Taken, Not Spurred

August 5, 2017

Book Review: Ruth Cardello's Taken Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn 1)

Read from: 18th February
To: 23rd February
Format: Kindle eBook
Length: 256 pages


Ruth Cardello starts the Lone Star Burn series with Taken, Not Spurred, a novel about aspiring writer Sarah Dery whose burden of familial secrets drives her from her family home in Rhode Island to her friend’s house in Texas, in search of an adventure that will hopefully give her the inspiration and life experience she feels she needs to crush her writer’s block.

She makes her way to Texas with her horse Scooter towed behind her in his trailer, but instead of finding her friend’s ranch she inadvertently finds the ranch of brooding horse trainer Tony Carlton, devastated by a past mistake he cannot seem to make peace with. She realises her attraction to him immediately, but can she break down his defences?

I bought the 4 of the Lone Star Burn books when they were on Kindle Daily Deals. At only 99p each, I thought it would be too much of a good deal to pass up not to buy them, despite never having heard of the author before. I hadn’t owned the books for long before I started reading this one, to see if it was money well spent.

Book Review: Ruth Cardello's Taken Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn 1)

It starts very quickly

This was the first note I wrote down about this book. There isn’t much background information before being thrown into the book so I felt like I couldn’t really empathise with the characters or understand their motivations which was a bit frustrating.

The character building was a bit lacklustre

Initially I had thought this would only transpire for the start of the book, however I realised that it was pretty much the entire book with certain characters like Sarah (the main female character). There were parts throughout the novel where I would learn something new about her, for example, but I would be unable to picture her as having this trait because it seemed so out of the blue. I didn’t feel as though the characters had established, distinct personalities which was a bit disappointing.

The characters weren’t amazing

This is perhaps my biggest gripe with this book. Tony was a bit of a brooding jerk that I wanted to slap and Sarah had no self-respect at times and also seemed a bit weak. I don’t think she was weak as a character, but the situations she was in and her responses to them made her seem that way, which I think is due to a lack of character building and establishing. Also I thought Sarah wasn’t a particularly mature person at times.

I liked the character development of Tony

A bit of a juxtaposition to the two points above this. I felt like while the characters weren’t spectacular, the development of Tony was evident as the book progressed. He started off with a brooding persona, which gave massive scope for character development. Though there were times when his character development seemed to take two steps backwards, on the whole I liked watching him learn to accept his past and see how that changed him.

Time passed quickly

There were times when three weeks would pass within the space of two chapters. This isn’t a bad thing, but in an erotic romantic novel, it felt very strange to not be a part of the start of an all-consuming love. This breathes a bit of fresh air into most other erotic romantic novels, however, which seem to have a lot of drama packed into only a few days.

It is super easy to read…

To be honest, I’m kind of surprised that it only took me 5 days to read this book. It was a very easy book to read, but I didn’t find it that compelling to read. I found that I could go through my day at work without thinking about what was going to happen with Sarah and if Tony would learn to accept his past. Still, the short number of pages in this book helped me finish it quickly.

I liked the ending

Although it was quite a predictable ending, it had a very sweet and feel-good element.

It was kind of inspiring

I have been writing for practically my entire life so as soon as I started reading about some of Sarah’s issues with writing, it was like reading my own thoughts and I have to say that the overall impact of the book left me feeling quite inspired to create my own adventures, not just to write about but also to learn to live.

Book Review: Ruth Cardello's Taken Not Spurred (Lone Star Burn 1)


I have two favourite quotes from this novel to share with you all:

“She wished there had been one grand event she could blame, but the truth was discontent had arrived much less dramatically than that – more like a flower wilting in the sun until the life she thought she was meant for was nothing more than a pile of dried-out, brittle regret.”

I think a lot of people can relate with waking up one day to realise that life isn’t as you had hoped or wished it would be, and how it completely snuck-up on you without you realising it, and I think this quote describes that feeling quite well.

“They say you should write what you know. I should stop trying to write a romance and write a f***ing tragedy.”

This line entertained me more for comedic value than anything else. Sarah goes through a phase of believing she isn’t meant to be a sexual or romantic person and I love the dry self-deprecation of her words in this phrase.



Overall rating: 6/10
Entertainment: 6/10
Predictability: 8/10
Density/weight: 2/10
Writing quality: 6/10
Inspiration: 6/10
Characters: 6/10
Spark: 6/10
Feel good: 5/10
Plot: 5/10

Recommend: Although this isn’t a favourite book of mine, I would recommend it to those who have an afternoon spare for an easy read. At only 250 pages and with easy writing, it doesn’t take long to read to read this book cover to cover and it leaves you with a bit of a feel-good feeling. Although I will read the three other books in the series, I won’t be in a rush to read them.


Rebecca ♥

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