Just remembering these books gives me that certain giddy lovey-dovey feel thanks to one swoony cowboy—Jesse Walker. This is one of those new adult series that are just right—right pacing, right story development, right character dynamics… just right. It’s not exactly that epic but it’s definitely a good read especially for new adult romance junkies like me.
And I swear, Jesse Walker should be enough reason why you should read these books.
There’s complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.
After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-around apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mom agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream art school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer doing.
Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’d thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.
Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl—happily-right-now is a stretch—so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.
When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.
Overall Rating: 5/5 — This book just solidifies my newfound love for swoony cowboys.
“We all have secrets, Rowen. Every last person on the planet. And you know what else? We all experience the same kinds of things. We just go through them at different times and to different degrees. If we were to just accept we’re not so different from each other, we wouldn’t feel so alone.”
HOW CAN YOU NOT FALL HARD FOR A CLOSET PHILOSOPHER COWBOY WITH A HEART OF A HIPPIE? Oh, and did I not mention that he’s extremely hot as well? I swear, these cowboys will be the end of me. They’re just moving up in leaps and bounds on my book boyfriend list… even kicking aside hot rockers, bikers, military men, billionaires, and the likes. I really don’t know why I let this book sit on my TBR for the longest time. Ever since Shine Not Burn, I’ve had this certain fascination for cowboys and ranchers. And I’m glad that this cowboy story did not disappoint me at all but instead, intensified my admiration for these hot horseback-riding men who seem to have a more profound way of seeing things in this world. Perhaps it has something to do with living in a small town with lots of familial values, perhaps it could also be all about the southern gentleman ways, or it could just be the fact that the fact that they do actual manual labor keeps them more grounded and humble, but I really find their more worldly perspective quite refreshing and endearing.
With that said, even though this was basically your story of big-city-girl-meets-small-town-boy, their story was anything BUT typical… it was simply beautiful. Rowen Sterling was such a messed up and broken girl who unwillingly went to Willow Springs for one summer to prove herself to her uncaring and absentee mother. Then we have Jesse Walker, hot cowboy extraordinaire who has a mind and heart that’s well beyond his years. It’s basically an attraction of two complete opposites but the question is, who will win—the optimist or the pessimist?
I completely adored how the story developed. I’m so thankful that it didn’t go with your typical new adult formula… yeah, there was still those angsty moments but it was more contained and Rowen didn’t really waste that much time in opening herself up to Jesse. The rest of the Walker family also provided the perfect support system and you can just feel their love and warmth as a close-knit family. I also liked Josie’s character, who happens to be by far the sweetest and nicest ex-girlfriend in the history of ex-girlfriends in new adult novels. I even ended up having a weirdly soft spot for Garth Black because I know that underneath all that hardened cocky and almost soulless exterior, is a wounded and broken young guy. I really want him to get his own story and HEA as well!
You really need to read the story for yourself to witness how Jesse and Rowen’s story developed. I was so scared that something might go awfully wrong but thank goodness that even amidst all those bull crap, their love for each other won. Jesse was such a sweetheart through and through and it was really just so swoon-worthy with how he wore his heart on his sleeve and did not hesitate on declaring his feelings and intentions towards Rowen right off the bat. He was the perfect person to understand and fix Rowen’s inner demons as well as the perfect guy to help her heal and move past her ugly past. Oh and there were also quite a lot of moments filled with their witty banters that really entertained the crap out of me. Even though I’m really worried that something big might go down in the second book, I’m still itching to get my hands on it as soon as possible because I just can’t get enough of Rowen and Jesse!
There’s optimistic. And there’s Jesse Walker.
If he wasn’t so charming, his sunny disposition and incessant grin would get old. Fast.
Falling in love with the broken girl who had at first seemed immune to anything resembling love was the best thing to happen to Jesse since the Walkers adopted him when he was five.
As Jesse’s life continues at the ranch and Rowen begins making her mark in the Seattle art community, they wonder where the middle ground is. Or if there even is one.
As push comes to shove, they’re forced to make choices neither are eager to make, and Jesse and Rowen have to face what their lives might look like without the other.
Can two people with such tragic pasts and different presents expect a promising future together? Whatever the answer, they’ll need a lot more than love to make it.
Overall Rating: 5/5 — Now this book just made me fall harder for Jesse Walker… and Garth Black.
“For you, I’m a weak, weak man. I’m so weak for you that you could break me with one word. You could end me with one look. You could ruin me with one touch.”
So we met this cowboy who has such a beautiful way with words and the purest and kindest of hearts in Lost & Found and now, we get the hance to get to know him and his story on a much deeper level. Just when I thought I couldn’t fall harder for my dearphilosopher-cowboy-with-a-hippie-heart Jesse Walker, hearing his POV this time around just made me fall so much deeper in love with him and made me more amazed with the man he became given his truly tragic past.
I didn’t care how much I had to compromise or sacrifice to be with Rowen Sterling. I’d do whatever I could to make her happy. To let her live her dreams. To feel fulfilled. To recognize she was so damn special to me, I ached–a deep, throbbing pain–whenever we were apart.
She was sacred to me.
Yeah and just when I thought I’ve swooned enough over him in the first book, the first few pages of this book melted my heart to the core. I swear his love for Rowen is just so consuming and knows no bounds that you know that what they have is truly forever. But this time, he’s the one in need of saving as his tragic past that he kept buried for so long suddenly reveals itself to him after all these years of moving past it. And believe me, Jesse’s past was seriously one of the most twisted and painful back stories I’ve ever encountered. I think there even came a time when I couldn’t stomach all the things that he suffered through as he enumerated some of them. +__+
Rowen Sterling has also come a long way from her former self-destructive and self-deprecating ways with the love and guidance of Jesse and his family. I really liked how she clearly has become more matured in this one and how she’s hell bent on becoming the person Jesse was for her in the first book.
I knew that no matter what came at us, good or bad, we’d always figure out a way to weather it together. Smooth sailing and easy breezy wasn’t our destiny. But we had one, and for me, that was enough.
But then of course, all hell still broke loose and Jesse’s inner demons got the best of him, which in turn forced Rowen away. I think it’s refreshing that what they were up against were their inner issues and not outside people and the temptation to cheat because believe me, both temptations were present in Jesse and Rowen’s lives. Thank goodness their love was much stronger than that and thank heavens for… Garth Black. Yep, he’s pretty much the hero in this story and was the main trigger in fixing the all the bad shit between Jesse and Rowen.
I did have some slight qualms with the believability factor of some aspects of the story because for the longest time, I really loved the fact that it was so grounded and well… believably real. But then some parts turned into like some episode of a CW series. But nevertheless, all in all, the story was still came together beautifully. There were still a lot of funny moments and that ending was just so sweet that makes me want to demand for an epilogue because I need more of their happy ever after ♥
P.S. So with all the build up on his part and how he’s basically the main reason that Jesse and Rowen finally came to their senses and got back together, I think it’s safe to assume that our resident misfit badboy Garth Black is getting his own book? I swear I could’ve given him a standing ovation with all the work he put into talking a whole lot of sense to both Jesse and Rowen, especially with Jesse. And thanks to this book, my previous suspicions that he was really in love with Josie seems to be just about right and that Josie actually feels the same way for him.