Book Reviews

Making It Work (Mannies Incorporated 5) by Sean Michael

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 07-January-2017

Book Blurb

Parker has been Manny to Grif and Blue’s kids ever since the twins were first born. Fourteen years later, he’s caring for five kids and Grif is now a widower. Everything is about to change again for Park and his charges, though, as Grif is marrying a man with three girls of his own and the new family is moving to a big house they’ve built just outside of Ottawa. 

Rand has been with his family since fifteen-year-old Josie was little, and he now finds himself transplanted from Austin, Texas to Ottawa, Canada when his charges’ father, Mike, marries Grif. Coming to a new house in a new country with a new blended family, he’s determined to make sure that even though they’ve been uprooted, his girls still have everything they want and need.

What could go wrong?

Park and Rand’s styles as mannies couldn’t be more different, the kids all hate each other on sight, and the newlywed fathers are busy honeymooning. It seems pretty clear the whole situation is a recipe for disaster. Can everyone find their place in this brand new family, including both mannies? And will Park and Rand ever see eye to eye on anything? The answer surprises even them.

Book Review

Two men getting married, their families merging, and all the issues each partner’s children bring to the table, is not all that unusual in “manny-land”, although it is fairly rare. What is totally new and had me fascinated from the moment I read the blurb for ‘Making It Work’, is the idea that both men in the new marriage not only have children between three and fourteen who need to figure out how to relate to new siblings, but also add their respective mannies to the mix and move to a new location/house. I was rubbing my hands in glee before I even started reading, and I have to say, the complicated dynamics, multiple issues, and dedicated mannies had me eagerly turning the pages as I followed the developments. What a wonderful, sweet adventure this turned out to be!

Park has been a manny to Grif’s five children since the twins were born fourteen years ago, and he likes to run a fairly tight ship. He doesn’t think he is overly strict, but he does have his rules and the children are well-behaved as a result. Making exceptions for individuals is not what he is all about. Park is so determined to convince Rand that his way is correct that he loses sight of reality more than once. He is Canadian, but they are moving to a new house and he thinks that is plenty of upheaval and chaos for everyone to deal with. A stable, supportive attitude is all the more important if he doesn’t want to let down his employer and the children he loves as if they were his own.

Rand is from Texas, has long hair, piercings, wears rope sandals, and loves being a manny for Mike’s three girls. He isn’t too sure about following his charges to Canada, but he can’t bear the thought of leaving the girls before they’re adults. Rand is a go-with-the-flow kind of guy without being antiauthoritarian. He is fairly flexible where the kids under his care are concerned, be that about the food they eat or the rules they follow. For him, raising children is about teaching them to think for themselves, to take responsibility, and to learn that certain actions have certain consequences. He is not the pushover some people may think he is, and the girls’ behavior shows that his methods are as valid as Park’s.

Park and Rand with their different outlooks on life and the resulting variations in how they believe children should be raised are bound to clash. Park starts out thinking that Rand is a hippie, that his way of catering to the three girls’ eating habits is coddling them, and is ready to take over to have things managed his way. I smiled when the first thing he does is to try to “browbeat” Rand into accepting joint rules. Rand has no intention of letting anyone get in the way of his girls’ happiness, however, and he draws a very clear line in the sand. He isn’t aggressive and doesn’t try to convince Park that his way is better, but he doesn’t move an inch on changing his rules either. He is a tremendous advocate for the kids in his care and, blended family or not, he will defend them and their right to individuality pretty much to the death against the “military type” who has taken over the new house before Rand has even moved in. Oh boy! The fireworks that follow are sometimes painful, very emotional, and last for quite a while before Park and Rand discover they have more in common than what it looks like at first glance.

The eight kids’ fathers, Grif and Mike, have certain ideas about how to merge their families as well, but they don’t always share these with Park and Rand. Making the children share rooms may sound like a good idea in theory – but foisting that change on them on top of all the other changes may not have been the wisest plan. The kids hate each other on sight, almost as much as their mannies detest each other, and for a while, the story feels more like all-out emotional war than a romance. Griff and Mike are very much in love and somewhat distracted as they enjoy marital bliss, but both mannies soon convince them they have a vital role to play as well. All the adults have their work cut out for them!

If you like family drama, you’ll find it here on every possible level and around each corner. If you enjoy stories about passionate characters who will fight anyone they see as a danger to the children they raise, even each other, this is your book. And if you’re looking for a read that is spellbinding, multilayered, suspenseful, emotional, and intense from page one, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s amazing and had me completely enthralled!





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Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 177 pages/50500 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 14-December-2016
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link