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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 14 May 2013
4.5 amazeballs stars!!!

I loved loved loved this was heart wrenchingly emotionally beautiful. I couldn't put it down and was gutted when I saw "The End"...however, Nicole if you are reading this that seriously cannot be the end...I hardly ever relish having to wait for a sequel but this book NEEDS a sequel in fact it DEMANDS a was a sort of HEA ending but nowhere near epilogue and a story so open ended that it needs Nicole to start pressing some keys that says...the continuation of Rowen and Jesse...thanks and breatheeeeeee....right where was I???

Oh yes, Rowen...misunderstood because of her appearance you could call her trouble, goth, druggie or as most call her "a freak" she uses her clothing etc as a disguise to hide the true Rowen... underneath all that black there is a lovely girl just waiting to escape... she lived with her "mum" very loosely called that as she is never there for her..and after having suffered something that happened when she was younger Rowen became a virtual recluse within herself and used drugs, alcohol and boys as a way of forgetting..her grades slipped and her mother has all but given up on her. Rowen however finds her release through art and badly wants to attend art school, it does cost a lot but Rowen's mum is not prepared to pay for it unless Rowen can prove herself worthy. Her mum packs her off to her old school friends ranch to play cowboys for the summer, she has to prove that over the summer she can work her butt off and clean up her act.

Rowen has just endured a tortuous journey on the Greyhound bus and is waiting for one of the ranch hands to pick her strides Jesse Walker...a cowboy with the tightest pair of Wranglers, that show off the tightest arse....she is in lust/love!!! Jesse is a 19 year old cowboy..he works for his parents on the ranch..he is nothing like her usual attractions, he is gorgeous, he has a positive attitude, he works hard, he loves his family, he is affectionate, he sees the real her, he pays her compliments she is totally screwed!!

She is put to work on the ranch with 4am starts, but she throws herself in and gives it her all, she actually relishes her time there enjoying being part of a family, something that she has never felt for a very long time...slowly but surely Jesse begins to eat at the walls that she has carefully constructed around herself...
"Why don't you want to know that I like you Rowen??? Why don't you want me to tell you I'm so damn attracted to you, I almost don't trust myself to be alone with you like we are right now???? Why don't you want to know that I care about you so much????"
This starts a beautifully written story about a girl with such low self esteem that it would take years of drilling to find it beginning a journey of self discovery..not only about how to love others but to also love herself..the Walker family are extremely tight and no matter what they treated Rowen as one of her own, Jesse's mum knew what Rowen's mum was like and she always gave her the most heart felt and best advice she could..slowly but surely Rowen came out of her shell and began to find herself.

Jesse was just adorable, I loved him so much...he too had his past, one that meant he hadn't lead the ideal life that Rowen once thought he had. He had overcome his obstacles and demons and could see the same with Rowen..he had also had his heart broken with his first true love so he also had his worries with regards to a new relationship, but they had this chemistry that was not going to go away...the sort of chemistry whereby they knew each other was close...they could tell what each other was thinking and they both eventually realised what they had was special.

Eventually they both opened up to each other and Jesse's family and whilst Rowen thought that the family would be mortified that their only son would fall in love with her, they didn't..they could tell before Rowen and Jesse that there was something there, so it came as no shock.
"We don't deserve anything Rowen. We don't deserve punishment, we don't deserve happiness, life owes us nothing. Realize that" His voice wasn't gentle anymore; it was as strong as I'd ever heard it. "So we have to take what we want because life sure as shit isn't going to freely hand it over" . He kissed the skin above my collar bone........"and I want you".

This book was so emotional, it dripped off the page...the swoon factor with Jesse was huge he was just such a darling...oh and a virgin!!!! How refreshing that the male lead has the big "V"...they do a lot of kissing and I mean a lot of kissing and even that got me hot under the collar..but the tenderness in losing the big "v" was beautiful..I just loved it all..loved it loved it loved it!!!!!!

Have you 1clicked yet???

If not, why not????

Fab read!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 August 2014
The story itself is same old, same old. Without spoiling it for anyone, I'll just say that if you've got two ounces of brain, you'd know exactly what is going to happen between Jesse and Rowen [the book's cover might be a dead giveaway too ;)]. Based on that I should have awarded it three starts. However, the humour and wit of the author is sublime and based on that I should have given it five stars. So I had to settle for four in the end.

One of the main characters changes enormously thanks to the other main character who does not change one bit. And that kind of sentiment is repeated throughout the book - those supporting characters that need to change to make everything picture perfect do (or are taken out of the picture altogether) and those that are already picture perfect ready remain untainted. In fairness, the situations that unfold and are described a slightly harder hitting that I thought they'd be, so credit goes to the author here. Its also noteworthy that, even though there are two more books in the series, the author has been kind enough to finish this book in such a way that you dont really need to read the next two. There is closure here for itself. The next two books (I guess, because as of today's date I have not read) will be a continuation of the story, but not a must-read-to-find-out-what-really-happens type of continuation. I like that.

So, in summary: a great summer read. ->
If I had to choose again, would I pick this books to read? Yes, but only because it was for free. ->
Would I re-read this book? Well, never say never, so I'm going to say extremely unlikely. ->
Am I going to buy the next two in the series? No. ->
Would I read the next two in the series if they become free (at some point in the future)? Sure. ->
So... four stars it is then :-)
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on 11 September 2014
For the fact that this is was a freebie - it was a BAR-GAIN!!!
So pleased that I stumbled across this.
Rowen is kinda blackmailed by her mum to spend the summer with her mum's friend helping out on their family ranch so that she can finally go to Art School.
Rowen is the anti-thesis of anything country - a pure bred city girl.
Having had a bit of a bad experience a few years previous, the now 18 yo Rowen is dressed H2T in black and describes herself as goth, emo, or her favourite "freak".
She is very much judged by her appearance - but she has so many walls around her (to protect herself because of the said bad experience) that she likes it like that. A self-preservation move. She doesn't get involved so she doesn't get hurt.
However, the family she stays with are sweet and wholesome and nothing like the sort of people Rowen has encountered. They don't judge, they take her for who she is and love her unconditionally.
Rowen sort of struggles to deal with this outpouring of emotion, toward her, and for what she is experiencing herself. The angsty, angry girl is replaced by someone who wants to love, and be loved!
So I haven't told you about the love interest!
Jesse the wrangler-wearing cowboy! Phew! I am old in comparison, but seriously I felt the heat off the pages! And I read on a kindle!
Such great writing.
I cannot begin to believe that the follow up will be anywhere close to being as good as this. I am not complaining, because this is a lovely coming-of-age story. I love the character that Rowen becomes, with Jesse and his family as her guide. She really does earn the HEA.
On to the next one!!!
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on 2 December 2013
'My whole life was shifting, like I was experiencing my own personal earthquake. I felt the plates shifting and rearranging below the surface. I felt the fire and heat molding and shaping them. I felt change, whether I wanted it or not. It was happening, and I might as well embrace it.'

---My thoughts---

This book was recommended to me a few days ago via Goodreads, and when I saw that it was only 77p on Amazon I thought; why not? This is my first romance book with cowboys and I have to say, it's time I read some more. I finished this book within a few days and loved every bit of it.

It's not often I give five stars to a book. For me, five star reviews are for the rare books that keep me coming back for more every time I put the book down, and keep me thinking about it when I'm away from it. They also need to have something special about them; something different from the other books I've read. I've read a lot of Romance books lately, but something about this one just stood out for me.

There were a lot of things that were different in this story. Unfortunately I can't go into them in my review, as they would be major spoilers. There was one part of the story that was predictable however. We're introduced to Garth Black early on in the story and it's clear that there's some bad vibes between him and Jesse. It's not entirely clear why until close to the end of the book, but it was certainly hinted at, and I guessed correctly.However, there were so many twists, turns and shocks in this book that I lost count.

Rowen is a lovely character. She's deeply troubled and holds a lot of emotions inside. It's so nice to see her open up during the story. She finally feels wanted and loved at Willow Springs, after many years of feeling unwanted and rejected at home. At first, it's hard for her to understand why the Walkers are so kind to her, and why they even want her around in the first place. But it's not long until she understands that the Walkers are just some of the kindest people she'll ever know. I really felt myself connecting with Rowen, as we all have times when we don't feel wanted, or we hide our true selves from others. Rowen was easy to connect with, as she's just an ordinary girl who's had a really tough time, and she feels the same insecurities that most girls feel at some point in their lives.

I absolutely loved Jesse. He's kind to Rowen from the first day of meeting her and he doesn't judge her as most people do. It's clear that he has his own issues but he doesn't let them affect those around him. He's protective over Rowen, but not possessive which makes a nice change in this type of book. Quite often in romance novels, the male character is incredibly overbearing and possessive, but Jesse is none of these things. Their relationship is lovely to watch, they enjoy each other's company, they make each other laugh, but they also test each other.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone looking for romance with a difference. There's darkness and sadness in this story, but there's also love, happiness and of course, there's Cowboys.
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on 6 August 2013
Rowen Sterling has been shipped off to Willow Spring a small town in the middle of nowhere, to spend the summer working for Rose Walker and old friend of her mothers. If Rowan can prove herself and work hard and stay out of trouble, then her mother has agreed to pay for her to attend art school. Going to art school is all Rowen has ever wanted to do it is her dream and so here she is about to begin working on a ranch for the summer, and while she is not happy about it, it's the last thing she actually wants to do until she meets Rose's son Jesse who is unlike any other guys she has ever met, he gets under her skin, and just maybe this summer won't be so bad after all.

Rowen is a bit of a mess up girl; she spent the last five years living a reckless life, label as a freak, she uses boys, alcohol destructive behavior to numb out the pain from a secret that she wants to keep hidden. Hiding behind the dark makeup and the dark clothes, is a girl who has built up walls to keep everyone away, who is lost, broken. I really liked her, as she was smart, funny girl who didn't care what others thought.

"A long time ago, I'd learned I was good at "handling" life. I didn't excel at it, and I certainly didn't thrive at it, but I could handle life and everything it had thrown at me. My secret? I'd simply accepted that life was pain."~ Rowen

Jesse, is a sweet, he is cute, charming, smart, hard working, and all-round good guy that you are going to love. There is something about him, has a lot of wisdom and seem much older than his 19 years, and best of all he is a cowboy yes ma'am he really is. As soon as he meets Rowen he can see that there is a lot more to her than the person she is portraying.

"I've only known you a couple of days. That's not that long at all. I don't know you well enough to pretend like I know you and your problems. But I want to know you. I want to know your problems. That is... if you want to know me." ~ Jesse

I loved this storyline, about self-discovery. It had a little drama but not too much as it actually was about a two people falling in love. It made me smile and laugh. Rowen and Jesse of opposite in every sense of the word, she is the bad girl, and he is the golden boy, but you know what they say `opposites attract' and these two really do.

"Why don't you want to know that I like you, Rowen? Why don't you want me to tell you I'm so damn attracted to you, I almost don't trust myself to be alone with you like we are right now? Why don't you want to know that I care about you so much...?" ~Jesse

I love watching Rowen and Jesse's friendship grow into something more. Jesse sees nothing but good in Rowen, he doesn't care about her past, he is always paying her complement, and not in a cheesy way. He believes in her even when she does not; let her know it's okay to be loved. Rowen is not used to being treated this way it's all new to her, and when she tries to push him away she can't, every time she is around him she feel her walls coming down. She knows she can open her heart to Jesse and let him in, trust him with her secret, and he will not judge her.
"He didn't study me like I was something different and scary. He looked at me like I was a human being, no different from himself, and yet unique just the same" ~Rowen

"We all want to open up to someone, Rowen. The hard part is finding someone we trust enough to open up to. That person we're not afraid to let into the darkest parts of our world."~ Jesse

I loved the rest of the Walker family, being part of a family is new to Rowen. Rose the mother Rowen never had, she is such a special lady, and you can see where Jesse gets his wisdom. They all open their hearts and home to Rowen, they are caring, they ask no questions and accept her for whom she is, they are the support that Rowen needs and especially when her mother comes to visit. I don't think I will give away any spoilers when I tell you she is another woman who will not be winning a mother of the year award any time soon. Oh and I wasn't a fan of Garth, but I do think he has a story to tell.

"Every morning we get a chance to be different. A chance to change. A chance to be better. Your past is your past. Leave it there. Get on with the future part, honey." ~ Rose

Overall I loved this story, Nicole William has written a wonderful book that truly draws you in and gives you characters that you are going to fall in love with. I was captivated from the start, and this love story beyond doubt warmed my heart. While Rowen and Jesse's story are far from over, I like the ending it was as it should be. I can recommend this book enough. I'm off now to read my ARC copy of Near and Far to see what is next in store for Rowen and Jesse.

Lost and Found get 5 stars from me.
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Nicole Williams has cemented herself in my heart as one of my `must read' authors. She proved she is queen of the brooding, angst driven bad boy with Cole from Up In Flames and Jude from the Crash series. In Lost & Found she has managed a switch-a-rooney with her characters, enter angst driven Rowen and walking sunshine itself, Jesse Walker. Cowboys have never been so hot :)

Told in first person narrative from Rowen's point of view. Sent to work on her mother's friends ranch for the summer after numerous `bad girl' incidents, that are more cries for attention than anything else. She has a very strained relationship with her mother. Whom I absolutely hated, she's a completely self-absorbed bitch, constantly deeming Rowen when she should have been nurturing her. It is easy to understand Rowen's behaviour and the barriers she has in place in light of the treatment she has received from her mother. An incident a few years earlier is hinted at concerning the trigger for Rowen's behaviour, the revelation doesn't come until later in the story. Rowen is the prime example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, she feels she may as well act out as that is all her mother sees her as anyway :( She is full of self-loathing.

Jesse is the complete opposite of Rowen; optimistic and charismatic, his good looks are just the icing on the cake where Jesse is concerned, although he does possess some serious swagger to go with it. Jesse has his own back story it is only touched upon in this book. The attraction between them is instantaneous, I adored their flirty banter *swoon*. Jesse sees Rowen in such a way that makes her re-evaluate the way she thinks about herself.

It is Rowen's character development that is the cornerstone of this story. However, she would not have be able to overcome the negative effect her mother has had on her without the love and care of the Walker family. The nurturing and care they provide gives Rowen a foundation on which to rebuild her self-esteem. The narrative is very pro-nurture, making a heart warming story, the Walker's acceptance of Rowen and ability to see beyond Rowen's barriers open up a whole new world of (good) emotions for her.

The peripheral characters are all extremely well developed. Nicole creates such realistic characters that get under your skin, you can't help but care for each and every one of them (yes even Garth). I was emotionally invested in each of them, I cried with them, I laughed with them and I fell in love with them :) I literally adore each and every character Nicole creates, I don't think you can get higher praise than that.

Confession: I struggled to write my review as I kept thinking about the characters and what I wanted to say about them, it got to me so much that I had to go and re-read the book so I could spend more time with them :)
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on 5 August 2013
There’s a complicated. And there’s Rowen Sterling.

Oh this book held me captive from the beginning. Rowen’s story alone was enough to have me devour this book but to add Jesse (not too sure I am a fan of the whole cowboy attire) to the mix was genius. I loved this book, like really loved it and it will be in my top ten of 2013 books. The blurb gives you enough info so I won’t give you any juicy spoilers or titbits, you just have to read it to find out what Rowen and Jesse are hiding…

““Sometimes we just have to cut off the dead branches in our life. Sometimes that’s the only way we can keep the tree alive.”

”A long time ago, I’d learned I was good at “handling” life. I didn’t excel at it, and I certainly didn’t thrive at it, but I could handle life and everything it had thrown at me.
My secret? I’d simply accepted that life was pain.”

”I’d been labeled a goth, emo, a druggie, a loser and my personal favourite only because it showed just how ignorant people were: freak.”

“What were you waiting for?” “Marriage?” “No. I was waiting for you”

After numbing pain for the past five years with boys, alcohol, and all-round apathy, she finds herself on a Greyhound bus to nowhere Montana the summer after she graduates high school. Her mum agreed to front the bill to Rowen’s dream school only if Rowen proves she can work hard and stay out of trouble at Willow Springs Ranch. Cooking breakfast at the crack of dawn for a couple dozen ranch hands and mucking out horse stalls are the last things in the world Rowen wants to spend her summer going.

Until Jesse Walker saunters into her life wearing a pair of painted-on-jeans, a cowboy hat, and a grin that makes something in her chest she’s thought was frozen go boom-boom. Jesse’s like no one else, and certainly nothing like her. He’s the bright and shiny to her dark and jaded.

Rowen knows there’s no happily-ever-after for the golden boy and the rebel girl-happily-right-now is a stretch-so she tries to forget and ignore the boy who makes her feel things she’s not sure she’s ready to feel. But the more she pushes him away, the closer he seems to get. The more she convinces herself she doesn’t care, the harder she falls.

When her dark secrets refuse to stay locked behind the walls she’s kept up for years, Rowen realizes it’s not just everyone else she needs to be honest with. It’s herself.


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on 2 August 2013
I often find that authors tend to have the same writing style and tone to most of their books, making all of them feel the same and making them identifiable with that author, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
However, I love how Nicole Williams has the amazing ability to make every book she releases `feel' completely different from the last, with a different tone and writing style each time, making each of her books completely different.

Lost and Found did just that. The writing style and tone of the book made the story feel almost homely (if that makes any sense) with a country setting and country feel, it was a breath of fresh air to read and completely captivated me.

I don't think I've ever read about a character quite like Rowen Sterling. Jaded and bitter because of the way people treat her due to the way she dresses and the way they think she is, she acts like she doesn't care what others think and rebels against everything around her when in fact she craves acceptance. Disappointed by life and the people in it she has pretty much given up, convincing herself that she doesn't deserve anything but pain.

We don't deserve anything Rowen. We don't deserve punishment, we don't deserve happiness, life owes us nothing. Realize that."

When she is shipped off to the Montana countryside for the summer to convince her mother that she can work hard and stay out of trouble at her friends ranch, she is determined to do her best so that her mother will stick to her end of the bargain and pay for Rowen to go to art school. Sticking out like a sore thumb with her black clothes and black lipstick, she is surprised to find that unlike back at home, her word is accepted, she is trusted and she is treated like part of a family, something she has never experienced before.

"Every morning we get a chance to be different. A chance to change. A chance to be better. Your past is your past. Leave it there. Get on with the future part, honey."

I loved how Rowen didn't follow the crowd, not being what they wanted but being who she wanted, even if that wasn't who she really was. She was a complete contradiction and two sided character, on the outside she is hard as nails, self assured and not caring what others think, but on the inside she is a scared little girl who wants to be loved and wants things in her life to be better. At times I hated her self pitying attitude and self destructive ways as for the majority of the time it felt like the only person stopping her from being happy was her. I desperately wanted Rowen to let everything else go and concentrate on the things she did have in her life including Jesse. Although I can completely understand how hard it would be to accept having a mother who didn't care and who would go as far as to purposefully emotionally hurt her daughter time and time again!

Now if everything I have already told you isn't enough to get you to read this book, Jesse Walker certainly is! A cowboy with tight jeans, a sexy smile, and a positive attitude, he was the complete opposite of anyone Rowen ever imagined herself ending up with, however once he gets under her skin there is no going back. Affectionate and loving towards her, paying her compliments any chance he gets, Rowen finds it difficult to believe that she is deserving of someone as amazing as Jesse and because of this tries her best to push him away.

...when I looked into those eyes of his that saw everything, those eyes that saw me, I knew the fight would be worth it. The struggle to let him in when I wanted to barricade the windows and lower the gates would be a battle I'd never regret fighting.

Their relationship is a complete journey of discovery for Rowen as she slowly begins to change, finding herself, a family who loves her and a place she finally belongs. Jesse is like a light in her darkness and pushes her to see herself how he see's her, never accepting her negative attitude of misconceptions of herself.

"We will all, at some point in our lives, fall. Every single one of us." He hoisted himself up beside me and moved closer. "We shouldn't spend our time trying to avoid falling. We should spend it finding someone who will help us up."

This was an amazing, heartwarming story about accepting yourself and finding the good out of life. Rowen was an amazing character who although believed that she didn't deserve it, desperately wanted to receive unconditional love, so when Jesse and his family show her it she is incredibly weary and first has to accept that she is in fact worthy of it.

I cannot recommend this book enough and am so excited to read the next one. It was an unexpected gem which has quickly become one of my favourite reads!
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on 23 July 2013
To say I am a HUGE fan of Nicole Williams would be an understatement and I will very proudly tell you that I have read everything that she has ever published so to be accepted onto the tour of her new book was an amazing high for me; I was already head over heels in love with the cover and I knew the story would soon follow.

Rowan is the kind of character I instantly felt I connected with, all she wants to do is attend art school but that is a little harder said than done when you have a mom who doesn't really give a damn about what you do, the only way Rowan is going to be able to attend is to earn it and that means working on a farm for the summer making food and cleaning up do-hickey . . . literally.

Rowan I would say is a little misunderstood she isn't your typical preppy school girl - she enjoys living on the dark side literally, with dark hair and clothes it is easy for people to make assumptions about her no matter how wrong.

A Bus journey later and she has arrived at her destination, the one thing that could make her summer better just so happens to be in the form of a very sexy ranch hand named Jesse - mhmm I wish I was Jesse's girl - He has a body that deserves to be worships or perhaps licked and he isn't afraid to try and get to know Rowan.

This is an amazing read full of swoon, friendship and smiles and I do mean that literally because I think I might have gotten some jaw strain from the smirk (My smile is creepy looking it) that was plaster on my face!

This is a must must read, and let me say it hasn't helped with my unhealthy obsession with Cowboys - Darn it one of these days I will find one and keep him all to myself! Why must England have prince's I would much rather a hat wearing, whip wielding man machine!

4.5/5 for this book!
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on 20 May 2013
I love Nicole Williams books and this one did not disappoint. Well maybe it did in that I wish it had been longer, or had an epilogue, or..... I just want more Jesse.

After barely scraping through high school, Rowen Sterling has been sent to a ranch in Montana for the summer by her mother, with the condition if she cleans up her act, her mother will pay for her to attend Art school in Seattle. Rowen had been a bit of a wild child these past few years and grudgingly agrees. She is met at the bus stop by a hot young cowboy called Jesse, who works on the ranch. They seem to have an immediate connection, both attracted to each other, but they both have secrets and Rowen has to get over her self image issues before they can take things further. Rowen settles easily and happily into life on the ranch, finally finding unconditional love and acceptance in a family, something that she's never had. Her mother has done a good job of belittling her and making her feel worthless, but Rose Walker becomes the mother she's never had. I loved how Rowen found confidence through the love and support she gets from the Walker family, Jesse is just perfect. He is hot, kind, extremely hot, supportive, hot, loving and did I mention hot?
When you find out what set Rowen on the path to self destruction, it's hard to believe her mother could be so heartless, but then later in the book it becomes evident that the woman had no maternal bone in her body and Rowen is better off where she is - in fact the only good thing her mother ever did for her was send her to that ranch.
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