Max not only loves Rick, but their three children as well—despite them being aliens and looking like octopuses and well, the tentacles. It infuriates him that other species call his family the “Uglies” when really the “Hidden” is their actual nomenclature. The boys and Rick could never be ugly, not to Max, and he is determined to somehow convince others of that idea. Life onboard ship is something Max now finds quite nice and time with his family is precious to him. But when he discovers that Rick is hiding the fact that they are low on cash reserves, Max knows he must help contribute in some way. Then he learns that “Uglies” are not allowed to barter their goods as easily as other aliens; in fact, they pay enormous amounts of their profits to a broker in order to have their wares and inventions marketed at all.
Max decides he will be the one to sell not only a newly designed weapon he and one of the boys, James, has reengineered for better accuracy, but also see if he can get top dollar for the translator Rick has developed. There is only one catch: Max must convince the alien world that as a human, he is not a “moron” and it is he who actually created the sophisticated translator he has no idea how to work. It may be dangerous to do, but if Max can pull it off, then they will be set with repairs to their ship, plus a cash flow for the family to move forward.
Author Lyn Gala releases her sequel in the Earth Fathers series with the delightful reintroduction of Max, Rick, and their boys: James, Xander, and Kohei. Fans of the first book, Earth Fathers are Weird, will recall that Max, who began as a “nanny,” quickly realized that meant he would be a surrogate incubator for Rick’s eggs, which produced the three boys. If you haven’t read the first book, I would strongly suggest doing so. I so enjoyed the previous novel that I honesty squealed with delight to discover Gala has penned a second.
The flow into this book is quite natural and just a few months has passed since their first adventure together. The boys are even cuter than before and refer to Max as Father Max. I love their different personalities and I also really enjoy how the feelings between Max and Rick have developed and blossomed. The five of them have become a tight-knit group and their communication skills have improved, but if you remember the different way they have of voicing questions and Max continually having to “clarify” his verbal expressions, then you will have no problem sliding right back into the often hilarious dialogue exchanges between Max and Rick and just about everyone else he comes in contact with, including the kids.
This novel is jammed pack full of endearing little quirks that set each individual character apart. Rick, who worries that Max will either get himself in danger or for some reason leave and never return, fills his communications with belches, farts, and noises that Max can now often interpret correctly. Between that and his roaming tentacles that always seem to be disappearing down the back of Max’s pants, he is just adorable as the worrywart spouse Then there is Max, who frets he is not a good father to his three sons and is concerned about their safety; it is so incredibly sweet. The fact that his family is in essence bullied and called ugly disturbs him greatly and also angers him. But his reaction to being known as a moron by all alien races is priceless.
In essence, this is a family-style romance. There is a fierce longing from Max and Rick to protect each other and the kids and their love shines throughout this story. With just a little angst and danger, the story follows their attempts to change the minds of other species that are set against them, all in order to make a better life for their children. I don’t know if Lyn Gala intends on giving us any more installments in this series, but I really hope so. I love following their adventures and now that they have a surprise visitor onboard who needs to get back to their home planet, the possibility of another story is ripe for the creating, in my opinion. But for right now, I must admit I thoroughly enjoy spending time with this motley crew and recommend you do as well.