And Manny Makes Three (Gay Romance), Trina Solet

Manny Makes ThreeRating: 3 Stars

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre: Gay Romance

Tags: Contemporary, Family, Kids

Length: 346 Pages

Reviewer: Cindi

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Zack Warner is a twenty-nine year old accountant. He adopted his son (Al) when Zack’s stepsister passed away five years prior. His entire life since that day has been centered solely and completely on Al. While Zack will indulge in an occasional one-night-stand, he has never brought a man home to meet Al, nor has he considered getting serious with anyone. Al is five and very alert to what’s going on around him and Zack will go to the end of the earth to not hurt him in any way. He is a very protective father and if he’s a bit too strict with certain things? That’s just Zack wanting to be a good father. Al’s kindergarten is ending for the summer soon and this puts Zack in a dilemma. He has childcare arrangements in place for part of the day but not all of it. He must find a babysitter soon.  His coworker, Mia, recommends the young man who has taken care of her little girl for the past three years, Mark. Mia’s family is moving to Spain and they will no longer be in need of a live-in manny.

Mark is a struggling college student who was taken in by Mia’s family when his own threw him out at sixteen. Nineteen now, he is struggling to pay his way through school. When he discovers that Mia’s family is moving to Spain, he knows he has to find another job soon or he will be on the streets and unable to finish college.

Mia works her magic with Zack and before long Mark is working as a live-in manny for Zack and his son. The moment the two men meet there is heat but both know they can’t act on it. Zack is not only concerned about what a fling with the babysitter would have on his son, he is determined to stay away from Mark because of his age. Those ten years are a hundred as far as Zack is concerned. Mark is a hot, young man and Zack knows that if they ever did start something that Mark wouldn’t hang around for long. Why would he when he’s only nineteen and hasn’t even experienced any of the things that nineteen-year old gay males should be experiencing?

So begins the story of Zack, Al and Mark.  Both are hesitant to take their attraction further by making a move. Zack is terrified of getting too close and having Mark decide (because of his age) that he wants someone else later. There is also Al to consider. The child is already in love with Mark. What happens if a relationship doesn’t work out and Al ends up getting hurt? Then there is Mark. Mark is terrified himself but for different reasons.  His real family abandoned him when he was only sixteen. His childhood friend Roy pops in occasionally for a booty call and nothing else and then he disappears. Roy is supposedly straight but doesn’t hesitate to use Mark every chance he gets. Mark is afraid of being alone.

Al is perfect. He is written as a typical five-year old child. He made me giggle several times with his antics. He has a cat named PJ who is as funny as Al is.

While I did enjoy the story, I had a few issues with it as well.


What didn’t work for me:

– It’s much too long at almost 350 pages. It could have been cut in half and been a great book.

– Extremely detail-heavy.

– Zack and Mark dance around each other for so long that by the time one finally made a move I was getting bored with them and their story.

– Zack and his “I’m too old” spiel and I’m not just referring to the ten years that separate him and Mark. He’s twenty-nine (young, in my opinion) but yet he talks and acts like he’s much, much older. Zack also strings Mark along (in my opinion) by not giving the relationship a chance outside of the bedroom. He knows he’s hurting Mark but he refuses to make any type of commitment or even tell him how he feels until he is forced to. He keeps Mark as his dirty little secret to keep Al from finding out. Al is five. He’s resilient. I think he’ll be okay knowing his dad has a boyfriend.

– Too much sex. Shocker, right? Let me elaborate on that statement. There is zero sex between Zack and Mark until long into the book. They dance around each other (as mentioned above) and there is talk of each jacking off but nothing sexual between the two men. When it happens? It’s constant (when Al was in bed anyway). I found myself bored with it and I started skimming on my Kindle until I found dialogue. I’m not one to skim over sex scenes so that alone should say something. Which leads me to my next issue.

– Sex is used to avoid serious discussions. One minute Mark is angry with Zack (with very good reason) but then Zack smiles or cracks a joke and they are suddenly in bed together.  Whatever problem Mark had disappears the minute he is in Zack’s bedroom.

– Serious editing issues. If I’m reading an ARC, I can overlook a few misspelled words, missing punctuation, names in incorrect places, etc. When I am reading a published book that I paid for, I have a problem with it. The editing of this book is so bad that it was distracting. Considering the length of it, I was distracted a lot because the problems were throughout the entire book.

– OK. You’re saying “Huh?” I’m saying OK, as in not OKAY. Maybe I’m being a stickler here but I’m funny about the word not being spelled out in a published book.


What worked:

– The ten year age difference between Zack and Mark. I am all about books with substantial age differences between the characters so ten years was good for me.

– Al. I adored this child. His sayings, his occasional brattiness, his trying to outwit his father and Mark, his love for his cat, his hate of broccoli – just everything.

– Mark.  I totally loved him with the exception of him not standing up to Zack when he should have. Mark had a hard time coming to terms with not having his family in his life. He’s lost and only wants to be part of a family. His love for Al shines through brightly and nineteen or no, he was a great manny (or second dad) to Al. Granted, he came across as much older than his age but that was okay. I would rather see a mature nineteen-year old than one who acted younger than his years.

– Zack – to an extent. Zack is a great parent to Al, even if he’s a bit much at times by not letting him be a child (no TV, no games, no snacks, etc.)

– PJ the cat. Who doesn’t love a cute animal?


Overall, I did enjoy the story as I am a huge sucker for books with kids in them. However, as mentioned above, this book could have been cut in half and it would have been much better in my opinion.  It just went on so long with the “Will Zack commit or won’t he?” that it was just way too much for me. Parts dragged and others moved too quickly and when everything finally comes together with Zack and Mark? While I found it to be sweet I also found it to be sort of a nonevent. After reading almost 350 pages I really wanted more. This is my first by this author and I will be checking out her other work. I think that perhaps I should have started with something shorter the first go ’round.




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Kazza K

This is a Cindi book – a little boy, a cat, an age difference. Shame about the editing and that the sex was meh. Terrific review 🙂