Friday, May 11, 2018

Again by Mary Calmes Dual Media Review

Six years ago, Noah Wheeler went to meet his boyfriend, Dante Cerreto, at the airport, and his world ended. Dante was kissing someone else and claimed to be in love. So Noah took his heartbreak-and the sonogram pictures of their surrogate child-and closed the door on the big picture of what he thought his life would be, focusing instead on the piece of the dream he got to keep, being a father.

Now on vacation in Las Vegas, Noah accidentally runs into the Cerreto family, and then the man himself, and learns that not only was he deceived, but Dante was as well. Now Dante wants to make up for lost time, six years' worth, and to do that he needs Noah, the only man he's ever loved, and Grace, the daughter he didn't know he had, to give him a chance at happiness. Dante's going to have to take a crash course in communication and seduction, though. Noah's not going to fall in love just to be broken again.

Audiobook Details
Length: 2 hrs, 3 mins
Narrator: Nick J. Russo

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Audiobook Review

I’m not exactly sure of how to write this review. I’ll go ahead and get the most important part out of the way by saying that I thoroughly enjoyed Again. Calmes’ wordsmithing and Russo’s narration made it an absolutely delightful way to while away a couple hours. So that’s not the issue. Rather, it’s the limited time frame within which events occur and my need to keep my review as spoiler free as possible, aside from the happy ending that Calmes gives her readers.

The majority of events in the novella take place over the course of three days, the first of which occurs six years prior to the other two. Again opens with Noah reeling from being dumped by his husband – the man he was planning to have a child with – for a woman Dante worked with. The devastation is made worse because Noah never saw it coming and had been unceremoniously dumped at the airport, where he’d gone to pick Dante up and share their good news. Fortunately for Noah, his friends and family rally around him and he’s able to put his heart back together and move forward on his own as a single father to their daughter, Grace. Fast forward six years and Noah is forced to confront his past when he literally runs into Dante’s brother, Claude, while he and Grace are in Vegas for Noah’s best friend’s wedding. Despite his best efforts six years ago, Noah was never able to inform Dante of Grace’s birth, so to say Claude was shocked to see Grace would be an understatement. I will say that I really liked how the author used Claude’s shock at realizing who Grace was as an opening for Noah to explain why he never let them or Dante know about her. That whole “reunion” could have gotten very ugly had Dante’s family jumped to conclusions, but the author avoided that entirely in a believable manner. As for Dante’s reaction, well that’s why I’m only giving Again four stars despite repeated listen (an occurrence which usually results in five stars). I’m torn between liking how Dante made his wants known and refused to take no for an answer, seeking out alternate solutions when necessary, and disliking him for being so heavy-handed and refusing to take no for an answer. Confused? Don’t worry, I am too. But that’s the issue, some days when I listen to Again, I love Dante and other times I just want to throat punch him to give Noah a chance to flee. It’s a fine line between arrogance and assertiveness, and the side Dante falls on depends entirely upon my mood at the time. Either way, the ending is as it should be, complete with Keith getting just what he deserved.

As for Russo’s performance, I loved it. Russo does a great job of bringing the emotional Noah and the aloof Dante to life. I would say that the cute as heck Grace is just icing on the cake, but I think I actually have to give that designation to the Bachelorette Party attendees. Drunk Chelsea and her even drunker bridesmaids were a hoot and Russo’s narration had me feeling as though I was sitting at the bar, watching their antics play out before me, and enjoying every amusing minute of it. But as entertaining as that scene was, it’s the emotional punch that Russo adds to his performance which makes the story so enjoyable to listen to and makes me wish there was more to Noah, Dante, and Grace’s story. Then again, Calmes’ novellas usually leave me wanting to spend more time with her characters. And now that I’ve put my thoughts down about Again, I’m going to split the difference and give it 4.5 stars. If you’re a fan of either Calmes or Russo, you can’t go wrong with this second-chance romance.

PS – Noah’s conversation with his sister about the clown doll had me giggling even as, or perhaps because it reminded me of my aversion to clown dolls thanks to the original Poltergeist.

Ebook Review

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/M Romance

Noah and Dante were the perfect couple. However, with Dante's dangerous job, Noah was always worrying. When Noah went to the airport to welcome Dante home, he sees the love of his life kissing a woman – his partner (at work).

Despite the colossal misunderstanding, Noah picks himself up and finds a way to go on because his sister has agreed to be a surrogate for Noah and Dante, and even if Dante doesn't want to be a dad any longer, Noah sure does.

Several years later, Grace is a chatty little kid and Noah and she take a trip for his sister's wedding. What he doesn't expect is to see Dante's brother in the hotel lobby. One look at Grace and Noah knows that his jig is up. Dante comes barreling back into his life and Noah has little power to say no.

I thought that this story would have been more powerful had it been longer and more developed. This was really a series of hookups and sneaky kisses that ended up with Dante "winning" Noah again. But I didn't really see the buildup. Even though things were explained, the story was too short to really get into the emotions.

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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Nick is an award winning narrator with a fan following for his work in fiction, specifically in the romance genre. His performances in two of Amy Lane's books, Beneath the Stain and Christmas Kitsch, made him the recipient of Sinfully M/M Book Review's Narrator of the Year – 2015. When he's not in the booth, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, Jessica, and kids, (aka their beagle Frank and cat Stella), drumming in his cover band, exploring rural back roads with his wife on his motorcycle, or being enthralled in a tabletop role playing game with his friends.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Again by Mary Calmes, audiobook narrated by Nick. J. Russo to read or listen to and review.

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