The Way Things Are by A.J. Thomas ~ Audiobook Review by Queue

WayThingsAreTheAUDLGTitle: The Way Things Are

Author: A.J. Thomas

Narrator: Ron Herczig

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Bree Archer

Story Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.75 of 5 Stars

Release Date: 06/18/2015

Length: 09 hours 25 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, M/M Romance, Mystery


A night of drunken confusion at nineteen resulted in Patrick Connelly fathering a child. Determined to be there for his son, Patrick walked away from a sport he loved and forever hid his sexuality. After Patrick’s brutal divorce and a vicious hate crime, his son, Jay, has become obsessed with graffiti. Hoping for a fresh start, Patrick moves Jay to his childhood home in Seattle. Within two weeks, Jay is arrested again. On his way to pick Jay up, Patrick stops an assault, then finds himself in handcuffs too. Thinking things can’t get any worse, he’s confronted by the sexiest man he’s ever seen—his son’s new probation officer, Ken Atkins.

The hardest part of Ken’s job is working with difficult parents, and the undeniably handsome Patrick Connelly is going to be a difficult parent. A chance encounter and steamy hookup with Patrick leave Ken blindsided. As they work together to try to keep Jay on the right path, the passion between them proves impossible to resist. When the assault Patrick prevented comes back to haunt them and Jay gets into trouble again, Ken must convince Patrick that ensuring his son’s happiness doesn’t have to mean sacrificing his own.

Story Review:

The Way Things Are grabbed me from the very minute I started listening and didn’t let me go until the harrowing, action-filled ending. A combination of the perfect narrator and a talented author made for a truly enjoyable story.

This is a romantic suspense and A.J. Thomas did a superb job balancing both aspects of the story. Both parts were equally engaging as well as fresh and original.

Patrick Connelly is a single father dealing with Jay, his troubled teen son and Ken Atkins is Jay’s probation officer. Both men are gay and find an immediate attraction, which could be trouble consider their professional relationship. It doesn’t stop them from having a sexy hook-up at a bar Patrick works on his days off from working cranes at Port of Seattle.

The mystery that Patrick finds himself entangled in isn’t one I’ve seen often and I enjoyed the revelations along the way. Even the identity of the bad guy surprised me and I’m usually able to figures things out ahead of time.

Patrick’s job operating cranes added a freshness to the novel as well as contributed to one of the absolute hottest sex scenes I’ve ever read. It took place on the crane and was marvelously, incredibly scorching. I wished Ken had taken Pat up on the offer to be fucked against the safety glass because that would’ve been even hotter.

I loved how the conflict between the two was mainly external, despite Patrick never having had a real relationship with a man. They both wanted to be together but Ken’s job and the mystery Patrick finds himself in created problems. There was such amazing juxtaposition between the romance and the mystery here and I commend the author for doing it perfectly. Just as the men were taking a step forward and Patrick invites Ken to stay at his place, Patrick’s apartment is broken into and he’s concerned for his son’s safety.

That’s another amazing part of the novel—Jay and his relationship to the main characters. Yes, Jay is constantly getting in trouble, but he’s not a malicious kid or not stereotypical at all. He has a sassiness with his father that’s not negative, it’s how they interact. He’s a teen dealing with shit from his past the only way he knows how.

Jay and Patrick have a loving father-son relationship that seemed truly realistic. Patrick knows what Jay is dealing with and is doing his best to help him and steer him the right way, even knowing Jay will get in trouble again. There’s no yelling or screaming or useless threats. This is the way all fathers and sons should get along.

Ken and Jay’s relationship was just as sweet. First as his probation officer then as his friend and father’s boyfriend, Ken was always calm and easy going, helping Jay to open up when needed.

And Patrick and Ken’s relationship? Perfectly portrayed as well. Like I said before, the sex between them is hot, but we see them bond in other ways as well. Their mutual relationships with Jay is one aspect, but there’s more as well. The story follows a rather short timeline but by the time Patrick and Ken say ‘I love you’ to each other there’s no doubt they mean it. This is not an insta-love story here, despite them only being together a short time.

To recap; great sex, fresh and realistic characters, unique mystery and hotter sex. The best combinations I can think of.

Narration Review:

Ron Herczig did an amazing job with the narration. His deep voice grabbed my attention from the get go. Even though the differences between Patrick and Ken’s voice was only slightly different it was enough. I never once questioned whose head we were in when the Point of View switched.

Absolutely perfect. He is now one of my favorite narrators.


The Way Things Are on Goodreads
Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
All Romance eBooks

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,

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