eARC Review of The Trouble with Cowboys

The Trouble with Cowboys

Victoria James

Entangled Amara

March 26, 2019

Blurb: Eight years ago, Tyler Donnelly left Wishing River, Montana, after a terrible fight with his father and swore he’d never return. But when his father has a stroke, guilt and duty drive him home, and nothing is as he remembers––from the run-down ranch to Lainey Sullivan, who is all grown up now. And darn if he can’t seem to stay away.

Lainey’s late grandma left her two things: the family diner and a deep-seated mistrust of cowboys. So when Tyler quietly rides back into town looking better than hot apple pie, she knows she’s in trouble. But she owes his dad everything, and she’s determined to show Ty what it means to be part of a small town…and part of a family.

Lainey’s courage pushes Ty to want to make Wishing River into a home again—together. But one of them is harboring a secret that could change everything.


After having read, reviewed, and loved last year’s The Firefighter’s Pretend Fiancee by Victoria James, I was very excited to have the opportunity to read her novel The Trouble with Cowboys. The first few chapters had me fully engaged and then several things happened.

The first word that popped into my mind as I was reading was “mechanical.” There were passages that felt like the author was going through the motions. This became even more apparent after the number of repetitions of phrases and thoughts. By now, we all know how picky I am about writing and, as such, I probably don’t need to expound on how I feel about this.

I loved prodigal son, returning cowboy Ty Donnelly. He’s sensitive with a heart-of-gold and a seemingly tough exterior. What I didn’t like was how his “best” friends treated him. They judged without followup. The reaction was so one-dimensional that it was irritating. Friendship is a two-way street. His mother had just died and if they were good friends, they knew how tenuous his relationship was with his father, but they didn’t show themselves to be friends. They jumped to conclusions. They judged.

And then we have Lainey Sullivan who we are told is brave and strong. The moment she had the opportunity to tell Ty about the loan his father had given her (this is very early on so is not a spoiler) but didn’t for some rather inconsequential reason that a brave and strong person wouldn’t even have considered, she lost my respect and never regained it. If you read romances, you know there must be a deterrent–this has that written on it a mile wide, all I can say is: blah. Brave and strong are proved by actions.

Likewise, her excuse for not attending art school may be flimsy because she had the opportunity after her grandmother died (before her mother got sick) and any of her true friends would have, should have, told her, “This is exactly what your grandmother would have wanted you to do. To follow your dream. You’re just being a martyr if you think you’re staying out of loyalty. Now put the diner up for sale and get yourself to Florence!”

What is with all the testosterone-laden punching in romances lately? Why do I feel brain cells dwindle to even entertain why this happens?

I’ve probably given you the impression that I hated this book. I really didn’t. I was disappointed, for sure because I really have enjoyed her writing in the past.

There were some extremely cute and funny passages, and I love funny and cute and suspect that if I had liked Lainey, my impressions could have been substantially different.

“Do you do this often?”

She didn’t know what he was referring to. The emotional eating? The sitting in the dark? The homemade lasagna? “Do what often?”

“You know, sit in the window of your diner with the lights turned off and creepily stare at people?”

And just for reminders there was Ty.

And there was lasagna with gooey mozzarella.

Who will love this book? Definitely die-hard Victoria James’ fans, readers of wholesome romance, cowboy romance, prodigal son romances and Montana romances. Who won’t love this book? Readers who are overly picky about writing and who love strong heroines who define themselves through their actions.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Trouble with Cowboys will be released on March 26, 2019. You can pre-order below.



3 out of 5 butterflies

5 thoughts on “eARC Review of The Trouble with Cowboys

    1. It averages around 2 a week. I recently came across someone on goodreads who was shooting for a goal of 1000 books in the year. 1000! I hit 229 once. And that will only be once. 🙂

      1. One summer I read every book in the county library of my small town but the country library consisted of one of those locking metal cabinets they used to have in schoolrooms. It was in the county courthouse and the country superintendent told me about it and said I could come get books whenever I wished. There was literally nothing else to do in my town. And we had no TV. My entire family read.. thank goodness. Even my dad who only went through 8th grade read voraciously.

      2. Nice! When I was a kid we spent summers in a cabin in West Virginia. We had no tv, so in the evenings it was stargazing or reading. It was not a bad life. I wish more people understood the joy of reading! 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.