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review 2017-04-18 23:38
Painting the Cowboy: A friends-to-lovers romance - Riley Knight

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I'm afraid I had too many issues to rate it higher than a 2.
I love a damaged cowboy story which is why I jumped straight on this. I also love a book that focuses on the development of a relationship and that is what this book should have been. The relationship is the focus but we are shown very little development. Events that happen to the characters develop the relationship but in this book nothing really happens, the relationship almost exists in a vacuum. The only thing that propelled the relationship forward was intense extended periods of navel gazing, but nothing happened to cause them.
There were other issues that I had problems with that a good beta reader/editor should have picked up on.
Excessive use of 'the older/younger man'. That is bad enough in itself but at no point did the author tell us how old either man was or the age difference between them.
Karl's constant over protectiveness towards his 5 yr old son. Yet at one point he sent him out on his own 'to play in the front yard' (of a ranch?) and when they went camping the 5 yr old had his own tent while the two guys slept together in another tent. No. Just wouldn't happen. And every night the men 'messed about' in the tent.
On the subject of the son, he sounded like no 5 year old I've ever had the pleasure to meet.
Oh, and then a decision was made about not using condoms without any consultation with the other party. And don't even get me started on the use of the word 'clean'.

 

I really wanted to enjoy this book but unfortunately it simply had too many problems for me.

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review 2017-03-30 06:30
Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby
Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires Book 30) - BA Tortuga
Tag Team review with Sara

3.5 Hearts
--

"Wings?"
"Only if they don't make you poot. Buffalo sauce poots make the baby Jesus cry."
"Well sure, nothing rules out ass-fucking like buffalo poots. 'Cept maybe Taco Bell."

Expect pure friends to lovers cowboy fluff and laughs with Two Cowboys and a Baby by BA Tortuga.

With a baby on the doorstep trope thrown on top!



No babies were harmed. Promise.


Set in Texas, this book features a little bull rider/cowboy with the nickname of Hoss (his real name is Wyatt Earp!) and his childhood best bud/digger/cowboy, Bradley. See Hoss is out of the closet and is painfully in love with straight best friend, even after his friend stopped talking to him after coming out to Bradley. After that year in high school, the two continued to go back to the way things were: being best friends.

Thing is all the time Hoss has pined for Bradley, if he looked a little closer, he might have noticed the same looks from Bradley.

Unrequited love fans out there? It's all fluffed out in the latest addition in the Dreamspun Desires line.



Giddy up the fluff!


The unrequited love with my straight best friend angle gets help from the unwanted baby plot. While the two cowboys share like feelings, they're two clueless to do anything about it. Thankfully, the little blonde baby girl on Hoss' doorstep helps bring them together.

The girl's mother just leaves her and Joanie, the adorable pet of Hoss, alerts her owner of the little bundle. Reading Hoss come to grips with his life changing as he knows it once the little girl arrives is hilarious. Hoss is a simple man whose only contact with babies are with baby farm animals.

So not the same.

But too funny.

Bradley, Hoss's #1, comes to the rescue as the two try to hunt down the little baby's birth mother. With the the help of the small town's Sheriff Pooter (I kid you not), Doc and Hoss's Momma and a whole slew of hilarious side characters. The country twang just oozes through this book's pores. I found myself charmed with it.




The romance doesn't happen immediately. And I definitely got the sense of the cowboys shared lives prior to the baby.

They sat together, arm to arm, not looking at each other. Then B reached out, twining their fingers together, holding on like they'd done this a thousand times.

Reading them slowly become a unit with the baby who Hoss didn't originally want, but now needs, is the magic for this title.

"Is this the way it normally happens with two guys, Hoss?"
"I'm usually the handjob in the barn type of guy, B. I've never been the type to be on love,so I don't know."
"I've been in love with you since high school. I don't know how the handjob in the barn even works."

It's not a smooth sailing; there is a big misunderstanding that provides a solid speed bump on their path to love. But the baby is the glue to making Hoss and Bradley stick.

And then there is the mega plot twist that took into into OTT-ville. Seriously, couldn't believe half of that happening in real life.

Thank goodness it's fiction, huh?

The crazy that gets twisted in, made for a fun read. Plus, it's why the Dreamspun line works for me. It's a good time that doesn't take itself too seriously while delivery cracky sweet romance.

The story isn't without minor issues but overall, the good outweighed the bad. It wasn't a life changing read, just something you can unplug your brain with.



Obligatory yeehaw!



A copy provided for an honest review.
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review 2017-03-26 00:26
ARC Review: Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell
Loose Cannon (Woodbury Boys) - Sidney Bell

This is my first book by this author, but I can already tell you that it won't be my last. The writing style is truly engaging, and I was enthralled from start to finish by this book.

When we first meet Edgar-Allen Church, who simply goes by his last name, he's about to be released from the correctional facility where he's spent the last five years after a conviction for assault. He needs a place to stay, so he calls on his old friend Miller Quinn in hopes of crashing on his couch.

There's some history here I won't go into too much (plus some hero worship on Church's side), between Church and Miller, and while some of it is good, some of it definitely isn't. Church is gay, and he's not hiding it, but Miller's conservative upbringing hinders him from allowing himself to be who he truly is.

This has caused their previous friendship to falter, but Church is still in love with Miller, though willing to keep that to himself, since his previous advance in that direction wasn't welcome. Miller likes Church, and he is secretly attracted to the younger man, but he can't possibly be gay because reasons.

As the story unfolds, we get some background info on Church, and his friends Ghost and Tobias. This is not presented as an info dump, but cleverly woven into the story as flashbacks of sorts, and really paints a complete picture of Church's rough upbringing, and shows clearly how difficult his life has been so far. How lost he is, and how Miller is really a beacon for him. If only...

But the romance, slow burning from the start, that eventually unfolds between these two, as Miller starts to shed the shackles that keep him from admitting his attraction and claiming who he really is, is not the main focus of this book. There's action too, and a Russian Cartel, harassment against Church that nearly derails his journey to real adulthood, and some suspense as well, what with Ghost (who needs his own book) trying his best to... well, you should read this for yourself.

The two main characters really grow throughout the book, with Church getting his anger under control and growing up into the man he was supposed to be, and Miller freeing himself from the voice inside that belongs to his late and very homophobic father and allowing himself to return Church's affection. Their chemistry was hot, and while there are some more explicit scenes, they were tasteful and clearly showed their emotional connection. These two men just fit together, and I fully believed that they truly loved each other.

I also appreciated the author for including a strong female character in Miller's sister, and his niece was also well portrayed. While they are supporting characters, they both played a role that helped Miller and Church move forward.

Ghost was a really interesting character too, and while we don't find out much about him, or what he really does, there is sufficient information to understand that he too cares for Church, and will do what he has to so his friend has a chance to make it. Tobias too was a good friend to Church - he has a slightly different background but was there when needed, even if it might be detrimental to himself.

The plotline with the Russian Cartel was intriguing, and while I have no direct experience with that sort of thing, it did feel realistic here. I'm pretty sure this sort of thing does happen in similar ways as depicted here, and I appreciated that the author seems to have done good research into this topic.

At its core, this book is about second chances and finding redemption. These themes apply not only to Church and Miller, but also to Ghost, who's probably the most mysterious of all the characters in the book. Church and Miller are given a second chance, not only as far as their relationship is concerned, but also as far as living an authentic life, especially Miller, and finding peace with who they are, with each other, and with the lot they've been given in this life.

A highly engaging read, and highly recommended. I need more from this author. Could Ghost's story be next, please?


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

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review 2017-03-18 23:27
This is definitely going to be a series to watch...
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

A Tag Team Review with Chelsea!

FOUR HEARTS--K.J. Charles' newest Victorian romance series, Sins of the Cities, starts off on the right foot with An Unseen Attraction. A slow burn with an encompassing mystery and romance between two unassuming souls can be found in this novel.


"Rowley, there are lots of people who think I'm worth looking at. Not so many who think I'm worth listening to. Not like you."
A spasm of something passed across Rowley's face. "Then there are a lot of fools out there."




Swoon.

The words were, as usual, a joy to read from this author. And the shared moments between 28-year-old Clement Talleyfer - lodging house keeper and 35 year old, Rowley Green, a solitary preserver (taxidermist) made this book special.

Clement, or Clem, is of Indian descent and grew up an outsider for his entire life. Rowley has not had an easy childhood and bears the scars to prove it. The author has a fine hand on writing inclusive characters be it race or QUILTBAG, no one gets left out. And An Unseen Attraction is on par.

But what makes this book even more special was including a character with DCD (Developmental Coordination Disorder or Dyspraxia). She wrote the character in such a way that respected the disorder and an affected person's feelings, rather than using his disorder as a characteristic and not following up. (I'm not a fan of books that write characters with intellectual disabilities and can't back it up with thorough research). Based on the obvious research alone put into this tale, it's rated all the hearts.

Clem runs the lodging house and crushes on his lodger of eight months, the small, quiet Mr. Green, who runs a preserve shop next door. Clem's not one to easily discern if Mr. Green would welcome his affections, so quiet friendship is what he relies on to keep in respectable contact within that time period. You know what they say about the quiet ones? Because quiet Mr. Green notices Clem just as much.

Told in dual POV, the two become closer while surround by interesting characters at the lodging house. Their shared attraction obvious. A mystery is literally dropped on the house doorsteps by way of a dead body. The pair bond even more, trying to figure out what is the cause of the violent acts. Both men have damaging pasts, with internal and external scars. Clem is gorgeous (great cover by the way - it's very close to how I picture Clem). But with DCD, most treat him like an imbecile. Rowley, knows he's not as handsome and he tends to downplay himself. Not to the point of annoyance but thankfully Clem sees him as a worthy partner and vice versa.

I loved both main characters. (Can you tell?) Flawed individuals who make each other stronger together and bring out the best in each other without losing a sense of self. They aren't overt characters, rather it's the quietness and the little things that they both do that grabs the attention.

And their compatibility exists both in and out of the bedroom!


"I like to be...undemanding in bed. To, well, have the other person make the decisions. there's something about someone doing what he wants to do with me..."






I-- *clears throat*

Yes, I'm very fine with that.

Edging and submissiveness...oh yes, these two were definitely hot together.

While the two check off so many boxes on my characters-I-enjoy list, the story isn't without minor flaws.

Why not full throttle and dump all the hearts at this book's feet? There are some open ended issues that I would love to be answered. There's an arc that has enough mystery to probably cover the entire series. (That epilogue is everything)

But...something about the 'villain(s) ending'-- something about it s sticking in my craw. Maybe it could be more of a me thing but I wanted justice. I wanted a big never ending battle royal as a climax to the action scenes scattered about the story.

The cowardice irks me. Who is the accomplice? Mastermind? Ah!

But I do think the author kept the main character's personalities at the forefront at all times, so I'll just have to swallow and build a bridge to get over it.

Or read the rest of this series, which I DEFINITELY will be. Because I am all in for "Polish Mark". This author has me pining for themes I tend to shy away from - mysteries and psychics. *shakes head*

The writing is that good.

I don't plan on running through the ignored lists of books with those themes but it seems that if K.J. Charles has written it, I'll make an exception.

The secondary characters are just as intriguing as the main characters. And the story overall, is well written enough, suspenseful enough and romantic enough to check out!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review via Netgalley.

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review 2017-03-17 08:51
Right here
Right in Front of You: A Friends to Lovers Contemporary Romance - Lacey Silks

Friends To Lovers series continues with another epic love story about best friends who must go through the fire to find what burns in their hearts.  A truly impressive story about love, loss, and strength.

 

The gang is back in this second installment about pain, growth, and real friendship.  Carter, Molly, and the rest teach us what love is all about.  This book being Carter & Molly's story.

 

Molly has always wanted to be a doctor.  Carter only wishes to be a fireman.  When tragedy strikes, can the future still be clear?  

 

Sweet and sad tale of five friends and how life changes them as they grow.  I loved that characters, the friendships, and the sexy.  There is a solid mystery to solve as well.  I was truly enchanted.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

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