I was surprised that when I got into this story there was maybe a little less sex than I expected and a...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I was surprised that when I got into this story there was maybe a little less sex than I expected and a lot more plot. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of sex! And Gene has sex with a few different guys. But sex is also used as a tool in the book, yet still as the main attraction that I expected from an erotica short. I enjoy that because erotica is all about the sex, but having a coherent plot to string it all together and to manipulate the sex into certain scenes and setting with an actual reason for it spices up the story a bit. It makes it sexier, I think, because your brain is involved a little with the action as well ;)
Gene is a rancher in this Old West type setting, which is reminiscent of sometime in the 19th century, though not explicit. He's been seeing the Deputy in the town for going on two years now. Bud is a good guy, sexy, and known around town as an honest man with a good heart and a strong body always around to help the town and it's people. Gene and Bud first meet when Bud moves to town and quickly grow to be good friends. What Gene first started to feel as only lustful attraction to his friend grew during their first year as friends to be more of a general interest and like in Bud. Yet, it isn't until a year into their friendship that they both finally admit that they've been keeping secret their feelings for one another and turn their friendship into something more.
But they're both men in a small town and while some might look the other way at a little play, it's still expected that two men not take up together permanently. So they, like the several other men in the town that they know like to play around with each other, go about seeing each other and living separate. They allow themselves to see other people, like when Bud is out of town on his Deputy business. That's how Gene gets to know John Bullard. It starts with looks and a subtle cruising and ends with them going at each other several times while Bud is out of town. But John seems overly interested in his relationship with Bud, and it isn't until Gene fucks the information out of him that he learns that John is a lawman himself, on the search for an elusive outlaw named Trace Warren. John seems certain that he's found his man -- Bud Silvey. And no matter how much Gene wants to deny it, certain things add up. He even looks like him. And if it is him, does Gene care? And will he help him out if he finds out that Bud has lied about his past?
I'd definitely recommend this short story if you're looking for an erotica story with cowboys (of the old type!). The sex is really hot and I enjoyed the little mystery and plotting that Gene goes through. Having Gene have real feelings for Bud made this more interesting to me, even though I wouldn't quite consider it a romance, there is a love story in there between the two. It's really hard for me to give erotica stories higher than a So So rating because the only real thing for me to judge on is the sex. It's a different rating system than romance stories, but I sometimes have a hard time judging them differently. Still, I enjoyed this one and I liked the little bit of plot there that moved the story along. It's worth a Pretty Good rating and worth a read if you're looking for something hot with lots of sex :)(less)
I’ve been so excited for the release of this book! It’s been a long time since I read something by this...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I’ve been so excited for the release of this book! It’s been a long time since I read something by this author. In fact, I don’t think I’ve read a novel by this author since I read Finding Zach, a book which remains one of my all-time favorite m/m romances. So I knew going into this book from the blurb and from loving that book that this would most likely be an intense read. In some ways it was, but less so than I think I was expecting. But, it did live up to my expectations and ended up being a good read.
Joshua Chastain is a shade of the man he once was — a strong, confident, healthy and intelligent undercover FBI agent. Those qualities were all taken away from him during his three year undercover mission infiltrating a ruthless and dangerous gang in Chicago that heavily trafficked heroin. And though he did everything he was put there to do — bring down the operation from the inside — he also did other things, made sacrifices to himself and others to get the job done. And now, after leaving the FBI and in rehab for his heroin withdrawal and addiction and the unbelievable depression from his memories of death, Joshua is so far from the man he once was that his family no longer recognizes him.
His mother and his uncle Tucker conspire to bring him out to his uncle’s ranch in New Mexico. It’s a place he frequented and loved as a kid, but it’s also the perfect place for him to start to come back to himself. In an ironic twist, the ranch’s main operation is the rehabilitation of abused horses, a program run by Tucker and the ranch’s foreman, Elian Kelly. Eli is more than a foreman to the ranch, but also Tucker’s good friend. And seeing Tuck’s young nephew is heartbreaking. He sees him as a broken man he can try to put back together just like the horses that he has a gift with helping. The fresh air, good and hearty food, and reliable and loving family are what Joshua needs to put the past behind him and learn confidence in himself again. The connection and eventual relationship between Joshua and Eli wasn’t part of the plan.
Much of this book was what I was expecting from this book and this author. This is a hurt/comfort story of epic proportions, something that was similar to Rowan Speedwell’s other novel, Finding Zach. Joshua is not much a guy who needs a little rehab, but a severely traumatized person, emotionally, physically and chemically, from his forced addiction to heroin. And Eli is the gentle giant, reliant and safe and perfect in a lot of ways. I mean, this makes for a good setup, something that has worked well for this author in the past. And I liked this couple together. I felt like a lot of time went by setting up the story and I would maybe have liked to get to know Eli and Joshua actually together in their relationship for longer than we got, but they have a crazy amount of chemistry that came through for me, and the dynamic works well for them and goes hand in hand with the setting really well.
So the problems that I had with the book didn’t really spoil my enjoyment of the book — it remained something highly enjoyable to read. Maybe it’s that Finding Zach is such a hard book to live up to for me, especially with a character like Joshua who so reminded me of Zach with all of the emotional turmoil he has to work through throughout the book. Still, this wasn’t a perfect read for me. Some of the behavior of the characters seemed a little too… contrived, like the totally happy-go-lucky family atmosphere at the ranch. On the one hand this made the book not overly filled with excess problems but it made Joshua’s problems seem overbalanced in counterpoint, which made their behavior and constant support grating (not their support for Joshua, but just in each other, day to day in the way they act). That probably makes no sense, but I don’t know how to describe it better without making it seem too nitpicky and as if it was a bigger deal than it really was. It just bugged me a bit. The real difficulty I had with the book was the ending.
I was hoping that this book wouldn’t end with (view spoiler)[a resurgence of the gang and the men who would obviously love to come after Joshua if he wasn’t so hidden. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. But, I still would have probably preferred the ending to be a bit more subtle. I liked that Eli and Joshua were getting to know each other and work through their problems and I would have admired the story more if it continued in that direction without needing an outside conflict to come in from seemingly nowhere to act as a catalyst for the couple. And the way it was done made it a little worse than that, with the whole gay basher thing having been written so many times. (hide spoiler)]
So while I wasn’t quite happy with the ending, I still enjoyed the book and I liked the first half in particular. It really held my interest. The fact that the main character is dealing with a shitload of issues is just something that depends on the reader to like or dislike. I mean, on the one hand it does seem a bit much because poor Joshua’s life just kept going from bad to worse over and over again. So much of whether you like this book or not will depend on how you feel about that kind of character and conflict. In general, I don’t so much like that, but as I said before I was interested in seeing how I liked this one since I did like that kind of conflict in the hands of his author previously.
The other early reviews I’ve seen for this book have so far been raving, which is good. I think I’m maybe a little pickier than many other reviewers and that’s fine. Rowan Speedwell remains a great author and I’ll continue to look forward to her books.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I didn't quite understand what Rolf and Ranger were trying to do until I remembered the name of this story. And the format (twelve short sho...moreBrilliant!
I didn't quite understand what Rolf and Ranger were trying to do until I remembered the name of this story. And the format (twelve short shorts with Christmas as their only common denominator) works beautifully for such a large cast of characters, especially since so many of them are still partially unknown to us, or we only know them from third-hand information through the main characters. Getting to see them like this, their history in just a moment captured from one Christmas in their past or present says so much about each one of them and introduces us to a lot of new information. Wade, especially, is someone that I feel I have a completely better understanding of now.
And the format really works and must have gone over really well, as seen with Rolf and Ranger's most recent FCR short story release, "Jackson High", which has the same vignette format.(less)
This was great! One of my favorite of the FCR short stories because we get to see Dale in his stride -- I love seeing the competent Ice Man get pulled...moreThis was great! One of my favorite of the FCR short stories because we get to see Dale in his stride -- I love seeing the competent Ice Man get pulled out of an important meeting for his spanking ;) Plus, it's nice seeing Dale get to live his life the way he wants and still be a competent businessman.(less)
I loved this one. So great to see not only Paul when he was younger, and see him in a different light, but to see him from a new perspective, especial...moreI loved this one. So great to see not only Paul when he was younger, and see him in a different light, but to see him from a new perspective, especially Phillip's and David's when he's not totally put together and still finding his place. Plus, I love hearing him talk about Maine, his grandmother and the boarding house and tenants :)(less)
You know… I've read probably 1/3 of the Dreamspinner 2013 Daily Dose stories so far and this is by far my favorit...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
You know… I've read probably 1/3 of the Dreamspinner 2013 Daily Dose stories so far and this is by far my favorite of them. It's the longest story of the bunch, but that really doesn't have much to do with it, other than the fact that it followed the story to it's natural end, which was satisfying. No, the characters and their dialogue are what makes this story so great. It's not perfect, but this story has a lot of personality and charm, and that carries it a long way!
"Marti" (Martin Du Bois, LOL, I love that pun -- sounds like a gay stripper name), is the the ringleader of an incredibly fabulous trio of guys. He's getting close to the BIG 3-0, which is devastating, of course, to his twinkdom. Who is he really? What will happen to him as he makes the transition to a real grown up, now wanting more than the dick hunting that he and his two best friends are famous for.
Marti is thinking on those issues as he carries on with his friends. Marti finally convinces his friends that the tight asses in the rodeo are worth it to come with him to a bull riding event in their city of D.C. He's never seen anything like it in his life, but the men down there riding those bulls are swoon-worthy. It doesn't matter to him and Curt and Dale that they don't understand the sport at all, they're making a scene just like they always do, loudly arguing the assets of the riders.
Marti is the only one brave enough to enter the cowboy bar after the event where all the riders congregated to drink and celebrate their wins. Refusing Curt and Dale's emphatic statements that he was an idiot going in there with all those straight guys, Martin wants to take his chances that at least one of those guys have to be gay. And he's looking for that diamond in the rough. And he finds him -- a star of the rodeo circuit named Jesse -- when the man comes to his defense (though he can mostly take care of himself) from a really drunk rider making derogatory comments and lewd suggestions.
Their meeting leads to a fabulous whirlwind affair, but when real feelings start to evolve, can Marti reconcile his city life with a man who lives on a Virginia ranch? Even if he has to ride a horse?!?!
This story was really a delight to read. It's funny from page one, where we get to know Martin, Curt and Dale so well just by their dialogue. They're super flamboyant and their energy builds and builds between the three of them until they're almost trying to out-camp the others. They're like so many friends that I know and the dialogue is dirty and soo real life. It's also pretty brave of Catt Ford to write such a trio of so obviously femme characters because it's a touchy subject with some readers, who want to see more flamboyant, feminine characters… but not too feminine. Of course, that would be politically incorrect… But honestly, I like when fictional characters seem so real and lets face it, it may be perfectly stereotypical to have such a campy gay male character, but that doesn't mean that Martin and his friends aren't genuine and totally life-like. The story, in no way, suggests that all gay men are camping it up around the world, LOL. And really, this is one of the main parts of this story -- the dichotomy between the über-flaming gay guy and the horribly termed "straight acting" dudes, who are super macho because they ride bulls for a living :) We're presented with two gay archetypes that over the course of the story shed their skins to show that who they are is different from the image they might present to the world. In Jesse's case, this is natural because of his job. In reality, he's quite forward about his gay sexuality and doesn't have any hangups about his sexuality. Martin, on the other hand, very purposefully wears that skin. He hides behind it because it's much easier to not be taken seriously when he's not sure he can live up to having a real life. Part of that is his mid-life transition. He may only be turning thirty, but to him that's old age. For so long Martin has identified as a twink, which made it easier to find men. Not being taken seriously means that he doesn't have to commit. Seeing the mask come off of Martin behind closed doors made him so real. Watching Jesse slowly obliterate his distorted self-image and help him build it back up through a solid relationship was touching. They shown to us as opposites, which make their initial interactions interesting and funny. But really, their opposing qualities go much deeper. Seeing them work around those issues made my interest in the characters change to a love for them as a couple.
My only complaint was the ending. It is a satisfying ending in the sense that I felt as if the story needed to end where it did. Still, that didn't completely change my wish that I knew more about the direction these two were heading, especially with Marti. They're on shaky HEA ground and a little past a solid HFN.
Honestly, I wasn't really that interested in this story. I didn't request it for review until a few days after I'd gotten all the other stories from the Daily Doses that TAR had requested. But I'm so glad that I finally did. It's turned out to be my favorite and once again shown me what a great author Catt Ford is.(less)
It's not bad, I just couldn't get into it. It was a lot of needless angst IMO without any history (at least in the first half) to understand why. Just...moreIt's not bad, I just couldn't get into it. It was a lot of needless angst IMO without any history (at least in the first half) to understand why. Just a lot of arguing. Take my opinion with a grain of salt, just putting down my thoughts mostly for my own record because I probably won't come back to it.(less)
I believe that this is the first m/m romance this author has written. At the very least, she is new to me and the...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I believe that this is the first m/m romance this author has written. At the very least, she is new to me and the blurb and cover were both quite tempting. I haven't read a cowboy book in a while, and thought I didn't expect it from the blurb, I liked the dynamic between the two characters, the whole two alphas going head to head in a battle of wills can be intriguing. That's just how I saw it, as both men were quite stubborn and had a prior competition that bled over into their relationship, but I also wouldn't say that that dynamic was the focus of the story.
The story is quite short for the length and I did have some trouble with how the story was split into two different halves. We get to know the two men on the dude ranch in Colorado. Clay is spending his summer there, as he has done for several years as a ranch hand. It is the only time of the year he can be himself, but he's lonely this year without the other two men who usually spend the summer with him. They've both come out and are now in committed relationships. The loneliness of being at the ranch alone only echo his decision to toe to his powerful father's expectations. James is another high powered litigator based across the US in San Francisco. Unlike Clay, James is out and proud and refuses to date another man in the closet. The ranch gives them anonymity to get to know each other away from the world in which they are rivals on opposite sides of the bench during the many cases they've gone up against one another.
The second half really switched things up. Right around the 50% mark, there is a huge shift in time, where Clay gets fed up (like we knew he would) and makes some changes in his life. We see very little of this, most of which is summarized. I'm not a big fan of this style, in fact is really frustrates me. I would have loved to see Clay's transition at this point, it's the most powerful part of the story. But, we don't get to see the most of it, and the story starts 6 months later when he tries to win James back.
For the most part, the giant plot hole made this story disappointing for me. Also, it made it nothing special. I've read countless stories exactly like this one, and while somewhat enjoyable at the moment, it isn't memorable. Maybe it would be different if I hadn't felt cheated out of the mid-story development. This is a good read if you're really into cowboys and/or are looking for a short, little stress read that doesn't offer much complication or time out of your schedule. There are a few sexy explicit scenes, but nothing totally scorching, at least to me. I did like the dynamic between the characters though -- they had a stubborn (but not too stubborn) head to head competitive thing going that worked well in the bedroom. The story is too short to really see the development of that as well.(less)
This third installment in the Falls Chance Ranch series sees further exploration of the relationship and family of Dale, Paul, Flynn, Riley, and Jasper as well as the exploration of Dale's issues as he finally starts to get a grip on his new life on the ranch.
After a tumultuous summer of getting caught in mines, the discovery of Gam Saan, and a very celebratory commitment among friends and family at the ranch, fall has set in and winter is quickly approaching. Dale is given a work project, his first real project since his breakdown, which brings back a lot of the problems he's had trouble working through at the ranch. Combined with that stress, Dale continues seeing strange people and animals around the ranch. His analytical mind cannot leave an unsolved problem alone, and whether the origins are his own anxiety or a real mystical connection to the land doesn't seem to matter until Dale starts having extremely realistic dreams that uncover clues about a spiritual place on the ranch they call Mustang Hill, a spot where nothing grows and Dale finds strange markings. New friends from Three Traders, Luath and Darcy, return in this book as Dale starts to really believe in his place on the land and that his extraordinary mind for facts and figures also relates to seeing connections between people and places that the others don't.
This book is somewhat different than the previous ones, for several reasons. I've seen other readers have varying feelings about this book where most of them loved the previous ones for these reasons. For one, it is at least a third shorter. Where the second book, Three Traders moved beyond the internal and explored the whole of the ranch and the characters of the family, Mustang Hill is in many ways a retreat to the style of the first book. Without losing the connections made in the second book, this time the story is again a solitary journey for Dale. He's regressed in several ways that remind us of the first book. He is also dealing with a very private understanding of the land and why he can see certain things that only Jasper can see, and sometimes sees even more than Jasper.
The mysticism is something that I am always interested in, so I really ended up enjoying this book, even though it is a bit more subdued and certainly less exciting than TT. This is also Jasper's area of expertise. Having grown up Cherokee in the mountains of Virginia alone with his grandfather, learning the lore and essentially raised in isolation and of a lost period of time and Native American culture, he's connected with spirit and land more than anyone else. We have seen and gotten to know Jasper the least of the 5 main characters at the ranch, but he's one that I've always been really interested in. He's quiet, an observer and he has immense respect for everything around him. The discovery of the spiritual site atop Mustang Hill allows Dale and Jasper to connect in a way that they haven't before, and for us to see a side of Jasper up close that has always fascinated me. As a part of that, we get a lot more of his history and the history of the Shoshone area around this part of Wyoming.
I plowed through this book. It is the last of the completed books. The fourth book, Silver Bullet, isn't finished yet. I tried to slow myself reading this book because I really don't like to read WIP but this book was so much shorter that I found myself finished in a day. I'm really sad that I have to put this story down for a while. I have no idea of the schedule of releases, how fast these authors write, but I have a feeling that I'll be waiting quite a while to read the next book. No matter how much I'm trying to talk myself out of it…. I love these characters too much and I wouldn't be surprised if later today I can't stop myself from picking up the first chapter of Silver Bullet.
It will be a while before I'm able to review Silver Bullet, even if I do start reading it as it is being written. So I really hope that you all have enjoyed my reviews (more of a lengthy profile!) of this series. This series has become quite important to me. Of course it isn't without it's own problems, no matter how much I have gushed about it. Still, it's one of the best serials I've read. I have been really happy to see a lot of you pick these books up! It is such a good feeling to find a series that you love like this and then for them to be free. If you have the time and patience to read such long books, I couldn't recommend these more!(less)
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I...moreSecond Read - 5/19/13 - 5/22/13
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I really love all of them! Esp. Riley :) And I have a soft spot for Tom and Jake :D Now on to a re-read of Mustang Hill.
**Spoilers for those who haven't read the first Falls Chance Ranch book**
We left the end of book one as Dale became an official part of the relationship between Riley, Flynn, Jasper and Paul. Three Traders picks up right where the first book left off. Dale has come back to Falls Chance Ranch following his first time back in New York City after his recuperative therapy at the ranch and his epic breakdown. Dale thinks that his dissatisfaction with his old life will keep his three weeks in NYC quitting his job and moving to Wyoming from changing him, but he quickly finds that that isn't the case. He's slipped back into old patterns of obsessive and perfectionistic behavior. Besides, he comes to learn (or Flynn tries to drill into him) that moving to the ranch to be with the men is really like starting over. Before, he was a client and focused solely on bettering his own behavior and learning new methods to cope in life, but entering as part of a relationship opens up whole new areas Dale has no experience with in life, namely commitment. And that is a whole different beast for Dale, still a bit shell shocked by normal, every day interactions and his own head games.
On top of this Dale, Riley and the guys stumble upon a bit of a mystery that needs to be solved, linking the ghost town of Three Traders to the ever present reality of the ranch's past owners, David and Philip, two spirits of the ranch land that Dale desperately needs to feel connected to in order to tell himself that he belongs on the ranch and in the family.
I need to admit something. Last week, when I reviewed the first book I talked extensively about how amazing the slow pace works for this story -- to wade through the deep characterizations as well as Dale's numerous mental health issues -- and partway through this book I felt a bit hypocritical. I started getting a bit dispirited while reading, thinking not more of the same problems! At the end of the first book i was so happy that these problems were treated so in depth and given so much time to work themselves out. It is something that is given a much more real to life pace. Part of this is that I'm reading these stories back to back, so there is significantly slower change like most serials that are meant to be read by installment.
Then, something magical happened. The pace of this story started to pick up with all kinds of wonderful little sub plots (the mines, the town, all the new characters coming to visit!) and I could see that this second book was going to be a story all of it's own. Yes, it continues the first, but it goes further. No matter how much I love these guys, I wouldn't have been able to handle another book one over again with the same issues. I don't know why I lost faith, perhaps because I continually don't know what to expect from these books, but I am so happily surprised by the turns this story took and I was present for every bit of it, unable to put it down for other things. Now that I've finished this second book, I can see how it has built steadily over time, a story arc for the book independently, and a separate overall story arc that is very ingrained into the story and so naturally slow at progressing (which I was so happy about above).
I finished this story feeling like the first book really served as a foundation, in a way a prequel to this story. Where the first book was an in depth exploration of Dale, this book really set out to explore their overall relationship, something that I was insanely curious about. The first book barely even touches on their relationship. Besides the fact that there is no sex, there's barely even any kissing or mention of private time. This book allowed us to peek a little more into what they do and how they interact behind closed doors now that Dale is properly a part of it. We get a lot more detail about the characters and their history, which really pleased me and helped me to get to know them better. They're also becoming a lot closer as a 5 person unit, with a whole new dynamic now that Dale has joined them, and I loved seeing them explore that and finally settle into it by the end of this book. It made me instantly want to see where the third book will go and once again, I doubt I'll get any other reading done in the next few days. I probably won't even be able to go to bed tonight without at least starting Mustang HIll.
This is definitely one of those reviews that I can't stop gushing in, but that's okay I suppose. I've been reading these books totally hooked, and to be honest, that doesn't happen much anymore. I read a lot of wonderful books but perhaps because I've read so much of this genre, I feel like something has to really be different and have a lot of charm for me to feel this wonderful feeling reading. It is something that I only remember from when I first started reading in this genre and reading about gay men in (happy) love felt so wonderful to me as a form of fiction and literature that I'd never read before. This series feels like that to me, and when I finished Three Traders, I felt like I just might like this book even more than the first.(less)
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wed...moreSecond Read - 5/15/13 - 5/18/13
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wednesday when I started this I really needed a comfort read, I couldn't help but putting everything else aside and reading this first book straight through. I have another full week of reviews coming up that I still need to finish some of them and finalize and format the rest of them, but I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from opening now and reading it as well! Hopefully I can take it slower though :) Maybe...
First of all, I really want to thank Jen for pointing this online serial out to me (don't worry, this book is complete), and by proxy Orannia. It is a pretty long book, especially when you realize that the rest of the series is just about as long, but it really is worth reading.
The basis of the story is a working ranch in Wyoming that runs an exclusive program designed to help overworked and overstressed executives and CEOs rejuvenate. It may seem like rehab, and it is -- without the negative white-washed wall and formica tabletop and stale coffee associations. It is a place where people can come and help work the ranch (one at a time) and get some perspective and help with their problems.
Dale is sent to Falls Chance Ranch by his company after he has a breakdown at the office. A lifetime of bad habits and obsessive behavior have gotten him the reputation as somewhat of a whiz kid in financial circles, but at the failing of his health. Not eating and not sleeping and working around the clock simply will not work for him anymore. He's not given much of a choice, something he really despises, but the ranch and the people who live there quickly get under his skin. He starts to feel a part of something he never even knew could exist and starts to understand himself for the first time in his life.
I swear at least one of the authors of this MUST be a psychologist. I just don't know if I could believe that such a character intensive story could be written, especially in the setting of mental heath issues, without that knowledge and background. Because it doesn't just sound like Dale has an internet diagnosis and the plot flows from a breakdown of Wikipedia neurotic disorders, but the story is deeply ingrained in how people see the world and react to one another, both from a social perspective, and from a deeply internalized one. The slow pace and long length allow the authors to really dig deep in the characters, take their time, and let the plot unfold.
I think that a very strong case could be made for shortening some of this. And if this were published and professionally edited (it is remarkably free of mistakes and errors, to me anyway :D), it would no doubt lose quite a lot of length. But a lot of the charm and reason that the characters sunk so deep in my bones and I could feel them like best friends, was because of the time spent with them. Enough time that the pace is much more akin to real life, more than most written works.
Perhaps what is strongest here though, besides how wonderful the characters are and the relationships between them, is the place of Falls Chance Ranch. The whole premise of the rehabilitation of clients, even though it is never called that, is the return to idyllic nature. The meaning of working land and passing it on. Of a place as character, seen through the constant stories of David and Phillip, now long since died in the story, but present characters because of interchangeability of them and the land they became. Seen from the perspective of a man who has become battered by everything artificial in the world, the land, the story and characters, and therefore the book become a similar experience for the reader as the situation is for Dale. It seems like so many of the reviews I've seen of this story have mentioned how people felt so connected to Dale, and that's because when his problems are laid bare, really bare, we can each find a way to connect to them.
I'm completely addicted to this story, and it probably isn't for everyone. There's no sex, which definitely upset me sometimes because the connections are so strong I wanted to see that. In her post, Jen talked about seeing a group of 5 guys work together, and that was simply wonderful. I've never seen such a polyamorous family work in fiction this way. It is very long and has a slow pace. So it might be tedious for some to read. But if you really like digging into stories that won't leave you for a long time and will take you a while to enjoy, then this is definitely for you. I simply cannot wait to read the rest of this series, no matter how much further it will destroy my very detailed reading schedule I had laid out. Who cares? I'll read all those books next week! This week, I want to finish Falls Chance Ranch.
**Note: While technically this is BDSM, the lack of sex and therefore BDSM sexual play really breaks down to the core of dominance and submission and the transference of power.Three Traders(less)
I was excited to read this story after having reviewed and enjoyed this author's recent novel release, Rules Are...moreReview posted at The Armchair Reader.
I was excited to read this story after having reviewed and enjoyed this author's recent novel release, Rules Are Meant to be Broken (reviewed here). Instead, I didn't connect with this story, which was a bit of a disappointment for me.
The story starts with Riley being kicked out of a car with his infant son Kai into the pouring rain. Riley doesn't know where he is, other than in the middle of nowhere, the baby is crying and hungry and wet and cold. All Riley can think about, besides how to take care of Kai, are the hateful words his brother in law, and once a friend, directed at him as he abandoned them. He's alone now with a baby to care for a no money -- and he's getting sick. The only family he had in the US was his wife's family, but when she died and inadvertently outed him in the doing, the family wrote him off, taking his and the baby's possessions.
The night's respite comes in the form of a ranch. Riley stops in the barn and crawls into the hayloft to get his son out of the rain, hoping to be back on his way before light. He's too sick, though, and might not make it too much further. Noah finds the young guy and baby sleeping in his barn and takes them in. Soon their attraction for each other, as well as the small-town gossip of Riley's ex-in-laws puts them at odds with the town.
Several things got in the way of my enjoyment of this story, and though some were nitpicky details (saying Chase, an easily influenced character, was "mildly retarded") that probably only bothered me and not other readers, I did feel like there were some choices made in the writing that negatively affected the story as a whole. First, for the length of the story, just barely more than a short story at 25k words, there were negative external influences from several directions instead of a focused antagonist. The two MCs had to deal with hatred from the town as a whole, from a ranch hand, from the Goldings family (the family that threw Riley and the baby out when they learned he was gay), as well as a specific person in town. It was a lot of problems from different directions. Not only does that leave almost no time for the exploration of the central relationship between Noah and Riley, but there really isn't much time to explore the dynamics of the town where all this hatred is coming from. Because of that, I really missed the connection between the two men and even though time passes as Riley stays with Noah and they apparently get to know one another, it still felt like Insta-Love.
I did have quite a bit of trouble with some of the writing in this book -- mostly the dialogue. It sometimes felt a bit unnatural. I realized when I was reading that it seemed as if these characters were playing roles themselves -- those of a small town western. They seemed more like archetypes of Texans, even Noah at times. Gun-toting vigilanteism…that type of thing. I can deal with that I suppose, since that really is supposed to be what this town is like. It was stranger to me when it ended up coming through their dialogue:
(Officer Brady)"Look, if that was my fella in there I would keep him close to home for a while, just until we can work out just who the hell this is and which one of you he or she [is] trying to hurt," Grady said quietly.
(Noah)"I will, but be warned! I will do anything to keep my family safe, and my guns are fully loaded."
It just seems a bit too melodramatic and took a little too much suspension of disbelief for me to accept the way things fall into line from seemingly nowhere. I find it strange, because this story seems out of keeping with what I know of this author's writing. And while I haven't read a wide range of her work, I thought the writing in her novel was excellent. Maybe this was written a while ago and her writing has improved? Maybe… writing about Texans was more difficult for her than the characters and setting of the novel, which was in Australia. Then again, maybe it is just me and for some reason I really didn't click with this one. Whatever it is, I'll definitely keep reading this author's work, even though I can't recommend this novella.(less)
Might write a real review later, but this is just... heart-meltingly cute. I think some people have problems with Mary Calmes' writing becaus...more4.5 stars
Might write a real review later, but this is just... heart-meltingly cute. I think some people have problems with Mary Calmes' writing because they say the characters are just too perfect. There is a bit of that here with Weber, but that's never something that has bothered me, and I just adored Weber. Maybe he is a little too perfect, but what's wrong with that? Some people are genuinely good people like he is. I loved watching him interact with the kids :)