Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tour Book Review/Giveaway!! Good Time Cowboy, by Maisey Yates



Good Time Cowboy
(Gold Valley, Book 3)
Maisey Yates
Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
HQN
August 21, 2018
Contemporary Fiction, 
Contemporary Romance


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37570640-good-time-cowboy?ac=1&from_search=true







Note
I received a copy of this book from 
TLC Book Tours in return for my honest review. 
All opinions are my own.

This book includes a bonus novella by Yates, titled
"Hard Riding Cowboy", which I will be
reviewing separately.


It's been a while since I last read a good cowboy romance, so I was really looking forward to this one. The cover certainly looked appealing! (Especially with such a good-looking dude on it!) So I dove in with great enthusiasm.

The protagonists, Lindy Parker and Wyatt Dodge, are two scrappers who have literally pulled themselves up by their bootstraps. Lindy has done her utmost to overcome the label of "trailer trash", as well as the bad memories from her first marriage, which, paradoxically, has given her a new passion: "Grassroots", a winery, which has become her new life. Wyatt has his ranch, "Get Out of Dodge", passed on to him by his father, which he feels is a test of his ability to assume responsibility, a challenge not to disappoint his father. He, too, has bad memories of a relationship through which he feels he betrayed someone he loved very dearly.

Both of these people have been broken by events in their past, suffering greatly in the process. And both have seized life anew, with the determination to go beyond their individual histories into a brand new future. However, they have not remained unscathed, so they have each erected barriers that will actually make it difficult for each of them to find new love and happiness.

So this is the story of how those barriers finally crumble, how they gradually learn to trust and love again. It's also the story of how they learn to love themselves, just as they are.

Yates, through her wonderful prose, lets us into the heads of these two characters, and we see their gradual ascent out of their painful pasts, as together, they confront their issues. There's a lot of psychological detail about these two, something that not everyone might like, but which I enjoyed immensely! Yates has a profound knowledge of the human psyche, and it really shows. She gets right in there, letting her readers see and feel how these two characters think, how things affect them, how their psychological defenses get in the way of finding true love, and finally, beautifully, how they abandon these defenses, becoming totally vulnerable toward each other. I could not help shedding a few tears at certain points, although Yates was never maudlin in her descriptions. Instead, she spoke truth -- the truth of the inner self. 

Lindy and Wyatt have decided to become partners; he will provide guest lodging at his ranch, while she will provide the wine and food for his guests. Throughout this partnership, they will bicker and throw down challenges to each other. But flowing hotly underneath their verbal sparring is a passion that will not be denied. And so they end up becoming lovers, much as each of them would like to avoid it. That's the fun of the whole thing!

Wyatt likes to irritate Lindy, although in a rather playful way. He tells her she's too "bound by the rules", and needs to loosen up. Lindy, on the other hand, knows that Wyatt is trying to hide a gentle, loving nature with his devil-may-care attitude, and his reputation as a womanizer. So this is an "enemies to lovers" romance, which is a well-known trope used in romance novels. It's also one I never get tired of, and totally love!

Rounding out the cast of characters are Lindy's beloved brother, Dane, who, like Wyatt before him, is a bull rider, Lindy's ex-sisters-in-law, who have sided with Lindy against their own brother, Damien, who is a real scumbag, and Lindy's ex-husband; Wyatt's father, who is trying to make amends for neglecting Wyatt in the past, and Lindy's mother, who also neglected her daughter, and is starting to mend her ways, as well.

This is a novel that will appeal to romantic idealists (like me!), and will provide hours of totally riveting reading, as the romance progresses, and the reader is treated to all the psychological nuances of this turbulent, but wonderful, relationship. In spite of this turbulence, there's not a hint of abuse, nor any romanticizing of abuse, in this story. There are romantic authors who do engage in such storytelling, and I totally avoid them. Instead of any such romanticizing, the reader will find pages and pages of great, witty dialogue, as well as those hit-the-nail-on-the-head psychological insights that give depth to the story.

I do have one quibble with this novel, which is the reason for the four stars: at a crucial point in the story, Lindy chooses to spend time with her boyfriend, rather than with her brother, who is going through a life-threatening trauma. This really bothered me, to be quite honest. 

In spite of this, I still recommend Good Time Cowboy as a great romantic read! Pick it up the next time you want to disappear from your own world, and enter one in which happily-ever-afters are won after the necessary inner work is done, after insights and revelations are acknowledged, and opposing viewpoints are sealed with a kiss!

Yates has found a new fan! I will certainly be reading more of her books!

MY RATING:




Purchase Links




***This giveaway is sponsored by TLC Book Tours, 
so the prize will be awarded by them.***







New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maisey Yates lives in rural Oregon with her three children and her husband, whose chiseled jaw and arresting features continue to make her swoon. She feels the epic trek she takes several times a day from her office to her coffee maker is a true example of her pioneer spirit.

In 2009, at the age of twenty-three, Maisey sold her first book. Since then it’s been a whirlwind of sexy alpha males and happily ever afters, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. Maisey divides her writing time between dark, passionate category romances set just about everywhere on earth and light sexy contemporary romances set practically in her back yard. She believes that she clearly has the best job in the world.





To access the whole tour schedule, just click on the button below!

https://tlcbooktours.com/2018/07/maisey-yates-author-of-good-time-cowboy-on-tour-august-september-2018/





Sunday, September 16, 2018

Shelf Candy Saturday No. 262: Pride, by Ibi Zoboi



Welcome to Shelf Candy Saturday!



***Late Edition***
This is my weekly feature
showcasing beautiful covers!
It also provides information, 
if available, on their 
very talented creators!



Here's my choice for this week!



Pride
Ibi Zoboi
Hardcover, 304 pages
Balzer + Bray
September 18 , 2018
Classics Retellings, Contemporary Fiction,
Diverse Reads, Romance,
Young Adult Fiction

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37677964-pride





My Thoughts About This Cover

Well. This cover just totally FLOORED me! Absolutely! I have never ever seen anything like this before! It's not only STUNNING, but visually innovative. Music to my eyes! Lol.

The combination of elements here -- traditional versus contemporary, has created a powerful visual statement that depicts -- without words -- the whole concept of this novel. 

The gilded, 19th-century-style ornamental design for the entire cover speaks of Old World money, while that bright blue, graffiti-style title refers to the brashness of contemporary street art styles that were born in "the 'hood". These are symbolic of two very different worlds colliding. It's a brilliant metaphor for the two very different people who are depicted in this novel -- a novel that revisits Austen's Pride and Prejudice in contemporary, New World terms.

I LOVE the cameo portraits of the protagonists -- Darius Darcy and Zuri Benitez. They defiantly stare at each other, as if daring each other to "try anything funny". The fact that there's a barrier between them -- an ornamental design, resembling a coat of arms -- is perfectly emblematic of the apparent gulf separating these two. Both of these romantic antagonists have a lot of pride, and it's very evident in their individual portraits.

I also LOVE the gilded design of the whole cover! It reminds me of traditional frames for Old Master paintings, as well as the designs included on Baroque ceiling paintings found in many European castles and mansions. It's SO very lovely!

There are actually three people responsible for this GORGEOUS cover. One of them is the cover designer, Jenna Stempel-Lobell. She works for HarperCollins. She details her search for the perfect combination of artists for this cover in the Spine Magazine article, referenced below. This search led her to realistic illustrator T.S. Abe, who created the cameo portraits, and Billelis, a freelance 3D illustrator and art director, who created the rest of the cover. Both of these artists are from the UK, and based there, as well.

T.S. Abe is a graduate of Central Saint Martins University of the Arts. Her detailed, brilliantly executed, and powerful, realistic drawings have been featured on album covers, exhibitions, and even a London bus. She has also exhibited at Electric Blue Gallery, and has been featured in Dazed and Confused Magazine. 

Billelis (this is a pseudonym from his graffiti art days) is known for his intricately detailed style, just as powerful as T.S. Abe's drawings. He also tends to prefer macabre subject matter. Thankfully, nothing macabre is evident in this beautiful, graceful cover. 

This is truly an AMAZING cover! The plot synopsis, which you can read on Goodreads, shows that the novel is just as amazing. I can't wait to add this book to my collection! Of course, the artists are already part of my ever-growing list of brilliant cover artists!

 


Online Links








What do you think of 
this week's cover?
Please leave a comment
and let me know!








Saturday, September 15, 2018

Book Blogger Hop No. 142: My Most Detested Author!



Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @


For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.


This Week's Question

What author do you not read
and why?

(Submitted  by Elizabeth @


WARNING!!!
Some of you may not be aware that I DESPISE the horror genre, and there's one specific author that I DETEST above any other horror writer. In this post, I totally rip both the genre and the author apart. If you happen to love horror, then read no further. I have every right to express my opinions. I don't want to antagonize anyone, but I feel VERY strongly about this! 
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!!


My Answer

Although I can mention a few authors I refuse to read, the one who tops the list is....STEPHEN KING. What?! I can almost hear the shocked, outraged whispers from horror fans. Lol. But the thing is, I am most definitely NOT a horror fan. My buddy Barb, over at Booker T's Farm, knows this VERY well! I comment on her "Can't Wait Wednesday" posts every week, and she usually picks horror novels. So, when I write these comments, I include funny sentences such as, "This one makes me quake in my boots!" or "Just call me Chicken Little!" Lol. So Barb knows just how I feel about the horror genre.

Interestingly, she did get me to read ONE horror novel recently, and there were even ZOMBIES in it!! However, and it's a BIG "however", this novel, which was a buddy read for us, was not that big on the horror elements. In fact I would call it "horror lite". (Maybe I've coined a new expression, huh? Lol.) 

The novel we read was Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland, and I LOVED it. Why? Because it was more of a scathing condemnation of racism, aimed at our own current political climate, than a real horror novel. The female protagonist is a kick-butt, no-nonsense person. And, interestingly enough, the novel also packed a lot of snarky humor. I totally enjoyed reading this book!

But back to ol' Stephen. Yes, I refuse to read his books, and one of the reasons (there are several others, which I will mention below) is that I happened to come across a short story of his once, and was dumb enough to read it..... Lol.

I remember mentioning this story, and detailing the plot, in a previous Book Blogger Hop post. For those who might not have read that post, here's the quote about this story:

"For some reason, I don't remember the title. Unfortunately, I DO remember the plot..... Here is a condensed version: a family moves into a dream home in a beautiful valley where everything is just WONDERFUL. Of course, it's all too good to be true. The price for this paradise-on-earth is a yearly sacrifice to the Devil.... So the family manages to escape one night, with only the clothes on their backs, and they start hitchhiking. They are eventually picked up by a van driven by a middle-aged, friendly hippie couple. Ah, King finally writes a happy ending, right? NOT. Everyone is merrily chatting away,  enjoying themselves, when, without warning, the cute little hippie couple turn into two DEMONS, and the van into a gigantic MOUTH that swallows up the entire family...."

Okay, so there you have it. THAT was enough Stephen King for me, thank you very much! If you would like to read the entire blog post this quote is taken from, you will find it HERE.

I think the above story is the product of a sick mind. It's the type of stuff a serial killer would dream up. It's disgusting, sadistic, and just pure EVIL. I can't take reading such things, not only because I'm squeamish, but also because I think writing these kinds of stories shows a total lack of compassion and basic human decency. 

That's precisely the thing about Stephen King. He apparently thrives on writing stories and novels that describe, in the goriest, most sickeningly repulsive ways, the terror and suffering undergone by his characters. To me, it seems as if Adolf Hitler had decided to pen the most horrifying incidents that ever took place in his concentration camps, and actually ENJOYED doing so. And, of course, made money doing so.  The fact that King writes fiction has no bearing on the matter. It sounds as if it's REAL, repulsively so.

I realize that this man has many fans. Well, you were all warned at the beginning of this post. I DETEST the entire horror genre!! But, most of all, I emphatically and unapologetically state this: I.HATE.STEPHEN.KING. Well, actually, I HATE his books. However, I could NEVER be friends with someone who writes such sick, twisted stuff, and makes a living by doing so.

I can simply conclude that yes, he does write very well. But that's IT. That story of his turned my stomach.

Last but not least, in case anyone should then say, "Aha! But you love reading vampire fiction!", I will reply that I love reading about ROMANTIC vampires. There's a BIG difference. Furthermore, these vamps fall into the category of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, NOT horror. (I'm thinking specifically of The Twilight Saga, as well as the Vampire Academy series.) One more thing: in urban fantasy, the good guys DO win in the end. In the horror genre, this is usually NOT the case. The story above is a case in point.

The PNR/UF authors I enjoy reading are Stephenie Meyer, Richelle Mead, Christine Feehan, Lynsay Sands, Kerrelyn Sparks,  and Amanda Ashley. Some of the vamps in these stories (the ones by Sands and Sparks), believe me, are NOT "Dracula-type" vamps. They are romantic, and even funny. 

Thanks to a co-worker, I have discovered The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, and have read the first book, Eighth Grade Bites, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Yes, this series is about a teen vamp. It's written by Heather Brewer (a pseudonym for a writer actually named Zac Brewer). So now I've added yet another vamp series to my faves! (Of the kind that don't make me cringe in abject fear!)




What are your thoughts on
this topic?
If you're participating in this hop,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!!