Book Review: Hang Tough by Lorelei James

January 21, 2019 Book Reviews 2

Book Review: Hang Tough by  Lorelei James

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hang Tough by Lorelei James
Genres: Western Romance
Published by Berkley on November 1, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled, What You Need, Just What I Needed, Racked and Stacked

Eighth in the Blacktop Cowboys western romance series and revolving around family and friends of the Split Rock Ranch and Resort. The couple focus is on Tobin Hale and Jade Evans, Garnet’s granddaughter.

My Take

I wanna smack that son of Garnet’s for calling Tobin a two-bit hustler. Garwood sounds like the hustler to me! Of course, we are learning a heckuva lot more about Tobin than I ever expected. And Tobin’s right, all the characters and I have all seen him as a Boy Scout, always polite and thoughtful. Who knew he could tear up the sheets the way he does!

Yep, we are voyeurs in this third person dual point-of-view from Tobin’s and Jade’s perspectives, as they agonize over their attraction, how repellant they find the actions of the other. And James certainly does break Tobin out of his young man role and into a demanding man, and she still keeps him in character.

I think Tobin has a point about all those pictures all over GG’s house. It also turns out that you probably need kids to realize when a decoration veers over into porno territory, eep.

This sounds way too familiar!

“…these same women don’t talk about anything interesting because they stopped doing interesting things. They just keep reliving their glory days when they raised their own kids and now they’re reliving that time through their grandkids.”

It’s fireworks that start with harsh words and end up in bed, a fireworks show that never ends.

And it all takes place in Muddy Gap with an amazing group of supportive people, who have more ideas on how to find a job that suits you than you can shake a stick at.

Oh, man, oh, man, when Garnet claims her life hasn’t been all that fun of late, I started getting worried. Then I got to the end, ROFLMAO.

I do like how Tobin dissed his dad and older brother. What a pair of jerks!?! It explains the attitude in Racked and Stacked, 9.

So, be careful what you say, it could come back to bite ya.

True dat.

The Story

Tobin’s mad and determined to make a change. He didn’t get a degree in animal sciences to muck out stalls. As for Jade, not being able to find a job in her field, it’s no surprise she, um, got the flu.

And somethin’s not right with Garnet, what with buying 100 bottles of Cristal for $20k. Not to mention the thousands she spent on a horse and a bull, and her ending up in jail. Whoowee, that woman…

It certainly has set Garnet’s son into a tizzy. He’s sending movers to pack her up, sell her house, and put her in assisted living!

The Characters

The colorful and quirky Garnet “GG” Evans is one of the Mud Lilies. The adopted Jade Evans is her father’s spy with a need for constant busyness and plays one heckuva violin. Grandma Celeste is her mother’s mother. Garwood is Garnet’s lawyer son who lives in New York City. Her mother, Gwen, is a shoppin’ kind’a gal.

Tobin Hale has a photographic memory and has had his BS and master’s in animal sciences with a minor in reproductive biology for six years and not using what he learned. His family includes his brother Streeter who came home one day to find his wife, Danica, dead. Olivia is their little girl. Dan is his dad, and Driscoll is his other brother. His grandma, Alma Hale, was once in GG’s position when Tobin’s dad made her move.

The Split Rock Ranch and Resort, Muddy Gap, is…
…set in Wyoming and owned by Renner Jackson who’s been consolidating and selling off various holdings. Tierney is his wife with four advanced degrees, taking care of Jackson’s finances as well as her own consulting business (Wrangled and Tangled, 3). Isabelle is their oldest; Rhett is their youngest. So far. Dodie is the head cook at the Split Rock and Riss’ cousin. Lou-Lou, Dodie’s cousin, is the prep cook who creates a dilemma. BB is one of Renner’s bulls. Teddy is a ranch hand. Hank and Kyle help out when a guest wants to play rodeo cowboy.

Janie Lawson is the Split Rock’s general manager who went to school for hospitality and business management; she’s married to Abe Lawson (Saddled and Spurred, 2, and Wrangled and Tangled, 3), and they have the karate-choppin’ Tyler and Dylan, their youngest son. Janie’s sister-in-law, Lainie Lawson, is a nurse (she married Hank in Corralled, 1), and they have Brianna Lawson.

Celia Gilchrist is married to Kyle (One Night Rodeo, 4) and pregnant with twins; they also have a little girl, Ashlyn. Sherry Gilchrist, Kyle’s mom, owns Buckeye Joe’s, a bar in Muddy Gap.

Harper Turner (she’s married to Bran, Saddled and Spurred, 2) used to have a nail studio in the back of the Beauty Barn, and now she runs a clothing store at the Split Rock. They have Tate, Jake, and Gage.

Hugh Pritchett, the ranch foreman, bought out the rodeo stock contracting business (Wrapped and Strapped, 7) along with Ike. Larissa “Riss” is a truck driver and lube jockey; Bernice is her aunt by marriage. Eli Whirling Cloud trains horses. Fletch is the local vet (Turn and Burn, 5) married to Tanna who’s pregnant again (Turn and Burn, 5); they have a son, Gus. Theresa is a friend of Riss’ who works at the Caspar Community College.

The Mud Lilies are…
…a group of old ladies who like to have fun — and who focus on fun today, not the them from fifty, sixty years ago — and include Garnet, Tilda, Bernice runs the Beauty Barn, Vivien, Miz Maybelle is the society reporter for the Muddy Gap Gazette, and Pearl. Tilda has a great-niece, Elise, with judgment issues. Holt Andrews owns a construction company.

Richard Leckband is the employment relations coordinator at HTML in Albuquerque. Chris Gowden owns LME Corporation in Casper. Tony the Stoner runs the masonry department at the building center in Rawlins. A pixie dust night is a night out when one is making questionable decisions.

The Cover and Title

The cover seems too simple, for some reason. The background is a cloud-covered day on the range with the golden prairie stretching out behind Tobin with the purple mountains rising up to the sky. Tobin is standing before us, his head pointed toward the saddle he’s carrying, a white Stetson on his head and wearing a red plaid button-down, open to the waist, with jeans. The series information is in white across the top while the title is in a soft royal blue to the left of Tobin’s head. Below this, in black, is a testimonial with another in white just above the author’s name at the bottom.

The title is exactly what Tobin plans to do, Hang Tough to protect Garnet’s interests and her home.

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