Friday, June 17, 2011

Review: Chantilly's Cowboy by Debra Kayn

Chantilly's Cowboy by Debra Kayn
Sisters of McDougal Ranch #1
Contemporary Romance/Western
June 6, 2011
E-book (35 000 words)
Carina Press

Ever since she was a little girl, all Chantilly Lace McDougal wanted to do was work beside her daddy on the family ranch. Now 24, Chantilly knows the land and the workings of the ranch better than anyone.With her four sisters showing little interest in ranch life, Chantilly knows it's up to her to help out with all the chores and keep the ranch running smoothly.  However, when Stuart McDougal hires Jack Grady as the new foremen without telling her, Chantilly is spitting mad. She doesn't need or want Jack's help, no matter that he tempts her like no other cowboy has before.

Although Jack Grady can understand Chantilly's frustration over having to work with him, Jack needs this job in order to help put his nephew through law school. However, in taking the job, Stuart entrusts Jack with an important secret that Chantilly's and her sisters know nothing about. While Jack promises to work hard on the ranch, he is finding it more and more difficult to keep his hands off the boss's daughter. However, as they get closer, Jack is torn between being honest with Chantilly and keeping her father's secret.

Although I stay away from everything classified as country in real life, in my little romance bubble, I'm all about those yummy cowboys. I think somewhere in me I must have a little cowgirl wanting to break free. Thus, I can't turn down a western contemporary romance when I see one, especially one that promises a honky-tonk good time. However, with Chantilly's Cowboy, I found myself feeling disappointed. While the story was sweet and heatwarming, there was nothing to draw me in or grab my attention in the first half of the book. Although the story picks up in the last few chapters, I would say that the rest of the book was a little bland.

Unfortunately, I believe this book suffers from the same issues that plague a lot of short stories. When you are trying to stick to a specific word limit, I understand that some things need to be sacrificed. However, I felt that a few elements in the book needed to be explained in more detail. Early on, we learn that Chantilly's mother died when she was young. Yet, there is no explanation as to how she died. Also, I didn't understand why Jack needed the extra foreman job when he has a ranch of his own to look after. Chantilly also calls Jack's nephew Craig "kid", which I found a little odd considering Chantilly is most likely the same age as Craig.

However, my biggest problem with the book was the lack of love scenes between Chantilly and Jack. For the first half of the book, there was plenty of lead up to Jack and Chantilly being together, but when they finally act on their feelings, the scene ends! Call me dirty or what have you, but I like to read sex scenes from beginning to end. I really do not like "fade to black moments". It felt like having a big piece of chocolate cake put in front of you and before you can take your first bite, the plate falls on the floor. Thankfully, near the end of the book we finally get love scenes with a bit more detail.

What I did like about the book were the sisters. To me, they felt almost like the female version of Lorelei James's McKay men. They all had their own personalities that really shone through, although we don't get to know much about them personally. I also found it really cute that they were all named after a type of lace but they are far from being dainty and frail women. I'm interested to see where this series will go. Hopefully each sister gets her own story.

Overall, this book was neither a hit or miss for me. I did enjoy Chantilly and her sisters, but the lack of detail on the love scenes in the first half of the book almost had me putting the book down and walking away. However, I'm glad I stuck with it. I look forward to reading about the rest of the sisters of McDougal Ranch.

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