Dana and Erryn review Home Work (Life Lessons Book 3) by Kaje Harper. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Book Title: Home Work (Life Lessons 3)
Author and Publisher: Kaje Harper
Narrator: JF Harding
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Genre: Mystery/Contemporary M/M Romance
Tropes: Hurt-comfort, established couples, parenting
Themes: Found family
Heat Rating: 3 flames
Length: 10 hours and 28 minutes
It is not a standalone story. Listen/read books 1 and 2 first.
The book does not end on a cliffhanger.
Buy Links – Available in Kindle Unlimited, Paperback and Audio
Murder, trauma, and raising children – who said love was easy?
Mac and Tony thought the hard part was over. They’re together openly as a couple, sharing a home and building a life with their two kids. It’s what they dreamed of.
But daughter Anna struggles with the changes, Ben is haunted by old secrets, Mac’s job in Homicide still demands too much of his time, and Tony is caught in the middle. It’ll take everything these men can give to create a viable balance between home and work. Especially when life refuses to give them a break.
(This is a lightly edited rerelease of the 2012 original novel.)
Kaje Harper wrote the Life Lessons series almost a decade ago. Many books from that era haven’t stood the test of time – these books have. I’ve loved every instalment of Tony and Mac’s journey together. About what life was like before same sex marriage was legal everywhere in the US – and what it might look like again if the people don’t fight to keep it.
But back to Mac and Tony. They’re living together and trying to make their family work. Mac’s daughter Anna is still struggling with being away from Aunt Brenda and her extreme religious views. Tony’s Ben is still dealing with the trauma of losing his mom and of secrets he struggles to admit. To top it all off, Mac’s got a new case and that means Tony’s carrying much of the load at home. But they have supportive people in their lives who step up to help with the kids. Especially when something life-altering happens to Mac.
This book is as much about the pauses as it is about the action. Yes, I wanted to know who the killer was. Yes, I wanted to know if justice would be served. But I also wanted to know how the men held together their precious family. How the kids coped with their demons. How Tony and Mac found time to solidify their relationship while keeping the kids and their needs always just right there.
This series is narrated by J.F. Harding, who I think has done a fantastic job. Through the last bit of the book, he had an extra challenge that he handled brilliantly. And although the books are most enjoyed in order, this one is so good it could stand on its own. I’m so glad these have finally come to audio – a way for old fans to reconnect with characters they love and for new fans to discover Ms. Harper’s great story.
10/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
So much has changed for Tony and Mac since the start of this series. At the end of the previous book, Mac came out as a gay man; a gay police detective. He did that in order to help Tony get custody of his best friend’s son after the death of the kid’s mom. He also took home the daughter he was allowing a relative to raise. Suddenly these men have moved in together and are raising two children. It’s a bit chaotic at first. The children mostly get along but Ben is dealing with bad memories from when he lived with his mom. Anna is jealous of sharing Mac with Ben and she also misses Mac’s cousin who was taking care of her while he worked his dangerous job.
Mac is also dealing with the fall out of coming out at work. His partner seems distant and a few, but thankfully not all, officers hassle him and don’t seem to have his back personally and professionally. Tony’s job is going well, but he finds himself doing most of the work at home because of Mac’s long hours. At this point, stress is heavy with this new family, so what can be done to relieve it? Have a wedding! With as busy as Tony and Mac are, it is questionable how they are going to fit it all in.
I have to stop talking about the romantic part of the book real quick to discuss Mac’s newest case. I am a fan of the mystery in m/m romantic mysteries. Mac’s current case involves a dead law student and a missing law partner. At first the cases weren’t tied together, but as they unearth clues, it becomes clear they are. The solving of the case isn’t easy, and as a matter of fact it’s not quite tied up at the end. Mac is injured in the line of duty and nailing the suspect relies on him being completely well. I don’t know if they will tie it up in the next\last book of the series or if his recovery and trial will be brushed over, but I hope they do explore his recovery further.
At first, for me, I felt like the romantic storyline in this book was less important than the mystery portion. It was the average getting through the daily life struggles of an established couple. Until Mac was hurt and Tony’s world was turned upside down, and the deep bond they have and the strength of their love was what powered them through the end of the book. Then I knew it was still the most important thing, and it should be in a romance.
I am definitely enjoying the series so far and can’t wait for the next book to be out on audio. JF Harding does a great job bringing Mac and Tony to life. I hope to see these characters get the less hectic, happy ever after they deserve.
9/10 Points of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
About the Author
I get asked about my name a lot. It’s not something exotic, though. “Kaje” is pronounced just like “cage” – it’s an old nickname, and my pronouns are she/her/hers. I’ve been writing far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty-five years*), although mostly for my own entertainment. I write M/M romance, often with added mystery, fantasy, historical, SciFi, paranormal… I also have Young Adult short stories (some released under the pen name Kira Harp.)
After decades of writing just for fun, my husband convinced me I really should submit something, somewhere. My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out in May 2011. I now have a good-sized backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published, including Amazon bestseller The Rebuilding Year and Rainbow Award Best Mystery-Thriller Tracefinder: Contact. A complete list with links can be found on my website “Books” page at https://kajeharper.com/books/.
Social Media Links
Meet the Narrator