πŸ’• "Her Cowboy Sweetheart" πŸ’• (2020) - Book Review #HCSPrism

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Her Cowboy Sweetheart
(The Sweetheart Ranch #4)
By Cathy McDavid
Contemporary Romance
Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
May 5th 2020 by Harlequin Heartwarming

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.

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Other Books in the Series

(Book covers linked to Amazon affiliate links.)

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY TimesUSA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children's book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America's Honor Roll. This almost Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It's a tough job but she's willing to make the sacrifice.

Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive a $10 Amazon gift card, $5 Starbucks gift card, author swag, and either a print or Kindle copy of THE COWBOY'S PERFECT MATCH
(US only - if outside the US winner will instead receive a $15 Amazon e-gift card and a Kindle copy of THE COWBOY'S PERFECT MATCH).

Ends May 13, 2020

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My Review 

Thank you in advance to the author, Cathy McDavid, and Prism Book Tours for providing a complimentary review copy. A positive review was not required. All words are my own.

While I am not new to the Harlequin Heartwarming books, I am new to McDavid’s work. 

While this is part of a series, it can easily be a standalone read. I wouldn’t have known it was part of a series to be honest.

What is interesting is that this is the third (3rd) in the Heartwarming line of “The Sweetheart Ranch” series, however “Mustang Valley” has eight (8) novels in the Harlequin Western Romance (formerly Harlequin American Romance) line. I am familiar with that one and had been reading the line over 20 years ago.

I was drawn to this story because of a different type of male protagonist – one with a disability (or rather a medical issue that is somewhat debilitating at first), JD Moreno. And, there is single mom Carly Leighton with an adorable little boy (roughly about a year old).  

The story takes a different turn than most – these two realize they do care for each other right away and don’t deny it, nor do they really fight the attraction. However, JD is practical in that he wants to get his MΓ©niΓ¨re's disease under control before entertaining the idea of a relationship, especially with Carly.

But, nearly a year after Carly’s divorce, her in-laws suddenly become interested in her son Rickie. Their son Patrick was violent towards Carly in their marriage, which was worse when he drank (alcoholism). There are some mild references to domestic abuse, and one incident (pre-story) of Patrick smacking Carly’s friend. These are disturbing and anyone who might get triggered by the events should make note of this.

Carly is suspicious and with good reason – her in-laws are not exactly being honest with their intentions. But, it ends up having a somewhat unexpected turn in that Carly and JD decide to date after all despite the initial reluctance. I loved how Carly was upfront and honest about her marriage with JD and their relationship was free from real arguing, anger, or anything negative. It was a beautiful, compassionate understanding of each one’s past and present which highlighted the more important aspects of a relationship – trust and respect. JD refuses to be a burden to her.

But, her in-laws don’t like JD, and after a medical episode – things go downhill pretty fast, and their true intentions are revealed. It made me wonder that even if JD wasn’t in the picture would they have done what they did.

JD’s love and respect showed when he had to make a decision that would break his and Carly’s heart. I also enjoyed seeing Carly’s own turmoil between doing what was right for her son; but, not completely ignoring a nagging suspicion, which turned out to be right.

In addition, Carly’s in-laws were pretty much fooling themselves in helping their son try to regain custody or reverse the termination. In Arizona (where the story takes place), it is often hard to get parental rights re-instated. Per a legal website: “it is possible, but there has to be strong legal or public policy ground. The courts believe there is a great interest in the finality of a judgment, and that includes the termination of a parent’s rights”. But, the threat was enough to worry Carly, so that showed how manipulative they were being in the situation. Even after everything that happened – I still didn’t trust them in the end.

McDavid’s realistic visual of the entire relationship with JD and Carly, along with the dysfunctional intricacies of the in-laws’ involvement was vivid and brutally honest. I was truly drawn into and invested in JD and Carly’s future. Also, Hombre the dog was a true tension breaker. He was just a sweetheart. I could feel JD’s frustration with him, but also saw the love he had for the poor misguided pup. It was also sweet to see how Hombre took right to Carly’s son without hesitation or any jealousy.

This is very different from the other Heartwarming novels I’ve read – in a very good way. It is not a light-hearted read; instead it is a powerful, heart-tugging, emotionally engaging, honest, and beautiful tale of real life issues and real love. A love that puts what is best and needed overall, rather than wants and desires.

A happy ending doesn’t always come right away, but it will come when it is meant to be. This is one read that will stick with readers for a while and perhaps make them examine their own relationships. This is perhaps one of the most emotional Heartwarming books I’ve read.

The cover was cute with the dog and little boy – though the boy on the cover is older than the boy in the story. That threw me for a bit, unless it is to represent the boy’s age at the end of the novel. A little child, a misguided pup, two people who love each other – that is the EXACT meaning of “Heartwarming”. This is a clean read with no intimate scenes and no foul language.

I enjoyed McDavid’s approach to touching on MΓ©niΓ¨re's disease. Only a few symptoms of this rare disorder are touched on in this story – namely his loss of balance, vertigo, and nausea. There are other symptoms.

Some attacks can last anywhere from a few minutes to 24 hours. There were other symptoms that were not explored – tinnitus (sensation of ringing) in the affected ear, loss of hearing in the affected ear, aural fullness, and headaches. Most people being diagnosed between the ages of 40-60. For a complete diagnosis, one has to have the four major ones – prolonged vertigo (20 minutes to eight hours at a time); a fluctuating hearing loss of lower frequencies just before, during or right after the vertigo attack; roaring tinnitus; and a sensation of the affected ear’s canal filling up.

With regard to driving – JD may not have been allowed to drive until the symptoms are under control. So the author takes great care to highlight this aspect. It is something to seriously consider.

I did not know what kind of surgery or implant he could have that would alleviate the symptoms as the condition is incurable. I would’ve liked that better explained.

This book was a great way to introduce readers to this disorder that affects about 69 million American adults over the age of 40 at some point in their lives, roughly about 35% of the US population.

For those wanting to follow up on this particular disorder, AARP has a wonderful web page dedicated to the ins, outs, and celebrities who battle the disorder: https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2018/menieres-inner-ear-hearing-loss.html.

This is another great article to read: https://vestibular.org/news/02-02-2015/swimmers-journey.

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Goodreads 

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Bookbub

⭐⭐⭐⭐/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Personal Rating (see rating explanation in this blog: https://readingexcursions.blogspot.com/2020/01/rating-system-2020-changes.html) (this would mostly align with the Goodreads rating)

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