Book Reviews

Thirty-One Days and Legos (Ranger Station Haven 2) by S.A. Stovall at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Holiday
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 11-December-2017

Book Blurb

Park rangers Carter and Owen Williams have decided to expand their family and adopt two brothers—boys they rescued a year before when they tried to escape the foster system and flee to Canada. After completing their parenting classes, Carter, a reserved man who enjoys the simple life, swears he’ll be the best father possible. His patience is tested, however, when one brother adopts a cat out of the snowy Voyageurs National Park and the other brother refuses to talk about what’s bothering him.


Owen wants to make sure their first Christmas together is a special one, and he decides all of December should be a celebration. He has an activity planned for each of the thirty-one days, but none of them seem to go off without a hitch. The cat has fleas, the boys need to attend a court hearing, and Carter is more than a little overwhelmed.


But Carter is 100 percent determined to make his new family work. He just has no idea how….


Book Review

I was very lucky last year to be able to read ‘Ranger Station Haven’, a short story in the 2016 Dreamspinner Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug! and I loved everything about it. From Carter’s grumpiness to Owen’s complete opposite and even the six foster kids they rescued out in the forest. I even got a little mushy feeling at the end although I tried to ignore it. Regardless, I was happy to see the author write ‘Thirty-one Days and Legos’ so I could return to the forest, Carter and Owen, and the two boys they adopted.

“Yeah, just what I need,” I reply, “someone to tell me how to parent.”
“We’ve never been parents before. It’s a reasonable requirement for adoption.”
“They don’t make pregnant women take parenting classes,” I say, restraining my irritation but failing to keep my volume low. “Some sixteen-year-old can get knocked up and raise her kid however she wants, but two fully grown men with careers have to pass a whole host of parenting classes before they can adopt a kid? Bullshit.”

It took but a moment to see that Carter’s sunny (gah!) personality hasn’t changed - although I did agree with him 100 percent. Luckily for Carter, Owen is his same patient, optimistic self, a nice counter to Carter. However, Carter is the one who pushed for doing this and he chose the brothers, Edmund and Luke specifically, so I figured his crotchetiness was probably nerves. I couldn’t help but laugh when the boys first arrive at their home and Carter is… well, his normal blunt self, and Owen just sighs and puts his palm on his face like, “I told him subtle”. LOL!

I could seriously empathize with Carter during most of this novella. I have always known I wouldn’t be a good mother - I’m far too impatient - but if the unexpected happened I would strive to be the very best parent I could be. Poor Carter. Everything seems to be going wrong and he keeps trying so hard, but what he doesn’t realize is that much like he told the kids to be themselves, he too needs to listen to his own advice. Having as many nieces and nephews as I do, I have found that kids tend to respond well to honesty and directness. If they know what’s expected of them and the rules don’t change at a whim, they tend to be confident enough to just let themselves be. (That’s all the parenting wisdom I have and you just got it for free. Of course, I’ve also managed to raise the most co-dependent animals in the world, so perhaps I know nothing.)

My biggest complaint - so not long enough. Seriously. I think I’m going to need an Easter story or a summer break one. Both would be the best but I’m willing to be lenient with the author. If you think I’m joking, I’m not. This is not my joking face. I really love this family and I definitely want more of them. You know, for my Christmas gift.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novella, 57 pages/17799 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 11-December-2017
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link