Overall A fitting conclusion to the Granby Knitting series (or at least the story of these men).
Review I’m sure there are things about this novel that...moreOverall A fitting conclusion to the Granby Knitting series (or at least the story of these men).
Review I’m sure there are things about this novel that I didn’t like. Most likely the pieces all falling together too nicely and something of that sort.
But I really can’t say that here. Because these characters, this town, has been building up and coming together for three prior books. And this one doesn’t rush to get to the happy ending these men, especially Jeremy, deserve. Instead we’re led through Jeremy’s difficult recovery, Aiden’s challenges, and the struggles of life, love, and misconceptions.
Jeremy has to struggle with his new face, his new life, and all the changes that are being thrown at him. He’s used to running scared, but he’s promised Aiden he won’t. He’s got a lot of work to do to keep that promise.
Aiden needs to come to terms with what he did to protect the love of his life, and he has to be the man that Jeremy needs. While Aiden has always been the “older” of the two, for the first time we get to see things from his perspective and see that he doesn’t always feel as grown up as he is (which is something we can all relate to, I think).
Much of this story is like being wrapped in a heavy blanket: warm, comforting, and protecting the delicate hearts within. But as the final tale for these men who surround themselves with knitting, it is the perfect conclusion, leaving the reader just as warmed as after having finished the first of these Granby men’s stories.
Overall A nice mix of sweet and funny with a touch of angst. It may not bring anything new to the table, but it gives a great telling that will tug the...moreOverall A nice mix of sweet and funny with a touch of angst. It may not bring anything new to the table, but it gives a great telling that will tug the heartstrings when you’re not chuckling.
Review This was a sweet and generally humorous story (as in there are a good number of one-liners, the plot itself wasn't funny). The blogger format worked well for it and there were good reasons for the blogging format, both in the front end and the back end. Of course, the format also didn't feel terribly realistic, as certain parts were too detailed to have been written after the fact, but I marked that down with the hand-wavium of storytelling.
I liked how several threads of plot all came together in the end, drawing on side moments that seem like nothing but result in the climactic conflict. The conflict worked perfectly for the story, although the core of it is rather predictable. The emotional turmoil was great, and while the resolution seemed a little too easy, it also seemed reasonable, so again, I was willing to let it slide.
If you're looking for a classic rentboy-falls-in-love story, then this will probably have everything you need. Otherwise, it's an enjoyable read that didn't blow my socks off, but didn't bore me either.
Overall Despite an interesting plot and characters, I found the story to be slow-moving at times and it just didn’t grab me.
Review I enjoyed Mason’s str...moreOverall Despite an interesting plot and characters, I found the story to be slow-moving at times and it just didn’t grab me.
Review I enjoyed Mason’s struggles and the care and tenderness that Rig and Bobby show him. That said, I found myself skipping over large chunks of text on my second read, as it didn’t move the story forward. This is a personal preference, but the verbosity seemed to bog down the storytelling.
But, keeping that in mind, I still want to get the next in the series. The reading isn’t painful, it’s just not to my liking, and I enjoy the characters and their stories enough to be curious about the men on the side who get mentioned. So even though this story didn’t blow me away, I enjoyed it enough to want to continue.
One of the best things for me was seeing two doms who were very different and who were changed by the sub they were dealing with (rather than the sub who is always the changed one). In addition, at least one of them has a judgmental thought about the previous doms and later rescinds it in his own mind as he comes to understand why it would happen. He still think it was wrong, but he reaches an understanding.
I love that we see the growth of each of these characters and not just the sub. It makes the growth feel real and, in turn, makes the characters feel real (you know, aside from money never being an issue).
It took me a while to write this review, one because I didn’t have much to say, and then because I needed to reread it for a proper review. But even then, this book didn’t scream at me what to write about it. So sorry for a mediocre review that you had to wait for. I think my overall review would be: If you liked the first in the series, you’ll probably like this one at least a little. If you didn’t read the first in the series...then you should start with that one!
Overall A long story that is worth taking your time with to savor the ups and downs of Evan’s and Jonah’s lives. Gobbling it all down at on...moreStars: 4.5/5
Overall A long story that is worth taking your time with to savor the ups and downs of Evan’s and Jonah’s lives. Gobbling it all down at once may seem like a good idea, but may result in a Thanksgiving-gorge-like hangover.
Review This story runs somewhat parallel to Chase in Shadow and Dex in Blue, and while each story stands alone, the reader would be better served by reading them in order.
First, a warning: The Johnnies stories tend to run long because of the issues that are handled and the number of events that have to appear as the stories crossover. I still feel the stories are longer than strictly necessary, but I also understand why they're so long, and I enjoy them enough that the length doesn't bother me (except when I'm kept up reading when I should be going to bed).
Because much of the same content is covered in each story, it's commendable how Lane handles the plot points that overlap--hitting major points without rehashing everything, but yet giving the reader adequate information if they haven't read the previous novels. She also develops the events from different perspectives, turning events that may not have been as emotional into a poignant moment.
Ethan/Evan is my favorite of the boys so far, because of his reasons for getting into porn, his general personality, and his relationship with Jonah (the first to be outside the business). Plus, his need to be touched speaks deeply to me.
He's a likeable character and dips into some nerdy elements (or perhaps I should say different nerdy elements, since Kane and his reptiles were pretty nerdy!). The conversations about anime and manga was appreciated (although that element faded as the story went on), although I wasn’t familiar with the particular pieces that were mentioned, so they may have been faulty.
Evan’s story, like most of the Johnnies boys, is a tough one (although none really compares to Chase’s). He had a crappy childhood, and although he’s tough, and he recognizes that, he still has a low self-esteem. Or more like he doesn’t want to bother/sully the people around him whom he loves. It’s commendable, although many readers (like Jonah) will want to smack him for it.
And of course Jonah has his own struggles to handle as well, both familial and in courting the stubborn Ethan. These are two sweet boys who grow together and together overcome great obstacles.
Overall A sweet, short tale that is probably just the treat for the February holiday.
Review A sweet little short that has a good message, bu...moreStars: 2.5/5
Overall A sweet, short tale that is probably just the treat for the February holiday.
Review A sweet little short that has a good message, but lacks much depth, both for the characters and the plot. I definitely enjoyed this, and I especially liked how it was both a Valentine's story and not solely focused on Valentine's day.
I would have liked to have seen more of Isaac's backstory. We get the major points that are related to the plot, but in some ways the straightforward provision of this information makes it feel less real and more an element that was added to create the story. A more natural reveal, as well as a few more character-building facts about Isaac's previous situation, would have made everything feel more realistic.
Thierry was just the right mix of uncertain, nonaggressive persona and knowledgeable bed partner. They had a nice dynamic and I was happy when they ended up together, but the story lacked any depth that really would have helped me care about the characters and their relationship.
Overall Beautiful in its simplicity, heartwarming, and sometimes painful, this novel was a thick blanket on a cold night.
Review While the trope of “not...moreOverall Beautiful in its simplicity, heartwarming, and sometimes painful, this novel was a thick blanket on a cold night.
Review While the trope of “not realizing you’re gay until 40” may seem far-fetched, Cullinan and Sexton do an admirable job of showing how Vince of the great big Italian family got there. There are still some moments that made me roll my eyes, but most of those were in humor at his family. In the first few pages we see of his family, their classic accents almost seemed offensive, but beyond that first scene, they don’t really leave that impression (possibly because those family members don’t talk as much).
While the main romance plotline is good, what really made this story for me was the build between the main story and the side stories (specifically two older characters, which was so sweet!). There is a lot going on in Trey’s life, and when dealing with an in-the-closet boyfriend, it almost seems impossible for him and Vince to get together. But because of all the things that surround these two men (including all those things that cause problems), they are able to be together. That’s what made this special: the family. (And yes, I realize that’s the title and all.)
While this is very much a traditional romance in some ways, in other aspects the romance is secondary. Obviously to family, but also the struggle of identity, dealing with family members who have addiction problems, finances, asking for help, and being honest with yourself. It made for a very touching tale.
That being said, I found the last scene to be perfect and yet oddly too much. It works (especially for Vince’s character), but it also was a bit too cheesy for me. But that’s kind of what I love about the rest of the story, so it didn’t negatively alter my opinion of the novel.
Overall Sweet, cute story that isn't incredibly fresh, but holds up on its own. Another lovely Tucker Springs tale.
Review Oddly enough, this was the fir...moreOverall Sweet, cute story that isn't incredibly fresh, but holds up on its own. Another lovely Tucker Springs tale.
Review Oddly enough, this was the first Tucker Springs story to come out, so of course it was the last one I read (not including any future releases)! Part of that was just circumstance, so when I had birthday money to burn on books, I remedied that problem.
I could very much associate with Jason and his pain, and his struggle to find something that would relieve the agony, along with the sleeplessness that can join that pain. (And I'll be honest, the story has caught my interest regarding acupuncture.)
While I liked Michael and Jason together, I struggled with the mid- to late-sections of the book. The conflict, while reasonable, didn't feel believable to me. I had trouble really relating to Michael's dilemma, although I realize it's a very real challenge. In real life, something minor--no matter imaginary or not--can stop us from going after what we want. So it wasn't that it wasn't something that needed to be overcome, I just felt he was making a bigger deal about the whole thing than was necessary.
But, along that same vein, the resolution and falling action all fit well with the story, the characters, and the conflict. So I guess I'm a little mixed on the whole thing. It's all perfectly reasonable and realistic, but it also made me want to smack Michael upside the head.
If anyone was scared off by the presence of child in the story, this one is fairly safe. He's 7 years old and only with Michael half the time, so he's barely on screen for those who prefer their romances child free. And toward the end, he has some rather cute scenes with his family.
In general, I found the story enjoyable, but it didn't wow me. Aside from some disagreements with Michael, I don't have anything bad to say about this tale. Definitely worth a read, especially for fans of Tucker Springs, who--if you're anything like me--want to collect them all! (And on that note: These probably work best read in order, but for the most part, it's not necessary. The only points given away is you know who ends up with whom, which is usually obvious anyway in this genre.)
Overall Utterly adorable. Good, clean fun in a short story.
Review This is less a romance than a look at English social class, genes versus environment,...moreOverall Utterly adorable. Good, clean fun in a short story.
Review This is less a romance than a look at English social class, genes versus environment, and an inner reflection in a cute, humorous way. The main character is a classic "too blind to see the love in front of him" type but the characters in the story make this tale come to life.
There are no real surprises or twists, just a slice of life as a snob finds out his true heritage, the unveiling of which reveals truths about his boyfriend and his best friend. A character study of sorts, although I don't think this short takes itself quite so serious, although it touches upon serious topics. It's a feel-good romantic comedy and I think it plays out perfectly.
Because this is a short story, there isn't a whole lot of meat here, but that would probably be my only complaint. And along those lines, while it's not meaty, it is a good thick broth with some hearty chunks. (Me and my food comparisons, right?) For what this is, I think it brings a lot to the table, and that's what really won me over with this story.
Overall A wonderfully sweet holiday piece that puts you in the lovey-dovey mood, but is more sugar than substance.
Review The only reason I couldn't give this a perfect 5-star rating was that not much happened. It's a great story to sit down and read in one sitting, and it has all the required tender moments, but it lacks in plot. Aside from Otis's internal struggles, there is no conflict. Which is great for our leading guys, but will leave some readers disappointed.
Despite the lack of conflict, I still enjoyed this. Maybe I associate with Otis too closely (and hey, where's my Garret?), but if you're looking for a laid-back romance, this will probably be your thing. I found Otis to be positively adorable, and hearing their tame exploits as they wooed each other was fun and sweet.
So yes, there isn't much plot, no twist, no real challenge to overcome, but if you need your shot of romance happiness, this will give it to you tenfold.
Overall A classic Andrew Grey romance with an interesting story that touches upon specific topics I don’t see much in this genre. The unique elements d...moreOverall A classic Andrew Grey romance with an interesting story that touches upon specific topics I don’t see much in this genre. The unique elements definitely added to the story.
Review I'm not a huge fan of Grey's writing style, especially during sex scenes, but I can't deny he does standard romance well. And while many of the stories I've read by him involve a dramatic climax, I found this story to be refreshing in that the conflict happened over the course of the book.
In addition to the main struggle between John and children's services, there were also multiple minor issues that kept the story flowing at a steady pace, including whether to date an employee, cultural differences, family acceptance, and being gay in a small town. Not all of these themes are challenges they have to actively face, but they all play a part in creating the men we see on page.
Some of the best, and necessary, moments of the story involved racism, both against natives and against whites. ("Evil White Woman" as a nickname was great.) This did an excellent job of showing that racism works both ways (although some degrees of racism seems more reasonable), and also worked to open the minds of both sides of the race barrier, not just one. Because people are people, no matter the color of their skin or their culture.
While children in stories often play a background role, Grey did a nice job of involving the children without overwhelming the story. They were a central point of the story and necessary to its progression, but they were balanced in the writing, and in their personalities, adding flavor, not distraction.
I think my biggest qualm with the storyline was at the very end, when one character is gay that I felt would have worked better as straight. While there's nothing wrong with the character being gay, and possibly makes the support he offers “make sense,” I felt it also made the resolution there feel less solid, as if his support (and that of the group he represents) of the situation was only because he was gay. I don't think that's what Grey was saying, but it left the ghost of that impression when I read it.