Review: Cowboy Strong by Carolyn Brown

Posted July 3, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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

Review: Cowboy Strong by Carolyn Brown
Cowboy Strong

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Longhorn Canyon #7
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Forever
Released on June 30, 2020
Pages: 400
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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The Delight:

They Knew Each Other From Childhood, But It Took a Dying Man’s Wish to Give Them Their Chance.  The Longhorn Canyon series has introduced some great ranching men and women.  Pax and Alana are no exception in this touching, emotional country charmer.


Alana Carey learns the devastating news that her father only has about six weeks to live.  Now, his frequent mentions of his dream that she find a good man and settle so he can walk her down the aisle holds an all new meaning.  Matt Carey knows he’s leaving his only child alone and wants her to have a helpmate like he had with her mother to help Alana run their large cattle ranch.  Alana is heartbroken, but is determined that her dad will have his dying wish so she goes to the only man she can count on to go through an engagement and wedding just to make Matt Carey feel he can die without worry and regret.  It doesn’t hurt that she has crushed on Pax Callahan since they were kids and recently buried the hatchet on their teenage feud so they are dear friends.  A lie for good intentions, but when the time comes, is it really a lie?

Pax once kissed tough and tall Alana Carey behind the barn and nearly got his teeth knocked in and told she wanted nothing to do with him.  It hurt in more ways than one since he’d always had a thing for the golden-haired girl from the ranch next door.  It is only years later that they get over that and now she needs him to stand by her as she must mourn her father’s coming death, keep her promise to tell no one he’s dying, and pretend she is all taken cared for in her future with Pax.  He doesn’t even hesitate to do this and soon finds that being engaged is not as terrifying as some might imagine for the good-timing cowboy who has dreams of settling down- and those dreams now include Alana.

As you might surmise from the blurb, this one had a bittersweet quality particularly once the reader gets to know the dying Matt Carey and the beautiful legacy he has in his daughter, his ranch, and his friends.  It was obvious that Pax and Alana were it for each other and they were connected strongly even if it took the fake engagement to get them to see it.  Pax feels he has nothing to offer Alana since he’s got a half share in a much smaller ranch and no money.  Alana doesn’t worry about that because she knows Pax has a lot to offer as  rancher and hard worker, but she does wonder if settling down particularly with her is something he’s ready for.  This could have gotten angsty especially with a few other interesting elements that come into the story, but it does not.  The author wisely understood that what was there was plenty.  It’s a beautiful story and has a gentle pacing.  Lots of heartwarming moments and a couple funny ones.  The family and friends, small town, and ranch life backdrop is feathered in so well.

I got emotional and still feel it while I’m typing this.  It was a beautiful story in the style at only Carolyn Brown can write.  Though not one of the high humor ones, it’s still got a good down home feel and I can strongly recommend it to cowboy-small town- contemporary romance fans.

My thanks to Forever for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #83
Romance BINGO #38 cowboy
Reading Assignment Summer #9 Author Love
Books N Tunes #23 Rascal Flatt’s Bless the Broken Road


About Carolyn Brown

Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They’ve also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

I have a wonderful agent, Erin Niumata, who continues to work magic and sell my work. I’m very lucky to have her and my editors who continue to believe in me.

Happy reading!

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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1 year ago

So glad you enjoyed it so much. I read one of her cowboy books long ago; maybe I’ll try another soon. Thanks.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Jen

It’s so hard to keep up with all the books. Yes, try another of hers soon. My favorites are the Cadillac, TX series and most of her women’s fiction.

Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

I really like when the couple starts out in a relationship that’s fake and then they get the feels for each other and ends up not so fake.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Same here! These two already had sparks, but just needed the push of proximity to do the trick. 🙂

Anne - Books of My Heart

I’;m a fan of Carolyn Brown and she certainly has a way with cowboy stories. Fantastic review!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Howdy, fellow fan! She sure does. 🙂

Lover of Romance
1 year ago

You sold me on this one!! I just love her westerns and I can’t wait to grab this one up She really ties in character depth so well.

Great review.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Woohoo! Glad I tempted you with it. I think you’d really connect with this one, Renee!

1 year ago

I’ve been looking forward to Pax and Alana’s romance! I just got a copy so I’ll come back and read this after I finish reading. Glad to see your high rating!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel

Me, too! I hope you like it, Rachel. Look forward to seeing what you think.

1 year ago

Nice! I’ll have to keep this author in mind when I do a cowboy reading binge.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  vvb

Oh yes!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I am listening to her novel Miss Janie’s Girls now, and will be adding this series. 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

We’ll do a trade off then because I have Miss Janie’s Girls for this month.

Carole Rae
1 year ago

Been a hot min since I’ve read this author. Someday soon

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yes, soon! 🙂