The Bull Rider's Family
If I could, I’d write a one-word review of this book and save us all the time and trouble. That word would be “blah.” I’ll go ahead and write a full review, but honestly, “blah” pretty much sums it up. You’re good to stop reading right now.
Ugh, you stayed? Okay, fine. I’ll write a longer review.
Emma Shane is a widowed chef with a four-year-old daughter who takes a position at the Circle P ranch in Florida because it seems more family-friendly than her New York City hours. Colt Judd is an ex-bull rider and current rodeo PR man on a break from his traveling gig to carry on the family tradition of helping manage the Circle P. They can’t be together because Colt will eventually go back to his job on the road. You’ll never guess how that obstacle is overcome. Then the book ends.
Isn’t that enough?
All right. Let’s list some of the blah stuff here. Emma is a blah parent. She’ll give up her career for her daughter, but she’ll space out fantasizing about Colt during her daughter’s first horseback ride and take her for a walk in gator-infested swampland because she’s piqued at Colt for being late and won’t wait for him to guide them. Emma’s culinary record is also blah. We’re told she’s fantastic, but the evidence is unconvincing. Her stellar review is from a birdwatching magazine. Her outstanding dish is banoffee pie. Her innovative plating includes tomatoes and strawberries cut into flowers, and mashed potatoes with wave tops and piped potatoes around the edges. By these standards, every hotel buffet in America ought to be up for the James Beard award.
I could give details explaining why Colt is also blah – he doesn’t have the strength to be an alpha, the heart to be a beta, or the brains to be anything else – but he’s too blah for me to bother. These two have so little chemistry that I can’t even remember if they had sex or not.
Are you still here? Why?
The writing is blah. Not bad – it’s not woefully ungrammatical or absurdly purple – but it’s undistinguished. There are too many dialogue tags. The writing is repetitive. Emma spends roughly one paragraph per chapter internal monologuing about how she’s definitely not going to fall in love with Colt, but OH SHE COULD, so easily, but she WON’T, except oh, no, maybe she ALREADY DID. On page 77, “she’d sensed a softer side lay beneath Colt’s gruff exterior.” On page 91, “There was another side to him. A side that didn’t mesh with her first impression.” Page 106: “Despite a softer side, the man was bossy.” Page 151, “Colt had another side. A tender side.” On page 182, just in case you haven’t figured it out yet, “underneath his gruff exterior, he had a soft, tender heart.” Has somebody told the author that if you write a character with two sides, he’s still not three-dimensional?
And how about Colt’s epic declaration, “Girl, I love you. More than the air I breathe. You mean more to me than all the gold buckles I earned on the rodeo.” SWOON.
This brings us to several hundred words which, as promised, could have been replaced by the single word “blah.” Well, look at it this way: the amount of time you’ve wasted reading this review is far less than the time you’d have wasted reading this book.