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  • Family by Choice

    3.5 stars I knew that I wanted to read Real Men Knit from the moment I saw the adorable cover and read the blurb. It ended up being more women's fiction to me than romance, but there are definitely romantic elements and a nice slow burn between our two main characters. Throw in some forced proximity and it was an enjoyable ride. What I really liked: - Kerry. She came into her own through the course of the book and I liked that she never gave up her personal goals and dreams. Her friendship with Val was a highlight of the book and I loved how they supported (and pushed) each other. - The Old Knitting Gang (OKG). This mish mash of women, all with their distinct personalities and quirks, were so much fun. I loved how they came together for the Strong siblings, Kerry, and the neighborhood, and I had a huge smile on my face during the grand reopening scene. - The diversity and setting. I felt like I was right there in Harlem and the neighborhood itself almost felt like a secondary character. Thanks to google, I also now know what a chopped cheese sandwich is ;) The cast of characters, especially the Strong brothers, felt like a celebration of individuality. - Family. I loved that family in this book was by choice, not blood. It's an active choice that our characters make every single day. All of them different, not just physically, but united together by love. I would have liked to see a little more about Mama Joy and her time with the boys though. What didn't quite work for me (skip this if you want to avoid possible spoilers): - Jesse. I ended up liking him, but the reformed manwhore is always a tough one for me. I found it hard to believe that he had secretly harbored any feelings for Kerry while growing up and for most of the book, his interest in her felt more like a crutch than actual love. He was overly territorial/jealous and his hot and cold behavior gave me whiplash. I understood his abandonment issues and his feelings of unworthiness regarding love, but I think I just needed more development between him and Kerry. They didn't even seem to be that friendly with each other at the start, so I would have liked to see more time spent with them actually getting to know each other away from the store. I also needed more groveling. A LOT more. -The OW/OM drama. I really just didn't need it. It only served as a reminder of what an insensitive manwhore Jesse was and how jealous and petty our characters could be. - The pacing. It took me a bit to get invested in the story and then I felt like the end wrapped up very quickly and too conveniently. The author did a great job setting up possible future books for the other Strong brothers (I'd love to find out more about grumpy grump Damian), but it's Kerry's BFF, Val, who I really want to read about. Overall, this was an enjoyable family story, but I didn't love it as much as I hoped I would. *I voluntarily read an advance review copy of this book*

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Needed tightening up...

    3 stars — I was so excited for this book. 1) Guy knitters?? Yes please! My hubby is a sexy male knitter, so I’m all over that. 2) Look at that cover! 3) #ownvoices book with main characters of colour?? WOOP! But…well…I kinda had to push myself to finish this book, and if it hadn’t been a NetGalley ARC, I probably would have DNF’d it. It was just kind of boring. The beginning especially was a LOT of time in the characters head, with basically nothing going on, but continually going over the emotions that they were feeling with the loss of Mama Joy. So much so it sort of lost the emotional impact for me. The ARC was clearly before a final editing pass, so I had to contest with quite a few wrong word choices, and some sentences that didn’t make sense in context (perhaps a previous paragraph was removed?). So I can’t say for certain what would have made it through to the final copy…but it was probably more distracting because I wasn’t that invested in the characters. Jesse and Kerry had some good moments, but in general they were kind of flat. Their love story was also RIDDLED with lack of communication and misunderstandings, and while I’ll handle a bit of that, it was basically their entire romance. And as a romance? This book was meh. It took forever before they started making any moves in that direction, and then they were both focused on what they thought they knew about the other, and about keeping the relationship physical only. Needless to say, I just wasn’t sucked in. While the steamy scenes weren’t explicit, there were some good moments. What I loved most was the story surrounding how the Strong Knits store had become such an important part of the community, and wanting to continue that tradition. I loved the side story with Errol, and the subtle ways they tackled some toxic masculinity. I also mostly enjoyed the journey of Jesse discovering his passion…but only mostly because he never really figured that out for himself, and at the end it felt like he still felt he was worthless. Which was a bummer. I learned more things through reading this book, by having to google things….I love that. And now I want a chopped cheese. As far as other secondary characters, I expected to love the brothers more than I did. Damian was awful…and while I know there’s a backstory, I just don’t care. Lucas’s behavior was confusing. Noah was the star IMO, seriously adorable. Kerry’s friend Val was fun and spunky, but missing a bit of depth. So yeah. I feel like with some editing and tightening up on pacing, this story would bring more. I still probably wouldn’t have loved it, but it would have prevented me wanting to DNF at least. Ah well.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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