Tag Archives: cowboys

Review of His Reluctant Cowboy, by A.D. Ellis

I received an Audible code for a review copy of His Reluctant Cowboy, by A.D. Ellis.

Description from Goodreads:

Out-and-proud volunteer dance instructor, Reid Alexander, is a California boy accustomed to living in flashy luxury. He is less than thrilled upon inheriting his late grandfather’s South Dakota horse ranch. Yet, he must endure three months of cowboy hell before he can even consider selling the property. As the ranch foreman, Walker Corrigan’s entire life is Pine Ridge. When Reid arrives with cold-hearted plans to sell, Walker endeavors to endear the place to the younger man. 

Reid is unprepared for the sudden attachment to Walker, the land, and – unbelievably enough – the horses. 

Walker’s long-suffering heart takes an unexpected gallop straight toward Reid. Both men are on-board with exploring their relationship, and Reid discovers ranch ownership is more gratifying than he’d once imagined. But Reid is forced to reconsider his place on the ranch when threats put the property and employees in danger. 

Menacing events call Reid’s integrity into question, and he considers saving everyone the hassle and throwing in the reins. But how can he leave when his heart now feels at home on Pine Ridge Ranch and in Walker’s arms? 

Review:

I’m in an awkward position reviewing this book. I received an Audible credit for it in exchange for an honest review. However, the credit came from the narrator, Brad King, (not the author) and the narrator did an awesome job. But the story didn’t work for me. What do you do in that case? I guess you say just that, huh? King’s narration is very good. Ellis’ story left me cold. 

I disliked Reid in the beginning. But even after he gave up being a brat and became tolerable I was troubled. His growth came in jagged spurts, and nothing about it felt very natural. The romance was sudden and felt very much like the only two adult gay men on the ranch fell in love because they were the only gay men on the ranch. There was no gradual growth or anything like that. And as soon as the two men were together they were suddenly in love, declaring forever, and calling each other Baby. I thought the dirty talk during sex was super cheesy (King deserves some props for pulling that off with aplomb). And I almost went ragey with the way it had to be stressed (more than once) that the love between Walker and Reid was better than the love Walker had with his dead partner. That just was not necessary and was tacky to boot. The villain was practically a joke and the resolution came about because of a very convenient coincidence. Plus, I hate the cover. There I said it. 

All in all, not a winner for me in the story department. But again, great narration. My dislike is for the book.

Review of Bullheaded, by Catt Ford

I bought a copy of Catt Ford‘s Bullheaded.

Description from Goodreads:
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.

Review:
I was really looking forward to reading this. I went to my first real rodeo this summer and it made for the perfect backdrop for this book. For sure I could hear the announcer clear as day. However, despite that, the book wasn’t a winner for me. Starting on about page 30 I was just frustrated with it the whole time.

For one, there is just too much sex. I’m not a prude. I like a good sex scene or three. But this book just about literally has one every ten pages like clockwork. It’s a 320 page book! The sex definitely got in the way of the plot, cluttered up the narrative and just go old.

What’s more, a lot of that sex was actually when the two men were broken up. So, it’s not even meaningful sex. It’s fucking filler. Yes, the men were supposed to be learning life lessons because of it. But I didn’t need every rest-stop hookup and angry anonymous blow job to see this. What’s worse, it made Cody look like a total douche, the way he treated his partners. And trust me, Cody didn’t need to be made to look like more of an ass. He’s a large part of why I disliked the book.

Cody was arrogant, smug and cocky. Johnny left him for legitimate reasons, Cody (at 32) seemed too self-obsessed to understand why, and this never changed. Johnny, the more mature to start with showed growth, Cody did not. He just got his was as always and the author pretended it was a happy ending.

And here-in lies my bigger issue. Johnny left because Cody made everything about himself. He couldn’t separate what was good for himself from what was good for anyone else. Then, Johnny came back to Cody because Cody needed him. Making it all about Cody again and pretending there had been some growth that there hadn’t actually been. Johnny even said, “You’ve changed,” to Cody. But I saw no evidence of this. Cody never said or did anything that made me think he was any different than when the book started. Thus, I finished the book frustrated and angry.

I didn’t understand why Johnny was with Cody to start with. They had no relationship outside of explosive sex and they were supposed to have been together for two years. Two years and Cody is such an narcissist he literally never asked Johnny Arrow what his real name is, his coming out story, what his tattoo means, etc.

Then there were all the repeat conversations. I think there must have been fifteen versions of “When you retire…” “But I don’t want to retire…” “When you retire…” “But I don’t want to retire…” Then there were all the conversations about these conversations. No, I was bored with it.

All in all, this was not a fun read for me. I finished it through force of will and nostalgia from see my first rodeo in…..Cody, Wyoming.