Time to Laugh: Shiny! Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shiny-by-amy-lane-5174-b

Blurb:
Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny’s trash can—and strews Kenny’s personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both.

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he’s gay.

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s new-found sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will’s infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

Review:

You can’t have a month devoted to “funny” and not include Amy Lane.  I find her books to be some of the most consistently “clever” and thus funny and witty.

This is known as Amy Lane “Lite”.  Instead of her very angsty material, this is one of the sweet and happy books she gives us now and then. 

The story is a mix of Will exploring his sexuality and the developing friendship and work relationship Will and Kenny have and then later their coming together as friends turned lovers. There are some doubts – is Will just with Kenny because he’s his first or is it real? Where will Will work? What about Kenny’s being on the rebound? However… For those of us who love a sappy ending – the ending of Shiny will knock your socks off!
The secondary characters in Shiny are also great – Aunt Cara- the lesbian bride, Will’s mom – trapped in the 1960s, Kenny’s ex – the big, dumb cheater and Kenny’s ultra liberal family – trying so hard not to judge Will.

In the audio format Tyler Stevens does a really nice job. He does swishy voices fantastically and I adore his female voices as well.  I think he is a true “performer” rather than “reader” and as such we get a lovely performance to enjoy.  

This is one of those times where the narration adds to the story and makes it even better. I highly recommend this audiobook.

4.5 of 5 stars
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Purchased for Review

Tags (whatever you can think of to describe the book in basic labels): teacher, GFY, virgin, weddings, comics, religion, cheating exes, friends to lovers

Safe in His Heart (Safe Book 2) by Renae Kaye

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7684

 

29625071Blurb

 

Andrew and Paul learned about God and Jesus in different churches and realize their views of spirituality are worlds apart.

Andrew was raised Catholic and was told his homosexuality was a sin. For his entire life, he hid the truth. He married and had children to present a façade to the world—that of a straight man. It’s not until he has an affair with Paul, who shows him a different side of Jesus, that Andrew realizes he can be gay and still believe in God. Paul’s Jesus is one of acceptance and love, and in Paul’s church, being gay is not a problem.

For Paul and Andrew, falling in love is the easy part of their journey. They must make it through the fires of cheating, being discovered, Andrew’s wife leaving, the necessities of childcare and family life, the demands of their jobs, and working on their commitment to each other. Only then can they be safe in each other’s heart.

Review

Paul is Lon’s BFF whom we met in Safe in His Arms. We knew something hinky was going on with Paul by the way he was reluctant to share who his new love interest was and then we found out he’s a married man. Oh. Man.

So that gives us an instant set of judgments about both men – right? Cheating makes a lot of us squirm and makes us feel uncomfortable. Casey – Lon’s beau, is up front about it. He tells Paul it’ll all end in misery so he should end it now. In fact, most of the people in Paul’s life give him similar advice. Lon – not so wordy our Lon – tells him to be careful, but doesn’t tell him to stop seeing the guy.

Paul – himself – know it’s a bad idea, but he just can’t stop himself. Andrew – the cheating husband – is just so needy and hits Paul’s buttons just right.

Andrew – for his part – is a confused soul. He wants to please his family, is worried about his soul, and his job but most importantly he worries about his kids. He loves gay sex but he doesn’t love being gay. He’s had a crush on Paul for months before Paul finally caves in to an affair. Once they begin they soon realize this is more than a hook-up, but what can ever happen between them?

So –I don’t think this is a spoiler when I tell you up front – Andrew’s marriage is a sham. He and his wife are really just friends and roommates – it’s all explained in the first few chapters – but even given that information – the idea of them getting a divorce and Andrew being out and proud is a still a pretty dim prospect.

Of course, as the story moves on, things change – but for most of the first-half of the story, Andrew is stuck between a rock and a hard place – warring between what he wants and what he wants to want.

**

First let me say that I love and adore Renae Kaye and have loved each and every book she’s written and listened/read them over and over. They’re just that awesome! Safe in His Arms is soooo good and I was really psyched to see this book in the pipeline.

I had my reservations when I saw the blurb – cheating, married, religion… – uh-oh. These are all things I usually avoid like the plague. I won’t lie. They didn’t strike my fancy one bit. But – It’s Renae – it’s gonna be good right?

Well… mostly.

Though it truly pains me to do so – I can’t say that I loved this. I liked it and was definitely pleasantly surprised that I was able to get over the religion/cheating/marriage thing pretty easily. Those weren’t my issues with this story – not really.

What I didn’t love was the relationship itself between Andrew and Paul. God, it felt so lop-sided. Andrew is mostly a jerk through most of the book and doesn’t quite redeem himself by the end.

Paul – for his part – just gives and gives and gives – and – I’m not sure what he got for all his troubles.

The part that was missing for me is the relationship stuff apart from the sex. Sure – I see how compatible these guys are in bed. I can also see how “helping” is something that a nurse like Paul would be really attractive in a relationship. But Andrew – aside from the sex and getting a new “mother” for his kids – doesn’t seem to really like Paul. He doesn’t treat him with respect and the two don’t spend much time together not in bed. So I had some serious doubts about them as a long term couple.  I’m not even sure Andrew would have had to balls to be “gay” if it weren’t for Kristy’s actions – and that being the case – Paul would have had to move on because Andrew was definitely stuck and really showed no impetus toward being honest with himself.

The other thing I couldn’t reconcile was Andrew’s wife, Kristy’s behavior and her treatment of the children.  There just wasn’t enough there to explain how she was acting and why – so I was left confused and a bit frustrated by that.  Andrew seemed to just let her get away with A LOT and it was never clear why.

As for the religion – well – that’s tough.  I don’t share the same beliefs as the author and I respect all paths – so I just chalk it up as to each his own.  But I will warn readers that there are a lot of hot buttons in this book that may make people uncomfortable.  I think she tried to be diplomatic but it’s hard when so much passion is wrapped up in a subject and she doesn’t shy away from some tough topics, so… be warned.

I thought Erica was THE BEST and I loved Paul’s family and the glimpses of Ash and Devon, Case and Lon we see again. (Hope Ash and Devon get their own book next!)

The writing and editing is excellent – no faults there. I just didn’t gel with the couple as well this time.

I applaud Renae for her willingness to tackle both these big subjects in a way that is believable and authentic and I think she achieved those goals. The couple just needed some time to themselves – on page – to convince me they had what it took to make it long term.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review