January 4, 2013

Book Review: Second Hand by Heidi Cullian and Marie Sexton

At First Sight: Paul Hannon isn't quite sure what to do now that his girlfriend of 7 years dumped him: he moved to Tucker Springs, Colorado because she wanted, signed a 3 year lease on a house he can't barely afford because she liked it and he's knee deep in debt because of all the crap Stacey asked him to buy her (including an engament ring that was above his pay grade).

Still, since her birthday is coming up, Paul figures he should get her a present in a last ditch effort to win her back. But due to his financial situation, he ends up going to a pawn shop to look around.

There he meets El Rozal, the owner of Tucker Pawn, who takes a liking to him and gives  him a good deal just because he thinks Paul is darn cute - even if he's straight.

Paul's plan doesn't work though and, in an effort to rid himself of all reminders of Stacey, Paul goes back to Tucker Pawn to sell a bunch of kitchen appliances and slowly starts hanging out with El.

El isn't looking for a relationship, let alone with a confused 'straight' guy but the more time he spends with Paul, the more it feels like a relationship - he even adopts a dog because Paul, who is a receptionist at a vet's office, asks him to - but it is very complicated as sometimes it seems like Paul is still very hung up on Stacey. Plus, he has his own family dramas to deal with.

Second Glance: Lately, I've been trying to push myself a little out of my comfort zone, so when I came across Second Hand and I liked the premise, I decided to request it from NetGalley.

I had never before read a novel where the main romantic couple was a same-sex couple, but I liked it. I really liked El, he was such a sweet guy who cared for others in his own way. Paul came off as a little whinny sometimes but I get where he was coming from since a big part of him wasn't quite ready to accept himself as gay - even though he had had latent feelings on and off over the years - and El was very respectful of that, which made me like him more.

Actually, I really liked the whole approach the book had to sex, El was obviously the more experienced one but he didn't push Paul to do anything he wasn't comfortable with and often waited for him to take the initiative and respected his boundaries. The few sex-scenes that were in there weren't gratuitous.

I liked seeing El's whole family and understanding why he is the way he is and why he got into owning a pawn shop. I liked getting to understand Paul and why he felt like such a failure in life, even though there were plenty of people who loved him and believed in him - like his parents, El and his boss - when it made sense to me why he was so hung up on Stacey that made me like him a little bit more.

Second Hand is the second book the Tucker Springs series (that is being written by different authors) and I'm actually very curious about it because I enjoyed this one and the set up of the first story sounds kind of similar, and the third features a character that was introduced here.  I'm not a huge fan of the covers though, this is the more decent one.

Bottom Line: Second Hand was a very enjoyable story, it's not particularly long, I liked the treatment of the characters and where they ended. I wasn't sure what to expect from it at first, but it was a sweet,  romantic and funny story. 

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