An angst filled story of two damaged young men struggling to find love and security …
Author: Jamie Samms
Narrator: Randy Fuller
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
My Rating: 3.75 of 5 stars Overall
Story Rating: 4.25 of 5 stars
Narration Rating: 3 of 5 stars
From the Publisher:
After filing charges that put his abusive ex-Dom behind bars, Jesse Turbul relocates halfway across the country, hoping to escape his past—but, of course, it’s never that easy. When Jesse meets third-year law student Aadon at the library where he works, their mutual attraction is instant and obvious.
Despite the sparks, they just can’t seem to make it work. Aadon is mired in guilt over his inability to help his older brother, damaged by events far too similar to Jesse’s past. Jesse is stuck in his own desperate wish to forget the painful shadow that continues to threaten him and any hope of a happy future.
The only way to move forward is for Jesse to acknowledge he’s broken and for Aadon to accept he can’t make him better.
Jesse is a fragile young man, who is desperately trying to put behind him the trauma of being abused by his ex-Dom. He has moved to a new town far from home, and he works a quiet library job. He attracts the attention of law student Aaron, who is drawn to beautiful Jesse. Aaron is surprised to discover that Jesse bears the scars of cutting his own body due to the emotional stress and trauma he endured. While he immediately wants to nurture and shelter Jesse, Aaron is also struggling with the guilt he carries over his brother’s psychological breakdown due to abuse his brother experienced. Jesse and Aaron’s fledgling relationship struggles as Jesse must deal with his abuser’s latest legal challenge, and Aaron must accept that he can’t simply make either his brother, Ricky, or Jesse “better”.
Better isn’t a light read. The details of abuse, as well as its emotional toll are sad and at times uncomfortable to read. I think that Jesse’s character is very well done – he is simultaneously fragile and courageous. Aaron’s character is actually more complicated. He carries tremendous guilt over his brother’s abuse and mental breakdown, and he goes to great lengths to participate in his brother’s care in the absence of his parents’ involvement. Aaron is a true nurturer, and he immediately identifies Jesse as fearful and damaged, and he wants to take care of vulnerable Jesse and make him better. However, his hovering over Jesse got on my nerves almost as much as did Jesse’s mother’s constant phone calls. Also, while Jesse and Aaron do not have a true BDSM relationship, their relationship is, at times, suggestive of one with Jesse being emotionally submissive to Aaron.
Jamie Samms’ Better is certainly an emotionally provoking story, and is a good hurt/comfort story with a satisfying resolution to the story line involving Jesse’s abuser’s legal challenge. Also, I found the evolution of Jesse and Aaron’s relationship to one in which Jesse feels safe to sometimes feel afraid, and Aaron understands that loving someone does not always mean that he can protect or fix their every hurt, to be rewarding. I recommend reading Better, and I would like to see Samms pen a sequel in which Aaron’s brother, Ricky, finds solid emotional footing and gets his own happy ending.
All narrators are not ideally suited to narrate every story. While Randy Fuller does not do a “bad” job of narrating Better (and he does seem to improve as he progresses through the story), I do not feel he is the best choice to narrate Better. His narration style is reminiscent of a dramatic voice over, and at times his rendition sounds a bit like he is reading a child’s story with exaggerated voice inflections. I think that quiet and often fearful Jesse would be a character ideally suited for a narrator who utilizes a more demure narration style. Unfortunately, rather than contributing to the story, I found the narration of Better to be somewhat distracting from the story itself.
I would like to thank Dreamspinner Press for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
|This post may contain affiliate links.
|Prism Book Alliance® assumes no liability for the ownership of photos or content used in guest posts and interviews. The post author assumes all responsibility and liability for this content.|