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Happiness for Beginners

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews
This title is part of the 2011 Advent Calendar: I'll Be Home for Christmas

Jesse harbored a crush on his TV series costar, Kaye, for more than eight years, but when the show was canceled and he realized those years of playing gay hadn’t convinced Kaye to leave the straight and narrow, Jesse turned his back on acting for good. Ten years later, Kaye is back in Jesse’s life, o
ebook, 1st Edition, 80 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by Dreamspinner Press
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3.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  108 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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3.4 Stars

Well color me...slightly surprised.

I've read two other books by this author and rated them both ~2 Stars. I don't know why I gave this one a chance (three's a charm?) but I'm glad I did...if for no other reason that it didn't suck.

Faint praise, yes, and most likely it was due to Michael Stellman's narration that I enjoyed the story a lot more than I thought I would, but it just means that I will be a little more likely to try again.
T.A. Webb
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Jesse runs a travel agency in New York, newly separated from his business partner and lover. In a past life, he was one half of a very popular nighttime tv show about gay partners, but that was ten years before, and he hasn't seen Kaye, his co-star and best friend since then. Of course, Jesse quit the business after the show was cancelled after eight years on the air, not wanting to deal with his unrequited crush on his straight best friend.

And then right before Christmas, Kaye shows up at his d
This one is a little heavy on the side, for a holiday story. It deals with matters that are so much more than just unrequited love, but also a messed up person due to upbringing, asexuality, and fear of acknowledging lust. Kaye is a tragic character for me, so much times lost because of his internal fight. Jesse is slightly better, even if he has loved Kaye for 18 years and in that sense never really truly moves on. The ending doesn't feel like HEA, rather, just like the title suggests, it's a b ...more
Serena Yates
Nov 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: gay
The title of this story intrigued me, but let me warn you, the story takes a long time to get there. It is the tale of two men who have had so many misunderstandings that neither of them really knows what’s going on. They have caused each other a lot of pain, and now that they are together again after ten years of no contact, it doesn’t get any better. Not at first, and even later, not easily.

Jesse always knew what he wanted, but he understands that Kaye couldn’t give it to him. He loves Kaye wi
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Having a Christmas story run at the moment and really enjoying it but I did find this one a little bit heavy for a seasonal tale. With its ' is he straight or not ' theme it did seem to get a bit over complicated and sometimes a bit bogged down in the drama of it all and I would have liked a bit more seasonal fun to make it feel more Christmassy however there were moments though that kept me glued, I did want to see how it all panned out and the Christmas theme is sort of there in the background ...more
Dec 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Good short holiday m/m romance about two guys, one gay and one presumably straight, who used to play a gay couple on a tv show but haven't seen each other for ten years. And then the straight one shows up at the other guy's front door out of the blue...
Dec 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas, shorts
I liked this story. The plot was realistic and all emotions were true enough for my taste. Both main characters Jesse and Kaye, were interesting and tragic, too.
Morgan  Skye
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
Full Review

(Contains spoilers- be warned.)

Jesse is an ex-TV star who now runs a travel agency. He is surprised when Kaye, his ex-costar, suddenly turns up on his doorstep after divorce number three. Jesse had a huge crush on Kaye back in the day, especially since they were on on-air gay couple, but Kaye was “straight” and therefore off limits. After the show ended the two never had ANY contact until now, ten years later.

Kaye is depressed. His marriages fa
T.M. Smith
Dec 22, 2015 rated it liked it
It has been a decade since Jesse saw his best friend and former costar Kaye. But the unrequited love Jesse feels for Kaye is still just as intense as it has been for the last eighteen years, since they first started playing the onscreen gay couple on a then hit television show. Neither man has had a successful relationship probably ever. Jesse is recently single from his long term boyfriend and Kaye is on divorce number three. And Jesse has to wonder why now? Why is Kaye on his doorstep after so ...more
Kendra T
This was an OK book for me. Kaye and Jesse had been friends but it had been 10 years since they had seen or talked with each other. While I do think there are friends that can have a strong friendship and then get back together like that time hadn't passed, it annoyed me that Kaye just walked right in expecting Jesse to drop everything he had lined up around the holidays, just because Kaye was back. He never called him in the last 10 years or kept in touch. Jesse, the poor lovesick fool, lets hi ...more
Dec 29, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: anthology, holidays, mm, pdf
This was a really interesting story about two men who have not seen each other in 10 years. They costarred on a TV show together playing gay characters but parted ways after 8 years on the show. Jesse has been out since the second season. Kaye would never comment, but he's in the midst of this third divorce. Jesse's also been in love with Kaye since they met 18 years before, but he's never acted on those feelings assuming Kaye was straight. Turns out Kaye might not be as straight as everybody th ...more
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m, read-in-2012
★★ - Okay to pass the time with, but be prepared to roll your eyes.
(view spoiler)
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: holiday, mm, read-2014, audible
Reviewed by Brandilyn for Prism Book Alliance. I am not sure what I was expecting going into Happiness for Beginners by Zhara Owens. That isn't quite true, I thought we were in for a fairly typical second chance romance for two lovers who never had a first chance. While that is, to an extent, what we were offered, we were also given the story of two men that may not have a second chance. Find the whole review at
Dec 30, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: dsp-advent-2011
Ok - so today I obviously have the "Zahra Owens Reading", as this was the third story by her I read, but unfortunately this was the one I liked less. The writing still was very good, I got into the story at once and wanted to know, what happens next. What didn't work for me was the reason Kaye gave for his aloofness regarding Jesse and the proceedings from then on. Sorry, these are supposed to be men in their 40s, therefore it was incomprehensible to me.
Kate Reads
Feb 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I was expecting something fluffier I think. This was interesting. I didn't really get what the Jesse saw in the other MC really though I liked the way Jesse loved him - with patience, tenderness, and dedication. I found his sister made me a little uncomfortable with her comment about having grown up fantasies about them together. I think it was supposed to be funny but it just me feel squicky. There were funny moments though and others may not find his sister off putting.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: z-2012, mm-read
This dealt with quite a serious subject for a Christmas story. Jesse has been in love with Kaye for 18 years but he thinks Kaye is straight. The truth turns out to be a lot more complicated than that, though, and there are a lot of ups and downs for such a short story. The ending felt a little inconclusive to me and I would have liked to see the two men a bit further down the road to have faith that their relationship would last.
Bubbles  Hunty Honest & Direct Opinions
Starts at 0% and ends at 94%

Ok mm story. Not really that great or anything. Slow paced and characters made no sense to me and the whole ten years no contact thing just made it hard for me to like them and I don't see the connection between them. Just didn't work for me
I'm not sure if I liked Kaye. It might be because I have a problem with people who can waste so much precious time... 10 years without a word. But love means being forgiven after a lot of groveling and begging :)
Jan 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I got a bit lost in the wording of the book, to be honest, but I liked the interaction of the family and the 2 main characters the best.
Dec 16, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
I really lied the first half, but then stuff happened that I didn't feel made any sense.
2.5 stars
Dec 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jesse and Kaye once played a gay couple on TV , but Jesse left that fame and fortune years ago. Now 10 years later Kaye is back. And jesse still hasn't forget how in love he is with him
Feb 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m
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Dec 09, 2011
Mel Bradley
rated it it was ok
Jun 09, 2012
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Apr 27, 2015
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Dec 05, 2011
Ilana De Rivas
rated it it was ok
Oct 08, 2018
Jeff Adams
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Dec 31, 2011
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Dec 09, 2011
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ZAHRA OWENS is a multi-lingual globetrotter who loves big cities, but also has a weak spot for the wide-open spaces that are so rare where she lives.
She likes her men either tough on the outside but with a huge soft center, or strong, silent and damaged. She makes it her personal goal to find them their happy-ever-after, the road there often leading via hospital beds, villas with gorgeous vistas o