Strong Enough: Family Collection
- Narrated by:
- Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.
When 22-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn't difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.
Spencer is surprised when he's approached by the gorgeous construction worker he's admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his 38 years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he'll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.
Emilio knows what he wants and goes after it; he's bold, outgoing, self-assured. While Spencer is unsure and not necessarily brimming with self-confidence, he comes across as sweet and unassuming...he's actually rather adorable. The two of them are complete opposites, but together they just work so well.
One of my favorite things about this story is the amount of growth Spencer's character goes through, and how Emilio helps him with that growth. I also love how open and accepting Emilio's family is. The closeness of him and his brothers is wonderful, and I love how they wholly accept Spencer as one of the family.
Peter, Spencer's ex, is one that I just wanted to go off on right from the start, and he sure provides plenty for the reader to focus their aggravation upon. But interactions with him are where we can see just how much Spencer's character has grown...even if Peter just can't get a clue.
One other thing I loved was how patient and gentle Emilio was with Spencer. He almost instinctively knows how to treat Spencer, even before Spencer reveals details about his past.
A story that touches your heart while also revving it up (oh yes, it's pretty damn hot), Strong Enough was a 4.5-star read for me. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys the M/M romance genre, and after reading it I can't wait to read the rest of the books in The Family Series.
18+ for adult language and M/M sexual content.
Now for the audio...and I've got to tell you, Ezekiel Robison's narration is without compare. Every audiobook that he's narrated that I've listened to has been spectacular, and Strong Enough is no exception. He gives every character their own individual voice (and therefore helps differentiate between personalities as well), and keeps them constant throughout the narration. When listening, he really makes me feel like I'm right there in every single scene with the characters. His interpretation is spot-on, and significantly increased my enjoyment of the story.
Love at First Sight: Home Collection, # 4
- Narrated by:
- Length: 7 hrs and 10 mins
The moment naïve, optimistic Jonathan Doyle glimpses a gorgeous blue-eyed stranger from afar, he believes in love at first sight. Unfortunately, he loses sight of the man before they meet and then spends years desperately trying to find him. Just as he is about to give up, Jonathan gets a break and finally encounters David Miller face to face.
Successful, confident David turns Jonathan's previously lonely life into a fairy tale, giving him more than he ever imagined. But the years spent searching were hard on Jonathan, and he's terrified his young son and scandalous past will destroy his blossoming relationship. For David and Jonathan to build a future together, they'll both have to dig deep: David for the courage to share himself in a way he's never considered and Jonathan for the strength to tell the truth.
I'm not normally a fan of insta-love in a book simply because I think it's not really something you find in the real world...at least not that will last in a relationship. But Love At First Sight-a story that is the classic example of insta-love-is one of my few exceptions. The whole reason why? The characters.
Jonathan is quite possibly one of my favorite Cardeno C. characters. He is so innocent and naïve that I felt like he needed someone to act as his protector-a role that David so perfectly fills. Jonathan is too easily taken advantage of by both friends and strangers. He is instantly taken with David when he first sees him, and spends many years trying to find his beautiful blue-eyed stranger before finding him again. David doesn't see Jonathan that first time, but when he finally does (while coming to Jonathan's defense), he is immediately enamored with him as well.
The chemistry between the two is immediate and explosive, and even though they've just met in person for the first time everything between them actually feels quite realistic and natural. Yes, even though it's insta-love. Watching as the two of them come together and their lives become instantly entwined is enthralling...and all with the secrets of Jonathan's past still dangling out there. David is so accepting of everything about Jonathan that the two of them just snap right together like matching puzzle pieces.
Love At First Sight was a 4.5-star read for me, and I loved seeing characters from the other Home series books in this story--it really makes the series as a whole even more enjoyable to read when we get to see them from other characters' points of view. I'll be honest here-if you hate insta-love stories, you will probably have the same feeling about this book. But remember-I feel the same way about them, but I loved this book purely due to the wonderful characters and how they interact with each other as their relationship evolves. I highly recommend both this book and the series, if you are a fan of M/M romance this belongs in your library! It's for the 18+ crowd due to adult language and explicit M/M sexual content.
The audiobook...I really liked the way Alexander Collins brought this story to life. He does an excellent job voicing the individual characters, and his voice is naturally soothing to listen to. The narration is paced perfectly, and made for a listening to the story quite enjoyable...which for me is a surefire way to enhance my enjoyment of the book.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cardeno C. - CC to friends - is a hopeless romantic who wants to add a lot of happiness and a few "awwws" into a reader's day. Writing is a nice break from real life as a corporate type and volunteer work with gay rights organizations. Cardeno's stories range from sweet to intense, contemporary to paranormal, long to short, but they always include strong relationships and walks into the happily-ever- after sunset.
Cardeno's Home, Family, and Mates series have received awards from Love Romances and More Golden Roses, Rainbow Awards, the Goodreads M/M Romance Group, and various reviewers. But even more special to CC are heartfelt reactions from readers, like, "You bring joy and love and make it part of the every day."
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