24 Following
vivianblair

vivianblair

The Ranch Foreman

The Ranch Foreman - Rob Colton This was just what I needed. The Ranch Foreman is a short, sweet story about a man who moves onto a cattle ranch and falls in love with the foreman. Not many frills to be found here. Both the story and the characters are straight forward. And it works. Matty is a sweet guy, with boyish good looks, who clearly cares for the animals he works with. Baxter, on the other hand, is older, bigger, rougher and way moodier. I have to be honest, the whole "young twink attracts older bear/hunk" is a major guilty pleasure of mine. So, I was already hooked from the get go.

The book does have a few moments that had the potential to go full-blown angst, however the writer kept the angst levels low and used the scenes to show some tentative relationship growth between the two men. Having said that, Baxter is broody during most of the book, and he only opens up near the very end. I didn't mind it, as there was clear sexual tension between the two from the get go.

A light, fun read.

Under Pretenses

Under Pretenses - Jessa Ryan This was a complete, sweet little parcel of a story with a pretty bow on top. It's not very long, but Mark and Landon's journey, from discovering each other to interacting tentatively and finally getting together, was satisfying. I found them both likeable, and Landon's reactions to Mark was especially cute. There was a good cast of background characters, Sam of course being a favourite. I liked that tease near the end, just making us want to read Sam's own story.

I do wish we could've had more of that cover written into the scenes. Mark clearly enjoyed putting the lacy underwear on, and Landon seemed so up for it. It would have been nice to see how they explored it together.

Thanks to the author for this great little read.

Muscling Through

Muscling Through - J.L. Merrow What an absolutely charming story.

Muscling Through is a quick read, but a very sweet one all the same. Alan is very much the star of this story. No surprise really, as he is the narrator. But his direct approach to his relationship with Larry just won me over completely. Most people can't seem to see past how big and brawny Alan is, and they miss the fact that he is sweet and artistic as well. He's also a man of few words. But his affection for Larry is obvious from the start. He treats Larry with such care, and it's obvious at times that he feels he's not good enough for him. But when Larry asks him about his feelings, he doesn't shy away. Alan tells him exactly how he feels. He seems unwilling, almost incapable, of deceiving Larry for any reason. It's endearing.

It was fun reading about Larry making all these discoveries about Alan. Their initial meeting was close to disastrous, but I thought it was sweet how he approached Alan after realising his mistake. And whenever Larry discovered something new about Alan, his love seemed to grow. I couldn't even begrudge his bout of jealousy over Ren, the student who modelled for Alan on the side. I liked that he didn't take Alan for granted. It was bitter sweet seeing how they struggled without each other.

A sweet love story, with likeable characters and not too much angst. A solid four star read.

The Boy with the Painful Tattoo

The Boy with the Painful Tattoo - Josh Lanyon This was such a fun read. First of all, the title: I was happy to find the book was named with tongue firmly in cheek. The Scandinavian crime fiction references had me snorting delightedly throughout. Oh, I love Kit's manager, Rachel, and her determination to make Kit relevant again. Kit's whole-hearted reluctance to play along just makes their interactions even funnier. His loyalty to Miss Butterwith is without question, and his constant referencing of the Butterwith books is a source of great entertainment. (I so want to read A Run in Miss Butterwith's Stalkings.)

As usual, Kit is as an enjoyable a character to read, if slightly more on the frustrating side this time round. He doesn't seem to adapt to change easily (understatement?) so his struggles are understandable. At the same time, I did feel like shaking him once or twice particularly when he vocalised having second thoughts to J.X. in anger. But he proves that he is self-aware and his attempts at making it up to J.X. charmed me. I appreciate that Kit still continues to develop as a character as the series goes on.

J.X. was, well, J.X. He's a sweetie, that's for sure, and his dedication to Kit is made obvious by the effort he goes to in choosing the perfect home for him. I did think him trying to back Kit into a corner in terms of helping his ex-wife was a bit much. But I couldn't really hold it against him. He really makes an effort in creating a family with Kit, despite his lover's obvious reluctance.

So, yes, there is some strain between the lovers. But I think the resolution is satisfying enough to make it worth it. The mystery itself is mildly interesting, and the new characters are entertaining (especially Jerry). I also enjoyed the glimpse into Adrien and Jake's life in Los Angeles. But I enjoyed Kit and J.X. most of all, and I hope we get to see more of them in the near future.

Think Of England

Think Of England - K.J. Charles I loved everything about this book. Absolutely everything. I loved the setting, I loved the atmosphere, I loved the plot. But most of all, I loved the characters. It might not have been love at first sight, but the transition from Curtis and da Silva to Archie and Daniel had me utterly charmed.

I particularly enjoyed Curtis' journey to self-discovery. The English gentleman hero's development into an unexpectedly sweet, loyal, and utterly smitten romance lead, was pure satisfaction. Daniel da Silva was just impossible to dislike. His mannerisms, talents, and taunts all mask a fragility that I found endearing. The scenes between the two characters were either packed with suggestion, sizzling, or just plain fun. They were perfect together.

Romance aside, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the author's voice. Not that I should have been - I loved her previous works. But it just felt so authentic and well researched. I loved the Boer War angle. It's a piece of history that I'm well familiar with, but haven't encountered much in fiction. I enjoyed reading about it. I thought the author found a perfect balance of fleshing out Curtis' backstory without it weighing down the main plot.

All in all, it was a well-written, well-researched, hot hot hot romance. I enjoyed every word of it.