This review was originally written for Prism Book Alliance.
Story Rating: 3.5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.0 Stars
Overall Rating: 3.75 Stars
When Sam Embry loses his job and his wife, he has no one to turn to except for his brother, Neil, who takes him in and helps him land a job as the accountant at the Australian sheep station, Lang Downs. Jeremy Taylor also needs to rebuild and relocate after taking all he can stand from his bigoted brother. These two newcomers form a quick friendship they both need while struggling with a mutual attraction neither is ready to act upon. They both need to overcome their personal obstacles in order to focus on a future together.
I enjoyed this sweet story, the third in the Lang Downs series. Not having read the previous two titles, I was a bit concerned that I might have difficulty following at this point. I did struggle at the very beginning with some of the character names, but I quickly caught on. The author does a good job of providing just enough backstory to fill in necessary plot and character information, and I felt this allowed Outlast the Night to function well as a standalone. Always a fan of settings in Australia, I found the Lang Downs station and its jackaroos charming and likable. It was a bit like spending a week on vacation, getting to observe a small slice of life in a faraway land.
The main characters of Jeremy and Sam were compassionate, genuine, and tender. I truly cared about these two and wanted them to connect and build a relationship. I only wish I could have seen more of their backgrounds. It would have been easier to understand Sam’s confidence and self-doubt issues if the author had perhaps provided a bit more insight into his relationship with his ex-wife. Flashbacks or more expansion on his history with her could have added more dimension to his character, adding in an extra layer sympathy for him and his struggle to overcome his insecurities. Sam and Jeremy are sweet with one another, but the chemistry is lacking a bit. Though there is a mutual attraction, there is very little “action,” and it would have been more enticing to see the tension kicked up a notch or two to make up for the lack of physical contact. I also felt that there was never any major conflict for these two to overcome, just some small bumps in the road that were resolved with little struggle. I appreciate the low angst approach, but I think there might have been a bit too much side story that took attention away from further development of Sam and Jeremy’s plot line.
That being said, I did enjoy Outlast the Night and am so intrigued by the original characters and the setting that I plan to go back and read the first two books. The author has created a lovely universe with interesting people, and I would truly enjoy a return trip to Lang Downs to get acquainted with the other characters and immerse myself in their stories.
Narrator William James does a good job of bringing the characters of this story to life and is skilled at alternating American and Australian accents. His voice is pleasant and well modulated and inflected, and I would definitely pick up his narrated works in the future.
This review was originally written for Prism Book Alliance.
Rounded up from 4.5 Stars
Trip loves his art, but he is stuck in a rut of drawing for a rather boring comic book series and pining after his boss. When he runs into Silas Goolsby at an OutRun event, the attraction is instantaneous. Silas, a special effects make up artist, has spent years living off of one-night stands and hook-ups. As the two begin to forge a stronger relationship, risks are taken on both personal and professional levels that threaten to tear them apart, and if Trip can’t take the jump into real life and learn to trust, he may find that his happy ending will be attainable.
Bad Idea is sexy, smart, hip, and downright fun! I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the characters and was pleasantly surprised by how much I learned about a wide variety of topics, especially special effects make up and comic books. The dialogue is often edgy, funny, and blunt. Fascinating secondary characters frequently offer witticisms and pragmatic advice that sometimes runs a bit long but offers much-needed perspective for the main characters when things get dicey. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions at the author’s use of snark and hilarious descriptions that brightened the story and brought the characters vividly to life. Interestingly, I was also captivated by his beautiful prose that rang with lovely metaphors and imagery. The balance is an intoxicating blend that had me frequently hitting the rewind button and hoping that certain secondary personalities (Curt and Ziggy?) will have their own story in the near future.
Trip and Silas, though they have faults, are extremely likeable and appealing, and their chemistry is scorching. The sex scenes drip with delicious passion as both men discover and reveal intimate facets that bring an authenticity and rawness to the encounters. As they learn more about each other and themselves outside of their sexual relationship, readers are treated to further insight and character depth, and I appreciated the way the characters’ life views and philosophies are presented layer by layer. It was intriguing to get a glimpse of the talents and passion these two men possess for their art, as well, as the author weaves interesting facts and details about both crafts into the story.
Bad Idea is an entertaining, intriguing, and engaging story. It is a unique read where pop culture meets Southern comfort, and quirkiness is commonplace and endearing. I am hoping for more in this series, as I would love to see the MCs build upon their HFN and several lively peripheral characters come back for repeat performances.
Charlie David is a talented narrator who breathes life and energy into the written word through inflections, accents, and just the right amount of theatrical flair. Though there are occasional mispronunciations of words that can be a bit distracting, his passionate reading of the story helps to smooth them over. His tone is deep, intoxicating, and pleasing to the ear, and when he reads as Silas with a Southern drawl, his voice is like butter melting on a biscuit. Yum!
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