2 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary DA Dancer Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Dancing Lessons Audiobook by R Cooper Narrated by Brian Schell


Dreamspinner Presents


Two years of living with his controlling boyfriend left Chico worn down long before that boyfriend revealed he’d been seeing someone else. With no other choice, Chico moves in above his cousin’s garage in a small town in the redwoods, where he merely goes through the motions. To get him out of the house, his cousin pushes him to volunteer at a local dance studio to help with their annual show.

He’s not expecting to end up in a dance class, or to start feeling alive again in the arms of his dance instructor. Rafael is the studio owners’ son and was once a well-known dancer in his own right, but now enjoys being a teacher. Although Chico likes him, he’s afraid of taking a chance. But Rafael is determined, and it only takes one dance for Chico to start to realize he might still have something to learn.


(Book reviewed here previously)

Chico is struggling with depression. His friend suggests he volunteer to get him out of the house and on with his life. He ends up at a dance studio where – at first – he ends up in a class by mistake. There he meets Rafael.

Rafael owns the studio and is immediately drawn to the fragility of Chico. He knows he’s not there for a class, but he sucks him into dancing to draw him out.

The two gradually (very slowly) move towards one another – Chico is a jumpy, at best, where relationships are concerned.


I think R Cooper’s writing is a matter of reader preference. Like some people LOVE poetry and others will never see the beauty in it…

I’ve had this book a long time (in my world) and it’s taken forever for me to sit down and finish it because every time I start reading it I put it back down. I kept waiting for “the right mood” to strike – I’d seen all the positive reviews and thought it must be a great book… but I never got into it.

Chico is very well fleshed out – he’s sad, crushed by life’s disappointments and his depression is very well articulated. I didn’t get nearly as strong an impression of Rafael, other than that of savior to Chico. The relationship building felt kind of chaotic and I didn’t really feel that strong a connection.

I found the writing distracting and difficult for me to fall into, but I know others have found it to be lyrical and expressive. So… I think it’s a matter of taste.

3 of 5 stars


I got this on audio to review because I’m always interested in new narrators.  I also got it because sometimes a good narrator can elevate a so-so book (for me) to higher heights just by the narration being so engaging.  Well… that did NOT happen here.

Brian Schell is a new narrator to me. He is very nasal in his tonality and somewhat flat as far as emotion goes. He also doesn’t pronounce Chico’s name correctly (Sheeco) which is in the story itself, nor does he give anyone any sort of accent at all. At times I felt like I was listening to an instruction manual. There was no “acting” at all. I couldn’t actually listen to the entire story as it was too annoying. I “sampled” it in parts to see if I could find some redeeming qualities but… well I just didn’t like this. I don’t think I’d buy anything by this narrator in the future. If it hadn’t been free, I’d think about returning it because I can’t see myself actually listening to it all the way from start to finish.

1 of 5 stars

Overall 2 of 5 stars


Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

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