Rating: 4.5 🌈
I hadn’t read Fireman’s Carry (The Hot Cannolis #0.5) by Eli Easton that was the source and inspiration for this series by Easton and Lain. I will certainly go ahead and do that now that I’ve read this book and the romance of those characters.
What is started there , a major fire and rescue of over 60 people by firefighter Mike Canali and civilian Shane Bower is where this novel’s storylines begins. With the aftermath of those events,weeks later, in everyone’s lives.
The events in that story are recounted somewhat so it’s not necessary to have read it to step into the people and their situations here.
One important detail, however, that’s not mentioned anywhere, either in the descriptions or authors note. There is a on page attempt at suicide, although it’s never actually termed that out loud. Also character depression. If any of this is a trigger for a reader, please know this in advance so you be the best judge about whether to read the story or not.
There are so many terrific elements here. The characters are very well done. Shane Bower and his Pops are amazing. From the moment Shane makes his appearance on the page with his book club (who I also adored hugely) I was immediately engaged. He was believable, likable, vulnerable, just everything you knew would end up pulling at your heart strings. Then I met his grandfather, Pops. And I was all in. Pops is another great character. Throughly realistic and wonderful.
I think most readers will have mixed feelings about the Cannolis, the enormous Italian firefighter clan that Mike Cannoli belongs to. I feel they are pretty realistic myself in the way they are portrayed. I’ve know a family very similar to them and while some may argue they may seem too black and white in their characteristics, I can argue that those personality traits are also very believable and true .
The men , father and brothers, were very homophobic and followed that old hard core machismo that impacted every part of their lives from childhood up. For Mike, having to live up to their ideals and endure their rigid idea of masculinity made the stress upon his daily life an ever increasing pressure he wasn’t even aware of. Until he was. When the very out Shane Bower enters his and his family’s life.
The authors accurately portrayed what happens when the status quo is upset within a traditional Italian family, with the women on one side and the men on the other.
The majority of the story deals with Mike and his coming to grips first with his sexuality, then with the idea of a relationship, then the overwhelming fear of being known as gay to his family. This is really his story and it’s a realistic, painful one.
Shane is just as much a part of it as a out and proud gay man in love with someone who can’t accept himself. That’s another element and equally hurtful. To Shane and Mike.
The support characters, from the wonderful women of the Cannoli family to Shane’s friends to a surprise in the form of Donny, give this story extra depth. I love them all.
Mike’s depression and the events that follow feel accurate but deserve a trigger warning. FYI.
I am recommending this story. I wouldn’t call this a romantic comedy however. There’s humor but the focus is serious and dramatic while still including the romance.
I liked that the authors recognizes that not everyone would be able to come around and accept Mike’s new sexuality completely. That’s just not realistic given his family. Thanks for keeping it real!
I’m really looking forward to the next in the series. It’s Donny’s story, Hot Winds. Can’t wait.
Until then pick this up and enjoy!
The Hot Cannolis series:
◦ Fireman’s Carry (The Hot Cannolis #0.5) by Eli Easton
✓ Hot Seat #1
◦ Hot Wings #2 – March 29, 2022
Wait. Can a Canali be gay?
Hero firefighter, youngest of six macho Italian brothers and—in love with Shane Bower, who never met a unicorn T-shirt he didn’t love? How does that even work?
When Mike Canali meets Shane Bower, his attraction to the guy is off the charts. But then his huge family and intense job full of rules and expectations intrude and he never calls.
Until they both get a medal—
and his mom falls in love with Shane at the ceremony—
and all of a sudden Shane’s all over his life, whether Mike likes it or not.
The butch Canali family face-to-face with sparkly Shane Bower? This is a wildfire of its own.
Shane worked damned hard to be who he is—fantastic, femme and in-your-face. He won’t compromise that, even to have the super-hot man of his dreams. But can he really ask Mike to give up his family and future just to have his fabulous self? Especially when he’s falling in love with the Canali family too?
HOT SEAT is a hot firefighter, big crazy family, coming out, opposites attract, forced proximity, romantic comedy—with all the feels.