Acquired Book By: I started hosting with Prism Book Tours at the end of , 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. This is how I came to love discovering the Harlequin Heartwarming authors & series as much as it has been an honour to regularly request INSPY stories and authors. Whenever I host for Prism, I know I am in for an uplifting read and a journey into the stories which give me a lot of joy to find in my readerly queue of #nextreads. It is an honour to be a part of their team of book bloggers.
My review for this blog tour unfortunately was delayed – I was ran a spotlight in lieu of a review during the blog tour and happily can now share my thoughts on the fourth installment of a series I have been delighted in re-visiting each time Ms McDavid releases a new chapter in the lives of these characters. It has become one of my favourite Harlequin Heartwarming Western Romance series – in company with the Rocky Mountain Cowboys (by Karen Rock), the Return of the Blackwell Brothers series (by multi-authors) and Heroes of Shelter Creek (by Claire McEwen).
I received a complimentary copy of “Her Cowboy Sweetheart” direct from the author Cathy McDavid in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.
Why I continue to love returning back into The Sweetheart Ranch series:
You immediately get attached to Jewel, Ava and Tanner’s situation because of how heart-wrenching it truly is once you learn all the facts about what caused the distance to erupt between Jewel and Tanner! Tanner is the kind of son and brother you’d hoped to have in your family – the kind where honour and loyalty are his best attributes but when it comes to balancing his family with his girlfriend, this is where his first fault is revealled. Tanner didn’t handle himself well with Jewel and this is also why little Ava despite her innocent acceptance of him didn’t know him from Adam. I also loved how in the opening pages Tanner is fuming at Jewel, when in theory you’d have thought Jewel would have been beyond angry at Tanner; at least, she was initially but I think its the shock of being reunited which overtook her moreso than the anger itself.
Just acknowledging what had transpired in their lives felt like a soap opera – you can hardly believe any of that could be true and yet, the ways in which McDavid writes the story – you cannot help but believe the situation because of how true it truly is to believe plausible! If anything you have sympathy for these two beyond the obvious reasons and your empathy for their plight is what leads you into the next pages… with an itch to see if they can either work through their differences and heal the past or if they need to temper their own reactions for the sake of Ava. Whichever way McBride had envisioned this story to go, all I knew is that I was ready to take the journey!
I felt it was fitting Emily was the one who met and took Jewel round Sweetheart Ranch – she has this kind-hearted grandmotherly persona which suits her well and she still had that distinctive glow of the recently married about her as well. The irony of course is how readily Jewel is finding that this ranch and the community which surrounds it is a small world. Meaning, there are a lot of interconnections between the towne, the ranch and the overall region therein. If she felt that trying to cut out a new life for herself and Ava would be seamless whilst finding out Tanner was living here as well – wells, let’s just say she short-changed herself for a bit of grief!
McBride definitely sorted out a way to bridge us into the difficulties of where a hidden pregnancy once revealled can become the unexpected nightmare for the parents. Tanner was unfortunately being a stubborn as a bull in July – not wavering his stance or even trying to understand the path Jewel had walked without him present. Whilst at the same time, Jewel was trying not to just confront her feelings for Tanner or the repercussions of knowing his whereabouts given he’s the father of her child but there was a finer point towards what is best for not just the child but the parents of the child. This is one of those slippery slopes where because they weren’t officially married nor separated, they are in that gray area where the law recognises both of them but that doesn’t meant they are mutually exclusive in their claim for the child.
I liked how McBride was presenting the case for Ava – she didn’t add judgement to the situation but carefully started to weave in the consequences of what happens when a baby comes into your life when your not planning to conceive. It takes both parties to realise their roles and to feel comfortable in the role they inherently want to occupy but its even more complicated than that when you don’t have a custody agreement penned between you. I felt the rest of the story might bring us towards that conclusion – how do you deal with an unplanned pregnancy, a reluctant Mum who is wary of her ex-boyfriend (as there are a layer of trust issues) and legal circumstances above and beyond this situation which could wreck even more heartache on their fragile state of family?
The complexities of this story keep building the harder McBride takes us into the conspiracy of what is surrounding the key case at the centre of the drama. A conspiracy in this case to subvert the truth even of a worthy case felt to me to be a bit too much to ask of those who were remaining quiet because it put themselves in jeopardy. Not just for the rumours but the situational stickiness of never being able to be open with responses to even simple questions which might route back round to the issues of why they are choosing to remain silent. I felt McBride wrote a dearly realistic story-line which has a lot of hidden layers – she pulls apart her character’s emotional states by placing you centre-fold into their lives – to understand what is compelling them to lie or to at least cover the truth with half-truths for an outcome which on the surface seems to be the right way to go for this particular set of circumstances but overall, you just feel the worst for how unrealistic the plan is to execute.
The author’s note inside The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby revealled how McDavid had considered owning a ranch similar to this one she’s created in the Sweetheart Ranch series. I had to agree with her that the concept behind the ranch and the ways in which it is run is very alluring because you are focusing on the happier moments in all of our lives. To rejoice in that kind of goodwill and thankfulness on a continuing basis would be beyond uplifting because you’re helping to seal the memories of life changing events which become the cornerstones of people’s lives!
Similar to the seamless transition I felt when I was reading The Cowboy’s Perfect Match – I also felt transitioning into this novel after reading one earlier in Spring was as easy as regularly Saturday family dinners! You get to re-visit with beloved characters, re-settle into the time-line of Sweetheart Ranch and find new characters you’re drawn into reading about due to their aspirations and the stories they have to share with us all.
-quoted from my book review for The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby
He’s been a good friend
But can he be her sweetheart?
At Sweetheart Ranch, single mom Carly Leighton finds a fresh start, and a friendly neighbor in former bull rider JD Moreno. Neither are looking for love—Carly must think first of her son, Rickie, while JD is recovering from a career-ending balance disorder. But when her former in-laws demand access to Rickie, Carly turns to JD for support and finds he is becoming more than a friend in need…
Places to find the book:
Published by Harlequin Heartwarming
on 5th May, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback
The Sweetheart Ranch series:
A Cowboy’s Christmas Proposal (book one) | see also review
The Cowboy’s Perfect Match (book two) | see also review
The Cowboy’s Christmas Baby (book three) | see also review
Her Cowboy Sweetheart (book four)
Published by: Harlequin Heartwarming,
an imprint of Harlequin Books (@HarlequinBooks)
Formats Available: Ebook and Paperback
Converse via: #Contemporary #Romance & #Harlequin Heartwarming
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: