Daddy, Daddy and Me – Sean Michael

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“Like the gay version of Mary Poppins?”

 

In a word: Read the thing. First of all, most of this is stupidly adorable. There are a few other things going on, but the main drive of the story is Jeff and Donny falling in love while caring for Jeff’s two adorable children. The grand majority of the scenes are either Jeff and Donny being cute with the children, or Jeff and Donny being stupidly cute together (while also having sex, there is quite a bit of sex). There are a few dark parts to the story, like the fact that Jeff and his older son are still trying to get over the loss of the children’s mother, who died in a house fire a few weeks before the story starts; and Jeff being hounded by his asshole ex who turns out to be a psycho. But the overall tone of the story is light and fluffy. Jeff, who was technically only meant to be a sperm donor and function in the children’s lives as their godfather, is in way over his head with these two babies he suddenly has care of. His lifestyle as a single dad who works long hours means that he needs to bring someone in to help with childcare, that’s where Donny comes in. Donny is a gay nanny who has been turned down for every childcare job he’s applied for so far, which sucked at first but really ends up turning out for the better. Jeff and Donny don’t waste much time in falling head over heels in love with each other, and they quickly move from ‘employer and employee’ to ‘family’. A lot of this is slice of life stuff with Jeff and Donny taking care of the kids and falling for each other. Actually one problem I did have was that I felt that Jeff and Donny got together too soon and then I got anxious every time they had cute romantic scenes together because it felt like it wouldn’t last. The story didn’t seem to be going anywhere so I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. Some conflict and drama did pop up later in the story, which did save things. I really did like Jeff and Donny’s relationship, and their relationships with the children. Most of the story is complete fluff, which isn’t really everyone’s thing, but it’s pretty inoffensive and fun. Some of the darker aspects of the story were a bit unexpected and more serious than I was expecting, but they do make for a nice break from all the rainbows and sunshine. Definitely recommend if you enjoy cute stories about easy romances and cute children.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) When Jeff agreed to be the sperm donor to his best friend Beth, he never expected a tragedy to leave his newborn and three-year-old motherless. Beth’s loss has totally thrown his life into chaos: his lover has left him, his house isn’t anywhere near childproof, and his boss feels the restaurant has been patient enough with Jeff’s time off.

Donny has always known he wanted to work with kids, and he just finished his degree in early childhood education. He didn’t count on the prejudice he’d face as not only a male nanny, but a gay one at that. Job-hunting has been frustrating to say the least, so when he knocks on Jeff’s door and is greeted by the sounds of things breaking and a pair of screaming children, he thinks maybe he can begin this particular interview with a trial by fire.

Becoming the nanny to Jeff’s children might be a dream come true for Danny and exactly what Jeff needs, but are either of them ready to really be a family?

 

[available for purchase from Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Don’t Try This at Home (Anthology) – First Five Stories

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  • Basil’s Luck – Read the thing
  • Midnight Caller – Read the thing
  • Boy Next Door – Read the thing
  • Gremlins in the Works – Read the thing
  • Attack of the Hedgehogs – Maybe read the thing

(going forward anthology short stories will be getting their own posts as a quick review)

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Bonked heads. Rough carpet. Burned dinner. Awkward silence. Bitten lips. Startling length. Spilled wax. Pinched fingers. Shattered wineglass. Closet quickie. Flat souffle. Broken bedframe. Shower sex. Overzealous spanking. Embarrassing ex. Lost wallet. Terrible taste. Sore shoulders. Noxious odor. Absent date. Unbelievable girth. Kitchen canoodling. New toy. Stained sheets. Backward compliment. Stifling pillow. Locked handcuffs. Aching ass. Missing keys. Torn seams. Wrenched back. Angry cat. Overeager pass. Uncooperative zipper.

Something always goes wrong in real life. Fortunately, in these stories love blunts the edges so that romance always triumphs over adversity.

Stories included are:

Midnight Caller by Anna Birmingham
Snapshots by Rena Butler
Basil’s Luck by Henrietta Clarke
Boys, Toys, and Carpet Fitters by Taylin Clavelli
Outbursts by Bell Ellis
Tyler Wang Has a Ball by Kim Fielding
Boy Next Door by Ellee Hill
Gremlins in the Works by Kiernan Kelly
Good Food Gone Bad by Venona Keyes
Attack of the Hedgehogs by Kate Pavelle
It’s Not What You Think by Teegan Loy
Slippery When Wet by K. Lynn
Desperate Measures by E.T. Malinowski
Gordon’s Cat by Aundrea Singer
Photo Finish by AC Valentine

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Three’s a Crowd – Van Cole

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“No doubt about it, I was the luckiest man in the world; there was nothing else I needed to be happy. Nothing at all.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. It’s not so much that I didn’t enjoy this book, but more that it was pretty underwhelming when compared to the first book. Three’s A Crowd is a sequel to A Second Chance, though it can also be read as a standalone since the basic premise of the first book is often explained. This book was okay. It takes place two years after the events of A Second Chance; Dane and James are very happy together and Sam is no longer any concern of Dane’s. In fact, Dane is waiting for the right moment to propose to James. So, of course, this would be the moment when someone from James’ past shows up to shake things up. It’s not really as big a thing as the book’s summary makes it out to be, but it definitely becomes a thing in Dane and James’ lives. James’ Sam, as Dane refers to him, is named Adam. He and James were a thing in high school and then parted ways before going off to college; though their separation, while hard on James, wasn’t anywhere near as traumatic as Dane’s situation with Sam. James is very much shaken up by Adam’s reappearance (excessively so, I thought), so I really didn’t expect the threesome arrangement to play out like it did. At one point I thought I was mistaken about this book being M/M/M because it really didn’t look like that’s where things were headed (also I was a bit put off by Adam). But then the story took another turn and a threesome arrangement was back on the table. This book is written the same way as the first one, so that contributed to some of the issues I had. This one really feels like the bare bones of a story, more so than the other one because there’s less angst and emotional suffering in this one. It’s not a bad story, and I did enjoy reading it, but I wasn’t totally crazy about it. I probably wouldn’t’ve bothered reading it if it hadn’t come free in a bundle with A Second Chance. My overall impression of this story is ‘meh’, especially when compared to the prequel.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Dane And James Are Back… But Another Old Flame Heats Things Up

It has been two years since Dane Walters’ high school reunion – two years since he finally saw the boy that broke his heart for what he was, and saw the perfection in the man that stood right beside him.

James Doherty is still by his side now, and life is absolutely perfect. Gone are the days of mooning over a man that he couldn’t have; now, Dane commutes home from his big-city marketing job to the perfect partner and dreams about having the courage to put a ring on James’s finger. He knows that nothing could disrupt their happiness.

But Dane isn’t the only one who’s ever been haunted by the ghost of high school love. All this time, James has been holding in a secret – holding back his memories of the one that got away. As such, when Adam DeFranco walks back into his life, it threatens to shake the foundations of the entire adult life he has built.

At first, Dane thinks it’s deja vu. It’ll be difficult, but all he has to do is show James that Adam is an asshole, just like he learned about Sam. Trouble is that he soon learns that Adam DeFranco is not an asshole. He’s genuine competition – and if Dane isn’t careful, the fabric of the perfect life he’s built could be torn out from underneath him.

This Romance Short Story Was Formerly Titled Close Encounters.

This Is Book 2 Of A Second Chance Which Can Also Be Read As A Standalone.

 

[available for purchase from Amazon.ca as part of the Surprise Baby: Gay MPREG Romance Collection]

 

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A Second Chance – Van Cole

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“It was childish to cling to the idea of this boy that had built me up and ruined me, especially ten years later – but there was nothing I could do. I was a slave to the lack of closure. I couldn’t move on.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Not exactly what it says on the tin, though. The summary gives the impression that what we’re about to read will be a more complete novel than what we actually end up with. It’s not entirely inaccurate, but it’s making promises that it doesn’t really deliver. Having said that, this is still a good read and I did enjoy it, there just wasn’t a whole lot to it. The whole story, which is fairly short and only took me about an hour to read, is told from Dane’s first-person point of view. The way it’s written is less like reading events as they take place and is more like Dane is summarizing the events for us and telling his story from some nebulous future point. Some of the story takes place in the past, when Dane was in high school, but the parts that take place in the present read the same way. Even without much focus on Sam’s thoughts and motivations, and the somewhat stilted delivery, I still felt that this was a solid story. I do wish we could’ve gotten more focus on some aspects, there were a lot of points (mostly having to do with Dane’s family) that could’ve been expanded on, but as it is it’s still pretty decent. The main point of the story is Dane trying to get closure over the disaster that was his first love, and I really liked the read. The emotions in the story were great, though not as explored as I would’ve liked in some places, and I thought the outcome was great. The writing isn’t the best, but the story was really good and I would definitely recommend it for the experience of reading it.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Will A High School Reunion Bring These Lovers Back Together?

Sam and Dane were two young men on the brink of their futures. Sharing high school adventures together, these two young men were both figuring out how to deal with their homosexuality when they found solace in the sexual expression of each other. Confused and concerned, Sam and Dane live in a world of mixed emotions, fighting their desires while finding each other undeniably linked.

When Dane shares with his family the fact that he is gay, his world is turned upside down and he turns to Sam for comfort. But, family pressures and a societal fear push the lovers to the breaking point, life and prejudice seeming to separate them forever. Life goes on and two worlds are built…two very different worlds. Then, an invitation threatens to turn their worlds upside down.

Ten years after a graduation, will the reunion of their two souls bring them back together for good?

Or, will time and fate tear them apart forever?

This Romance Short Story Was Formerly Title The Reunion

 

[available for purchase at Amazon.ca as part of the Surprise Baby: Gay MPREG Romance Collection]

 

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In His Arms Again – Lisa Marie Davis

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“After five years of denying himself, resisting temptation, distracting himself with work and family concerns, Ayden was at a crossroad, but he had no control of the direction he was about to take.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna like this one, but then it punched me right in the feels and I was totally here for it. Ayden is a business man who has spent the last five years in a marriage of convenience with a woman because of his homophobic father’s scheming. He has been living a lie for all that time, and would probably have continued on with it had a reason to change not literally fallen right into his lap. Ayden meets Simon on a plane and they form an immediate connection (and then join the mile-high club, because go big or go home I guess). Ayden’s not sure what’s come over him, but he knows that he desperately wants to be with Simon while at the same time knowing that he can’t if he wants to keep the family company. Things are a bit different now than they were five years ago, and Ayden’s realizing that neither he nor his wife are happy in their marriage anymore. They both want to be able to live their true lives, but they can’t unless they’re willing to make some very drastic changes. The situation that Ayden is in, through no fault of his own, is heartbreaking. Between his late father’s fuckery, his monster of a step-mother’s evil, and his own unhappiness with it all, he’s got a lot to deal with. Finding Simon was a bit of a dream-come-true for him, even though he came very close to losing him. The emotional ups and downs in this book are amazing, especially for a read this short. I also really loved the support system Ayden found for himself, and the love they all shared. The epilogue was maybe a bit too sweet for my tastes, especially considering how the main story ended, but I still enjoyed the ride from beginning to end.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Five years ago a cruel clause in his father’s will forced Ayden Judson into marriage to keep the family company, and to protect that business from his stepmother’s machinations, Ayden decided to live without love. But when handsome gallery owner Simon Gibson literally falls into Ayden’s lap on a transatlantic flight, he shakes Ayden’s resolve, and by the time they land, Ayden knows he doesn’t want to live without Simon. Simon, burned before by a married man, refuses to hide. So once more, Ayden must choose between happiness for himself and the good of the company-threatened by how dark his stepmother’s plans have become-except Ayden knows he’ll give up all the money and success in the world just to have Simon in his arms again.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble; also available in the bundle Lisa Marie Davis’ Greatest Hits]

 

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Derek – B. G. Thomas

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“Men with men. Men who weren’t afraid to be with other men. Men who admitted who and what they were. Yes. He had a future. Who knows? Maybe it would start here. Tonight.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This was sweet and heartwarming and a quick read. All good things. Derek, the titular main character, is newly divorced and is a bit nervous about finally being able to live his life as a gay man for the first time in years (though, the first time he was ‘out’ it wasn’t really so openly). One of the baristas at his new favourite café befriends him suddenly and invites him to a party where he can meet other gay men. He meets Marshall at the party, and through him learns about letting go and being in love for real for the first time. This story is about a romance, but it’s also about letting go and moving forward. Derek has had his only two relationships fail, and isn’t sure if he should gamble his heart on a third. With Marshall’s help he’s able to gain some perspective on his past and look forward to what his future as an out gay man will hold for him. The story isn’t all that long so the characters aren’t totally developed (especially the many side-characters that are mentioned), but I still liked Derek and Marshall and their love story (even though it does technically tip into the insta-love category). I also really enjoyed the positive feel everything had. Derek is trying to deal with the death of a long-term relationship and what that means for him in the grand scheme of things; and even though it wasn’t necessarily a totally happy experience, Derek’s takeaway of it isn’t totally negative either. The message of the story, about not living in the past and looking forward to the future (loosely paraphrased), was also pretty positive.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) The end of his marriage leaves Derek Newton hurt and confused, but it also grants him the opportunity to embrace who he really is: a gay man. While navigating his new life with the help of friends in the local GLBT community, Derek meets Marshall Kenworthy, a man who embodies all his fantasies.

To Derek’s surprise, Marshall is as interested as he is, and they make a date. But a failure to communicate leads to a misunderstanding. The party they attend is not what Derek expected—at all—but Marshall, ever the gentleman, makes sure Derek feels comfortable. As they get to know each other, they see how much they have in common. Derek begins to heal and soon realizes he might thrive in this new chapter of his life—and it just might be with Marshall by his side.

 

[available for free at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Will & Patrick’s Endless Honeymoon (Wake Up Married #7) – Leta Blake

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“’You already know how I feel.’ Patrick huffs. ‘I married you, didn’t I? Twice. Just to prove I meant it the first time.’”

 

In a word: Read the thing! I loved this! It was pretty much everything I’d hoped it would be when I first found out about it. The Wake Up Married series was a six-part completed story the first time I read it. This seventh part was a lovely unexpected bonus written by one of the series’ two authors. It continues the story of Will and Patrick and their marriage with all the humour and heart of the original series. Taking place two years after the end of Part 6 (Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending) we’re reintroduced to – still happily married – Will and Patrick and the colourful residents of Healing, South Dakota. Though we don’t stay in Healing long since Will and Patrick spend most of the book on their long put-off honeymoon. Seriously, this book is great, a really great surprise addition to a series I already really loved. Will and Patrick are in a great place with themselves and their marriage (just a note that any conflict in the story does not come from Will and Patrick fighting with each other, which was great) and still just as in love with each other and as entertaining. Will’s family is still completely insane, but Will is learning to deal with it all. Jenny and Jax get a minor subplot, and we even get some closure – although it’s not really pleasant – for Ryan and Hartley’s situation. The story doesn’t really further much character or relationship development, it’s more a timestamp for the series, which I didn’t mind at all because I loved this look into everyone’s lives. I was so happy to read about these characters again. This was written with the same love and heart and emotion and humour from Parts 1-6 and I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

 

The Summary: (from Goodreads) Genius brain surgeon Patrick McCloud never thought he’d fall in love, let alone get married. He and Will Patterson are two years overdue for their honeymoon, and although romance doesn’t come naturally to Patrick, he’s determined to make it perfect.

Will works himself to the bone helping others and dealing with his family, who bring the drama nonstop. A tropical getaway without the usual shenanigans is just what the doctor ordered. But can Will’s family leave them in peace? Knowing the Patterson-Molinaro clan, it’s not likely…

Will and Patrick’s Endless Honeymoon by Leta Blake continues the soapy, sexy fun of the original six part Wake Up Married serial. In Healing, South Dakota, marriage is never boring!

 

[available for purchase from Amazon.ca]

 

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