Review: “Sparkle and Shine” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Sparkle and Shine
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 72 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

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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Review: “Rescued” by Dakota Storm

TITLE: Rescued
AUTHOR: Dakota Storm
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: JMS Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Written Ink Designs
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 134 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 17, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Dean Montgomery loves his ranch and his family, but something is missing. When he sets out on a road trip to purchase land to expand his ranch, he finds himself stranded in a snowstorm.

When the sexy and gruff Colt James, a tracker and rescue worker, rescues Dean, both of their lives are turned upside down. Attraction sizzles, and hearts race. But then trouble brews, and Dean is needed back home. Can these two make their new relationship work?


I really enjoyed Rescued by Dakota Storm. I was entertained from the first word to the last. The characters were engaging and intriguing, and I loved how Colt interacted with his nephew Coop. I also loved how Dean interacted with Colt and Coop while waiting out the storm. It wasn’t an instant love type of feel but more like they had known each other forever kind of feel. The story’s well written and nicely edited, and I couldn’t get enough of these characters.

Dean and his brother, Randy, and Randy’s family have a ranch in Hot Springs. They train horses and raise beef and dairy cattle. Their deadbeat dad ended up leaving them at their grandparents one summer when they were visiting them. So their grandparents ended up raising them. As they grew up, they worked hard to make the ranch the success that it is today. But Dean’s restless and would like to work more hands on with the ranch like when he was growing up instead of the supervisor role that he has today. So he jumps at the chance to go and look at a piece of land that they have had their eye on when the price is reduced. However, on his way back home, his truck ends up breaking down and leaves him stranded 5 miles outside of Laramie in the middle of a blizzard that has already left a foot of snow on the ground. Dean’s choices are to stay and freeze in his truck on a back country road or try to walk back to Laramie in the snow. Dean opts for the walk, but he doesn’t make it.

Colt and Coop are making their way home from town when Colt sees a guy sitting on a tree stump on the side of the road. Colt rescues Dean and gets him back to his rustic cabin in the backwoods of Wyoming where they wait out the storm.
Colt’s a handyman, ex-military, and the best tracker in the area. He’s also the guardian to his nephew after his ornery drunk bastard of a brother, Travis, died. Travis didn’t want his son to be raised by his ornery drunk bastard of a father. Colt’s done a wonderful job raising Coop into a bright young thirteen-year-old. Although Coop’s very wise beyond his years, he does tend to run his uncle ragged as only a horny teenager can. And I laughed at some of the situations that Coop gets caught in.

I enjoyed getting to see Colt put his search and rescue and tracking skills to good use a couple of times in this book. The situations that arise and the addition of a teenager in the house makes for a slow burn romance between Colt and Dean, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any hot scenes because there are plenty. Colt and Dean may have both come from messed up parents, but that didn’t stop them from being good people and making family an important part of their lives.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “Riding the Circuit” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Riding the Circuit
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Riding Cowboy Flats
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Western, Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 73 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 e-book
  

BLURB:

Rodeo cowboy Frost Barton spends most of his time on tour, and that’s the way he likes it. But when his dad dies suddenly, Frost returns to southern New Mexico to attend the funeral and help his mom decide what to do with their small family ranch. Frost is already considering retiring from bull riding and planting his itchy feet in the ground. Meeting horse trainer Matt Morales just adds another pull in that direction, though Frost still isn’t sure he’s ready to give up the circuit—even if Matt makes settling down look mighty tempting.

Matt is old enough to know better, but he falls for Frost anyway. They only have so much time to spend together before Frost goes back on tour, but Matt believes they might have something special. He keeps the home fires burning while Frost earns his living, but Matt hopes he can convince Frost to come home—to stay.


Riding the Circuit by Julia Talbot is the third book in the Riding Cowboy Flats series. This is a great cowboy book. It was short enough to read in one sitting and held my attention from the first page to the last. The book was well written and nicely edited. The dialogue between the characters was witty and had me smiling and laughing on more than one occasion and had some very spicy scenes too.

Frost Barton’s a professional bull rider. A profession that isn’t supported by his hometown or the fact that he’s gay. He takes a lot of ribbing from the old timers and some of the bolder bullies. So he’s stayed away from home as a result. But he’s forced back to his family home to take care of his mom and the family ranch. But he’s going to have to deal with some feelings of worthlessness and frustration over the fact that his mother didn’t tell him that his father was sick so that he could make amends.
Matt Morales’ a horse trainer who had been hired by Frost’s dad to take care of the ranch when he got sick. He’s there to be a friend and confidant to Frost and help him figure out what he should do with his life and the ranch. He’s also great at tempering Frost’s hot-headedness.

I loved the chemistry between Matt and Frost. I also loved that the men were older more experienced men which’s a nice change from a lot of western books. I also liked that Matt being older than Frost had already gone through having to come home to take over the family ranch and caring for the remaining parent and so he was able to help Frost with sorting out his own family crisis. He’s also there to help support his decision to finish out his bull riding circuit and watch over his mom and the ranch.
Riding the Circuit’s a standalone book. You don’t have to read the other two books in the series to understand and enjoy what’s happening in this book. However, the other two books main characters are friends of Frost and Matt, and they do make cameos in this book, so reading the other two books could only enhance your reading experience.

That being said, I can’t wait to go back and read the first two books in the series and see how Tate and Dave from Jackass Flats and Herschel and Dalton from Just a Cowboy meet and fall in love.

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

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“Into The Sunset” by Piper Kay

TITLE: Into The Sunset
AUTHOR: Piper Kay
SERIES: Eight Second Cowboy
PUBLISHER: Encompass Ink, Crushing Hearts, and Black Butterfly Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Carrie Jax
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 175 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 7, 2017
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

Matt Stephens has always found it hard to let people in. Ever since he was a child, the only person he’s been able to count on, is his best friend, Mindy. Now, with Lance in his life, he is trying to make it work, especially with the life changing event that is about to take place. However, before that happens, all Matt wants is to retire from the rodeo circuit a champion, with his reputation intact and then ride off into the sunset. Sometimes, the things we want, aren’t really what we need… And sometimes the things we think we need are beyond our grasp…


Piper Kay has topped herself. If you thought Eight Second Cowboy was good then this one will blow you away. There is so much more to Matt and Lance that gets discovered.

The rodeo is a hard living. Made harder when you are trying to keep their relationship a secret only makes it harder. Add in the fact that Mindy is due any day, there is a lot of pressure on these guys. Not to mention the worry they feel not going together so they can make sure Mindy is never left alone.
When tragedy strikes it affects the guys differently. While one is shutting down, the other tries to be supportive and keep the home running. With all the pressure and pain it is hard to communicate how they feel. Somehow they make it though.

This was one of those highly emotional reads that not only will have you chuckling, but will also have you in tears. It does what we want a great read to do. It has characters you can connect with, deeply felt emotions so you can purge yours with, and a happy ending that will leave you with a contented smile.

Piper Kay has definitely made a big fan out of me with this series. When I look for a cowboy book this is what I want. Realistic cowboys who also love men. You can tell Piper either knew or researched thoroughly the rodeo life. The proof is in the details.

I look forward to reading her other series.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Just a Cowboy” By Julia Talbot

TITLE: Just a Cowboy
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: Riding Cowboy Flats
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 88 pages
RELEASE DATE: April 5, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

2nd Edition

Can an old-fashioned cowboy and a young man on the run from his dark past find a future together?

Herschel is a simple rancher who believes everybody deserves a second chance, which is why he tends to hire underdogs—like Dalton, a young cowboy who needs all the support and TLC Herschel can offer.

Dalton doesn’t think anyone can forgive him for what he did, but Herschel seems willing to try. In fact, he might be the best thing that has ever happened to Dalton. He might even be the one to help Dalton trust in the future again. Just when he’s about to tell Herschel everything, all hell breaks loose. Herschel must help Dalton break free from everything that’s haunting him, or they’ll both end up alone.

First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2010.


Even though this is the second book in the series, it can be a standalone. Book one was on Tate and Dave, which are in this book briefly but did not hinder this book at all for me.

Herschel is a good ole cowboy in his thirties that runs a ranch for him and his sister. The one thing I love about cowboys is their big hearts and the way the help others in bad situations, Herschel is no different. He believes people deserve a second chance and hires his right hands that are such people.

This is where the author introduces us to Dalton. He’s a 28-year-old cowboy on the run from his past. He’s a hot ginger with freckles and all. He believes his past is so horrible, that no one can ever know the real him. Dalton is attracted to this big cowboy, but Herschel keeps trying to ask questions. Dalton can’t reveal his real self and tends to run back to the bunkhouse.

This couple is a very sweet and charming couple. Herschel is very understanding and thinks Dalton’s problems are not as dramatic as he makes them out to be due to his age. The age references was the only thing that really bothered me. These two are not even 10 years apart but Herschel is made out to be this old man and Dalton is made to be a kid.

I really enjoyed how the author lets these two build their trust of one another. Trust is huge in relationships, and these two have definitely built trust between them. They even start planning holidays together. That is until Dalton’s sister shows up and Dalton just leaves with her.

Herschel shows Dalton what it’s like to have someone stand behind you no matter what. I recommend this for anyone who enjoys sexy cowboys and an endearing love story.

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

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