A Guest Review: My Highland Cowboy by Alexa Milne

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.

My Highland Cowboy: by Alexa Milne
Release Date: June 6th, 2017
Pages: 196 • Format: eARC
Published By: Pride Publishing
Purchase Links:
Pride PublishingAmazon

How long do you need before you know?

Duncan McLeish owns a ranch. Unlike most ranches, this one is in the Scottish Highlands. Having inherited a failing farm from his grandfather, he turns it into a successful business. He has friends, he loves his home, but he’s lonely, and not even infrequent trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh slake that thirst to find someone. Then Drew Sinclair walks into his life.

Drew Sinclair is tantalizingly close to getting his clothes brand noticed in the industry. He and his business partner, Joy, design individual dresses, while on the side, Drew designs and produces a line of men’s lingerie. He visits Scotland to design dresses for his sister, Jenna, who is marrying Duncan’s best friend at Christmas.

Duncan and Drew have nothing except their Highland upbringing in common, but they say opposites attract, and the attraction is immediate. Is this simply a summer fling, or can two men who live such opposite lives, miles away from each other, find a way to love?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

two-stars

 

This is a story about two very different men who are thrown together when one’s sister marries the other’s best friend. Alex is a fashion designer who lives in London and Duncan runs the family ranch in the Highlands. Alex comes to stay with Duncan for a bit while he’s working with bride on the outfits for the wedding. The two men are instantly attracted to each other but are total opposites.

I didn’t care for this book for a couple of reason. The first one being that both Alex and Duncan were stereotypical in a way I didn’t appreciate. Alex was the very flamboyant and campy fashion designer who doesn’t care what anyone thinks and Duncan is the gruff, closeted, alpha type guy. If their characters had been looked at in more depth maybe it would have worked but they weren’t. Both characters were shallowly done in my opinion and I never connected with either. By the end of the story I didn’t see what they saw in each other and I didn’t really care if they ended up together or not. There was also all kinds of talk about gender roles but it was done in a way that felt preachy to me. I need it to be expressed through the character’s feelings, not in a lecture.

Another issue was that while a lot of things happen, nothing happens. There are all kinds of random scenes, ie them taking a walk and helping a calf be born. It added nothing to the plot and didn’t help develop their relationship. There was a bunch of this kind of stuff, but little time of them growing into friends or romance. It was also insta-love which I hate. They’d know each other two days and there was crying during sex due to their strong feelings. I just couldn’t get on board with it. I found myself rolling my eyes and feeling zero connection between the two.

There was not anything wrong with the writing technically (grammar, editing etc was all fine) but I just couldn’t connect with the author’s style. I never became interested in the plot and I found myself skimming the last 25% or so just to get done. Unfortunately this is not one I would recommend.

 

 

signature-fonts

About Alexa Milne

Originally from South Wales, Alexa has lived for over thirty years in the North West of England. Now retired, after a long career in teaching, she devotes her time to her obsessions.
Alexa began writing when her favourite character was killed in her favourite show. After producing a lot of fanfiction she ventured into original writing.
She is currently owned by a mad cat and spends her time writing about the men in her head, watching her favourite television programmes and usually crying over her favourite football team.

Faking It by Christine d’Abo

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.

Faking It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #2
Release Date: May 8th, 2017
Pages: 238 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

four-stars

I read this book in sitting. Faking can be read as a standalone in my opinion. Max was in book one, but he stands on an island by himself in this book. He has everything he could ever want, on second thought he knows he’s missing that other half. Grady has everything one can ever want or need. Its all material things of course, he’s by himself on an island by his self. His island deals with self rumination is the name of the game for him. Both guys have problems with their father for different reasons. They need a hug. I’m just saying. Trying to escape from under his father’s hand Grady escapes to Toronto trying to keep a low profile, but fails miserably when it leads him to Max’s bar Frantic.

The chance meeting starts a slippery slope for the two. This is a opposites attraction trope. Grady is a rich beyond means, and never told no of any kind. Max is a regular guy who lends a helping hand just to about anyone. Grady finds how what his father has in store from him, and makes Max an offer. Max really doesn’t need to take the offer, but its something about Grady that calls to him. Its definitely not all physical. I think they are able to get under each other skins means something to both. No one hasn’t even effect each other quite like the other. I liked how Max is so resistant to Grady, but the minute someone oversteps their boundaries he’s this big protective teddy bear. The same with Grady. He realizes Max is something so much more.

They don’t talk much to learn things about one another. They really don’t have the time to properly get to know one another, but the steamy side of the relationship is A-OK. Max & Grady mesh well together in the bedroom. It was hot and steamy at times. When it wasn’t that they were trying to steer things together. But before we know it both guys think that something is happening here, and aren’t ready for it to be real. It takes a while for them to realize what they want. By the end of the story, I’m happy where they are at.

This was a good story. Can’t wait to read Eli’s book! I even despised Justin and wouldn’t mind seeing him with someone. Not Eli though. This was a good addition to the series. Even got to see Zack & Nolan as well. Can’t wait for more!

signature-fonts

About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Stage Two by Ariel Tachna

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.

Stage Two: by Ariel Tachna
Series: Lexington Lovers #3
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Love has a steep learning curve.

Assistant high school principal Blake Barnes has everything he wants—a chance to help troubled students and an outlet for his passion for theater. Well, almost everything—he still goes home to an empty apartment. Then his high school crush explodes back into his life, the unexpected guardian of two boys in Blake’s care.

Thane Dalton has always been a bad boy through and through. Not much has changed, including his mistrust of authority figures, and no amount of institutional bureaucracy will keep him from protecting his nephews from the bullies terrorizing them. If that means butting heads with Blake, so be it.

Blake and Thane have lessons to learn: that they both have the boys’ best interests at heart, that the tension between them isn’t just confrontational, and that sparks can fly when opposites come together.

 

three-stars

This would have been better if the beginning hadn’t dragged as much. I had a hard time getting invested. I have a love/like relationship with the Dreamspun Desires line, but overall I like the chessiness of the stories. I never read the romances that its based off or watched soap operas as well. So, who would have thunk it that I’ve been reading these books? This was a good opposites attract. Blake being the authoritative figure in Thane’s nephews lives. How to navigate a relationship without breaking the morality clause for Blake. Its all good to see that Thane wants a relationship instead of one-offs when it comes to Blake.

Thane & Blake went to high school with one another, but one didn’t know the other existed. Blake had this worldly crush on resident bad boy Thane since he was a freshmen and a theater geek. Fast Forward 20 years and Blake is assistant principal at their same high school. By a happenstance Blake is in charge of Thane’s nephew when bullying ensues. When they do meet, they are both kinda brisk with one another. Not knowing the history or what to expect Thane was kinda a jerk-off. It could be how he is with most initial meetings. I doubt it, seeing as his nephews have been through hell and back and he’s only protecting them.

It got good after a couple of meetings. It was nice seeing them flirt with one another unknowingly.  I still had a hard time seeing them together. I don’t know what it is, it just seemed not to mesh well as the others in the series. They both do a bit of growing up by the end of the story, so maybe it was me. It just didn’t have that feeling that I get when I read this series.

Fans of this series will definitely like this! An opposites attract trope so there is that! It was cute, but I wish I could have started on a better note. It was probably just me though.

 

signature-fonts

About Ariel Tachna

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Review Tour – Practice Makes Perfect by Jay Northcote

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.

30234682Practice Makes Perfect by Jay Northcote
Series: Housemates, Book Three
Release Date:June 22, 2016
Pages: 168 • Format: eARC
Published By: Jaybird Press
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.

Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.

They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

This book is a complete story and can be read as a stand-alone.

four-half-stars

Okay. I am going to attempt a short review and not ramble per my norm but I have to say that I want to give Jay Northcote the biggest hug possible right now and I am not a hugger. You see, I’ve been in this weird sort of a book slump, not really wanting to read and most of what I picked up didn’t capture my attention, until I met Dev and Ewan and stayed up to read and fall in love.

Goodness. First let me say that yes, this can be read as a stand alone because I read it as one and while the couples from books one and two are present, they don’t take away from the story nor overshadow it though I will tell you, I am going back to read both of them very soon.

It was so much easier when they let their bodies do the talking. There was no misunderstanding when it came to this simple, physical desire.

This book was adorable, and sexy as hell and that my friends is the perfect combination to sell me on a book. GAH! I loved that the meet cute between Dev and Ewan was so ridiculously awkward but so adorable as well. Ewan is such a stand-up guy – and a ginger with freckles *swoon* – that though he mistakenly opens a package delivered to the wrong address, when he sees what’s inside, he takes it to the rightful owner. I LOVED this moment and how real it was. That is something I love about Northcote’s writing, it’s real and you don’t have to suspend reality to get into the story. I’ve received numerous packages that weren’t mine and had to take them to the right house, though my adventures never turned out the way Ewan’s did but still, things like this happen and people meet in all sorts of ways.

So anyway. Ewan takes Dev his package (yes, I am giggling at package) and then after a session on Grindr and seeing Dev’s profile, Ewan makes a decision to help Dev out and to save him from creepy dudes. I cannot say how much I loved how the boys progressed through their studies. The first kiss is always a favorite of mine and the first kiss with Dev and Ewan was so emotional that the chemistry was never in question and I too waited for each Friday night so we could all check items to do off Dev’s list.

I have to quickly mention that the reason Dev moves into the house with Rupert’s help kicked me in the gut. It was tough to read and knowing that jerks exist like that in the world, hurt my heart but I am do glad that Dev has the help and support of awesome people in his life.

Ugh and double ugh.

Dev, a man after my own heart with his lists and his practicality at everything he does, even sex.  It was so sweet to see him be able to be himself completely with Ewan and watch Ewan fall for all that Dev is and really GET who Dev is. Ewan… I fell hard and fast for him, almost as fast as I fell for Dev but these two were amazing together. All the sexy and the sweet, it was the best balance and really worked for me.

“Jesus, you like the dirty talk, then? You’re pretty kinky for a virgin.”

“I wasn’t trying to talk dirty. I just want to know what you like.”

“Somehow, that makes it hotter.”

Yeah, have I mentioned that this book was hot, because it totally was. It was so sexy, and sensual and fun though it had me holding my breath while I waited for the boys to talk it out and tell each other how they felt. It was, well… the perfect book for me at the perfect time and I am grinning as I write this because I thought my reading ability was broken. It wasn’t and now I have a wonderful story about lists, maths, cooking, first times, new friends and the romance that a girl like me lives for.

Practice Makes Perfect was hot and it was sweet and it had just the right amount angst for story about a boy who wants assistance with completing his sex to do list with a boy who realizes he wants to be more… well more than a friend with benefits.

About Jay Northcote

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with his husband, two children, and two cats. He comes from a family of writers, but he always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, he decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. He enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in his head to life through his words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and he also publishes his own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is a transgender man and was formerly known as she/her.

Bankers’ Hours by Wade Kelly

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.

BankersHoursLGBankers’ Hours by Wade Kelly
Release Date: March 25, 2016
Pages: 290 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon ARe

Even though bankers’ hours leave long weekends for romance, cosmic intervention is Grant’s only option when money doesn’t buy happiness and he’s got virginity in spades.

 

Grant Adams is a twenty-six-year-old bank teller who’s unlucky at love, yet hopelessly hopeful. After years of horrific first dates, he’s convinced he’s saving himself for true love. Surely he has bad taste in men because it couldn’t possibly be his persnickety nature that’s sent them packing.

 

Tristan Carr has been in a holding pattern since his daughter was born fifteen years ago, which suits his workaholic lifestyle just fine. This ex-Navy turned auto mechanic never wanted anyone interfering with being a weekend dad. For Tristan to rearrange his perfectly orchestrated life, a guy will need to be special. Or in the case of the newest employee at his bank, the guy will need to be adorable, shy, and open to the prospect of forever when it shows up at his window.
four-stars
 

This was more fun that I planned on. I love a story that can take you out of a stressful day (and mine was hella stressful) and just let you read a story, yes a bit over the top story, but a story that allows you to get lost and remember to not take life too seriously.

Straight away, I got neurotic Grant. I won’t go into every way I got him but there were many similarities between us with how we see the word, how we tell time, how we associate surface cleanliness and well, how we think.

It was too idealistic to be real. My fantasies always promoted heartache. If I never indulged myself, I wouldn’t be so let down.

Grant Adams lives in his head completely. It’s hard to relate to a character this way unless you are this way, and I am. Being in Grant’s head took me back to the days of working the Cashier’s window at college and waiting for the cute blonde with the double first name to show up so I could pretend that when he did, he would ask me out and we would go to punk shows and have our HEA. But you know what? That never happened because there were too many things that I didn’t do, too many things that I couldn’t say and too many things that would go wrong that played out in my head so I just smiled and did my job.

Tristan reminds me of my husband in the best ways. The man has dealt with my trio of OCD/Anxiety/Depression for 15 years and still manages to make me smile with is odd way of flirting with me. Tristan turning over Grant’s pens at work… yeah, that is something my husband would do. It’s harmless, it’s quirky and so stinking cute that he knows it would get to me just like Tristan knew it would get to Grant because he pays attention.

You’re romantic, slightly effeminate, shy, and a bit obsessive. And you’re only just learning to stretch your wings to be yourself.

There was a lot in this that I connected with personally. Though Grant’s worry about being left seems early on, I remember moving in with my husband only months after dating and pulling his car out of my very tiny garage and ripping the driver’s side mirror off. He was okay with the fact that it was an accident but OMG I called my mother in tears, thinking this man who I was madly in love with was going to leave me. So yeah, things can seem over the top when you read them in a book but trust me, when you are neurotic the way Grant and I are, these things happen.

Tristan Carr has spent the last 15 year of his life dedicated to work and to his daughter and Grant is a twenty-six year old virgin who has been waiting for his Mr. Right to finally see him and when these two get together, it seems as if they will take things slow and then they do until baby mamma drama shows up. BUT, even though the relationship status would change on social media, the men still do what they can to take the relationship slowly.

I liked the exploration of not only the way each man lives but the exploration of them learning to be intimate with one another. The intimacy is not just held to sex, but the intimate moments of spending your life with someone and those moments, to me are more important than sex. Knowing the why of your partner’s reservation with being naked even thought it’s something they want so freaking badly, that is romance for me. Sex, it’s sex and yeah it’s good but it’s not the most important thing in a relationship.

I know I am not saying much, but I really liked this story. Even all the over the top psychotics of Teresa, I liked it. I loved Mel, I liked Claire, I adored Grant’s mom and I truly enjoyed myself.

Bankers’ Hours is a slow burn – yet insta love – romance with two men handling baggage that makes them the perfect fit for one another. It’s a story of opposites attract and letting down your guard enough to know that while it may freak you out a bit, every experience is a change to grow, learn and fall in love.

 

About Wade Kelly

Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her three children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.