Book Reviews

Best Laid Plans (Garnet Run 2) by Roan Parrish at Carina Adores

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by Barb on 23-February-2021

Book Blurb

A man who’s been moving his whole life finally finds a reason to stay put.

Charlie Matheson has spent his life taking care of things. When his parents died two days before his eighteenth birthday, he took care of his younger brother, even though that meant putting his own dreams on hold. He took care of his father’s hardware store, building it into something known several towns over. He took care of the cat he found in the woods…so now he has a cat.

When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.

Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.

Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?


Book Review

I know Roan Parrish can craft words skillfully to create an amazing story. Yet each time I choose one of her titles, I’m surprised at the depth of my enjoyment, at the emotional engagement I feel with the characters, and at the powerful pull of a tale that becomes so much more than a mere book.


On the surface, Charlie Matheson is a successful business owner and a skilled carpenter. Charlie takes care of things, providing a home for himself and his brother when they were orphaned as teens, improving business at the hardware store inherited from his parents, expanding and redesigning his own home now that he’s an adult, and helping with anything and everything any of his friends or townsfolk need done. But inside, he’s stuffed his feelings so deep, he’s become a man who lives for others and his own to-do list and doesn’t allow himself time to explore his own needs.


It’s in his nature to help when a young man comes to the hardware store several times in one week to purchase lumber and tools. The man is tall, slender, tattooed, dressed in a way that leads Charlie to think he’s on his last dime, and he’s very, very unfriendly, insisting he needs no help from anyone.


The man is Rye Janssen, and he has just inherited a house from a grandfather he never knew. The timing is great, however, as Rye is unemployed and has run out of couches to surf on with his Seattle friends and is desperate to start over. But what he’s inherited turns out to be a house in an isolated area that should have been condemned. With no choices left, he’s going to try to at least shore the place up so he has somewhere to stay while he looks for work. After failing miserably in figuring out how to do that, he finally gives in to Charlie and his well-meaning attempts to help, though even Charlie sees how impossible the task may be.


Throughout the story, each man changes, relaxes his guard, and ultimately reveals his true self to the other, and it’s quite evident that each is a puzzle piece that together make a whole. Rye not only gives Charlie what he needs, but he brings out the person buried beneath the cloak of responsibility, and Charlie blossoms. And Rye? Rye allows himself to become grounded, to experience love, and to sense the depth of Charlie’s heart. “It said: I am letting you affect me. I am letting you into the parts of me that I have never shared with anyone—not even myself.”


Their struggle as a couple is never easy, but it’s motivated by caring and sharing, and the strength they show in their commitment and concern for each other is outstanding. Together they do great things. “Charlie used to think that the opposite of alone was together. Now he knew that the opposite of alone was being yourself with another person while they were also being themselves. It was more than together. It was in partnership.


Though there are appearances by the principal characters from ‘Better Than People’, this book can stand alone. One of the previous characters is Charlie’s brother, Jack, and the author seamlessly weaves him in here so that those who haven’t read book one will not be lost or confused.


And not to be overlooked: both Rye and Charlie are cat lovers and both cats featured in this story get along well, but there’s so much more for cat lovers to enjoy here. As the story unfolds, an idea to support abandoned cats forms, and by the end, cat lovers should be pleased with Rye’s creation.


There is so much to this story, and the relationship is such a beautiful, complementary, slow-burn romance that I’m surprised it fits within only 78,000 words. I don’t want to say goodbye to Charlie and Rye. I’m so completely engaged with these men that I may just have to go to Garnet Run, Wyoming, to seek them out. It goes without saying: I very highly recommend this book.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book was provided by Carina Adores via NetGalley for the purpose of a review.


Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 266 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 23-February-2021
Price $4.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback
Buy Link