Monday, October 17, 2016

Lay It Down by Mary Calmes Dual Media Review

Paradise can be hell.

Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.

Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.

Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.

Audiobook Details
Length: 4 hrs, 38 mins
Narrator: Alexander Collins

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Ebook Review

Avid Reader☆☆☆☆
M/M Romance
Triggers: Click HERE to see Avid Reader’s review on Goodreads for trigger warnings.

I really enjoyed this story. While I was very unhappy with the twin – he's a sneaky bastard – the rest of the characters were wonderfully written. They were developed in a way that didn't leave you wondering who they were within the story, but not so much as to overdevelop their role either.

Hudson is an amazing character. Despite his stupid twin brother, Hudson was able to make the best of his situation. He is innovative, smart, kind, compassionate and, above all, NOT his brother. I love that he was able to save everyone in Miguel's house without even really thinking about it. He turns businesses in to profitable money makers and essentially befriends an entire community in a matter of months.

Then you have Miguel. He's a busy man who runs several businesses and somehow falls in to lust with Hudson's twin brother, Dalvon. While he's away on business, his mother is almost kidnapped by her own children and his entire lifestyle at home changes. What he doesn't know is that Hudson is the reason for all of the changes.

When they first meet, it is slightly awkward. Hudson doesn't want Miguel to think he's just like his brother and Miguel doesn't really know what to make of Hudson. While they don't have instant chemistry, the relationship that develops is endearing and heartwarming.

The "second" story in this book seems unnecessary. The romance was enough and I thought that the back story for Dalvon was distracting. That aspect is why this book, for me, wasn't a 5-star book.

Audiobook Review

I really enjoyed the audiobook edition of Lay It Down. Despite the insta-love nature of the relationship that develops between Hudson and Miguel, I thoroughly enjoyed the story as Calmes infuses just enough romance, sexual tension, and suspense to keep me glued to my Kindle. The author sucks me right into Hudson’s story, and as the hits keep coming, I was intrigued. I had to see how it would all play out. Having Hudson step in and assume the duties his brother willfully neglected, giving the staff at the villa and the employees of the other businesses a purpose and the support they needed to succeed, was inspired, especially as he was able to use his work experience in Ibiza as credit toward his degree. It was obvious that Hudson was an excellent student because he was able to take what he’d learned and implement it effectively. This made it easy for me to understand his desire to throttle his brother over Dalvon’s inability to understand the significance of Hudson’s graduate program or Dalvon’s suggestion that Hudson should have been happy to be at Will’s beck and call. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that while Hudson seems to know Dalvon better than Dalvon knows him, there is much neither brother knows about his twin.

Seeing Hudson take charge and make changes in his brother’s steed was great because it gives the reader (or listener, in my case), the opportunity to get to know Hudson as he interacts with others. I enjoyed the relationships he developed with those around him, especially Miguel’s mother and Duena. He’s used to being the one having to take charge of the situation to make sure that those around him are taken care of. Perhaps it’s because of this, and the fact that Miguel was able to be to Hudson what Hudson was to everyone else, that I had no issue with how fast things moved between them. For the first time in his memory, there was someone in Hudson’s life that made him feel safe and wanted to take care of him. So even as he fought against himself because he didn’t want to appear weak, yet craved feeling cherished and cared for, I was glad that Miguel had an even stronger take charge attitude. That they had sizzling chemistry didn’t hurt either. I was taken off guard a tad when the final shoe dropped, in part because I’d been lulled into a false sense of security by the author (well, done), and, in part because I wouldn’t have thought Dalvon capable of such a thing. Fortunately, Lay It Down is a true romance and Calmes was able to bring things around so that Hudson got the happy ending he deserved.

On a side note, I suspect that some readers may find the brothers taking up with their twin’s ex to have a bit of an ick factor, but for the four men involved, it didn’t actually bother me. Then again, beyond overhearing Dalvon being greeted by Will while Hudson was on the phone, we’re really not exposed to that relationship. And as the relationship between Hudson and Miguel develops, it’s pretty clear why Miguel and Dalvon were never going to work out. The fact that there were no hard feelings involved helped keep the “partner exchange” from being awkward – that, and the 3,500 plus miles between Boston and Ibiza. Alexander Collins does a wonderful job narrating Lay It Down. Initially I found that he uses a vocal inflection for Hudson’s voice at times that bothered me for the first five minutes or so of listening, but once I became accustomed to it, realizing it was just a part of Hudson’s character (much like Miguel’s accent), it wasn’t an issue. Overall, I found his voice to be extremely pleasant and had no issue keeping up with which character was talking when except for the chaos at the end with the bad guys, mainly because they had such limited parts in the storyline. Lay It Down was an entertaining audiobook and I look forward to checking out more of Calmes’s writing and Collins’s narrative talents.

MARY CALMES lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and believes without question in happily ever afters, and writes those for each and every one of her characters.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Lay It Down by Mary Calmes, Narrated by Alexander Collins to read or listen to and review.

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