Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Release Day Review: Second Hand by Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan

Title: Second Hand
Series: Tucker Springs: Book 2
Author: Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan
Release Date: January 8, 2019
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 194

Dreamspinner Press

Paul Hannon flunked out of vet school. His fiancée left him. He can barely afford his rent, and he hates his house. About the only things he has left are a pantry full of his ex’s kitchen gadgets and a lot of emotional baggage. He could really use a win—and that’s when he meets El.

Pawnbroker El Rozal is a cynic. His own family’s dysfunction has taught him that love and relationships lead to misery. Despite that belief, he keeps making up excuses to see Paul again. Paul, who doesn’t seem to realize that he’s talented and kind and worthy. Paul, who’s not over his ex-fiancée and is probably straight anyway. Paul, who’s so blind to El’s growing attraction, even asking him out on dates doesn’t seem to tip him off.

El may not do relationships, but something has to give. If he wants to keep Paul, he’ll have to convince him he’s worthy of love—and he’ll have to admit that attachment might not be so bad after all.

First Edition published by Riptide Publishing, September 2012.

4 Stars!

Honestly, this book had me laughing out loud quite a few times. For some people this story may have annoyed the hell out of them, because let’s face it, Paul is not just naive but completely and utterly oblivious most of the time. But overall, this is just a fun sweet story about two guys who find themselves unprepared to find love with someone they never expected. They’re perfect for one another in and out of bed and it teaches them both how to go for what they want and deserve.

While this is a relatively lighthearted story and doesn’t possess too much angst, there are still some serious issues being dealt with by both MC’s. El is unable to help his mother who is driving her family mad by her hoarding. His sister is constantly looking for a man who’ll love her and her kids enough to stick around. Paul has serious self-esteem issues exacerbated by his ex-girlfriend using and manipulating him whenever she feels she can. Adding to it, he’s struggling with his sexuality and what that means for his future. These are all woven through the burgeoning relationship between El and Paul.

I adored El. He was so funny and snarky yet so sweet and patient. He was a great friend and in the end, a wonderful boyfriend. The things he does for Paul, right from the get-go are what made me fall for him, especially taking on Mojo. Paul is hilarious but also exasperating. Luckily he’s endearing, too.

Overall I’d say this was a pretty good collaboration between Marie Sexton and Heidi Cullinan. They both bring their unique writing styles to the story and manage to make them mesh perfectly. While it is obvious they each have their particular strengths and talents we can see not once did it feel unbalanced or as if there were two distinct authors. I loved that. I definitely recommend Second Hand!

***Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.***

3.5 Stars

A (maybe slightly?) updated version of a previous release. Sweet and kind of innocent.
I read Dirty Laundry before this tale, and had been intrigued by El and Paul who were mentioned several times in it - this is their tale. It's not your typical MM romance, as there's none of the hot and heavy stuff - which I'm not complaining about - instead, you get very decent, Joe Next Door types of guys who are having a romance.

Not perhaps a romance where sudden feelings are realised and acted upon, but feelings that have grown and that seem natural, like in a romance of olden days. The guys talked, got to be friends with no strings attached, doing simple things like having coffee, having daily (out-of-bed) interactions, getting to know one another, until one character made a move, just as the other was becoming more receptive to the possibility of a relationship with a man.

I did initially have doubts as to whether Paul would truly be committed to a permanent MM relationship, given that he'd been denying his sexuality, but the authors made both guys very decent and sensitive, with open conversations and honesty, showed them thinking deeply and taking time in their decisions. Paul's coming out to his mother was sweet and emotional, and in some ways, was the making of his and El's romance. It wasn't all roses, as the authors gave both characters human failings; they made them completely normal and real, and likable. The writing was polished and seamless, so much so that I wouldn't have realised that the book was by more than one author.

This is a sweet, gentle, romantic tale, that is going to end up being a Keeper.

ARC courtesy of Dreamspinner Press and Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the review! I love Marie Sexton’s Tucker Springs series and really glad they found new home to be rereleased.