TITLE/AUTHOR: The Guncle; Steven Rowley
PUBLISHER: G.P. Putnam
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021
GENRE: Fiction / LBGTQ / Family
FORMAT: print / LENGTH: 324 pp
SETTING(s): CT and CA
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: Gay uncle Patrick "The Guncle" steps up to care for his young niece and nephew just when his brother and the kids need him the most.
Patrick lives in Palm Springs, CA and once was a famous actor but his life hasn't been quite the same since someone he loved was killed by a drunk driver. When his brother Greg, an attorney in CT loses his wife to cancer and he is struggling with his own personal crisis, he asks for Patrick's help in caring for his two young children for a few months. The children: Maise 9, and Grant 6, love when they visit GUP (gay uncle Patrick) in Palm Springs but, living with him for several months will prove quite different for all of them. Grant, the adorable and toothless. The 6 year-old speaks with a lisp and is super inquisitive adding much humor to the story as does, Patrick in the manner he deals with the (2) youngsters in his life.
The story is heartfelt, funny and a tad sad at times (not overly so(. It's a story of family and loss and about stepping up when others are hurting. I loved all the old-Hollywood references and all of the charming characters. Patricks relationship with his niece and nephew was special. I'm not surprised that this one has been optioned for a movie - very sweet.
I picked this one up from the library on a whim and was glad I did.
RATING - 4.5/5 stars
TITLE/AUTHOR: The Newcomer; Mary Kay Andres
PUBLISHER: Macmillan Audio
YEAR PUBLISHED: 2021
GENRE: Fiction / Family
FORMAT: audio download / LENGTH: 14 hours 30 min.
SOURCE: Publisher/Library / audio download
SETTING(s): NYC and FL
ONE SENTENCE SUMMARY: One sister is dead and the other flees with her motherless 4 year old niece to Florida.
When Letty finds her sister Tanya dead in her expensive Manhattan townhouse, she heeds her sister's previous warnings that if anything were to happen to her Letty was to take her daughter Maya and flee as her ex-Evan is most likely the killer. Letty then takes her sister's Mercedes, her to-go bag packed with $19,000 in cash and a motel clipping of a place in Florida called the Murmuring Surf Motel and heads off with Maya. When she reaches her destination she finds a "no vacancy sign" on the run down motel. She plays on the heartstrings of the kind owner Ava about her long drive and needing a place for her and Maya to sleep and although they are fully booked Ava agrees to help them out. Soon Letty is working there in exchange for charging her room fees. However, is The Murmuring Surf motel the safest place for Letty and Maya? Why did her sister have the clipping in her bag in the first place?
I felt there was a lot to like about this story, it is part mystery (Tanya had a dark past) yet overall a light summer read. I loved Letty and her relationship with Maya. I loved the run-down motel setting which was mostly inhabited by grouchy senior snowbirds who return year after year and think they set the rules, of course, they see Letty as "The Newcomer." There is also Joe, who is Ava's daughter. He is a cop although he seems a bit unethical at times. He first gives Letty a difficult time but, before you know it there appears to be a budding romance which I felt seemed out of place.
Overall, I thought this story was entertaining with the unique cast of characters. I thought the author did a good job meshing Tanya's story with the present story as Letty tried to figure out what really happened to her sister and why. My biggest complaint was that this story was way too long (14+ hours) on audio. A story this long is not what most would expect for a summer beach read. The audio was read by Kathleen McInerney who did a very good job.
The audiobook was a free download provided by Macmillan Audio in exchange for my unbiased review. Unfortunately, the download disappeared from my NetGalley shelf before I had a chance to listen to it but, I was able to download it from the library.