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Evie22

San Antonio, TX
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  • 1
  • helpful vote
  • 4
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  • Learning to Love

  • By: Felice Stevens
  • Narrated by: Derrick McClain
  • Length: 5 hrs and 51 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars 52
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars 50
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars 50

After 10 years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn't turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn't count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he's buried deep for years.

  • 1 out of 5 stars
  • Not worth it, even as part of the Romance Package

  • By Evie22 on 01-29-18

Not worth it, even as part of the Romance Package

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-29-18

I heard recently that Derrick McClain would be narrating one of Rhys Ford's upcoming books, so I searched him out specifically to get a feel for his style. (I'm a huge fan of Greg Tremblay/Boudreaux and love it when he & Rhys collaborate, but I can understand why it's unrealistic & not preferable to have him ALWAYS perform her books) When I saw 'Learning to Love' as part of the Romance Package, I figured it was a good opportunity to check Derrick out. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Granted, I didn't finish the book, but for good reason. The story & the characters were just ridiculous and the narration was annoying.

Gideon has come back home after 10 years to prove his worth and that he has made something of himself. One of the very first things he does is to throw a temper tantrum and yell childishly at an elderly woman at the synagogue. It's later revealed that he has a learning disability (if this wasn't already ascertained from the backwards 'R' in the title), but his 'coping mechanism' seems to be lashing out at people and storming off like a child. Way to show everyone how much you've grown up.

In comparison, Jonah seemed a likable enough character. He was certainly more level-headed and behaved somewhat like an actual adult, but some of his actions (specifically his interactions with Gideon) were still extremely unrealistic. I can appreciate someone being a bit forward and going for what they want as much as the next person, but I found it rather upsetting that after having not seen each other in 10 years and having no past intimate relationship with each other, Jonah (who is a rabbi, btw!) would just show up banging on Gideon's door at 7am and, with no declarations of feelings or anything, just unzip & whip it out. Really?!?

I was SO over this story after only the first few of chapters, but kept listening just to get a feel for Derrick's narration. I don't know if it was because he also felt the juvenile nature of Gideon in general, but the narration quickly grated on my nerves. Every sentence ended with an upswing or dramatic push of air that just made everything sound sarcastic or pouty. It made me think of having a conversation with a teenager going through that 'know-it-all' stage of constant eye-rolling and "duh!" attitude. Try as I might, after just another chapter or two, I couldn't handle it anymore. With neither story nor narration to make it worth my time, I had to throw in the towel.

Always one to give someone at least a second chance, I've moved on to another book narrated by Derrick. Only 2 chapters into A Case for Christmas by Josh Lanyon (also part of the Romance Package and an author I already have an established history of enjoying) and the narration is MUCH better. This gives me hope for Rhys' upcoming release. I will give Felice Stevens another shot, as well, but I sincerely hope the characters and story of her next book that I read (listen to) have more depth. When it comes to M/M romance, I expect men, not petulant teenagers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • When All the World Sleeps

  • By: Lisa Henry, J.A. Rock
  • Narrated by: Greg Tremblay
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 285
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 271

Daniel Whitlock is terrified of going to sleep. And rightly so; he sleepwalks, with no awareness or memory of his actions. Including burning down Kenny Cooper's house - with Kenny inside it - after Kenny brutally beat him for being gay. Back in the tiny town of Logan after serving his prison sentence, Daniel isolates himself in a cabin in the woods and chains himself to his bed at night.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Brilliantly narrated

  • By Belen on 01-20-17

Worth a repeat listen...Again and again and again!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-17

Would you listen to When All the World Sleeps again? Why?

I would and I have! I think I listened to it 4 or 5 times within the first month after getting it. The writing is great, the characters well developed and the humor had me hooked! I found myself thinking the things I would say in response just a fraction of a second before the characters (primarily Bel) said the same. I really felt this story come to life around me and have it enjoyed it each time just as much as the first.

What was one of the most memorable moments of When All the World Sleeps?

There are really too many to count, but I do love the night they meet in the orchard. Bel seems to relax into the 'role' he has chosen and they were both able to enjoy a new level of comfort with each other. A first time of sorts. (I'm tempted to go on, but don't want to give anything away)

What about Greg Tremblay’s performance did you like?

Everything! His distinction of character nuance is simply amazing. This is the book that started my love affair with his voice. I have since purchased 16 other books narrated by him (specifically BECAUSE they were narrated by him) and time after time I am amazed at how distinct his characters are! Not only are the voices discernibly different, but you can hear the personality differences, as well. He makes it so incredibly easy to visualize the characters he voices, allowing one to see their actions in his inflections. And his storytelling is superb. He has no problem keeping me enthralled between character interactions and I never feel like I'm just being read to.

Who was the most memorable character of When All the World Sleeps and why?

For me, it was most definitely Joe Belman. Bel is a good man and a good cop, ready and willing to protect the citizens of his small hometown. He has an amazing heart and isn't so set in his ways & what he 'knows' to be right that he isn't willing to reconsider and change what he believes to be true when he is shown the contrary. And I found myself repeatedly chuckling out loud with his humor and occasional sarcasm! I need an Officer Joe Belman in my life, lol.

Any additional comments?

I really don't know what more I can say....I love these characters and their story. Greg Tremblay did a phenomenal job bringing them to life. Like an old friend retelling me their favorite tales, I know will come back to this one again and again.

  • Hot Head

  • By: Damon Suede
  • Narrated by: Charlie David
  • Length: 10 hrs and 34 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,028
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 974
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 975

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish. Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Damon Suede is a hit!

  • By Miss ReadsALot on 10-25-12

Buyer beware... listen to the sample first.

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 04-25-17

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Unfortunately, no. I barely even got past the 1st chapter before going back to another book already listened to from my library. I'm giving the story a 3 because it very well could be a decent one, but I'll never know because I just can't get past the monotone, lacklustre narration. Within the first 10 minutes or so, there's a conversation between the main character, described as a 6'5" muscle bound firefighter, and a beautiful Indian woman and there was absolutely no discernable difference whatsoever in their voices. Voices aside, the story itself was also read in such a flat tone, completely void of inflection, that I found my mind wandering repeatedly. And yet, I had absolutely no interest in rewinding to see what I may've missed. Perhaps I've been spoiled by the talents of my favorite narrator, Greg Tremblay, but even at a 50% off sale price, I'm extremely disappointed that I spent real money on this audio book. Lesson learned....I will never again buy an audiobook based solely on other's reviews. I will always check out the sample first.

If you’ve listened to books by Damon Suede before, how does this one compare?

I haven't read/listened to any other Damon Suede books, but I would be willing to give another a shot with a different narrator.

What didn’t you like about Charlie David’s performance?

There was little to no difference between character voices (with the exception of one with a Russian accent) and there was no inflection or 'life' given to the story. BORING. I have other books in my wishlist with the same narrator that I will review the samples of first (who knows.... maybe his heart just really wasn't in this one or maybe it's an early career performance & he's more skilled now), but will most likely just be removing.

Could you see Hot Head being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I couldn't get far enough to even get to know the characters, so I honestly have no idea.

Any additional comments?

Seriously... go check out some stuff by Greg Tremblay. You won't be sorry. I can't promise the same for this performance.