Review by Macky
SERIES: Chicken Ranch
AUTHOR: Amanda Young
PUBLISHER: LooseId Publishing
SUMMARY: Disowned and cast out of his home, eighteen year old Declan Mayo turns to the only thing he can think of to help him get back on his feet. Working at the Chicken Ranch, a rural brothel that caters to women and gay men, seems like the perfect solution. He isn’t about to let a lack of sexual experience stop him from taking what he sees as a way off the streets.
Falling in love with one of his clients wasn’t in the game plan, but Declan can’t seem to help himself. Killian Hamilton is sweet and kind, with a stutter Declan can’t help but find adorable. Surely, if anyone could overlook Declan’s choice of employment, it would be a kindhearted man like Killian.
But Declan didn’t figure on Killian’s connection to one of the brothel’s regular clients, and now his love life’s about to blow up in his face.
REVIEW: This is my first outing with Amanda Young as a writer so she was virgin territory for me. I had no preconceptions so I started to read not knowing whether this would tick my boxes or not. I like that, because being such a fan of M/M novels, I tend to think I’ve exhausted most authors and finding decent new authors (to me that is) is a bonus.
So how did I like this one? Well I’m happy to report that I was very pleasantly surprised.
I must admit I do like such type of stories – the hustler/hooker element with a romance that blossoms between a client and a male prostitute (who’s forced into the life due to rotten circumstances, in this case an awful family life) but who wants to get off the streets to make a better life. However, hooking up is the only way they feel they can do it, which always has a great scope for some sexy and emotional story-lines.
“All I have to do is get through one more night on the street and then things will get better. They can’t possibly get any worse.”
Declan Mayo is very young at 18 to be put in such a position but he knows its the only way to keep himself off the streets and he’d rather be in a safe controlled environment than putting himself in danger out there, so he goes to the Chicken Ranch and pleads for a job from the owner, Mr Graves.
Killian Hamilton is 30, single and an accountant with a not-so-great track record in relationships. He stutters and finds it hard to look for a suitable partner. Sick of being set up by colleagues, he takes his so-called best friend’s suggestion to visit the Chicken Ranch, the local all-male brothel and becomes Declan’s first ever trick.
“He glanced over at the man beside him and sighed. He liked Killian, but it wouldn’t do to forget why he was there. It would be all too easy to get lost in the feel of his flesh merged with another’s and forget he wasn’t a friend or a lover. He was only a whore”
The supporting characters – who even though they don’t feature that strongly in the story – are there not only to fill it out but I expect will feature in future Chicken Ranch books. Maybe even get there own stories as I believe, this is going to be a series. Chicken Ranch : Recession is already out and waiting for me on my kindle.
During the book there were a few moments when the romance had me doing the old eye rolling – what type of romance doesn’t do that at some point – but there was one particular moment when Killian does something quite out of character, that I thought came a little out of left field considering the stage at which their relationship seemed to be in at the time. It dropped my good opinion of him for a while. The annoyance carried on a bit when Declan, the injured party, seemed to be the one to get them back on track. However, these typical ‘misunderstandings’ with a bit of grovelling went a long way and he redeemed himself nicely! There are some hot love scenes and great chemistry/ST between them, which is always a plus.. I love a bit of sizzle! HEA? Well why don’t you read it and see.
Overall a nice easy read that I think most romance lovers will enjoy, if rating allowed fractions I’d probably pitch it about 3.75 stars but its rounded up to 4 because it was an enjoyable read, passed a couple of hours nicely and has left me looking forward to hearing more about the Chicken Ranch guys. In fact, as I said book two here I come.
SUMMARY: Garrett has fallen on tough times. Once a construction worker, he now depends on the desires of others to feed his little brother and keep a roof over their heads. As one of the many rent boys at Chicken Ranch, Garrett lives in constant fear, torn between making enough money to survive and getting busted for doing something illegal and immoral to pay the bills.
Miller is a workaholic with a chip on his shoulder. It isn’t until his beloved Grandma passes away that Miller dares to temporarily return home to the town he despises. Once there, he faces a surprise inheritance that causes more problems than solutions and the man he left behind to pursue his dreams.
Their reunion comes with an abundance of complications and old feelings. Bitterness and anger swiftly turn into desire and a rekindled love that threatens more than their hearts. Things take a turn for the worst when Miller provokes a threat to Garrett’s custody of his little brother. Having already lost Garrett to familial obligations once, Miller fears they’re doomed to repeat the past, only this time Garrett will be the one who’ll walk away.
REVIEW: Having just read Hunger, I was really looking forward to this. Male hooker stories are a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I suppose under the circumstances it shouldn’t be such a wonderful thing to read about but I think its because you know that there’s probably always going to be a happy ending for the guys in these books that sweetens the blow… how great would that be for the poor souls who are forced into it in real life! Anyway, Amanda Young’s hustlers are very easy to read about and for the second time round, I’m left feeling nicely sated.
To be honest the Chicken Ranch itself isn’t as prominent in these stories as you would expect. It’s sort of in the background for most of the book once the romance side of the story gets going, there are a couple of scenes with Garrett and his clients but nothing majorly graphic. I would love to see more of the going-ons there because there’s so much scope. Perhaps it would happen in book three? The hotter love scenes are between him and his love interest Miller. Once again, Garrett is a character forced by circumstances to turn to such type of hustling because of his family problems and of course the urgent need for funds. Miller, his ex from when they were teens, had left him because he was going to college and Garrett had to stay home to care for his younger brother, Vaughn (16), a typical hard work teen but very likeable and a great supporting character.
Both the main characters have been estranged for about 6 or 7 years with no contact during that time, so resentment has built up and when Miller returns to the town after his grandma dies, they’re thrown together again, with their negative feelings getting strong! The attraction and underlying love is still there but Garrett’s current profession is a spanner in the works for both of them, so where do the two men go from there? There’s no doubt the sexual tension and chemistry is still present but there’s also a huge dose of stubbornness keeping them apart.
“A lot of people thought that prostitution was distasteful and morally reprehensible. Garrett didn’t generally give a shit what anyone thought since they didn’t pay his bills. Miller, apparently, was another story, Garrett did care what he thought … but he wasn’t doing it for himself.”
Like in the first book, there are some moments when you want to shake these two guys and shout at them to just “talk to each other you numpty’s”! I was also a little disappointed that we didn’t get to see anything of the MC’s from the first novel. I do like to see books linking their characters because I think it makes it feel more conjoined for a series. However, that didn’t really spoil the overall feel. So perhaps that’s just a me thing. This isn’t perfect but its very enjoyable so like before, if I had to give a true rating it would be round about the 3.75* mark, but thats not an option so I’m happy to round up because of the ease of reading and the feel good factor that these stories generate. You can’t help rooting for them to get their HEA.
I’m now wondering about what comes next in the tales from the Chicken Ranch, will it be Rick or Grey or somebody completely new? These two have been in both the books and are resident hookers at the Ranch, I think they’d both be great candidates for their own stories and I think it would open up the Chicken Ranch and its workings to us more.
So, who’s going to like this? Well I really hope most m/m readers would because there’s true romance, hot sweet lovin’ and drama. What more could you want … very satisfying!
Macky is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love