Coming Back

The Belladonna Arms Series, Book 3
Narrated by: Shawn Hertel
Length: 5 hrs and 53 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (16 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A Belladonna Arms Novel

Barney Teegarden knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what it’s like to have a romantic heart, yet no love in his life to unleash the romance on. With the help of a friend, he acquires a lease in a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. The Belladonna Arms is not only filled with the quirkiest cast of characters imaginable, it is also famous for sprinkling love dust on even the loneliest of the lovelorn. 

At the Arms, Barney finds friendship, acceptance, and an adopted family that lightens his lonely life. Hell, he even finds a cat. But still true love eludes him. 

When his drag queen landlord, Arthur, takes it into his head to rescue a homeless former tenant, he enlists Barney’s help. It is Barney who shows this lost soul how to trust again - and in return Barney discovers love for the first time in his life. 

It’s funny how even the hardest battles can be fought and won with laughter, hugs, friends, plus a little faith in the goodness of others. All it takes to begin the healing is the simple act of coming back. 

©2015 John Inman (P)2018 Dreamspinner Press

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fabulous, as always!

I am so happy to be transported back to the Belladonna Arms! These stories are full of laughter and heart. At times ridiculous and the next moment sweetly emotional. Barney and Ramon are perfect together and I’m so happy Ramon is getting his happy ever after.
Shawn Hertel did a fine job on the narration. I never had any difficulty determining which character was talking.
If you need something sweet and funny to escape into for awhile, listen to this series. An absolutely great escape.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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3.5 stars- Fun, quirky characters enhanced by a ve

Coming Back happens to be the first of The Belladonna Arms series I’ve read, but I had no trouble diving in so I’d consider this a standalone with some overlapping characters (though I suspect there will be some spoilers if you read out of order). I found this quirky set of characters and friends vibrant and fun. The upbeat tone and tempo made Coming Back a quick read that’s perfect for a relaxing weekend or keeping you entertained while going about your to-do list.

Coming Back was lighthearted in many ways and often had me smiling, though there were pockets of angst as well, particularly regarding Ramon’s past. I liked both characters and found the eccentricities of all the tenants of The Belladonna Arms endearing. The close knit community is another big draw for me to read more from the series. As much as I enjoyed the characters and liked the way Barney protected Ramon, the romance between them felt a little fast; and though some of that was no doubt due to the infamous Belladonna Arms’ “love pollen”, I wished I had a bit more time seeing the beginning or even middle stages of this couple’s relationship.

Coming Back also happens to be the first time I’ve listened to this narrator. Mr. Hertel did a really good job catching the variety of characters and their different personalities, all while keeping an even rhythm that made for a really pleasant listen. Between the easy-listening vibe, the vivacious characters, and the bright dialogue, this book and series is definitely worth trying.

*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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Imperfect Characters Who Take Hold of Your Heart

Welcome back to the Belladonna Arms with John Inman’s Coming Back. Reminiscent of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, the Belladonna Arms is occupied by a quirky, zany, ragtag bunch of individuals. This episode from The Belladonna Arms series can be read independently, however to best enjoy their antics read them in order, you won’t be disappointed.

Barney, a bookkeeper, needs new living arrangements and his friend and coworker, Pete recommends him for an apartment in the Belladonna Arms, “A rundown little apartment building perched atop a hill in downtown San Diego, home to the city’s lost and lovelorn.” Self-proclaimed dork, Barney folds right in with the loveable and motley crew inhabiting the Arms.

Upon receiving a tip, Arthur engages Barney on a quest to find his missing friend. Let’s back up a minute… Arthur – the owner of the Arms – is a cigar smoking, flamboyant, lavishly dressed, large drag queen with a heart of gold. Back to the quest…. Out of character, Arthur keeps Barney in the dark as to the why and who they are looking for. Eventually, they succeed in locating Ramon and bring him back to the Arms.

Ramon, a beauty school dropout, disappeared from the Arms after the untimely and tragic death of his former lover ChiChi. He has been living on the streets ashamed, creating a self-imposed isolation, and your heart breaks for Ramon and the events of his recent past.

Ramon gets the apartment next to Barney, and using the secret door between the two abodes (the door is always left open for the resident cat, of course), a slow and steady bond is forged between the two men. Surrounded by friendship, and with the Belladonna Arms love pollen sprinkled liberally, Ramon drifts down a path toward healing and, BAM!, a romance blooms.

Alongside Ramon and Barney’s story… the cat with many names returns. Jeez, they need to curb this cat’s food intake, he is getting fatter by the day. And residents Sylvia and Pete have a secret – look at all the toys for tots they are accumulating. Meanwhile Barney, Milan, Harlie, Roger, Charlie, Pete, Stanley, and Bruce all partake in haircuts from Ramon; a debacle Arthur affectionately thinks is “an orgy of butchery not seen since Vlad the Impaler started hosting block parties at his fixer-upper castle with the dungeon to die for back in Romania in the fifteenth century.”

The shenanigans going on at the Arms will keep you in stitches. As Roman’s past unfolds, truths are revealed and the darker side of life peeks through. The talent of John Inman shines creating a magnificent set of imperfect characters who take hold of your heart.

Shawn Hertel’s narration adds immense depth to the cast. The emotion, energy, and voice of each character is genuine. Along the way you never once lose track of who is center stage.

I absolutely adore the Belladonna Arms series and Coming Back is an excellent addition. I love the characters John Inman has created along with the love, compassion, understanding, and camaraderie traipsing the halls of the Arms – it’s a hoot!

At the Arms you are immediately invited in and made to feel at home. Some tips for a memorable stay:
* You don’t need a haircut.
* If something goes missing, check with Charlie and Bruce.
* The cat is a prick.
* Prepare for an abundance of fun and laughter.
* Remember, there is no privacy at the Arms.

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don't read at work........

This is a book three and I would read in order. i hadn't and didn't relay know the characters or what was happening at first, however there is good backdrop of information and you do eventually get filled in.
Barney finds a new home at the Belladonna Arms, full of quirky characters and said to sprinkle love dust around. He kinda hopes to get a sprinkle.
Arthur his Landlord keeps teasing him to help him look for a missing friend to bring back home. Barney believes the friend a myth until one day they do find him

Ramon has a sad story and is a very broken man, getting him to return and stay wot be an easy job but Arthur has faith in Barney.
Barney not only found friends at the Belladonna but also a cat.

This story has a a lot of angst but its also lighthearted and fun to read. there is a silly little twist at the end that will have you laughing out loud. speaking of laughing out loud, you will do this several times throughout the book so Hense, the warning about NSFW

I liked the narration. Shawn Hertel gave Ramon his cute accent and Arthur is drag one spot on. He made the book even more fun to listen too!