A.J. Pine’s ‘Make Mine A Cowboy’ Navigates Tricky Waters with Heart and Humor [REVIEW]

She left Meadow Valley behind for the big city. Could she ever want to call it home again? (Photo courtesy Canva)

She’s all business. He’s all play. Can a fun-loving cowboy ever win over a hard-working doctor so she thinks of him as more than just a temporary distraction? Find out in A.J. Pine’s delightful new small town western romance, Make Mine A Cowboy.


The last time Ben Callahan and Dr. Charlotte North saw each other, they definitely enjoyed one another’s company. The thing is, neither of them ever expected their relationship to last or become anything other than a happy distraction. It’s amazing how life can change on a dime.

At the time, Callahan believed he was fated to life in an assisted living facility since he’d been told he was predisposed to get early onset Alzheimer’s like his dad. With that kind of prediction, he thought he should simply seize the day and get all his kicks in while he can remember what he’s doing. But upon learning that the diagnosis is wrong, he suddenly realizes that he needs to shape up and straighten out his life since he actually has a future to look forward to.

Meanwhile, North is just settling back into her big city life as a pediatrician after vacationing in Meadow Valley with her Gram and Callahan. She’s all about an orderly lifestyle, and although Ben was fun for a brief fling, she’s definitely never thought that they might build a future together. Yet when she gets a phone call from her cousin informing her that Gram is in the hospital after suffering from a fall, she drops everything and returns to her small hometown once more. And guess who she runs into upon arriving at the hospital? You guessed it. Callahan.

Now, with North in town for a couple months tending to Gram as she recovers from her accident, she realizes that her beloved grandmother has plenty of time to meddle in her personal life. So to stop her loving badgering, Charlotte ropes Ben into a fake relationship. The only thing is, Ben’s soon dreaming up ways to make this temporary pretend relationship a permanent one. But does he stand a chance of convincing the good doctor that his intentions are real and that he’s worthy of her love?

From the very beginning, Pine wins our hearts with her two leading characters. Ben is the bad boy doing his very best to reform, and Charlotte is the no-nonsense, self-sufficient Manhattanite who has no intention of settling down with a cowboy in a small town, regardless of how adorable he is. Both of them are flawed in numerous ways, but they are both so earnest in their beliefs it is impossible not to like them straight away. And of course, Gram is one sassy, wise, independent old dame who I immediately want to spend time with. She’s like the favorite aging relative we just adore, and she’s brought to vivid, hilarious life here.

The storyline admittedly starts with a literary trope as the couple fakes their relationship to fool everyone around them, but the tale never falls victim to its own origins and simply refuses to become a cliché. The characters are but one of the novel’s saving graces though. The author also navigates through tricky waters, addressing tough topics like feminism and the aforementioned issues with aging in America and the toll diseases like Alzheimer’s can take on a family. As such, Pine spins straw into gold by delivering a multi-layered novel about generational relationships, redemption, and a woman’s right to have it all.

If you’ve never read Pine before, her stories are perfect for fans of Diana Palmer, Linda Lael Miller and RaeAnne Thayne. Like them, she fills her stories with heart and humor and makes us care about the characters she writes so much we can’t wait to return to the towns they inhabit. I have no doubt you’ll agree, Make Mine A Cowboy is one for the keeper shelf.

This edition also includes the bonus novel Hometown Cowboy by Sarah Richardson.

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A.J. Pine
A.J. Pine


A librarian for teens by day and a romance writer by night, A.J. Pine can’t seem to escape the world of fiction, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

When she finds that 25th hour in the day, she might indulge in a tiny bit of TV when she nourishes her underlying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopathic detective. She hails from the far-off galaxy of the Chicago suburbs.

For more information, visit AJPine.com, like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By A.J. Pine
640 pp. Forever. $7.99

Purchase Make Mine A Cowboy direct from Jathan & Heather’s Beach Reads Book Shop or from one of these other fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, or Powell’s.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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