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review 2017-09-16 22:58
Release Day ARC Review: Finding Mr. Wright by B.A. Tortuga
Finding Mr. Wright (Dreamspun Desires Book 42) - BA Tortuga

What do you get when you mix the enemies-to-lovers trope with a pinch of doing-the-bossman and an almost FUBAR wedding plan?

Finding Mr. Wright, is what.

Mason is a wedding planner in Colorado. His most recent contract calls for a 200-person wedding and reception at the Leaning N Ranch where Ford and Stoney (from the first book) have been busy creating a fabulous destination for weddings and other such things, all LGBTQ friendly. Yurts included. I had to google what a yurt is, but now I know.

Anyway, a few days before the wedding, Noah Wright, whose office has so far communicated with Mason by phone/email about this huge wedding, comes up to the Leaning N from Dallas, where he's got a gazillionaire oil business, to make sure everything is as planned but finds out that someone somewhere FUBAR'd - Sam isn't one of two grooms, as Mason assumed, but the bride, and as her brother, paying for the shindig, he ain't none too pleased. Matter of fact, Noah acts much like an entitled jerk at first, but the author did a fine job making him a lot more likable as the book progressed. 

But Mason is of course a professional, no matter how much he wants to climb Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome at first sight even if he's a bit snotty and snarky, and quickly rearranges things to be fit for a princess. 

Noah is impressed. Intrigued. And definitely in lust.

I quite liked this. This author has an uncanny knack for writing fun characters, and I enjoyed my time reading this book. Of course it's super tropey - this is a Dreamspun Desires title after all - but when you take away all the OTT and super rich stuff, you're still left with two men who fall hard and fast (with sexy times too), and decide that nothing shall stand in their way to their HEA. Well, Mason might not be so convinced at first, but Noah is - and what Noah wants, Noah gets. They figure it out, y'all, as they should. 

It was lovely to revisit with Ford, Stoney, and all the folks on Leaning N - they played a big part in Mason pulling off the wedding after the big oops, and I hope we'll get to see more of them in a future book. Sam, the bride, and her groom were a fun couple too, even if Sam came across as a wee bit on the spoiled side, used to getting her way. Seriously, a climbing wall? 

There were a few moments toward the end where Mason has some doubts, understandably so, based on what he's being told. I mean, I knew that they would get their HEA, but for a short while there, I was a little worried that things might not work out as planned. Mason actually shows some backbone throughout, and refuses to let Noah walk all over him. Good for him, that. 

It's a feel-good read, which is what I expect from one of these titles. This was an excellent addition to this series, and while it can be read as a standalone, why would you want to? Read 'em both, I say. They're worth it.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-09-13 21:38
Review: Tripped Out by Lorelei James
Tripped Out: A Blacktop Cowboys Novella - Lorelei James

After leaving her well-paying corporate job, Stirling Gradsky took a chance and went into business with her brother. Now they own and operate High Society, a medicinal and recreational marijuana facility. 

 

Liam Argent has dedicated his life to understanding the chemical properties of marijuana and loves all the perks of working for High Society. But the constant head-butting and pranking with Stirling needs to end so they can grow the company.

 

While I have enjoyed the other 1,001 Dark Night / Blacktop Cowboy stories, I felt Tripped Out was not on par with its predecessors. First, I felt like I was dropped into the story with no idea what’s going on. It’s written as if I know these characters, but I don’t remember them at all, even though Stirling is sister to London, the heroine in the first novella, and we meet Stirling and Liam in the third book. I felt like I started off kilter and I never found a good balance.

 

It is evident that the author did her homework with respect to the subject matter, and I found the information on the emerging medicinal and recreational marijuana markets interesting. However, I felt that there was way too much information about marijuana use and production, making it feel like a technical report, rather than developing the characters and focusing on the romance. 

 

This leads to another issue I had with the story. The characters are big proponents of the use of marijuana, but at times, I felt that they were lecturing me, the reader, taking a holier-than-thou attitude. The two main characters have huge chips on their shoulders and their attitudes are almost condescending. Yet, then the author uses ridiculous stoner stereotypes and actions. And the way they use marijuana to “take the edge off”… needing it at the end (or even during) a stressful day, is reminiscent of an alcoholic needing a drink.  

 

As I stated, I don’t feel the author put enough into the development of the characters. While there are some funny moments and sexy situations, overall I found myself annoyed with Liam and Stirling. Their bantering, even when for fun, grated on me most times. Unfortunately, I never felt a strong romantic connection between the pair, making the story okay, but not one I’d read again.

 

My Rating: C- Finished It - Liked a little, didn't like a lot

Review copy provided by blog tour

Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

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review 2017-09-09 14:08
Tripped Out (Blacktop Cowboys) by Lorelei James
Tripped Out: A Blacktop Cowboys Novella - Lorelei James

 

A pheromone level this high should be illegal. Tripped Out is borderline neurotic, holy smokes chaotic, with temperature that tip the scales at exotic. Lorelei James knows how to make things happen.  With a name like Stirling for her heroine, she turns geeky stereotypes on their ear and sets readers hearts racing when a bad boy scientist hits the pages. Together Liam and Stirling set tongues wagging and sparks flying with the electricity they make.  Tripped Out is a smart look at the science of sexual attraction and the utter chaos of falling in love.

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review 2017-08-27 00:11
Miami Vice - The True Story!
Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Pa... Hotel Scarface: Where Cocaine Cowboys Partied and Plotted to Control Miami - Roben Farzad

What an excellent read! Hotel Scarface is the story of the "Mutiny Club", a hotel/club/restaurant in Miami. It's set in the 1980's, running up to the present day.
The Mutiny Club was the nucleus of the 80's cocaine scene, and of the "Cocaine Cowboys". Think "Miami Vice", "Scarface", and the "Godfather". Then add in anti-Castro patriots, the Marielitos from Cuba, the Columbians (including Pablo Escobar), the Iran-Contra fiasco, Manuel Noriega, Janet Reno, and a whole host of professional ball players, actors, and politicians. All of those frequented, or had connections to, the Mutiny Club.
It's just an amazing story. And handled so well. At times, just the amount of names and characters can seem overwhelming, but if you take a breath and think a bit, it's not hard to follow. You want to just keep plunging ahead, because it's such an exciting story, but you really need to slow down and savor it a bit to get the full effect.
Farzad fleshes out the characters well, so you get the sense that you are there with them (and that's a scary thought).
The story goes beyond the Mutiny Club itself, into broader settings, worldwide, but the author manages to keep tying the story back to the Club itself.
I was fortunate (????) enough to meet several of the characters myself, not on their level, but during my career in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The descriptions of the manner and bearing of the "drug lords" is spot on. As is his descriptions of the lesser players, and especially of the Mariel Cubans. I think I could write a book myself, just on my experiences with these people.
And, finally, the ending. Not to spoil it, but Farzad describes well the zeal with which the Federal government goes after these people in court. As they well learned, once the Fed's decide they want you, it's curtains for you. It's just a matter of time.
As you can tell, I really, really enjoyed this book. More than most of the other 60-odd books that I have read and reviewed this year. I highly recommend this one!

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review 2017-07-25 10:50
so freaking awesome!!!
Unbreak My Heart - K-lee Klein,Nick J. Russo
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted the AUDIO file of this book. I usually write a blurby bit but for this one I'm gonna jump straight in, with an apology up front if I gush too much. So, I went on holiday, and there I am, poolside, listening to this book. Oh, I CANNOT separate the book from the narration, I simply can't!. So, I'm poolside. I'm thinking this is good, I like this. Then I really don't like this, its making me cry! Its making me cheer, and making cry again, and its making sit straight upright, and shout, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! And its making me cry again. And people came up to me, asking if I was okay, cos let me tell ya, I was bawling my bloody eyes at this book!! Brett's heart break at losing Walt 3 years ago jumps off the page from the very beginning. His battle with himself comes over with every letter and song he wrote after Walt's death. It comes over with every emotion as Nick J. Russo narrates them, and reads the letters and songs. Brett's fight with himself to give in to love again, to let someone else in, after so much heart ache comes at you, in random places along the way, that just breaks your own heart for him! JT, the kid, has attraction for Brett from the beginning, and I loved that he lets Brett take the time he needs, that JT is so patient with Brett and his yoyo-ing back and forth. Loved how JT himself was so heart broken when Brett found out what JT had done. As I said, I simply CANNOT split the narration from the story itself. I have no doubt, none at all, had I READ this book, it would still have been a 5 star read, but so much of the emotions can't be portrayed when reading. THAT can only come from a highly skilled narrator, and Russo is such a master at his craft. I have listened to his work before, and loved all of them, but this one has to be my all time favourite. Its the way Russo reads Klein's work, because, without HER words, Russo wouldn't be able to give over such emotion and heart break, and such joy again, once Brett finally, FINALLY lets JT in. There is, at the very end of the book, a song Brett writes for JT. I don't usually use bits from books in my reviews, but I felt the need to do it here. These words touched me, possibly more so than the rest of the book, no idea why, but they did, and they NEEDED to be included. SO I give you... A Song For The Kid, by K-Lee Klein One hundred miles from Dallas On a ranch southwest of town An old heart battered and broken Was somehow saved and found They had nothing much in common A burnt-out musician and a college boy One from California And the other Southern as a belle is coy But an interfering mama And an old cowboy with a quiet way Saw fit to toss them together And the rest is history as they say Well, the musician he was stubborn, Determined his heart would never beat again But the kid was kind and patient Didn’t give up on what could have been I was lucky to find true love once When I was barely that California boy’s age Self-condemned to toss my heart and soul Beside my lover in his dark, lonely grave But now I understand the meaning Behind it’s better to have loved and lost Because there’s room in my heart for my beloved departed And for the new feelings that kid has caused So it’s with a hopeful heart and willing spirit I’m begging for a lot more time Because there’s nothing as important in my life Than needing that kid to be mine. And though I don’t believe in marital bliss Or in ceremonies trumped up for show If you’ll take my hand I can promise you I’ll never let you go I don’t have a whole lot to offer Someone with so much potential drive Just a bare-open, battered heart And an old guitar with a long-ago country vibe But I can vow to love you With every inch of my soul With this bandaged heart And just one important goal Please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night I wanna make you feel as loved As the warmth I have inside I wanna hold you so close to me Our hearts beating side by side I promise to love and honor And try to see things your way I promise, Darlin’, to love you Forever and a day So please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night ’Cause without you I’m cold I’m shut down and alone I can’t seem to function And my heart turns to stone So please be my partner in life My friend at my side The one I turn to during the day The one I hold at night I’ll hold back the sun Or steal the moon from the sky I’ll sail you round the world And together we’ll fly So will you be my partner? Will you be the love at my side? Will you be the one I turn to all day? Will you be the one I hold at night? I love you, kid, with all my heart From morning to night, from dusk to dawn All I need is a chance For our hearts to become one Let me show you how much love You make me feel every day I’m completely in love with you, Darlin’ So please—what do ya say? And FIVE full stars for the book AND the narration. I cannot express who much i freaking loved this book!!! ** same worded review will appear elsewhere** and now I'm blubbering again, just reading the song words!!

 

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