Monday, September 11, 2017

Release Day Reviews ~ Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton (Giveaway)

Release Day Reviews ~ Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

Title: Family Man

Author: Heidi Cullinan and Marie Sexton

Release Date: September 11, 2017

Category: Contemporary
Pages: 206

Dreamspinners  Amazon  Goodreads
Sometimes family chooses you.
At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.
Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.
Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.
It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

First edition published by Samhain Publishing, 2013.

4 Stars!

Vinnie comes from a very traditional Italian family, he's hard-working and loyal and supportive. After three divorces he's finally ready to sort of admit he might be gay, even if he's nowhere close to coming out to his family. Deciding to check if he's indeed gay, he goes to a Boystown bar only to run into one of the guys from his neighborhood.

Trey is younger than Vinnie, but he's had to grow up fast. Between his father's death when he was a kid, his mother's addiction to alcohol and cough syrup, having to help his grandma with the house's expenses, juggling two jobs and studying to get his degree, the poor guy barely has time for himself. Finding out that gorgeous Vinnie Fierro is gay, even if closeted, is a surprise. Realizing that Vinnie wants to date him and take things slow with Trey is fairly convenient for both of them, seeing that Vinnie is not sure if he's truly gay and Trey doesn't want to just give his virginity to just about anyone. 

However, when Trey's mother suffers a relapse that lands her in the hospital, Vinnie has to decide once and for all what's more important helping Trey when he needs him the most or his fear of coming out to his family. 

I loved Vinnie and Trey. They were so sweet with each other and it was really nice to see their romance develop. It's kind of a slow burn in the sense that they don't rush into anything, but the chemistry is definitely there. I just loved how romantic Vinnie could be with Trey, courting him and being there for him in any way he could. I also liked that even if Vinnie paid for their dates and helped around Trey's house, he never made Trey feel less for that. He just did it because he could and that was that. 

I really liked Vinnie's big Italian family and how they all rallied to help each other. And Trey's grandmother was lovely! 

I have to say that the whole addiction storyline was heartbreaking and while it was difficult to read at times, I could see why it was so difficult for Trey to forgive his mother. I think the authors dealt with it in a very sensitive and realistic manner, giving us the other side of the coin, that of the loved ones that have to see their mother, sister, partner, etc. slowly kill themselves as they go for the next fix. 

This was a great May/December book. It took me a bit to get used to reading one chapter in first person and the next one in third, but once I did, it was smooth sailing. It was angsty, sweet and filled with romance and love. Very recommendable! 

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

4 Stars!

At 40, Vincent is finally ready to evaluate his sexuality and consider that he might actually be gay. After multiple failed marriages and an illuminating plumbing job for a loving gay couple, Vince realizes he wants something more, something he realizes he'll only find with another man. However, coming from a big, traditional Italian family has him fearing their reaction. After all, he doesn't want to end up like Hank, the family's black sheep.

With the support of his sister Rachel and a boost of courage, Vinnie tries out the gay bar scene for the first time. When he runs into Trey, a younger man from the family's neighborhood, he doesn't have a clue how his life will forever be changed.

Trey has a full plate. Between his two jobs, trying to get through school and watching his depressed addict mother slowly kill herself and possibly his Grandmother, Trey isn't looking for complicated. Vincent Fierro screams complicated. After all, the man has been married three times... to women. But he can't deny that he wants Vince and so he agrees to date him. He never thought that Vince would end up opening a brand new world for him. One where people have your back and try to help you any way they can. A world where you are never truly alone. A world where Happily Ever After isn't just a fairytale.

I really loved Vince. He was a bit clueless in the beginning but he was trying to come to terms with the fact that he was gay. He was sweet and you could absolutely see that this man wanted someone to love and cherish and deserved the same. He was super supportive of Trey and while he had nerves and questioned things it was all fairly normal and very little drama.

Where the drama came from was in Trey's life with his mother who'd never gotten over the death of his police officer father. Her depression and dependency on alcohol and cough medicine. The fact that his entire world seemed to revolve around making sure she didn't accidentally kill herself while also worrying about his Grandmother who they lived with and who he adored. He had a lot of anger and resentment which was, of course, understandable but he also had a vulnerability he hadn't been able to show until Vince.

This story wasn't driven by sex, instead we, are given a romantic and sweet story about two men who are truly perfect for one another and almost miss the opportunity to know it. Vince has this huge meddling Italian family that he sometimes might take for granted while Trey has a tiny family that is struggling to hold on. These men really do need one another.

Overall, I really enjoyed Family Man. It was well written and entertaining. With humor and drama and plenty of chemistry, it was a great read for when you just need something to make you remember there's someone out there for everyone. I'd definitely recommend it.

*** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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  1. Thanks for the reviews! I do enjoy stories with meddling families. I read the original version of this book and loved it.

  2. Yes I quite like big families and it's great to see the meddling that goes on, all in the name of Love of course!

  3. Usually I do.
    jlshannon74 at

  4. Congrats to Heidi & Marie on this collaborative effort, and thanks for the good reviews, Mari & Jaymie. Hmm, meddling fams, huh? I can see how that would introduce conflict, but it has to be written tightly and realistically, not just to elicit emotion. But in the hands of Heidi and Marie, I'm sure it's handled well. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot} com

  5. Not particularly. I guess it depends on how involved they are. I don't like overbearing families who force the character to do things or let the cat out of the bag.

  6. It depends, really. Sometimes the big meddling family makes it fun, and source of huge entertainment of the book (I read a LOT of that trope in MF contemporary, usually sets up in small-town). But other times, they can be very overbearing. So like I said, it depends on how the story goes.

  7. I love books with big meddling families & Family Man is a great example!

  8. One of my favorite is Saving Faithless Creek.
    Books with meddling families kind be fun or drive me crazy.
    And some of my favorite paranormal books are Bacon Hill Sorcerer series by SJ Himes, Enhanced series by Victoria Sue, most of Lisa Oliver's books, etc.