Friday, August 7, 2015

ARC Review: Roughstock: Blind Ride - Season One by BA Tortuga


Jason Scott is at the top of the bull riding game, on his way to a winning season. Along with his traveling partner, Andy Baxter, he's riding hard on the circuit, working around the country with all of the other bull riders and bull fighters, living the good life. The only thing he wishes he had is Bax, but he's afraid to take the step that would make them more than friends, worried that it will ruin everything. When a terrible accident leaves Jason unable to see, his whole life goes south. Jason decides to chuck it all, determined to go home and hide at his momma's ranch.

Bax has other ideas. He wants to make sure his best friend doesn't give up, and he hatches a plan that stuns Jason and makes their friends and family think he's crazy. With the help of the other bull riders and a very persistent bull fighter named Coke, Bax convinces Jason to give life one more try. With Jason cautiously learning to hope, and his relationship with Bax going to the next level, life gets pretty complicated. Everyone gets in on the project, from Jason's strong-willed mother to an entire ranch full of children, all of them working to help Jason do what he loves. Will Bax be able to convince Jason that he can still ride, even if he's blind to everything the world has to offer?

Sandra's rating:

Jason Scott, aka Mini, and Andy Baxter, aka Bax, two bull-rider cowboys touring the rodeo circuit, have been bestest friends for years. There is underlying attraction between them, but neither is willing to act on those feelings. Lots of UST in this one. They joke and push each other to perform at their very best, competing against each other, with lots of friendly ribbing, but are also each other's support system.

Andy gets injured early on, and knows he won't be winning this time around, but Jason is riding high. Until a terrible accident with a wicked bull robs him of his sight. Andy takes Jason home to heal, while still having to travel to the rodeos. This is a pivotal point in their relationship, and neither handles it very well.

Jason loses all hope, and his will to live. His overbearing mother, with whom he's staying, doesn't help the cause. It's all looking very bleak for him - a blind cowboy can't ride any bulls. Compounding this is the fact that they've kept Jason's blindness a secret for now, so he doesn't immediately lose his sponsors.

Andy is worried about his best friend, obviously, but either doesn't have the brains or the means to reach out to medical professionals to help with Jason's transition and relearning how to do things without seeing. There is tension between them, and Andy doesn't know what to do, how to help Jason. The situation sort of meanders for a while, until Andy has a brilliant idea, rounds up their friends, and prods and pushes Jason out of the hole.

I loved the relationship between the two men. I could tell from early on that there were strong feelings between them, feelings that only get stronger, the closer they get after Jason's injury. They rely on each other heavily, and the UST kicks up a few notches until they finally give in. I completely believed in their relationship.

The writing felt a little bland - for lack of a better word - and I wish there had been more showing rather than telling. I also had a difficult time dealing with Jason's mother. She was treating him like a child, her grown son, and made him feel as if he was incapable of doing anything himself, now that he's blind, instead of helping him to find his way around. She exacerbated his feelings of uselessness.

What also bothered me is that this book didn't feel complete. First off, there's a lack of back story for them both, and most things in their past are only mentioned in passing. I wanted to know whether this was a case of gay for you, or if they were both actually gay, whether there had been other men in their lives previously, since they apparently hadn't been with each other, despite the mutual, long-term attraction. While we get the progression of their relationship into a full blown love story AFTER Jason's accident, I would have liked to see Jason get on a bull while blind. There's no resolution to his situation, even though there are hints that his blindness may be temporary. While I realize this is a the first of a series, I feel that every book should still be complete in itself.

I liked both main characters well enough, and the banter between them and their friends is often humorous, with lots of manly snark, but it's easy to see that they all like each other. It was an enjoyable read, for sure, but missing something for me. But I did like it, so I'll probably read the next one too.

** I was provided with a free copy of this book by its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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  1. Angela:

    I just finished this book yesterday and i do agree with your review. I didn't like the abrupt open ending and i completely agree with you that every book should still be complete in itself. It looks like we don't get that considering the list of all the other books in this serie on Goodreads. So i think i will pass on the rest.


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