#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Reunited with the Cowboy” (Book No.1 of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwen

Posted Thursday, 11 July, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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

Acquired Book By: I’ve been hosting for Prism Book Tours since September of 2017 – having noticed the badge on Tressa’s blog (Wishful Endings) as we would partake in the same blog tours and/or book blogosphere memes. As I enquired about hosting for Prism, I found I liked the niche of authors and stories they were featuring regularly. 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 when I’m not showcasing book reviews on behalf of Harlequin Heartwarming which has become my second favourite imprint of Harlequin next to my beloved #LoveINSPIRED Suspense. I am also keenly happy PRISM hosts a variety of Indie Authors and INSPY Fiction novelists.

I received a complimentary copy of “Reunited with the Cowboy” direct from the author Claire McEwen in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Let’s face it: if there is a cowboy involved, Jorie is *going!* to be reading it:

The beauty really are the authors Harlequin has within Heartwarming and Love Inspired – they know how to write the drama within the romance but also how to write compelling series with realistic characters & narratives which are a joy to be reading. I get quite giddy whenever there is a new author to read from Heartwarming or Love Inspired – whilst having the chance to participate on one of their blog tours is quite icing on the romantic cake! I love celebrating authors who are writing the STORIES which give me a heart full of blissitude to be #amreading – thus, for the past two years I’ve been hosting PRISM’s blog tours, I’ve been doubly blessed to become acquainted with the Heartwarming imprint and their series!

I’ll be honest – before I even knew a whisper of a hint of where this story would take me – the novel perked my interest for a singular word in the book’s title: *cowboy!* I know, that sounds interesting doesn’t it? How can one word in a book’s title give you the wickedest sweet joy of anticipation in order to read a story? You’d have to go back into my childhood & teenage years to realise that I read quite a lot of lovely Cowboy & Western Fiction! So much so, this is one reason I was wickedly thankful to have found the Rocky Mountain Cowboys & Return of the Blackwell Brothers over the last few years – because they’ve given me *contemporary!* cowboys I can rally behind rather than my usual guilty pleasure of reading the Historicals!

Open country, horse-back riding, close-knit families & communities who care about each other is what draws me into Cowboy Fiction & stories of the West. However, you can find cowboys in nearly every state – outside of my wanderings in the Rockies and other points West – I have found some of the most delightful stories are about Northern California ranchers & ranches! This particular story is set in NorCal and I was wicked excited about meeting the community of Shelter Creek but even moreso – the characters who populate the towne and the series itself!

What sweetened the joy of reading this novel is this is the *first!* novel in a NEW series for Heartwarming inasmuch as the fact I learnt this is the first book the author has published in the past few years – being a writer myself, I understand the long journey behind the books themselves and am wicked thrilled I get to be on her blog tour celebrating the joy of what this book represented to her as a writer and as a creative!

Still though.. its a cowboy story and I am seriously over the moon thankful for a new cowboy story to be reading,..

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#HarlequinHeartwarming Blog Book Tour | “Reunited with the Cowboy” (Book No.1 of the Heroes of Shelter Creek series) by Claire McEwenReunited with the Cowboy
Subtitle: Heroes of Shelter Creek
by Claire McEwen, Ms Claire McEwen
Source: Author via Prism Book Tours

She can save his ranch…

But can he forgive her?

Maya Burton knows she’s the last person rancher Caleb Dunne wants to see. After all, she survived the crash that killed his sister, and then left town. Now she has to convince the stubborn cowboy that she can help him save his ranch. But once she earns his trust—and his heart—will she be able to walk away?

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Ranches & Cowboys, Romance Fiction, Western Fiction, Western Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781335510730

Also by this author: Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Rescuing the Rancher

Also in this series: Her Surprise Cowboy, After the Rodeo, Second Chance Cowboy, Rescuing the Rancher

Published by Harlequin Heartwarming

on 1st July, 2019

Format: Larger Print (Mass Market Paperback)

Pages: 368

The Heroes of Shelter Creek series:

*Isn’t it lovely – this novel kicks-off a NEW series!!*

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Reunited with the Cowboy (book one) – Caleb & Maya’s story

After the Rodeo (book two) ← forthcoming, 3rd of September, 2019!
(Jace & Vivian’s story!)

Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin Books

Formats Available: Paperback* and Ebook

*Harlequin has the luxury of offering Regular, Large & Larger Print editions which I personally can attest are lovely to be reading! Especially after a migraine or when my eyes are fatigued.

Converse via: ##RWTCTour and #HarlequinHeartwarming

About Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen

Claire McEwen writes stories about strong heroes and heroines who take big, emotional journeys to find their happily-ever-after. She lives by the ocean in Northern California with her family and a scruffy, mischievous terrier. When she’s not writing, Claire enjoys gardening, reading and discovering flea-market treasures. She loves to hear from readers!

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Author Notes to Readers & learning more about this novel:

I love whenever an author leaves a note or letter inside their novels for their readers – Harlequin and ChocLit novelists do this inside theirs all the time – whereas with other genres and publishers, it can become a bit hit or miss. What I love about those that take the time to write them though is they give a bit more insight into story you’ve become smitten to read and it allows you to know a bit more about the writer’s intuitive styling therein.

Except that prior to reading the author’s note this time round, I read this lovely open letter to writers and readers alike who might have wanted to find out more about the ‘back-story’ of how Reunited with the Cowboy was written. You can find the lovely post on the author’s website – the beauty of the post I felt is that she expressed how all of us as writers go through moments where we’re consumed by the joy of writing, creating the stories which speak to each of us to be writing and then, there are moments in our lives where we might feel as if the stories will never return to us at all. This is something I can personally relate too and one I enjoyed reading about in another writer’s journey.

I can’t remember either if I had known the Super Romance imprint had been ‘let go’ of or if that was one imprint that snuck past me. In truth, although I’ve read a few of those in the past – my favourite outside of my passionate devourment of Love Inspired: Suspense has been the Heartwarming line of stories. I found Super Romance to be a bit hit/miss with me – whereas the kind of relationship-based romances I love to read are housed in Heartwarming. This is why I’m thankful for the authors who are writing these stories and the serendipitous ways I’ve become an avid reader of the series they’ve created!

my review of reunited with the cowboy:

The hardest person to face in life is yourself – which Maya recognised as her key obstacle in order to find a way to allow herself the kind of healing and forgiveness she needed in her life. A tragic accident marred the confidence she has about life and about the trajectory of where she wants to be within the path she’s carved for herself. The kind of tragedy you don’t just bounce back from after time has distanced the memory of it because its the kind of tragedy that has repercussions as it affects other people’s lives as much as your own. For such a brief opening bridge, McEwen not only tucks into your emotional attachment to the emotions stemming out of Maya’s past but she gives you an empathetic understanding into the state of mind Maya is currently facing as she makes her way back inside her hometown.

She’s in her element- in the woods and setting up her cameras to monitor the mountain lions but what off-sets her balance is the reunion she hadn’t planned with her former boyfriend, Caleb. You could feel the tension in her body jump as soon as she realised it was him on the trail with her – it was the kind of moment you’re just never prepared to face and sometimes, I wonder if that is why these random encounters need to happen. As otherwise, what would propel and motivate you to re-walk into a person’s life you’ve attempted to avoid happening?

Caleb had his own reasons for not wanting to bump into Maya again – the least of which had to do with his state of mind, as he, too, had to deal with his thoughts and emotions as much as Maya needed to herself. His was a bit more complicated as he has PTSD from serving overseas complicated by the fact he had lost his sister; the latter of course, is what drew them together and apart in a twist of fate that neither of them could have predicted. He was a staunchly proud rancher despite the chaos that had become his life currently and if he had to deal with an official sounding old flame who now worked for the organisation who could rule over whether or not he could handle the issues at his ranch – you nearly had the impression he was going to self-implode! It was just too much information for him to process and he wasn’t in a good place at the time he realised how much Maya was going to be a part of his life for the foreseeable future. It was almost like this re-connection was the last straw and he couldn’t handle anything else.

Jace is the right kind of friend for Caleb – he calls him on his excuses and tries to be the better influence on him when he knows his friend is struggling the most. For Jace, his life had already taken an alternative route of purpose when he had to step forward to be the guardian of his sister’s children. I was a bit surprised it was written he was fostering the kids as usually a close relative can gain guardianship without having to become licensed to foster them. I was hoping there would be a few more details in this story to reveal how that had happened but part of me knew I’d have to be patient to read After the Rodeo where McEwen would focus on Jace’s side of the story!

When we get to meet the book club members of Maya’s grandmother, you start to see how close-knit this community likes to stay together. The women have fond memories of Maya when she was younger but it doesn’t take long to see that these sisterhood friendships of her grandmother’s is what is truly giving her grandmother the best medicine of life. The women found a way to be actively involved in each others’ lives and it is the best way for each of them to feel not just needed but wanted in someone else’s everyday world. It was definitely the kind of book club that focused more on the social aspects of the club than the literary elements but that is what made it such a delight to observe! The women were full of laughter and commentary – each giving the other a lot of joy just by being present!

McEwen paints the spiral Caleb is falling into realistically in-tune with where he is emotionally and psychologically. He’s just reached that pivotal point where he cannot handle anything more in his life and world. Every new experience he’s finding a new reason why he wants to emotionally check-out and just find a glass or a bottle that will help him release the memories wrecking through his mind. His PTSD is well written because it hones in on what it does to affect his everyday hours – how he struggles just to get through ordinary obstacles and chores. He can’t filter anything else out – the more he interacts with Maya the more brutal he was attacking himself from the inside out and it was having an effect on him that even Caleb I believed was scared about the outcome because he was slowly disappearing into a darker space than the one he had occupied for so long. His reunion with Maya was the catalyst but I felt the problems he had been facing until then were just one trigger away from descending him into the spiral itself. The truth of it is he needed to face the truths of his past and present but first he had to find a way to forgive himself.

One of the sweetest passages I’ve come across recently in my readings is how Maya discovered her new dog Einstein! It pulls at your heart if you’ve enjoyed adopting rescued animals over the years but in many regards, Einstein’s presence in the novel felt like an overture of recognition that it isn’t just the animals of Shelter Creek who need guidance, renewal of spirit and a second chance at life. Its also the people who live here who are trying their best to make do with the circumstances they’ve found themselves in but without a clear path towards knowing how to fix what has gone wrong in their lives. There was another touching moment where someone stepped forward to help Caleb with his ranch – of course, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to handle that kind of outreach but it strikes to the heart of the community. These are people who want to do good and even if they are sometimes a bit late in supporting the people who need their support the most (such as in the case of Maya) they make up for it eventually!

McEwen has put a lot of growth into the novel – from the perspective of her leading characters but also from the supporting cast. Everyone is in the middle of evolving in this story – where the community recognises they need to do more and be better involved in each other’s lives to where Caleb and Maya recognise their at a crossroads themselves. This is the kind of series where you feel connected to their journeys and truly rally behind their efforts to find the strength and courage to do what they need to do in order to overcome the moments of their lives which brought the most adversity.

I found the topic of predator prevention fascinating. Mostly because I understand that side of ranching – not just from the stories I’ve read in the past but because I live outside of a metropolis where the wildlife can be part of the allure of living closer to the natural world. We have coyotes here which you hardly ever see as their quite shy but one thing is for sure, if everyone played their part the way Maya was influencing the ranchers of Shelter Creek to amend their approaches at wildlife control, I believe everyone everywhere might have a newfound appreciation for why each of the species of wildlife in our environs play such a strong part in the health of the habitats they inhabit. I loved the way McEwen approached the subject by not just sharing the facts but of showing how those facts can translate into real world applications.

McEwen excels at writing emotionally convicting stories like this one because of how she tempers the emotional passages with the community of Shelter Creek. In a lot of ways, the title of the series is a key note towards understanding the evolution of where I believe the series might take us as readers- this is a place where you don’t just shelter your heart but a place where you can find a shelter to weather the storms of life. A place to find renewal and to find healing – right in the moments where life feels slightly out of your control and where you need a place to have a community to support you as you work through whatever life has dealt you. This is what I am hoping Shelter Creek will be about as we move forward as it already has developed into this kind of place now in the debut Reunited with the Cowboy.

On the Contemporary romance style of claire mcewen:

As this is my first novel I’ve read by Ms McEwen, I truly appreciated the emotional density of the story-line – you truly get a strong feeling for where her characters are at the beginning of the novel; still in the process of healing and recovery from their losses whilst they still sort out how to move forward with their lives. That’s the compelling part of how she writes – she pulls you into their lives as if you were meant to follow them all along but with the fuller benefit of having just enough details to have empathy and understanding for why their lives have become so arduously difficult in the past few years.

Emotionally gutting and realistic in both the delivery of the story and the build-up behind the character’s lives is what truly staid with me as I read Reunited with the Cowboy. Rather than a traditional story-line involving ranching and cowboys, this novel tucks closer to the realities of returning home from service and of how sometimes a homecoming isn’t quite what you’re prepared to face if you’ve gone through an experience which has taken a lot out of your soul just to survive.

I appreciated how McEwen wrote this story – as she’s taken a lot of realistic real world situations and beautifully crafted them into the background of the series she’s written with such a heart of purpose that you can’t wait to read the next installment! I loved too, how she fused Jace’s story into Caleb’s because it gave you a hearty measure of excitement to read his story next as the series continues in After the Rodeo. Whilst his role in this story also worked on another layer of insight – about how to best help your friends who are struggling to put the pieces of their lives back together and when to realise you have to take a full step back from aiding them if their not in the right place to accept assistance. I truly felt Jace had more to share about his life long before I knew he had the next story in the series – his character was as fully conceptionalised as Caleb’s and I knew it would be a wicked good sequel to read!

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Prism Book Tours

Prism Book Tours

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Reunited with the Cowboy blog tour via Prism Book Tours

End of the Blog Tour badged provided by Prism Book ToursBy clicking this badge you can find out about the giveaway associated with the tour;
my particular tour stop doesn’t host the giveaway as I’m a review stop, however,
you’ll find many other bloggers who are hosting the information!

This review is cross-posted to LibraryThing.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com{SOURCES: Cover art of “Reunited with the Cowboy”, the synopsis for “Reunited with the Cowboy”, the author’s photo and biography as well as the Prism Book Tours badge 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 Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2019.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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 Thursday, 11 July, 2019 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, California, Contemporary Romance, Contemporary Western Fiction, Cowboys & Ranches, Family Life, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Prism Book Tours, PTSD, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Small Towne Fiction, Small Towne USA, Western Fiction, Western Romance

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