books

N.R. Walker

Books

His Grandfather’s Watch (2015), Finders Keepers (2018), Upside Down (2019), Throwing Hearts (2020)


His Grandfather’s Watch (2015)

His Grandfathers WatchThis is a very sweet story, told in two parts.

The first part is Alex–a young man who works in his family’s antique store working with clocks and watches, falling for Callum Winters, who comes into the shop to try and learn more about a watch he inherited.

The second part of the story of the original owner of the watch, and the man who gave it to him.

I can tell you this much…” he looked directly at me, as I told him, “… whoever it was, this person with the initial B, who gave your grandfather this watch, must have loved him very much.”

There are difficult parts to this story. Callum’s grandmother–his only living relative–is in a home for dementia, and he has moved to be close to her in her final months. And when we get to the second story, we already know the outlines of what happens.

He marveled at how the human heart kept beating, even though it was surely broken. His lungs still took air, even though they burned. He wondered how the world still turned, when in fact, his world had just stood still.

Yet the sun still shone, life went on.

But it’s a very sweet story and I highly recommend it.

Publisher: BlueHeart Press
Rating: 7.5/10

Finders Keepers (2018)

Finders KeepersGriffin Burke has moved to Coolum Beach for a new job–and a promotion. He’s good at being a hotel manager, even even better, he enjoys it.

“Do people really expect room service to be included?”

I scoffed. “You work in customer service, right?”

“Point taken.”

When he finds a lost dog, and calls the owner, he doesn’t expect much–except that the owner is away on business and Griff offers to keep Wicket for a few days until Dane Hughes is back from his work conference.

Dane was worried when his mother called to say that Wicket had escaped, and although he’s relieved when a guy calls saying he’s found Wicket, he feels bad that Griff is keeping Wicket rather than putting him in a kennel.

And then Griff starts sending pictures of Wicket having fun and Dane starts to fall for this cute guy who is clearly caring for his dog.

The two of them are ridiculously adorable.

“Do you want to know if I’m seeing someone?”

“Maybe.”

It sounded like he was smiling. “I’m not. Seeing anyone, that is.”

Okay, so that was one hurdle down. “And if you were looking—” I cringed at how ridiculous this was. “— and used dating apps, would you use Tinder? Or maybe Grindr?” I buried my face into the sofa cushion and rolled my eyes and wanted to die.

He barked out a laugh. “Are you asking me if I’m gay?”

ALSO, there is Bernice, Griff’s landlord. Who is hilarious and also adorable.

“You can ride a skateboard?” I asked. “I mean, I saw the surfboard in your living room and I assumed it was yours, but a skateboard?”

Bernice lifted her chin. “I’ll have you know, I skated with the best of them in the late seventies and eighties. Those arseholes at Venice Beach told me girls couldn’t do a frontside 180. So I did a 360 hardflip and shut that fucker up.”

Plus the cute dog, who is central to the story. And who also gets worried when the two humans he like might possibly be hurting each other. (They are kissing.)

It’s sweet and adorable and there are two romances for the one, so YAY!
Rating: 7.5/10


Upside Down (2019)Upside Down

This was precisely the story I needed to read. I have a ton of books on my TBR, but none of them were pulling me in.

Jordan O’Neil is a librarian who is tired of his love life never ever working out. When his co-worker (and best friend) Merry encourages him to go to an Ace support meeting, he discovers that maybe he does have to add one more label.

Also, his bus crush is running the group.

I fell in love with the story almost immediately. And not solely because of this:

Geek also probably fits, though mostly for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Oh yes, DS9. (swoon)

But really, Jordan is just marvelous.

So, as the bus pulled in, my heart was dressed in neon Lycra, a bottle in one hand and a microphone in the other, singing Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy” while my brain was stoic, arms crossed, working on some algorithm or genius equation that would determine indisputably, unequivocally, that I was the dumbest motherfucker on the planet for even entertaining the idea that Hennessy would be one, single. And two, remotely interested in me.

Jordan is a delight. He is marvelous. I may secretly be Jordan.

My phone beeped in my hand and I tripped over my own feet, almost falling to the ground but catching myself just in time. “Motherfucker.”

And Merry–Merry is WONDERFUL.

Merry held up a book like it was a shield. “Do you know what my favourite part of a book is?” she asked, her face stoic. She didn’t give me time to change gears in the conversation.

“Huh?”

“My favourite part of any well-written book is that it will have a beginning,” she said. “And a middle, and a goddamn end, Jordan. An ending! Which is what this conversation is lacking. They’re magical. Maybe you can try it.”

And the bus. THE BUS!

The soup crowd made me take a seat and practice Lamaze breathing just so I could tell them all about the questions game we play.”

I chuckled. “The Soup Crew?”

“Yes, the Soup Crew. That’s what I call the five people who spent twenty minutes yesterday discussing soups and Nepal after your stop. They’re very invested in our… well, how our relationship is progressing.

But then the guy nodded at me and rolled his eyes and smirked before standing up. “I can find another seat,” he said. “I’ve been telling my wife about you guys, and if she ever found out I was the reason you couldn’t sit together, she’d kill me.”

I mean, how adorable is that?

This was perfect and I loved it and I wish there was more.

Publisher: BlueHeart Press
Rating: 9/10

Re-Read: June 2020
8.5/10

Throwing Hearts (2020)

Throwing HeartsLeo Secombe is happy with his job, his roommate (who is his honorary sister) and he’s weekly trips with Clyde–an elder he met at the local LGBTQIA+ Center.

When I first met him, he reminded me of Sam the Eagle, the angry blue Muppet bird, and the more I got to know him, the more he reminded me of him.

Merrick Bowman is happy with his business–he makes ceramics and teaches classes. He’s excited about an upcoming four session class with the local Bridge-the-Gap program but doesn’t expect it to be much different from any of his other classes.

This story is the fluffiest, most adorable, sweetest ever.

Mind you, Clyde is a grump, but that’s ok.

“If only you had his number.”

“I’ll search him up online when I get home. He’ll be tagged in some of the studio pics, surely. I can follow those threads and see if there’s an SO.”

Clyde squinted; his caterpillar brows wiggled across his face. “I have no idea what you just said.”

And Kell, his roommate is also wonderful.

“Oh God, Leo. I’m so sorry.” Her face lit up then with an obvious idea. “Ooh, we can change your profile picture and your bio. Here, give me your phone. He’ll never have to know.”

“Or I could just move to Peru and become a llama farmer,” I replied, not really joking. How was I going to face him on Friday? “Or maybe I can donate my body for organ harvesting a little sooner than expected.”

“Ooh, dibs on your liver.”

There is no drama here. There is no angst. It’s just a lovely, sweet, delightful story, with an unexpected twist.

Publisher: Blue Heart Press
Rating: 8.5/10