Book Review – Ranch Manny by BA Tortuga

Publisher: Turtlehat Creatives
Pages: 278
Characters: Trace/Brent
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary

Trace is down on his luck, out of his teaching job, and on the road with his young daughter Susannah. Just as he’s contemplating tucking his proverbial tail between his luck and heading back to his ex or his parents to ask for help, a job opportunity falls into his lap. What he’s not sure about is working for a handsome cowboy. On a ranch. In the middle of nowhere.

Cowboy Brent has a ranch to run. three kids he inherited when his cousin passed away, and an elderly ranch hand with Alzheimer’s to care for. He needs help, stat, and when Trace falls into his lap, he doesn’t hesitate, even though he knows people might question Trace’s rainbow dreads and piercings.

As Trace struggles to fit in and do his ranch manny job and Brent tries to make time to breathe, the two of them find common ground and gradually a burning heat for each other. But will they be able to make a real home together, or will everything fall apart as they both try to keep up with all their responsibilities, and maybe a life or death situation for all of them?

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I loved Trent and Brent’s story and couldn’t put it down. I was drawn into their lives immediately. This story has all the feels, and so many lovely moments, as well as tension and drama.

The characters are vividly described and I wanted to find out more about them as soon as I started reading. I felt for Trace being put in a situation to have to be ‘less gay’ or risk losing his job. His relationship with his daughter is sweet, and it’s immediately obvious he’s a great father to her. I love Brent’s interactions with his adoptive kids, and I thought the author captured the feel of what it’s like to be a parent with small children perfectly. I loved how Trace stepped into the breach, and stepped up to the task immediately. I enjoyed his and Brent’s friendship which soon turns into much more, and how protecting their children is forefront to everything else. I also liked that although Trace has everything under control, he has times when everything gets too much, too. The story was not only heartfelt, but realistic.

The supporting cast are wonderful, and this story had a wonderful small town vibe with its close knit community and found family on the ranch. I loved Curly’s friendship with the children, like a surrogate grandfather, and his role in raising Brent. I really felt for him being aware that he was slipping. Alzheimers is a horrible disease. I liked Trace’s parents too and how they quickly became grandparents to all the children.

The tension ramps up with the tornado, and I had to keep turning pages to making sure everyone would be okay. I got the sniffles at one part of it. Loved the ending – it was perfect! This is a story I’ll definitely be rereading.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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