Book Review – Bigger Than Us by Jodi Payne & BA Tortuga

A Shoe Book
Publisher: Tygerseye Publishing
Pages: 248
Characters: Daniel/Mitch
POV: 3rd
Genre: Contemporary, Series

When Daniel McCaverty gets the call that his best friend and mentor up in Vermont has cancer, he expects to have plenty of time to go help. He never expects that Adam will be gone before he gets there, or that he will suddenly be in charge of Adam’s two small children. He’s a loner, an artist, and a wanderer. What’s he supposed to do now?

Mitchell Brown is a white-collar kind of guy. Organized. Careful. He has a plan in place for Adam’s kids long before Daniel arrives, and is shocked when Daniel is given custody. But for Vicky and Emory, he’s willing to put his hurt and confusion aside to help Daniel figure things out, to make the whole situation work.

Daniel and Mitch have to deal with a tidal wave of grief while getting one kid started in school, and keeping up with their work. But they’re going to have to figure out their unexpected attraction to each other if they’re going to build something together that’s bigger than either one of them alone.

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I loved this opposites attract, found family story. It didn’t shy away from dealing with the grief of losing a friend, kids losing a father, and having to keep going every day despite that. One of its biggest strengths is its realism, and the family at the centre of the story.

Although this is a romance, the story is also about building a new beginning and family. I liked how Daniel and Mitch’s priority through everything is the children, but they don’t want to become a couple because of that. Their relationship needs to be real and because they want each other. Their late friend, Adam, might not be on the page directly but his influence and personality shines through most of this story. I loved how he knew what both his friends—and children—needed and provided the nudge that would hopefully make it happen. I also liked how Mitch and Daniel grow a firm friendship to base their relationship on, and don’t enter into anything long term lightly, despite their immediate mutual attraction. One thing that stood out for me was how these guys talk to each other and discuss what’s going on in their lives, and still follow their own path and careers, and make sure each other is able to.

I liked how opposite Daniel and Mitch are in personality and background, and how well they complement each other, and provide the strength the other needs. The scenes with them and the children are very sweet, yet address the reality of what they’re going through. Raising children, especially a little one who has just lost a parent, isn’t easy and I liked that Vicki does have tantrums and needs a firm hand at times.

The children have distinct personalities and feel like real children, complete with the not so fun part of babies and little ones. I loved Ally. She totally rocks.

The HEA is perfect, and I loved the organic way everything leads to that moment.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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