His Father’s Son. (And yes, that particular phrase happens in this book.) This was a solid ending to this trilogy, featuring the oldest son of the family – and the one to turn his back on the family ranch, yet still be there when needed. There is a lot going on here, both within the romance and with Zach finding out that he doesn’t actually know everything he thinks he knows, and while the romance was a fairly standard/ fairly comedic “cold stoic meets fiery lady who can’t help but be awkward in his presence” type, the emotions playing out here with Zach and his parents – and in particular his father, late – are easily the show stealers of the tale. Yes, for those who have read this series starting with Book 1 (or even 2, as I did), we finally find out exactly why Zach left. And, ultimately, we get a long view conclusion of a happily ever after. Truly a book that works well on all fronts and accomplishes everything it needed to both within its own tale and within the series. Very much recommended.
Solid Single Dad Meets City Girl Romance. This is the second book in the new O’Sullivan Sisters Series, and as such contains at least minor spoilers from the book before (that are obvious due to it being a romance book, nothing really more than that). And yet, while it does contain the overall series mythos to a certain degree… it doesn’t really do much to advance it other than a surprising moment at the end to rather blatantly set up the next book. Ultimately this one is mostly concerned with telling a standalone (though set in a common world) romance… and that absolutely works here. It has enough length so that growth doesn’t appear sudden, even as it mentions months passing by in single sentences to show time progressing that way as well. In the end, a satisfying romance that does just enough to continue the series. Very much recommended.
For this final entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at another Maisey Yates story that is steamy.. and yet somehow also very introspective and contemplative. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates.
Contemplative Steamy Romance. Wait. How can a romance novel that effectively starts off with a sex scene be contemplative? Well, you’re gonna have to trust me here… and then read the book for yourself to verify. 😀 Yes, there is hot and heavy sex here, even pretty well hate sex. So the sweet/ clean crowd… eh, maybe not for y’all. But this book also features quite a bit of solid introspection, and indeed it is this part of the book that is a refreshing change of pace to so many in the genre. At nearly double the length (380 ish pages vs 220 ish pages) of Yates’ other soon-to-release romance from Harlequin (Rancher’s Forgotten Rival, Jan 25), there is quite a bit more here, and much of it is more in the extended introspection and angst than anything else. (There are also a few more plot complications, including a fairly significant one. But really this book is about both of our leads figuring out how to clear their own heads enough to see what is right in front of them.) Excellent romance with a fair amount of cowboy to it, and a refreshing change of pace within the genre. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The True Cowboy Of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates”
For this penultimate day of the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a solid series starter romance that manages to combine the comedy of Overboard with the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. For this blog tour we’re looking at Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates.
Overboard x Hatfields and McCoys. This tale is essentially a ranching version of a combination of Overboard (take your pick on the 1980s version or the 2010s version) and the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. Throw in two people dedicated to their families yet who have always wanted each other despite their families… and you get some pretty intense hate sex and a romance that Shakespeare could never be bothered with. (Yes, some might try to go the Romeo and Juliet route in their comparisons, but those were immature teenagers with a remarkably high body count. Here, our leads are more established – late 20s/ early 30s ish – and more importantly *don’t get anyone killed*.) As a series starter, it works in establishing that our male lead has several brothers and our female lead has a sister… who may be interested in one of said brothers. Overall a solid romance that elevates its basic elements into a more mature – and arguably more enjoyable for it – tale where people actually try to do the right thing, even when it may cost them everything. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates”
For this New Year’s Eve entry into the Twelve Days of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at book I specifically chose to run on this day due to its setting at New Year’s Eve and which is actually much better than the description indicates. For this entry, we’re looking at New Year Kiss With His Cinderella by Annie O’Neil.
Better Than Described. The actual second meeting of our lead couple is actually much better than described here – they meet on New Year’s Eve night randomly at a mechanical bull ride, share a magical moment there as the clock winds down on the year, then the next day, the narrative focus is on her at work when a bunch of newbies are introduced… including the man she kissed at midnight and thought she’d never see again. Yes, this is a dual narrative tale, and it absolutely works here. Both of our leads are caring medical professionals with deeply troubling (and very real) issues outside of the hospital, and the drama here is fairly tight. As is typical with much of the genre, this does include a few sex scenes, so the clean/ sweet crowd… eh, this probably won’t be for you. For everyone else… those scenes are fairly well done. Enough to get the pulse racing without being *too* problematic if someone sees/ hears what you’re reading. 😉 Overall a solid romance featuring great, Hallmarkie type characters. Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: New Year Kiss With His Cinderella by Annie O’Neil”
Solid Series Starter. This is the beginning of a new series by two authors combining under a single pen name, and while I had only read one of the two before… this is truly a solid sweet romance that her fans will enjoy, but also shows where she is not the only voice in the room. And yet, there is never a *blatant* change of perspective or anything that overtly gives away that two different people were writing this – which actually speaks to just how well they work together both as storytellers and through the editing process. Absolutely one for the sweet/ clean crowd – there is barely any kissing, much less anything else. (Sorry, steamier fans.) Also one for the Hallmark Movie type crowd, as this is absolutely one of their infamous general plots – big city girl comes to the wide open country, falls in love with the charming small town and one of its resident cowboys. While this book had *some* minor (Hallmarkie) level drama, there is a fair amount of foreshadowing here that there is at least the potential for meatier drama down the road in the series, and that could actually be a welcome change of pace for the one author I’m familiar with here. (For those that read this book and enjoy it, you’re absolutely going to love that author’s work as well.) Excellent work, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this progresses and how many books are ultimately in the series. Very much recommended.
Strong Romance – With A Couple Of Issues. As a romance book, this one works. It has the all the requisite parts and even a couple of the optional ones – clean/ sweet crowd, you’re not going to like all the XXX sex in this one, and there is more of it here than many romance novels, even those that include such scenes. As a bit of a psychological drama, it still kind of works, with the female lead clearly having issues she needs to work through. As a suspense… well, the only actual action here occurs in the last few chapters, the rest of the suspense here is more of the “looming threat” variety. Which works well enough here, but never really makes the pulse pound.
No, there really are two primary issues, one of which has been mentioned by at least one other reviewer and the other of which no existing review on Goodreads mentions: First, this is a female who it is made quite clear fairly early on (to the reader) has been assaulted. While there is indeed a fair amount of studies and even anecdotes of this turning the woman a bit promiscuous – for a variety of reasons – the more general feel seems to be that women become much more closed off to sex after this, particularly when still struggling with dealing with the events – as our female lead here is. And yet, the sex scenes here start pretty damn rapidly once she and our male lead connect. Again, in-story, it works well enough. This is mostly a “wait a second” level observation after the story, at least for this reader. (For others, it may well be a true game-stopper.)
The other issue, that hasn’t been mentioned in a Goodreads review yet, is the constant mention of a gun’s “clip”. NO! It is a “magazine” or “mag”. It is NOT a “clip”, and a former Army Ranger and current US Marshall would *damn* well know this! Still, even with this rather glaring example of complete unfamiliarity with the subject, it is one that readers similarly unfamiliar with the subject would think works reasonably well within the story.
And then there is the whole thing about this being titled as a cowboy story… and yet there is very little cowboy’ing happening here. Other than a ride inspecting fence posts, the rest of the “ranch” scenes could pretty well have any other location as their base of operations and the book would both read and work the same, almost without any even word changes.
Still, these are mostly more observational level issues that didn’t really detract from the book – other than the “clip” / “magazine thing – and the story itself, even with the magazine issue, is pretty solid with an action packed ending. And despite being marked as “Book 3” here, it actually works quite well as a standalone, which is how I read it.
Very much recommended.
Cowboy Bodice Ripper. This is one of those slow burn (ish) cowboy romances where you’ve got the busty-and-beautiful-but-no-one-knows-it-because-she-hides-it-all-the-time librarian meeting up with the playboy-that-can’t-escape-his-dark-past cowboy. The slow burn and banter through the front half of the book is great, helped along via a subplot involving a troubled teenager. And then you get to the (nearly requisite in the genre) sex around the 2/3 mark where suddenly both of our leads are very well endowed for their genders. Sure, why not. A bit typical, and a bit of a letdown because of it, but eh, when being typical in one particular area is the worst you can say of a book… it really isn’t a bad book. Fans of the genre will like it, those that aren’t fans of the genre won’t have any real reason to come to the genre via this particular book. For the clean/ sweet crowd, well, I already told you it has a sex scene, and there’s references to several others, both “onscreen” and off. Solid tale mostly solidly told, and it does in fact work as an entry point into the series despite being Book 2. Very much recommended.
Fun and Quick Cowboy Romance. At just under 100 pages, this book is one of those easy, quick reads that is perfect for stepping away from the family for a few minutes during the holidays and getting a quick read in without feeling too guilty. And guilt is actually a large theme of this book – specifically, arguably undeserved guilt and in particular guilt that really only exists inside your own skull. If you’re into this particular subgenre, this book will hit most everything you’re expecting. Even if you’re not necessarily into this subgenre, this book will give you a solid taste without demanding too much from you, so is a great introduction to both the subgenre and the author. Very much recommended.
The book itself is, as I titled the Goodreads review below, a “solid romance”. It hits billionaire, cowboy, and second chance tropes all in one book, which is a feat unto itself at times. And it works well as an entry point into the series, even though it is Book 3.
But really what I want to talk about here is that dichotomy between the genres Lane writes in and how brave – and skillful – she is for doing so. Some authors may shy away from risking splitting their fan base or not wanting to take the effort to grow a “second” fan base, and let’s face it, far too many readers will absolutely refuse to read outside of a given genre. I’ve spoken with those types online numerous times, and honestly I just don’t get them. A good story is a good story, no matter the genre or language or anything else. And Lane has conclusively proven to me that she can give me a good story in at least two different genres – so I for one would *love* to see her try even more. 😀
I absolutely love when authors are willing to take risks, whether that means staying within one genre but doing nearly every subgenre possible within it, ala the “Modern Day Master of Science Fiction” Jeremy Robinson or pushing the bounds of their given genre ala Laura Heffernan’s Gamer Girl series or outright writing in multiple genres as Lane does. And I genuinely wish more authors had the balls to do it and more readers had the balls to follow authors they know can give them good stories no matter where that author decides to push themselves. Everyone involved in publishing, from the authors through the publishers through the sellers and all the way to the readers themselves would be stronger for it if authors would challenge themselves in this way. I get playing it safe and the reasons there, and let’s face it, there is arguably a steadier income stream from the author/ publisher side when authors choose to go that route. But, well, I’m a guy that has always lived by the words of Garth Brooks’s Standing Outside the Fire: “Life is not tried it is merely survived if you’re standing outside the fire.”
Take the risk. Live a little. If you’ve never read romance before, give this one a try. If you’ve never read Lane’s work before, this is as good a place as any to start. Stop reading this review and go buy the book already. 😉