Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Handle with Care by Cari Z.


A fragile heart needs extra care.

Burned-out social worker Aaron McCoy is on vacation for the first time in years—boss’s orders. Road-tripping to his brother’s wedding with his best friend, Tyler, seems a fun way to spend the mandatory two-week leave, and they set out for Kansas—and a difficult homecoming.

Aaron’s mother was a drug addict, and his adorable younger brother was quickly adopted, while Aaron spent his childhood in foster care. As Aaron mends fences, Tyler hopes to show him that this time, he won’t be left behind to face his problems alone.

Aaron’s opening up to how right it feels to be with Tyler and to the possibility of taking the leap from friends to lovers. But along with the wedding celebration comes a painful reminder of the past. Aaron’s heart is still breakable. Can he put it in Tyler’s hands?

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah☆☆☆
This is the hard-hitting story of a burned-out social worker who is forced to make peace with his own difficult childhood at his brother’s wedding.

I have to admit that this is a romance where I really didn’t connect with either of the partners. There is so much going on in this story that I don’t feel like I ever fully knew Aaron or Tyler. I had a whole lot of empathy for Aaron’s childhood experiences, but I’m not sure he ever came alive as a character I could have an emotional connection to. As the story is told from Aaron’s perspective, Tyler remained even more of a mystery. I was also puzzled by the lack of romance in the book. Somehow the book manages to be both a friends-to-lovers story and an insta-love romance. I still feel a little bit short changed on the romance front.

I’m possibly being a little bit too negative. There are some great scenes in the story, especially lighter moments between Aaron and his brother’s family. I loved Aaron’s sister-in-law and the stag night was so awful it was actually funny.

I’m not sure this is a great fit for the Dreamspun Desires books. I expect the Dreamspun Desires books to be pretty light and fluffy with lots of nods to classic Harlequin Romance tropes. Instead, this is a book about the aftermath of substance abuse, child abuse, and families separated by the care system. The main characters experience pretty vile homophobic abuse. And there is little in the way of romance – traditional or otherwise. This is a low-heat read like other Dreamspun Desires books but I wouldn’t consider it a light romance.

I’m usually a fan of Cari Z’s work but unfortunately, this book didn’t really work for me.



Cari Z is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She likes edged weapons, prefers books to television shows, and goes weak at the knees for interesting men and exciting explosions (but not at exactly the same time—that would be so messy).

Connect with Cari

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https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Handle with Care by Cari Z. to read and review.

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