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Life, Some Assembly Required

The Rebuilding Year, Book 2
Narrated by: Gomez Pugh
Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
Non-member price: $34.76
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Publisher's Summary

Finding love in the ashes was easy. Building a life together? Not so much.

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 Ryan's 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 and classmates “I’m gay. I’ve met a man”? That’s going to take nerve of a different kind.

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. Is one month without a new surprise knocking him upside the heart really too much to ask? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be yes.

©2015, 2017 Kaje Harper (P)2018 Kaje Harper

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Erryn Barratt
  • 14-02-2019

How to build a happy family

I did two things to prepare for writing this review: I listened to the book and I reread my review for the first book (that I loved). Even now, more than a year later, that review reminds me why I fell in love with John and Ryan. My one complaint about the book was there was a weird subplot that I didn’t feel was necessary. The ending just felt a little over-dramatic.

Now, having listened to book 2, it all makes sense. That crisis and the resulting heroism by Ryan along with the helplessness of John are the beginning of this book. It leaves off literally where the first book ended and I was brought right back into that world seamlessly, despite the more than year-long gap. I was able to get into each man’s head as they relived the horror in the form of PTSD and was especially concerned for John’s son Mark who was also involved. All three struggle with the aftermath and in their shared experience, they develop a greater appreciation of the others. Men are often known for holding in their feelings so it’s all the more powerful when they do admit, each in turn, that they’re having problems coping.

In the previous book, John’s son Mark had decided he’d had enough of his mother and had come to live with his father. This plotline will hit home for many people as families are often torn apart by divorce. Since I only see Cynthia (John’s ex-wife) through the lens of her ex-husband (John) and her ex-husband’s new lover (Ryan), I wondered about her story and if she was really as vapid and mercenary as she seemed. This book really solidified part of that impression but, near the end, I was able to witness a very different side to her. I was almost – almost – empathetic toward her and her situation. Her stepping back into John and Mark’s lives though, was not without significant upheaval. Hence the ‘some assembly required’.

The other subplot is Ryan and his family. He’s always been straight and had never contemplated a relationship with a man. Falling in love was never part of the plan but now he can’t imagine his life any other way. Being one of four boys though with a tough-as-nails father doesn’t give him a lot of hope for acceptance. To say the road is rocky is an understatement, but his love and devotion to John never falters. His adoration and protectiveness of John’s children is never in question.

I love the constant theme of family through the book. John’s children have different roles in the men’s lives. Mark lives with them, making his way with music, making new friends and adapting to life. Tori is stuck in Los Angeles with a mother who has other concerns and a step-father who is downright cruel. That she hides her true self is a given. That she finds the strength to eventually be honest is a testament for her love and faith in her father and Ryan.

In the end, the family is a solid unit. They find a way to make life work and when the men commit to each other, I had no doubt this was a permanent thing. I couldn’t wait for the next book and since it was released at the same time, I jumped on it as well, doing a binge listen.

I cannot say enough good things about Gomez Pugh. His John is perfect with the confident timbre and the calming tone. Ryan is a bit more excitable, which fits. Gomez’s Cynthia is still a bit shrill, but that fits her personality. He provides great voices for the kids, including 12-year-old Tori. I love when one narrator does all the books in a series and he is perfect for the role.

Another hit with Kaje Harper and Gomez Pugh.

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  • B
  • 22-01-2019

yay!

The second book is just as good as the first book - the rebuilding year. thank you for releasing this!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-01-2019

it was a good story

i love it and love the you used the same narrator so the characters sound the same from the previous story

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  • Annika
  • 09-01-2019

What a wonderful life!

This book picks up just after The Rebuilding Year ends. With Mark and Ryan and John dealing with nightmares from the fire. Dealing with the aftermath of it all. It's really a continuation on everything that started in the first book, and they need to be read/listened to in order. Otherwise you'll probably be lost. And you will definitely miss out on a great love story - at least the beginning of it.

This book is all about family in every possible way. The new one Ryan and John is creating with Mark and Torey. But also coming out to parents and siblings, dealing with homophobic relatives. Coming out to friends and colleagues. And not the least dealing with John's ex-wife unexpectedly showing up on their doorstep announcing she's moving back to town... Add in some teenage angst and drama and this book is packed to the brim. Though, without having the feeling of too much to it.

Ryan and John are solid together, their relationship is solid. Not perfect but not that work in progress either. They know where they stand - at least with each other. The rest of the world needs some working up to. And telling your family about your bisexuality, a recently discovered one at that is far from easy. I have to say that they handled it in a great way.

As mentioned above, their relationship is so tangible, so credible that you can't help but believe in them. They are flawed, insecure, sometimes jealous and irrational, in short, they are wonderfully human and loving them is easy. I also have to mention the love between Ryan and John... you could almost see the connection between them. It was solid and strong and almost had this fairy tale "conquer all" feel to it. I loved how their relationship wasn't perfect or always easy. It made it felt real and their struggles felt real.

I was so excited for this audiobook. I've been looking forward to it ever since finishing The Rebuilding Year. I loved Gomez Pugh in that book, he was truly phenomenal. So I had some pretty serious high hopes going into this book. And maybe that's on me; it's the danger with expectations and all that. In any case; the narration lacked some of the shine, the magic from the first book and I can't say I was as ecstatic this time around. That being said Pugh’s efforts with this book were really good, probably even great, it's just those darn expectations that mess with my head.

I loved that there is no unnecessary drama or things blown way out of proportion in this book. It was, just like the title says; Life. And a great and wonderful one at that. Now to top it off, I’m going straight to the happily ever after and Building Forever

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

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  • Mary
  • 15-01-2019

Great narration for a 3 star story

I loved the first book because the story included a murder mystery as well as romance.

The second book is all family drama, I'm not a fan of family dramas for entertainment, and while the narration was excellent and the story was well written, it was too 'family'-centric for me. The story was predictable about the highs and lows of being an out couple dealing with life and kids and didn't enter any new territory. Ryan and John are a lovely couple and the sex scenes were great, but apart from that, the book was just okay.