Friday, April 13, 2018

ARC Review: Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies #3) by Amy Lane

Stand by Your Manny (The Mannies, #3)
Sammy Lowell has his hands full juggling his music, college, some pesky health problems, and making the uncles who raised him proud. He needs help fulfilling his after-school duties with his siblings. Nobody can be in two places at once—not even Sammy!

An injury puts Cooper Hoskins in a tough spot—if he can’t work, the foster sister he’s raising can’t eat. But years in the foster system have left Cooper short on trust, and opening up to accept help isn’t easy. Luckily, family intervenes—Cooper needs a job so he can care for Felicity, and Sammy needs someone who can see past his illness to the wonderful things he has planned for his life.

Each heals the damaged places in the other’s heart. But falling in love is a big responsibility for young men deep in family already. Can the two of them get past their fear of the immediate future to see forever with each other?

Todd's rating:

In book 1 of this series, Sammy was the recently-orphaned nephew in need of a manny, but kids grow up and, in this story, things have now come full circle.

Sammy was now 21, in college studying music, and also acting as manny for Channing and Tino's other two adopted children.

Also 21, Cooper had aged out of the foster care system and was barely scraping by working at Brandon's construction company to support himself and the young foster sister that followed him home a few years back.

Then a workplace injury threatened Cooper's already-precarious existence, forcing him to accept help from Chandler and Tino. And, of course, Sammy.

I loved seeing the same take charge, take no prisoners attitude in Sammy that I originally saw in Chandler. Cooper shows up fresh from the hospital and Sammy is all, "Step back, I've got this," helping to immediately integrate both Cooper and Felicity into Chandler and Tino's little clan.

But Sammy's anemia didn't always allow his body to cash the checks that his mind had no qualms writing, often leaving him completely run down and on the verge of needing medical attention.

And that was where the beauty of this story laid. Because Sammy and Cooper were an amazing team, supporting one another when either of them came up short.

Once Sammy had helped Cooper recover from his injuries, Cooper was right there helping to support Sammy, without question, whenever Sammy health began to falter. And not like it was his job, but like it was his mission in life.

This third book wasn't the most dramatic, sexiest, or most angst-ridden in the series, but it was slow burn in the romance department and nothing short of beautiful.

One of my favorite parts of this story was when Chandler and Tino, out of nothing more than loving, parental concern, were treating Sammy as if he were still their little boy.

But Cooper wasn't having any of that and, not so politely, reminder them that Sammy was a grown-ass man and he had the right to make his own decisions, Cooper's new manny job be damned, if they didn't like that tidbit of reality.

It felt like a turning point in the power dynamic between Sammy's parents and how they saw not only Sammy, but also Cooper's all-in commitment to their son. Pretty awesome stuff, that.

Once Cooper's "oops, I tumbled off a roof" boo-boos had healed, the main plot driver in this story was definitely Sammy's health. There were no evil ex's, no crazy relatives, or other such nonsense.

The lack of external drama allowed for the book to mostly center around how these two young men supported and felt toward one another. I enjoyed the simplicity in that.

So if you're looking for "Germany" levels of angst, like from Lane's "Keeping Promise Rock," you won't find that here.

But if you're in the mood for a story with plenty of cute, sweet, slightly-fluffy feels, then this might be the book for you. : )

I'd rate this book at around 4.25 heart-felt stars.

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