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review 2018-06-29 20:10
Red Dirt Heart 4
Red Dirt Heart 4 - N.R. Walker

Charlie's come a long way in self-acceptance over the last two years and three books. Now we get to see him from Travis's POV and follow their journey into the future as they become a family.

 

There's little conflict here, and really not much a plot beyond will they/won't they actually get married and there's some talk about what Charlie will do with the ranch in the event he can no longer run it. 

 

I would have liked if Travis's POV had actually sounded different from Charlie's, but other than that, it was nice to spend a little more time at Sutton Station and seeing more of Trav's family and see the next stage(s) in their lives. But if I hadn't already invested three books in this series and cared about these characters, I probably would've found this a bit on the boring side. I did find the epilogue cute but not really necessary. I would've been happy for the book to end right before that.

 

So this was fun, cute, very aww-worthy and good for a light read. 

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review 2018-06-13 04:06
Drums of Autumn (Outlander #4) (Audiobook)
Drums of Autumn - Geraldine James,Diana Gabaldon

As I mentioned in my review for Outlander, I started this series with the fourth book by accident. I was just out of high school, my mom was having health issues and I was the one who was driving her around to her various appointments and spending a lot of time in waiting rooms. So when I saw this book sitting on the new releases shelf in the bookstore, the only thing I cared about what that it looked interesting and it was thick. It would give me hours and hours and hours of reading time. So I got it, started reading, and got to around a quarter of the way through when I realized this was part of an ongoing series. I kept reading though and enjoyed it. It provided exactly what I needed at the time and even got me to go back and read the first three books.

 

Now, twenty plus years later ... this got annoying. It starts off really slow and rambling. All the books in this series ramble, but it gets worse the longer the series goes on. The first three books at least have obvious plots right off the bat. This one takes over 500 pages to get around to it's main conflict, and up till then it's basically just the four main characters doing stuff. I still really enjoy Claire and Jamie's relationship, but I couldn't give two figs about Briana and Roger's courtship, especially when Roger gets all caveman about it. 

 

I was never a fan of Briana, but wow. For someone so smart, she can be really stupid. Roger's kind of a jerk but he's tolerable. Neither one is prepared for 18th century living, despite both of them being history majors. They not only lie to each other about crucial things, but they make one reckless decision after another. How in the world they survived is beyond me. 

 

Actually, the main conflict isn't exactly what I would call contrived. Considering what Bree's been through and that she just barely met her father, her decisions make sense, even if they're illogical. Given what Lizzy thinks she knows, and what she tells Ian and Jamie, their actions also make sense. What doesn't make sense is

Claire not telling Jamie what Briana told her. She could've done that and kept Bonnet's name out of it.

Also, if you're looking for someone, a physical description usually helps.

Also, both Claire and Briana went by different last names when they went through the stones, so it makes zero sense they wouldn't consider Roger doing the same.

Also, Jamie would've killed Roger based on the info Lizzy told him. But of course he couldn't because the reader - and Bree - wouldn't be able to forgive him if he had.

(spoiler show)

The Big Misunderstanding required these characters who are usually extremely good with communication to be really bad at it.  

 

And it's just a little ridiculous that these characters are all encountering the same villain no matter where they are in the world. 

 

But once I got through all that nonsense and the characters all started to act like their intelligent, rational selves again, it got way better. The last third of the book is definitely the strongest.

 

Not enough Lord John though. 

I hate that he sleeps with one of the slaves. It's not on page, but it's implied. I guess I can have a smidgeon of consolation that John wouldn't have forced himself on anyone unwilling, and he's a pretty perceptive fellow, so he could probably tell if someone was just pretending to be willing. But still. Don't sleep with slaves, John.

(spoiler show)

 

Edit: Oh, and I forgot to mention the narration. Davina Porter does her usual stellar job, but she doesn't even attempt an American accent for Briana. I guess she's the UK's answer to Kevin Costner. ;) But since I'd rather listen to a pleasant British accent than a terrible American (much less Bostonian) one, I wasn't bothered by it too much.

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review 2018-06-03 21:13
Red Dirt Heart 3
Red Dirt Heart 3 - N.R. Walker

Charlie and Travis are back again with Ma, George and their pet wombat, Nugget. For those of you who don't know, like me, wombats are kind of mini-pig/gopher-looking things:

 

 

Also, they're illegal to own as pets, so it's a little weird that didn't become an issue in one of the subplots in this book.

 

Oh, and they have square poop. Why wasn't this brought up? Of all the things Travis doesn't seem to know about, despite growing up on a Texas ranch, that would be the thing that should've caused a comment but didn't.

 

Anyway, I'm off topic.

 

This is a culmination of Charlie's part of the story, and it was nice to see him coming fully out of his shell, learning to communicate with those around him and rely on them. He's got a lot on his plate, but he's really settled into his skin and if he had one more challenge to face, it was learning to stand on his own. While Travis might have helped him to open up, he didn't bring out anything in Charlie that wasn't already there. There was a teensy bit of Big Misunderstanding there that felt on the contrived side that I don't think was even necessary to get Charlie to where he ended up, but eh. YMMV.

 

The family drama was...unexplained to say the least.

Why did Charlie's dad tell his mom to get rid of her pregnancy? That part was never explained. They already had one kid, after all, so what would've been wrong with having a second one?

(spoiler show)

That part really needed to be more fleshed out. As it stands right now, the answer seems to boil down to "just cuz." Still, it gave Charlie another part of himself to come to terms with and grow from, and that was neat.

 

This did start off a little slowly, since Charlie had to feed Nugget every other paragraph, which got repetitive fast. It ended strong though, so despite the fact that the editing is actually getting worse with each installment, this one still gets a four-star rating.

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review 2018-05-11 02:36
Red Dirt Heart 2
Red Dirt Heart 2 (Red Dirt Heart Series) - N.R. Walker

This started off kind of rocky, to the point I even considered quitting at one point since the first book was only ok. I'm glad I stuck with it though since it ends much stronger than it started. All it took was Charlie to stop acting like a twelve-year old (jealousy and angry snits are really not appealing to me) and the guys to actually start talking to each other instead of just having sex as the basis of their relationship. Go figure. 

 

There's still too much of everyone thinking the gay couple is cute, and I wanted to (lightly) smack everyone who was smiling/laughing at Charlie's discomfort at various points throughout the book. Their reactions came from a place of love, but that still wasn't cool.

 

I felt that this ended with a stronger relationship between Charlie and Travis, which helped me to care about them as a couple and as individuals. Charlie's coming out process is maybe a bit too rushed considering his years of baggage, but it was too satisfying to bother me long. :)

 

I also got a (somewhat) better sense of some of the side characters. Greg is an even better friend to Charlie than originally thought.

 

Onto the next one.

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review 2018-04-20 04:06
Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt Heart #1)
Red Dirt Heart - N.R. Walker

I like this! It was standard, as far as M/M goes, but has the distinction of being set in the Outback. Charlie and Travis were fun, and it was nice to see Travis pull Charles out of his shell and self-loathing. I really liked Ma and George, too. (Though I did get a little annoyed with the chapter headers, gotta be honest.)

 

This is a short read though, barely longer than novella length, so we don't get to see much of the other workers on the ranch, who are basically just there as set dressing. A lot of the relationship development between Charlie and Travis was set in the bedroom too, and after one-and-a-half standard sex scenes, I just started skipping them altogether. There was still enough development outside the bedroom for me to appreciate why they're clearly good together, so that was good.

 

The next one looks longer, so hopefully it'll have more meat on its bones. And be better formatted. The formatting for this book was all over the place. It though Ch 6 was Ch 8, for instance, and thought the book was complete when I was still at 70%. 

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