Category Archives: Nina

Some Assembly Required

SomeAssemblyRequiredTitle:  Some Assembly Required

Authors:  Bru Baker  and Lex Chase

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press

Length:  210 pages

Rating:  B+

Quad Shot of Love

Quad Shot of Love

Blurb:  Everyone wishes they were dead when wandering the purgatory of a home furnishings store, but these guys actually are.

Benji Goss is the quintessential good guy. When his boyfriend dumps him and moves out, Benji obligingly keeps the cat—even though he’s allergic—because his ex’s new place doesn’t accept pets. He’s always joked the cat would be the death of him, but not in a way he expects when a feline mishap crushes him under a DEL TORO bookcase.

Snarky loner Patrick Bryant is in such a rut he barely remembers the life he used to lead. The last thing he recalls is being decapitated by a DEL TORO bookcase in a freak accident. As a spiritual CASA resident, he haunts the aisles of affordable Italian furniture, assisting fellow spirits in moving on to their final destinations.

When Benji appears in the CASA café, Patrick considers the naïve spirit just the man to cure his boredom. Benji’s relentless optimism chips away at Patrick’s sarcasm, making him question if there’s something beyond what he can see. But the heart is like CASA furniture—there’s always some assembly required.

Review:  This book is even better than I hoped it would be. I was excited to read it, and a little bit nervous. I had seen posts on Facebook with back and forth between the authors as they wrote this book. I’m a fan of both of their writing so I knew that they would both be bringing a lot to the table. But you know how it is, there is always the chance that two independent authors come together and make make magic or they make a mess. This book is pure magic.

This is a story about ghosts that is not a ghost story. There is nothing spooky, creepy, slimy, gross, or horrific about this book. It is instead about the possibilities of what might come next. It is about finding yourself, even when it would seem that there is no longer any point in doing so. It is about hope and faith and the belief that we all deserve love, fulfillment, peace, laughter, understanding, friendship, happiness, comradery, purpose, that something more that we seek in life. About letting go of the past and embracing now and stepping confidently into what comes next, with faith and hope. There is redemption, some that came as a welcome surprise. It is a love story. Learning to love that special someone and believing that you deserve their love in return.

There are large amounts of snark, banter, hijinks, unresolved sexual tension, a slow build up of falling in love until finally we have a beautiful explosion of awesome. Both of these men need to mature into the more they didn’t have a chance to become in their lives before they ended up at CASA. Their lives were cut short, and honestly they weren’t happy when they died. But as they spend their time doing what they do in this strange place they mature, they settle into themselves.

Patrick is prickly and scared of emotion and a shameless flirt. Benji is sweet, kind, brave and honest, but he’s also angry at times and confused and he actually lets that show finally. In a weird way dying freed Benji from a lot of the constraints he had put on himself during his life. Benji shook Patrick up and inspired him to be more than the snarky cynic he had become. Patrick didn’t make things easy for Benji and he didn’t allow him to simply exist and go along with the flow. Benji learned to stand up for himself and demand to be treated as he deserved and he taught Patrick to ask for the same thing. They are the best of friends who love each other and in the process of falling in love they learn what they need to know: about themselves, about love, about life and death and existence. It is beautiful and fun, charming and sweet, funny and touching.

They are in some form of afterlife that is vague enough not to be an attempt to force anyone’s beliefs or agenda. I really liked that the world building allowed for the reader to assign import or meaning where they chose. There is a definite framework in place, but even the characters, at times, experienced things differently from each other, or were aware of things, or could do things, that weren’t across the board for all of them. There was enough room in this world for so many possibilities and there was no sense of judgement towards or strict adherence to any religion, science or system of belief. There is a little bit of all of that in there because each character approached this world from their own perspective and brought some of that thinking, belief, faith, etc. with them.

This story made me smile from beginning to end. There was laughter and heat and even a tear or two in a few choice moments. For me it was hopeful and surprisingly touching. I enjoyed it very much and I recommend it to anyone who likes romance and love at first sight that becomes a slow burn romance with tons of snark and silliness.

Reviewed by Nina

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