• Life, Some Assembly Required

  • The Rebuilding Year, Book 2
  • By: Kaje Harper
  • Narrated by: Gomez Pugh
  • Length: 12 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (142 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Finding love in the ashes was easy. Building a life together? Not so much.

After spending the first part of his life chasing pretty girls, love has finally come to Ryan in the form of John, a tall, lanky, red-headed landscape architect with wide shoulders and a five-o’clock shadow. For the first time in Ryan's life, love feels easy. Hell, he even ran into a burning building for John and his son, and he’d do it again if he had to. But telling his father and brothers and classmates “I’m gay. I’ve met a man”? That’s going to take nerve of a different kind.

For John, loving Ryan is as natural as breathing. Now if only the rest of his life would fall into place. Dealing with his teen son is complicated enough, but with his ex-wife causing trouble and his daughter wanting to move in, John’s house - and his relationship with Ryan - threaten to split at the seams. Is one month without a new surprise knocking him upside the heart really too much to ask? Unfortunately, the answer seems to be yes.

©2015, 2017 Kaje Harper (P)2018 Kaje Harper

What listeners say about Life, Some Assembly Required

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

✫✫ 4 Stars ✫✫

John and Ryan's story picks up right where it left off in book #1. I loved getting the rest of their story. Their relationship just continues to grow and the maturity of them both and the way they handle issues is refreshing. This is a beautiful love story with a real feel to it.

The narration is Perfect! Gomez Pugh has moved up my narrator list very quickly!

5 people found this helpful

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Realistic

I really enjoyed this story. It was as realistic as can be for two guys later in life finding someone who is the same sex. I really think if someone like JF Harding we’re the narrator I would have given it a perfect 5 stars. I just didn’t enjoy the narration at all in my honest opinion

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Great love story

I am totally in love with both stars in this book, but I would go for a John!! What great real life story. I am looking forward to the next book on the series

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OKAY.

The 1st installment was better.

I guess I went in with such high expectations because the 1st one was so amazing.

This was just okay. We get to know more of they're life together, but I could have stopped on book 1 and been content and not felt like I wasted my money.

Don't get me wrong, if you need to know more about their everyday lives after the intensity of falling, then it's a great content.

Naration was great.

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The voice for John is so comforting

I enjoy the voices created by Gomez Pugh, especially the voice of John. John and Ryan are good people and Cynthia doesn't deserve their goodness.

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Amazing sequel!

First, this is the sequel to The Rebuilding Year, and you must have read it before for this lovely novel to mean anything to you.

We left off with Ryan just telling his dad he’d met a man… This is the story of how to build a life with someone AFTER the initial blush of romance.

And that’s just it – it takes work. John and Ryan have to work at their relationship. They have to battle John’s crazy (seriously crazy) ex-wife Cynthia for John’s kids and their sanity. They have to battle Ryan’s homophobic brother and his Dad’s less than warm welcome. Ryan has to continually battle his pain.

What they don’t do is battle each other. That was a really nice touch. Sometimes – in sequels – the couple separates and we have to fight to bring them back together again, almost like a new story. In this case John and Ryan’s love for each other is strong and pervasive. The world throws them curve balls and they work as a team to hit them out of the park.

I loved the emerging personalities in John’s kids. Torrie is a force to be reckoned with and I loved her teen-age angst and thought it felt very authentic.

This wasn’t as “hot” as The Rebuilding Year – not that there isn’t plenty of great sex – there is – but the sexual tension was less and the book focused more on the emotional growth of the relationship at the same time the couple “experiments” with their newfound sex life.

The Rebuilding Year was one of my all time favorite books and it set an extremely high bar. I loved catching up with the guys and learning more about their lives. Kaje Harper is an amazing writer and she crafted another excellent story here. For me, it wasn’t quite as amazing as it’s predecessor, but it was still wonderful and a must read for her fans and fans of the first book.

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

I love listening to Gomez Pugh. He does a really nice job for John’s voice, deep, a little older, definitely sexy! He does a great job giving us unique voices for the other characters including the children and the female characters.

I find listening to him soothing and he really allows the story to shine through.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

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Address so many things from book one.

I really enjoyed this 2nd book!! I really enjoy following the characters come into their own.

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Some assembly required and also patience etc....

4.5 stars, Class A narration by Gomez Pugh (he even gets Cynthia's upper Midwestern twang).

The main reason I love Kaje's books is because they are so real and a lot of them cover a long term relationship with all the ups and downs and boring details of life. I love that I get to revel in John and Ryan's lives. I love to hear about how they adjust and change due to life's proclivity to constantly throw curve balls their way. Sometimes John's "slow and steady" drives me nuts that he can take things so calmly. Other times this approach to life is just what the situation needs and I am grateful his demeanor cools the situation. I more closely identify with Ryan who tends to let his emotions rule what he says.

There were a lot of situations in this book that were WTF, like any scene with John's ex wife Cynthia. She makes me grind my teeth and I wholeheartedly am on Ryan's side in this. In reading the blurb for the next book in the series, I see that her attempt at getting John back (she says that's not what she is trying to do, but......) never works, but just the idea of her makes me nuts. Her second husband comes in second as being an ass.

Kaje brings all the little and big things in life together to weave a complete life. From all the things you hate to the things you love and the responsibilities you have accepted and must follow thru with. She is just that good that even the mundane are things I look forward to reading about.

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How to build a happy family

I did two things to prepare for writing this review: I listened to the book and I reread my review for the first book (that I loved). Even now, more than a year later, that review reminds me why I fell in love with John and Ryan. My one complaint about the book was there was a weird subplot that I didn’t feel was necessary. The ending just felt a little over-dramatic.

Now, having listened to book 2, it all makes sense. That crisis and the resulting heroism by Ryan along with the helplessness of John are the beginning of this book. It leaves off literally where the first book ended and I was brought right back into that world seamlessly, despite the more than year-long gap. I was able to get into each man’s head as they relived the horror in the form of PTSD and was especially concerned for John’s son Mark who was also involved. All three struggle with the aftermath and in their shared experience, they develop a greater appreciation of the others. Men are often known for holding in their feelings so it’s all the more powerful when they do admit, each in turn, that they’re having problems coping.

In the previous book, John’s son Mark had decided he’d had enough of his mother and had come to live with his father. This plotline will hit home for many people as families are often torn apart by divorce. Since I only see Cynthia (John’s ex-wife) through the lens of her ex-husband (John) and her ex-husband’s new lover (Ryan), I wondered about her story and if she was really as vapid and mercenary as she seemed. This book really solidified part of that impression but, near the end, I was able to witness a very different side to her. I was almost – almost – empathetic toward her and her situation. Her stepping back into John and Mark’s lives though, was not without significant upheaval. Hence the ‘some assembly required’.

The other subplot is Ryan and his family. He’s always been straight and had never contemplated a relationship with a man. Falling in love was never part of the plan but now he can’t imagine his life any other way. Being one of four boys though with a tough-as-nails father doesn’t give him a lot of hope for acceptance. To say the road is rocky is an understatement, but his love and devotion to John never falters. His adoration and protectiveness of John’s children is never in question.

I love the constant theme of family through the book. John’s children have different roles in the men’s lives. Mark lives with them, making his way with music, making new friends and adapting to life. Tori is stuck in Los Angeles with a mother who has other concerns and a step-father who is downright cruel. That she hides her true self is a given. That she finds the strength to eventually be honest is a testament for her love and faith in her father and Ryan.

In the end, the family is a solid unit. They find a way to make life work and when the men commit to each other, I had no doubt this was a permanent thing. I couldn’t wait for the next book and since it was released at the same time, I jumped on it as well, doing a binge listen.

I cannot say enough good things about Gomez Pugh. His John is perfect with the confident timbre and the calming tone. Ryan is a bit more excitable, which fits. Gomez’s Cynthia is still a bit shrill, but that fits her personality. He provides great voices for the kids, including 12-year-old Tori. I love when one narrator does all the books in a series and he is perfect for the role.

Another hit with Kaje Harper and Gomez Pugh.

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  • B
  • 01-22-19

yay!

The second book is just as good as the first book - the rebuilding year. thank you for releasing this!

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  • Mary
  • 01-15-19

Great narration for a 3 star story

I loved the first book because the story included a murder mystery as well as romance.

The second book is all family drama, I'm not a fan of family dramas for entertainment, and while the narration was excellent and the story was well written, it was too 'family'-centric for me. The story was predictable about the highs and lows of being an out couple dealing with life and kids and didn't enter any new territory. Ryan and John are a lovely couple and the sex scenes were great, but apart from that, the book was just okay.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ronald Betts
  • 03-27-22

Life with your lover

Life isn't quite what you might expect when you fall for a man with baggage, two fun teenagers then the ex wife turns up who is homophobic and pregnant and your own family who can't except your gay sparks fly. Good luck with that lot.