Renovations 1: Framework

renovations_vol1-coverTitle: Renovations 1: Framework
Author: Anah Crow and Dianne Fox
Genre: Contemporary M/M/ Interracial
Length: Novel (222 pages Print)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5


When Toby Archer’s marriage falls apart, he takes up flipping houses to fill some of the void left in his life. The first time that contractor Ven Parrish works for him, Toby notices the fact that Ven is gorgeous, but what really catches Toby’s attention is Ven’s work ethic. Toby isn’t going to pass up the chance to hire Ven again; it’s just good business sense.

The more time they spend together, the harder it is to deny their attraction to each other. Toby is a lawyer with an upper class lifestyle, and Ven is a working man from a family still scraping by. What they have in common, especially a commitment to family, does more to keep them apart than bring them together. Still, Toby and Ven have sense enough to know when something is worth the work, and neither is afraid to get hot and dirty to get the job done, especially when the finished product might be a happy ending for everyone.


Toby is a lawyer who spends his extra money and time  flipping houses. He is divorced and seems to have a pretty good relationship with his ex and two young daughters. He met Ven, a contractor, when he bought one of the “distressed” properties he usually fixes up with the help of a professional then sells for a profit. He and Ven hit it off immediately and initially had a purely business relationship, even though they both wanted to move it into something more. Very soon after, they end up in bed and have pretty scorching sex which sets the tone for the rest of the book.

The plot is very good – here are these two dissimilar men working in a field which is very complex and it’s apparent that the authors either are very knowledgeable about the construction industry or they received some expert advice, because there is a fair amount of technical detail in the book about the work involved in demolishing and rebuilding a house. Ven starts out working for Toby and they found it difficult to keep their personal and business relationships separate without one overlapping and affecting the other. As they continued their business  association Toby became more and more impressed with Ven’s professionalism and the way he managed the different projects he was running simultaneously, and gradually he started falling in love with him. Although at first they spent a considerable amount of time apart because of other commitments, whenever they were together they managed to hit the bed with regularity.

The characters were both three dimensional and we learn a fair amount about Toby’s background. There was a very nice episode when his girls came to visit for Halloween and Ven gets to meet them, and I believe in the next book the girls will have a much bigger role in the relationship. Ven’s parents were very caring and loving to the brothers and the writers did an excellent job on his mother’s character.  

What did I like most about this story? The characterizations and the family dynamics, especially the parts where Ven was so  protective of his mentally challenged 30 year old brother. I thought the authors did a great job on Cake (Ven’s brother) by not making him a stereotype, and giving him a real job and independence and a sweet personality.

What didn’t I like about the book? A few things. I thought there was probably too much sex which became a bit repetitious after a while, (it seemed that the guys were in bed for at least half of the book) at the expense of the story. Perhaps it just appeared that way to me because I read the first 3 books in this series all at once plus another story, Counting Blessings, which is only available with the print book, all of which focused on the sexual aspect of the guys’ relationship. However, if you like a lot of hot man sex in your M/M books you will love Renovations and probably wonder why I mentioned its overabundance.:) I also thought there might have been a little more about Ven’s background in the book, and how the 10 year age difference or the interracial aspect of the relationship affected the couple. While there was some information maybe it could have been expanded to give the reader more of a sense of  the kind of man Ven was, before he met Tobias.

A very minor point – Toby had this little quirk of  tying off the used condoms which the gay men I talk to say they don’t do. There was also a poll on this topic on the blog a few months ago that confirmed only a few straight British men do this.:) g However, this is a very small criticism in a book that was otherwise well written.

 I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a complex relationship in terms of the family dynamics and the stressful effects of mixing  business, family and personal matters and I look forward to reading about the new adventures of Toby and Ven. Renovations  1: Framework is a story about life, family, making choices and moving on. I think you will enjoy Ven’s entire family and especially Ven and Toby as they try to work out the challenges they face in terms of their unequal financial partnership and complex family lives.

Renovations I: Framework includes the following  –

Renovations 1: Flipping out

Renovations 2:Playing House
Renovations 3: Moving Day
A Renovations Addition: Counting Blessings


I live in Canada and I love big dogs, music, movies, reading and sports – especially baseball


  • OMG I just saw the tying off the rain coat so to speak in a freebie story posted on Literotica. Ha ha. It threw me when I read it. I was like, whaaa? Where do you think that stuff’s goin’ buddy?

    • Yvette
      Many female M/M authors wrote this into their stories up until several months ago (a few still do). I got so tired of it because I knew from talking to gay men that they didn’t do it, so I had a poll on the blog where a number of gay men commented on this “practice”*g*. Apparently the writers were playing “follow the leader”- a few British M/M writers started the trend and the North Americans all followed!:)

  • Larissa

    I don’t think your bank account would mind if you bought Renovations. I have just inserted the links for the ebooks at the end of the review, which are reasonably priced through Torquere – I believe they are just $2.49 each. Try the first one and see if you like it:) I love to spend other people’s money.

  • Hehehe my bankaccount just informed me that looking at this website is bad for my balance. You keep reviewing good books and then I wantssssss them! MINE!

  • Thanks Liade for letting me know. I fixed it. The series can be purchased as ebooks from TQ if you link to the site and to the author and you can purchase the stories individually.

    This was a pretty good story, and it’s only my opinion about the abundance of sex. Another reviewer probably would not notice, but as I said, I read what amounted to 4 short stories at the same time so it was pretty noticeable, to me anyway.

    I do recommend the book because it’s different and I think there’s a lot of fan support for the series which is continuing after this book.

  • I like the dynamic of this kind of different backgrounds relationship, but the abundance of sex kind of make me “wary”. LOL!

    I think I’ll put it in “To Read List” 🙂

  • Sounds interesting and not too expensive for maybe trying a new author (or two). But the publisher’s link needs amending.


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