REVIEW: How to Lasso a Cowboy by Christine WengerSunday, August 21, 2011 1:00
File this one under When Tropes You Love Turn Out Not So Great. A cowboy? A supposedly Plain Jane heroine? Reuniting with an unrequited teenage crush? What could possibly go wrong with all that Wendy Bait crammed into one single book? Well, turns out, quite a bit. Bother.
Jenna Reed is a 30-year-old single school teacher. She wants to get married, she wants to have babies, but since Mr. Right hasn’t come calling she figures it’s time to travel, see the world, and shake up her routine. She’s packing her bags for Europe when her big brother, Tom, calls with a favor. Her nephew, Andy, has been ordered to attend summer school and is dangerously close to being held back a grade. Could Jenna be a doll and tutor him while Tom is working the bull-riding circuit for some extra cash? Oh, and his BFF, Dustin Morgan, will also be staying at the ranch. Dustin is also a bull-rider and has been sidelined with a broken leg.
The fly in the ointment is that Dustin and Jenna went to high school together. Jenna had a major crush on him, but Dustin didn’t know she existed, despite that fact that he was BFFs with her brother. But guess what? Dustin has always had the hots for Jenna! He stayed away because Tom ordered him to. Jenna’s a precious snowflake and is too good for the likes of Dustin, Mr. Playboy. Now what will happen that these two are staying at Tom’s ranch together? Gee, I wonder.
This story gets off on the wrong foot with me and never recovers. Frankly, it starts out repetitive and boring, with a heavy tell over show writing style. I kept on with it, hoping the writing would smooth out and, sadly, got more annoyed the deeper I went into the book. Besides being yet another self-sacrificing heroine, Jenna comes off as a clueless snob. Quite a to-do with her is the knowledge that Dustin chucked aside a college scholarship to join the PBR circuit right out of high school. Somehow that becomes okay though when she finds out he had A Very Good And Noble Reason for doing so.
The clueless part comes in thanks to a magazine article she reads on “how to seduce your man” and she decides to employ those tricks on Dustin. Here’s the problem: at the beginning of the story the reader is told Jenna Wants A Man And To Make Lots O’ Babies. Yet what happens when she bags her cowboy? Yeah, she does an about face. Suddenly her and Dustin want “different things.” Even though she knows Dustin wants to leave the circuit, buy his own ranch, and “settle down.” Really? I must have missed the part where Jenna’s multiple personality disorder is disclosed.
Dustin seems like an okay guy at first, but turns out he’s a moron too. Instead of telling his BFF to go to hell, he boinks Jenna and then runs away out of guilt because he made that stupid promise. Hey, I don’t think Jenna is much of a prize – but the chick is 30. Too frickin’ old for her brother to care who his single sister is knockin’ boots with.
All of which begs the question – what was Tom thinking? He’s warned Jenna away from Dustin. He knows Dustin is warm for Jenna’s form. And yet Tom asks Jenna and Dustin to live together at his ranch while he is away traveling the PBR circuit? With only a 10-year-old boy left behind to supervise? Really, dude?! I mean, really?!
So, yeah, this didn’t work for me at all. Between the lackluster characters, strained conflict, and a logic-free Tom-size plot hole you can drive fifty city buses through? Ugh.
Catching herself a cowboy was the last thing on Jenna Reed’s mind….
Until one moved in with her! Well, technically bull rider Dustin Morgan was staying at her brother’s house for the summer—but so was Jenna. Having her high school crush under the same roof was not the way she’d planned on spending her vacation. Especially since Dustin had never, ever so much as flirted with her. But maybe it was time the plain-Jane changed all of that.
On the verge of turning thirty, Jenna knew it was high time to go after what she wanted…and she wanted Dustin. Using a magazine article called “Ten Ways to Seduce a Man,” she set out to lasso her cowboy. But what would she do with him once she caught him?