Gone Country (Rough Riders) (Anglais) Broché – 5 novembre 2013
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This is probably the hardest review I've ever had to write because this is a huge release into a wildly popular series and it's about someone who until two years ago didn't even know he had this crazy, huge, but loving family. It's hard because we are nearing the end of this series and because of that I read this book with a different eye and had such a difficult time not crying through the whole thing. It's hard because I want to make sure my thoughts are coherent enough to give this book the justice it deserves and it deserves a lot. While I've always been vocal about my favorite McKay man and couples, and those haven't changed with this story, this book is probably my favorite overall book in this series. This is the longest book in the series to date and it by far has the most complex plot, yet I still finished it and was ready for more. Don't get me wrong, it has a very satisfying ending but as always Lorelei leaves me wanting more and that my friends is the mark of one of the best authors out there. Even my husband who has enjoyed every one of Lorelei's Rough Riders books and everything she's written as Lori Armstrong commented that he appreciates the details and character development she puts in every story. Something he believes is lacking more often than not in books these days. Gone Country steps beyond the norm in a Rough Rider book, this story is about relationships of many different kinds and it was easy to read this book and reflect back on the entire series. Seeing the McKay family from "outsider" eyes, is interesting, hysterical, heartwarming, heart breaking, and cathartic. I loved every minute of it and despite knowing there are two more books to go, I'm at peace with this part of the series coming to a close because I feel like the missing pieces to the McKay family puzzle are in place; Gavin and Sierra are where they have always been meant to be; in the bosom of the McKay family.
Gavin Daniels has fascinated me since he first appeared on the scene in Chasin' Eight. I will admit though at first I worried about what this outsider might do to shake up the McKay family and their ranching empire. I'm highly protective of the McKay family so I didn't trust Gavin, I found myself worrying what this could mean for everyone involved. But when he flew to Wyoming for the "intervention" with Ben in Cowboy Casanova, I decided right there and then Gavin was a stand up guy. In this book he proves over and over what a stand up guy he is and while he has his moments where I threw up my hands and shouted "quit acting like a typical McKay." It dawned on me that despite being raised in a totally different environment, the whole nature versus nurture argument comes into play because when he's mad or upset, he takes on the pissy man McKay attitude and says things that are totally out of character for him. However, he's generous to a fault, he's a fantastic father (despite making some mistakes), he a caring lover, and he's really trying to be a brother, son, nephew, uncle, and cousin to people he didn't even know existed two years ago. I honestly can't imagine all the issues he's dealing with and there are some pretty wonderful moments in this book as he works through all the changes in his life.
I admire Rielle Wetzler for the choices she's made in her life. She works hard and despite some financial troubles in the past, she's a smart business woman. When she first appeared on the scene, I didn't like her much but that had more to do with the fact that she was kind of mean to Ainsley. Once I realized her motivations for that though, I forgave her and it's been interesting uncovering the layers of this complex woman. I really love the parallel lines between Rielle and Vi (Gavin's birth mom). I also applaud her for raising her daughter on her own despite the odds and making sure her daughter had the best upbringing she could provide no matter how hard she had to work for it. I will forever be grateful for the way she embraced both Gavin and Sierra and how she always listened to them without meddling. I'm not sure there are many women who would have seen fit to play the role of sounding board without giving her opinion.
Something every interesting in this book is we see part of it from Sierra's eyes. As a 16 year old girl who was moved from a big city into the wild of Wyoming, she has some pretty damn insightful moments. There are also a lot of very realistic teenage girl moments that left me shaking my head one minute and thanking the Lord I had a son the next. Everyone thinks Sierra is shallow, spoiled and self centered but we learn there is a lot more depth to this young woman and I can't help but wonder where life will take her.
We also get to see a lot more of Rielle's daughter Rory in this book and some of her scenes make me realize that no matter how old children are, they still expect to be the center of your universe. At 24, she's not happy about her Mom finally getting a life and she doesn't handle it well. She makes some of Sierra's outbursts look really minor. I did however enjoy the budding relationship between Rory and Sierra. Rory really stepped up into a big sister role and Sierra was there to remind Rory to take a good, hard look at herself when she was being particularly bitchy.
Throughout this book we get to see Gavin learning to deal with his extended family but also forging bonds with his brothers, and his birth parents. This isn't always neat and pretty but the scenes will forever hold my heart. Gavin's reaction to so many of the things he is dealing with is so real that I often found my eyes leaking. We also get to see Sierra finding her place in this huge family and learning about the family's history. Sierra also experiences a changing crush but I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil it for you.
As you can tell many different kinds of relationships are explored, but this story is about Gavin and Rielle moving from friends to lovers. Once they finally figure out there is no way to ignore the passion that is between them, they move quickly and their intimate scenes are scorching hot. Watching Gavin take the reins in their relationship and them both realizing that it takes the right partner and the right chemistry for great sex, they leave no stone unturned and no surface untouched! While I have loved watching each and every McKay man fall in love, Gavin and Rielle have a very mature relationship that comes from them being at very different places in their lives compared to the previous couples. That's not to say they are boring, they are far from that, but with 16 and 24 year old children in and out not to mention business to run and extended family nearby they have a lot on their plates.
Every day I thank Lorelei James for opening my eyes and making me realize that just because you are comfortable in your relationship doesn't mean you can't spice things up and make it new again. With Gone Country, if she helps one single parent realize that they deserve a life outside of being a parent then in my opinion, her work is done. I can almost guarantee when Lorelei set out to write this series she had no idea what great marriage, sex, and life therapy they would be. But the truth is, they are and Lorelei James is a master at her craft. This book is more than a story about two single parents finding love. Gone Country is the story of people finding their way in this big world, learning to deal with everything life throws at them and then being lucky enough to find that one person that makes them feel like no one else can. It's truly a masterpiece and while I've enjoyed every story in this series, this is without a doubt the best overall story to date and one that I feel will top the bestseller charts and should remain there for a good, long time. Congrats Lorelei on a job well done, consider me overwhelmed and overjoyed. This book is 5 stars only because we don't have anything higher!
Review copy provided for an honest review.
I got the feeling, as I was reading, that the author was more involved/invested in this story. There seemed to be something way more personal coming through. There was no quick fix to anything in this story-it was definately more realistic in how life really plays out. The author tok her time to really make you feel like this could be your life...no wham, bam, let's have a happy ending now. I applaud that. While sometimes you just want a quick build, hot sex & happy ending, that is not the way this series is. You are attached to the McKay/West clan...you actually feel involved & invested in the way the story goes. That's the sign of a really well written story.
Ms. James has always given us a wonderful story full of romance, heartbreak, more romance, lots of steamy sex and the inspirations that make our own lives more interesting. This book continues to provide more of the same, but this story just seems so much more relatable to every day life. I mean, most everyone these days has some sort of experience with single parenthood, having to make the hard choices between being a 24/7 parent controlled by every whim of your child and actually trying to have a life of your own. This wonderful story told by Ms. James shows the true reality of the ups and downs, the battles and victories, the angst of teenage drama/love....and the whole time, you sit there thinking "yep, I know that". But at the same time, you feel like you're living in their world, experiencing their passion and only wanting more.
Even more, there are so many McKay/West family members that have come along as the Rough Riders series has unfolded, you would think it would be confusing...but every time, she brings all the charecters together, giving us subtle reminders as to how their stories came to be, how they are all tied together and why we love every damn one of them! And FINALLY we get to the lowdown on the illusive details of the McKay/West feud! Wow-I was seriously impressed with how that history was developed & given to us. The details were unbelievable and the long forgotten history was used to bond Gavin & Sierra to the family they were lucky enough to have.
The characters in this story were so strong, so independent. Rielle is a force to be reckoned with. She has pulled herself up by her bootstraps so often, they should have ripped off years ago. She is an example of what every single mom, every independent woman should every aspire to be. Gavin is an amazing blend of the men we love & the men we fantasize about. He is gorgeous, sexy & pays homage to a woman's body like we all dream our men would. But he's also stubborn, pigheaded and takes forever to admit he's wrong....like men tend to be. The perfect blend of reality & fantasy. What more could we ask for??
This Rough Riders installment left me happy, hopeful & horny....that's 5 stars in my book. I am so anxiously awaiting Dalton & Rory's story that it will seem like forever before we get it. ...And can I just say that I really hope there's a "fast forward" into the future that will give us a story for Sierra(since she's nowhere near legal age yet)& Boone.....every girl needs a happily ever after.
Thank you, Lorelei, for letting us live in the world you created. And making that world so unbelievably wonderful. You have written another amazing story.
Let me just say this was a good book, but then Ms. James rarely ever disappoints. I have to admit, I am anxious for the future and the book about Boone and Sierra (obviously when they are older). Quite frankly, they were the main reason I stayed interested in the book. As for Gavin and Rielle, well, theirs was a sweet romance, although they are the very reason I didn't give this book more stars.
First of all, at the very beginning, the impression that was given of Rielle was one of an "old" woman, yet further along, it was evident she might not be a young chicken, but she was by far old. I guess I just couldn't get that image out of my head. Rielle was irritating in the fact that I couldn't quite get to the understanding of why she was so hateful when Gavin wanted to do things for her. I could get if she were frustrated and kept it internal, but she got down right angry and I just don't see the realism in that when you are in a romantic relationship with someone. No, maybe she didn't want him to shower her with expensive gifts or to "look" like she wanted him for his money, but seriously? And then I couldn't get a feel for how she really felt about Sierra - for most of the book, it seemed as though she didn't like the girl and then others, she might have. Too much back and forth there, but I think it was so we could get an idea of what Rielle was thinking.
And as for Gavin, I did fall in love with him most of the time. The man was hot and the fact that he came out of his shell, becoming the dominant lover that Rielle needed was SEXY! We all want that man who just can't control himself when it comes to his woman and that was Gavin. On the other hand, I guess being a parent of three, I know better than to let my kids manipulate me the way Sierra did him, however, in the same sense, Gavin hated his ex-wife, yet he allowed his daughter to act just like her?
All in all, this was a good one and I definitely look forward to more books by Lorelei - actually, I stalk the Amazon site to see when her newest ones are coming out, so needless to say, I am forever a fan.
Not like any other McKay...and still ohhhhh so good! ~Under the Covers
After Tell's story, which was a bit younger in tone and totally bad boy McKay, it was a very nice change of pace to read about Gavin. Gavin is the long lost McKay brother. Vi had given him up for adoption without telling anyone that she was pregnant when she was 16. And now after Gavin is 40+, he comes back in their lives. He is a McKay by blood, but so not your typical McKay by actions. He's divorced, he has a teenage daughter, and he's bought the ranch next to Ben that used to be owned by Rielle. Now that he wanted to bring their daughter to Wyoming to help her with some behavior issues, he will have to adjust to country living, McKay relatives, and living with Rielle for a while.
Rielle was an amazing and so strong heroine. I have to give her props because she's devoted her life to her daughter, even after she had gotten pregnant at 16 and being raised by hippie parents in a commune. She has made something of her life with strength and hard work. And she's always put work and being a mother first. So that means relationships with guys have not been a big priority in her life. It's hard to believe that, in her forties and with her daughter away to college, she's just now developing feelings and attraction for the first guy in what could be the first time in her life.
Gavin, on the other hand, was just amazing. In a way he reminded me of Jack (Keely's husband) and has a lot of the qualities I liked in him. I liked the fact that he comes back to Wyoming slimmer and taking better care of himself. It wasn't love at first sight with Gavin and Rielle. They've both made some changes and now that attraction is blooming. I find that a big part of it was how different Rielle was from Gavin's ex wife. She might not be the refined woman he is used to deal with, but that's exactly the type of woman he needs.
Gavin and Rielle as a couple were great. Both had their own insecurities. They had to deal with the issues that single parents have to, even though their kids were not so little. With one living with them, they had to have a certain amount of discretion in their encounters, but they made it work. Still building their relationship in a way that progressed slowly and was very believable, as well as dealing with both their kids and family life. Their chemistry was off the charts! I just wish we would've gotten more details on the sex in the office against the windows. *waggles eyebrows* I have to say though, at times I felt Rielle could've been more involved and shouldn't have put so much distance between her and the relationship they were building and the rest of Gavin's life.
Then there's the kids. I cannot wait to see what happened between Dalton and Rory. I'm biting my nails in anticipation! Then Sierra, Gavin's daughter. I really loved her character up until the very last bit of the book. When you read it you will know why at that point I wanted to bash her head against the wall. But, typical teenage behavior I guess. Of course there is Boone West *sigh*. Is it bad to say I have a crush on a teenager? Well, I do! Are we going to get a Sierra and Boone's story? Pretty please with a cherry on top! I also enjoyed all the McKay interactions and bits and pieces of their family life, as usual.
This book was not like any other McKay...and still ohhhh so good. I think it's a nice change of pace in the series. Even though it's bittersweet because we are one book closer to the end.
"If it looks like a McKay, acts like a McKay...then it is a McKay."
"Did you happen to bring a condom with you?"
"Nope. I brought two."
*ARC provided by publisher