Review: Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller

Happy Monday, fellow readers! I’m experiencing a bit of a binge hangover after watching a full season of TV show in one evening (a show gone much too soon, by the way), but I wanted to share another review with you. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply by Robert Tate Miller because I requested it. I couldn’t miss this opportunity. What romance lover wouldn’t want to read the story of a cowboy and a prima ballerina? It was only after I requested it that I realized Cowboys Need Not Apply would unique in another way: it’s written by a man. I haven’t read any Nicholas Sparks or any other big name male romance writers, so I was interested in seeing the spin a guy would put on a romance. You can get your copy of Cowboys Need Not Apply and draw your own conclusions starting today, August 13, 2018.

Title: Cowboys Need Not Apply

Author: Robert Tate Miller

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Review: Rodeo rider Matt “Mad Dog” Walker is on the fast track to being All Around Cowboy, the best bronco rider in the world when one bad ride tears his ACL. The rodeo doc is convinced Matt should retire, or at least sit out the rest of the season, but Matt is too close to achieving his dream of being the best and fulfilling a promise he made to his father before he passed to sit out the Big Ride. Matt’s uncle and manager Harry is convinced he should take the doctor’s advice, but knowing his stubborn nephew, he finds the best rehab facility in the country to give him a shot at a full recovery before his foolhardy ride.

Prima ballerina Jessica Carmichael knows something is wrong as soon as she lands a sauté in a performance. The doctors confirm she’s torn her ACL. All Jessica knows is dancing, and she refuses to miss the Rite of Spring performance where she made her debut at age sixteen. If she’s going to dance again, she has to be able to trust her knee one hundred percent, and the only way she’ll do that is if she works with the best rehabilitation clinic in the country.

When Matt and Jessica both arrive at the clinic, their competitive natures cause them to push one another in therapy to good affect. They came to heal their damaged knees and get back on top of their game, but could these two competitors win at the game of love as well?

Robert Tate Miller has crafted a Cutting Edge-esque romance that’s funny and witty, but most of all heartwarming. Jessica and Matt are both natural born competitors who love what they do. Neither one is ready to walk away from their career, even in the face of such a serious injury. Although the Manhattan born and bred ballerina and the Montana ranch owning rodeo rider live in two different worlds, they share a grit and determination, and a mutual attraction, that makes their burgeoning romance fun to watch. I also enjoyed the supporting characters of Jessica’s sister, Kat, and Matt’s uncle, Harry. They injected much needed realism and sound advice into the headstrong duo.

In addition to a man’s name being on the cover of the book, there were a couple other things that were different about this romance. The hero and heroine didn’t meet until I was about 12% into the book, and they spend a sizeable amount of time away from each other in comparison to other category romance titles. There were also a few points where I felt like the narration turned more clinical and distant than it should have been for the poignancy of the moment the characters (and the reader) were in. Lastly, if I never hear the term “in the footlights” again, I think it will be too soon.

Overall, I enjoyed the crisp, concise language and the way Miller unfolded the story. Miller does a great job of establishing the characters of Jessica and Matt in the readers’ mind and bringing the New York and Montana settings to life.  I loved the banter between Jessica and Matt, and I couldn’t wait to see how the Big Ride and the “big dance” went. I would recommend this opposites attract romance to anyone who loves their romance with witty banter, loveable characters, settings that become characters, and cowboys who can ride a bucking bronco and jeté, plié, and sauté.

Star Rating: 3.5/5

Review: Catch Him If You Can by Jennifer Shirk

Happy Tuesday, fellow readers! *Side note: I need a cool name for my readers. What should I call you?*  I’m still recovering from a long weekend of working, but I wanted to share a review with you. Entangled Publishing sent me an advance copy of Catch Him if You Can by Jennifer Shirk because I begged  requested it. I’d read Ms. Shirk before and really enjoyed her writing, and I LOVE a fake fiancé romance, so I had to read this one. You can get your copy of Catch Him if You Can on August 13, 2018. 

Title: Catch Him if You Can

Author: Jennifer Shirk

Release Date: August 13, 2018

Review: Veterinarian Wade Roberts doesn’t want to fall in love again. After losing his wife to cancer, he’s more than content running his veterinary clinic and having occasional relationships with women who know not to expect forever. Someone should tell that to the matchmaking ladies in town who keep sending marriage minded women his way. It’s only gotten worse since his sister’s engagement. Wade needs to do something to dissuade them before he’s buried in baked goods and his clinic becomes the set of the next season of The Bachelor.

Wedding Planner Arden Pearson has her own crisis to deal with. Her business is in big trouble after one of her grooms quit his job and moved to the Bahamas in lieu of marrying his betrothed. When Wade approaches her about pretending to be his girlfriend, she turns him down. However, meeting with a huge potential client who would prefer to have a planner with personal experience planning a wedding, Arden changes her mind. Arden does have experience planning her own wedding–the groom just didn’t show up, much like her recent Bahamas Bolter. Instead of admitting this, she approaches Wade with a deal: she’ll get rid of the matchmakers and marriage minded women overrunning his waiting room if he’ll help her land and keep the contract that could make or break her business. It’s a win win arrangement between old friends. What could possibly go wrong?

I’m a huge fan of the tropes in Catch Him if You Can: fake fiancé and friends to lovers. In Shirk’s capable hands, the tropes feel new and fresh. Usually I fall in love with the hero first. If I can identify with the heroine, I’m all in. In this book, though, I loved Arden from her introduction sassing Wade in the coffeeshop line. She was smart alecky and fun but with emotional depth that made me really root for her. Wade’s character was swoon-worthy. He loves animals, can’t bring himself to tell off the sweet old ladies who keep trying to fix him up, and he honors the commitments he makes, which is why he’s so reticent to make them. He doesn’t take commitment lightly, and that makes him the perfect guy for gun shy Arden, who, deep down, longs for someone who will follow through and commit to doing life with her.

This story got me in all of my feels. It was funny, and sweet, with shades of sadness that made the good stuff even better. The black moments were throw your book frustrating, but I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. This isn’t my first Jennifer Shirk book, and it most definitely won’t be my last. I have to know what happens in the next book to the next heroine. I know Jennifer is going to give her a great happily ever after as well.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a sweet friends to lovers romance with a healthy dose of fake fiancé that features characters you can root for from page one and wouldn’t mind seeing again in the next book. This is the second book in a series, but it is standalone. If you’d like to read them in order, start with Bargaining with the Boss.

Star Rating: 4/5

Review: Her Lost and Found Baby by Tara Taylor Quinn

On Tour with Prism Book Tours
Hello, fellow readers! Erica here. Today I have the pleasure of being part of a review tour for Tara Taylor Quinn’s newest release, her first with Special Edition, Her Lost and Found Baby. I’ve reviewed  TTQ before on tour, so when I saw the opportunity to review this one, I jumped at the chance. You can read my review of The Good Father here
Here’s the description for Her Lost and Found Baby:

Her Lost and Found Baby

By Tara Taylor Quinn

Contemporary Romantic Suspense

Paperback & ebook, 224 Pages

August 1st 2018 by Harlequin Special Edition

Friends. Without benefits. They both agreed.

Until she stole his heart.

Tabitha Jones will find her kidnapped toddler…even if it means searching every daycare in Southern California. So when her hunky, wealthy neighbor, Johnny Brubaker, offers a deal, Tabitha sees it as an ideal way to expand her search. In exchange for working his food truck, Johnny agrees to pose as Tabitha’s husband. It’s the perfect relationship…until Johnny realizes posing as a family man isn’t enough anymore.

My review: I first encountered Tara Taylor Quinn’s emotionally gripping work when she wrote for Harlequin Superromance. I followed her to Harlequin Heartwarming and was just as happy with her work there. I expected some things to change with the transition to the Special Edition line, but I hoped Quinn’s signature style would still be evident in the shorter format story.
When I began Her Lost and Found Baby, I wasn’t sure I was going to get my usual TTQ book. The beginning felt rushed, and it took me a couple chapters to get my head around the character of Tabitha. I attribute this to the shorter length of the book and the necessity to get the scenario set quickly. I felt like I was playing catch up on how we came to be at this point in the story. 
I had no trouble connecting with the character of Johnny Brubaker. He came across like a nice guy who was helping a woman through what had to be the toughest time of her life. I loved him immediately. 
After the initial jerky start, I really got into the story. The mystery of where Tabitha’s son Jackson was served as an interesting backdrop to the developing relationship between Tabitha and Johnny. The supporting characters were well developed and acted realistically for the situation they were placed in. Even though the book was considerably shorter than I’m used to from TTQ, the pace was well set and kept. The story progressed in ways that kept me invested in the outcome. 
Tara Taylor Quinn has written a touching story about two people who set out to help each other with their “life quests” and succeed far beyond their initial expectations. More than checking off goals, they build the possibility of love after tragedy. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an emotionally significant romance with a well-paced, well-developed plot, a hero any woman would love falling for her, and a strong heroine who will stop at nothing to find her son but still manages to care for others.
3.5/5 stars for compelling characters, a finely orchestrated plot, a perfectly paced romantic element, and good secondary characters. 
About the Author



The author of more than 70 original novels, in twenty languages, Tara Taylor Quinn is a USA Today bestseller with over six million copies sold. A 2015 RITA finalist Tara appears frequently on bestseller lists, including #1 placement on Amazon lists, and multiple showings on the Publisher’s Weekly Bestseller list. She has appeared on national and local TV across the country, including CBS Sunday Morning.
Tara is a supporter of the National Domestic Violence Hotline. If you or someone you know might be a victim of domestic violence in the United States, please contact 1-800-799-7233.
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Review: Amish Country Ambush by Dana R. Lynn

Full disclosure: Dana R. Lynn is one of my oldest writing friends. We were matched together as critique buddies along with Christina Yother sometime after So You Think You Can Write 2013. The first manuscript of hers I critiqued became her first published book, Presumed Guilty, in April of 2015. I’m also a part of her Dream Team, which receives free copies of her releases to review. Despite this, my review is my honest opinion about this work. Enjoy!

Amish Country Ambush LynnPolice dispatcher Elise St. Clair is trying to start over in Lamar Pond after her sister’s murder. She is raising her nephew with the help of a nanny and cleaning lady. On a shift that started as routinely as any other, Elise receives a call that throws her into a panic: the Amish girl who cleans her home calls saying someone has broken into Elise’s home and attacked her nephew’s nanny…and the attacker might still be in the house.

Elise races to her home to find the nanny dead, her nephew and the cleaning lady missing, and herself face to face with her biggest nightmare: her sister’s killer, her murderous brother in law.

Police officer Ryan Parker responds to Elise’s home. He doesn’t know Elise well, but he’s immediately drawn to her plight. He wants to help find the missing child and the young Amish teenager they believe is trying to keep him hidden, but complications abound. The biggest complication is Elise’s claim her brother in law is involved–a brother in law police believe died in a car accident before Elise moved to Lamar Pond.

Ryan and Elise are racing against time and a would be kidnapper to bring Elise’s nephew and his protector back to their families. As they work together to unravel the tangled web of suspects and motives, the alliance between them feels less like a temporary partnership and more like a lifetime proposition. Can Ryan and Elise find the boy, protect the girl, and live to see the love growing between them blossom into forever?

Amish Country Ambush is part of the Amish Country Justice series and like Ms. Lynn’s previous works, is set in the fictional town of Lamar Pond in Pennsylvania. Most of the books thus far have centered around the police force in Lamar Pond, so if you’ve read the previous books, you are somewhat familiar with Ryan Parker. You might have even been waiting to learn more of his story and see him find love. You look forward to seeing characters you remember from previous books and if you’re like me, you hunt for clues as to who the next hero/heroine might be. All of this is wonderful fun for me, but don’t let the fact it’s in a series deter you. This book can be read as a standalone.

I liked this book. Ms. Lynn is skilled at creating and building suspense. The plot is complex and has enough twists and turns to keep the reader flipping the pages to see what else will happen to Elise, Ryan, her nephew and the cleaner. There are a few threads in this book that need to be wrapped up, and Ms. Lynn does this well without showing all the work that has to be involved in the undertaking. Overall, I enjoyed the journey this book took me on.

The element that makes or breaks a book to me, especially a romance, is character. If you don’t fall in love with or become invested in what happens to the characters, the book won’t work. In Ryan Parker, Ms. Lynn created a hero you could hang a story on. Ryan is efficient and capable. He’s also gentle and compassionate. The reader can easily identify with him struggling to stay professional and focused while growing more and more concerned about protecting the woman he’s starting to love. Ryan has an unexpected grit to him; he refuses to give up or back down. He makes a swoon-worthy hero.

In romance, I have to fall in love with the hero and identify with the heroine. I have to be able to place myself in her shoes at any given time. Elise St. Clair is a woman who’s frantic at the disappearance of the nephew she raises like her own son. She wants nothing more than to find him. She’s strong and stubborn, refusing to be shut out of what’s happening or treated like any other victim. While I ended up loving Elise, it took me a while to get there. In the beginning, she was a little too frantic and acted without thinking too many times. It showed the state of mind of a woman in her situation, but it seemed to take her too long to find her feet and decide to work with the police. This stuck with me because she works with the police department as a dispatcher. She has only been there a year or so, keeps to herself, and has trust issues, but I expected her to know be willing to accept help to find her nephew a little quicker. Again, in the end, I grew to like Elise just as much as Ryan, but it was touch and go in the beginning.

I would recommend Amish Country Ambush to anyone who loves their romance with a strong faith and suspense threads, a man in uniform, a self-reliant, stubborn heroine, and a dash of Amish culture.

3 1/2 */ B