Author: Rick R. Reed
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Story Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 02/24/2016
Length: 07 hours 11 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction
Henry Appleby has an appetite for life. As a recent high school graduate and the son of a wealthy family in one of Chicago’s affluent North Shore suburbs, his life is laid out for him. Unfortunately, though, he’s being forced to follow in the footsteps of his successful attorney father instead of living his dream of being a chef. When an opportunity comes his way to work in a real kitchen the summer after graduation, at a little Italian joint called Fiorello’s, Henry jumps at the chance, putting his future in jeopardy.
Years ago, life was a plentiful buffet for Vito Carelli. But a tragic turn of events now keeps the young chef at Fiorello’s quiet and secretive, preferring to let his amazing Italian peasant cuisine do his talking. When the two cooks meet over an open flame, sparks fly. Both need a taste of something more—something real, something true—to separate the good from the bad and find the love—and the hope—that just might be their salvation.
I had to sit on this one for a day or so before I could get my thoughts wrapped around what I wanted to say. And still, I am not certain I can accurately explain my reaction to this story.
Henry and Vito were two vastly different men going through vastly different emotional trials in their lives, and yet, they were also very similar in that they were both grieving and forced to reevaluate their outlook on life.
Henry’s story started out as a slow and steady coming of age tale and gradually morphed into this emotional coming out and growing up story. Henry started out as this happy go lucky young man bucking the system and I connected with him instantly for that fact. But then, when he started to grow up and come out and the reactions were not positive, well that is when he grabbed my heart because this young man needed a family, need a home, and I hated his struggles to find that.
Vito on the other hand was an emotional mess from word one. His journey was one of grief and healing and little bit of growing up as well. From the very start, he grabbed my heart because I just KNEW I would not like what I learned about his grief. And he didn’t disappoint. His story was hard on me because Vito wormed his way under my skin right away and I hated seeing his pain.
I enjoyed the way this story was presented. It was about these men and their journeys. The attraction the felt was a minor blip in the grand scheme of things and really played well into the emotions. Thier sexual connection was only emphasized when these men needed that touch to get them through the hard times. Sex was their way of forming a connection in an otherwise bleak existence. My only niggle of concern was the rushed feel of the romantic element thrown in at the end. I didn’t understand why the lust turned to more and I honestly didn’t understand why it needed to be more than two men healing and growing together. I would almost have preferred things to have ended with them as friends and have a sequel later when both men were more stable and ready for their friendship to turn to more.
But that concern was very minor in the grand scheme of things. This story was an emotional one with characters who were men I could connect with and grow to love. Though I hated their pain, I enjoyed this story and will listen to it again in the future.
Joel Leslie did a fantastic job with this narration. His accents were wonderful and I think he brought out the best in all the characters. The emotions came through easily and I thoroughly enjoyed my listening experience.
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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