Friday, August 17, 2018

Series Recap Tour: Montana Series by RJ Scott (Reviews+Giveaway)

Montana Series now Available in Kindle Unlimited

Book #1 - Crooked Tree Ranch - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #2 - The Rancher's Son - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #3 - A Cowboy's Home - Amazon US | Amazon UK
Book #4 - Snow In Montana - Amazon US - Amazon UK
Book #5 - Second Chance Ranch - Out August 28 - All Info Here

Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana #1)

The Cowboy and the City Slicker.

On the spur of the moment, with his life collapsing around him, Jay Sullivan answers an ad for a business manager with an expertise in marketing, on a dude ranch in Montana.

With his sister, Ashley, niece, Kirsten and nephew, Josh, in tow, he moves lock stock and barrel from New York to Montana to start a new life on Crooked Tree Ranch.

Foreman and part owner of the ranch, ex rodeo star Nathaniel 'Nate' Todd has been running the dude ranch, for five years ever since his mentor Marcus Allen became ill.

His brothers convince him that he needs to get an expert in to help the business grow. He knows things have to change and but when the new guy turns up, with a troubled family in tow - he just isn't prepared for how much.

3.75 Stars!

This book is a good setup for the rest of the series. Nate, his brothers, and his mentor Marcus own and run a dude ranch. Having financial issues, Marcus suggests getting someone who can help market the ranch better. Having to make changes and find someone to help them turn things around is not sitting well with Nate, especially when the person Marcus hires is coming from New York City and knows nothing about ranches. Jay lost his job at a big firm and is scrambling to find a new job to help support his sister, niece, and nephew who live with him. Not finding anything and hoping to give them all a new start, he accepts the temporary position at the ranch.

I initially wasn't too sure how I was going to feel about this book. There is a lot going on at the ranch, including a past incident that needs some resolution. Jay's sister and niece also were question marks for me at the beginning. However, once Jay and his family got to Montana and started settling in, I warmed up to the characters. Jay, while unsure about the scope of the project he finds himself with, goes about learning everything he can to help the ranch out. I enjoyed how he threw himself into the job and his determination and quick learning, which also helps change Nate's first impression of Jay. Nate was a little tough to like at the beginning, he's got too much stress from wanting to save the ranch himself, even while knowing he doesn't have the skills to do so. I liked when he started to open up to Jay and show his vulnerability a bit. I really enjoyed how Jay reeled him in. Jay is a force of nature, and I really liked his character.

The secondary characters, Nate's brothers, Marcus, and Jay's family play a prominent role in the story as things unfold. Sometimes it felt like these characters and others that were mentioned (but didn't appear in this book), took precedence over Jay and Nate's story. As it is the first book and clearly setting up the rest of the series, it was understandable that there were a number of story threads that were introduced, but not expanded on yet. All in all, I enjoyed it once I got past my initial reservations.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4.5 stars 

I really enjoyed this sweet and well-written story! We meet Nate and his family for the first few chapters, and he was an easy character to like. This was a first-time author for me, and they did a great job of introducing the characters and storyline to keep me interested. I thought I was only going to get Nate's POV, but then we meet Jay and he was just an easy character to like. We quickly learn that both characters are in tough situations and I just immediately felt so much for them.

This story was the perfect combination of sexual tension, sass, humor and sweetness. I really liked the setting of the ranch and all that came with it. The story is focused on Nate and Jay but we see them in many different situations. We see them working together for the ranch, them spending time with their families, and spending time together and getting to know one another. And all of those things are closely related. This was an easy to read book with easy to like characters all around. I did not want this book to end! When I got to 90% I was sad that I only had a little bit left of these guys! I cannot wait to read more from this series and this author!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.

~ 4.5 Stars Overall (book & audio) ~

This book is great, a really good introduction to the start of this Montana series. RJ Scott writes the best books! The characters in all of this author’s series so far have been well developed, and the books usually have a sweet, interesting and fun feel to them without a whole lot of unnecessary angst. And I feel like in this book specifically, we get a definite family vibe included as well since we learn about all of the extended family members, too; it’s not just focused on the two main characters. I liked this series enough after I read the first few books that now the audio is out for the first few in this series are out I had to add those to my library too so I can listen to this series as well as read them.

Nate and his two brothers (Gabe and Luke) own one-third of Crooked Tree Ranch. They end up needing some extra help getting the word out about the ranch in order to increase their revenue to keep from losing the ranch and everything they’ve ever known. That’s where Jay comes in. Jay and his Sister Ashley, and her two kids decide to make the move to Crooked Tree when Jay gets laid off his previous job. It’s hilarious to see how they move from the “Big City” to experiencing ranch life first hand. Jay and Nate have a really funny and awkward first and second encounter with each other creating some instant dislike. But it’s fun watching them trying to work together, navigating their relationship, thoughts and feelings and then bending to each other’s ideas of what would work best in bringing the ranch into the future to make more sales. This book is pretty short with how much is packed into it. We get the background story for the main characters in this book. We get a cute added bonus watching the relationship of Gabe and Ashley grow without taking away from Jay and Nate’s story. As well as getting set up with the backstory of some of the smaller characters we will see in the next few books as well. Overall, I really liked this one and think it was decently paced with a good premise and storyline. From previously reading these (to now listening to the audio) we get a really solid series with this set of books.

Audio – Sean Crisden is amazing. I have not been disappointed with any of the books I’ve heard him narrate so far. He’s a great narrator with the perfect tone and has consistent voices for all of the characters no matter what gender or what personality they have. I look forward to listening to the rest of this series with him as the narrator.

The Rancher's Son (Montana #2)

A man without memories, and the cop who never gave up hope.

When he wakes up in the hospital, the victim of a brutal beating, John Doe has no memories of who he is or who hurt him. The cops can find nothing to identify him and he can't remember anything to help... except the name Ethan and one recurring place from his dreams. Two words, and they're not much, but it's a start: Crooked Tree.

Detective Ethan Allens has never stopped searching for the two boys who vanished. When a report lands on Ethan's desk that may give new leads, he jumps at the chance to follow them up. The man he finds isn't his brother, but it's someone who could maybe help him discover what happened twelve years ago.

What neither man can know is that facing the very real demons of the past could destroy any kind of future they may have together.

3.5 Stars!

This book, as well as the others in the series, should not be read out of order. In this book, we get to know Ethan, Marcus's son. He is a cop and doesn't want to be part of the ranch. He's been searching for his long-lost brother and his brother's best friend, Adam, for years. When he gets a call about a John Doe in Chicago, badly beaten who says his name and Crooked Tree Ranch, he heads to the hospital hoping to find his brother. He finds Adam instead. Adam has a severe case of amnesia. He wakes up in the hospital after a beating with no identity and no memories. When Ethan comes in and recognizes him, he isn't sure what to think. In pain and lost without his identity, he still feels safe with Ethan.

I was conflicted about this story in some ways. I had a hard time with both men having a connection that spanned not only years, but years of lost memories. However, I was happy to see that they had a connection that strong. As I got to know Ethan, I liked his strength, conviction, and character. He is determined to find his brother, but also to connect with Adam, his lost first love. I felt for Adam. I can't imagine what it would be like to be in his shoes. I loved that even as his memories start working their way back, he follows his feelings and intuition about the people around him. I am concerned about how their relationship and feelings may change if Adam recovers more of his memories of his time away from the ranch. I also wasn't particularly enamored with Marcus in this book and the strained relationship that Marcus and Ethan have. I was hoping that they would work their issues out a little better than they did.

This story is a nice addition to the series and we get to know more of the characters as well as see Jay and Nate's relationship grow. If you're a fan of soul mates or love that can't be broken, this story is for you.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4.5 stars 

We learn about Ethan on book one in this series but did not meet him at all. So he was basically a mystery before reading this book. And I am SO glad I read this book! It was heartbreaking and beautiful but also mysterious and kept me guessing and wanting more.

Both Ethan and Adam grow so much throughout this story. The journey that Adam and Ethan go on, especially Adam, was hard to read at times but so worth it. I wanted to bad for Adam to get all of his memories back. I was invested in their story. It was nice to see Ethan and Adam go back to Crooked Tree Ranch and how it affected both of them.

So many questions were answered by the end of this book but also so many new questions appeared. This is a great series so far and I am eager to get the next story!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4.5 stars overall

This book “The Rancher's Son” is a continuation of Book one, Crooked Tree Ranch. While book one was more family-oriented giving us some of the backstory for these families and the ranch and what they have all been through over the years, this book is more mysterious and suspenseful. It keeps you entertained and guessing what will happen from one page to the next. This author just has a way with words, making every word count in the process of giving us great books we will remember. We always get a flawless connection between all of the books in each series RJ Scott puts out from start to finish.

Ethan has been estranged from his family and Crooked Tree for years. He’s never given up hope that he will find his brother Justin, and Justin’s friend, Adam, since they disappeared without a trace 10+ years before, and has spent his life as a police officer since then looking for them both. My heart hurt for Ethan just knowing how much he’s been suffering in wondering what happened to them, and not being able to do anything more to find them and that Ethan’s dad acted so horrible to him afterward causing the discord between their families. But once Adam re-appears things start to clear up and fences start to get mended.

Adam has amnesia from an event that landed him in the hospital as a John Doe, leading a surprised and thankful Ethan directly to him. But over time, Adam starts remembering small details of his past and the time he was away. I love that Ethan was basically the only thing Adam initially remembered, it just shows us that no matter what happens and how long you’re gone there’s still a chance you can find your way home to the person you love. I really enjoyed the story for these two characters and how their love just seemed to grow and last no matter what happened and how much time passed it was a nice slow build up to some true lasting love in this book. The story for the two men ends on a decent note with an even better lead up into what could/might just happen next; in the third book of this series.

Audio – Another great narration by Sean Crisden. I really don’t think I’ve heard a narration that I haven’t liked from him before even after a dozen or more audiobooks. He’s a really solid narrator and seems to put 100% into each book making sure we get the correct voices for each of the characters.

A Cowboy's Home (Montana #3)

One burned and broken man finds his way home. Can he find peace in the arms of a man easy to love?

Justin made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, battling domestic terrorism, never the man he really was, using hate to avenge the death of his best friend. The friend he'd killed.

What he doesn’t count on is getting shot, and if he's going to die he wants it to be on Crooked Tree soil. Home.

Sam is as much a part of Crooked Tree as any of the families, and the offer to buy into the ranch is a dream come true. But falling for a hidden, secretive, injured man isn’t the way to keep his head in the game.

3.5 Stars!

Sam, the chef at the restaurant on the ranch, is looking for a family and home to call his own. He is happy when the owners of the ranch offer to keep him there permanently. When he accidentally finds an injured, hostile man in a dilapidated cabin on the ranch, he has no idea the can of worms he has stumbled upon. Justin came home to die on Montana ground. He doesn't want to endanger his family and friends by getting to close, but can't bring himself to stay away either. Sam finding him was an unexpected turn of events.

Justin knows all the details that Adam can't remember and is burdened heavily by guilt. He doesn't want to trigger memories in Adam that are best left forgotten. While he wants to be at the ranch, his past could lead to the deaths of all those he holds dear. As he tries to navigate reuniting with his family and friends from his childhood, he's also trying to recover physically. The one bright spot is Sam, who stays by his side and helps act as a neutral barrier between the rest of the ranch and Justin. I could see why Justin felt the way that he did about everything. I can also understand how everyone at the ranch would be shocked and happy to see him no matter the circumstances. While the story could have felt overridden by angst, there was a nice balance to it.

I liked Sam. He's a bright personality who hides his own pain. I love how he flirted and made people smile in the previous book. He's the kind of person that I would love to have around as a friend. He's caring and the amount of effort and care he takes not only with Justin, but all the others at the ranch was endearing. I loved how he managed to handle all the tension-filled situations and the people within them in a manner that let everyone have their moment and dignity. These two are opposites in a lot of ways, but I think Sam was able to see past the mask that Justin wore and see the caring man underneath. I did have a hard time understanding where Sam and Justin made such a strong connection. The brightness of Sam clearly balances out the darkness of Justin, but while I can see that they worked as a couple, I just didn't feel their connection forming as well as I did in the other books.

I liked that most of the story arcs were finally dealt with for the most part by the end of this story. Although I hope that we see Rob again and get more about him and his past at some point.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4 stars 

I enjoyed this book and story but have to say that the tone of the first 3/4ths of it is super melancholy. It was heartbreaking and while we do not see a lot of dark things on the page, just seeing Justin in the state he is in, both physically and mentally, is hard. Seeing his friends and family around him and their reactions is also really hard. Justin is stubborn and wants to continue to live alone as he seems to think it will be easier on everyone. While everyone else wants the opposite.

I would say that Sam helped lighten this book a little bit. His compassion and unwavering support played a big role in this story. The writing was great and while I think the pacing of the book made sense to the story and the characters, I wanted just a little bit more of the MCs together and happy. This book was really more of a continuation of the storyline from the previous books and answering a lot of those questions that we were left with at the end of book 2. The romance was more of a sideline story.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.

4.5 Stars Overall (book/audio)

This is the 3rd book in the Montana series. I would not really consider this book a stand-alone. I think you need to at least read book 2 first at the minimum so you can get the full impact of the background of what has happened so far and led these men to where they are at now. Every book in this series has been great so far though, so reading them all is definitely a good idea, in my opinion. I’m also really not sure which book is my favorite yet in this series, it just keeps changing as I get through each book. So I have to say that I’ve liked them all pretty equally so far, but all for different reasons and for the different characters we get. I like how this whole series has played out up to this point. The author has really set up all the books and characters nicely to lead from one book to the next and I always look forward to getting the next book and seeing where that one will lead us.

This is Justin’s book, we get to learn more about him and where he has been the past 12 or so years after he and Adam (from book 2) disappeared when they were teenagers. I really feel bad for Justin in this book. That he’s had to deal with the guilt of thinking that Adam was dead and that it was his fault, to learning the truth of what actually happened and led him to this point in life had to be really hard for him. I loved that he had an instant connection with Sam when they meet even with all the drama surrounding what happens (I don't want to give more details and spoil it) and that they were able to make it work with everything that was going on in the background and all the family issues as well. After meeting Sam in the first two books as the cook at Crooked Tree, and then learning about his past and his horrible family life in this book, I was really excited he was able to get the HEA he deserves and I think that Justin and Sam fit perfectly together.

Audio – Like with the other books in this series, Sean is a solid narrator and makes sure that each character has the correct voices and tone used for their personalities and the tone of where the book is taking us. I really enjoyed listening to this book as well as the first two in this series and look forward to the next few as well.

Snow In Montana (Montana #4)
An actor in the closet, a sheriff in love, and memories that won’t stay hidden.

Jordan Darby is known as the King of Christmas. The star of eight made-for-TV Christmas movies, the leading man who always gets his girl. Filming at Crooked Tree Ranch in Montana, in the ice and snow, Jordan is fighting to make a go of his new company and dealing with fears of exposure over one huge secret. After all, who the hell would buy into him being a romantic straight lead if rumors about him being gay were proven to be true?

Sheriff Ryan Carter is advising on the new movie being made at Crooked Tree. He hoped this would be one day of work and nothing more. Until, that is, he meets the hero. But while Jordan is sexy, he’s also very much stuck in the closet—everything that Ryan doesn’t need in his life. And then lust becomes part of the equation, and Ryan’s quiet life is thrown into turmoil.

Their story unfolds against the chaos that overtakes the ranch, with Adam regaining memories that terrify him and make him look at Justin differently, and Justin leaving the ranch to make things right. Only through trusting in love and friendship can Justin and Adam learn to look to the future instead of letting the past destroy everything. But will they ever see clearly enough to do that?

3.75 Stars!

Sheriff Ryan Carter comes in to consult and help with security issues at Crooked Tree Ranch when a movie is being filmed there. What he doesn't expect is to enjoy the company of the leading man, Jordan Darby.

We were introduced to Ryan earlier. I have a feeling that he gave Justin a lot of leeway considering his duty and the issues that Justin brought to the ranch. I liked Ryan a lot in this book. He's straightforward and levelheaded. I loved getting to know his family more in this book, especially his older brother, Saul. I liked that he had his own insecurities about himself, especially as it came to having a relationship with Jordan; it made him incredibly human.

I liked Jordan. He was a good guy and clearly hadn't let Hollywood go too far to his head. I loved how he reassured Ryan about his desirability and helped Ryan when he needed comfort the most. I also liked the relationship that he had with his twin brother. They complement each other well. I was happy to see Ryan and Jordan work out their relationship and logistical issues so smoothly as well.

While the story focused mostly on Ryan and Jordan, Ryan also helped Adam and Justin navigate their complicated relationship. Not surprisingly, Adam is dreaming about the past and his inability to reconcile the dreams with Justin is driving a wedge into not only their relationship, but also straining many of the friendships on the ranch as well. While I was sad to see this happening, I was glad to see Justin give Adam the time he needed to sort things out.

I liked how we got to see the evolution of the various relationships on the ranch and see Justin and Adam reach a healthier relationship in this book.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4.5 stars 

This was a great addition to this series! Ryan and Jordan are both super sweet and basically perfect for each other. This author does a great job of giving us the perfect amount from the couple as well as the backstory of the series. I really liked getting Adam and Justin's POV a couple of times in this story because, for me, it was important not to gloss over this big piece from the first three books. The author did this storyline justice and getting their POVs also reinforces the books 2 & 3's couples to the reader, Adam and Ethan and Justin and Sam, which I really appreciated.

It does not take long for Ryan and Jordan to come together, and when they do, it is whew.. hot! The supporting characters in these books are always great and that held true in this book. We meet Ryan and Jordan's family which are all pretty great and I am excited to read more about the Carters brothers in the next book!

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.
RJ’s goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

RJ is the author of the over one hundred novels and discovered romance in books at a very young age. She realized that if there wasn’t romance on the page, she could create it in her head, and is a lifelong writer.

She lives and works out of her home in the beautiful English countryside, spends her spare time reading, watching films, and enjoying time with her family.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit and has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

She’s always thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers. Please contact via the following links below:

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