Life, Some Assembly Required

Title: Life, Some Assembly Required
Author: Kaje Harper
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, Ltd.
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Genre(s): Contemporary
Page Count: 327
Reviewed by: Jewel
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

The Rebuilding Year, Book 2

Finding love in the ashes was easy. Building a life together? Don’t make Fate laugh.

After spending the first part of his life chasing pretty girls, love has finally come to Ryan in the form of John, a tall, lanky, red-headed landscape architect with wide shoulders and a five-o’clock shadow.

For the first time in his life, love feels easy. Hell, he even ran into a burning building for John and his son, and he’d do it again if he had to. But telling his father and brothers “I’m gay. I’ve met a man”? That’s a bumpy ride he’s not looking forward to.

For John, loving Ryan is as natural as breathing. Now if only the rest of his life would fall into place. Dealing with his teen son is complicated enough, but with his ex-wife causing trouble and his daughter wanting to move in, John’s house—and his relationship with Ryan—threaten to split at the seams.

Would one month without a new surprise knocking him upside the heart be asking too much? If the sound of Fate’s laughter is any indication, the answer must be yes…

Product Warnings
Contains two formerly straight guys learning to navigate the gay-guy waters, sometimes without a paddle. Plus six kinds of family ensuring nothing comes easy.

picks right up where leaves off with Ryan telling his dad that he is in love with another man. And as the book began, so it continued, with lots of family drama. Ryan’s family drama wasn’t a huge thing, in the grand scheme of things, but it was there and it did affect Ryan and John. John’s ex-wife, Cynthia, however, just. wouldn’t. go. away! I hated her in the first book and I did not come to like her, even a little bit, in this one. John’s kids, Mark and Torey, though, I came to love.

The whole story, pretty much revolves around John and Ryan navigating being open about their relationship in the everyday sense while also trying to navigate the choppy waters of family issues. John and Ryan are great – I love them both and they’re pretty damn solid. Even though they have been together less than a year, it really feels like they are a forever thing. They’re both in their 30’s and pretty well settled. And I loved that no matter what was being thrown their way, they stayed committed. There were small doubts, here and there, but nothing huge and I never felt as though their commitment to each other was in danger.

Ryan’s family is a mixed bag, with his dad and younger brother, Brent, being less than supportive and his older brother being great. Ryan’s dad certainly could have been worse, but his prevaricating just made me want to knee him in the balls. Brent, at least said what he was thinking, though when he had the audacity to preface some of his bigotry with “I’m not anti-gay…”, well, at least we already knew he was an ass. Both Ryan’s dad and Brent seemed very hung up on the suddenness of Ryan’s same sex attraction. You know, as if they’ve always been privy to every thought and feeling that ever passed through Ryan. Newsflash – Ryan is in love with John. Get the fuck over it. I had this huge rant all ready to go, but I’ll leave it at that. I’m sure you get the picture.

My biggest complaint about this book, however, would be the ever constant presence of Cynthia. If you’ve read the first book, you know that Cynthia is an opportunistic shark (read: manipulative bitch) who has done nothing but make John’s life difficult, and when she and her – even worse – husband found out that John was in a relationship with a man, well, they were downright hateful. Well, things take an unexpected turn in her life and she latches right onto John, as if she hadn’t been the most hateful person to him just a few months ago. And John is a caring guy and doesn’t want his kids to be negatively affected by his relationship with Cynthia, so he helps her.

But no matter how much she seemed like she was trying to ‘make nice’, I didn’t trust her at all. Neither did Ryan and I think his concerns were quite valid. Cynthia uses people and she knows that John will never tell to go die in a fire because he is just too nice of a guy and he doesn’t want his kids to feel like they are in the middle. I actually admire him for that. Thankfully, John wasn’t so easily manipulated and he knew the score. She did try to pull something at the end that I really wish I could have said surprised me. Honestly, the only thing surprising about it was that she asked. The audacity of that woman…

I struggled with the rating a bit here. I, overall, liked the book. I really loved Ryan and John and seeing just how committed they were to each other, even in the face of so many things that could have torn them apart. But the things I didn’t like (Cynthia and her fucking drama) were big enough, though, I rounded down some elements of my rating, rather than rounding up.

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I really loved the MC's, but the family drama (particularly a certain ex-wife) kind of turned me off.

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