Monday, June 25, 2018

Kairos by Mary Calmes Dual Media Review

Sometimes the best day of your life is the one you never saw coming.

Joe Cohen has devoted the past two years of his life to one thing: the care and feeding of Kade Bosa. His partner in their PI business, roommate, and best friend, Kade is everything to Joe, even if their relationship falls short of what Joe desires most. But he won’t push. Kade has suffered a rough road, and Joe’s pretty sure he’s the only thing holding Kade together.

Estranged from his own family, Joe knows the value of desperately holding on to someone dear, but he never expected his present and past to collide just as Kade’s is doing the same. Now they’ve stumbled across evidence that could change their lives: the impact of Kade’s tragic past, their job partnership, and any future Joe might allow himself to wish for…

Audiobook Details
Length: 5 hrs, 10 mins
Narrator: Michael Fell

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Audiobook Review

This was an odd one. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy Kairos, because I did. A lot. I just didn’t expect the story to move from a romantic suspense storyline to a traditional romance complete with a family reunification, an unofficial adoption, and a marriage proposal (of sorts). It’s almost as if Mary Calmes intended to write two short novellas featuring Joe and Kade and, in the end, opted to write a short novel to give a more complete story for the pair. For me, it works because I enjoy Calmes’ writing, but for some readers, the change in tone might prove jarring.

Readers (or in my case, listeners) are dropped into Joe’s life right before shots are fired that will turn both his and his best friend Kade’s life upside down. Joe harbors an unrequited love for Kade, but it’s the kind of love that means Joe keeps Kade in his life, being the best friend he can be while tamping down on his romantic feelings so those feelings don’t negatively impact their personal or business relationship. This is why Joe finds himself protecting their target from Kade’s fury when Declan reveals who wants him dead. Luckily for all three men, Kade’s temper doesn’t prevent him from thinking clearly about the danger they’re in and they get the heck out of the Dodge before everything explodes around them. After a rather intense scene in which Joe proves he’s not Kade’s doormat – something that wasn’t entirely clear before – the three men hopscotch their way out of town, leaving incriminating evidence in the hands of someone who had the power to bring down the bad guys, thereby protecting young Declan. It’s when they land in California that part two of the story begins and Kade forces Joe to face his demons. And now that I’ve typed that, the two different tones of Kairos make more sense. Both Kade and Joe had demons they had to deal with before their life together could begin, but Kade’s demons were far darker and more dangerous than Joe’s were, hence the move from romantic suspense to a more traditional feel-good romance. While I don’t want to give too much away regarding Joe’s reconciliation with his family, I will say that they’re a hoot, particularly his mother. As usual, I would have loved for the story to continue on, so I could see where their new beginning would take them. I can only hope that Joe and Kade eventually make an appearance in another of Calmes’ books.

Kairos marks the second audiobook narrated by Michael Fell I’ve had the pleasure of listening to. I enjoyed the contrast in voices he performed for Joe and Kade. While the gruffness of Kade’s voice was perfect for the character Calmes has created, I did wonder more than once if it hurt Fell to perform because of its harshness. Kade’s gruffness was balanced out by the calm and steadiness of Joe’s voice, making it easy to see why Joe was Kade’s shelter from the storm. Declan’s voice was also perfect, conveying the young man’s vulnerability and fear so clearly that it was even easier to hear when he began to feel safe as he spent more time in Joe and Kade’s presence. Fell did a great job of creating voices for the entire cast of characters, but I really, really liked what he did with the main three characters’ voices. I suspect that I enjoyed Kairos more as an audiobook than I would have as an ebook and that’s because of how well Fell’s performance signaled the change in the story’s tone. This is definitely one for my ever expanding re-listen shelf. It’s also got me wondering which characters other than Sutter may have popped up in Calmes’ other books – my to-be-listened-to list is getting longer and longer each time I cue up one of the author’s audiobooks.

Ebook Review

3.5 stars

I enjoyed this book but it feels like a puzzling mash up of two very different stories. At the start, we are plunged into a tense story of a pair of private investigators inadvertently exposing police and government corruption. And then the book abruptly segues into the story of a family who owns a vineyard and the homecoming of their gay son who ran away after coming out. I liked both halves of the book but I’m not sure they fit in the same story. The first story never feels complete and the second moves too quickly to allow the characters to feel real.

I like Joe and Kade together as partners but the miscommunication between them isn’t completely convincing and their relationship issues are a little bit tiring. It took me a while to warm to Kade and there were times when I just wanted Joe to grow a backbone.

When I stop picking it apart, this is an easy read and Kade and Joe are good fun. The first part of the book is exciting. The second part is a wonderful fantasy. It is a relaxing read with a little bit of heat.

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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Michael Fell is a professional actor trained in the classical actor training program at the Guthrie Theatre/ University of Minnesota. 4 years of rigorous voice training include voice over, character voices, audio book recording, and radio work. He has worked in numerous theatres across the country, was a member of the 2015-16 Acting Apprentice Company at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and currently lives in New York City. He also is co-host of the new podcast GAY TODAY, available on iTunes, or wherever you download podcasts.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free ebook or audiobook copy of Kairos by Mary Calmes, narrated by Michael Fell to read or listen to and review.

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