Recent Release: Robby Riverton: Mail Order Bride by Eli Easton

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39711956-robby-riverton?from_search=true

Blurb

Being a fugitive in the old west shouldn’t be this much fun.

The year is 1860. Robby Riverton is a rising star on the New York stage. But he witnesses a murder by a famous crime boss and is forced to go on the run–all the way to Santa Fe. When he still hasn’t ditched his pursuers, he disguises himself as a mail order bride he meets on the wagon train. Caught between gangsters that want to kill him, and the crazy, uncouth family of his “intended”, Robby’s only ally is a lazy sheriff who sees exactly who Robby is — and can’t resist him.

Trace Crabtree took the job as sheriff of Flat Bottom because there was never a thing going on. And then Robby Riverton showed up. Disguised as a woman. And betrothed to Trace’s brother. If that wasn’t complication enough, Trace had to find the man as appealing as blueberry pie. He urges Robby to stay undercover until the danger has passed. But a few weeks of having Robby-Rowena at the ranch, and the Crabtree family will never be the same again.

Damn, what a kerfuffle. If only Trace can get rid of the fugitive while hanging on to his own stupid heart.

Review

First, let me tell you how psyched I was for this. So psyched! Because Eli is one of my favs, this looks hysterical and one of my fav f/m tropes is the “mail order bride/forced marriage” scenarios.

Second, this surpassed my expectations by also being ridiculously touching – more on this in a bit.

I was wondering how the heck Eli could pull this off. Who would be fooled for long enough for this to work out and what would the long term game be. Well – she came up with a great plot and it totally made sense and kept me rooting for Robby. (If I have any complaints is that there is maybe too much lead in to the story and not enough post time with our couple as a couple… however that is a lot on taste.)

Trace is also another perfect MC for his role and plays it well. His family and their “secret” kept me laughing out loud! I don’t think it’s a spoiler to tell you that Robby likes to control things and has no problem brining Pa to hand – and it was one of my favorite parts of this story!

(All in all this was a wonderful “period” story from the old west that felt authentic and plausible in what should have been totally implausible. While I am eternally grateful for not living during those times, I believe she portrayed them accurately.)

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Release Day: Cowboy in the Crosshairs by BA Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboy-in-the-crosshairs-by-ba-tortuga-9336-b

Blurb: Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.
Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.
When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.
The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.
But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one?
Review: I’ve come to expect a nice, low angst read with lots of humour and heart from BA Tortuga – and this did not disappoint. The mystery of who’s trying to harm Wacey is icing on the cake ☺
One of the things I like about Ms. Tortuga’s MC’s is that when they decide that they’re in to each other, they go for it – no misunderstandings – they just try to work out the details to make it work. This story is no different. TJ and Wacey were an item years ago, but TJ decided he couldn’t live openly as a gay man and broke it off with Wacey. Fast forward several years; their initial reunion is not friendly, but as the 2 men have to deal with who is trying to harm Wacey, they rekindle their love affair slowly, but surely.
As usual, the secondary characters are fun, especially Wacey’s siblings Lacey, Kacey and Macey.
I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

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Audiobook: Wild Trail By AM Arthur Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Wild-Trail-Audiobook/B076BJ8DYG?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=Q2TZM1YJ7KCJM26PWF8F&
Blurb

Welcome to Clean Slate Ranch: home of tight jeans, cowboy boots, and rough trails. For some men, it’s a fantasy come true.
Mack Garrett loves the rolling hills surrounding his Northern California dude ranch. Leading vacationers on horse trails with his two best friends is enough – romance is definitely not in the cards. When a sexy tourist shows up at Clean Slate, he’s as far from Mack’s type as can be. So why is the handsome city slicker so far under his skin in less than a day?
Roughing it in the middle of nowhere isn’t anywhere near Wes Bentley’s idea of fun. Then he lays eyes on the gruffest, hottest papa bear he’s ever seen. But Mack is as hard to pin down as he looks – distant, sharp-tongued, and in desperate need of a shave. Until a campout gone wrong strands both men in the mountains with nothing to do but get to know each other.
Mack intends to keep his closely guarded heart out of Wes’ very talented hands. But for a seven-day cowboy, Wes is packing some long-term possibility. The cold country air can do wonders for bringing bodies together – but it will take more than that to bridge the distance between two men whose lives are worlds apart.
This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Review

This was a nicely written story about a black-balled actor and a burnt-out Cop who find love on a dude ranch.

The characters were pretty predictable and the “mystery” wasn’t all that exciting.

If you’re a fan of City Boy meets Country boy, actors or Westerns – this might be for you. While there wasn’t anything wrong with this, nothing really inspired me either.

3 of 5 stars
Audio

Greg does his typical amazing job with this. Giving more life to the story than I found while reading it. He gives everyone nice distinct voices and handles the emotions very nicely.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars
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Slip (Recovery: Book 2) by BA Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/slip-by-ba-tortuga-9169-b

Blurb:

Love is a fragile thing, and it can slip through your fingers if you don’t hold on tight…. When Zack Jung’s AA sponsor and friend commits suicide, he’s desperate to hold it together, and there’s only one place he can turn. He calls Josh and Kris, and they take him back to their ranch outside Santa Fe. A cowboy to the bone, Cimarron Duran cherishes his orderly life and routine. He likes his neighbors, Kris and Josh, but he has less than no interest in the hipster personal trainer who comes to stay with them—or at least, he plans to fight his interest in favor of his solitary life and his art. But some things are as inevitable as the weather, and when Zack and Cimarron finally come together, they find they don’t want to let go. It won’t be easy, though, for two men with pasts like theirs to forge a happy future together.

Review:

It took me a little while to warm to the story, mainly because it started with characters from the previous book (Josh, Kris, Cypress). As an aside, this story can be read as a standalone; the book (eventually) provides enough on the characters from the previous story that one is not lost. Once I understood the dynamics of all the players, I began to really enjoy the story.
The story centres on Zack, a recovering addict, and Josh’s neighbour, Cimarron.
Cimarron is older, a cowboy who makes a living as an artist. (I couldn’t tell how old Cimarron was, so that was a bit of a distraction for me).
Cimarron and Zack start slowly, but quickly ramp up to being lovers to being inseparable. They’re sweet together – with Zack bringing out a softer side of Cimarron. As they begin to explore the depth of their feelings, a major health crisis occurs and both men have to face up to past issues/ghosts in order to make a go of their future.
This is a nice, low angst read with lots of humour and heart – my kind of book.

3.75 (round to 4) stars out of 5

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A Cowboy’s Dance (White Oak Ranch #1) by Diana McKinley

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Cowboys-Dance-White-Ranch-Book-ebook/dp/B0753WDJ8J/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1510866908&sr=1-1&keywords=cowboy%27s+dance

Blurb

As the old adage asserts, ‘When one door closes, another opens.’ For Texas rancher Cole Gentry, the realization that a major part of his life is unexpectedly coming to an end leads him to examine how he came to be so alone and mired in the closet, when in reality he wants so much more with a partner who’ll stick with him through thick and thin. On the eve of what seems to be a pivotal turning point in his life, Cole finds himself questioning the disastrous personal choices he’s made, all while he poured his heart and soul into saving the spread that was handed down to him by generations of Gentry men and women before him. Cole knows his choices haven’t garnered him anything more than an empty house and an empty bed and, at last, he can admit that it’s time to make a change.

Seasoned rancher Everest Cooper has waited patiently for many years for Cole to grow up and see him as more than a colleague, mentor, and friend. He has plans for the younger rancher which have absolutely nothing to do with their business relationship. Plans that center around making Cole his in every way he can bind the man to him – in body and in soul. When Everest attends the local ranchers’ monthly game night and realizes that Cole is finally alone and free for the taking, he doesn’t waste another second going after the only man he’s ever envisioned a future with.

When Cole learns of Everest’s desires, he finally has the opportunity for a deep and abiding relationship – the kind he’s always secretly yearned for. But will he brave enough to join Everest in the dance that could bring them both passion, solace, and a lifetime of love and laughter? Or will he slide back into previous entanglements that are known and comfortable, and miss out on all that Everest is offering him?

Review

I LOVED this book! This was really wonderfully sweet and so heart-warming! I loved how these guys melded and the absolutely BUCKET full of feelz!

If you are in the need for a really sweet, very sappy and totally wonderful story – this is for you! Everest is just perfect and he and Cole are so cute and sweet together!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Finding Mr. Wright (Leaning N #2) by B.A. Tortuga

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/finding-mr-wright-by-ba-tortuga-8815-b

Blurb

Everything’s bigger in Texas, including weddings. And misunderstandings.

Colorado wedding planner Mason O’Reilly lands a major contract: a two-hundred-guest wedding at the Leanin’ N Ranch, where his friends Ford and Stoney are working to provide a safe space for GLBT events. The Wright/Preston ceremony is a destination wedding, and as the grooms are from Texas, everything is done over the phone and email. There’s no way that could lead to trouble, right?

Oops.

Oil tycoon Noah Wright isn’t happy about the impending disaster, but he admires Mason’s quick thinking and grace under pressure. And that’s not all he likes about the out-and-proud wedding planner. Even though Mason’s interested in Noah, his Mr. Right can’t possibly be a rancher from Dallas.

Can he?

Review

If you love the light hearted, low-angst, humor filled romance that BA Tortuga writes and the trope-tastic Dreamspun series – you’re gonna be psyched! We’ve got BA’s characteristic western themed setting, full of “honeys” and “mans” and very little angst. If you’ve been following the series, we get to see Ford and Stoney and Jeff and all the others on the ranch as well.

The trope in this case is sort of cinderfella where Noah is the Billionaire and Mason is the working class man who’s afraid he won’t measure up.

While I didn’t love this, I think it’s a matter of timing. I find there are times when BA’s writing style really appeals and other times less so. I did appreciate the low angst and the humor and I think fans of the author will definitely want to read this! I was frustrated that Mason couldn’t see past his own prejudices for so long and Noah had to do all the work to make the relationship work… but in the end we get a lovely HEA!

3 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns (Cowboys Don’t: Book Two) by Tara Lain Narrated by K.C. Kelly

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboys-dont-ride-unicorns-by-tara-lain-8820-b

Blurb:
A Cowboys Don’t story.
Cowboy Danny Boone – a name he made up one drunken night and has regretted ever since – harbors a big past and yearns for a small future. A short, bright career as a champion bull rider almost ended in his death when his homophobic father discovered Danny was gay. Now Danny longs for a plot of land he can build a ranch on, enough money to make up for some of the education he missed, and, secretly, a beautiful femme who likes to top – a combo rarer than a unicorn.
Then, onto the guest ranch where Danny works, drives San Francisco decorator Laurie Belmont, a young man so gorgeous he makes the horses gasp, and so ballsy he almost kills Danny’s attacker. Laurie’s trying to find his way out from under the thumb of a domineering mother, helpless father, and rich, privileged boyfriend. But no matter the attraction, their lives are worlds apart, and cowboys don’t ride unicorns.

Review:

This story can standalone. Another wonderful romance by Tara Lain. I should mention that there is cheating in the story so if you don’t like it at least you are aware. Personally it depends on the context and in this story I had no problem with it. I loved the sizzle between Danny and Laurie. Danny can’t take his eyes off Laurie when he first sees him at the ranch where he works. There is insta lust but the romance is slow burn. The story works so well turning the usual tough guy / twink pairing on its head. Laurie is a beautifully written femme alpha. He could easily have been a caricature but he’s not, he is strong being who he is. Danny started his life over after nearly losing his life after a homophobic attack. All he wants is land of his own. In the meantime he is a Ranch hand for Rand and Kai from book one. To raise money Danny goes back to the Rodeo and this exposes him to being attacked again. Both Laurie and Danny have to decide what they really want because they come from so different worlds. I enjoyed this story a lot.

KC Kelly has the perfect cowboy voice to narrate this story. His portrayal of Laurie was perfect the drama queen with a heart. Laurie has a breathy sound that suits him especially as Danny describes him as his Marilyn. Danny is the affable cowboy. The side characters are great. I still love his portrayal of hyper Aliki, he’s my favourite.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Cowboys Don’t Come Out (Cowboys Don’t: Book One ) by Tara Lain Narrated by K.C. Kelly

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboys-dont-come-out-by-tara-lain-8519-b

Blurb

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out

Review:

A sweet wonderful holiday romance. All Rand ever wanted to be was a Cowboy so he became one setting up his own ranch. Kai is a paniolo, an Hawaiian Cowboy, its in his blood. Rand didn’t want to come on holiday with his parents over Christmas but when he gets there and meets Rand the sparks fly. The only trouble is both are in the closet, for very valid reasons, and both of them are stubborn. At times I wanted to bang their heads together and tell them to get on with it. I love the way Tara Lain gets you comfortable in a story letting you think you know what comes next them wham one big road block sending yin another direction. This story is just like that and what fun it is to.

KC Kelly has the perfect cowboy voice to narrate this story. Lovely silky voice for Rand and Kai’s accent works well. I quite liked the way he portrayed the children hyper Aliki and serious Lani. Overall a lovely story that brightened up a wet miserable day.

5 of 5 stars

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Unbreak My Heart Audiobook by K-Lee Klein narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/unbreak-my-heart-by-k-lee-klein-8743-b

Blurb
2nd Edition
Brett Taylor’s world collapsed three years ago when he lost the love of his life. Almost as bad as the grief is the advice he’s starting to get from everyone and their brother, telling him it’s time to move on. They’re flat-out wrong. He left his career as a musician and escaped to his ranch because he needs the peace and quiet, and he’s doing just fine. He doesn’t want anyone invading his memory-filled, booze-fueled solitude.
JT Campbell’s world has been defined by his parents’ money, status, and his own empty relationships, until he’s desperately sick of it. A quest to find something meaningful leads him to Brett’s failing ranch. It’s supposed to be a brief stay. JT never wanted to be anyone’s savior or compete with the ghosts of lovers past. Still, he can’t help wanting this gruff and grieving man.
JT’s mind knows it’s a bad idea, but his heart keeps pushing him to find out what lies beneath Brett’s rough and broken exterior. Brett’s not going to make it easy. JT can only be patient, keep his sense of humor, and hope for the day he may be allowed far enough into Brett’s world to unbreak his heart.

Review

The main thing I enjoyed about this was the narration. Nick J Russo is an amazing narrator and he did a terrific job giving all the really emotional and angsty story a good voice.

First, I have to say that I have a limited tolerance for angst in the first place. Some here and there to give a story drive is ok – for me- but a lot tends to make me discouraged and isn’t something I seek in a story. (I know tons of folks love it – but I’m not one.) IMHO Brett is overwrought about something that doesn’t seem like as big of a deal as he makes it out to be. On top of that, he’s still pining for Walt, his dead lover, and that gets tedious quickly.

I had a really hard time even liking Brett. He felt too whiny and was kinda selfish and manipulative. All in all he was mostly a jerk to JT and he didn’t really ever resolve that to my satisfaction. (Spoiler/) He HIT JT! For looking through some papers! That was a really bad move and I’m not sure he apologized enough for that. (/spoiler )

Although JT seemed like a great guy, I doubted his sanity in his infatuation with Brett.

There were parts of the story that held a lot of promise: the ex-music star, the ranch, the May/December factor – even some of the angst and sadness. But… It was just toooo much angst and hang wringing they went on for pages and pages (hours and hours). The two MCs spent so much time waffling back and forth – will I, won’t I, I miss Walt, I was terrible to Walt, I’m too old, he’s too young, he won’t love me, he can’t love me… and on and on!

I just got worn out!

If this had been edited to about half the total content and the story progressed a bit faster this would have been a 5 star read for me.

I’d be interested in the follow up book, just to see if Brett comes around and is a decent partner for JT but I’d be leery of being sucked into more drama.

2.75 of 5 for the book

(I seriously LOVE the new cover though! Delicious!)

Audio

Nick J Russo kept me in this! If it weren’t for him – if I’d been reading this – I’d have either skipped to the end or stopped reading. Nick’s excellent narration kept me involved and I was able to stick it out. He really gives Brett some quality emotions and I thought he interpreted JT really well, too.

I think listening is the way to go, as far as experiencing this story!

I’m not sure I “recommend” this – but if you have a high tolerance for angst – you might really enjoy this audiobook. Be prepared for a lot of pining, however, and some people are not so keen on that.

5 of 5 for the narration

Overall 3.5 of 5 stars

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Audiobook Month: Cowboys Don’t Come Out Audiobook by Tara Lain Narrated by KC Kelly


Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/cowboys-dont-come-out-by-tara-lain-8519-b

Blurb

Rand McIntyre settles for good enough. He loves his small California ranch, raising horses, and teaching riding to the kids he adores—but having kids of his own and someone to love means coming out, and that would jeopardize everything he’s built. Then, despite his terror of flying, he goes on a holiday to Hana, Hawaii, with his parents and meets the dark and mysterious Kai Kealoha, a genuine Hawaiian cowboy. Rand takes to Kai’s kid brother and sister as much as he drools over Kai, but the guy sports more prickles than a horned toad and more secrets than the exotic land he comes from.

Kai’s earned his privacy and lives to protect his “kids.” He ought to stay away from the big, handsome cowboy for everyone’s sake—but since the guy’s just a haole on a short vacation, how much damage can he do? When all of Kai’s worst fears and Rand’s darkest nightmares come true at once, there’s not much chance for two cowboys who can’t—or won’t—come out.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

This was a fast paced, relatively low angst and medium steam-filled romance – with kids and cowboys in Hawaii over the Holidays! So, it’s got a little bit of something for everyone.

The reasons for these guys staying in the closet was reasonable, which I was glad to see, because I was worried about that from the blurb. Kai, especially, I understood as needing to be circumspect in all things. Rand had been hurt – badly – in the past, so I saw his reasoning as well.

Things moved quickly – you have to put on your “it’s fiction” hat and ride it out – else the insta love might be a bit overwhelming.

While I loved the ending, I did wish I’d gotten to see more of these guys in an actual relationship before they did what they did. The timing was important, I get that, but still… I wanted them to be a couple on page more.

The kids were cute if COMPLETELY UNREALISTIC. Again, I donned my “it’s fiction” hat and just enjoyed them for the roles they played in moving the story forward.

All in all, if you’re looking for something light, sweet, a little sexy and fun. Give this a go! If you’re looking for “real” – keep looking.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

I thought KC Kelly was a good choice for the narrator here. He handles the “cowboy” very well and I think he does a great job with the “Hawaiian” as well. His voice is maybe a bit older than I’d imagine, especially for Kai, but all in all that didn’t really affect my enjoyment.

4.5 of 5 stars for the narration

If you’re a fan of the author and coming out of the closet stories, this is definitely for you!

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars
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