Review: How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy

Review: How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy
How to Handle a Cowboy

One StarOne StarOne Star

Series: Cowboys of Decker Ranch,
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on April 1, 2014
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley

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Trying to get off my cowboy romance slump I picked up How to Handle a Cowboy by Joanne Kennedy without reading the blurb. At first I was surprised at the premise, but then I jumped in feeling this was going to be a good book. While I enjoyed it, I did get bogged down in what these two felt were dreary lives rather than something to live for.

Ridge Cooper’s rodeo cowboy career is over after a bad injury leaves on of his hands unusable. Back home at the spread, he is looking for a way out of his depressing future as rodeo was all he knew or wanted. When asked to help out with foster kids, he gives it a go and finds it means more to him that what he ever thought it would. As he gets to know the main caretaker and the boys better, he puts together a list to get his life back in control and achieve a new goal to his life.

Sierra Dunn was once a cop, but the day to day grind go to her and she wanted to help out more. Going back to school to become a social worker is her dream, but when her dream job goes to another, she takes a group of foster boys to a small town to help raise them and create a home they can feel safe in. Needing a coach, she puts in for help, only to have it come in the unlikely form of a broken rodeo cowboy. But the dream job crops up is ugly head and tugs at her to move on to what she really wants.

While I loved Ridge, he was a little to rigid for my liking. He was also a product of foster care, in fact he is one of three that wasn’t wanted by anyone until they ended up on the ranch. Faced with no future, he decides he wants to resurrect the ranch, adopt a kid and find a woman with Sierra’s name at the top of the list. Now Ridge was standoffish, but also steadfast with being there for the kids and Sierra. When he falls, he falls hard.

Sierra was where I had most of my problems. In the beginning she is closing her online dating account having given up on finding anyone. Kind of sad. She has moved to the middle of no where and now knows she won’t find a man. So she takes on Ridge as a one night stand while constantly questioning everything he does. Then the big whopper! She gets that dream job to make decisions for kids at a high level and gives he notice on the current job. This is what turned me off on her character. Here she has a group of abused boys around 10. They need a stable life and someone they know cares and who will stick around. Now she loves these kids, but she is ready to just run off and leave them. This is where I kind of started to check out on the story.

Well, things work out in the end, but in reality I think Ridge needed to find a different woman….but then again, there isn’t much selection for any young person in this town.

The side characters at times were endearing and other times just got on my nerves. The kids broke my heart with their problems. The “elected himself” sheriff needs to be knocked down a few pegs. Riley the first child Sierra tries to save redeems herself. Just all around different emotions.

So while I wanted to like this story, it just didn’t resonate with me.

What makes a good cowboy story?

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!


  1. Cowboys work hard for very little and they are big on home and family. I’ve always respected ranchers and cowboys for that. It doesn’t hurt that they have nice lean hard bodies many times. Haha!

    I totally agree with you about a gal who knows the score enough to take on foster kids, but would ditch them after she made the commitment. Not. Cool!

    1. She irritated me to no end. Ridge does something so romantic though that I would have forgiven him almost anything.

  2. Oh bummer Shari. I think I’d have issues with her as well. I don’t know why it’s so hard to find good heroines. He sounds awesome though and I love the set up. It’s always interesting seeing big alpha men deal with set backs like that.

    1. I loved the hero. He did have flaws, but he was there for the people who depended on him. She on the other hand, loved the boys, did what was best for them, but wanted to make policy on how foster care was handled more. I just thought if you take on kids like that you need to put a lot of thought into the years it will require of you and how you don’t jump ship when something better comes along.