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review 2018-06-22 02:16
The Little Things by Jay Northcote Review
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make you appreciate what you have.

There are lots of things that brighten Joel’s life. His three-year-old daughter Evie is one. His close relationship with her mother, his best friend from university, is another. Joel’s boyfriend, Dan, adds spice to his child-free nights, and Joel is pretty happy with how things are.
Then one cold and rainy night, everything changes. Joel’s life is turned upside down when he becomes a full-time dad to Evie, and his previously carefree relationship with Dan cracks under the strain.
Meeting Liam, who acts as if getting hurt isn’t a foregone conclusion, shakes Joel to the core. Their attraction is mutual, and Liam makes no secret of how serious he is about Joel. But Joel is wary. He tells himself he’s keeping Liam at a distance for Evie’s sake, when really he’s protecting his own heart. Taking a chance on this new relationship with Liam may seem a small step—a little thing—but is it one Joel can take after losing so much already?

 

Review

 

This is lovely book in so many ways especially how it address how hard parenting really is especially by yourself. 

For me, the book started in the wrong place or it needed to keep going. We get Dan and the shared custody for a long time. And then when things change, we get a middle section and then Liam coming in but we don't get enough time in the romance. 

So, not my favorite of Northcote's but a tender tale.

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review 2018-06-19 01:30
Finding the right person is hard at the best of times, but when you've got a kid...
The Little Things - Jay Northcote

it's a whole other level of challenging. 

 

Joel's life isn't quite what he imagined but still he wouldn't change a thing especially the part that gave him an adorable daughter named Evie.  He's got a boyfriend named Dan that Evie seems to really like. So while life's not quite what he'd imagined Joel's got a job he enjoys, a boyfriend he thinks might be the one, he shares custody of his daughter with her mom and while it wasn't what he thought it would be, life was turning out to be ok for 23 year old Joel.

 

But it only takes a moment for things to change and when that moment comes Joel finds that he's suddenly the sole guardian of his beautiful little daughter and that maybe Dan's not the one, as the pressure of full time parenthood begins to shine a bright light on the cracks in their relationship and an accidental encounter with a stranger named Liam gives him more comfort than all the time with Dan possibly could. After yet again encountering Liam, Joel comes to the realization that he and Dan really weren't meant to be and ends things. After encountering Liam yet again Joel gives in to his attraction and he and Liam begin to get to know each other.

 

'The Little Things' isn't a love story or even a romance in the typical sense of the word but what it is, is a story about finding love and not the magical romantic stuff of fairy tales no this is the love that exist in the everyday world and sometimes it's scary and it doesn't always fit into our lives but if we want it than we find a place to squeeze it in and we work at keeping it.

 

Joel's got his hands full and truthfully while he may have wanted a relationship between his job, shared parenting duties and the other demands that life makes on us actually having a relationship is more than a bit challenging but if it's worth having it's worth the effort and he's certainly willing to try but when things change and he's suddenly a full time working parent, Joel begins to think that maybe he's not relationship material...but then there's Liam...Liam's a temptation that Joel just can't ignore and really does he want to? Hell no.

 

I loved this story. Joel's a real person with real problems. I've known more than one single parent trying to do the juggling act with life where they give everything they've got to their kids, to being good parents and then they're left trying to squeeze just a little something out for themselves from the time that's left and it's hard, seriously freakin' hard.

 

Partially because of the whole time issue and partially because most single parents have a story to tell and more often than not that story isn't a sunshine and roses story with a cutesy happily ever after. It's a story that has some level of pain, struggle and heartache in it. Sure some people choose to have kids without a partner but more often than not the  reason that a single parent is a single parent is one that's not entirely of their own making as was the case for Joel. So by the time Liam came into Joel's life...well, Joel was well into having issues about people leaving his life, so I have to admit I found Joel's treatment of Liam frustrating at times to say the least but as frustrated as I was I could see where Joel was coming from and basically I sat on my hands and growled at Joel to man up.

 

One of the things that I liked the most about this story was surprisingly...Dan. I admit when I read the blurb I was anticipating not liking Dan...yep, Dan was going to be my bad guy...well, surprise, he wasn't. Dan was 19 to Joel's 23 and he and Joel had very different backgrounds so realistically Dan was an average 19 year old. He wanted to go out and have fun. But he did man up a couple of times when Joel really needed his help and support and he did it of his own accord but I have to admit I honestly can't find fault with a 19 year old who isn't ready for the kind of responsibility that a relationship with Joel would entail so I liked the way Dan and Joel's relationship went. I liked that there was no over the top drama between the Joel and Dan even when things were ending between them.

 

'The Little Things' was a warm and heart melting story about someone that felt like they could have been your neighbor or mine, an average person that we might all know. It's an everyday story about an everyday person...that any of us could know and sometimes those are the best kind of stories to read.

 

This is a re-edited, re-released copy of 'The Little Things' and aside from the new cover the book blurb tells us that there are no real changes made to this story.

 

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A re-edited copy of 'The Little Things' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-06-04 23:35
Some journeys are made in a plane, on train or even in a car...while others...
Watching and Wanting - Jay Northcote,Lewis Carter

 don't require you to even leave the comfort of your home.

 

For the past month I've been on a journey that was made mostly in a vehicle towing our home on wheels but while I've been doing this I've made so many other trips and some of them like this one have been journeys of discovery...

 

Shawn's a recent grad, who's fallen into a bit of a rut. His job's a dead end and it barely pays the bills, his girlfriends called it quits between them and his friends have all moved on but here he is still in Plymouth and at a loss as to which way to go and to make things worse Shawn's roommate Jude is out and proud  and for Shawn he's everything that Shawn's tried to run from for most of his life. But try as he might Shawn can't help but look back over his shoulder as he runs from Jude because he may be pretending that he's not interested in Jude but his hearts telling him a totally different story and when he finds out that Jude works as a cam boy, he also sees an opportunity to explore what he's tried to deny for so long.

 

Most of my friends read this one back when it came out as an e-book but I have to admit I've been holding out for the audio book. I'm not sure why I really like Jay Northcote's stories and I've read several but for some reason I seem to enjoy them even more on audio especially his 'Housemates' series. We've met Shawn in previous books so I was happy to seem him get a story of his own this time around. I can't honestly say that he's a favorite character for me but I really enjoyed seeing him discover more about himself and his sexuality and I liked that while Jude was patient and gave him the time and space that he needed to figure things out he didn't do it at the expense of his own self-respect and dignity. It was close a time or two but when push came to shove so to speak Jude know he had to put himself first...that he deserved to be more than someone's dirty little secret and maybe at times it felt like he was pushing Shawn but in truth there were times that Jude and Shawn's objectives were in conflict so in a way it was probably inevitable that one or both of them would become a bit defensive and while the other would seem to be overly assertive about what they wanted. 

 

Woven throughout Shawn and Jude's story are brief glimpses of characters from previous books in this series, which anyone who knows me will tell you that having characters from previous books or even other series that I'm familiar with is like giving me catnip. It's inevitable that I will end up rolling on the floor and purring like a kitten, figuratively speaking...mostly. So even though this story can easily be read as a standalone...really, why would you want to miss out on all those hot, fun stories that come before this...just puttin' that out there for the universe ;)

 

I'm fairly comfortable saying that the one thing that anyone who's read this would be more than likely to agree on is that these two men are off the charts when it comes to the sexy times. Jude and Shawn are smokin' hot together especially when they discover that they each have a bit of a kink for D/s that's very compatible. Jude likes to be the boss and Shawn he's more than willing to let Jude boss him around...and tie him up...and who knows what else they'll discover they enjoy these two are really just getting started.

 

But the real surprise for me this time around was the fact that Mark Steadman wasn't the narrator. I've gotten use to hearing this narrator when I'm listening to one of Jay's books but this time around I was treated to a new voice...that of Lewis Carter and I'm happy to say I enjoyed the narration as much as I always do. The list was checked and things went a long swimmingly well. While I've enjoyed Mr. Steadman's narrations in the past and I do hope that I'll get to enjoy them again in future I won't be disappointed to hear more from Lewis Carter as well. When a series as multiple MCs I actually find that having more than one narrator helps to keep the variety of the voices fresh and can avoid having the MCs sound too much alike. When the MC's are the same from story to story I admit it's a very different thing and I like the continuity of the same narrator from book to book but in the case of Jay Northcote's 'Housemates' where the MCs are changing from story to story the voices need to do the same as well and so far Mark Steadman and Lewis Carter are keeping things fresh and different in the voice department and I'm looking forward to what comes next from this author and these narrators.

 

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An audiobook of 'Watching and Wanting' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-04-23 05:58
There are so many reasons why we love the books we love...
Second Chance - Jay Northcote

and one of the biggest reasons that I loved this one is right there in the title...'Second Chance'...we all want them...need them and mostly we deserve them and this book is about just that second chances...so many second chances for so many people.

 

First there's Nate and Jack. Childhood friends who are reunited after years of separation and change. Both men have had so many changes in their lives and now here they are at the age of 45...that's right folks, our MCs are not young men. They're mature men...men who have been through a lot, they've been through good and bad and now they've come home to the place where they both started their lives and their friendship. A place that's filled with memories for them both...good and bad memories.

 

Jack's trying to get his life together after a bad break-up that sent him into a serious downward spiral...depression and addiction are his constant companions and Jack really wants to change that and it's going to take time and the help of his parents to get past everything and rebuild his life.

 

Nate's come home to help his mom following the death of his father and to get his daughter away from life in a larger city and temptations that seemed to be around every corner waiting to lead a young person astray. It's been years since Nate's lived in the small village...the place where people knew him as 'Nat or Natalie'...Nate's transgender and he's not use to living in a place where this is common knowledge.

 

In among the backdrop of the main story which is about Jack and Nate's second chance to return to the friendship that they shared years ago but maybe to have even more...something that Nate has secretly wanted since their school days.  We have Nate's daughter, Cass. Who's given a second chance to get her life on track after having run off the rails when they were in the city. We have Nate's mom, who's getting a second chance to have a relationship not just with her Granddaughter but her son and while things were never bad between them...they weren't nearly as good as they could have been and this is her chance to change that...to fix it and there's Jack's parents who also need that second chance to try and get things right with their son. 

 

Now don't misunderstand me while these are some of the second chances that happen in this story and there's at least one more but I'm not going into that one. It doesn't mean that they all happen or that things are perfect. Each second chance has its own solution and degree of positive outcome and that's part of what made this story work so well for me.

 

What I loved even more than the fact that this is a wonderful second chance story not just for Nate and Jack but for some many other people in it...is the fact that one of the second chances that it's about is Nate. Not just Nate's second chance with Jack but it's about his second chance to live life as the real Nate...Nate the man and not Natalie the woman the person that everyone else mistakenly thinks he is.

 

'Second Chance' is a story about love, second chances and it's told from a realistic perspective it's not about over the top magical solutions. It's two men dealing with what life has thrown their way one gay and the other gay and transgender and they're real. They're living with their parents because that's where life has taken them, reuniting as two people who were once friends and want to revive that friendship but in the process what they realize is that they both want more than their friendship...they want a chance at a life together. Sure they have misunderstanding but then they do what grown-ups do...they talk about it. But more than this is the perspective we are given into the more intimate times between these two men. It's real and there's passion and humor, awkward moments, interruptions and even a moment or two of frustration...ohmygod!!! It's like real life!

 

While every story is unique, each of us can often see bits and pieces of our story or that of some one we know in the story of others. It's often that commonality that draws us in and lets us relate to what we're reading. For me 'Second Chance' held tiny little pieces of a story that while it's not mine, is one that I'm almost as familiar with as my own and it was those small pieces that connected me to this story and kept me engaged and wanting to read it all.  This one's definitely going on my favorites shelf...well done Mr. Northcote...very well done indeed! Thank you.

 

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An ARC of 'Second Chance' was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-03-03 21:15
The Dating Game - DNF @ 20% (Audiobook)
The Dating Game - Jay Northcote

I got the ebook free forever ago and cracked it open some months back but quickly decided to shelve it due to the writing. Then I saw this in the Audible Romance Package and decided to give it another go. Ugh! Narrator isn't bad, but really is too posh for the story. And the story itself is pretty standard contemporary romance with little else going on. Just not that interesting. 

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