A MelanieM Review: Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Walker Reed’s Louisiana cattle ranch is in debt after costly repairs from hurricane damage. To get the money, his family schemes to make Walker the star of a new bachelor reality series: Queer Seeks Spouse.. How hard can it be to fake interest in a dozen handsome men for a few weeks in exchange for enough money to solve all of his problems?

Roan Carmichael never got his Masters degree after his mother was diagnosed with cancer. With medical bills piling up, and a costly experimental treatment available, Roan signs on to be a suitor on Queer Seeks Spouse. While he hates having to leave his sick mother long enough to win the cash for her treatment, he’s willing to do whatever it takes.

Can two men who are just in it for the money fake their way into real and lasting love? Cowboy Seeks Husband, the latest book by Vespertine authors Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn, features a cowboy, a hipster, opposites attract, steamy scenes, and heart tugging moments that will leave you wanting more.

While not a fan of the tv reality shows this novel is based on, I am definitely enthusiastic over this contemporary romance that uses one as the foundation for its story. Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn turns out to be heartwarming and current, include characters of realistic depth and endearing qualities, as well as a romance I absolutely took to heart.  Did it make me want to watch the tv shows?  Nope!  But want more of these characters and their stories?  Yes, because I became very connected to them and the ranch it was filmed on.

Done all “behind the scenes” of a new queer dating game bachelor show, the authors bring all the contestants, and the hot, humid Louisiana setting of Walker Reed’s ranch vividly to life.  We meet not only Walker Reed (who I fell instantly in love with), but his father and lively stepmother, and then got a believable “feel” for the ranch they have lived on for all their lives and that will become the location for the show.  Then come the introductions to the many would be suitors, the showrunners, and  tv workers, equally important here.  The authors work to flesh out all the personalities to make the readers believe in them wholly, no matter where they fit into the novel.  It works beautifully.

I have to admit what worked for me the most is what also frustrates me about these shows.  The artificiality of it all, which is played up here in the story.  The growing romance between Walker and Roan, even knowing that it’s being filmed, the frustration and yes, secrets, the orders that have to be followed because of the legalities of the contracts.  All that is exactly why I won’t watch them but makes this story work so well.  I believe in these people, the good, the bad, the stressed out, all of them.

I won’t spoil anything by going further, except to say I love how it ended, as it should.  Except maybe another story to look into another stage in their lives.  I really connected with this couple and wasn’t’ ready to let them go.  There were other intriguing characters too here that I could see the authors revisiting. Hmmmm.

At any rate, I am definitely recommending Cowboy Seeks Husband by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn as a heartwarming contemporary romance you will want to read! I love it and hope the authors revisit this universe soon.

Cover art: Dar Albert. I actually love this cover.  Colorful, and lively.  While it ventures a tad on the movie ish, that works for the storyline and characters.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 306 pages
Published February 28th 2019 by Leta Blake Books
ISBN1 39781626227811
Edition Language English

A Lucy Review:Tricks, Treats and a Spider (Winter Home Book 2) by Kassandra Lea

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

For Manuel Aguilar, holidays often bring on depressive episodes. But this is his first Halloween in the beautiful Victorian that his lover, Brett, renovated for them. He finds himself eager to celebrate. With the help of the neighbor girl, Poppy, he gets the house all decked out, including Blackberry, the large black and purple spider Brett gave him.

When the spider is stolen, Brett tries desperately to halt Manny’s spiral into depression even as the theft and vandalism disturb his own peace of mind. But whether it was a homophobic act or just a cruel prank, Brett and Poppy are determined to find Blackberry and save Halloween for Manny.

It is a cute Halloween-themed story centering around Manuel and Brett, who are spending their first Halloween in their own house.  With the help of Poppy, the teenage neighbor, Manuel has gone all out on the decorations, including the black and purple fuzzy spider, Blackberry, that was a gift from Brett and was sort of a talisman for their relationship.  It’s already been a difficult time because Manuel suffers from depression that is worse at holiday time.

In Brett, Manuel has unconditional love and acceptance.  There are numerous descriptions of “…the man he loved” and sometimes it was too much. Brett definitely does his best to stand by his man and support him and that part was lovely.  They are faced with dealing with the stolen spider, with Poppy, with depression and with repercussions of the theft.

There is a very good chance I will be in the minority for rating this one because while it was cute, it wasn’t memorable for me in any way.  I am a super fan of short stories and novellas but this one I felt needed more.  Things were a little too simplistic – Poppy and the spider, looking at leaves in the dark, depression.  Things needed to be developed more.

The cover, Manuel against a background of the house, is cute but simple.

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:Kindle Edition, 70 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Mischief Corner Books, LLC
ASIN B0819D5898

 

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Changes Coming Down (Changes #1) by Kaje Harper

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

This is an expanded edition of a short story being turned into a series. The relationship dynamic between the three lead characters is clear from the first scene, which is a phone call about a fatal car crash. The alternating of all three points of view throughout the story is vital to help piece together the different personalities, as well as softening the reader’s perception of what are three strong masculine characters. There are moments of insecurity and jealousy on Scott’s end, but it was Scott who decided they needed a third–someone nearby for Casey while he was on the road during hockey season, to be there for him with the horrors of his job as Sheriff. After adding Will, they have all been together three years. The author does a great job of capturing the tensions of the triad needing each other, but not being out–of not being able to touch each other in public, of everything happening behind locked doors, of living in fear of discovery. This relationship works really well because Scott is the glue that holds it all together–I knew it, but it was good to hear the guys say it too, that they know. These characters feel real. There is intimacy in everything they do, so while the sex is satisfying, it’s not the reason for the book; it’s well integrated into their relationship and the plot.

Due to them being closeted, there is a bubble they live in. Other characters are mentioned, but they don’t let anyone else into their lives. Casey’s family is cringeworthy. People can disagree on the politics of war, but they are very disrespectful towards Casey’s military service and job as a sherrif. Past hurts and pride are too much for Casey to overcome at one point, but that is as much a part of his character as anything else. Casey’s job takes center stage when it looks like the Slaters’ death wasn’t an accident. The Slaters were really Will’s only friends/family so with them dead, the ranch becomes the character that shows the most about who Will is as he struggles with his self worth, grief, and his place in the world. Even though he’s the oldest and in charge of the ranch, he rarely takes the lead in his personal life. Scott’s family is highlighted, but not focused on in this book. I like that the reader gets to see Scott’s POV when he is out of town in Canada, so that his profession isn’t given less weight as this plot mostly revolves around the ranch and Casey trying to solve the crime right before the election.

Even though I knew it was coming, parts of this are sad and disheartening. Kudos to the author for getting me so invested in these characters and their happiness, in what they wanted for themselves, that I forgot that sometimes when things don’t work out the way you want them to, things are actually better in the end. I liked all three characters enough to root for them as they make difficult choices. Life changes for each of them and they choose to grow together, using their relationship as a touchstone when all their careers are in transition. I would have rated this higher, but I wanted all the characters to feel as real as the triad. I wanted the epilogue to have been more nuanced rather than such a big slash. Still, those are small things since this is a book I can read enjoyably over and over.

The cover art is by Karrie Jax Cover Design (karriejax.com). I have to admit I didn’t love it at first as it’s a bit jarring, but that works well with the title and plot. The pictures show a lot about the book. Even the color choices are appropriate. It’s growing on me the more I look at it because the words also match each picture.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published December 1st 2019 by self-published (first published November 27th 2019)
Edition Language English
Series Changes #1

A Lila Review: Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings by Nell Iris

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Christmas is coming, and young couple Casey and Ellis are very much in love. Unfortunately, they’re also the definition of dirt poor, and they don’t have the money for nonessentials like decorations. Or a turkey. Or gifts. Between the recent death of Casey’s beloved momma and Ellis’s estrangement from his family, all they have is each other.

When Ellis finds the saddest-looking Christmas tree south of the Mason-Dixon Line thrown away outside his workplace and brings it home to Casey, things look up. Life is still a struggle, but wealth isn’t always measured in money, and what seems worthless to others is often invaluable to the people who love it.

Red Popcorn Strings and Gumball Rings is a cute holiday surprise. I loved the characters and how easy it was to feel their love for each other. In a couple of pages we experienced their loss, their needs, and their hope.

It’s kind of sad and at the same time, it gives the reader a sense of righteousness. It shows how little is needed to have a joyful holiday and how life only gives you what you can handle.

Happiness is apparent and I wanted more; more details,  more story, more love. For such a short story, it leaves a good impression and a smile on your lips.

The cover by Written Ink Design is simple and somehow matches the story. It’s a bit amateurish but it follows the JMS style.

Sale Links: JMS | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:
ebook, 46 pages
ISBN: 9781646561681
Published: December 7, 2019, by JMS Books
Edition Language: English

Release Blitz and Giveaway for Let Your Heart Be Light by J. R. Lawrie

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Length: 49,000 words approx.
 



This holiday season, celebrate with a trio of festive gay romances by debut author J. R. Lawrie. This anthology features three stories sure to warm the heart and captivate the senses. Full of romance, humor, sweetness, and the perfect amount of heat, this collection is perfect for an evening by the fire.


FOR SERVICES RENDERED


Dr. David Christmas has heard every joke in the book when it comes to his name. Weary of the festive season and from his long shifts in the emergency room, David is also tired of his lonely single life. His only hope for Christmas is a glimpse of the shy but gorgeous neighbour who lives above him.


Christmas-loving Julian has nurtured a crush on the grumpy man downstairs for years now. Still hurting from his ex-boyfriend’s cruelty, he hasn’t yet dared to say hello. When an injury on Christmas Eve puts Julian directly into David’s careful hands, a little healing might be on the way.


KIND OF A BIG DEAL
and
THE FARRINGDON CLUB


Up-and-coming comedian Zack Wynn splits his time between the stage and the London pizza restaurant where he works, until life hands him one hell of a Christmas present. Richard Garston is the handsome and clever older man of Zack’s dreams, but what exactly is it that Richard does?


Soon, Zack learns the truth: Richard’s classified role in the British government makes him a much bigger deal than he claimed.


Is Zack ready for the politics and power of Richard’s world?
And is Richard’s world ready for him? 

J. R. Lawrie graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Language and Literature in 2011. She believes queer readers deserve a wealth of interesting stories, not just familiar tales of self-loathing. She practices what she preaches in York, UK, with her wife and their three spoiled guinea pigs.


For news and updates, you can follow her on Twitter or Facebook 

 

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