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Ratings and Book Reviews (7 9 star ratings
7 reviews
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4.2 out of 5
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    Good read

    This one had a lot going on, too much at times, but the basic story was very good. Grace isn't really a favorite character of mine but I could sympathize with the situation she found herself facing. I would have preferred if she had been forthcoming with her secret sooner and maybe with a bit more compassion. Hank I enjoyed. He's a guy who has gone through some bad times but he's facing things head on and trying to make amends to those he hurt. I thought parts of the story were unnecessarily drawn out but in the end I did enjoy the book so I would recommend.
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    Best so far of the series

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Found it very emotional. Have read all in the series (which I would recomment doing) and find this one the best. I felt this book had more depth, enabling me to be there with them feeling their fears and pains. Loved the portrayal of Hank's growth and maturity gained in his time spent in Montana.
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    Am I a bigger grinch?

    After finishing the astonishing Fearless in Texas, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on MISTLETOE IN TEXAS, and as you can see, it didn’t go as expected. Those of us who had read the previous book already knew what Grace’s “secret” was, while I presume those who haven’t can guess when reading the blurb: Grace had a baby. I don’t consider mentioning it a spoiler, as it’s revealed very early on anyway. Sad to say, the romance never worked for me: Grace and Hank had been friends since they were in fourth grade, she had been in love with Hank for ever it seems, while he … I don’t know. At some point towards the end, it seems he has always been in love with her. Okay. Right. Well, he had some strange ways of showing her in the past. I felt there were a whole lot of details missing proving that Hank had been in love with Grace all this time. Lust, yes; friendship, yes; love? I didn’t see it. Also, and this is not limited to Ms. Dell or this book, but I have a serious problem with heroines (never heroes! it never happens to men!) who put their love lives on ice because they keep pining for years after “the one that got away”; I think it’s pathetic. Or maybe I don’t have a romantic bone in me? I also had a real problem with the timeline: 12 months plus 2 months plus 9 months equals 23 months – unless there’s some novel way of adding up that I’m not aware of; so what was that with the 3 years that kept popping up? I wasn’t expecting a barrel of laughs, but I found MISTLETOE IN TEXAS quite depressing, especially at the beginning. There is so much hostility towards Hank, and it wasn’t very clear why until later on, and there’s the bad blood between Hank and his father. I like flawed characters, but honestly Hank had been a real loser while Grace had a solid career, and I just couldn’t understand why Grace was still crazy about him. And unlike other reviewers, I had no problem with Grace’s decision; it was actually refreshing to see a heroine whose point of view differs from the accepted norm. But I couldn’t see Hank’s appeal, and I couldn’t help wondering why I was supposed to want to see them together. It’s not even as if they had really “been together” in the past. It was also a bit strange how both Grace and Hank were in some sort of “love vacuum”; in those types of stories, you usually have at least one member of the opposite sex gravitating around either or both protagonists; here, no one seemed remotely romantically interested in either Grace or Hank. I couldn’t make myself care how the “romance” turned out, I just wasn’t invested in whatever happened. In fact, I would have much preferred Trevyn as the hero, or the hero of a second romance; he was splendid and very charismatic. You know the sort of people you dislike upon meeting and no matter what they do, no matter the grovelling or the good deeds, your first impression never changes? That’s how I felt about Hank. Neither did I really care about the second romance that happened which, in my opinion, was not necessary and made the book longer. I also found extremely convenient it is to have super rich people solve others’ financial woes. Kari Lynn Dell’s descriptions of rodeos, horses, and farm life are stunning, as usual; her writing is flawless, and I would have been much more interested in everything else that happened were it not for the two romances that never worked for me.
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    Hank goes back to where it all began, home

    Although I think you can read this as a stand-alone it makes more sense if you have read the previous books and understand the interactions between the characters. Hank Brookman was a rodeo bull-fighter but a messed up home life and feelings of insecurity have plagued him all his life then his rashness leads him into a potentially calamitous situation and gets him fired by the people he considered family. Then a moment of indecision left another rider crippled for life and Hank himself suffering injuries. He has spent months living like a squatter on a Reservation with an elderly woman, blaming himself for everything. Then when his landlady/employer dies he is kicked off the Reservation and his sponsor Gil (owner of a trucking business based in Hank's hometown) offers him a job working for the trucking company and an apartment. Suddenly Hank will have to face the father who constantly criticised him, the girl he'd been best friends with since they were nine that he humiliated in front of half the town, his estranged sister and all the former friends and family that he's ghosted in the past three years. Grace McKenna has been in love with Hank since she was nine years old. The daughter of a religious zealot she had a one night stand with Hank shortly after he lost his job(view spoiler) but he humiliated her in the local bar, drunk and ashamed he was unkind and dismissive. Now the sports doctor at the local high school Grace doesn't know how she can face the love of her life again, especially since she has now become friends with his sister Melanie and other women from his close circle of friends. If you have read the previous books in the series you will have seen Hank as the cocky, know-it-all, brilliant bull-rider who lost everything because of bad decisions and ego. This is truly a Christmas redemption story as Hank learns to see himself through the eyes of others and builds bridges between himself and his father, with the help of his counsellor/friend Bing. Other reviewers have criticised Grace's choices, I have to agree with them but I can also see why Grace did what she did, at the end of the day its a plot device and sets her aside from the usual way these stories go. I loved seeing Hank growing and reestablishing himself in the community, apologising and moving on, changing his behaviour and owning his actions. I loved that he was all in and present with Grace, it may have taken him years to realise that his little red-haired girl, the one who cheered him from the sidelines, the one who shared her homework, the one who was always there for him, was his benchmark for all women and the love of his life but when he does ... he's there no matter what. Overall, another feel-good romance full of love and redemption, hope and renewal, family (in all its forms) and Christmas.
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    Love it!

    Mistletoe In Texas by Kari Lynn Dell is an amazing western romance. Ms. Dell has delivered a well-written book. The cast of characters is a little overwhelming at first, but the main characters are phenomenal. Hank was on his way up in his rodeo bullfighting career until bad luck or bad choices sent him into hiding in northern Montana. Grace grew up as Hank's friend but wanted more. Their decisions and their paths bring them both back to Texas. Hank and Grace's story is loaded with drama, humor, sizzle, lots of angst and a ton of friends and family. I enjoyed reading Mistletoe In Texas and look forward to reading more from Kari Lynn Dell in the future. Mistletoe in Texas is part of the Texas Rodeo Series but can be read as a standalone. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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