The Carpenter and the Actor by R.J. Scott

The Ellery Mountain Series

  • The Fireman and the Cop (book 1)
  • The Teacher and the Soldier (book 2)
  • The Carpenter and the Actor (book 3) – in this review
  • The Doctor and the Bad Boy (book 4 ) – click here for review
  • The Paramedic and the Writer – click here for review
  • The Barman and the SEAL
  • The Agent and the Model – due for release 1 November 2013

The Carpenter and the ActorThe Carpenter and the Actor by R.J. Scott

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Jason McInnery, hounded by the paparazzi after his brother’s death, runs to the one place where he hopes people will not sell him out. The place where he was born.

Hiding in the tourist cabins at Ellery Mountain Resort out of season he thinks he finally has room to breathe.

If only Kieran Dexter, a man ten years his junior, would stop fixing stuff and generally causing ripples in Jason’s calm space.

So what did I think?

There is something a little bit special about this series! Each book focuses on a new couple but couples from previous books still make an appearance as all the guys get together for their weekly beers and all help each other – one happy family!

In this story, Kieran (the carpenter) and Jason (the actor), start a 2 week relationship while Jason is staying in Ellery. Jason is a Hollywood actor (cutely nicknamed “Hollywood” by the guys) but suffered the loss of his brother the year before. He is dealing with his guilt about his brother’s death. Kieran is absolutely gorgeous – kind, caring, supportive and very much a part of Ellery.

Together they make a great couple, although at first it is difficult to see what they have in common. Their lives are so very different but really it comes down to what is in the heart, not where you live or what you do for a living. I loved the way that Jason was able to give Kieran what he needed sexually.

This is a lovely story that deals with overcoming loss and moving forward – for Jason this means dealing with this grief and Kieran’s Dad also finds love again after the loss of his wife. The boys also get the centre for dealing with PTSD complete.

There are no huge dramatic moments such as the fires, car crashes and lunatics that appeared in previous books. So a bit less excitement but this doesn’t make Kieran and Jason’s story any less special.

4 Stars

To find out more about R.J. Scott and her books, visit the website.

Buy the book from Amazon.

View all my reviews


Morning Report Series by Sue Brown

The Morning Report Series

  • Morning Report (Book 1)
  • Complete Faith (Book 2)
  • Papa’s Boy (Book 3)
  • Luke’s Present (Book 3.5)

Make sure to check out the Book Trailers at the end of the review!

Morning ReportMorning Report by Sue Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

A decade on from their first kiss, Luke Murray is more in love with Simon every day. Running the Lost Cow ranch for Luke’s parents, they keep their heads down and get along with the locals, even if Luke is known for being a hothead. Then one day they discover the local store owners refuse to serve them. They’re bewildered until Luke’s mom tells them the new pastor has targeted the couple in his sermons. Suddenly Luke and Simon find themselves alienated from people they called friends, and their ranch comes under a series of attacks. As the town’s hatred and homophobia turns on them, Luke and Simon will face a critical choice: give in to the town’s demands and disappear, or stand and fight for themselves and their love.

So what did I think?

Luke and Simon have been together for 10 years and have a happy life. They work together running Luke’s father’s ranch and are surrounded by people who support them as a couple. They are welcome at church and are part of the town community.

A new pastor comes to town and starts spreading a very different message, encouraging the townfolk to reject Luke and Simon. Suddenly they find they are no longer welcome at various places in town and some people stop doing business with them. Things progressively get worse with attacks on their property and stock.

I actually found the alienation and the actions the townfolk resorted to unbelievable in the context of this story. I do understand that people behave this way, particularly if they have been brought up with different beliefs or do not understand people. However, in this case, the people knew Luke and Simon and their family and had been accepting for 10 years. They had also had a previous pastor who preached a message of tolerance. I don’t think the story adequately showed how such a radical change could have occurred in two months, why people would throw out all the teaching of their previous pastor and suddenly listen to the new pastor. Particularly as they were resorting to extraordinarily unchristian-like behavior.

Luke and Simon made a good couple. Luke takes charge of the running of the ranch but Simon usually takes charge in the bedroom. The sex scenes? I love a good sex scene and they were well written but the story could have benefited from leaving a few out. These guys seemed to have sex at the drop of a hat and even had a daily “morning report” scheduled. It’s nice to see that a couple who had been together for 10 years were still going strong but we didn’t need to experience it with them each time.

The story focuses on the strain placed on the relationship between the two men, the first time they have had to work through tough times together. They need to agree on the best way to make decisions that impact both of them (Luke hates people making decisions for him) and decide whether they stay at the ranch.

The plot was slightly formulaic but having an established couple in the story was a refreshing change.

4 Stars

Complete Faith Complete Faith by Sue Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

For Tommy Bradley, a hand working on the Lost Cow Ranch in rural Texas, admitting his sexuality is impossible, even if his bosses, Luke and Simon, are gay—Tommy has spent his entire life hiding the truth from his homophobic parents. Then Tommy meets pastor Noah Taylor in Luke’s father’s hospital room, and his difficult secret becomes that much harder to keep.

Noah is unlike any man of God—or any man—Tommy’s ever met. For one thing, his congregation is made up primarily of GLBT individuals and their families. For another, he isn’t afraid of the attraction he feels toward Tommy, and he makes his intentions very clear. But Noah won’t hide his sexuality or his love from the world, and he won’t start a relationship with Tommy while Tommy hides his, either. Faced with the choice of losing Noah or coming out to his parents, Tommy takes his first steps out of the closet.

But Tommy isn’t the only one facing challenges. Thanks to an outpouring of hatred from Pastor Jackson and a group of ranch owners, Noah must cope with the possible loss of his church and his livelihood.

So what did I think?

This is the story of Tommy, a young man with no sexual experience, who is terribly fearful of his parent’s reaction if he came out. He develops strong feelings for Noah, the pastor who is also gay.

There is a strong theme of acceptance – both acceptance by family and acceptance by the community. Tommy needs to decide whether having a relationship with Noah is worth risking coming out and the fact that Noah won’t progress their relationship until he does, spurs things on.

Noah shares his coming out experience – it isn’t easy, no matter who you are.
“But you’re a pastor, a good man,” Tommy protested. “I wasn’t then, I was just a kid needing support.”

As in the first book of the series (which I enjoyed more), the story also focuses on the townsfolk and their homophobia. The men need to deal with threat and violence.
“Tommy, I’m a black, gay pastor running a gay church in the middle of the Bible Belt. We get threats all the time. Kinda goes with the territory.”

The story was quite enjoyable. I was worried that it may delve too deeply into religion, given one of the main characters was a pastor but the story never took on a ‘preachy’ quality which was good.
3 Stars

Papa's Boy (Morning Report, #3)Papa’s Boy by Sue Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

When Ray Sloane tires of the men in his usual club, he finds himself in the Pink Palm, an inauspiciously named spit-and-sawdust dive, not the sort of place an elementary school teacher and pastor’s assistant should be seen in. On the other hand, Ray needs a fresh face. But what he gets is a closeted, desperately unhappy divorcee named Zeke.

Losing his teaching job and his kids has left Zeke bitter and in denial about his sexuality, but Ray is determined to get under his skin. Just as Zeke starts to relax, life interferes with Ray’s plans: Lee, the teenage organist from St. Mark’s, tells his parents that he was abused as a teeanger by a prominent congregation member from his old church, and Ray becomes the target of bullies at school and has to worry about his own job. With the specter of what happened to Zeke hanging over him, Ray must protect Lee and his own reputation, all while trying to convince Zeke that he doesn’t need to run away when their relationship grows more intense.

So what did I think?

I enjoyed this third book in the series. As with the previous book, I was worried that the religious element had the potential to drag the story down a bit but once again the author managed to share the message without detracting from the story.

In this book, Ray meets Zeke at a bar and recognises someone who needs help (of course he is also madly attracted to the man!). “It was ironic that in a room full of gay men, Ray was attracted to the one man so deep in the closet he was choking on the mothballs.”

Ray is the assistant to Pastor Noah. The storyline continues from previous books where Pastor Noah and his congregation are being harassed by the new Pastor who is strongly anti-gay. They have moved the church to Simon and Luke’s ranch but are still dealing with many issues. Ray is trying to help his new friend Zeke while also helping other members of the congregation.

Zeke’s situation is extremely complicated and the story focuses on him escaping his past and falling in love with Ray. I liked both the characters of Ray and Zeke but some of Zeke’s actions seemed stupid given he was in his forties, a qualified teacher with teenage children. Why he didn’t just speak with his ex-wife, at least once, was beyond me. I also didn’t like the element of infidelity.  Regardless, it was still nice to see him finally get his happy ending!

3 Stars

Luke's Present (Morning Report, #3.5)Luke’s Present by Sue Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Lost Cow Ranch foreman Simon Bryan is worried about Luke, his boss and possessive partner of twelve years. Reeling from the flood that took his horse, Luke has postponed surgery on his knee, and his nightmares have been escalating. Worse, he is pulling away from Simon emotionally. Desperate to help his lover cope, Simon plans a special Christmas gift, but it is Luke’s present that changes their relationship forever.

So what did I think?

This short story focuses again on Luke and Simon and serves to show just how strong and lasting their love is.

“I’ve loved you since the first moment you kissed me to shut me up. Nasty tactic, as I can’t object when I’ve got a mouthful of your tongue. There has only ever been you since that moment. And there will only ever be you, Simon Bryan. You are mine, only mine, and if anyone ever looks at you again, I will string them up by the balls and kill them, slowly and painfully.” Luke to Simon

“I’ve loved you since the first moment I say you. Little did I realise what a possessive pain in the ass you were going to be. If I’d known… I’d still be here now, even if you are a high maintenance asshole.” He brushed his thumb over Luke’s cheek, laughing softly at Luke’s look of outrage. “I will always love you. You fill my head and my heart. There will never be anyone else in my life, Luke Murray. Just you.” Simon to Luke.

No great drama in this story, just a nice acknowledgment of love. 3.5 stars.

4 Stars

For more information about Sue Brown and her books visit her website.


Buy the series from Amazon.

View all my reviews