A courageous ride Image

A Courageous Ride by Andrew Grey

The Bullriders series:

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 A Courageous Ride (The Bullriders, #3)A Courageous Ride by Andrew Grey My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars The blurb… Aspiring orchestra conductor Marshall is exhausted after months of auditions without a single job offer. Marshall’s friend, Terry, recommends a change of scenery and points Marshall in the direction of a dude ranch run by former bull rider Indigo Santana. Marshall is understandably skeptical, but his friend is convincing, and Marshall needs a break, so he agrees to go. Indigo captures Marshall’s attention but leaves him confused. Indigo’s confidence is shot after an injury ended his rodeo career, and he walks with a slight limp. He hasn’t been anywhere near a bull since he was hurt, and he’s not the most accommodating host. After all, the only reason he keeps guests is because his family ranch is all but bankrupt. Marshall’s attraction doesn’t go unanswered, which leaves him with a huge dilemma. He’s torn between the possibility of love, something he’s searched for all his life, and the career he’s worked toward for as long as he can remember, which is miles away. From his side of the fence, Indigo doesn’t see how the ranch could ever be enough. So what did I think? I spent the weekend in the country and what a great choice of book for the wet and miserable Sunday afternoon. While I might have been spending the weekend watching the gorgeous Australian countryside, I was really spending my weekend on a ranch in Texas! 🙂 This is a story of chasing dreams – Indigo’s bull riding dream is over due to injury and Marshall hasn’t yet achieved his goal of obtaining a job as a symphony conductor. But it is also a story of finding out what is really important in life. These men are opposites in many ways, at least in terms of where they live, their financial situation and careers, but so similar in the ways that really count. They are good and caring men and the story is focused on them weighing up the consequences and taking a risk for happiness. It’s a feel-good story, with good people, romantic moments, a nice amount of sex and a happy ending. Yes, its sentimental with lots of sweetness but as I always say, that’s why I read Andrew Grey!

“I don’t know what the future holds for you, or for Indigo. I can’t say whether the two of you belong together or not. But I can tell you that if it’s meant to be, you’ll find your way back to one another.” Ryan paused. “But when that happens, you have to have the courage to hold on and recognize it.”

I also loved the sweet dedication at the beginning of the book…..”To Dominic, for being courageous enough to take the ride through life with me.”….so romantic.

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To find out more about Andrew Grey and his books visit his website. Buy A Courageous Ride from Amazon. Buy A Courageous Ride from Dreamspinner Press.

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Eight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

Eight Second CowboyEight Second Cowboy by Piper Kay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

It’s Rodeo Roundup time in Houston. Undefeated bull riding champion, Matt Stevens, runs into longtime nemesis, Lance Loskey. Matt is intense, his focus and drive sustain him, but seeing Lance with his carefree attitude rages a plethora of feelings to the surface. This mellow cowboy is in position for more than just the championship after a freak accident paves Lance’s way. This is an opportunity for bull riding opponents to embrace their destiny. Will they succumb to fate, or will stubborn pride end the 8 second ride in tragedy?

So what did I think?

This book has heaps of strong reviews (on Goodreads), averaging 4.4 stars as I write my own review. I think I must have missed something here because, although I liked the story, there were quite a number of things that I found off putting. I would suggest you check out the reviews of others before deciding on this book based solely on my review because it seems I might be the odd one out (I haven’t yet read the other reviews as I never read them before writing my own review but I will check some out later to see what others picked up on that escaped me). Anyway…

Firstly, I did like reading the book, the story wasn’t bad and it was nice way to while away some time. It wasn’t earth shattering, just a story about a guy who discovers he has unexpected feelings for another man after never having felt that way about a guy before. In this gay-for-you/enemies-to-lovers story, Matt is fearful of coming out on the rodeo circuit which threatens his relationship with Lance. I just had a few minor issues that prevented this book from reaching over 3 stars for me.

I think the main thing that I struggled with from the beginning was the first person, present tense POV. Instead of it providing a deep connection to the character of Matt, I found it somewhat uncomfortable reading. Probably just a personal thing…

Another pet peev of mine is the use of some language that appeared in this book, the sort of language that I find unromantic or lacking in true passion. There was overuse of the word ‘pucker’ and I didn’t like statements like “I squirt my hot juices..” or “..several little squirts, and then a huge discharge..” – it all sounded too clinical and like a festering wound!

At one point, Matt makes a confession about something traumatic in his past. I just didn’t feel the emotion which was similar to other parts of the story where the conversations appeared a little stilted without a natural flow. Plus I found it unbelievable that a bull-rider not only had never ridden a horse but was scared of them!

So all-in-all, it was okay for a quick read, so long as you enjoy the first person present tense and aren’t as adverse to some of the language as I am! And it was only $0.99 so maybe I shouldn’t complain so much. :

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To find out more about Piper Kay and her books visit her website.

Buy Eight Second Cowboy from Amazon.

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A Daring Ride by Andrew Grey

The Bullriders series:

A Daring Ride  (The Bullriders, #2)A Daring Ride by Andrew Grey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Simon “Frizz” Frizzell sneaks away to the rodeo on weekends, and it’s not until after he wins a buckle that he tells his parents about his bull-riding. He knows they won’t approve of his choice of sport, but his parents own a Christian bookstore, and he couldn’t possibly tell them the whole truth: he’s gay. And so are some of his rodeo friends, like Dante and Ryan, and Jacky—a young man he wishes could have been more than a one-night stand. When Simon sets his sights on his dreams, he finds work with Dante and Ryan, and bumps into Jacky on the job.

Jacky Douglas is a rodeo fanatic, plain and simple. He loves the ride, and he loves the cowboys. He fell hard for Frizz when they met, and theirs was a one-night stand made in heaven. When they meet again, Jacky thinks it’s a stroke of luck. Frizz takes some convincing, but once he’s on board, they begin a relationship. The fledgling romance faces a challenge when news of it travels all the way to the one place Frizz doesn’t want it to go: his parents’ bookstore.

So what did I think?

This was a nice follow on story from A Wild Ride, introducing Simon (Frizz) and his relationship with Jacky, but also providing a glimpse into the life of Dante and Ryan.

The plot is fairly simple as Jacky, rodeo fan-boy, has a one-night stand with Frizz who has secretly entered the rodeo. Of course the one night becomes more as they meet up again when Frizz takes a job with Dante and Ryan. Together they face Simon’s coming out and acceptance of his own sexuality.

Frizz’s parents are not accepting of his desire to ride in the rodeo and it takes a lot of convincing for them to agree to him completing and moving away to train under Dante. As the owner’s of a large Christian bookstore they are even less accepting of his sexuality.

The story mixes rodeo action with the developing relationship between Frizz and Jacky. As a couple they are very sweet and supportive with lots of feelings being expressed. There’s lots of sex/’making love’ with quite a romantic and poetic quality to it.“They made love to the rhythm of the storm….”… “Nature seemed to be echoing their passion, and as Jacky reached his peak, thunder cracked and rolled, carrying their cries of passion towards the heavens.”

I liked the sweet and mushy stuff (I’m usually in the mood for this when I pick up an Andrew Grey) and I enjoyed the happy ending. I was a bit over Simon agonizing about his situation and was glad when Simon himself realised he needed to get on with this life. “I know everyone must be getting tired of me running on about this all the time.” Simon turned to Jacky. “Frankly, I’m tired of it too….” Thank goodness!

The only other feedback is in relation to the use of Simon/Frizz’s name. Frizz is Simon’s nickname and his rodeo persona. At the beginning of the story (chapters 1 and 2) he is referred to as Simon although the nickname Frizz is used sometimes in conversation. In chapter 3, Simon isn’t used at all and he is only referred to as Frizz in both narration and conversation. In chapter four, he’d gone back to being referred to as Simon, chapter five back to Frizz. I found it a bit confusing, even when he finally asked Jacky to call him “Simon”, not using his Frizz bull-rider name. Anyway, maybe it was just me but I found this to-and-froing quite noticeable.

All-in-all, this story was exactly as I expected and a pleasant way to spend an afternoon!

To find out more about Andrew Grey and his books visit his website.

Buy A Daring Ride from Amazon.

Buy A Daring Ride from Dreamspinner Press.

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★★★★ Pickup Men by L.C. Chase

Pickup MenPickup Men by L.C. Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

It takes a pissed-off Brahma bull named Shockwave to show rodeo pickup man Marty Fairgrave the cold hard truth about champion bull rider Tripp Colby: Tripp will never leave the safety of his closet or acknowledge Marty in public. Sometimes loving someone just isn’t enough, and after a year of hiding what they are, Marty finally sees the light—and it’s no longer shining on Tripp.

Tripp Colby would do anything for Marty. Well . . . almost. He’s never loved anyone before, and isn’t quite sure how to handle it now. But he knows Marty is his everything, and in order to win him back, Tripp will have to overcome his darkest fears and step into the light.

But no matter Tripp’s intentions, the cost might be too high and the effort too late for these two cowboys to ride off into the sunset.

So what did I think?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story which moved along at fairly rapid pace, keeping me involved enough to want to read it through in one sitting.
From the very first chapter, there are lots of emotions and the scene is set for the rest of the book.

Marty is a rodeo pickup man and makes a huge sacrifice for Tripp, a bullrider and the man he loves. The two have been together for over a year and when Marty sees Tripp in trouble, he doesn’t hesitate to rush in and save him from being gored by a bull. Unfortunately Marty isn’t quick enough to save himself and as he lies on the ground, injured and in pain, he stares at Tripp in the distance. Marty realises that Tripp is so far in the closet, he won’t approach even as his lover lies injured and in pain. Marty knows he needs to end their relationship. “Warm liquid slithered down his temple, and he voweed that would be the only tear he’d shed. Darkness wrapped around him, pushing out sound and thought, and blessedly, the pain of broken bones and shattered dreams.” And that’s just chapter one!

The story follows Marty and Tripp as they move from rodeo to rodeo. There is some bull riding action but most of the story explores the emotional turmoil each man is facing.

Tripp wants another chance but Marty keeps strong and his friends offer support. Plus Eric, an EMT joins their group of friends, expressing a clear interest in Marty.

Tripp wants nothing more than to be the man that Marty needs “Tripp berated himself, He had to stop this, had to get over his fears somehow before he lost Marty completely.” but he bears tremendous guilt from the past which does not make this easy.

Losing Marty, the jealously he feels when he sees Eric with Marty, and finally a push from Marty himself, finally see Tripp taking steps to address his past.

But nothing is simple and the men need to face even larger hurdles if they are to be together.

I enjoyed this story and the journey that Marty and Tripp needed to undertake to be together. At times I wanted to shake them to get them to see sense. Admittedly I was also confused as to why Marty gave Tripp another chance but finally understanding his history put it into perspective. This also helped me to like his as a character more. I didn’t warm to Tripp at the beginning of the book but by the end I was cheering for him!

This books gets points for having some big dramatic moments and of course I love grand romantic gestures so bonus points there too!

4 Stars

For more information on L.C. Chase and her books, visit her website.

Buy Pickup Men from Amazon.

View all my reviews

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Leaving Home by T.A. Chase

 

This series has a really strong message about family. “..the best families were the ones they built for themselves.” and this continues in this book.

  • No Going Home (book 1)
  • Home of His Own (book 2)
  • Wishing for a Home (book 3)
  • Leaving Home (book 4)
  • Home Sweet Home (book 5)

Leaving Home (Home, #4)Leaving Home by T.A. Chase

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Blurb…

Chaz struggles with his addiction, while continuing to do his job of saving bull riders, but it’s all getting out of control.

Charles ‘Chaz’ O’Brien has been at the top of his profession for many years, enduring injuries that would have crushed a lesser man. Yet the top bullfighter isn’t calling it quits any time soon. He does his job with a fierce joy, all the while he’s hiding a terrible secret. One that could get him suspended, and could end up killing the very men he protects.

Peter Skinner loves working for Les Hardin and Randy Hersch. His bosses are amazing men, but seeing how in love they are every day makes Peter’s heart ache. He wishes he could find a man to love him like that, but he knows they’re hard to come by in Wyoming where he lives.

Until one day, Peter finds a man strung-out in an alley, and Peter is the only one around to deal with it. When Peter and Chaz meet, their worlds collide in a way that could be the best thing in the world for them both, or the worst experience of their lives.

So what did I think?

The story focuses very much on Peter, who has been rejected by his family, and now lives at the Hardin ranch and works as an accountant for Les. The story starts with Peter collecting his belongings but more importantly being ready to start over in a new home. “It might not be the family he’d been born with, but it was the one he’d chosen, and, to be honest, the men and women Peter was going to see in a few minutes were the people he felt the most real with. They had opened their hearts and homes to him, even when his grandfather had treated Les so poorly.”

Peter and his friends, are all good people. They go out of their way to give people a second chance and are not judgmental. It was nice to see the introduction of a character who had flaws, someone who was battling demons and making wrong decisions.

Peter finds Chaz in a alley – collapsed, dirty and strung out. He rescues him (he’s one of the good guys) and takes him home to the ranch. Peter actually feels an immediate attraction to Chaz which has him puzzled. “He needed to get a handle on this weird attraction. There was no way in hell Peter could want a dirty druggie who was more than likely homeless.”

The story follows the development of a relationship between Peter and Chaz. They face obstacles, including Peter’s friends protectiveness and of course, Chaz’s dependence on pills. However, it is easy to feel sympathatic towards Chaz (while at the same time wanting to shake some sense into him). He desperately wants to do the right thing by Peter “He was a good man who saw something worthwhile in Chaz, and Chaz wanted to live up to Peter’s expectations. but doesn’t not have the faith in himself “He’d screwed up enough times in his life that he wasn’t the kind of guy to make vows to people.”

This story was well-paced, the characters were fabulous and there was some great drama. Les’ interference at the end of the book annoyed me slightly as it delayed the happy ending I was hoping for, but there was a level of realism to the conclusion of the book that gave confidence that Peter and Chaz were definitely destined for happy ever after!

4 Stars

See my review of book 3, Wishing for a Home.

For more information on T.A. Chase and her books, visit the website.

Buy Leaving Home at Amazon

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★★★★ A Wild Ride by Andrew Grey ★★★★

The Bullriders series:

A Wild RideA Wild Ride by Andrew Grey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The blurb….

Dante Rivers just lost the rodeo by two one hundredths of a point: he’s frustrated as hell, needs to get laid, and he knows just where to go. That night he meets Ryan Abbott and catches his eye—Ryan watched the rodeo and is still riding high on the rush. The chemistry between them ignites, but Dante, unable to deal with complications, leaves while Ryan’s asleep.

Ryan figures he’ll never see Dante again, but they’re fatefully reunited when Dante’s grandfather, Hy, hires Ryan to help straighten out some old investments. The attraction between Ryan and Dante still sizzles. Sex slowly turns to more, but obstacles abound: Hy’s failing health, Dante’s homophobic sponsor, an attack on Ryan, and Dante’s own struggle with his identity. Any one thing would be enough to separate them permanently… unless they both decide to hang on for the wild ride.

What did I think?

I really enjoyed this story of Dante, a bull rider who is juggling so much in his life (nearing the end of his career, looking after his ill grandfather and hiding his sexual identity) and Ryan, who has been struggling with his own sexual leanings.

Ryan is openly gay but an event in his past means he has been leading a ‘vanilla’ sex life. He meets Dante in a bar and immediately knows that they each have something the other wants (I am not exactly sure what Ryan saw in Dante that made him think this way but anyway…) “He could see what Dante needed and he could give it to him. Dante needed it, he needed it too, and heaven help him, Ryan wanted it. He’d denied this part of himself for so long he simply couldn’t do it any longer.”

What I liked about the story was the light dominance/submission (nothing too heavy) which suited the book and seemed natural for these characters, the portrayal of strong family love and the inclusion of some drama. Things don’t go smoothly for Dante and Ryan – they need to overcome the impact of the reaction to Dante’s coming out which includes violence.

This is one of Andrew Grey’s books that I have enjoyed the most. Maybe the sweetness level was turned down to the right level for me in this book?

3.5 stars (rounded to 4)

4 Stars

For more information on author Andrew Grey and his books visit his website.

Buy A Wild Ride at Amazon

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Bullheaded by Catt Ford

BullheadedBullheaded by Catt Ford

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

The Blurb….

Aging bull rider Cody Grainger needs bullfighter Johnny Arrow for more than just protection in the ring. Their bond of trust goes beyond the professional and into love, but while their relationship holds up to the need for discretion imposed by their sport and repeatedly having to watch each other put themselves in the way of dangerous animals, other barriers still tear them apart.

For one thing, Cody is ten years older than Johnny. But instead of contemplating retirement, he focuses on winning the championship, desperate to stay on top. Johnny is only beginning to find the professional recognition he craves. When frustration leads Johnny to walk away, Cody’s season slumps. While they’re apart, they both slowly realize they are meant to be together. But machismo abounds in the sport of bull riding, and their pride might be an obstacle too big for love to overcome.

What did I think?

This was a difficult book for me to rate as some parts I loved and other parts not so much.

The good….I quite liked the story itself. There was a level of realism in the journey that Cody and Johnny found themselves on. It was easy to understand the conflict they faced as they both found themselves at different stages in their lives and looked to find a common ground. The insight into the world of bull riders and bullfighters was interesting.

The not so good….there was perhaps too much explanation of the rides themselves. I wanted more of the story, not so much description of the bull riding event itself. I didn’t like the sexual encounters that both Johnny and Cody (Cody more so) had when they were apart. I am not sure how much it added to the story, and I found Cody’s actions particularly unappealing. Which brings me to my biggest issue – Cody.

I didn’t like the character of Cody. I found him selfish and egotistical. “Cody never thought of himself as manipulative. The word wasn’t even in his vocabulary. He just liked getting his way. And his way was good for him and for Johnny.” He believed this for most of the book. Yes, I wanted Johnny and Cody to have their happy ending, but found it difficult to believe the changes in Cody or to fully understand why he changed his ways.

I find it difficult to really love a book if I don’t love one of the lead characters, or at least like them by the end of the story. For this reason, and the slightly too many and too long descriptions of bull rides, I am only rating this book 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4! 🙂

4 Stars

To find out more about Catt Ford and her other books visit her Goodreads profile.

Bullheaded on Amazon

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