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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.4 out of 5
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  • Sensuous, intimate, and sensitive!

    Squared Away is a heartfelt story that takes us into the lives of Mark and Isaiah as they each must learn to cope with the loss of a sibling, their new status as guardians to three children, and a budding relationship that will require a lot of trust and understanding. The writing is generous and compassionate. The characters are sorrowful, supportive, and flawed. And the plot told from two different points of view nicely unravels to reveal a tale about life, loss, grief, responsibility, friendship, family, support, and the importance of communication. Squared Away is another beautifully written tale about finding unconditional love by Albert that not only touches on the struggles encountered by same-sex and interracial relationships, but also the challenges faced by those who are grey ace on the asexual spectrum.

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  • Sad But Hopeful

    Once again Annabeth Albert writes a fantastic book and I’m loving this series more and more with each new addition! I’m a huge fan of deeply emotional, character driven reads and I always find that with Albert’s books. Squared Away in particular was giving me all the feels; between the grief over losing Cal and Dani, to Isaiah’s worry over keeping custody of the kids, to Mark’s self discovery it was overflowing with emotions. I was sucked in from the very beginning and desperate to find out more as I went on this journey with Mark and Isaiah. The pace in the beginning was a bit slower but I think it fit the overall somber feel of that part of the story. But even with such a heavy topic weighing in, I never felt overwhelmed by the character’s grief, which I appreciated. Albert’s skill with writing allowed the reader to see everyone’s pain and oftentimes anger without totally derailing the more happy and hopeful parts. The characters are always a strong suit of these books, and I loved Isaiah from start to finish! He’s wonderfully confident and compassionate and he’s never afraid to go after what he wants. Isaiah never backs down on his fight to take care of the kids and he was truly a wonderful “parent” for them. I loved seeing him in the prologue and then getting to see how much he’s grown up once we see him with the kids. He’s also incredibly understanding of Mark as he works to sort out his sexuality and accept himself for who he is. Mark was a tougher cookie to crack in the beginning and he comes across a bit standoffish and snobby. He has no confidence in Isaiah’s ability to be a stable parent but he soon sees just how much Isaiah has changed. I really grew to love Mark as well in the story and most of that comes from how much introspection and acceptance he goes through in his journey. I always love a book that can teach me something new so I really appreciated Albert’s representation of a character who was grey ace or demisexual. Mark has pretty much given up on relationships and the idea of love because he’s rarely interested in other people or sex. He’s been attracted to men before but he doesn’t really consider himself gay or even bi. Mark goes through a lot of self-discover in this book and watching him learn to understand his orientation and what’s happening in his mind, body, and heart was really great. Mark and Isaiah have such amazing chemistry in a really sweet way. But make no mistake these two are hot together, but they also share the quieter moments like cuddling during a movie and kissing for endless amounts of time. Of course Marks’s newly found self is hard at times for him to accept and this causes friction between Mark and Isaiah. The inevitable clash was heartbreaking to read and I felt so much for both men who are just trying to find happiness after so much loss.

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  • Might be my new favorite of the series

    All of the books in the Out of Uniform series are good, although really you can say that about all of AA’s books, some are great but then some, like Squared Away, reach a whole new level of amazing. This is an angsty, character driven plot, where all of the story and conflict is about the main characters and the situation they’ve been thrust into. Without giving anything away it’s just a very emotional journey through difficult personal hardships, and learning about themselves. I love Mark, what he comes to realize about himself touched me in a deeply personal way and him growing as a person. I love Isaiah even more for how he accepted Mark and they overcame the conflicts. Due to Mark’s revelation the heat level on this is lower than your typical AA book, but accurate. But oh the romance, I’m not sure I’ve read such a romantic book recently. It’s very focused on their connection , and you can feel it jumping off the page. It’s probably not perfect, I can see where some things might not work for other readers, but it was so perfect for me. I highly recommend this whole series. I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader’s copy.

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