Atlanta Hearts 1 and 2 by Ken Murphy ~ Audiobook Review by Brandilyn

Atlanta-Hearts Title: Atlanta Hearts – Stubborn Heart and Sharing Heart

Author: Ken Murphy

Narrator: Gregory Salinas

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Story Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars

Blurb:

Stubborn Heart

Atlanta Hearts: Book One

After breaking up with his cheating boyfriend, Mark Smith keeps life simple: his nursing career and a place of his own, but no dating. He’s steering clear of romance and the heartbreak that goes with it. After losing both parents and having all his relationships fail, he figures happily ever after is a myth.

When Dr. Trevor Hayes crosses Mark’s path at the hospital, he falls hard for Mark. The attraction is clearly mutual, and Trevor is determined to parlay that attraction into a relationship. Mark is just as determined to avoid exactly that.

But Trevor chips away at Mark’s resistance, and facing hardship and sorrow together brings them closer. Still, Mark can’t shake his belief that their romance is temporary—until he’s unexpectedly faced with the danger that he might lose Trevor for good. Mark must choose between guarding his heart and giving it completely, the risk he swore never to take again.

Sharing Heart

Atlanta Hearts: Book Two

Between their love for each other and their medical careers taking off, everything should be perfect for Mark Smith and Trevor Hayes. After all, happily ever after begins with “I do.” At least that’s what Mark expected when he and Trevor married. But six months in Boston and the threat of a harsh winter have turned Mark bitter, and his fall on the ice only adds to that chill. Boston is very different from Mark’s native Atlanta, and he’s having a hard time adjusting.

As a junior partner in a very busy cardiothoracic surgery practice, Trevor has little choice but to spend almost every waking moment at the hospital. In spite of all the difficulties in their lives, both men want to start a family. The challenge will be figuring out how to make it happen.

Unfortunately, with Trevor’s long hours to blame for a nasty accident, Mark begins to resent the toll Trevor’s job and the New England cold is taking on them. Maybe it’s the Boston air, or maybe happily ever after is just a fairy tale.

My View – Story:

Luke warm. That is the phrase that comes to mind when I think back on the Atlanta Hearts titles from Ken Murphy. Obviously, they weren’t bad since I had to read the second one after listening to the audiobook of the first. I had to find out more about Mark and Trevor. I guess I kind of liked the guys.

Stubborn Heart

So I didn’t know what to expect going into this story. It looked interesting, but it was a new to me author. I like finding new authors, so I gave it a shot. There were parts of this book I liked and parts I did not.

First lets talk about the good. I liked these characters. They were suitably well-developed, likable, and easy to connect with. To the point that despite my overall lackluster impression, I wanted to know more about Trevor and Mark when I reached the end. Also, it was clear that the author did his homework on the background subject matter, or it could come from his life. Also, the author managed to avoid a trap into which I was sure he was going to fall. I am not going to specify what it is, spoilers and all, but I applaud him.

Now for the not as good. As with many early novels, there was a lot of telling and exposition instead of showing through action and dialogue. There were also times, especially in the first half of the story, that the pace was bogged down by too much detail on the hospital procedures. While it is clear the author knows his stuff, it did not serve to move the story forward. The author also fell into the head-hopping trap. I don’t know that he was trying to head hop or if he couldn’t keep a consistent POV, but I never knew whose head I was in and by the time I would figure it out, I would be in someone else’s head. The switches were neither logical or consistent.

Sharing Heart

(note: only Stubborn Heart was on audio.  Sharing Heart was read via eBook)

As I said before, despite the shortcomings, at the end of Stubborn Heart, I cared about the characters I wanted to know more. I immediately picked up the sequel Sharing Heart. Unfortunately after a couple chapters, the author had cured me of my desire to know more. I lost all connection I had with Trevor and Mark.

The story was predictable to the point I was actually talking to a friend and telling them what was going to come next. Sadly, I was right every time. There was no angst, and the story seemed to ramble. I was ready to say that everything could have been wrapped up nicely in a little novella.

Then at about the 75% mark, the author took a left turn and ripped out my freaking heart. Sadly, it went back to the predictable story shortly there after, but it was enough to bring up the rating a bit.

My View – Narration:

The narration felt very slow and stilted.  It also made the love scenes almost eye-rollingly bad.  I listen to a LOT of romance on audio and have therefore listened to a ton of love scenes, but this one just had me speechless.  I don’t know how much of the onus is on the narrator and how much is on the prose and dialogue throughout the scene.    Though the voice itself was easy enough to listen to, I will not be seeking out more of his narrations in the future.

Buy Links

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Audible

I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
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,

Brandilyn
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