Title: Mano’s Story
Author: Michael Murphy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
At a Glance: I feel like this was more of a biography of Mano’s life than it was a romance novel
Reviewed By: Jackie
Blurb: Sequel to Little Squirrels Can Climb Tall Trees
Mano and Jake, friends since childhood, are each the brother that the other never had, hermanos. It doesn’t matter that Mano is gay and Jake is straight. They have each other’s backs. When he grows weary of being used as a pawn by his parents as their marriage collapses, Mano moves in with Jake’s family.
Jake and Mano both need a chance to start over, so they move to Hawaii and work for Jake’s uncle, Mano working as a lifeguard. In his free time, Mano explores his sexuality and finds he has no shortage of men in his bed. But after watching his parents’ relationship disintegrate, Mano guards his heart and keeps it strictly sexual.
Determined to become self-sufficient, Mano returns to college while still working full-time. When he meets the man of his dreams, he’s too scared and unsure of himself to pursue him. For years he went out of his way to avoid getting close to a man, so now when he wants to, he doesn’t know how. With the encouragement of Jake and others, Mano searches for the courage to go after what he’s always really wanted.
Review: I read the first story in this series and I liked it, so when I saw this book on its way, I was completely sold on it. Mano was a fun character in the previous book, and I couldn’t wait to get to know him better.
Mano was raised by parents who weren’t technically abusive, but worse than that, they were inattentive to extremes. When Mano’s finally had enough, he moves to Hawaii with his childhood best friend Jake, and they get a fresh start with jobs at a hotel owned by Jake’s uncle. Mano loves his job as a lifeguard, but he knows he wants more out of life.
Soon after arriving, Mano decides he wants to stretch his legs in the gay sex scene. Being new to the area, he has no problem meeting plenty of men, but none of them are the one he wants to keep. Eventually Mano gets his act together and enrolls in college. Everything seems to be going great for Mano, but he realizes that the bar hook-ups aren’t enough anymore. When he spots his dream guy in the local bar he is too intimidated to approach him, but luckily dreamboat’s friend spots Mano’s interest and does him a solid by setting up the first meeting for him. From that point on we follow Mano, Jake, and their significant others through their ups and downs. Joseph and Kyle from the previous book played a wonderful part in Mano’s Story, and ended up being like family for Mano when he needed it most.
This was a good story and I truly loved Mano’s character, but I feel like this was more of a biography of Mano’s life than it was a romance novel. I feel like I missed out on some of the most important parts of a budding relationship. There were so many opportunities to flesh out the romantic side of the story, but I feel like they were all missed.
I am not saying that this was a bad story, it was actually very well written, and I loved the characters. I would read more from this author in the future, but I would definitely hope for more romance.
You can buy Mano’s Story here: