Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Cowboy Take Me Away by Jane Graves

Title:  Cowboy Take Me Away
Author: Jane Graves
My Rating: A+

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Rainbow Valley #1
Main Characters: Shannon and Luke
Release Date: April 2013
Publisher: Forever
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

Rainbow Valley, Texas, has always been a refuge for animals, and Shannon North, director of the local shelter, intends to keep it that way. But with donations drying up and more pets in need of a loving home than ever before, Shannon's beginning to fear she's not the savior the shelter needs. When a tall, dark, and handsome cowboy from her past comes to the rescue, she knows that accepting his help may come with a high price: her heart.


Bad boy Luke Dawson shook the dust from this little town off his boots years ago. He walked away from everything...except the memory of the one night of passion he shared with Shannon. Now, a few wins away from becoming the world bull-riding champion, Luke's headed for fame and fortune. But then a crisis calls him back to Rainbow Valley, and Luke is reunited with the good girl who stole--and broke--his heart. As their rekindled relationship deepens into desire, old secrets resurface, and Luke must choose between the future he's always dreamed of and the only woman he's ever loved.

My Review:
Shannon and Luke were friends in high school. They worked together at the local animal shelter and developed a surprising bond through friendship. He was the son of the town drunk...a kid honestly just trying to survive. She was the daughter of the town royalty trying to live up to unbelievably high expectation. Their friendship developed into more and the effects from that were long-lingering since neither one of them have seen the other since that night ten years ago. 

Now Luke has come home to bury his father and hopes to put all the horrible memories of Rainbow Valley behind him. This is a town that never loved him, although he was a child that just broke my heart with how much he needed that love. But now he's made a good life for himself elsewhere. He's on the cusp of winning the National Finals in Bull-riding. On his way out of town, he's drawn to that awful house where he was so abused and it takes one final chunk out of him. The rotted boards on the porch give way and he blows out his knee...just three months before the finals. 

These characters absolutely made this book for me...especially Luke. His history is horrifying and although there are hints to it throughout the book, it's never laid out until the very end. I was bawling during that scene for this horribly mistreated little boy who turned into such an angry teen. But almost equally horrifying was that this town had to know what was going on and no one tried to help him. No one stood up for this poor child.  It's heartbreaking...and makes the transformation of Luke into the wonderful, giving adult that he is even more miraculous. This is a guy who, despite everything else, has a wonderful heart, even though he truly tries to hide it from the residents of Rainbow Valley. 

I had a little more difficulty with Shannon's character. I love who she is and what she stands for and her incredible work ethic at the shelter. She's there because she truly adores these animals and wants to make it so that they have better lives. I had a harder time with her and her lack of ability to stand up for herself....with her mother, with her parttime boyfriend, Russell. I wanted her to be stronger than that and she does eventually. That's her transformation in this book. I just had such a hard time with accepting that about her the first 75% of the book....but that's part of where all the conflict comes in for the story so I understood that. 

We can't talk about this book without talking about the animals because they are such a HUGE part of the book. Shannon runs a broke, barely getting by, animal shelter. Luke eventually comes to live and help out there while he's recovering so almost all the scenes take place there. A lot of the animals in their care have been abused and neglected and have their own personalities that add so much depth to this book. There's Manny the miniature biting horse, Fluffy the abused pit bull, Barney the three legged dog, and so many more. Jane Graves developed such a rich story through the animals...tying their abuse and neglect to Luke's abuse and neglect. It really made for a beautiful story and made me want to put some volunteer time in down at our local animal shelter. It also completely settled my reservations about getting my daughter the cat she's been wanting for her 6th birthday in a few weeks. 

This was just an amazing book. It touched me on so many levels and yes, I even cried several times. I highly recommend it!

I received an ARC of this book as a gift.


Felicia the Geeky Blogger said...

I can't wait to start this one. I was going to this weekend but I still have two book club reads to get through for this month first LOL

Amber Hight said...

Oooo this one sounds so good! I love books that center around pets <3

Ashley Montgomery said...

You almost had me in tears from your review. This sounds like such a wonderful story and I love me a cowboy. Thanks for an awesome review.

Christi Snow said...

Seriously, y'all this book was so good. So emotional and the animals...*sob*....just so good!

Herding Cats - Burning Soup said...

It sounds just fantastic Christi! I've added it to the tbr pile. I can tell I'm gonna be a mess over this hero. I love the ones that really defy all the odds.