Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana #1) by R.J. Scott

Series:
Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott
Series: Montana, Book 1
Release Date: November 16th, 2015 (first published on December 13th 2013)
Format: Audiobook (6 hrs and 20 mins)
Genre:
Published By: Love Lane Books Ltd
Purchase Links: •  Amazon US | Amazon UK | Audible US | Audible UK

When a cowboy, meets the guy from the city, he can’t know how much things will change.

On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.

With his sister, Ashley, niece, Kirsten and nephew, Josh, in tow, he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life on Crooked Tree Ranch.

Foreman and part owner of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel ‘Nate’ Todd has been running the dude ranch, for five years ever since his mentor Marcus Allen became ill.

His brothers convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the business grow. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow – he just isn’t prepared for how much.

four-stars

This story was very sweet and satisfying. It wasn’t overly dramatic and angsty but it was emotionally engaging enough that I listened to the book in one day. I have to be honest, I am on the fence about Sean Crisden, but his narration of this story was spot on. The author told the story in a dual POV and the voices the narrator used for the characters fit my image of them. This one was one of Sean Crisden’s better performances.

Jay Sullivan worked for a marketing firm while taking care of his sister Ashley who has a history of falling in love with abusive guys. Currently, Jay was standing as a male figure for his 15 year old niece Kristen and 6 year old nephew Josh as Ashley’s husband was serving time in jail for abusing them. When Jay is laid off from his firm, coupled with Ashley’s husband was released from jail, Jay quickly accepted a job to be a business manager for a ranch in Montana and they quickly flee New York City.

Crooked Tree Ranch was hemorrhaging money so they agreed to trying marketing the Ranch differently to attract new customers. The Ranch is owned by three families, The Todds, The Allens and the Starachs. Nate, Gabe and Luke represent the Todd family and work on the Ranch. They were skeptical about the City boy Jay being in charge of creating a marketing plan, but they were low in funds and they were desperate.
Nate is the oldest and he used to work in the rodeo circuit so the city boy just rubbed him the wrong way. But Nate accepted that Jay’s expertise was necessary so he tried to tamper his irritation with Jay. What Nate couldn’t ignore was his attraction to Jay and vice versa. Soon, the two agreed to try a relationship. Nate and Jay were a delight because their attraction was clear but they were so supportive and accepting of each other and their respective families.

I though the author did a great job in building up the relationship so while it was short amount of time, it didn’t feel like insta-love. RJ Scott’s writing appeals to me because she focuses on the family, their interactions and their emotions more than the physical acts between the couples. I prefer a juicy story over copious amounts of sex so this audiobook was so good. There was a number of subplots, but the pace at which the author tackled them was comfortable so the reader never felt bogged down with angst or overly emotional scenes. I am looking forward to finding out more about the second family of the Ranch trifecta, The Allens.

Ezi

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.

The Rancher’s Son (Montana #2) R.J. Scott

Series:
Narrator: Sean Crisden
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

 

 
Narrated By: Sean Crisden
Length: 6hr 25mins
Cover Design: Meredith Russell 
 
Blurb: A man without memories and the cop who never gave up hope.

When he wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a brutal beating, John Doe has no memory of who he is or who hurt him. The cops can find nothing to identify him and he can’t remember anything to help…except the name Ethan and one recurring place from his dreams. Two words, and they’re not much, but it’s a start: Crooked Tree.Detective Ethan Allens has never stopped searching for the two boys who vanished. When a report lands on Ethan’s desk that may give new leads, he jumps at the chance to follow them up. The man he finds isn’t his brother, but it’s someone who could maybe help him discover what happened 12 years ago.What neither man can know is that facing the very real demons of the past could destroy any kind of future they may have together.
 four-stars

In Book 1, we met Marcus Allen, who tended to the financial aspects of Crooked Tree Ranch, the 300 acre land in Montana shared with The Todds (see book 1) and The Starachs. We also got a small glimpse into his strained relationship with his son Ethan especially regarding the disappearance of the youngest son Justin.

Marcus’ wife died and his son Justin disappeared 12 years ago with his best friend Adam when they went swimming. Marcus’ oldest son Ethan Allen never accepted the “death” of his brother Justin and best friend Adam, and left his family’s ranch and joined law enforcement.

In this sequel, Marcus still struggles with his health and still doesn’t believe Justin is alive. His relationship with his son Ethan was still strained and the return of Adam absent answers to what happened twelve years ago added to the tension. As a police officer, Ethan had put out feelers and one day got a call about a John Doe asking for Ethan and Crooked Tree Ranch. At the hospital, Ethan comes face to face with Adam, although, now Adam is an amnesiac. Ethan brings Adam back to the Ranch to help jog his memory.

This book was more emotional and angst than book one, but I love it just the same. Ethan was a really great guy. He was so hopeful, steadfast and patient with Adam as the families tried to figure out what happened those years ago. Again, the narrator gave a masterful performance as he returned the reader to Montana with the same families, giving more detail to the subplot of the Allen’s family. RJ Scott does a great job slowly building these characters and their stories. These characters feel like people I could relate to and I definitely rooted for their happiness. I had a hard time deciding which couple I liked best, Ethan & Adam or Nate & Jay. Plus, Gabe (Nate’s middle brother) & Ashley (Jay’s sister) was an added extra dose of sweetness to this story. While this particular love story ended well, some other threads remain loose and I look forward to the author’s next book.

I received this audiobook for free from in exchange for an honest review.
It
did not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ezi


 

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.

Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton
Source: Tantor Audio

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata
Narrator: Callie Dalton
Release Date: March 8, 20117
Format: Audiobook (15 hrs and 52 mins)
Genre: Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend Or a husband. But who needs either one of those?

four-half-stars

This was another winner from Mariana Zapata. I was a little scared that my second audiobook by her will succumb to the sophomore jinx. No such worries because this book had my favorite trope, the single parent who finds love. This story focused more on the family aspect than the romance and I loved that. Callie Dalton definitely fits Zapata’s characters because her voice added to my enjoyment.

Diana Casillas (yes, related to Sal Casillas from Kulti) is raising her two nephews, Josh and Louie at the ripe ole age of 29 years old. Events led her to meeting her neighbor Dallas Walker. As a parent myself, I appreciated hearing Diana’s inner musings as I have similar thoughts going on in my head. I also loved how much she just loved those boys and did her best with what hand life dealt her. I knew Dallas was a good guy even though we didn’t know his situation with his ex. He was trying to look out for his brother as well as looking after his grandmother.

There was moments of sadness, angst, humor and romance. The author just took her time to outline the plot, form the characters and unfold the story. I loved what each character brought to the narrative. I also loved how the narrator’s voice brought this story to life. The ending was just so AAAHHHHHH! I just exhaled with pleasure. Bravo to the author. I can’t wait to get to the other books Mariana Zapata has written because these are the kinds of books I want to listen to.

Ezi

Standalone Sunday (7/2/17): Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!
Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Blurb
“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to. 

It didn’t take a week for 27-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon – why she’d ever had his posters on her wall or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man who hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

ADD TO GOODREADS



Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult

Narrator: Brian Hutchison, Mia Barron, Therese Plummer

Title: Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Format: Audiobook (17 hrs and 26 mins)
Genre: Fiction, Women’s Literature
Published By: Atria Books
One miscarriage too many spelled the end of Max and Zoe Baxter’s marriage. Though the former couple went quite separate ways, their fates remained entangled: After veering into alcoholism, Max is saved in multiple senses by his fundamentalist conversion; Zoe, for her part, finds healing relief in music therapy and the friendship, then romantic love with Vanessa, her counselor. After Zoe and Vanessa, now married, decide to have a baby, they realize that they must join battle with Max, who objects on both religious and financial grounds.
three-stars
I started this book already having experience with Jodi Picoult’s writing, so I knew I was in for an intense experience. She is so methodical and expressive but I always find her stories disconcerting. I appreciate that the author told the story from Zoe, her new wife Vanessa and Zoe’s ex-husband’s point of view. It gave me an opportunity to empathize. I’ll admit it that I found the story a bit preachy and definitely advocated a viewpoint, but the story felt real especially in today’s political and religious climate. Zoe and Vanessa’s court case against Max made me examine my own views about this controversial issue. But the author’s writing was remarkable in that I could empathize to all three main characters even if I didn’t quite like them.

The story began with Zoe and Max struggling to conceive. What the reader never got to experience was any real tenderness, happiness or the power of their love. Their relationship was that of a woman determined to have a baby and the man she needed to make that dream a reality. It should have come as no surprise to the readers that Zoe and Max broke up. Unfortunately, Zoe’s new relationship didn’t resonate with me either. What did resonate with me was Zoe’s desire to have a family and the stress the struggle caused her, Max and Vanessa.

I would have loved this story more if the author had delivered multifaceted characters instead of Max, an alcoholic turned bible thumper fighting a music therapist and an atheist school counselor. The characters were over-simplified in such a way to make you either love them or hate them. The stereotypes were written in such a way that I felt led by the nose to the conclusion, which was a typical Picoult ending.

June is Audiobook Month (6/26/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month? I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year.
Each week, I will spotlight a different group of five.

This week I will spotlight 5 newly discovered narrators whose voice completely enhanced a series. They are now on my list of narrators to follow:

    1. 1) Jeffrey Kafer (Taste of Darkness by Katie Reus)
    1. 2) Pinky Powell (Nikolai by Roxie Rivera)
    1. 3) Tristan James (Sinner’s Gin by Rhys Ford)
    1. 4) Callie Dalton (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata)
    1. 5) Lance Greenfield (The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett)

 🎧 Those are my top five new narrators yo keep an eye on. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Standalone Sunday (6/25/17): Under Locke by Mariana Zapata 

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!
Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata. 

BLURB
: He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a widow, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario: If things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before; one more wouldn’t kill me.
After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude and impatient, and he doesn’t know how to tell time. And the last thing they ever expected was each other.
Narrated by: Callie Dalton
Length: 16 hrs and 5 mins

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently listening to this audiobook because I loved The Wall of Winnipeg and Wait For It by the same author. Zapata takes her time with character development so that the friendship, attraction and subsequent love story never feels rushed. I am anticipating a satisfying story today.

Have you read or listened to this book? Did you enjoy it? What about this author, have you tried her before?

#audiobookmonth #standalonesunday 

It Happens All the Time by Amy Hatvany

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Kirby Heyborne
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: It Happens All the Time: A Novel by Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) •Audiobook (9 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Fiction
Published By: Atria Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Audible
I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.

Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks have been best friends since they were teenagers—trusting and depending on each other through some of the darkest periods of their young lives. And while Amber has always felt that their relationship is strictly platonic, Tyler has long harbored the secret desire that they might one day become more than friends.

Returning home for the summer after her college graduation, Amber begins spending more time with Tyler than she has in years. Despite the fact that Amber is engaged to her college sweetheart, a flirtation begins to grow between them. One night, fueled by alcohol and concerns about whether she’s getting married too young, Amber kisses Tyler.

What happens next will change them forever.

In alternating points of view, It Happens All the Time examines the complexity of sexual dynamics between men and women and offers an incisive exploration of gender roles, expectations, and the ever-timely issue of consent.

two-half-stars

I am sorry if my thoughts on this book offend an rape survivor but this book created some strong emotions in me and I felt really unsettled and unsatisfied with this book’s ending. I get that the author was tackling a sensitive subject but I didn’t quite agree with certain things. I needed time to reflect so I can write my review with sensitivity, yet honesty. I do not feel like I can be honest without victimizing people who have already been brutalized. So I will keep my words brief.

The book starts off with a history of how young Amber Bryant and Tyler Hicks became friends complete with their various family dysfunction. I believe the author was trying to lay foundation of what drove Amber and Tyler. This background led me to connect with Tyler and not so much with Amber. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong. First I want to start off by saying Rape is just a horrible crime. I am not interested in victim blaming or justifications, however I do believe alcohol abuse does change the situation. I am not blaming Amber at all, but I am saying that Tyler wasn’t in a clear frame of mind to be making sure he “got” consent first. In addition, I do not agree that Tyler, whom the author had painted as a nice friend, just turned into a this monster so fast and the reader is to believe that he would take advice for a father whom he has despised just so he can avoid dealing with devastation his actions wrought. I do love that Amber talked to both her parents and they stood by her. The fact that they embraced her immediately and validated her was everything. Her parents seemed to be really good parents unlike Tyler’s parents.

I didn’t like the hypocrisy in the end with Amber committing a crime, but it’s viewed with “understanding” and it’s okay that Tyler covered her actions up because I guess Tyler owes Amber for his part in hurting her.

At the end of the day, I hope all rape victims get counseling and have a support for their healing. .This book was hard to review but it make me examine my own beliefs on the topic. I hope to learn more about how to help victims.

Ezi

June is Audiobook Month (6/1/17)

Did you know June is #audiobook month?  I’m joining Jess and Tina (@asreadbyTINA) to celebrate and to play #audiobingo!

Almost all of the books I logged on Goodreads last year were are audios. I listen to about 300 audiobooks a year. I mostly 👂 via @audible, @overdrive, @oneclickdigital, @HooplaDigital apps. But there are other audio apps you can try.

This month of June, I will spotlight a different group of five narrators and/or audiobooks to share my thoughts or experiences.

This week I will start by listing my Top Five favorite narrators (in no particular order). I’ve also added a book each narrated that I rated highly.

    1) Rosalyn Landor absolutely nails historical romances. I first discovered her in Then Came You by Lisa Kleypas. They make an excellent author-narrator pair. I devoured the Gamblers of Craven series, followed the Wallflowers series and then The Hathaways series. (Devil In Winter Review).
    2) Robert Petkoff is the reason I finished The Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole. I initially quit reading the series after book 5 until a GR friend suggested that I listen 👂 instead of reading it. His voice made all the difference and this series is among my favorite now. (Lothaire Review). His voice is theatric and exudes humor. I can almost hear him cackling “muhaha” as I reflect on his work. He is amazing.
    3) Lauren Fortgang IS the assassin Gin Blanco. She’s done a great job in other audiobooks I’ve heard but the way she bodied The Elemental Assassin series by Jennifer Estep just took my appreciation to another level. (Bitter Bite Review). She can give you sass, confident, humor and snark like no one else. 
    4) Julia Whelan (aka Sophie Eastlake) does young adult and adult voices  with perfection. It was her narration of The Witness by Nora Roberts that first made me take notice of her. Then I experienced her with The Elder Races by Thea Harrison, so I started seeking out other audiobooks read by her. Her voice just commands my attention and keeps me completely engaged. (Flat-Out Love Review).
    5) Therese Plummer has one of the most melodic and friendliest voices ever. When I hear her voice, it’s just soothing to my soul. It feels like listening to your best friend tell you a story. She’s a narrator that takes an average story and elevates the experience. I love her in chick lit and contemporary romances. (The Wanderer Review).

🎧 Those are my top five. Please share the narrators do you ❤️ with us.🎧 Or if you would like a recommendation, please ask.

Standalone Sunday (5/28/17): The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. 

BLURB:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now…

ADD TO GOODREADS 

I’m currently watching the made-for-tv series on Hulu because my husband listened to this audiobook narrated by Claire Danes.

I chose this book because I’ve been captivated by this intense dystopian series and its been hard trying to avoid spoilers from the Love of my Life who is so eager to share his book knowledge.   We have this same issue (him attempting to share spoilers) with The Walking Dead and the Game of Thrones tv shows. The GoT is series I’ve vowed that I will not start the audiobooks until the author finishes the series. I’m not convinced there will be an end to the series due to author’s snail paced writing schedule.

Anyway, the Handmaid’s Tale is painful as a woman to watch as the women were reduced to homemakers and breeders. I’m afraid to see the season finale next week, but I will start the audiobook then.

Have you read or listened to this book? Are you watching the Hulu original series? What do/did you think about it?