A MelanieM Audio Review:Red Dirt Heart (Red Dirt #1) by N.R. Walker and Joel Leslie (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Welcome to Sutton Station: One of the world’s largest working farms in the middle of Australia – where if the animals and heat don’t kill you first, your heart just might.

Charlie Sutton runs Sutton Station the only way he knows how; the way his father did before him. Determined to keep his head down and his heart in check, Charlie swears the red dirt that surrounds him – isolates him – runs through his veins.

American agronomy student Travis Craig arrives at Sutton Station to see how farmers make a living from one of the harshest environments on earth. But it’s not the barren, brutal and totally beautiful landscapes that capture him so completely, it’s the man with the red dirt heart.

Please note: This book is set in Australia, using Australian English and lingo.

NR Walker’s Red Dirt Heart series became an instant comfort read when I first read it when it first came out in 2014.  I adored the characters, the setting (it was one of my first Australian location stories), the differences in our cultures and, yes, the similarities, just everything!  I was wombat crazy and red dirt heart in love!

Time passed and NR Walker became an auto read, her books a must buy.  The Red Dirt Heart series always floating fondly there in her library waiting to be rec’d.  Then came the audio version of NR Walker’s  Spencer Cohen stories and Joel Leslie’s perfect narration, Aussie voice included.  What leapt to mind?  That I needed to listen to Joel Leslie narrating Red Dirt Heart in the worst way.

So back to the outback I went.  Back to the lives of all the people at the Sutton Ranch and the hot red dirt landscape that captures their hearts and souls.  And the readers too so quickly. I always had pictures of how Charlie and Trav looked fixed so firmly in my head, but now?   Oh, my, with Joel Leslie taking such a firm, absolute grasp of NR Walker’s characters and story, here every favorite person burst back into life once more.  Charlie with his distinct broad Aussie accent comes immediately into play and just listening to Charlie, his many inner monologues to his exchanges with Ma and his ranch hands, who he is as a person becomes crystal clear. You know Charlie now, more than ever before.

And its not just Charlie’s accent, but a multitude of australian accents that Leslie comes p with, all genders, as well as all ages.   Then Trav arrives.  All slow, warm, southern Texas drawl flowing out of his mouth….and boom!  It’s as though Trav has walked through our doors, lively, unable to sit still, and more Trav, more three dimensional than I can remember.  Red Dirt Heart is singing to me.  The characters are bright, lively, passionate, and so real it hurts at times.

And this story!  I remember now why I loved it so. Love it so.  There’s Matilda, Ma and George, even the horses Shelby and Texas, plus the ranch hands that become a family.  And alway, always, that red dirt soil and landscape that spreads like another major character across the novel and series that digs just as deep into your heart as everyone else.

You know what I found?  I loved these stories even more.  Joel Leslie and NR Walker are perfection, literary mates mean to be.  And now its on to the rest of the series because you just can’t stop here.

Whether it’s your first time or the upteenth, go immediately for the audio version of the amazing Red Dirt Heart series and fall in love again or all over again.  Tis the holidays.  Treat yourself or someone you love.  I can’t think of a better gift.

Cover art for this series has stayed with me so yes, love it.

Audio Sales:  Amazon | Audible | iTunes

Audio Details:

5 hrs 7 mins

Audible Audio, Unabridged, 6 pages
Published July 4th 2016 by Love Lane Books (first published February 20th 2014)
ASINB01HU3WTHQ
Edition Language English
SeriesRed Dirt #1
Characters Charles Sutton, Travis Craig
setting Australia

A Lucy Review: A Christmas Wedding: A snowy London love story (Rory & Jack #3) by A.E. Ryecart

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Christmas is around the corner, and so is Rory Kincaid’s wedding to Jack De Lacy, the man of his dreams. Everything will be perfect — or it would be if Rory didn’t have to contend with Jack’s mother the indomitable, aristocratic Lady Diana.

At long last, Rory’s life is on track. Settled and happy, he’s looking forward to a bright future with the man who saved him from a life on the streets. But the strain is beginning to show. The simple Christmas wedding he and Jack dreamed of is growing… and growing… under Diana’s single-minded management.

Rory is everything Jack has ever craved. Sweet and kind, Rory’s an adorable mix of shyness and courage. All Jack wants is for their Christmas, winter wonderland wedding to be perfect for the man he loves — which means taking a stand against, tradition, family, and Diana.

This is the third installment of Jack and Rory’s story.  In book one, Jack found Rory at Christmas time, homeless and huddled on his doorstep.  They have evolved in their relationship since that time.  Met at Christmas, engaged at Christmas and now about to have a Christmas Eve wedding.  They have opened their bakery, The Bakehouse, and it is very successful.  Great, except it means they are incredibly busy, especially Rory as he does all the baking.  Add in the wedding plans and it’s starting to really pressure him. 

I have to say the blurb was a little misleading.  Yes, Diana is in charge of the wedding plans.  Yes, on a few occasions she makes decisions without consulting them.  However, I felt the decisions were not huge deals – a few extra people at the wedding, an arrangement about the cake.  There really is not “take a stand against Diana” at all. 

The book is more about the two of them, established in their relationship, taking that next step to a wedding.  I did lower my rating some because in this book Jack and Rory are extremely sappy.  I like sweetness and some sap but this went over the top for me.  They were constantly declaring how much they loved each other, forever and always. Rory sometimes questions his worth to this historic family but he really is accepted unconditionally.

The actual conflict here comes from an entirely different direction.  It is not a huge thing and the book really is angst-free, but I felt the way Rory handled it showed what a good person he is.

Side characters, Diana, Jack’s sister Caroline, Mabel and Lance from The Bakehouse, were interesting and well fleshed out. 

The cover by Meredith Russell/Tammy Clarke, showing Rory and Jack in their bespoke wedding suits, was perfect.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 170 pages
Expected publication: November 19th 2019
ASINB08191NNN5
SeriesRory & Jack #3

BLITZ for Double Six (Rowan House #5) by Brenda Murphy (excerpt and giveaway)

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Title: Double Six

Series: Rowan House, Book Five

Author: Brenda Murphy

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: November 18, 2019

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female, Female/Female Menage

Length: 63500

Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Contemporary, romance, BDSM, interracial, ménage, switch, edge play, knife play, pain play, extortion, kidnapping, Oslo, Norway, Isle of Skye

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Synopsis

Elaine MacLeod, the most feared and revered Mistress of Rowan House, is frustrated. Overworked, still hurt and angry over the departure of her long-term lover, she refuses to admit Rowan House needs another Mistress to accommodate their guests. Unconvinced anyone will be able to meet her high standards, Elaine grudgingly agrees to audition the sole applicant, Petra Grendhal.

Robin Broadacre would do anything for the woman who rescued her from certain death at the hands of her previous employers. When she volunteers to assist Petra with her audition, Elaine is forced to reckon with her desire for Robin. Drawn to Petra’s fiery strength and icy demeanor as well Robin’s devotion, Elaine finds herself torn between her passion for both women. When Petra disappears on a trip to Oslo, Elaine and Robin’s search leads them to menaces from Robin’s past and a fight for their lives.

Excerpt

Double Six
Brenda Murphy © 2019
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
“Are you sure this is what we need?” Elaine lowered the hairbrush and shifted her gaze to Martha’s face, reflected in the dressing table mirror.

Martha quirked her mouth. “We’ve been over this. Just give her a chance. You can’t keep up with our client requests.”

Elaine tossed the brush on the top of the dressing table. “Because you and Lucia don’t help.” She swept her titian hair back and up into a high ponytail.

Martha handed her an elastic. “We’re not having this argument again. Lucia and I are finished with that side of the business. We can’t keep putting people off or they’ll find other houses to visit.

Elaine knotted a hunter-green ribbon in her hair. “Oh please. Like they could find anyone like me. Or what we offer here.” She shoved away from the vanity and turned to face her sister. “Fine. We’ll see how she handles herself. But the timing sucks.”

Martha placed her hands on her sister’s shoulders. “We had to work with the dates she gave us. Lucia thinks she’d be a good fit. We’ve had our trip planned for a long time. We trust you to make a good decision.

Alone. Again. “I’m not worried about making a wrong decision. Who’ll sub for her? Benita and Fallon are on holiday. No one else likes heavy pain play.”

Martha grinned wickedly at Elaine. “Maybe you could give it a go?”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “The switch gene is not in me. Go on, go on your holiday. I’ll figure it out.” Somehow. Damn, I miss Roxy.

Lucia and Myfanwy stood next to the car, their breath visible as they chatted in the frosty gray morning. Millie loaded the last of their luggage into the trunk and closed the lid gently. Martha placed her hand on Elaine’s forearm. “You have our itinerary. We can return if it’s an emergency”—she straightened to her full height and squared her shoulders—“but we are not to be disturbed unless it is.”

Elaine rolled her eyes at her sister. “Yes, sister dear, goddess forbid I interrupt your honeymoon. Like you haven’t already had one. I won’t bother you.” She let the devil show in her eyes. “I expect you’ll be tied up.”

Martha settled her fedora on her head. “I’m not going to waste my time replying to that, and please for the love of all that’s good, try to get along with Petra. We don’t have any other candidates.”

“So we should settle?” Elaine placed her hand on her hip.

“No one is saying settle. What I am saying is do not make a snap judgment. Or piss her off so much she leaves.”

Elaine shrugged. “If she can’t stand the heat…”

“Martha, we need to leave now.” Lucia spoke over Elaine, her voice a soft command. “I’m sure Elaine and Petra will sort things.”

“See, even your Miss agrees.” Elaine smirked at Martha.

Martha smiled at Elaine, not giving her the argument she craved. “Try it some time. You might find you like it.”

“Ha. A cold day in hell. Go now or you’ll miss the ferry.”

Martha gave Elaine a quick hard hug before she hurried down the steps to the car.

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Meet the Author

Brenda Murphy writes short fiction and novels. She loves tattoos and sideshows, and yes, those are her monkeys. When she is not swilling gallons of hot tea and writing, she wrangles two kids, two dogs, and one unrepentant parrot. She writes about life, books, and writing on her blog Writing While Distracted.

Website | Facebook | Blog | Instagram

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Looking for Your Next Holiday Story? Check Out the Release Blitz for A Christmas Wedding by A E Ryecart (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: A Christmas Wedding

Author: A E Ryecart

Publisher: Independently Published

Cover Artist: Tammy Clarke/Meredith Russell 

Release Date: November 19, 2019

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Themes: Christmas, Wedding/Marriage, Domineering family

Heat Rating: 3 flames  

Length: 49 000 words

It is part of a series but it can certainly be read as a standalone.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK 

 

Christmas. A Wedding. Family. It’s the Perfect Storm…

Blurb 

For Rory Kincaid marrying Jack, the youngest son of the aristocratic De Lacy family, on Christmas Eve, is a dream come true. Handing over the wedding planning to Jack’s mother, the strong-willed Lady Diana, is turning out to be more of a nightmare.

As their big day approaches, the pressure’s on and the strain is beginning to show. Announcements in society magazines, a guest list that’s growing and growing, and fittings for the best bespoke tailoring in London, it’s all a far cry from Rory’s humble upbringing. Piece by piece, Rory and Jack’s dream of a simple winter wedding is fading fast.

Rory is Jack’s everything. Sweet, kind, and totally adorable, Rory is all Jack has ever wanted. And what Jack wants most of all is to give the man he loves the wedding day of his dreams — and that means taking a stand against the indomitable Diana.

***Warning: this story contains two gorgeous men, a mountain of mince pies and cupcakes, a punk rocker Christmas fairy called Bunty, and a snowy Christmas Wedding.***

 

Excerpt 

“Where are we going? The Tube station’s that way.” Rory nodded in the direction they were coming from.

“We’re not going home, or not just yet.”

“Oh? I thought we were going to decorate our living room, drink lots of advocaat, and then get naked on the rug.”

Jack threw back his head and laughed. “That sounds like a plan, but there’s something I want to do first.”

“You mean something is more important than naked advocaat?”

Jack just smiled in response. There wasn’t a lot that was more important than naked advocaat, but what they were about to do next just about topped it.

The tiny street would be so easy to miss in the messy and higgledy-piggledy maze that was the City of London. 

“Jack? What—?”

Jack pressed his fingertips to Rory’s lips and gazed into Rory’s questioning, confused eyes.

“Just go with me on this, okay?”

Jack pushed the door open, and he and Rory stepped into another time.

The shop was crammed with tall and narrow display cabinets, all of them holding a treasure of watches. Behind the counter, in a corner and almost hidden, sat a small, round, bald-headed man. A pair of glasses perched on the end of his nose, and another was wedged on the top of his head as he worked on the mechanism of a pocket watch, using what looked like a set of toy tools.

“Mr. De Lacy.” The man put aside his work, stood up and extended his hand to Jack.

“Mr. Hogarth. Let me introduce Rory Kincaid, my fiancé.”

Jack moved aside to allow Rory to shake Mr. Hogarth’s hand. Jack smiled; in a moment everything would be revealed.

“Let me bring your order.” Mr. Hogarth disappeared into a back room.

“Jack, I don’t understand. What’s going on?” 

Before Jack could answer, Mr. Hogarth returned bearing a small black box, which he handed over to Jack. 

“Please.” Mr. Hogarth gestured to a small table and a couple of chairs on the other side of the shop, in the only space not taken up with display cabinets, before he returned to his place once more behind the counter and took up his work as though he were alone.

“I want you to have this,” Jack said, opening the box as soon as he and Rory were seated. 

“What?” Rory gaped at the watch, displayed on a pad of black velvet. “But we agreed a strict ten-pound budget, just something silly this year. I haven’t—”

“No, it’s not a Christmas present.”

“Then what—? I don’t understand.”

Jack took the watch out of the box. Like his own, it was plain and unadorned. The black Roman numerals were stark against the white face; the casing was gold, deep and burnished.

“When I was twenty-one, my father presented me with a watch from this shop. He did the same for George,” Jack said, referring to his elder brother. “My father also had a watch on his twenty-first birthday, as did my grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather. The De Lacy men have had watches in one form or another from Hogarth’s since the late eighteenth century. All those watches came from here, from this very shop.” Jack glanced toward the counter, but Mr. Hogarth had gone and was now nowhere to be seen. 

“This isn’t a Christmas present, Ro. This is something every De Lacy man receives. And I wanted you to have one, too, because that’s what you’re on the point of becoming: a De Lacy man.” Jack’s lips lifted in a wry smile. “I didn’t know you when you turned twenty-one, although I wish I did. I’m just making up for lost time. On Christmas Eve, you’re going to take my name. I want you to be wearing this watch when you do.”

“Jack, I–I don’t know what to say.”

“Then don’t say anything. Just accept it, along with the words I had engraved.”

Jack held the watch out. All his focus was on his fiancé, reading for the first time the words engraved not only on the watch but on Jack’s heart.

Love, always and forever.

Four simple words which said everything Jack held deep inside about the man he’d found huddled on his doorstep just two Christmases before.

 

 

About the Author 

I love all kinds of MM romance and gay fiction, but I especially like contemporary stories. Born and raised in London, the city is part of my DNA so I like to set many of my stories in and around present-day London, providing the perfect, metropolitan backdrop to the main action. I write at home, in the gym, in cafés —in fact I write any place I can find a good coffee! 

 

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