Monday, March 25, 2019

ARC Review: Family Camp (Daddy Dearest #1) by Eli Easton

Family Camp (Daddy Dearest, #1)
When Geo signs up for Family Camp, he envisions nature hikes, s’mores, and a chance to win over his recalcitrant new foster kids, Jayden and Lucy. He’s tried to become a dad for so long, and he hopes the three of them can be the family he’s always wanted. What he doesn’t anticipate is the prickly and gorgeous camp counselor who constantly comes to his rescue. 

Travis spends a week every year at Camp Evermore, the camp his adoptive parents own. As a pro baseball player, his presence guarantees a full campground and excited campers. He has one rule: never, ever mess around with anyone at camp. His profession demands he stay in the closet. But one sweet and funny new dad is about to test all his resolve. 

Sparks fly for Geo and Travis, and not because of the nightly campfire. Having been a foster kid himself, Travis is drawn to Geo’s sincerity and big heart and to his kids. The four of them just fit. But will this be a summer romance? Or can they find a way to be a family long after Family Camp is over?

Todd's rating:

I love books with kids and this one was chock full of semi-sappy goodness.

When I first saw the "Daddy Dearest" series title, I was all nope, nope, nopity NOPE, because... N-O-P-E!

However, after I was assured by my pal Cadiva that she'd found no adult references to "daddy", I immediately reached out for an ARC of the book. : )

As the story began, 32 y.o. middle school teacher Geo, had gotten custody of two foster kids only six weeks prior, with the kids still being very distant and distrustful of their new would-be dad.

Yet when the kids met 32 y.o. professional baseball player Travis, he had an uncanny ability for them to lower their guards, at least a little bit more so than with Geo.

The initial tension between the MC's arose from a small misunderstanding regarding the longer-term fate of the kids, but that was, thankfully, cleared up pretty quickly.

From that point until the end of their week at Family Camp, it was pretty much all sunshine, rainbows, and little floaty hearts swimming around Geo and Travis' heads as their mutual attractions gained hold.

But Travis, being a professional athlete, was still firmly in the closet, even with his own family, which meant a whole lot of sneaking around, avoiding prying eyes.

So I'm pretty sure you can guess where the drama toward the end of the book was derived?

The drama was kept to a minimum and the steam was present, but no one was really in danger of being "Dicked to Death", so Easton hit the Goldilocks Spot for both of those aspects of the story.

My absolute favorite parts of the story were seeing how the kids came to both trust and rely on Geo, after keeping him at arm's length since coming into his care.

Also, the parts where 12 y.o. Jayden connected with Travis, who had also been a foster kid, in the system for over a decade by Jayden's age, those scenes were very heart-felt and touching. Sometimes it truly does "take one to know one" emotion-wise.

In regards to humor, the book had plenty of funny moments, but not side-splittingly so.

If I had to name a niggle, I guess I'd say that, maybe, the story was a bit too fluffy and sweet for the reading mood that I was in, but I'm pretty sure that was on me. Except for the camp song and how the counselors were so OTT campy. That definitely was *not* on me. ;- )

I'd rate this one at around 3.75 stars and recommend it to readers looking for a lighter read.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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