Erryn and Wendy review Changes Going On by Kaje Harper. The book was published March 26, 2020 and is 399 pages. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why Erryn read this book: I loved Changes Coming Down and wanted to spend more time with Scott, Casey, and Will.
Why Wendy read this book: I really enjoyed Changes Coming Down and wanted to see where their lives took them after book 1.
Three men, one summer of media, mentorship, and murder.
There’s a reason Scott Edison came out as gay and poly on national TV— now no one can try to push him back into the closet. But as his men and his hockey team deal with the fallout from fans and paparazzi, moving forward isn’t as easy as he’d hoped.
Will Rice was looking forward to a quiet summer, sharing the work with his guys and giving Scott a refuge from the spotlight. He’s hired a couple of young ranch hands, and finally feels ready to give back some of the mentoring that turned his life around decades ago. But good fences won’t be enough to keep trouble off the ranch.
Casey Barlow left the Sheriff’s Department on his own terms, out and proud. But when the new sheriff is murdered— and Casey’s one of the few with a watertight alibi— he’s asked to investigate, and he can’t resist. He’s determined to solve the murder, and still take care of his men on the home front. Then one murder becomes two…
It’s a summer of risks and challenges, and working together is the only way they’ll make it through.
Changes Coming Down was a great book and I enjoyed it. I loved that it was an established triad who were coming to grips with what hiding their relationship was costing them individually and as a group. Scott, Will, and Casey were all strong men, and each had their own reasons for keeping the relationship a secret. When it became too much and they were forced to spend time apart to cover their lie, Scott made the decision he was going to come out. And announce his relationship with the taciturn rancher Will and the ex-army tough guy Casey. Scott, as an NHL player, had the most to lose. He might get dropped and might lose out on his dream. But he decided it was worth it and the book ended with the three men being interviewed for a segment to air the next day.
Changes Going On picks up right where the first book left off. The three men are back in the hotel room, still a little stunned that Scott chose not only to out himself but also to declare himself polyamorous. Will and Casey are more than willing to stand by Scott, but all three men recognize this is going to be a tough situation for all of them. Will plans to continue running the ranch he inherited. Casey is the ex-Sheriff who plans to work alongside Will at the ranch and Scott has the summer off before training camp.
Scott tells his parents and the team publicist who tells the team general manager just in time so they can all catch the interview. Some of the above take it better than others, but once the horse is out of the barn, so to speak, there’s no getting it back in. The three men are scheduled for a series of interviews that keep them away from the ranch and while they’re gone, Casey’s nemesis, the man who beat him in the sheriff’s election, is murdered. Since Casey was out of state with a strong alibi at the time, the town hires him back as an investigator so he can investigate the murder. Then there’s another suspicious death and suddenly things are getting hotter in the Kansas summer.
Back on the ranch, the paparazzi have set up just outside the property and it’s a challenge to get any work done. But the animals can’t wait and soon Will is back into his routine. Casey is back working for the law and Scott is in some weird place in between where he’s doing some training to keep in shape, some helping out around the ranch…and then his mother shows up. She leaves in time for more visitors to arrive at the ranch. It’s a whirlwind and with the summer staff, including two teenagers, life is never boring.
Like the previous book, there are some high stakes action and a little bit of peril. What I’ve come to expect from the series. I get my happy ending but man it was quite a ride. I like long books that I can sink my teeth into and this was definitely a good one. The care taking with the characterization was evident as I felt I really got to know each of the men. There is also humor in this book as evidenced by what happens when Casey’s mother shows up:
“Where are you?”
She chuckled lightly. “I seem to be at the gate to your ranch. Which is locked. A wise precaution since there are several media people parked here.”
Shit. “Listen, don’t get out of your car, all right? I’ll be home in twenty minutes—”
“Casey, don’t you think I know how to handle the press after all these years? I’ll be fine.”
“Really, Mom, Scott’s team likes to fine-tune all the media things. Just stay put. I’ll have someone come let you in. Or I can give you the code—”
“I think these gentlemen and ladies might like to hear about the negative climate effects of airline travel, don’t you? Or which biological, geochemical, and agricultural systems influence methane concentrations in a warming climate?”
“Uh, I don’t think—”
“I’ll keep them nicely entertained till you get here. These poor people must be so bored sitting here for hours waiting to pounce on you boys.”
“Mom, you shouldn’t—”
“I’ll see you in twenty minutes, Casey.” The call switched off.
Or maybe fifteen? He briefly considered whether Mom interacting with the press was enough excuse to turn on lights and siren. Sadly, ethics won out. But he did push the speed limit out of shape, heading back.
So, yeah, I might have laughed. A lot. I could totally see Casey racing back to the ranch. His mother is a hoot, although I’m certain she takes herself quite seriously.
I enjoyed this book as much as the first and was glad I invested the time to get to know these men better. Well done, Ms. Harper.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Wendy’s review: Changes Going On picks up right as book one left off so there wasn’t any guessing or catching up to do (which I appreciated). I remember feeling all of Scotty’s trepidation when that book left off. Knowing that he’d just come out to the world and put his career on the line to live his truth made me all kinds of proud and scared for him in equal measure. I was drawn into ALL of the intrigue and drama and mystery in this story right from the start. Turns out that much like book one, there was tons more going on in their lives than just how his decision affected things. It does affect their lives and the lives of his teammates along with many others and that is all written about and addressed beautifully. But man… the stuff happens fast and furiously in this one.
Casey is back working in law enforcement and things heat up for him pretty quickly and Will has just blossomed as a steady, loving reliable presence. Both of these guys wrapped themselves around my heart just as much as Scotty. I was rooting for them all the way. These guys knew it wouldn’t be easy to be in a public poly relationship. They put themselves out there with nothing but the love in their hearts for each other and that is shown over and over.
I adored the secondary characters more than I have in recent memory. My heart broke for some and went out to others and even some that I wanted to have karma come and give them what they deserved.
The story is very well written, realistic and engaging. I enjoyed this book every bit and more as I did book one.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
I was born in Montreal but have lived for 30 years in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, where the mosquito is the state bird, and where winter can be breathtakingly beautiful. Minnesota’s a kind, quiet (if sometimes chilly) place and it’s home.
I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, usually M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
My husband finally convinced me that after all the years of writing for fun, I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing four novels and three freebie short stories in that series. I was delighted and encouraged by the reception Mac and Tony received.
I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.wordpress.com/books/.
You can find me and my book reviews on my author page here on Goodreads – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.
You can also find me on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/KajeHarper