Author: Tempeste O’Riley
Narrator: Jeff Gelder
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Story Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 07/27/2016
Length: 06 hours 35 minutes
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Romance
Simon Tyler knows his job as a gay romance author makes his lack of faith in love more than a little ironic, but he’s tired of being used for his wallet. When a night out turns into a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by his best friends—though he’s not the target—Simon’s not thrilled, but since he’s sworn off happily-ever-after anyway, he goes along with it… until he meets the object of their efforts, Adrian, and finds perhaps he hasn’t given up on love after all.
Professor Adrian Keys has tried to date hearing men before, but being deaf himself, he’s never had any success at making a connection. After his friends con him into going out and Adrian realizes it’s all an elaborate plan to set him up, he braces for yet another failure, only to discover there is a spark—except it’s not with the man his friends had in mind, but with Simon Tyler instead.
Not all their friends have found a way past their romantic failures, but Simon and Adrian might be on the path to happily-ever-after.
I had extremely high hopes for this book based upon the blurb and the gorgeous cover. I am drawn to stories featuring main characters with diverse physical capabilities, and when I saw this one, I was immediately intrigued and jumped at the opportunity to read and review it. Unfortunately, it failed to live up to my expectations.
Perhaps if I had read the previous installments in this series, I might have been more invested in the numerous characters that popped in and out of the story. These constantly interwoven personalities and names were confusing and distracting, pulling my attention away from the main characters and their relationship. A peripheral cast of just two or three characters who had relevance to the story would have been preferable to the continual names and people that kept surfacing throughout the book.
I did enjoy the growth of a relationship between Simon and Adrian, particularly Simon’s introduction to the world of those who are deaf. I felt I was getting an education right along with him, and the manner in which their romance developed was interesting and sweet, incorporating the needs of a main character who is deaf in an authentic and positive way. Although Simon came across as needy and clingy at times, I felt Adrian’s character was strong and engaging. He saved the story for me, keeping me interested in the romantic relationship that was developing and the story in general.
There was an external conflict that felt contrived and silly, especially when it would have been much more satisfying to have the conflict focus solely on the main characters’ internal issues and how they stood in the way of the budding romance. As it was, the history of the two characters felt skeletal and under-developed, and I never really got a clear picture of who they were in order to fully connect with them and the story. Additionally, Simon’s family felt more like caricatures, and their actions were rather cliché.
Overall, I think this story would perhaps be more appreciated by someone who had read the prior stories, was familiar with all the different characters who populated the pages, and had an investment or connection to the universe created by the author. Although I really liked the integration of a character who was deaf, the story itself lacked depth, and the writing was repetitive and a bit unseasoned. I would recommend it for someone who is already invested in the series or looking for a light, easy read without heavy emotion.
Although I enjoyed the way Jeff Gelder read some of the characters, there were other character voices that were almost embarrassing to listen to, especially Simon’s father. Mr. Gelder’s overall narration of the book was robotic, halting, and stilted. I was not impressed with this reading for its lack of phrasing and fluency, as well as an emotional commitment to the story.
This review is based on a copy purchased by the reviewer independent of any review copies offered.
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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