Book Review: Tangled Up In Texas
TANGLED UP IN TEXAS by Delores Fossen begins with the best first line that pulls you in with laughter and curiosity. A witty launch of the LONE STAR RIDGE series makes me anxious to experience more from this entertaining author.
Sunny and Shaw have a history that was never resolved. Both of them have experienced life without each other for years, so when Sunny comes back to Lone Star Ridge, it reignites all kinds of feelings.
Sunny was a child-star with her triplet sisters, creating a childhood that was far from normal. Shaw was part of that childhood, so he understands what Sunny has had to overcome. With one failed relationship after another, Sunny doesn’t want to try again. As an illustrator for children’s books, she has everything she has ever wanted except a child. Will her exes’ children be enough, or will the tug of being a mother be too much to stop her from making a foolish decision?
Shaw and his siblings run his family’s ranch. Their father continues to astound them all with his careless behavior. Shaw is always the responsible one, cleaning up after a father who barely admits they exist. He’s not ready for more grief, but something about Sunny is too hard to resist.
Sunny and Shaw are very cute together. Author Delores Fossen knows how to deliver naughty humor that makes it cute, while accentuating the sizzle between the leads. I love a good reunited lovers’ story that emphasizes the friends-to-lovers theme.
Although this book sagged toward the middle, the pull of Sunny and Shaw’s possible HEA and the quirky characters enticed me forward.
Delores Fossen is really good at taking mundane everyday moments and tossing them with the ridiculous to entertain, while giving her characters reasons to fight love and fall into it at the same time. How she thinks up this stuff is beyond me. Thankfully, all we have to do is come along for the ride. And what a merry ride it is.
I laughed out-loud and grinned a lot while reading this book. There are also some unredeemable family members who make this couple’s life hell, and my skin crawl. I kept hoping they’d get paid back for all the trouble they caused. Some of that payback starts in this book. But I’m guessing they’ll continue to be thorns in future books.
This series style reminds me of Molly Harper’s Southern Eclectic series, one of my favorites. It’s similar in the characters’ off-the-wall behavior and craziness that keeps me chuckling.
I’m learning to expect the unexpected with Delores Fossen’s humor. Something I find irresistible.
For those who wonder, there is a good amount of explicit sex between the leads in this story. It needs to be there to make up for Sunny and Shaw’s past, and to get over their current circumstances. I don’t believe this couple would have reached their HEA so smoothly without it.
This just proves how good Fossen is at characterization. I prefer a less graphic love story, so when an author convinces me her story wouldn’t be right without the sexual details, that’s talent at choosing what’s right for her story.
This may also be why the middle of the book sagged for me. Some readers may skip that part, but they’d miss the loving reason it’s there. It’s also very well written, with just the right amount of naughty mixed with love. The love scenes are close to being erotic, but they are sensual in language, so it should please both preferences.
I don’t want to sound callous, but I didn’t always understand Sunny’s self-conscious behavior. Her illness caused some emotional upheaval, and then, miraculously – she was over it. I just wasn’t convinced it was a valid obstacle to keep them apart in the beginning.
Setting wasn’t a huge emphasis in this first book, so I didn’t get the western feel I expected for a ranch. I’m hoping for more of that in the future books, when the author has more room to expand on it. I still consider this a Contemporary Western Romance, because it has just enough of a feel to start. This book introduced a lot of characters and possible series plots, where getting into too much setting may have distracted from the character development.
Sunny and Shaw’s HEA was satisfying, but their resolution felt rushed. I wanted a clearer explanation of Shaw’s change of heart, since it was a huge part of their history. I could see why, but I wanted to hear it from Shaw. Sunny deserved it, too, even though she didn’t seem to mind. Maybe she sensed Shaw’s heart as I imagined, even when Shaw didn’t know himself?
Hippie Grandma Em entertained me the most. She’s not too old to ogle a cowboy’s hiney, while sharing her binoculars with Sunny. She’s always there to protect those she loves, especially when it requires whacking a man with a broom who deserves it. Even Em’s own daughter doesn’t escape her wrath when Sunshine lunges in to hurt everyone with her greed.
There are many more characters who add to the madness of Sunny and Shaw’s life. I’m looking forward to repeat appearances of some of them in future books. And then there are others, who I’m sure I’ll get mad at all over again. Fossen really made me angry at her villains/villainess.
There’s an excerpt at the end for McCall and Austin’s book that’s just as emotionally engaging as TANGLED UP IN TEXAS began. CHASING TROUBLE IN TEXAS promises to be another fun adventure with the child-star triplets and their boyfriends, all grown up.
TANGLED UP IN TEXAS is an entertaining reunited lovers’ story that emphasizes the friends-to-lovers theme. It’s full of quirky characters easy to love and laugh with when they mess up. An engaging start to the LONE STAR RIDGE series I’m excited to continue.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. A digital copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media. #RomBkBlog
Tangled Up in Texas by Delores Fossen
Series: Lone Star Ridge (Book 1)
Category: Contemporary Western Romance
Publisher: HQN; Original edition (February 25, 2020)
Rated 4.5 out of 5