Friday, July 21, 2017

You Never Know by Mary Calmes

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/M Second Chance Romance

Hagen and Mitch have a history. They were the couple that everyone thought would make it. Young and in love, they thought they had it all.

But young love wasn't meant to last. Mitch goes off to follow his dream and, in the process, he forgets about Hagen.

This is a second chance romance that is somewhat rushed, in my opinion. The breaks where you flash back were also hard to distinguish. It would have been more helpful if there were clear breaks.

Once you really get into the story, you get to see these two characters' lives from before, individually and together. I thought that it was a fairly powerful story about love and sometimes, you have to fight very hard to make sure that love lasts and thrives.

It was sweet and sad all wrapped into a great story.

3.5 stars

An impossibly perfect leading man, an impossibly charming small town, and two impossibly cute kids set the stage for an incredibly sweet second chance romance. Military hero turned whimsical contractor and small town stalwart, Hagen is wonderful. I loved him. I loved his voice, I loved his friends, and I loved the slow and quiet life he leads after his catastrophic military injuries. But I’m not sure that either of the two men in his life actually deserve him.

Mitch was Hagen’s first love. They planned to stay together forever – until Mitch abruptly ditched Hagen to return to the closet in pursuit of a professional football career. The problem with Hagen’s first person narration is that I didn’t get to know Mitch’s reasons for leaving Hagen or for returning to Hagen – I just got to see Hagen’s broken heart. We get to see how Mitch seemed to use Hagen all through high school and I found it difficult to see how anything had changed when Hagen started babysitting for Mitch (for free) two days after his return.

A good romance needs characters who are worthy of each other – who deserve to be happy together. I wanted Hagen happy, but I was never fully convinced that Mitch was at all worthy. The Ash storyline only added another undeserving man vying for Hagen’s attention. I found Mitch and Hagen’s reunion too easy. Hagen just slips into Mitch’s life and Hagen almost immediately slips into a daddy role with Hagen’s kids. I wanted Hagen to make Mitch work for his affection.

There is something almost tragically romantic about Hagen’s inability to walk away from Mitch. He can’t help his feelings for Mitch. He offers his forgiveness too easily. The result is a very sweet happily ever after complete with two cute kids and a very special treehouse, but I found myself crossing my fingers that Hagen wouldn’t get burned again in the future beyond the happily ever after.

I really enjoyed this book. I liked Hagen right off the bat. I wanted to know more about his war injury and what happened with that big mess. There was a lot of story it seemed without Mitch in it in the beginning, which was fine, but I wanted more Mitch. I like how Hagen and Mitch reconnected. I love that Ry and Bran loved Hagen instantly. There wasn't anything I didn't enjoy except that I found myself wanting more. I wanted more Mitch, I wanted to know what happened AFTER. What happened with Ash; what happened when Barb found out about Hagen; what did the boys think of Hagen, yeah they loved him, but how did all adjust? I just found I wanted more. I wasn't unhappy with the ending, I just had more questions that I wanted answered. It was a great love story and had great secondary characters as well.

MARY CALMES lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and believes without question in happily ever afters, and writes those for each and every one of her characters.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of You Never Know by Mary Calmes to read and review.

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