I've really done an about face over the last year when it comes to audio books. I enjoy listening on my daily commute and I almost almost have one downloaded from my library's Overdrive app that I'm currently listening to (in addition to whatever I'm currently reading). However, I'm a total purist when it comes to reading and while audio books can be fun, for me it's never as rich an experience as actually reading the physical book. Because of that, my thoughts are pretty brief and I'll be combining a couple reviews in each Sound Bites post.
Rome (Marked Men #3) by Jay Crownover
Narrated by: William Sharpe and Alicia Neil
Synopsis: Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line. But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with someone perfect.Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.
Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever.
WHAT I LIKED: I'd been looking forward to Rome's story. He was moody and angry but with good reason. Rome had seen more and lived through more than any of his friends or family back home. Now out of the Army he was truly struggling to make sense of it all and find his way. Cora, while never my favorite of the group, was his perfect foil (her calling him Captain No-Fun always made me smile). I enjoyed them navigating a new relationship with more than its fair share of obstacles. And, much to my surprise, a dramatic scene near the end actually had me choked up and teary-eyed. There was a lot of drama happening but I really appreciated seeing Rome learn to let go of the past and accept the happiness right in front of him..
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: The narration. It almost ruined the entire book for me. The narrator for Rome was okay. He added some odd pauses mid-sentence but overall he was alright. But the narration for Cora? Hated it. I mean, seriously hated it. The heavy "New Yawk" accent was unbearable. Yes, Cora is supposed to be a Brooklyn girl but the accent used by the narrator was so grating that it was like fingernails on a chalkboard.
Nash (Marked Men #4) by Jay Crownover
Narrated by: Tad Branson and Paula Costello
Saint has no idea that Nash isn’t the cocky player he once was. Uncovering a devastating family secret has rocked his world, and now he’s struggling to figure out his future. He can’t be distracted by the pretty nurse he seems to meet everywhere. Still, he can’t ignore the sparks that fly between them—or how she seems so desperate to get away from him. But the funny, sweet, and drop-dead gorgeous Saint is far too amazing to give up on—especially since she’s the only thing in his life that seems to make sense.
When Nash discovers the truth about their past, he realizes he may have lost her heart before he could even fight for it. Now, Saint has to decide: is Nash worth risking herself for all over again?
WHAT I LIKED: This was my favorite Marked Men book so far. And it's all because of Nash. I love this guy! He wasn't moody and anti-social like Rule. He wasn't intense like Jet. Wasn't a total alpha like Rome. Nash was easy-going, patient, kind and just such a good man. His relationship with his mother and his dealing with Phil's illness broke my heart for him. His descriptions of Saint and what she meant to him, how she brought him peace, how she made all the hard stuff just a little more bearable... I loved it and just wanted to hug him for being such a total sweetheart. Saint was mostly likable and I appreciated her dedication to her job and the confidence she had there. And, when she finally got her head on straight, I loved the care and concern she had for Nash. This book had less drama than the previous ones in the series and I liked that about it. The narration was *perfection*. Nash's voice in particular was so expressive and had such great inflection that it added a lot to the experience..
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Two things - both dealing with Saint and her insecurities. First, I found it a little far-fetched that what amounted to a high school crush on Nash was enough to break her heart, forever change the way she viewed men, and alter all future relationships. They weren't dating, they didn't have a bad break-up, they weren't even really friends. She basically had a long-distance crush on the guy. So saying that had the power to alter her life so dramatically... eh, that was a little hard to swallow. Secondly, Saint's insecurities dragged on waaay too long and started to seem ridiculous in the face of all that Nash said and did. He reassured her over and over, he treated her like a princess, he was patient with her, his friends told her he was crazy about her - but she continued to keep her distance and was mistrustful of him. Geez girl, what more do you need?!