Sunrise over Texas by M. J. Fredrick


Texas Frontier, 1826

Kit Barclay followed her husband into the wilds of Texas only to be widowed. Stranded with her mother- and sister-in-law to care for, with no hope of rescue before winter sets in, Kit has only one goal: survival. So when a lone horseman appears on the horizon, and then falls from his mount in fever, Kit must weigh the safety of her family against offering aid and shelter to the handsome stranger.

Trace Watson has lost everything that ever mattered to him. Trying to forget, he heads to the frontier colony of San Felipe, not caring if he lives or dies. But when he wakes to discover he’s being nursed back to health by a brave young widow, he vows to repay her kindness by guiding the three women back to civilization, no matter what the cost.

Soon, Kit and Trace are fighting the elements, Indian attacks and outlaws-as well as feelings they both thought were long buried…

My thoughts: 

This is another story that I am not quite sure about. There were several points that I was not happy about.

I liked Kit’s character. She was down-to-earth, in control and hard working. Trace came over as just the right kind of man for her. Their situation was tricky and by working together they managed to get to safety. That was all good.

If there hadn’t been, for example

  • Kit’s mother-in-law and sister-in-law. Those two got on my nerves. They might have been used to better living conditions, but so was Kit. So I don’t really see any reason why they let her do all the work and give her a hard time on top of it. When they prepare to leave the fort and plan what to take with them her mother-in-law wants to take her French china, for crying out loud! What’s wrong with the woman? Talk about priorities.
  • John, Kit’s deceased husband. He takes his wife and his two female family members with him to Texas, even though they are used to living in New Orleans. Then he leaves them alone again back at the fort and dies when out on some mission. Wouldn’t it be more prudent to leave his family at home for the time being?
  • Then the commanding officer of the fort who leaves them alone with two soldiers and a cow. No wonder, Trace ends up in jail for attacking him.
  • Kit’s and Trace’s sudden problem talking to each other once they got to the settlement. All the time before they were perfectly good together and talked about everything.
  • The author’s obvious feeling that a separation was in order and what better way to achieve it than by resurrecting the supposed dead husband? I didn’t feel very charitable towards him, but at least it was good to see that the poor chap did not desert his wife on purpose but couldn’t help it. But now that he was back the next problem arises. How would Kit and Trace reunite? Easy! Husband obligingly dies after a couple of months. This time for good.
  • Kit’s and Trace’s communication problems once more. What’s wrong with the man? He is not the first person who has to deal with loss and he won’t be the last. Why does he want to suppress his feelings like that? I wanted to throttle him.

So once more I’m very ambivalent about the story. For fans of Western historical romance this is definitely worth a read. If you don’t like meddlesome relatives and sudden misunderstanding out of the blue, you might want to give this a miss.

Title Sunrise over Texas
Author M. J. Fredrick
Publisher Carina Press
ISBN 9781426890543
Buy link Buy Sunrise over Texas

Duncan’s World by T. A. Chase


Kyle MacDonald keeps his head down and tries to avoid making his father angry while traveling on the professional bull riding circuit. He’s learned the hard way how his father deals with being upset. The only rebellion Kyle’s allowed himself is helping out with the bulls after the event. It’s on one such night that Kyle meets Duncan Hornsby.

Duncan’s the reigning world Champion, and has everything he could want. Yet the shy young man whose father is Duncan’s biggest rival catches his eye. Kyle makes Duncan feel protective and passionate. Even though he’s fourteen years older than Kyle, Duncan’s ready to risk rejection to see if Kyle’s lips taste as sweet as they look.

Could a relationship grow between them amidst the macho atmosphere of bull riding and the danger presented by Kyle’s father? Or will Kyle and Duncan prove that age doesn’t count in matters of the heart?

My thoughts: 

I like age gap stories and when I looked around on Elisa Rolle’s LJ among the age gap tagged ones I stumbled upon this one.

I like a Western theme once in a while, so I got it.

I am not sure T. A. Chase is for me. I reviewed a story by that writer once before (Bound by Love) and it seems I now am writing almost the same review again.

The two men were attracted to each other immediately after meeting for the first time and landed in bed within hours. Given the fact that Kyle had suffered a severe beating up just a bit before and risked quite a lot by following Duncan into his room and given the fact that there was an age issue to overcome I found this somewhat overhasty. 

At first I thought the conflict with Kyle’s abusive father would be overwhelming, but as it turned out this was not so. Yes, he physically abused his son, which I do not want to play down, but he is basically a bully who caves when being threatened himself. So that issue got resolved without much fuss. A verbal threat to expose him was enough to send him packing.

So, what have we got?

  • Age issue? Duncan got over that quickly; he was a bit worried, got reassured by Kyle. Check.
  • Abusive father? Threatened Kyle and Duncan, then caved. Check.
  • Duncan being outed? No big deal as far as it went. Check.
  • Kyle’s family? Apart from the father they were more than ok with Kyle new relationship. Check.
  • Duncan’s grandfather? More progressive than a lot of younger guys. Check.

We’re all good.

Another thing I had a problem with is Kyle’s mother. I did not understand why she would never step in and tried to protect her son. The reason that was given made no sense whatsoever. She might not have been able to divorce that jerk, but she could have still tried to protect Kyle from the constant abuse (call police, report her husband, I could think of some more unpleasant ways). No husband of mine would ever abuse my child without suffering consequences. The mother seemed to be caring enough, so why she let that happen was beyond me.

All in all, I found this a quick and uncomplicated read. I never had to worry about the outcome of the story. If you like straightforward stories with instant attraction and only little conflict this might be something for you.

Title Duncan’s World
Author T. A. Chase
Publisher Amber Allure
ISBN 978-1-60272-668-0
Buy link Buy Duncan’s World

Touch me Gently by J. R. Loveless

TouchMeGently Blurb:

Always hiding his tormented past along with his scarred body, Kaden James finds it difficult to keep a job. Luck finally turns his way when he finds work as a cook on a Montana ranch, where he meets terrifyingly handsome Logan Michaels. Logan is different from any man Kaden’s ever met, and before long, he finds himself falling in love with the big cowboy.
But Kaden’s nightmares won’t let go of him so easily, and he’s not just jumping at shadows. He has nearly a lifetime of abuse, horrifying memories, and pain addiction to overcome. Can Logan’s gentle touch help Kaden heal inside?

My thoughts: 

In the last few weeks I read a couple of books that were way too short for the story to be told properly, so I was looking forward to reading this novel. I’m all for the tortured hero and all and, God, nobody can be disappointed in that respect. Poor Kaden has suffered a lot during his childhood and it didn’t even stop once he got to Logan’s ranch. This was a bit much, really. Can’t you give the poor man a break? I found the fact that there was another one of those perverts right there on the ranch somewhat disturbing. Talk about out of the frying pan into the fire.

There were a few more things that bothered me about the characters or the plot.

Gay for you

I’m not particularly keen on “gay for you” stories. That point didn’t come across very believable for me at all. Logan never felt anything for a man before and then along comes Kaden. From then on, Logan acted as if it was the most natural thing in the world to fall in love with a “boy” (more to that in bit). He was surprised about himself, admittedly, but took it in stride. How come there was no concern whatsoever about what other people might think when he is all of a sudden in a gay relationship. We’re talking about a ranch owner in a small town in Montana here.  And what about the woman he has been going out with? As much as it is desirable that she understands the sudden switch to men and the resulting dumping of hers (that happened tacitly), is it realistic?

Contradictive behaviour & jealousy

In the hospital first Kaden finds Becca’s father reacting cold towards her. Given the situation that father must be a right ass. Later on however, he acted like you would expect him to react, so what was the cold, detached father thing about?

Logan’s jealousy didn’t sit well with me at all. Somehow that went against his character the rest of the time. When he gets into the hospital room and finds another man touching “his” Kaden he is angry about this. Why? It’s a physical therapist, for crying out loud. The same later again when they are in the recording studio. He wants to lock Kaden away from the world so nobody can steal him away from him? If I was Kaden I’d run as fast as I could.

Christine Feehan for the m/m crowd

One thing that sort of spoiled the story for me completely was the way Logan addressed or thought of Kaden as his “little one” or “the kid”. If you read hetero romance and love Christine Feehan and you feel like trying out m/m, go and read this book! I wish they wouldn’t  have called him a “teen” constantly. OK, he IS a teen technically, but did that have to be mentioned all the time? He is 19 at the start of the book (Logan is 9 years older), and even almost 2 years later he still is “the little one”. Sorry, but he is not.

I love books with a large age gap and I have read books with minors and the young age of characters never bothers me, but this constant focus on Kaden being a boy and Logan being the oh so big, strong adult really rubbed me up the wrong way.

All those things are depending on the individual reader (as almost everything is), so if you like a very tortured and sensitive hero, characters very devoted to each other and  a slowly building relationship this might be for you.

Title Touch me Gently
Author J. R. Loveless
Publisher Dreamspinner Press


Buy link Buy Touch me Gently

Barbed wire and bootheels

Blurb: What goes with Barbed Wire and Bootheels? Cowboys, of course. In Vic Winter’s Life on the Land, Jason has worked hard for his land, and for his life. Thank goodness he has Robin to share it all with him. Robin cares for him as much as he cares for his ranch, and he’s sure good things are on the way. In Ride ’em Cowboy by Lorne Rodman, Hue isn’t the only one at the rodeo and fair with an old-fashioned name. He might be a greenhorn, but he sure gets cowboy Chase’s attention. And in Too Careful by Half, by BA Tortuga, Sam and Beau from File Gumbo are learning how to deal with Sam’s terrible injury. And recovery. Earthy, rough and ready, and all cowboy, that’s what this Taste Test is all about.

My thoughts: This is another “Taste Test” by Torquere books (a previous one was Rainy days and Mondays) . Those taste tests are a good way to get acquainted with authors you haven’t read yet, a quick glimpse to see whether you like their style.

“Life on the Land” was just a short moment in the life of Jason and Robin. Nice, but too short really. I would like to know how those guys met and ended up together on the ranch.

“Too careful by half” is obviously some sort of sequel. I’m not sure I like the idea of putting a sequel into a Taste Test since without the knowledge of what happened beforehand (especially in this case) I was at a loss as to how to relate to those guys. I liked their interaction, admittedly, but as a sample of an author’s style a stand alone story would be better.

“Ride ‘em Cowboy” I liked best. It is the beginning of a possible relationship where the two characters meet for the first time, which I always prefer to already established couples. I also liked the atmosphere of the fair, rodeo and the general setting. I wonder whether the story will be continued. I’d get it immediately to find out more about Hue and Chase. Definitely need to check out Lorna Rodman’s backlist.

Barbed wire and bootheels is available at Torquere Books


Torn by Sage Whistler

Blurb: Josh and Jaime have always been different…from the rest of the world that is. To them, they are one and the same person. Born identical twins, even they have difficulty telling where one ends and the other begins. They know that their love for one another crosses all social boundaries, but living apart would kill them. Fearing the backlash of being discovered, they bide their time, and explore the new dynamics of their powerful relationship. 
But will they be Torn apart?

Review: There’s just something about twincest that makes the whole story much more interesting. The forbidden nature of the relationship and the efforts of the protagonists to hide it are probably a large part of the plot most of the time. I personally don’t see why twincest would be a problem anyway, if both partners are men. It’s not that there would be any offspring coming of it. As far as I am concerned they can love each other to their hearts content, and, well, they do.

I liked the interaction between Joshua and his brother. He had been suppressing his true feelings for Jaime for some time and was gobsmacked to find out that Jaime felt the same way.  With Joshua being the older, more sensible one, he always looked out for Jaime and it’s the same when it comes to their relationship. He initiates their first sexual encounter, he decides it’s time to come out to their brother and he was going to do it, if not for an annoying, interfering “friend” who makes a pass at Jaime and blurts the truth out to Emilio.

While reading you got the feeling that there really couldn’t be another partner for either of those two and hoped that everything would turn out ok for them. And, of course, it did.

BTW: This e-book needs some serious editing (more than most), so if you are even slightly pedantic, stay away from this!

Available at Cacoethes Publishing


Bound by Love by T. A. Chase

Blurb: Two cowboys fall in love. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

Tyler Newsome is heading home to the Lazy N, tired of the rodeo and tired of always being his charismatic twin’s shadow. It’s time he gets a life of his own—and maybe the man he’s always dreamed of, too.

Ren Alston’s always been attracted to Tyler, but never made a move because of his own mental and emotional baggage. But after years spent taming his demons and gaining control in every aspect of his life, Ren sees the younger man’s return as a sign of good things to come.

But first, they have to deal with Tyler’s twin, past indiscretions and Ren’s brothers. Will these cowboys manage to build a strong foundation of trust and love? Or will their problems be too much for them?

Review: Val from Obsidian Bookshelf read and reviewed this book recently. It sounded like a fun book, so I got it. Unfortunately I was disappointed with it. From Val’s review I knew that there was some potential for conflict that never developed fully. I don’t mind if conflict is only hinted at but put out of the way quickly in favour of focussing on the two main protags. In this case, the conflict that the blurb hinted at were practically non-existent and the romance between Ren and Tyler left me cold.


Tyler and Ren get into BDSM rather quickly. I’m not a big fan of BDSM, but I knew from Val that this was going to happen, so no complaints here. But I felt that this all happened way too fast. One time Ren orders Tyler to get naked and the next thing you know is that Tyler has always looked for a dominant in bed (which had never been even implied before). From there it is only a short time until Tyler gets tied up and whipped. It was just like they flipped a switch and from then on it was mostly sex BDSM style. That was too rushed for me. I just couldn’t get connected with those two guys.

The conflicts that were mentioned in the blurb? Not there.

OK, Tyler’s twin JT was a pain at first. He had seduced Ren at an earlier date just to hurt Tyler, but was used himself by Ren in the process, who didn’t feel worthy of Tyler and settled for the second best. He got on Tyler’s nerves quite a bit when he repeatedly came up with that old story, hinting that Ren only hooked up with Tyler, since JT was out of reach now. That got old pretty quickly, and all of a sudden JT apologizes for his bad behaviour, saying a friend has put him on the right track. What friend? It would have been good to see who it was who made JT see what an ass he is. The friend is never mentioned again, he’s a deus-ex-machina to get rid of the JT problem.

Ren’s brothers? Conveniently moved out of the way before they could pose any problem. Not that they would have; for two veterans suffering from PTSD they seemed uncomplicated enough. Isaiah supported Ren anyway and Keith was too wrapped up in his own world to oppose Ren’s plans. I didn’t even feel a need for them to be removed from the scene, but just to make sure no obstacle kept Tyler from moving in with Ren, they were dispatched to San Diego without opposition from their part.

The romance just wasn’t romantic enough for me. Ren and Tyler had been in love for a long time without acknowledging it loud and there was not much to develop. They more or less jumped into bed with each other, the BDSM didn’t do it for me, no conflict (internal or external) in sight, somehow there was nothing for me to get excited about.

Available at Samhain Publishing


Texas Glory by Lorraine Heath

Synopsis: Dallas Leigh is still looking for a wife. After he gave an annulment to Amelia so she could marry his brother Houston (see "Texas Destiny") he had hoped that he would find a wife who can give him a son among the women pouring into Leighton. However, women are scarce. It turns out his neighbors have a daughter they would willingly give to him in marriage in return for some land they were disputing over. Cordelia has lived an extremely sheltered life, never ventured outside the house and practically has no clue about life, except for caring for her father and brothers. Dallas has to win her trust and love before they can find true happiness.

Review: After reading "Texas Destiny" I already knew that Dallas would never be as wonderful a romance hero as Houston. The story sounded gripping enough, though. It sort of was, and then again, it wasn’t. Apart from his eagerness to have a son and heir Dallas is a perfectly good man who gives Cordelia all the freedom she wants, teaches her things she would have never dreamed of, gives her the possibility to realize her dreams and treats her like an equal (something she is not used to at all after living exclusively with her male relatives).
She adjusted to a certain extent to the new circumstances in her life and became quite entrepreneurial, but still she seems to be blind to her husband’s obvious affection, simply because he doesn’t express it verbally. Whatever he did for her she somehow appreciated but at the same time took for granted. This seems especially odd since until her marriage she lived in a house full of brutes who bossed her around without giving her any rights. Instead of being happy about the positive, albeit involuntary, change in her life she trembles from fear and longs to go back to her family. One would think that she’ll bend over backwards to stay with Dallas. Obviously she prefers a known evil to an unknown good.

It would seem that even a woman who has lived as secluded as she has, especially one who is a literate as she is, must have some notion about married life. Her innocence as to what Dallas felt during intercourse was unbelievable to me. Thank God Lorraine Heath did not drag this and other misunderstandings out for all eternity, but resolved them more or less speedily.
The whole story revolved around Cordelia’s misgivings about her supposed unfortunate situation and her fear inspiring husband. The lack of ability to communicate properly between h/h was almost painful.

Maybe my expectations after "Texas Destiny" were just too high, but "Texas Glory" certainly didn’t live up to them.



My outlaw by Linda Lael Miller

Synopsis: Keighly sees Darby for the first time when they are both around seven. She sees him through a mirror in her grandmother’s home that has been built on the site of The Blue Garter, a saloon cum brothel in the 19th century. In the course of the following years they meet off and on and communicate on a basic level with the help of written mirrored messages. When Keighly inherits her grandmother’s home she investigates and finds out – among other things concerning her own destiny – that Darby has died in 1887, the year he is living in now. She is determined to find a way to cross over
to his time and possibly save him from his fate.

Review: Even though the book opens with a prologue, Linda Lael Miller cuts right to the chase. In the prologue she tells us about Keighly’s childhood, her first meeting with Darby up to the time when Keighly inherits her grandmother’s house. The first chapter starts about 10 years later when Keighly visits the town of Redemption, Nevada, again and the story starts to flow from here until the end without a boring or redundant part.
I don’t want to discuss the ins and outs of time travel, because I’m pretty certain people would come up with all sorts of objections to the time travel adventures of Keighly. She goes back and forth a few times (but not in as nearly a mind boggling way as Henry in TTTW) and changes her own and Darby’s history as she goes along at each time, but really, who cares? I’m not reading a paper on physics, but a romance, and am willing to cut the author some slack.
Miller describes the chemistry between Keighly and Darby beautifully. To me, the scenes when they were separated by the mirror were even more sensual than the times when they were actually together. They truly were meant for each other.
All the secondary characters were extremely likeable, if not downright crucial for the happy ending. The story was just perfect all around. There was a slight inconsistency towards the end, when it turned out that Redemption didn’t have a paramedic team and a few pages later it was supposed to have an excellent one, but, really, this was such a minor point and had no relevance to the story.
An absolutely charming read which will definitely stay on my keeper shelf.



The heart breaker by Nicole Jordan

Synopsis: Sloan McCord needs a wife. Not for love but to take care of his infant daughter, to keep his household, to helm him campaigning and to warm his bed. Heather Ashford needs a husband to take care of her late father’s gambling debts. A friend of hers, Sloan’s sister in law, fixes them up and the deal is made. However, Heather falls deeply in love with Sloan who can’t accept this. He still loves his dead wife and is not interested in a new love and all its ramifications.

Review: OK, I loved the book, even though I can think of a lot of things that should have made me dislike it:

  • It starts with a sex scene which I hate. Sex without context does nothing for me. It turns out to be a dream of Sloan’s, but nevertheless.
  • Sloan is a real jerk. He thinks falling in love again is a betrayal to his wife (I can relate to that to an extent), but he sees no problem in sleeping with his new wife until the cows come home.
  • How he got a reputation to be a heart breaker I have no idea. He does seem to have some potential, but it hardly ever shows.
  • When drunk he makes Heather such an unspeakable offer, that I’d have left him for good – love or not.
  • Heather made him grovel way too little afterwards.
  • Heather was weak when it came to him. After their agreement not to touch each other again, it took virtually NOTHING to change her mind.

However, the story flowed smoothly for me and there were no stupid side plots that took attention from the main one. More than once I felt like taking Sloan and throttle him, but I liked him anyway. I loved the book, what can I say.