Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Falling Down by Eli Easton Audiobook Tour

Josh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts

Audiobook Details
Length: 7 hrs, 33 mins
Narrator: Michael Stellman

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Audiobook Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Audible US  ~  Audible UK  ~  iTunes

Ebook Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
~  Available with KindleUnlimited  ~

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Based on the trigger warning, I cued up Falling Down knowing that it was likely going to be an emotional listen – even if the subject matter is not a personal trigger. And Eli Easton did not disappoint when it came to delivering on the emotional conflict and angst as Josh and Mark try to figure out who they are as individuals and whether a future together is possible and worth fighting for.

One of the things I appreciated most about the story is that while Easton acknowledges Mark’s PTSD, she does it as a way for Mark to be able to relate to Josh and share his own personal experiences with therapy. While this is a romance between Josh and Mark, it was Josh’s emotional trauma and suicidal thoughts which should have and did take center stage. Josh’s plight is not a pretty one. After losing his mother, coming out to his stepfather, and becoming homeless (yet again), Josh has more baggage than an 18-year-old should have. What makes this a tough read or listen is that Easton doesn’t romanticize Josh’s situation. Between Josh’s inner monologues as he reflects on his personal hygiene and finding a safe place to sleep, and Mark’s observations when he first sees Josh and when he meets him again, there’s nothing pretty about Josh’s situation. But it’s that realism that makes it easy to understand why Mark feels compelled to help the young man, even if he doesn’t fully understand it himself until much later in the story when he has his own personal epiphany. Because the blurb does a good job of setting up the story itself, I won’t go into much detail so as to leave some surprises for other listeners, but I will say that I loved how the author used the cast of characters, especially Mrs. Fisher, to show how both Mark and Josh are better people than they each think themselves to be. While Falling Down is not the first book I’ve read or listened to in which both main characters had a poor self-image, it’s one of the better at exploring why the characters feel as they do. Even better, Easton doesn’t try to write away either man’s problems simply because they fell in love. Personally, while I feel that the angst and emotional turmoil make this an excellent listen, if you are sensitive to suicidal thoughts or grief related to the death of a loved one, tread carefully because even though the author deals with the topics sensitively, Easton also portrays them in a realistic manner.

On to the narration. This is my first Michael Stellman narration and I’m going to start by saying that when I began the audiobook, I wasn’t sure how well he was going to “sell me” on both Josh and Mark’s voices. A big part of that is my fault because I initially thought Mark was older than he was – too many books recently with career military men. The other part is because the voice for Josh sounds so much younger than I’m used to hearing, even though it’s perfect for an 18-year-old, but I just couldn’t fathom how someone who could create such a young voice could also create the voice of an older and jaded former Marine. But Stellman did just that. The magic is in Stellman’s ability to craft a voice that is youthful in age yet conveys the maturity of surviving some of life’s hard knocks. He strikes the perfect balance between snarky and serious, world-weary and hopeful, and surviving versus living, bringing Easton’s characters to life far better than I would have ever done had I merely read the book. This might be my first Stellman narration, but it won’t be my last.

Having been, at various times and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, a game designer, the author of paranormal mysteries, a fan fiction writer, and organic farmer, Eli has been a m/m romance author since 2013. She has over 30 books published.

Eli has loved romance since her teens and she particularly admires writers who can combine literary merit, genuine humor, melting hotness, and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, bulldogs, cows, a cat, and lots of groundhogs.

In romance, Eli is best known for her Christmas stories because she’s a total Christmas sap. These include Blame it on the Mistletoe, Unwrapping Hank and Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles. Her Howl at the Moon series of paranormal romances featuring the town of Mad Creek and its dog shifters has been popular with readers. And her series of Amish-themed romances, Men of Lancaster County, has won genre awards.

Connect with Eli

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads

Michael Stellman’s vocals are modern, edgy, & unique, with a bit of quirkiness and sarcasm. Michael can be heard across many different genres including commercials for TV and radio, video games, and audiobooks.

Graduate of UNLV school of Theatre Arts and Johnson and Wales University College of Culinary Arts, Michael holds degrees in both art and food.

Credits include: (TV) Nip/Tuck, Everybody hates Chris, Room 401, Carnivale, Gilmore Girls. (Film) Bratz: The Movie, Fire Twister.

Connect with Michael

Website  ~  Goodreads

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free audiobook copy of Falling Down by Eli Easton, narrated by Michael Stellman to listen to and review for this tour.

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