Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Bon Appétit and a Book: Heart of A Bull Rider By Tina Leonard

The Billionaire
When New York billionaire John Carruth is summoned to No Chance, Texas to save the local rodeo he has no idea he is going home. Now the long-lost twin to the town’s favorite son is determined to win over the people he left behind—and capture the heart of Chloe Winters, a Texan who has her own ideas of what it means to be part of a small town.
The Bull Rider
Jake Fitzgerald, champion bull rider, didn’t know he had another half. John may be kin, but he’s still a stranger in these parts. With his billionaire brother hell-bent on changing Jake’s world, Jake knows he has to take a stand. Will he choose family—or will he take a chance on Erin O’Donovan, a woman who has always meant family to him?

Title: Heart of a Bull Rider*| Author: Tina Leonard | Publisher: Harlequin | Release Date:  May 2015| Genre: Contemporary Romance | Source: MLM Media Relations| Rating: 4

*Previously Released as The Texas Twins

I love it when a book is two novellas-in-one, and Heart Of A Bull Rider (previously released as The Texas Twins in 2009) is exactly that.
The Billionaire— John Carruth, a billionaire from New York, has been brought to No Chance, Texas to save the rodeo although the residents of No Chance, unbeknownst to John, is actually bringing the New Yorker home to meet the twin brother he never knew he had. Along the way, he falls for Chloe, the town’s lawyer.
The Bull Rider—Jake Fitzgerald, champion bull rider and the town’s favorite son, had no idea that John was his twin brother until the local rodeo clown ran his mouth. Now the brother he never knew existed is threatening to change his town. When Jake packs up and moves to the next town, he thinks that he’ll be there with Erin, the local doctor he’s been crazy about for as long as he can remember, although she’s packed up and moved back to No Chance. What he finds in Farmbluff is a lot more than he was expecting.
I’m a bit on the fence about this one.
John’s story was interesting. City-boy-turned-cowboy is always a fun trope to read but I don’t feel as though we got to see much of John. The Billionaire felt rushed in parts and the conflict between John and Chloe was almost nonexistent. The chemistry between John and Chloe felt a little forced.
It almost felt as though the author was trying to squeeze too much information into a 109-page novella and the characters and romance suffered.
Like John, Jake’s trying to figure out how to deal with a newly found brother. Although he’s also trying to figure out his place in No Chance as well as where he stands with Erin. Add in the fact that he’s just met his newly discovered father, so Jake’s dealing with a lot of emotional turmoil. The residents are also playing matchmaker, making Jake feel a bit manipulated.
I really enjoyed Jake’s story. The flow was better. And now that the plot/town/characters were set, I felt that the author had more time to develop the romance between Erin and Jake.
I really would have liked to have seen both plotlines developed into a full length novel. I think if they would have been combined into a FLN, the start wouldn’t have been as choppy.
Overall, I liked both stories. I thought the first could have been smoothed out a bit better, but both were fun, quick reads.

The cover features real-life professional bull rider Reese Cates, whose father and grandfather both rode professionally before him. Reese says he was riding horses before he could walk (his mother, aunts and grandmother were all barrel racers). He competes as a part of the Professional Bull Riders, which includes more than 600 bull riders from the U.S., Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Australia. To learn more about Reese, follow him on Twitter: @reesecates. For more information about the Professional Bull Riders, visit www.pbr.com.

USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author Tina Leonard has sold over 3 million copies of her titles. She has made the USA Today Bestseller, Waldenbooks, Bookscan, and Ingrambook lists, and has written and contracted 71 books and special projects. She is best known for her sparkling sense of humor, endearing communities, snappy dialogue, and memorable characters that include sexy hunks with attitude and heroines with plenty of sass. For more information, visit www.tinaleonard.com or follow her on Twitter: @Tina_Leonard

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Pico de Gallo

This isn’t my recipe per se, I learned it from my housekeeper and have sort of adapted it. But we love it because it’s fresh! You’ll want:
        3-5 tomatoes (we use the Roma or pear tomatoes. They’re usually cheaper and have a nice, firm skin. Dice them up by hand.
        Diced onion, either yellow or white. Lots of it. It’s good! Again, dice, dice!
        Fresh cilantro. Cut the stems off and use the leaves, dicing them to your preference. Be sure it’s fresh. If it’s brown, toss it!
        A Serrano pepper. Some folks use different kinds of peppers, but I like this spicy little devil! We had to start off using only a half a Serrano, because we’re timid that way. The Serrano is what gives your recipe the kick-ass! Be sure to slice it so that you get the seeds out, and dice the pepper itself up fine! We’ve graduated to about ¾ of a Serrano—the heat is up to you!
        Sea salt to taste!
        Fresh lime juice, squeezed right into the bowl and mixed in with the vegetables.

Hello Lovelies! This recipe was so simple and easy to make. It’s fresh, tasty, and goes brilliant with my favorite blue corn chips.  While I do love hot peppers, Serrano peppers give me the hives and I couldn’t get my hands on a jalapeno so I used a green bell pepper instead.  For the cilantro, I used a palm full of leaves finely chopped.

All you need are these 6 things, and you’ve got yum! I use blue corn organic chips for dipping because we like those best, but pick your own favorite and enjoy!
And then, because I had to know—what does a Bull Rider taste like? Well, according to several drink-mixing websites, here are two standard kinds of Bull Riders!
Bull Rider Drink #1
1 shot Amaretto (optional),
1 shot Crown Royal,
1 shot Jack Daniels
In a large shot glass, first put the Jack Daniels, followed by the shot of Crown, then use the Amaretto last. For a stronger version, don't use the Amaretto, as it masks the flavor of the other two.
Bull Rider Drink #2
1 oz Malibu® coconut rum
1 oz coffee liqueur
1/2 oz creme de bananes
2 splashes Jagermeister® herbal liqueur
fill with half-and-half
Mix all ingredients well and enjoy!
So if you ever wondered what a Bull Rider tastes like, you can mix one up in your own home or order one in a bar and a Bull Rider will be yours!

 So, my lovelies, have you dashed to Walmart to pick up your collector's edition copy of Heart Of A Bull Rider with the wickedly handsome PBR Reese Cates gracing the cover? Have you ever tasted a Bull Rider? Or do you plan to try your hand at making this lush recipe?


Anna@herding cats&burning soup said...

Mmmm yummy noms. That's too bad about the struggles. It's hard on those short ones sometimes.

Angela @ Simply Angela said...

The Pico de Gallo was so yummy. Just let it chill in the fridge a few hours before serving. Sometimes that's why I avoid the short stories. The balance in most of them is off kilter.