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Publisher's Summary

When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he's interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City's most eligible bachelor!

Jesse's in a pinch. To keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal: in exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million-dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he's ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can't have. Or can he?

©2016 Shira Anthony (P)2016 Dreamspinner Press

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wishing for a different ending

Any additional comments?

I have to say, this is probably the first time I’ve completely disagreed with outcome of a book.<br/><br/>Love, Jesse, totally get his story, why he hide sexuality from his Grandfather even after his death. And why he didn’t tell Chris to start with.<br/><br/>Chris, well, talk about someone that can’t see past the end of his nose. If he’d just stop and think, see, hear, he would have seen what was right in front of him.<br/><br/>Maybe that was the point? To see how these two are so completely different. One already half in love with his object of convenience. And the other one so angry, bitter, self absorbed that he doesn’t see it good, happy. But honestly it got me so aggravated it was no longer cute, I was ready to delete the whole thing.<br/><br/> <br/><br/>The narrator, John Solo is probably one of my favorites. But I’m not sure if that helped or hurt the story this time. That Boston accent, yikes. However, when not doing that saved the rest of the story.<br/>I was given a copy in exchange for an honest review by Crystals Many reviewers

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Witty, sexy and fun

Any additional comments?

I really enjoyed this story. I was pleasantly surprised to find twists and turns in what I thought might be a fairly predictable story. It was lighthearted, witty, and fun.<br/><br/>Chris and Jesse are well developed and lovable characters. And I found Jesse's step-mother to be a really great supporting character. The story shows a side of romance that can be fumbling and awkward, crashing and burning at times. But something beautiful can still be salvaged from the wreckage. <br/><br/>This is read well by John Solo, but I don't feel his performance of Chris' voice really fits. It was enough of an issue for me that it took away slightly from what was a very enjoyable story otherwise.<br/><br/>All in all, I recommend this book, but I feel I would have enjoyed it more in text as opposed to audio.<br/><br/>*I received a free copy of this audiobook to read for Inked Rainbow Reads in exchange for an honest review.*

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved the story, didn't love the narration

Jesse is a billionaire in need of a marriage to save his inheritance from the “evil” step-grandmother who would sell his beloved business if she inherits. (Yay – I love this trope!)

Chris is a struggling novelist. He’s got a few titles under his belt and has high hopes his newest will gain him a heft advance, but living in New York is expensive and his part time job as a barista isn’t doing much for his savings account.

Jesse happens to be a fan of Chris’ and approaches him at a reading for a date to discuss what Jesse’s connections can do for Chris’ career. They have a good meeting, but Jesse is straight so…

Later, Jesse approaches Chris about a business arrangement wherein they’d be platonically married for the sake of getting the inheritance Jesse’s grandfather left him, and Chris could leave the marriage after a year with a million dollars for his efforts.

At first Chris is offended and declines, but his friends and Jesse show him how silly that idea is and he eventually agrees.

From there is a whirlwind of change into Jesse’s decadent beach house and life as a writer exclusively. The only problem is Jesse keeps giving mixed signals to Chris about his sexuality and after a couple of scorching kisses, Chris has to wonder…

Eventually some truths are uncovered and both parties feel betrayed by the other. Will their burgeoning relationship have a chance at forever once the lies are dispelled or have they ruined it with their deceptions?

**

So this is totally what I was expecting when I read about this series. This trope – the Cinderfella trope (in this case) is a tried and true one. Shira Anthony played it off perfectly!

She gave us a believable scenario, with a fairly realistic approach to the arranged marriage and then gave us some sizzling chemistry and a confusing step-grandmother to keep us on our toes.

My only quibble was I wasn’t sure why Jesse kept the secrets he did… it seems to me he’d have been better off being honest from the start and I’m not sure what he thought he’d gain by lying… but… in the end it absolutely worked out and I loved it!

Highly recommended.


Audio
John Solo is a good narrator and he does a good job with this. I really liked the voice he uses for Jesse, Wenda and Val, but the pseudo-NYC accent he chooses for Chris is a bit awkward. He does a great job with the emotions and his pacing is also excellent. I think this is an okay way to experience the book.

Overall 3.25 of 5 stars

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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The Most Unmemorable M/M Romance

What would have made First Comes Marriage better?

Some charm, romance and lighthearted banter spread among the seriously dry and dull story. I had great hopes for this book. There was a great opportunity for an interesting plot, humor and a love story but all it gave me was a dearth of human loving interaction, repetition and bitchiness. <br/><br/>Any writer who is going to do a book based on an unbelievable, bizarre situation must add some joy and humor or even snark to prevent the story from being ridiculous instead of fun with lovable characters.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Made the voices sound too old.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

NO.

2 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Regional dialects

Would you consider the audio edition of First Comes Marriage to be better than the print version?

I could not get passed the word sure for shore. Sorta irritated me

What didn’t you like about John Solo’s performance?

sure vs shore

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not for me, and the narration wasn't my style.

*2.5 stars*

I blame myself for this one, I really do.

Unlike many other readers, I didn't get my start in romance through Harlequin stories. In fact, my experiences with Harlequin romances and their tropes has been limited to a few failed attempts at trying the arraigned marriage or soap-opera style books.

I should have realized that I wouldn't like this one very much when I outright hated The Heart of Texas. That should have been a BIG CLUE. Alas, no. I was swayed by the glowing reviews to try this one, and I really shouldn't have.

I'll talk a bit about the audiobook aspect first. This was my first audiobook with John Solo, and I don't think I'd listen to him again. I really disliked his voice for the MC Chris, which I feel kind of bad about saying because I think that voice is close to John Solo's own speaking voice. Chris sounded sort of old-mannish and over-acted, and it just bugged me while I was listening. However, I enjoyed the narrator's range of voices and the effort that he put into the story.

In terms of the story... it was okay. I mean, there was a lot of drama and silliness, but at the same time I found the story to be kind of dull. It was an interesting duality, but it resulted in a story that failed to ever fully capture my attention.

Don't listen to me, though, because I think I'm just the wrong audience for this book. If you are a fan of other Harlequin-type stories, then give this one a shot.

**Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

0 of 1 people found this review helpful