Playing Life (Graves Brothers #2)

Title: Playing Life (Graves Brothers #2)
Author: V.M. Sanford
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: July 22nd 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: TBC
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.4 stars out of 5


Sometimes you have to let go of your fears and start playing life.

When Ryan decided to spend his summer vacation in the tiny town of Augusta rather than in Sacramento, he expected to work on the house he inherited from his grandmother, go to the gym and train, and not much else.

He should have known better.

His grandmother’s house is a mess, and there’s no way Ryan can get it back to its past splendor on his own. He calls the Graves Brothers, a renovation company in town, and hires them to do the work.

When Kenny is offered the job on the house he’s been wanting to put his hands on since he was a kid, he jumps on the occasion. He doesn’t even care that Ryan, the new owner, is a player for the Sacramento Pelicans, his favorite hockey team.

Kenny offers Ryan his guest room until the house is ready, and they become friends, then more. But Ryan is in the closet and he’s not ready to come out and risk his career, while Kenny is still hurt over breaking up with his closeted ex-boyfriend.

Can they make things between them work even with all the obstacles and their own personal hang-ups? Or will their relationship be nothing more than a summer fling?

I didn’t realize this was book two in a series, but this can absolutely be read as a standalone.

Thirty-six year old NHL star Ryan Widner has decided to fix up the old Victorian his grandmother left him in Augusta, California. However, when he gets to the house he quickly realizes the decade of neglect has made the house unlivable and in desperate need of fixing up by professionals and not the DIY he thought he’d be able to handle.

When Ryan contacts Kenneth Graves of Graves Brothers Renovations Kenny is overjoyed with the prospect of getting his hands on a house he’s loved all his life. The cherry on this sundae is his favorite defenseman for the Sacramento Pelicans is the owner. When Kenny brings Ryan home for dinner and to meet the other brothers in the business to talk about what’s needed for the renovation, Kenny’s mother suggests that Ryan not go to a hotel, but rather stay in Kenny’s spare room.

What starts off as a bit awkward, turns into friendship, and then sparks ignite. But Ryan is deeply in the closet, especially after a particularly bad reaction from the only person he’s ever told he’s gay, and Kenny is only just over a relationship where he was a secret. Can love win out?

The family, filled with four sons on the “rainbow spectrum” is a joy to read, and filled with acceptance and love for the men the boys fall for. It was particularly sweet seeing Ryan’s reaction to Kenny’s family’s acceptance of him even before they know he’s gay or interested in Kenny.

Told in a dual POV, Playing Life is a cute, not too steamy romance, with a build up to Kenny and Ryan getting together, a little miscommunication that is pretty quickly cleared up, and a solidly cute HFN/HEA ending.

For the sticklers: In the ARC there were some editing and proofing issues consistently throughout that I hope will be caught and fixed before the final draft was published.

Graves Brothers series

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Playing Life provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


I am an unapologetic book addict/lover. I’m happiest when reading and I spend most of my time with my Kindle, which is never far from my hand.
I love to be told a good story! I mostly read fiction: Romance, Erotica, Young Adult, New Adult, Paranormal (shifters? Yes, please!), a little BDSM when I’m in the mood, and I love a good ménage story. I DEFINITELY PREFER A HFN/HEA!

My biggest no-no’s are cheating, miscommunication / misunderstanding plots, unnecessary angst, and cliffhangers.

A sampling of my “Favorite M/M” stories:

Carry the Ocean The Half of Us Red Dirt Heart Adulting 101 Tied Up In Knots
Shelter the Sea Manties in a Twist David, Renewed Ethan who Loved Carter Perfect Imperfections
Wolfsong Fight the Tide How to Walk Like A Man The Lightning-Struck Heart Forging the Future

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