Goodreads Monday: The Christmas Cowboy Hero (Heart of Texas: Book 1) by Donna Grant

This is a weekly meme where anyone can choose a random book from their Goodreads TBR and highlight it. Once you choose a book, make sure you link and reference @LaurensPageTurners.

This week’s selection:

Book Cover


New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant returns to Texas, where a small-town legend just might find the greatest gift of all in The Christmas Cowboy Hero…

’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything.

Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped raise since she was a teenager. Keeping them in line is no small task while she’s also working toward her college degree. And now that one of her brothers has been arrested for stealing cattle at the East Ranch, Abby is at her wits’ end. But there is a silver lining: Clayton East. He believes in second chances and is willing to give one to her brother this Christmas. Letting beautiful Abby―and the inescapable longing in his heart―off the hook, however, is a whole ’nother story. Could it be that the woman of this local hero’s dreams has been back at home all along?

I have read almost the entire Heart of Texas series. I say almost because I didn’t read book 1 and book 5. I didn’t read book 1 because I wasn’t reviewing for St. Martin’s Press when it was published and I didn’t read book 5 because I took a hiatus in 2020 (due to the pandemic).

I really want to read The Christmas Cowboy before Christmas this year. But, with the way my reading is going (very slowly), I don’t expect to read it until some point next year.

A Cowboy Like You (Heart of Texas: Book 4) by Donna Grant

A Cowboy Like You (Heart of Texas Book 4) by [Grant, Donna]

3.5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: November 26th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Heart of Texas

The Christmas Cowboy Hero—Book 1

Cowboy, Cross My Heart—Book 2 (review here)

My Favorite Cowboy—Book 3 (review here)

A Cowboy Like You—Book 4

Where you can find A Cowboy Like You: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

In the Heart of Texas, a heartthrob cowboy may get his second chance at love…

Danny Oldman, the handsome Lone Star sheriff, is still single. He tells himself, and anyone who asks, that he is married to his job―and what matters most is keeping the people of his beloved Texas hometown safe. The truth? Danny still hasn’t gotten over his high school crush. She moved away after graduation and took Danny’s heart with her.

Skylar Long never thought she would have to flee Houston and return home―where it all began for her. But that’s what happened after the man of her dreams turned out to be an actual nightmare. Now, Skylar is desperate to escape her obsessive boyfriend. Nothing shocks her more than seeing Danny again and realizing that their long-ago attraction is more powerful than ever. But can she and Danny find a way to fight against Skylar’s wealthy, powerful ex who is dead set on tearing them apart?

First Line:

Another long, exhausting day.

A Cowboy Like You by Donna Grant

My Review:

I know that I have mentioned this before, but cowboy romances are one of my guilty pleasures. There is just something about a cowboy that gets me. It might be the jeans or the fact that they are (usually) not talkative. Whatever it is, I love reading them. So when I saw A Cowboy Like You was up for review on NetGalley, I knew that I had to read it. While I am glad that I read it, I was left wanting with this book.

The plotline for A Cowboy Like You was fast-paced. While I like fast-paced plotlines, there are times where I think that they can go too fast. And this is one of them. I felt that some of the major plotlines were rushed along. I also had an issue with dropped plotlines. The slashed tires sub plotline was one. What happened to her afterward? Maybe I missed it (quite possible). She went to jail and bam, nothing about her ever again. Or the hacking subplot. It was never finished and left me wondering what happened with that.

I did like Skylar, and I sympathized with her. The author painted a realistic picture of a woman who was trying to leave her abusive boyfriend. My heart broke for her during those first few chapters. All she wanted was to leave; she didn’t ask for anything that Matt put her through. Her inner strength did show when Matt’s family started their smear campaign in the media. All over a restraining order. I did understand why she wanted to leave the ranch, but at the same time, I was mentally urging her to stay on it.

I loved Danny, even if he was a little disillusioned with his job. I get it. There is only so much that he could do when it came to domestic violence situations. I also understood why he got involved with Skylar’s case. As the book went on, I was impressed with how far he would go to protect Skylar.

I wanted to drop kick Matt. Every single scene he was in, he left a bad taste in my mouth. He needed someone to beat him down the way that he hit Skylar and the woman before her. His family was no different. They gave me chills also.

The romance between Danny and Skylar didn’t feel right to me at first. It was too fast, and so soon after her last relationship. Because of that, I didn’t feel any romantic connection between them. But, the sex scenes were hot!!

A Cowboy Like You is the 4th book in the Heart of Texas series. It can be read as a stand-alone book. But, I suggest reading the previous books before this one. That way, you can better understand the backgrounds of the other characters.

The end of the book was intense. But it was rushed. While I was glad about everything that happened, I couldn’t quite believe it, even with the epilogue. As I said, everything was rushed. I am interested to see how the next book is going to be about.

I would give A Cowboy Like You an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread A Cowboy Like You. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

My Favorite Cowboy (Heart of Texas: Book 3) by Donna Grant

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: February 26th, 2019

Genre: Romance

Series: Heart of Texas

The Christmas Cowboy Hero—book 1

Cowboy, Cross My Heart—book 2 (review here)

My Favorite Cowboy—book 3

Where to find My Favorite Cowboy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Hot cowboy heroes in Texas abound in the third book of the Heart of Texas series by New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant.

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant rounds up the hottest cowboys in Texas in her latest novel of no-holds-barred passion.

Audrey Martinez is a veterinarian who has devoted her whole life to the care and protection of horses—even if doing so leaves her little time for meeting a man. Who would have thought that a strange case of criminal horseplay would lead her to falling deeply, wildly in love? If only the man who makes her heart race faster than a wild mustang would let his guard down, that is. . .

Caleb Harper is no ordinary cowboy. Sure, he wears his hat, boots, and jeans like a second skin, and displays an easygoing charm that comes from years of working on the ranch. But with his military background, and Army buddies at his side, he is tried-and-true Texas tough. Audrey knows she can trust a man like Caleb to help her save horses. But can Caleb trust himself to resist his attraction to Audrey—or will the sparks of their desire end up getting them burned?

My review:

I have mentioned in other reviews that I love reading contemporary western romances. Something about cowboys makes me weak in the knees. They are my not so guilty pleasure. It was a no brainer that I was going to read and review My Favorite Cowboy when I was approached by the publisher.

I liked Audrey. She was a no-nonsense large equine veterinarian who genuinely cared about the animals. She worked for two large ranches and also helped a horse rescue out, free of charge. Her passion and love for horses were palpable. I loved that she was Hispanic. I have read very few books where Hispanic’s are the main female romantic lead. I thought it was wonderful and refreshing.

Caleb had some serious abandonment issues. He was the last person to see his mother before she took off. He asked her not to leave and she left. Her leaving affected everyone but Caleb was affected the most. That left some deep-rooted issues that manifested in Caleb having trust issues. He also couldn’t invest himself in relationships. I did like Caleb. Besides his issues, he was a great guy. It was interesting watching him fight himself as he was falling in love with Audrey. Interesting and sad.

The main plotline was excellent. It went from who was making the horses sick to who had a personal vendetta against Audrey. Usually, I guess who the person was early on in the book. But, in this case, I was kept on my toes. I was surprised at who that person turned out to be. I was also surprised at the lengths that person went through to cover their tracks. I thought it was going to be someone else and my mind was blown when that person’s identity was revealed.

There were a few secondary plotlines. One involved Caleb, Brice and Abby’s mother, Helen. Another one was Brice and Naomi’s fertility issues. Another one involved Audrey and Maddy’s father. They were all wonderfully written.

I was mad with the storyline involving Brice and Naomi. Caleb shouldn’t have said ANYTHING. NADA. It wasn’t his place. I would have been so upset if someone else broke news like that to the family.

I also understood why Caleb was so against meeting Helen. I also understood why he did what he did at the end of that storyline. Forgiveness is a hard thing to do.

I will say that the storyline involving Audrey and Maddy’s father was the only one that didn’t make sense. From the beginning to the end, I was left going “He did what? Why turn up now?“.

The sex scenes were fog up my Kindle’s screen hot. I was a little disappointed that the author went the whole “I forgot to wear a condom, hope you are clean” route. I know these are fictional characters but I was mentally screaming at them “Diseases, people. DISEASES. Get tested ASAP.

The end of My Favorite Cowboy was nail-biting. The bad guy was revealed as was the reasons why that person did what they did. I loved the epilogue. I was left wondering if there was going to be more books in the series. I am hoping so.

I would give My Favorite Cowboy an Adult rating. There is sex (not explicit). There is language. There is violence. There are triggers. They would be the abandonment of a child, death of a parent, death of a spouse, infertility and animal abuse. I would recommend no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread My Favorite Cowboy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review My Favorite Cowboy.

All opinions stated in this review of My Favorite Cowboy are mine.

Cowboy, Cross My Heart (Heart of Texas: Book 2) by Donna Grant

Cowboy, Cross My Heart (Heart of Texas, #2)

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks

Date of publication: August 28, 2018

Genre: Romance, Suspense

Series: Heart of Texas

The Christmas Cowboy Hero – Book 1

Cowboy, Cross My Heart – Book 2

My Favorite Cowboy – Book 3 (expected publication date: February 26th, 2019)

Where you can find Cowboy, Cross My Heart: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

New York Times bestselling author Donna Grant takes you deep inside the Texas rodeo scene, where danger and desire ride side by side. . .

Naomi Pierce isn’t the type to let a cowboy sweep her off feet. It’s not her first rodeo, after all. But when she returns to her Texas hometown, she can’t help but be swept up again in the rough-and-tumble world of hard-riding, bronco-busting good-ol’-boys she loved as a girl. She might be here to photograph her Rodeo Queen best friend. But it’s one fine-looking cowboy who really captures her eye…

Brice Harper is all man, all muscle, and all heart. From the moment he rides into the stadium, he can’t help but notice the beautiful stranger with a camera watching him from the stands. It doesn’t take a zoom lens to see the sparks of instant attraction. But things really heat up when he meets Naomi up-close–and he discovers that someone is stalking her friend. Brice wouldn’t be any kind of cowboy if he didn’t offer to help the ladies out. But can the rough-rider keep this spirited shutterbug out of danger–without risking his heart?

My review:

Image result for cowboy gif

I am beginning to like country western romances. I wasn’t a huge fan of them when I started reading. I didn’t see the appeal in them. Then I started reading them and started to see exactly why women like these books. Something about a man in tight jeans who is an Alpha male is appealing to 90% of women. Me, included. So, yeah, I started liking them. And if I continue to get books like Cowboy, Cross My Heart, I might be completely won over by them.

Cowboy, Cross My Heart is Naomi and Brice’s story. Naomi is back in town after years of not being there. She still carries the guilt of a car crash that killed one of her best friends when she was a teenager. That guilt kept her away from her hometown. But she is back to support her other best friend as she competes in a Rodeo Queen competition. She catches the eye of Brice while he is competing. Naomi is attacked by the animal pens by a man who is trying to get her camera. Brice, hearing her screams, swoops in to help her. That isn’t the end of the attacks. Brice is attacked and is roping hand injured shortly afterward. After talking to her best friend, Naomi realizes that there is something sinister going on with the Rodeo Queen competition. Something that has put Naomi in the crosshairs of a ruthless group of men. Men who will do anything to silence her. The only thing standing between her and those men are Brice and his family. Can Brice protect Naomi? Will their new relationship hold up under the pressure? Or will everything come crumbling down?

Image result for rodeo queen gif

I am going to be honest, I didn’t feel that much of a connection to both Naomi and Brice. While I liked both of their characters, there was nothing there to make me think “Hey, they would be cool to hang out with” or “I would date him“. They weren’t as fleshed out as they could have been. They didn’t feel real life to me. I couldn’t imagine them in my world, interacting with people. Which disappointed me because I wanted them to be more fleshed out. I didn’t want them to be so blah. That had a huge effect on my rating for this review too.

There is Instalove in Cowboy, Cross My Heart. My stance on Instalove has become more forgiving but I still don’t care for it. The connection that Naomi and Brice was wonderful, though. I wish that the author spent more time exploring that connection instead of having them fall in love with each other after a week.

While the sex scenes were hot, I had a disconnect with them. Mainly because I was disappointed that they slept with each other so soon after they met. Don’t get me wrong, they were wonderfully written. I couldn’t picture Naomi and Brice going at it like rabbits.

Image result for cowboy roping gif

The whole suspense angle of the book was great. The author didn’t hide who was behind the attacks on Naomi and Brice. You knew who was doing all the ordering. What wasn’t clear was why those men started doing what they did. I also was expecting them to be more dangerous than what they were. Other than that, I liked it.

The secondary characters were great. I did think that Whitney acted like a witch with a b towards Naomi. But when it was revealed what happened, I felt awful for her. I also loved Abby. Having had 2 high-risk pregnancies myself, I understood how irritated she was. Ms. Biermann, I didn’t like from the beginning. So I wasn’t surprised when it was revealed that she was involved with everything that went down.

The author did a wonderful job of combining all the main and secondary plotlines at the end of the book. I will say that I thought something different was going to happen. There was no twist either.

Image result for ride a cowboy gif

The end of the book was fantastic. I was happy with how the author ended the story. There is a surprise in store for the readers. Not going to say what but I had a huge smile on my face at the ending.

What I liked about Cowboy, Cross My Heart:

A) The suspense angle

B) The secondary characters

C) The storyline

What I didn’t like about Cowboy, Cross My Heart:

A) Little connection with the main characters

B) Instalove

C) Sex scenes didn’t do it for me

I gave Cowboy, Cross My Heart a 3-star rating. While I liked the book, I had almost zero connection with both Naomi and Brice. Because of that, I felt that the scenes were off. And there was Instalove. What kept me from giving this book a lower rating was that I enjoyed the suspense angle, the secondary characters, and the storyline.

I gave Cowboy, Cross My Heart an Adult rating. There is sex. There is violence. There is language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Cowboy, Cross My Heart. I am also on the fence if I would reread this book. I would be willing to read other books by the author.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperbacks, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Cowboy, Cross My Heart.

All opinions stated in this review of Cowboy, Cross My Heart are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**