Tanja reviews ‘The Family We Make (Finding Family #2)’ by Kaje Harper (Self-Published via Smashword; August 13, 2014)
Why I read it: First, Kaje Harper is a favourite author of mine and second I loved the first book ‘The Family We´re Born With’ from this series. I wanted to know the outcome of Sam finding his brother Rick, how he was doing and so on.
This copy was offered to RGR, free of charge in exchange of an honest review.
At seventeen, Rick Albright left his home, his parents and even his old name, rather than pretend to be straight. But being on his own was hard. When his big brother Sam found him, and insisted on giving him a place to stay, he didn’t resist too long. Living with Sam is better than fighting just to survive, but it’s not easy to find his balance in a simple, small-town life, after his time on the streets.
Travis Brinkerhoff finally managed to come out in college, his second year anyway. It was the one bright side to losing his baseball scholarship and jock status. But without money for tuition, second year came to an abrupt end. He’s back in his small Minnesota hometown, and back in the closet. Travis feels like he’s trying to fit into a life he’s outgrown. If he’s going to survive, he has to figure out a way to be his own man, maybe even have his own man, without losing the family he loves.
When he left the Marines, Sam Albright wanted nothing more than to find his missing younger brother. Mission accomplished. Now he’s got an independent, possibly traumatized, openly gay young man on his hands, a girlfriend in a war zone overseas, and parents he has to lie to in order to keep the peace. Keeping it all together won’t be easy, but Sam has never backed away from a challenge.
I´m impressed, again, by this author´s talent to create such wonderful stories. I felt right at home there, like I was part of that family and watched how their life strechted out before me. The whole story felt so real, something which can happen just around your corner. I loved it.
Rick, formerly Clint was seventeen when he left home because he just couldn´t pretend anymore to be someone he isn´t. He was living on the streets until Sam, his older brother finds him. Rick is an annoying little sh*** at times, he provokes Sam and other people with rubbing his gayness into their faces just to see what they will do. He made me so mad at times, because his behaviour could get him into serious troubles, but I trully understand where he was coming from. He has big trust issues and it´s no wonder when you learn about Rick´s history with his parents as well as living on the street did him no good either. Sometimes I wished it was more revealed about that time but all in all you get enough bits and pieces to know what Rick went through. In the span of this book you see Rick transform from an insecure teenager to a young adult. It´s a hard way for him finding his place and to have trust in other people again. He wouldn´t have been able to do this if not for the supportive people in his life.
What makes this book so wonderful and real is that all characters have flaws, questions themselve at times and are not just heroes. I also appreciated their abillity to reach out to other people for help, which is not ever easy to do. Sam, like Rick have that kind of support from Dora, Sam´s kick ass girlfriend. I really hope there is another book in this series and we get to see more of Dora. Then, amongst others, there is Jesse, Sam´s half brother and his fiancé Devon as well as Jesse and Sam´s mother Gayle.
Let´s start with Sam. He is a wonderful big brother who just wants to do right by Rick. Does he always make the right decisions? No, but that´s part of being human and he gives his best under the circumstances. He, as former Marine went through enough shit in his life, but his love and protectivness of his brother is unconditionally.
Jesse and Devon are great. I loved to see them again and they have a special place in my heart. Also Gayle did her best. I´ve not forgiven her wholeheartedly for the things she did in book one, but she redeemed herself a little bit in this story.
Jeff, for whom Sam works is also a stunning person. Sam and Rick are living with Jeff. As the story progressed and problems came along, he took it in stride and gave his support as well as good advise. He is like a grandfather and I wanted to hug the hell out of him.
Last but by all means not least is Travis. He is the good son, always there for his siblings and parents. The problem with it? He is gay and moving back home meant moving back in the closet until he met Rick. Their love story is awesome to watch. Both of them have their own kind of problems to deal with and on top have to come to terms with their relationship and feelings for each other. When around 70% the shit hits the fan you can see what a long way both of them already came and furhtermore you can watch them as they mature and become the persons they are now. Let me tell you it´s not easy for both of them, it´s a cruel strike of life intercepting their more or less blissful relationship. Here, again I´m in awe with this author. She could have done the easiest way or the one, which would have made more sense to most people but no, here is a lesson to be learned. First, life is not always fair and secondly it takes only ONE decision to change your life forever. Was I happy with what happened? Of course not, since I too suffered with the main characters. But as I said before life isn´t always fair to us and we have to deal with the consequences.
This was a great, very well written story about life, love and a family of your own choosing. It´s the second book in this series and could be read as a standalone but I would advise to read the first one. It´s a short, free story and shows you the ties Sam has with Jesse, Devon and Gayle. Highly recommended!!!
10/10 pots of gold
Get the first book The Family We´re Born With for free here:
My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. This was the first thing I had submitted anywhere and I was thrilled when it was accepted. There are now three free short stories, and three more novels in the Life Lessons series.
My free Smashwords book was the first thing that actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book.
And now I have other work in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better.