Author: John Inman
Narrator: Caleb Dickinson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 05/21/2015
Length: 07 hours 14 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, Humor/Comedy, M/M Romance
A Belladonna Arms Novel
Dumped by his lover, Harlie Rose ducks for cover in the Belladonna Arms, a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. What he doesn’t know is that the Belladonna Arms has a reputation for romance—and Harlie is about to become its next victim.
Finding a job at a deli up the street, Harlie meets Milan, a gorgeous but cranky baker. Unaware that Milan is suffering the effects of a broken heart just as Harlie is, the two men circle around each other, manning the barricades, both unwilling to open themselves up to love yet again.
But even the most stubborn heart can be conquered.
With his new friends to back him up—Sylvia, on the verge of her final surgery to become a woman, Arthur, the aging drag queen who is about to discover a romance of his own, and Stanley and Roger, the handsome young couple in 5C who lead by example, Harlie soon learns that at the Belladonna Arms, love is always just around the corner waiting to pounce. Whether you want it to or not.
But tragedy also drops in now and then.
I reviewed this in ebook form some time back. I will paste my original review below but I just wanted to add that I loved this story the first time and I loved it even more the second time around. Arthur is my favorite person in the world and he totally stole the show.
It’s official. I love the Belladonna Arms! Work in Progress was just as engaging and romantic as Serenading Stanley. I loved seeing all the characters from book 1 reappear so that I could see how they were doing after the initial romance wore off. It was wonderful to see that all but one pair were still in the honeymoon stage and loving every minute.
When Harlie Rose first appeared, I have to admit I did not like him and did not think he would be a good addition to the Belladonna Arms family. I mean so far every character has been extremely lovable and Harlie was a judgemental prick! He was so focused on outward appearance that he immediately started trying to change Arthur! And for those of you who read the first book, I hope you agree when I say, “Arthur is perfect just as he is and who are you, Mr. Rose, to come in and want to change him!” Sorry, I digress, but it goes to show how the author created amazing characters and I have formed quite an attachment to them.
So while I did not like Mr. Rose at first, as the story progressed and the author revealed more of the depth of Mr. Rose’s character. I changed my mind and had to remind myself not to judge a book by its cover. Which incidentally seemed to be the main theme of this story, outside of another round of sappy love stories that it. I really like that the message caught me by surprise and was not forced. It was ingrained in the plot and in the characters themselves. No need to preach when the author strategically blended it into the fabric of the tale.
And can I tell you how happy I am that Arthur found his man? And that his man loves him AS HE IS! I wish I were just as lucky as Arthur. I think he has become one of my all time favorite characters and I look forward to seeing more of him. Please?
I also loved that not everything was perfect. One couple from book one did not make it and things ended very tragically. But there is hope that maybe there will be a third Belladonna Arms story where the grieving character gets his happily ever after? Maybe? Please? Soon? Pretty Please?
If you can’t tell from that very scattered review, I loved this book. Along with Serenading Stanley, this one is going into my re-read pile for when I need a pick me up! In fact, you should pick this one up as well.
I was sooooooo excited when I saw this was on audio. I immediately requested this to review without even looking farther than the title. When i finally downloaded it, I noticed this was not narrated by Tyler Steven (who performed the first book) but instead was narrated by Caleb Dickinson. I was crushed as I was so looking forward to Tyler’s rendition of this story and I had never listened to anything narrated by Caleb. I was sure this was not going to be anywhere near as wonderful as the narration of book 1.
And part of me was right. This narration was no where near the same as the first one, but that does not mean the narration was not a good one. They were different but Caleb still brought forth this story in a way that showcased the characters and their emotions. Whether that is truly because of his narration or just because of the story itself, I don’t really care. I enjoyed listening to his reading of this story.
I am still sad that Tyler Stevens was not the narrator as he really performed the first story. But I tried not to let that affect my rating of this narrator. I just want to know why the publisher changed narrators!!
I would like to thank the publisher 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,
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