Audiobook: Never By Tara Lain Narrated by Kale Williams

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/never-by-tara-lain-8971-b

Blurb

A Pennymaker Tale
Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.
Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously by Mary)

I so very much enjoy Tara Lain’s reimagined fairy tale series with Mr Pennymaker, the fairy godfather, appearing in each one. I think this take on Peter Pan is my favourite so far. I loved Peter’s vibrancy. He is carefree, an artist and the lead singer of the Lost Boys. Peter lives for the moment. Wendell on the other hand was thrust into responsibility at a young age caring for his sister and young brother. He has to keep his job. Tara Lain does an excellent job of bringing you into their lives and caring about them all. I could feel how tired and stressed Wen is and how spirited and alive Peter is. Together they provided a balance for each other. The only problem being their past. Both of them let past experiences cloud the chance of happiness. This is one of the best opposites attract stories I have read. They want each other but are convinced it’ll never work until a certain Mr Pennymaker helps them see the error in their thinking. The character for Hook is extremely clever and so appropriate for today. All the other characters are included, Tink, the lost boys (each with their own personalities and part to play in the story) smee and a small reference to the crocodile. Such an enjoyable book and one of the best reimagined fairytales I’ve read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.
5 stars out of 5

Review by Morgan

I definitely admire the way Tara Lain is able to make these old fairy tales over into m/m romances! What an imagination! Some of the tales are more transmutable than others and this one – while ridiculously clever – didn’t resonate with me as well as some of the others.

I found the names and the people cute but I didn’t feel the spark between Wen and Peter as well as I have in some of her other tales.

If you’re a fan of the author and the series – I think you’ll love this as much as you did the others – but if you’re new to either the series or Tara Lain in particular this wouldn’t be where I’d start.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Kale Williams did a fantastic job with this! He gave everyone unique voices, made the humor ring loud and clear and managed to carry it all off with a good amount of panache. Recommended in this format as the best way to experience this story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Big Love by Rick R Reed

release day review

 

BigLoveLGBlurb

 

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

Review

(Contains spoilers)

*

*

*

Dane is a teacher who is married to a woman and has two teenaged children. He knows he’s gay but has never acted on the fact as he and his wife got married out of college but were high school sweet-hearts.

When his wife dies suddenly, in a car wreck, he feels this release and the need to “be himself” so he tells his children he’s gay and has been hiding it all these years.

The very next day, one of his students attempts suicide for being bullied about being gay and Dane confesses to the entire school that he, too, is gay to show support to the student, Truman.

Seth is a new teacher in Dane’s department and he had developed a crush on Dane before he knew he was gay. He helps Dane help Truman and Truman’s mom during the time surrounding Truman’s suicide attempt. This allows him and Dane to get closer and explore their feelings for one another.

**

I have so many divided feelings about this book.

What I liked/loved:

Truman- he’s a great character and I loved the message that his story tells (Be yourself, no matter the cost!) I loved his little side romance and the ex, too.

The way it was told. I liked the alternating POVs. I felt like each man had their own growing and changing to do, and seeing the world through each of their eyes allowed them to all have a representative chunk of the story that was theirs and theirs alone. It felt really complete that way.

Truman’s mom – she was THE BOMB! I loved how she always knew that simply loving Truman was her best bet even if it might not always be enough.

Dane’s son- he was so supportive and yet a realistic teenager in that he didn’t go OTT to help out, just quietly supported his dad.

What didn’t work for me:

Dane – Is he gay or bi or demi? He says he really loved his wife, but yet never felt complete? I didn’t always understand his character. I really didn’t understand how he just blurted things out to his kids, the school, etcetera – without expecting major blow-back – and I would think being in the closet for all your life and just losing your wife – you might waffle a bit more than 6 months…

Seth and Dane – their relationship felt from out in left field. They barely knew each other, then their having sex, then they’re saying I love yous… it felt awkward in the grand scheme of things and really unfulfilling.

Truman – sometimes he acted in ways that felt older than his age – but that could be a function of his situation…

Coming out – I really felt like Dane would have had more issues coming out than he did.

Dane’s daughter – I never understood what her deal was and why Dane was virtually ignoring her eating disorder, letting her run around without permission and allowing her to treat him so badly…this bothered me a lot.

So… the book absolutely kept my attention – Rick Reed is a great writer and he knows how to draw you into a story – but there were several areas that just felt… imperfect to me. I liked it and was glad to have read it, but I had some high hopes that weren’t met.

3 of 5 stars

3-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review