Excellent!! I found the romance a little less exciting this time around, but excitement isn't everything and I thought that overall the relat...more4.5 stars
Excellent!! I found the romance a little less exciting this time around, but excitement isn't everything and I thought that overall the relationship progressed extremely well after the ending of the first book.
And WOW, a MUCHMUCH better mystery this time around. I really got into this one and I thought that it and the evidence unfolded much more naturally.
Lyall McLannan and his sheltie dog, Fergus, are the most popular every year at the Highland Games. Martin is...moreReview posted at Brief Encounters Reviews.
Lyall McLannan and his sheltie dog, Fergus, are the most popular every year at the Highland Games. Martin is a baker and owner of local bakery and celebration cakes business called Flour Power. Every year he goes to the games to set up a stall and sell his goods, even dressing the part (though quite toned down). And every year, from afar, he admires the gorgeous and outgoing Lyall with a real Scottish brogue. He never expects to meet him. No matter his fantasies, Martin is quite busy at the games baking and working his stall. This year is even worse -- his assistants are busy with their cake orders back at the bakery, so he's working the games all by himself.
When Fergus the dog shows up alone while Martin is baking and whines for a treat, Martin can't help but fall in love with the dog and his antics. Like his sexy master, he's quite charismatic and knows how to charm to get attention. And of course, Martin is surprised when Lyall shows up at his stall looking for his dog. Lyall has admired Martin from afar as well -- no matter how Martin could never believe that he'd be attractive to the man who could have whoever he wants -- and Fergus has given him the perfect opportunity to ask the man on a date.
The two get to know each other a bit that night over a pint in the tavern at the games, but a late night dog walk with a cat-chasing Fergus causes an accident that puts the Flour Power stall in jeopardy and makes Lyall feel incredibly guilty… enough to take the chance to spend the whole games with Martin, trying to learn to bake and getting to know each other at night under the stars and sleeping together in his RV.
The first thing you really need to know about this story is that… well, Lyall is almost perfect. I mean, he's got the Scottish brogue going on, he's incredibly sexy with muscles galore and wears kilts. And the way he cares for Martin is seriously swoon-worthy. He's the perfect guy in a LOT of ways. And that bothers some people. I can't count the number of bad to okay reviews I've seen for this story on Goodreads simply because people just can't get behind the fact that Lyall seems too perfect. I honestly didn't mind. I mean, it's supposed to be a feel-good story, I think. Almost fairytalesque because the whole weekend is about fantasy. Everyone leaves their real personality and identity at home, and then once a year congregate together to be whoever they want to be. It's a fantasy, and part of that fantasy is in having the perfect romance.
Granted, that leads me to the one thing that I didn't quite like. I suppose maybe these authors didn't want to keep the story going too far. That's okay, I still really liked this story. But the story ends with a very shaky foundation for a relationship. The magical weekend is about to end and they've talked about how they're going back to their real lives and who they are in the real world. And, they've talked about how different it will be if they try to have a real relationship in the real world. That's a different story and exploring that would have made this story into a much longer novella. Still, part of me would have liked just a little more. Maybe one date in the real world to see if they could really make it of it all that perfection over the weekend was just a pipe-dream. In the end, they still don't know each other that well, which makes my hopes for their future together really unsure.
So, the real question is if you have a problem with perfect characters. A lot of readers do. If you don't, I think you should definitely read this one. Fergus the dog steals every scene he's in! He's adorable. Sadly, we don't get to see a lot of hot sexiness scenes with Lyall. That's too bad, because he's hotness in perfection!
Before Review Note: I can't bear to see the rating of this stay at 2.75 stars, so even though my review doesn't go up until next week I'm putting up my rating. This was a solid 4 star read for me and I really liked the characters! I'm not saying the other reviewer who thought their chemistry fizzled was wrong, but I had a completely different take from it and I thought they had crazy chemistry, so... yeah! Just wanted to say that :)(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)