Review: “Sparkle and Shine” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Sparkle and Shine
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
LENGTH: 72 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book


All that glitters is not gold. No-frills cowboy Evan learned that lesson the hard way while married to a rodeo princess, a relationship that was all flash and no substance. At least Evan held on to his daughter, Cheyenne, and his best friend, Brooks, when the sparkle wore off and things fell apart. Life could be a lot worse.

But it could also be better… if Evan and Brooks took a step beyond friendship. Just as they start to explore their feelings, Evan’s ex-wife sticks her nose in to sabotage them. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and they have difficult choices to make about the rodeo, Cheyenne, and the romance they both want so badly to pursue.

2nd Edition

Sparkle and shine was a short but fun little read. Yes, the plot was obvious and predictable, and sometimes a little bit too sickly-sweet, but I did enjoy reading it in the small amount of time that it took.

Evan has been a single dad to his smart and adorable little girl, Cheyenne, since his ex-wife left them 5 years ago. He has taken part in the rodeo circuit for most of his life along with his best friend, Brooks. But Evan hasn’t been at his best lately and thinks that he’s getting too old to take part now. Evan believes it’s time to settle down because Cheyenne is getting older and needs more of an education than he can provide on his own. At the same time, this life is all he’s known, and he doesn’t know if he can just walk away, especially because that means that he won’t be with Brooks all of the time. Unknown to Brooks, Evan has been hiding the fact that he has had a crush on him for a quite a long time, and he’s finding it harder to keep those feelings at bay.

When Evan tells Brooks that he’s thinking of leaving the circuit, Brooks can’t believe what he’s hearing. He doesn’t want to do the circuit without Evan because he loves spending time and travelling around the country with him, but Brooks has also become very attached to Cheyenne, and leaving the little girl and her father behind would break his heart. As far as Brooks is concerned, they’re like a family to him because he’s got no one left of his own anymore. Brooks has also been trying to push back the strong feelings that he’s having towards Evan because one day he started to look at him as more than just his friend. But Brooks doesn’t want to do anything that will ruin the friendship/bond that he has with Evan either.

When a few drinks after a show in Vegas leads from one thing to another, Evan and Brooks realise that there is no going back to just being friends, and decide to explore where the journey of being lovers will take them. In their case, what happens in Vegas will not being staying in Vegas. But the two men have a few challenges to face along the way, including homophobia and an ex-wife who only cares about herself and what she can get.

This book was the first I’ve read by this author, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Both the characters and dialogue between them were really well written and felt true and natural. The accent and cowboy twang was very distinct in the writing and definitely added to how the story came across. I’m really glad I got the chance to read this book because it was a great little light-hearted, lift-your-spirits story that left me with a huge grin on my face and forgetting about all my worries when I was done.

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****


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