the harder edge she put around herself. She in effect became what she felt the job demanded of her and she no longer wanted to be reminded about the person she was before she left Carbondale and the Loveland family behind.

What interested me most about her story and Cole’s is how they both have two uniquely different points of view about what led to their break-up and of whom was the cause of the separation. It isn’t quite known early-on in this installment which of them was most at fault or even, if you were to know who broke whose heart, the fact remains – neither of them has ever fully recovered. That’s the interesting bit for me – how two people who claim to distance themselves from each other really can’t resolve the fact they are no longer together. It is an interesting premise from that angle even before you pull in the family feud with the Cades and the boiling drama over how the two remaining Cade/Loveland parents are smitten with each other!!

Fire and Ice is what you have here – Katlynn and Cole run hot and cold in equal measurements – their either enjoying each others’ company or trying to remember ever reason why they ought to be hating being so close to each other! The irony of course is what everyone round them is saying on their behalf and how even to themselves, the feelings they felt were ironed out and nailed shut are not as easily dismissable as they first felt!

I had to smile – Cole and Katlynn finally found a reason to call a truce of their own – which in effect meant they had a common goal which was worth more to both of them than their own feelings which sat in conflict with each other! Digging into the past was both an arduous undertaking and a joyful respite for them both from the goings on of their lives. Cole was isolating himself so much from the world around him, he wasn’t even aware of the fact he was missing out on a lot of what was going on in his absence. He had his head down too often – he needed someone to re-inspire him to reconnect to his community, his siblings but also the outside world. Whereas for Katlynn – it is almost as if she had gone off so fast out of Carbondale she had forgotten to protect herself and remain true to herself.

I love historical mysteries – the kinds which lead you through a search of old documents, faded letters and the kind of hidden truths only time can erase. As you fall into step with Katlynn and Cole, you start to get excited about the trail of clues their pursuing! Each leg of the journey, they start to draw closer to what happened between the two families but their also finding out much more about themselves during the course of the ‘research’. Given how much time they have to spend together – it could only lead to honest conversation, the kind two scorned partners might not be willing to entertain as they were most comfortable with their separation (at least on the surface!).

I was overjoyed finding a special sequence reserved for Joy and Boyd inside A Cowboy’s Pride – mostly as this is the tender-hearted romance I’ve most wanted to see explored within the series! These two were meant for each other long before they had their respective families – the fact that each of them are the head of the families involved in the feud was more feed for fodder! Mr Rock did an excellent job at laying down the back-stories but in this installment, she took it a bit further – allowing Joy and Boyd to talk openly and freely about their relationship. I found it rather fitting as it proved once more how sometimes the love and romance in your life takes a bit of extra time to walk into your heart!

Everything comes full circle in the Rocky Mountain Cowboys series – you get to see where loose ends knit back together and the one beautiful thing about this series is you get to have continual updates about all the characters you’ve loved reading about in prior installments! If you take the title of this one for a second to ruminate – you’ll find the word “pride” speaks volumes towards understanding where this story was leading you to venture. It isn’t just the pride of the current cowboys in the Cade-Loveland families but of all the cowboys within their mutual lineages who led to the current heroes of the series.

Pride is an interesting topic to explore – not just on the surface of things but in regards to how this can affect a person’s sense of reason and logic. In this instance, pride overshadowed a person’s ability to think with their principles rather than their greed. Although the story digs deeper than this story arc – as this arches backwards into the feud itself, the historical ramifications of the feud and of course, how a ripple effect nearly crippled the relationships of the Cades and Lovelands overall. No, pride is also shown as it strikes to undercut your confidence, to hide away the truthfulness of your heart and how it can sometimes overpower your sense of will. There are good points and bad when it comes to pride and watching Ms Rock explore all of them in such a cleverly spun tale was absolute joy!

On the Contemporary Western Romance styling of Ms Rock:

One of the things I admire most about how Ms Rock writes her stories is the continuity aspects of her series – where you can move from one installment to another in a seamless transition. I’ve started reading this series from the prequel into the first and second novels – before arriving into the fourth ahead of the third. I almost thought that was a mistake on my part, as I wasn’t sure if this fourth installment would pick up directly out of the third or return to an earlier conflict. The beauty of reading this series slightly out of sequence is how compelling it was for the feud to take precedent and thereby allowing me to continue the continuity I have been appreciating by reading this fourth novel.

The feud itself was established in the earlier stories – setting down the foundation of how both families are at war with each other – not just over the water rights (though those are a valid reason for the ill will between them) but it goes back to a matter of principle and honour. Of the circumstances relating to the original feud’s origins and how unsettling it is for the details which have remained behind paint a rather dark portrait of their ancestor’s lives.

Through all of this, Ms Rock has rooted us into the Cade and Loveland families – showing us how human each of the families are and how vulnerable the members of their families are to the adversities of life. In many ways, both the Cades and Lovelands have each endured a lot of obstacles and have made their own sacrifices over the years – over and beyond the feud which has always stood between them. Ms Rock makes this a living reality for us as readers – as you don’t have to get too far into the stories to feel the tension coming the Cades or the Lovelands – their natural reactions to each other is out of spite and anger; fuelling the feud and deepening the chasm between them.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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A Cowboy's Pride blog tour via Prism Book ToursClick through via the badge to find out what else awaits you!

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Here are a few quotations from my fellow book bloggers who’ve read ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’ on the blog tour as well as those of whom have been reading the series overall:

“This love story has plenty of electrical moments, but the characters different wants and needs take the romance on a long, hard journey. The writing style carried me away, as it was so vivid and descriptive. The plot, the chemistry, the swoony kisses, the mystery, and the characters make this read very enjoyable!” – Katie’s Clean Book Collection

A Cowboy’s Pride pulled me in with its beautiful cover – and while covers don’t always deliver what they promise, this one certainly does… I loved this story, as well as the whole series, and hope it continues for a long time. –

“Delving deeper into the Loveland side of this feud lets us get to know the family better since the series so far had centered around the Cade’s. I enjoyed how well the Cades were still brought into the storyline of this family as well. An enjoyable plot, great characters and a satisfying mystery kept me enthralled throughout!” – Thoughts of a Blonde

“Karen Rock’s excellent writing never disappoints, but A Cowboy’s Pride might be my favorite book in her Rocky Mountain Cowboys series… A Cowboy’s Pride is filled with suspense and intrigue, as well as mystery, and it’s easy to get swept up in the drama of the three love stories featured in Karen Rock’s well-written novel.” – A Slice of Life

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I have now read *5!* of Ms Rock’s novels – I am so very eager to read ‘Bad Boy Rancher’ as this was the one title I ran out of time to request from my local library to read ahead of this blog tour. Therefore, if this is your first introduction to her novels, please know I originally read another Contemporary of hers: ‘A League of Her Own’ whilst I previously shared my thoughts on the prequel of the Rocky Mountain Cowboy’s series. I can’t wait to see what comes next! I also hope to collect all the novels in this particular series as I’ve enjoyed reading it!

I do regret my review on behalf of ‘A Cowboy’s Pride’ was delayed for a few weeks – I had intended to hug my review closer to when the tour officially ended. However, I had a bout of unwellness this September which took awhile to recover from and to be honest, my readings were affected by how ill I felt. I waited til my head and heart cleared to where I could resume where I left off with my reading(s) and flesh out my thoughts on behalf of re-entering into the Cade & Loveland feud at the moment where resolution & peace can finally be sought on both sides for these neighbouring families who have been anything *but!* neighbourly!

I am overjoyed knowing we get to read Jewel Cade’s story next – as she fell head over heels for a Loveland lad – which of course, has been causing an uproar in of itself! lol One thing I’ve come to love about this series is how realistic Ms Rock continues to ground the series and how compelling her characters are to read!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “A Cowboy to Keep” and “Christmas at Cade Ranch” as well as the author’s photo and biography were provided by the author Karen Rock and are used with permission. Cover art of “Falling for a Cowboy”, “Bad Boy Rancher” and “A Cowboy’s Pride” as well as the book synopsis for “Falling for a Cowboy” & “A Cowboy’s Pride”, the Author’s Note, the Prism Book Tours badge, the blog tour banner and the quotations from the blog tour (reviews) were all provided by Prism Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets embedded by codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 29 September, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Farm and Ranching on the Frontier, Indie Author, Library Find, Life Shift, Local Libraries | Research Libraries, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Specialised Crime Investigator, Suspense, West Coast USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance

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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | “A Cowboy’s Pride” (Book Four: Rocky Mountain Cowboys) by Karen Rock Whilst feat. reviews of “Christmas at Cade Ranch” and “Falling for a Cowboy” books one and two in the series!

  1. Hi, Jori,
    Thank you so much for your absolutely beautiful reviews that left me teary-eyed by the end of reading them! It’s as though you used all of the prettiest words in the dictionary just for this lovely post. I want to send you a copy of Falling for A Cowboy (it’s actually one of my favorite books in the series and I just can’t let you miss it- haha)

    When you have a chance, would you kindly email me at karenrock(at)live(dot)com and let me know if you’d like a digital or an autographed print copy? I’ll get it out to you ASAP. <3 Karen

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Rock!

      What a beautifully lovely note to wake-up to finding on my blog!! I am truly blessed you’ve not just stopped by to read my thoughts on behalf of the series which has overtaken my bookish heart as being one of the few series this year which have become my ready #mustread favourites but to give me this keen insight into how it was for you to read those thoughts & reminiscence about the series! Truly I am full of blissitude, today!! I am composing an email for you and will be sending it along shortly! How very kind of you to offer to send me the one book I’ve not yet read in the series thus far! Ooh boy! I can’t wait to write you a positive affirmation of ‘yes’ with the fullness of gratitude!!

      PS I switched your address to block spammers as I didn’t want your Inbox to get unnecessarily flooded!

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