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Ratings and Reviews (3 9 star ratings
3 reviews

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4.2 out of 5
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    A very touching book.

    Worth Fighting For is the third book in the Heart of the South series but it can be read as a standalone. This is the first book I've ever read with such a young transgender character. The blurb for the book describes the story well. Sterling will not allow Alexa's maternal grandparents to care for her during the summer school break because they won't accept her transition. He hires Jericho to be with her and they all get along really well right from the get-go. Alexa is such a sweet girl most of the time. She is on the autism spectrum but that doesn't seem to affect her much unless she gets really upset about something. Jericho is a teacher and he is well equipped to care for Alexa and be the friend she needs to help her deal with the transphobic people she encounters. I felt so bad for her at times especially because of the way her grandparents refused to acknowledge her new name and refuse to accept that she now wants to be identified as female. The romance between Sterling and Jericho is almost secondary to the story about Alexa, but what there is of it is really good. The book has a lot of things going on to get you engaged right away and to keep you engaged until you finish the book. Jericho is a great character and the way he accepts and cares for Alexa is so touching. He is fiercely protective of her when he sees that people won't accept her as she is. The story isn't overly angsty and there are plenty of light-hearted moments to keep it from becoming depressing when things go wrong. I think Wendy Qualls is doing a great job with this series and I hope there will be more books coming. A review copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley but this did not influence my opinion or rating of the book.
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    Contemporary M/M Romance

    Worth Fighting For by Wendy Qualls Heart of the South #3 I had more trouble wrapping my mind around this book than the one that came before it. You have a LOT of information shared that can educate someone new to the genre BUT perhaps too much at times. The idea that this would be a story focusing on a custody case between widowed father and his in-laws was not the main focus that I thought it would be and in some ways dealt with too briefly. The romance was so-so but I really didn’t see what the two saw in one another…sure…they had a nice home life when Jericho came in to nanny for Sterling’s transgender daughter Alexa and there was attraction between the men but I didn’t really understand the deeper connection. I also did not understand Sterling. Why? Okay, he was definitely in the closet except to a few people BUT before he could rally explore his sexuality he was with a woman, she was pregnant and he gave up all he could be for his daughter. Sure, his wife Dana was his “friend” but I really don’t know what the couple had to make their lives plod on for a decade except the child they had together. So, in thinking about this book it is hard to really decide what I thought. I did like it in some ways but felt it could have been so much more if Sterling and Jericho talked more, if Alexa was perhaps not also dealing with Asperberger Syndrome on top of the transgender issue, if Sterling was a bit stronger character…with his mother he should have been, I think. Anyway, I liked it well enough to finish but really wondered how realistic it would be and if a story like this could or would ever happen in real life. Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books – Lyrical Shine for the ARC – This is my honest review. 3 Stars
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    Sweet, unconventional romance

    This is not your typical romance story and that's what made me like this book so much. Sterling is raising his 10 year old daughter, Alexa, alone after his wife's passing. He hires Jericho as Alexa's live-in babysitter for the summer. The reader gets a unique insight into Alexa and her transition to the girl she knows she is. I appreciated Alexa's perspective as a young person beginning the transition process and all the challenges that come with it. The reader also gets Sterling's perceptive as a closeted gay, single dad struggling to cope with the loss of his wife, the out-right nastiness of his in-laws, all the while he has his hands full of a rambunctious child. Jericho's perspective is that of a gay POC living in a closed-minded environment. The author does a great job of developing each characters' own voice. I sympathized with each of their varying struggles. There's no sugar-coating or skimming of serious issues that come with being transgender and autistic, black and gay, and gay and closeted. A book simply cannot have such varying, unique characters without addressing homophobia, transphobia, racism, classism. Sterling is a great parent to Alexa, and Jericho is the perfect addition as her advocate. Jericho helps dad and daughter navigate the ups and downs of her transition, and I just wanted to hug him for being so awesome. The romance between Sterling and Jericho is definitely a slow burn, but once Sterling gets his head out of his butt, theses guys can't keep their hands off each other. They are so sweet with each other and i loved reading their growing connection. If you're looking for something different from the norm, the book is worth the read.

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