Book Reviews

How to Love (Lovestrong 8) by Susan Hawke

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance
Reviewed by ParisDude on 15-June-2021

Book Blurb

Take one hurting guy recovering from scandal…

Two years ago, Hunter Riley was ghosted by his long-term boyfriend, then stuck with a ruined reputation when the town mistakenly thought he’d cheated on his ex… a man fighting breast cancer. These days, Hunter is happiest simply taking care of the sick kittens he fosters and rarely leaves his house.

Add one sunny man healing from loss…

Quinn Sullivan is alone in the world but doesn’t let it get him down. He dealt with the grief of losing the last piece of his family by looking to the future, finishing college, moving to a new town, and hitting reset on his life. An instant connection on a never-ending blind date has him ready to move in with Hunter and Quinn can’t see anything possibly ruining it.

To equal a pair who find even instalove requires time and patience.

Life can always catch you off guard, as Quinn discovers when child services arrives with an adorable angel—a piece of his lost twin he didn’t even know was out there—needing a family, needing… him. While Quinn is floundering with his parenting role, Hunter is left thinking he’s been ghosted again until Quinn comes up for air and sets things straight.

Can two guys who fell together so easily have what it takes to build a family?

This is the eighth and final book in the LOVESTRONG series about finding love and being yourself in a small town. Watch out for a five-year-old with an addiction to daytime TV, a diabetic kitten, and the worst wedding interruption ever. This is an mm romance full of all the fun, laughter, and sweet feels you’d want from an S. Hawke book.

Note: The book mentions the death of a sibling through suicide in the past, but no details are on page.


Book Review

Hunter is a nice guy. So nice that he fosters sick kittens in his house for free, which is almost a full-time job. That’s why he was devastated when his highschool sweetheart Derek dumped him and spread the rumor that Hunter had cheated on him after he was diagnosed with breats cancer—with his surgeon, to make things even worse (that story is told in number seven of the series, How To Live). Hunter didn’t even find the strength to deny it or defend his reputation; he simply stayed at home, did his graphic design jobs, and found solace with his kittens and his fierce sister Tracy.


Now Derek is back in town, has tried to reach out to Hunter to apologize, and is about to marry Asher Matthews. Hunter is invited (and has accepted to go) but reluctant to show up unaccompanied. Via an ad, Tracy finds him the perfect plus one: Quinn Sullivan, a new boy in town, easy-going and hot. The two hit it off immediately and decide they want to see more of each other after the wedding. Their relationship starts to bloom until, all of a sudden, Quinn disappears for over a week. When he shows up on Hunter’s doorstep again, he has a cute little surprise in tow…


This book closes the wide arch of the Lovestrong series, which started with Andy and Corbin in book one and turned out a mixed bag for me. I liked most of the books, loved some of them, was a little less fond of others. This last installment, I admit, is situated in the upper half of my preferences, if not close to book number one, my favorite. A perfect development as arches go.


Well, I got another prime example for insta-love in this one, granted. Most of those who read my reviews know I’m not particularly keen on that as it often turns out very unrealistic and inauthentic. But strangely enough it seemed to work in this book, probably because it was kind of a serene recognition of kindred souls rather than the Zing-Boing-Bam plot one normally gets. Yes, Hunter and Quinn barely meet when they’re already all over each other, but for once, the scene was so well prepared and executed that it rang true (and made me gasp, then giggle—unfortunately I can’t disclose more details as that would be a major spoiler).


What I really liked was the easy slide the two men made from meeting to engaging with each other to avowing their feelings. They were both very heart-warming characters to begin with, and that allowed me to feel like a friend right from the start. Of course, the twists and turns the author threw in (namely the major twist that I won’t discuss either) would make any couple that has only recently met come under pressure; so does this couple. But they overcome their troubles by talking it out without oversharing or overanalyzing each other. I’m still not sure I actually believe the outcome of that particular twist, but oddly enough, while reading, I didn’t care about believability. I just wanted to know where the book was leading me, I wanted cozy, fizzy feelings, and I wanted a happy ending for everybody.


Yes, this was a good one, and it closed the ‘Lovestrong’ cycle with a nice, calm, loving ending. Uh, scratch the part about closing the cycle—the author has promised she’ll publish some follow-up novellas (maybe prequels or sequels to some of the eight stories) on her author site, where they will be available for free. That’s good news for sure!




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


Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novella, 142 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 26-March-2021
Price $3.99 ebook
Buy Link