Daily Archives: April 6, 2015

Love Lessons Audiobook by Heidi Cullinan Narrated by Iggy Toma

Samhain Publishing Presents: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Love-Lessons-Audiobook/B00TYQO89K/ref=a_search_c4_1_7_srTtl?qid=1427733944&sr=1-7

love lessons audioBlurb

Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited what seems like forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he quickly realizes finding his Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus.

Worst of all, he’s landed the charming, handsome, gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view.

As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his own private fear that love was never meant to last.

Warning: This story contains lingering glances, milder than usual sexual content for this author, and a steamy dance-floor kiss. Story has no dairy or egg content, but may contain almonds

Review
(Book Reviewed on Previous Site)

Kelly is a small town guy with Disney –HEA – visions in his head. He just KNOWS life gets better in college and he won’t let anybody tell him otherwise.
Walter is the jaded, older student and now roommate who, at first, wants to break Kelly of his romantic ideal nonsense, then feels it’s his duty to protect those dreams and finally to make them come true.

This is a long book, so we cover a lot of ground and in a lot of detail.
We get a good, hard look at what makes Walter so cynical and a good look at what makes Kelly so idealistic.

We get to watch the relationship, in its early seedling stage nearly die before finally taking root to grow into a full-fledged, Disney-level-happiness, rock solid, Red-wood of a relationship.

This is a new adult novel. Not quite YA – too much drinking, drugs, and sex for that. But the story is more closely that of a YA than some of the other, far more raunchy, Heidi Cullinan “adult” books. It is very well written and very involved, like the rest of Heidi’s books, and hits all the right buttons for me.

I just love the characters. They are all very well developed, three-dimensional, interesting and unique. There are several secondary characters that add complexity to the story and help to give this book it’s authentic flavors.

Kelly is an amazing guy. Heidi has managed to give us a freshman boy, who loves Disney movies, is a die-hard romantic, a virgin and yet he is still very much a boy. I love him! I love that he idolizes Tangled and has dreams of how his first date, first sex and wedding should all be. I loved the juxtaposition of his money poor, love rich household with Walter’s money rich, love poor life. Walter, the playboy, the cynic, the last guy to imagine Happy Ever After is the PERFECT choice for Kelly.

Their story is told slowly, organically growing and unfolding tenderly in such a way that we can easily see how the switches can be flipped and how our jaded Walter can come around to being Kelly’s Prince by the end of the book.

I could really relate to Kelly’s vision of what love “should and should not” be, I think many of us remember that time in our lives – whether it was high school, college, or later in life – and how hard it was to mesh that vision in our head with what life hands us. What I admired was how Kelly held on to his vision of Disney-Princess-Happiness without shame or wavering even in the face of disillusionment and that, in the end, his enduring faith brought everyone around and actualized his feelings rather than crushing his spirit.

The length of the book is both its strength and weakness. It takes a little dedication – there are times the story drags and it takes a little perseverance. However, the pay out is definitely worth it. Because she doesn’t compromise on length, the story feels very natural and real, and because life is more than just romance, the added side stories Heidi guides us through help us to see how our MCs are growing and changing in a way that feels authentic.
By the end I think everyone will have at least some tears in their eyes if they are not out-right bawling. It is an amazingly tender, sweet and satisfying book on many levels.

You will fall in love with Kelly and Walter and – now that I have read the sequel – I can tell you that you will be excited to know we get to see even more of them real soon and it only makes this book that much more sweet.

Audio

Iggy Toma is a new narrator to me and he did a fantastic job with this series. He adds so much real emotion that the listener is truly immersed in the story right along with the characters. He did some subtle variations on the voices, enough to differentiate the speakers, but did not go over the top with them. I really, really enjoyed listening to this and will probably find myself listening to it again and again – all 10 hours!

The listening experience contributes so much to the enjoyment to bump this to a 5 of 5 hearts! I loved it!

5

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Behind the Curtain Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Hugh Bradley

Dreamspinner Presents:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5248

BehindTheCurtainAUDMEDBlurb

Dawson Barnes recognizes his world is very small and very charmed. Running his community college theater like a petty god, he and his best friend, Benji know they’ll succeed as stage techs after graduation. His father adores him, Benji would die for him, and Dawson never doubted the safety net of his family, even when life hit him below the belt.

But nothing prepared him for falling on Jared Emory’s head.

Aloof dance superstar Jared is a sweet, vulnerable man and Dawson’s life suits him like a fitted ballet slipper. They forge a long-distance romance from their love of the theater and the magic of Denny’s. At first it’s perfect: Dawson gets periodic visits and nookie from a gorgeous man who “gets” him—and Jared gets respite from the ultra-competitive world of dancing that almost consumed him.

That is until Jared shows up sick and desperate and Dawson finally sees the distance between them concealed painful things Jared kept inside. If he doesn’t grow up—and fast—his “superstar” might not survive his own weaknesses. That would be a shame, because the real, fragile Jared that Dawson sees behind the curtain is the person he can see spending his life with.

Review
(From previous site)

This is a sweet story of two people, seemingly in opposite phases of life, coming together and finding love. Dawson, sort of trapped in an unrequited love finds Jared, who has never really had love, and together they just click, right from the start. But there are still hurdles to be overcome and both Jared and Dawson have to decide where their life is going and how to take control of that life if they want to be together.

Amy Lane’s stories are character driven and Dawson and Jared are amazing characters, so (of course) this is another amazing Amy Lane book. I just loved it. Amy is so good at giving us these bony limbed-kersplang-awkward characters that you can’t help but absolutely adore and then pairing them with a masterful, solid, yet somehow broken-needing-to-be-fixed character. Just when you think Dawson is the one who needs to grow up, you realize that, no, he is the rock in this relationship and poor Jared is the one who needs to be rescued.

Amy also excels at “friends” and Dawson’s friends (and family) are so wonderful and though they may try to steal the story, they only add to its richness and texture, by giving it greater depth.

The dialog in this book is funny, sweet, touching and wonderful, just like Jared and Dawson’s love for each other. I really enjoyed these guys and I hope we get to see them in future books, I didn’t want this one to end!

Audio

The narrator, Hugh Bradley, is new to me, but I will definitely look for him in the future. He did an amazing job, really brining the characters to life with his voices and inflection. He seemed to really “get” Dawson and Jared and their story. Sometimes a narrator can mess up a story for you, if you have already read it and already have a feel for the characters in your head. But Hugh seemed to be reading the same story as me, and I really enjoyed listening to his version. I highly recommend this audible as a companion to the book or all on its own.

5 out of 5 hearts

5

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