A MelanieM Release Day Review: Commitment Ranch (Leaning N #1) by B.A. Tortuga

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

commitment-ranch-by-ba-tortugaA fist fight, a snowstorm, a stolen kiss in the barn… and a second chance at love.

Ford Nixel has two law offices, two fancy condominiums, and all the right connections. In short, he has everything he wants.

The last thing he needs is his Uncle Ty’s stake in the Leaning N, a ranch that’s been in the family for generations. Ford hasn’t even been to the ranch in over a decade, not since he left his boyfriend Stoney behind and headed back to college alone.

Ford arrives at the Leaning N to find Stoney, now a single father, right where he left him. A fist fight, a snowstorm, and a stolen kiss in the barn later—Ford knows none of the heat between them has dissipated.

Dreamspun Desires and B.A. Tortuga!  A combination I wouldn’t have thought would have worked and yet its a winner across the boards.  Using the lovers reunited trope, Tortuga uses the potential loss of the family ranch to bring lawyer Ford Nixel back home to a ranch he hasn’t seen in over 10 years and the man he loved and lost.

Its a premise guaranteed to draw a reader in and it does so here.  In Commitment Ranch (Leaning N #1) by B.A.Tortuga, the author uses her considerable skills of characterization to set down her MCs from (as she would say) the get go.  The readers get a quick look see at Ford Nixel’s world and understand the hardworking, loner he’s become.  I wanted to know more about the man, so wrapped up that personal time is low on his priorities.  And when the phone call comes from his Uncle Ty, things start falling into place for the reader and Ford.

Tortuga is a wonderful storyteller.  Her narrative unfolds at a pace that lets our curiosity build along with our affection for the characters as we meet them. When the story’s location transfers to that of the Leaning N Ranch and Stony (and family), meeting him, his adorable boy, the chef…all those people have their own revelations and histories.  It’s like walking into a place and being welcomed.  You take it all in, while being there, absorbing pieces of each of them, while focused on the main romance and trials of Ford and Smokey.

That romance!  Its a torturous bunch of misunderstandings, some of which I never quite understood myself.  That would be the Uncle’s part in it.  Never did get that.  But the way in which each man had to work through their misgivings, past histories, and issues of trust?  Believable and got straight to my heart. The health problems with the uncle, along with the special needs of the child?  All handled with a light, caring hand that worked beautifully within the story without weighing it down. Plus I loved that ranch.  I could see that working ranch and the people who helped run it in my head so clearly that I was ready to book a week for myself.

There are, as with every Tortuga novel, wonderfully layered secondary characters and potential couples.  As this is the first in a series, I am wondering which and where the next book will take us.  The Leaning N Ranch is open for business.  Its first story was a terrific romance.  I can’t wait to see what the second one brings.  I absolutely recommend Commitment Ranch (Leaning N #1) by B.A. Tortuga.

Cover art by Paul Richmond.  Another terrific cover in the Dreamspun Desires group.

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634773683 (ISBN13: 9781634773683)
Edition LanguageEnglish

SeriesLeaning N #1

A Free Dreamer Young Adult Release Day Review: Do-Gooder by J. Leigh Bailey

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

do-gooder-by-j-leigh-baileyNo good deed goes unpunished, and for seventeen-year-old Isaiah Martin, that’s certainly the case. The gun he was caught with wasn’t even his, for God’s sake. He only had it to keep a friend from doing something stupid. No one wants to hear it though, and Isaiah is banished—or so it seems to him—to live with his missionary father in politically conflicted Cameroon, Africa.

However, when he arrives, his father is so busy doing his good deeds that he sends Henry, the young, surprisingly hot do-gooder with a mysterious past, to pick up Isaiah and keep him out of trouble. Even while Isaiah is counting down the days until he can go home, he and Henry get caught in the political unrest of the region. Kidnapped by militant forces, the two have to work together to survive until they are rescued—unless they manage to find a way to save each other first.

“Do-Gooder” was an exciting, action-packed read. The romance mostly took a back seat, since the protagonists were a little busy trying to survive.

I mostly decided to read this book because of the setting. Not a lot of m/m books are set in Africa and I’ve always liked reading about exotic places. We don’t get to read much about the culture, though, since the story is mostly set in the middle of nowhere, with our two protagonists as prisoners of international mercenaries. I didn’t mind too much, since there were plenty of other things to keep me interested.

It’s interesting how the author managed to keep the story so suspenseful, even though it’s mostly set in a single hut and the MCs mostly just talk. Still, there’s the constant worry about Isaiah’s health, the mystery of Henry’s past and of course the mystery of why they were kidnapped and the worry about the next step of the kidnappers.

Even more amazing is the fact that she also managed to keep the feel of the story very realistic. All the explanations we get throughout made sense and the whole plot seemed like something that could totally happen under those circumstances.

The one part I didn’t really like was the romance. Not so much that it played only a minor role, but Isaiah’s feelings felt awfully rushed. It’s pretty much insta-love for him, which is a trope I despise. I didn’t quite buy into the intensity of the feelings. It read more like a crush to me and they just didn’t spend enough time with each other for me to believe that this was grounds for a serious relationship. Maybe Henry’s POV would have helped, because we only get to see Isaiah’s side. As it is, I didn’t really get the impression that Henry was returning Isaiah’s feelings for a long time.

The result was that I didn’t buy into the ending either. It felt like a forced HEA and pretty unrealistic. A HFN ending might have worked better, at least for me.

If you’re looking for a light, fun read, keep looking. This is not the book for you.

If, however, you’re looking for an action packed story full of intrigues and mystery, with a dash of romance, you’ll love this book.

The cover by Aaron Anderson represents the story perfectly: bullet holes and the all-important backpack with an African landscape on it. I’m not too fond of the background colour, but otherwise this is a great cover.

Sales Links

Harmony Ink Press

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Book details:

ebook, 200 pages
Expected publication: September 15th 2016 by Harmony Ink Press
ISBN 1634772903 (ISBN13: 9781634772907)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

rented-heart-by-garrett-leighLonely and grief-stricken, Liam Mallaney finally agrees to go out with his friends to make an attempt to get back into being social and sociable a year after he lost the man he considered his husband. As he seeks respite outside the bar and tries to decide whether or not to go home, he’s approached by a young man who propositions him. It isn’t until he decides to go with the guy that he finds out it’s going to cost him a wad of money.

Zac Payne has been surviving on the slim pickings in this small town ever since he moved from London to Holkham to start anew after he recovered from a drug addiction that nearly killed him six months before. Because his services aren’t as often in demand here, he has to work long days and nights to earn enough to support himself and his still drug addicted best friend, Jamie. He feels that he owes Jamie since he’s the one who got Zac to the help he needed on time.

When he takes Liam home he gets more than he bargained for however. Liam is a hot, sexy Alpha male who treats Zac differently from any of his other Johns. In fact, it’s the most memorable night Zac has ever spent with a man, and the first time he ever brought one to his own bed. Unable to forget Liam, Zac daydreams of what might be if he wasn’t a hooker, so when Liam contacts him after a few weeks, he gladly accepts his offer of spending the day with him.

In the meantime, Jamie is falling further into his addiction and though Zac knows he’s powerless to help him, when Jamie shows up at the apartment with a cache of drugs, Zac flips out and kicks him out. Distressed, he does something he’ll later regret while spending the balance of the day with Liam, who is rapidly becoming so much more than just a John.

The author takes us through Liam’s healing from the grief and despair that has plagued him for so long, introduces us to the life he shared with his lover, and gives us a glimpse into the real Liam behind the corporate façade he wears to keep the company they founded together running. Concurrently, we explore Zac’s personality, his hopes and dreams, and his deep desire to do whatever it takes to stay sober. We also get to know Jamie and while watching him rapidly deteriorate, not only in body but also in spirit, we learn the depth of Zac’s devotion to him.

There were many layers to this emotional drama, and with each page turn the author kept my interest at a peak with yet another new development or another perspective. Alternating scenes between Liam and Zac, because so much of the story took place when they weren’t together, added depth to the drama. I appreciated the strength of their inner resolve and the commitment each exhibited as they fought through the difficult circumstances that plagued them.

My respect for Garrett Leigh grows exponentially with each book I read from this author. I honestly wish I could give this story more than 5 stars, and I very highly recommend it to those who are looking for a story of redemption and the engaging characters who fight their way through their very divergent circumstances to finally be together.

Cover art by G.D. Leigh.  I love that the author does their own covers  so that what they imagines their characters to be ends up being expressed here.

Sales Links

Riptide Publishing

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Book Details:

ebook, 228 pages
Published September 10th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleRented Heart
ISBN 162649391X (ISBN13: 9781626493919)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Riptide Publishing’s Blog Tour and Giveaway: Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

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Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh
R
iptide Publishing

Cover by: G.D. Leigh
Read an Excerpt/Buy It Here

About Rented Heart

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

Purchase now at Riptide: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rented-heart

About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors under the pseudonym G.D. Leigh. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzpress.com.

Social media:
Website: http://garrettleigh.com
Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/Garrett_Leigh
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/garrettleighbooks
Cover art enquiries: blackjazzdesign@gmail.com

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Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Rented Heart, one lucky winner will receive $25 in Riptide Publishing credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on September 17, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!