Family Camp

Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Family Camp (Daddy Dearest, #1)

Blurb:

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

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4 Stars

Where can I sign up for Family Camp? The premise sounds fun, the activities are right up my alley, and the scenery seems top notch with the hot AF professional baseball player… nature.

Geo signs up for camp to spend more time with his new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy and everything seems to be going wrong. The kids aren’t bonding how Geo dreamed they would and his car runs out of gas on the way to camp. He’s saved by a tall drink of water (Travis) that has the ability to be as warm as hot chocolate or as cold as ice.

Travis is on his way to his family’s camp and stops to help Geo out with a tank of gas. Travis connects with the kids right away and of course, it helps that he has an adorable dog. He’s a professional baseball player that looks forward to camp week every year and this year has the added frustration/bonus (depending on the minute) of Geo and his adorable kids.

Travis and Geo hit it off right away with a flirtatious vibe until Travis ices Geo. Once they get to camp, feelings move pretty quickly. It wasn’t insta-love but there were heart eyes and some china patterns being picked out in their head.

”Only Geo wasn’t sure it wasn’t already too late, that Travis hadn’t already claimed a piece of his bleeding heart.”

That’s after three days but I just shrugged it off because for once, I wasn’t annoyed by the not insta-love but insta-clinger scenario. It’s maybe a *tad* too sugary sweet but I like Travis and Geo together and they didn’t drive me up the wall with OTT-cheesiness. They have some chemistry and heat but there isn’t a sexfest at a *family* camp. Their hearts are in the right place and Travis sees Jayden and Lucy as the treasures they are. Travis and Geo have an itty bitty misunderstanding but after that it’s smooth sailing during camp week if you don’t count the being firmly locked in the closet bit.

Jayden and Lucy add depth to the story as they are foster kids with heartbreaking backgrounds. They give Geo a run for his money but we get to see the walls come down and the relationships built between Travis, Geo, and the kids left me all gooey inside.

Family Camp is a super sweet, low angst read where men come together, families bond, and new families are created with love, humor, and acceptance. It’s packed with feels that leave you warm and fuzzy. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Family Camp Blitz & #Giveaway by Eli Easton Out Now!

 

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Universal LinkExclusive to Amazon and Available to Borrow with Kindle Unlimited. 
 
Length: 219 pages
 
Cover Design: Reese Dante
 
Blurb
 

When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue.

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve.

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

About the Daddy Dearest series

The Daddy Dearest series will consist of stand-alone contemporary novels focusing on single gay dads who find hot romance. Expect laughs, sweet and sexy slow-burn romance, and lots of family feels!



Excerpt
Sixth inning. Geo was ready for the game to be over. It was fucking hot on the ball field, all open and exposed, the sun baking down. And he was also not sure how much more Travis-watching he could take—him with his silky burgundy gym shorts and a sweaty Camp Evermore green shirt stretched over those muscles. His long legs were tanned and well-defined from hours at the gym.

Those thighs could fucking crack walnuts. Dude.

Damn, but that was one fine-looking man. Geo knew he should lay off, though. Travis had made himself clear.

Only he hadn’t. At all. One minute, Travis seemed into him him. He sought out Geo’s company, like the way he kept coming by the cabin at night. And the next minute, he’d put distance between them, ignoring Geo or closing himself off behind a granite-like expression and those eye-hiding shades. And Travis had laid a clear line in the sand. Not at camp. Not gonna happen.

Yup. That was fine. Sure, Geo hadn’t been mutually attracted to a guy that hot in ages. Or ever, really. But Geo hadn’t come to camp to fool around. He had other priorities.

It did make him wonder though. Bridget had said Travis wasn’t out. A quick Google search last night had confirmed that. In fact, Geo had been shocked to discover there’d never been an out baseball player in the major leagues. Like, in the history of American baseball. Which was tragic. No wonder Travis was in the closet. It had to suck monkey balls living like that. Especially with all the women who threw themselves at him constantly. There were a dozen women on the sidelines right now that looked ready to have his babies. That had to be weird for a gay guy. Didn’t it?

Geo himself was always super uncomfortable when women came on to him. He felt compelled to blurt out “I’m gay!” in the first five minutes. It was just too weird otherwise.

Then again, Travis’s love life was none of Geo’s business. Maybe the guy was bisexual. Maybe he liked dating women just fine.

Jayden came up to bat. Geo focused on his son, clapping hard. “Come on, Jayden! You’ve got this!”

Jayden took a wide stance beside the plate, both hands gripping the bat, choked up a little. Travis had spent a few minutes with Jayden at the start of the game, showing him how to stand, and Jayden copied him exactly. The kid was a great mimic. He’d been nervous at first, tense and defensive. But by now he just looked focused. He stared, narrow-eyed, at Frank as Frank pitched an easy ball.

Geo loved that about this game, that everyone tried to give the kids easy wins, and no one took the competition seriously.

Jayden hit the ball hard. It flew through the air a short ways then plonked to the ground and skipped along fast. It was heading right down the center line, though a bit more towards third base and Travis’s side of the field.

“Go Jayden! Go!” Geo shouted. He went after the ball. In his peripheral vision, he saw Jayden round first base and keep running.

Travis was going after the ball too, dodging low. He scooped it up. He was going to throw it to third base, keep Jayden back on second. Geo couldn’t let that happen.

He dove in front of Travis, crowding him, holding an arm out to block Travis from throwing the ball.

Travis snorted, bemused. “What are you doing? You’re on my team.” He backed up, trying to get away from Geo.

“Blood before bros, man,” Geo said with fake seriousness. He kept up with Travis, step for step, grabbing Travis’s right arm in a firm grip so he couldn’t raise the ball.

“Stop it!” Travis laughed. “Dork. That’s not legal.”

“Don’t care.”

They took three steps back, like they were dancing. Geo held Travis’s right arm, staring him down. Travis met his gaze, a goofy smile on his lips. Back and back they stumbled. Suddenly, Travis got a sparkle in his eyes. He wrapped his left arm around Geo’s waist and picked him up, swinging him around so he ended up behind Travis.

Geo was still finding his feet as Travis drew back his arm and sent the ball sailing.

Right to home plate. But Jayden got there first. Umpire Cindy made the motion with her hands, safe.

Geo laughed and raised his arms in triumph. “Yeah, baby! Great job, Jayden! Home run, whoo!”

Then he realized everyone was staring at them. On the sidelines, there were a dozen cameras raised, filming.

Oh. Er. Hmm. Geo wiped his face, feeling sheepish.

That’s when a piercing scream rent the air.

About Eli

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particular admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include “Blame it on the Mistletoe”, “Unwrapping Hank” and “Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles”. Her “Howl at the Moon” series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Her website is www.elieaston.com

You can email her at eli@elieaston.com



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Fence Installments 1-3

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This installment series  by C.S. Pacat is such an interesting concept that I couldn’t stay away. A M/M comic series? Yes, please!!! I dove in head first and was finished in less than 30 minutes. Each installment is super short as we follow Nicholas and Seiji on their fencing journey.

Installment 1 (4 Stars): This is where Nicholas and Seiji first meet. I was giddy after reading this just dreaming about the potential.

Installment 2 (4 Stars): This had some great build-up as Nicholas and Seiji are forced to live together and compete against each other for the remaining spots on the team. The tension was great and again, held promise. Of course I raced on to Installment 3.

*Insert dramatic music*

Installment 3 (3 Stars): This is where it fell apart for me. It had the vibe of just being a filler installment. It read like a fencing handbook with very little plot advancement and relational development.

I know, I know… put your pitchforks away. It isn’t the most popular opinion but if each teeny tiny installment (minus the 1st @ $1.99) is $3.99, I need more than proper fencing mechanics. I’m interested in their story but may need to wait until it’s complete to determine whether I’ll continue on the journey.

I will add that the illustrations were beautifully done and added so much to the text. Here’s a sample.

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Improper Fraction

3 Stars

Reviewed for BMBR

This book hooked me with the geeky title and its nerd/baseball player MCs. Everything else was supposed to be icing on the cake. And it sorta was for about half of the book. But just like when you eat too much cake, the deliciousness of the first few bites just can’t hold up throughout the whole thing. That’s what happened with Improper Fraction. The first half was everything I love about romance and the second half…cake.png

O’Malley (Mal) Ramsey and Garrison Rook grew up together. They were inseparable until a kiss between them after high school graduation led to vows made for a future that would soon be denied. Since the moment Mal realized he was gay, he has been out and proud. Garrison has internally struggled with his attraction to men and never acted on it until the kiss with Mal. That kiss scared him and Garrison cut off all communication with Mal until 4 years later, after college graduation. Mal is working at a math and science camp for the summer and Garrison’s little sister is attending. Garrison tags along too, under the guise of providing athletic opportunities to all campers.

When Mal and Garrison see each other for the first time in four years, it’s very strained. Garrison has some groveling to do and I love that Mal makes him. Even with the years of separation between them, there’s still so much love, friendship and chemistry. I loved “seeing” them come back together and the stolen moments of heat when the campers were sleeping.

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After camp ends, Garrison still has to contend with coming out to his family and his minor league baseball team. Mal is there to support him but it’s a very stressful time for Garrison as he worries about parental expectations and being the first openly gay minor league player.

The scene is set for future angst as Garrison finds peace in who he is and decides when/how he will come out. I was on the edge of my seat while reading, wondering how this would pan out. I couldn’t put it down. Until, mid-way through when a wrench was thrown in the plot and high school bullies turned adult “Bigot Brigade” were introduced and became the focus of the second half.

Color me confused.

From then on, the ground work laid in the first half, the major focus on sexual identity and its implications on family and career were brushed under the rug and glossed over. Literally, the coming out scene with his parents was a few pages and the coming out with his team? One. Sentence.

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Obviously my enjoyment declined drastically after this shift. I was bummed. Big time. The first 45-50% I was all in. I was giddy about this nerdy, estranged best friends to lovers romance. The building up to reconciliation and a little after had me hooked. I really like Mal and Garrison together. The scene Garrison acts out from Mal’s favorite movie… *swoon* The second half dragged while everything surrounding the bullies, the reactions to them and the subsequent climax of that situation was unrealistic, OTT and unnecessary IMO. The bullies read like an afterthought thrown in that detracted from what was otherwise a very enjoyable read.

The writing style was smooth and the pacing kept the story moving along during the first half. I’m hoping that by release, this will have gone through another round of edits. The cover doesn’t really represent the book or the MCs. I would have rated the first half at least a 4 but unfortunately I have to account for the second half. With all that said, I’d recommend it for the first half alone because I really like Mal and Garrison and that they got their HEA… even if I was shaking my head and rolling my eyes at the huge second half shift and the ridiculousness of the last 10%.

“Garrison and I aren’t right anymore. We’re like an improper fraction.”

“Of all people, O’Malley, you should know that there are ways to convert an improper fraction to a mixed fraction.”

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

A Bolt of Blue

Reviewed for BMBR
3 Stars

This book was difficult to rate. I’ve gone back and forth and all that thinking made my brain hurt. There were parts that really worked for me and then parts that just didn’t. Parts that I wanted to slow down and parts I had to hold myself back from skipping. When I read a book that has a party of three, I always look to see if they’re all treated as equals and that their love/connection works in pairs as well as the trio. It didn’t IMO and I hope I’m able to adequately explain what didn’t work for me.

Mitch and Ian have been best friends for most of their life. They’ve always had a platonic relationship but Ian has been completely in love with Mitch for years. They have a very close relationship that borders on more than friends but Mitch has been too blind to notice and Ian has been too reluctant to tell Mitch how he feels. They are both busy with school, Ian working as a CNA and Mitch playing college baseball. Finally, Ian can’t take it any more and HAS to tell Mitch how he feels. They meet up at a bar and Ian is totally terrified but ready to spill… that is, until Mitch’s secret, Greek god, bartender boyfriend comes up to their table and gives Mitch a kiss.

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Mitch and Dusty met at Angel’s bar, where Dusty is a bartender. What was supposed to be a one night stand turned out to be a relationship that Mitch kept under wraps. By time Ian finds out about the relationship, they have been together almost 7 weeks and are in love. It’s a very tough pill for Ian to swallow but he does for the sake of Mitch’s happiness. However, when Mitch and Ian hang out, there are these “moments” that are opening Mitch’s eyes to his feelings for Ian even though he still loves Dusty.

Ian and Dusty have also been spending time together while Mitch is off taking care of his sister’s issues or playing baseball. It’s during these times with Ian and Dusty that they start to develop feelings for each other until one drunken night, they kiss. This sets off a domino effect of issues for all of them to work through. While they do get their HEA, Mitch has to work through the “betrayal” and all the feelings between Ian and Dusty and Mitch’s with both men.

I had a hard time with Mitch. He grated on me with his overly dramatic personality, judgy statements, and everything surrounding his sister, April. I didn’t understand the need for April’s storyline outside of creating potential drama for Dusty and Mitch which detracted from the story IMO. The introduction of April and her issues wasn’t smooth and as it was first happening, my thoughts were along the lines of, “Oh gosh, here we go.” I also didn’t believe the relationship between Mitch and Dusty. Outside of sex, they didn’t have depth. Don’t get me wrong, sex is always a plus but, I needed more and they didn’t have it. They never shared anything meaningful but when Ian came along, Dusty was spilling his soul to him. That didn’t work because Mitch and Dusty were supposedly in love and they had found the one but couldn’t share anything beyond orgasms and food.

Now, Ian and Dusty is where it’s at.

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They worked. They had a great connection and the depth in their relationship was so evident that it highlighted the shortfalls with Mitch. They had awesome chemistry and my kindle started smoking just from their kisses. I wouldn’t have complained if this was a M/M starring them. They were a team whether it was in the kitchen cooking, cuddling on the couch, or getting it on. I was a huge fan of them.

Mitch and Ian never really found their stride. They didn’t seem to be equals in the trio even though they were life long friends. It remained awkward and they never quite got to the point together to even come close to how Ian was with Dusty.

The POVs changing with each chapter was a little hard to get into at the beginning. I’m sure by now you can all guess that I would have preferred Mitch’s POV to disappear. *shrug* Another addition to the story that had me rolling my eyes and shaking my head was Trevor. He was a guy that Ian went out with twice to try and get over Mitch. There was enough going on with the three MCs coming together, the implications of said relationship on family/friends, and the bar drama to make the book work. Trevor was as pointless to my reading enjoyment as the April storyline and yet both brought so much drama.

There should be a trigger warning for mentions of sexual assault. The facts in the story are contradictory from the actual event to when it was mentioned at the end. However, it’s worth noting. There is also cheating by way of kissing prior to the three of them getting together.

This was a decent read. I don’t expect each MC to share the exact same likes, desires, bond and relationship with both the other men but I do want them to all feel equal and share some depth. While it didn’t fully work for me, I could see this being an okay starting point for those new to menage books.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.