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Steven

Ankeny, IA, United States
  • 36
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  • 27
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  • 104
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  • The Imperfection of Swans

  • By: Brandon Witt
  • Narrated by: Kirt Graves
  • Length: 10 hrs and 16 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 140
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 133

Kevin Bivanti's dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At 38, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • A meaningful book

  • By Steven on 05-15-17

A meaningful book

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

Reviewed: 05-15-17

This was a wonderful gay romance that ventured beyond the stereotypical story where two hunky guys meet and fall in love where everything is usually too perfect and not like real life. Kevin, our main character although he is handsome and seems to be perfect on the outside has some serious issues he is dealing with. Kevin is the product of an unusual family having two moms who are lesbians and a gay uncle Tony. Kevin has just gone through a divorce having been married to Scott, who looks like he just stepped off the cover of a men's fashion magazine. Living in Boston's ritzy Beacon Hill Kevin has lived a life of privilege with all of its trappings. His dream is to open a wedding dress boutique and get out of working for an insurance company spending his days in a cubicle. Kevin is on the verge of making his dream come true when he runs short of some money to get his new business up and running. Enter Casper, a baker who would like to open a wedding cake business but who is not quite as handsome and all together as Kevin but he's got the funding that would help Kevin to get his business off the ground. Although there is a spark of interest between these two they decide to keep it professional with the purchase of a brownstone in a fashionable section of Boston with the intention of turning it into their wedding dress/cake boutique.
Kevin is very serious about his appearance and when he starts to lose weight Casper becomes concerned that there is something seriously wrong with Kevin. The book deals with the very serious issues of anxiety and eating disorders. Kevin is bulimic and must deal with this issue if his business and relationship with Casper is ever going to amount to anything. Casper is very supportive of Kevin and finds himself falling in love with him. While Kevin is very self-critical the reader gets to see him through the eyes of Casper who thinks Kevin is perfect. The difficult nature of treating an eating disorder such as bulimia is made real through the eyes of Casper who has trouble understanding why Kevin feels like he is fat and unattractive. The book deals with this topic very effectively while at the same time developing a serious love story between the two main characters. The secondary characters are also well written and important to the overall story. The Audible version of this book is narrated by Kirt Graves who does an excellent job with all of the characters. Kirt has the gift of making the narration seamless with the rest of the book to the point where the reader forgets it is being narrated. The different voices he uses go well with each character even the females. Overall I rated this book 5 out of five stars for both the story and the narration and highly recommend it to those who are interested in M/M romance books.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Bear, Otter, and the Kid

  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Sean Crisden
  • Length: 12 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 761
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 721
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 724

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living. With a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that - until Otter comes home. Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Loved it! This was a re-read for me.

  • By Heather on 07-19-14

Great

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

Reviewed: 04-12-17

This was a rather unconventional M/M love story involving 3 MCs; Derek, who is straight (except for when it comes to Oliver) and Oliver, the older brother of Derek’s best friend. Oliver is gay and has always secretly been in love with Derek but never acted upon it since Derek is straight. Then we have Derek's younger brother, Tyson who is referred to as "The Kid" throughout the book. Tyson is extremely bright for a nine-year-old and it would seem that he is quite adept at taking care of his older brother Derek when the need arises. When Derek was 17 years old his mother abandoned him leaving him with the duty of raising the younger Tyson who is 6 years old at the time.

The book opens three years later with a 20-year-old Derek having adjusted very well to the role of brother/father to now 9-year-old Tyson. At this time Oliver who had moved away for three years decides to return to Seafair, Oregon where our story takes place. Derek, who always had "feelings" for Oliver realizes that he loves him as they are reunited. Derek has to work through his “straight to gay” feelings, oddly enough with the help of his younger brother, Tyson. This situation lends itself to a lot of drama and humor throughout the book as Derek and Oliver both finally begin to put a label on the relationship they have. I'm not usually very fond of children when reading M/M fiction but in this case Tyson was an exception for me as I thoroughly enjoyed his part in the book. His role was usually to contribute what the reader is thinking and would like to interject into the book. Just when it seems like the two young men are making progress expressing their feelings toward each other Derek's homophobic mother suddenly returns and threatens to put an end to the relationship. How can our two young lovers overcome this obstacle that now rests between them? Will Derek be able to keep both Oliver and Tyson in his life?

This is book one of a three-part series. It can be read as a standalone book also but if you're like me you will want to get the second book and probably the third because it is a joy to read. All the main characters and secondary characters are very well written and will capture your heart. I also listened to the audio version of this book and the narration was done by Sean Crisden. Sean is one of those narrators who does a great job with different voices and makes the reader forget that it is all being narrated by one person. On a scale of 1 to 5 I rated this book a solid 5 for both the story and narration and would highly recommend it to fans of M/M fiction.

  • Into This River I Drown

  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Matt Baca
  • Length: 18 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 336
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 325
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 327

Five years ago, Benji Green lost his beloved father Big Eddie when his truck crashed into a river. Everyone called it an accident, but Benji knows it was more. Even years later, he's buried in his grief, throwing himself into managing Big Eddie's convenience store in the small-town of Roseland, Oregon. Surrounded by his mother and three aunts, he lives day to day, struggling to keep his head above water. But Roseland is no ordinary place.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Well written, heartbreakingly earnest narration!

  • By Steven on 08-29-14

Very good yet a little disappointing

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

Reviewed: 03-08-17

Having read several other of TJ Klune's books, at first I thought this one was going to be my favorite the way it started out but somewhere along the line it took a turn towards more of a thriller rather than a love story and it lost me a little bit. We start out by being introduced to the main character, Benji, a 21-year-old young man who is suffering from depression as the result of losing his dad five years earlier in a tragic accident. Benji's dad, Big Eddie, ends up being a character in the book as Benji talks to him in his head. Their father–son relationship was amazingly close and loving to the point where Benji idolized his dad and still hasn't recovered from losing him. Benji gets to the point where he is contemplating suicide then he cries out for help which he receives in the form of an angel, Cal. Cal turns out to be Bengi's Guardian angel who has watched him since he was born and has a peculiar love for the young man. We later found out that Cal is breaking angelic law by coming to earth to be with Benji. What follows is an endearing love story as these two characters' love for each other grows to the point where neither one feels he can exist without the other. They are also both very protective of each other as a mystery develops putting them both in harms way. About halfway through the book the focus moves away from the love story and centers more on the thriller/mystery which is very good and well written however I would've liked the "love" story to have developed further.

One of the main topics of the book is faith in God and others in general. Benji isn't a particularly religious young man however he has been raised very well by his parents to respect others and to be a caring and loving person. Cal is actually the guardian angel for the whole little town where this takes place but he has a special love for Benji which causes him to "fall" from grace in the eyes of his father, God. At some point Cal must decide if he is going to return to heaven or stay on earth with Benji which will cause him to die. Benji on the other hand must decide how much he loves Cal and whether he is willing to sacrifice him by sending him back to heaven so that he won't die. Rather than this being the main focus of the book however the mystery part of it takes over and the love story becomes secondary with the two main characters fighting for their lives throughout a good portion of the book. There are lots of twists and turns while this happens but I kept rooting for Benji and Cal to get together and work on their relationship. I am hoping one day there will be a sequel to this that focuses just on the relationship between Benji and Cal.

This was the audio version of the book narrated by Matt Baca. Matt does an excellent job with all the voices and emotions for each character. We hear a lot of Benji's thoughts which they used an echo effect for which was pretty successful as far as I'm concerned. My favorite voice was the one used for Cal which was a deep pleasant sounding voice of someone who you would like to meet. This same voice was also used for Benji's dad, Big Eddie, who was an amazing man and wonderful father. He used a younger sounding voice for Benji which was appropriate and the voices used for the females such as Benji's mom were also well done. I gave the story four stars out of five because although it didn't take the path I wanted it to take it was still very well written. Five stars for the narration.

  • The Lightning-Struck Heart

  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Michael Lesley
  • Length: 19 hrs and 49 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,652
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars 1,571
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,564

Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident. Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king's wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Absolutely brilliant

  • By Rain on 12-23-15

A wild ride!

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

Reviewed: 03-05-17

This unsuspecting gay, romantic comedy took me by surprise. After I started the book I was a little concerned that it sounded a little far out to take seriously. I'm glad that I stuck with it however, because once I got used to the idea and premise of the book it was difficult to put down. We start out being introduced to the main character Sam of Wilds, A 20-year-old wizard apprentice; and his two companions, Gary, a gay, hornless unicorn and Tiggy, a half giant who's a little slow on the uptake. Sam falls for Ryan, who is a knight-commander betrothed to the reprehensible Prince Justin completing a love triangle. Discovered to be a powerful wizard at an early age Sam is brought out of the slums of the city of Locke into the kingdom to be the king's personal wizard apprenticed under Morgan of Shadows. Sam has been in love with Ryan since he was 15 years old and first saw the handsome knight. Out of devotion to his mother Ryan has taken an oath to marry prince Justin, however once he meets Sam he secretly harbors a love for the young wizard. The story is centered around the love these two have for each other and how they will overcome the obstacles that stand between them. It makes for a madcap comedy full of memorable characters such as Kevin, the terrifying yet lovable dragon. The book is very well written and full of comic witty dialogue. As outlandish as these characters are you'll find yourself drawn into their world as you leave reality behind and escape into this colorful world Klune has created. As an audible book the narrator, Michael Lesley does an excellent job capturing the voices and mood of each character which helps you to picture them in your mind. I especially liked his voice for the main character, Sam and Gary, the unicorn. It's very easy to tell who is talking and forget that the book is being narrated. I gave it five stars for the story and narration which were both excellent. I am in hopes that there will be a sequel to this book since the writer did such an excellent job of creating both the world and characters that populated it.

  • Murmuration

  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Kirt Graves
  • Length: 12 hrs and 11 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 254
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 243
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 244

In the small mountain town of Amorea, it's stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • A well-realised fantasy and love story

  • By The Lovely Rod on 02-19-17

I love this book!

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

Reviewed: 03-05-17

Let me say that I loved this book and the main characters and found it to be a fascinating read. It's hard to say much about this without spoilers. It starts out with a man walking along the road who has apparently lost his memory and is trying to figure out who he is and where he comes from. He then comes to a small town called Amorea and after he enters the town he begins to remember who he is and everything else about his life. It turns out that his name is Mike and he owns a bookstore in the town where everyone knows everyone else and he's in love with a man who is 13 years younger than him named Sean. Mike is also a big man where as Sean is more moderate sized if anything on the small skinny side. Although they seem to be an unlikely pair the chemistry between them is endearing. They are both so in love with each other and protective of each other that the rest of the town knows about them, approving of their relationship. Mike however, seems to see and hear things that aren't there creating a mystery to be solved. Along with this Mike also realizes that the town is unusual because it lacks certain things like cars and children. To say much more would be to give away the mystery wrapped up in the book. Most of the book consists of Mike trying to figure out this mystery of the town and what is real and not real. The book touches on psychological themes such as schizophrenia and delusions. At the heart of it however the book is a love story between the two main characters and how they will overcome the obstacles that threaten to come between them. I read the audio version of this book with Kirt Graves as the narrator and he does an excellent job with all the voices. I've listened to other books that he has narrated and at first he comes off as a little dry but once you get used to his style he is great. This book gets five stars from me for both the story and the narration. It has a very unique premise and I would recommend it to anyone who is into MM romance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Matter of Time: Vol. 1

  • By: Mary Calmes
  • Narrated by: Paul Morey
  • Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 651
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 614
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 617

Jory Keyes leads a normal life as an architect’s assistant until he is witness to a brutal murder. Though initially saved by police Detective Sam Kage, Jory refuses protective custody - he has a life he loves that he won’t give up no matter who is after him. But Jory’s life is in real jeopardy, especially after he agrees to testify about what he saw. While dealing with attempts on his life, well-meaning friends who want to see him happy, an overly protective boss, and a slowly unfolding mystery that is much more sinister than he could ever imagine, the young gay man finds himself getting involved with Sam, the conflicted and closeted detective....

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Time is the answer...

  • By Donald on 03-28-13

Overall good with some mixed feelings

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

Reviewed: 02-10-17

Jory Keyes is a young gay play boy type who likes to go clubbing and entertains one night stands. After witnessing a murder however, his life is changed forever. Suddenly there are people out to get him and he finds himself under the protection of detective Sam Kage, an older man who is straight. Sam's opinion of Jory's lifestyle is not very high but throughout the course of the book he finds himself being more and more protective and worse yet attracted to the younger man. Jory has a problem with being protected and brakes protocol more than once going out into a dangerous situation when he should not causing Sam to step in and get him out of danger. Sam is a big, rugged hunk of a guy and Jory also finds himself being attracted to him. The character of Jory is a little shallow but develops further in other books of the series. Sam however is a pretty solid character who wrestles with the fact that he is attracted to this younger man. The book is pretty much about this chemistry as it develops between the two. My only problem with the book is that both characters are perfect tens in appearance and not very realistic. Every woman wants them and every man wants them also. They each apparently have relationship problems that they've dealt with but as they're described in reality they could probably have anyone they want. Overall the book was very good and entertaining with lots of drama and humor added in. Plenty of hot sex scenes between the two main characters to help you with your fantasies. The book is part of a series however and I'll give you fair warning that it ends in a cliffhanger. I gave it it four stars out of five.

  • Smoke & Mirrors

  • THIRDS, Book 7
  • By: Charlie Cochet
  • Narrated by: Mark Westfield
  • Length: 10 hrs and 42 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 347
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 328

Life for Dexter J. Daley has never been easy, but he's always found a way to pick himself back up with a smile on his face. Taken from his home and the arms of Sloane Brodie, his boyfriend and THIRDS partner, Dex finds himself in a situation as mysterious and lethal as the Therian interrogating him. Dex learns what he's secretly believed all along: his parents' death wasn't an accident.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • i love this series

  • By Amazon Customer on 10-08-16

Best one of the series!

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

Reviewed: 01-10-17

This was definitely the best book of the series. Even though the characters of Sloane and Dex are firmly established up to this point through the other books, Charlie manages to take them even deeper yet. The book starts out where the previous one left off with Dex being kidnapped right out of Sloane's arms while they are sleeping. The kidnapper turns out to be a new character to the series called Wolf. He is a Therian, supposedly the best of the best when it comes to agents and spies. Wolf questions and tortures Dex trying to find out information about Dex's mother and a file that she had which is a list of Therian and human couples where the Therian has marked their human lover. Throughout the book everyone is trying to get a hold of this file for various reasons. In the previous book Dex is having trouble with his health and some mysterious seizures. The seizures continue in this book and are apparently "changing" Dex in strange ways. Even though he is feeling terrible throughout much of the book Dex continues to be strong and determined to protect those he loves. The characters of Tony, Sparks, Sloane and Ash are all taken to a deeper level throughout this book. The book does an excellent job of drawing emotions out of the reader, one minute you're ready to cry and the next you're laughing. Throughout this process there are some incredible twists that happened in the book. It was definitely one that was hard to put down because you would get so drawn into the story. We also learned a lot about Dex's parents as he works through his feelings of being abandoned by them. To say much more would be giving away too much of the plot however I will mention that the book does sort of ended up setting the stage for the next book which will be about Sebastian and Hudson. I rated this book a solid five stars for everything including the narration which was excellent. The hard part is now the waiting until the next book in this series comes out!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Wolfsong

  • By: TJ Klune
  • Narrated by: Kirt Graves
  • Length: 18 hrs and 40 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 1,035
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 983
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 987

Ox was 23 when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his blood red eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces. It's been three years since that fateful day and the boy is back. Except now he's a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirt Graves is superb!

  • By Belen on 10-07-16

One of the best books I've read this year!

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

Reviewed: 12-24-16

This is by far one of the best books I've read this year (and I've read a lot). For those of you who weren't aware of it there are a lot of gay or MM Romance novels that have werewolves as main characters. This one starts out by introducing us to 16-year-old Ox (short for Oxnard) and 10-year-old Joe. Ox is a human and Joe is a werewolf. Ox is just finding out that werewolves really exist and his neighbors happen to be some. Ox lives in a small town in South Carolina with his mother and their neighbors, the Bennetts who are wonderful people who turn out to be a clan of werewolves. The book starts out with the young werewolf, Joe giving Ox a small stone statuette of a wolf. At the time Ox has no idea what this means but as time passes we find out that Joe is destined to become the alpha leader of the werewolf clan and he is choosing Ox to be his future mate. At the time Ox isn't even aware that he is gay. The author does an excellent job of building this alternate reality where werewolves exist. The book is very long, I listened to the audio version which is 18 hours long and the narrator did an excellent job matching the correct voice with the proper age of the character making them sound younger or older according to what they are. Ox merely thinks of Joe as a friend until years later when they are in their 20s and it is more appropriate for the two boys to have a relationship. Ox and his mom are adopted into the Bennett family which also makes the two boys as close as brothers until Joe goes away for three years then returns as a young man totally changing how Ox now looks at Joe. The author does a fantastic job of eliciting emotions in the reader; you will run the gamut from wanting to cry at times to laughing out loud at others. The book comes to a head with and evil, older werewolf, Richard Collins who is the antagonist in the book in a power struggle to be the alpha leader of the clan. He wants to rule over the Bennett clan and will stop at nothing to get what he wants including using the two boys love for each other against them. Joe and Ox must work together if they are to defeat this evil man, testing their love for each other and each one's devotion to the pack of werewolves. There isn't a lot of obvious sex in the book however it is hot just due to the subject matter being werewolves and the whole getting naked thing before transforming from human to wolf. Also as far as being gay versus straight, with the werewolves being gay is not such an unusual thing and is pretty well accepted. I rated this book 5 stars out of five stars for both the story and the narration. It's highly recommended for those who are into werewolves, fantasy or if you just want to try something different.

  • Nightshade

  • A Jack Nightingale Supernatural Thriller, Book 4
  • By: Stephen Leather
  • Narrated by: Paul Thornley
  • Length: 10 hrs and 55 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 63
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 60
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 61

When a murdered young girl miraculously returns to life saying she's spoken to God, it's clear that sinister forces are at play. And when those who speak to her inexplicably commit suicide shortly afterwards, Nightingale is called in. He discovers a demon has possessed the girl's body…and the only way to banish it is to kill her. And that's not all he has to deal with. After a farmer kills eight people before turning the gun on himself, the press label him as a Satanist.

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Pretty good thriller

  • By Steven on 11-26-16

Pretty good thriller

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

Reviewed: 11-26-16

I enjoyed the first three books in the Nightingale series better than this one. But this one was also pretty good and had some neat ideas in it. It is kind of a reboot from the first three books where Nightingale gets to live his life over again and is once again faced by a demon, however in this book it is a shade that he is dealing with. A young girl is kidnapped and abused to the point of being killed opening her up for and evil entity to move into her body with an evil agenda. What Nightingale must have to do to confront her is a horrible thing to even think about. Mrs. Stedman remakes an appearance to help guide Mr. Nightingale along. Jenny is also present in this book but has a very minor rule which kind of disappointed me. Paul Thornley does a very good job with the narration however his voice tends to go into a monotone at times and made me start to drift off. But overall he did A good job bringing the characters to life.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Fame and Fortune

  • All Cocks Stories, Book 2
  • By: T. M. Smith
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 4 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Overall
    4.5 out of 5 stars 72
  • Performance
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70
  • Story
    4.5 out of 5 stars 70

Andrew and Dimir became inseparable in college and wound up starting their own business together; a gay porn website where people could go and watch romantic gay porn instead of the rough and tough, or wham bam thank you man crap that was flooding the Internet at that time. After 10 years together, they were still perfectly happy, but they didn't even realize something was missing until they met a broken young man that needed a family.

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Fantastic menage - excellent narration

  • By Morgan A Skye on 08-21-16

Kind of dull

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

Reviewed: 11-16-16

Victor and Andrew run a successful company in the porn industry. They are deeply in love with each other. Along comes 18-year-old Matthew with some heavy baggage looking for love and acceptance. Matthew is hired as a model but is quickly adopted by Victor and Andrew who slowly fall in love with him. The characters weren't very deep except for maybe Matthew however there is very little conflict and angst in the story to make it interesting. The best thing about this audiobook was Joel Leslie's narration which saved it for me. I'm not sure if I will read any others in this series at this point.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful