This post includes reviews of the books in the Only Colorado series:
- Only With You (#1)
- Only See You (#2)
- Only Need You (#3)
- Only Keep You (#4)
- Only Love You (#5)
- Only For Us (#6)
Only With You (Book 1)
This book won’t be for all readers due to the kinks of one of the main characters. On the one hand, this novel could have been totally fine without that kink if it focused instead on a typical romance between Zach and Craig (with Zach’s family issues being the only “big bad” of the story). But after letting the story percolate for a bit before writing this review, I find that I prefer that the book also included conflict relating to how the sexual aspect of Zach and Craig’s relationship evolved. (This is one of those moments where I remind both myself and everyone else that all kinks are valid, even if we don’t share them.)
That’s a lot to unpack, and I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I had difficulty in the first few chapters with the alternating points of view, but once I got into the flow of the story, it was easy to tell Zach and Craig apart. Neither man has followed the typical life trajectory, which made them unique in their own right, a fascinating pair together, and led to some interesting story conflict. Craig is just emo enough to be adorable rather than annoying, and Zach’s issues with his family are enough to make him a sympathetic character rather than an irritating doormat. The ups and downs in the relationship arc feel more “natural” than in most romance novels, which allowed the author to introduce more secondary characters that I look forward to seeing get their own happily ever afters later in the series.
Overall, this is a solid first installment to a series that I intend to keep reading. I hope that Craig and Zach make appearances in future books because they wormed their way into my heart.
Only See You (Book 2)
Though I’m sure this book could work as a stand-alone, Parker’s character arc probably has the most impact if you’ve also read the previous installment of this series. He doesn’t have the same family issues his cousin Zach does with his family, but there is enough overlap that I appreciated having the full context. I also enjoyed that Parker had Zach as both an inspiration and support in functionally re-inventing himself after leaving his old life behind, even if Parker is probably the last person to expect how he would grow in new directions.
We also briefly met Mal in the previous book, but they come into their own as a character here. Every nonbinary experience is different, and Chambers brings a certain amount of believability to Mal regarding their gender and gender expression. Mal and Parker discuss this, but it never feels shoehorned in as an “explanation” for the character. It is also never used to add titillation to the physical encounters between Mal and Parker, which come off as a genuine attraction between two people, no matter how either of them identify.
Craig and Zach of the previous book are recurring secondary characters here, and I had so much fun with how their friends view their relationship as sweet and vanilla. I enjoyed getting a peek at their happily ever after, even as Mal and Parker found theirs together. There are multiple layers of happily ever after in this book regarding how both main characters follow their individual character arcs and as a couple. This is a very different book than the first in the series, but it has the same moments of joy and heart. I look forward to continuing my adventure with this group of friends/found family.
Only Need You (Book 3)
Plot twists can be fun, but I find trope inversions make for more fascinating reads. This book, which appears on the surface to be a standard age-gap romance with a sprinkling of Daddy kink, fulfills that desire completely. Yes, there is a not insignificant age difference between Ted and Kieren, but this leads to conflict that is much more related to where they are in their individual lives rather than the standard angst of “I’m too old/young for you.” Ted initially feels that he’s too old for Kieren, but the connection between them grows so naturally that I love how they roll with it once they find themselves on a blind date together. (And Ted’s reaction every time someone jokes about a “Daddy” is utterly delightful.)
Kieren’s youth isn’t a specific draw to Ted, but he does take care not to pressure Kieren for anything beyond what he’s ready for. What starts as a romantic agreement takes a delightfully sexy turn that had me giggling as much as I swooned.
Once again, the secondary characters bring this world to life. I appreciate meeting future heroes of this series as much as I loved having more interactions with previous couples (especially Zach and Craig). Chambers balances humor and legitimate external conflict beautifully, as both men deal with some pretty devastating issues in a way that doesn’t drag the entire story down. I felt for them as much as I laughed out loud in equal measure, making for an overall excellent romance and lovely story in general. This series started amazing right out of the gate; I have yet to be disappointed, and I look forward to reading more now that I’m halfway through.
Only Keep You (Book 4)
This book is slightly lower on the humor scale than previous installments of this series. Still, it ranks right up there with how much heart exists between the main characters and the familiar and new cast of secondary characters. The attraction between Dave and Arthur is instantaneous, even if Dave needs to work up a bit of courage to jump into the dating side of things. After that, it’s pretty no-holds-barred. On the one hand, the love between them feels a bit too easy; on the other, that love is what gets Dave and Arthur through the second half of the book.
The relationship between them involves a bit of puppy play kink, but even when it trends sexual, it’s filled with love and fun. I especially liked that Dave and Arthur took individual steps toward learning about and joining the community rather than doing everything as a couple. It’s the relationships in romance novels in which the characters remain two people together rather than one entity that give me true faith in their happily ever after together.
The “dark moment” of this book occurs early, and it’s striking in both its surprise and how the after-effects fall out. Romance novels don’t tend to have clear villains, but this one definitely does, and I cheered every time Dave fought back against them. Mental health and dealing with the effects of trauma in a healthy manner are also an important theme in this book that I felt was addressed well. I’m once again looking forward to the next book in this series, especially since it will feature a character we’ve known since book 1!
Only Love You (Book 5)
A book where the main characters fake a relationship to attend a family wedding? If you’ve been following my book reviews, you already know this is one of my favorite tropes. Experiencing that trope with two characters I’ve already met and enjoyed through previous books in this series? Sign me up.
So, what sets this apart from the million other romances that follow this arc? Lots of fun stuff. Ben and Jonathan may be part of the same social circle, but they’re definitely not friends. On the surface, they’re a bit too much alike to have an instant connection, and that’s not even counting the fact that Jonathan is Hard of Hearing. This is defaulted to deaf at times in the book (in appropriate contexts, not due to laziness by the author), but I feel the distinction is important enough to mention here. However, that makes any flaws in their story easier to cover, makes for multiple humorous situations when Ben and Jonathan take advantage of their “secret” language for shenanigans, and illustrates how the connection between the two men grows as Ben learns more American Sign Language (ASL).
The “external conflict” surrounding the wedding has a lot to do with Ben’s history and why he acts the way he does in the present. As that conflict is resolved, I enjoyed how it allowed Ben the opportunity to grow as a person. Unfortunately, Chambers doesn’t let the guys off quite that easily, and there are a few more roadblocks to stumble through before their happily ever after. Though this wasn’t my favorite book in the series, I still enjoyed it wholeheartedly.
(The fact that I’m not a musical theater nerd explains why it took until halfway through the book to realize that the chapter titles were all names of songs from musicals. People with more class than I have should appreciate this much more than I was able.)
Only For Us (Book 6)
Chambers did an excellent job of seeding the previous books in this series with references to and interactions with the three heroes of this book, making it significantly easier to jump into their romance arc. I do think it also works as a stand-alone, but this whole series is great, so go back to the beginning first! Jay, Cameron, and Boone don’t particularly work on the surface, which makes their eventually happily ever after all the sweeter.
Chambers balances the external conflicts that each man faces with the romance arc of building their relationship (both as a trio and three individual couples). No matter who is involved, each steamy moment is incredibly hot and always serves to move the story forward rather than existing as a random sexy bit just thrown in to fill reader expectation. The way the characters are developed makes the “dark moment” between them all the more surprising and poignant, and I was delighted by how everything works out in the end.
All of our favorites from previous books make cameos, and my favorite running joke about Zach and Craig’s relationship makes the best appearance ever. Ted and Kieren, my second-favorite couple, also take on an excellent supporting role here, and once again, the author provides a delicate balance of kink and substantial story progress.
I had a ton of fun with this series and highly recommend it to all fans of MM romance. I hope certain elements of the first book don’t turn off potential readers, but overall, each of these books was such a treat.