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ARC Review: Out of Character by Annabeth Albert (audiobook)

Out of Character (True Colors #2)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

5 stars

I knew I would enjoy this, after the first book, but I think I liked this one even better. There was something about Jasper’s reluctant trust and Milo’s shy earnestness that made me warm to them quickly.

This was perhaps my favorite second-chance romance, with an intense childhood friendship that, after a break, became an intense romance. Their past pulled each of them in hard, and it was a joy to watch them reconnect and rediscover how well they went together.

It helped that Milo wasn’t the only one who had issues to work on. While he ditched his friends and worked on gathering the courage to come out, Jasper had to face his own tendency to steamroll others in his grand plans and had to learn to take a step back and really listen and see people.

The Odyssey game framework worked really well for this romance as well, with the cosplay giving Milo courage (eventually) and the patterns of the game helping Jasper see solutions.

The audiobook was excellently narrated and though I was skeptical at first I came to really enjoy both the narrator who voiced Jasper’s chapters and the narrator who voiced Milo’s. They each infused their performace with a lot of heart and Jasper and Milo (and their friends) leapt off the page.

All in all it was an excellent listen and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I eagerly await Annabeth Albert’s next book.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for providing an audio arc for review.

Audio ARC Review: Be Dazzled by Ryan La Sala

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This was my second audiobook arc and I loved it. The story is compelling and relatable – anxious gay cosplayers and artists? Um, yes, please. Raffy is a bit of a mess and I loved seeing how Luca helped reign in his anxiety and perfectionism. They both have rough relationships with their parents for most of the novel, and though it was maybe a little too neat at the end, I loved seeing their parents come through for them. Because let’s face it, we need all the queer happy-ever-afters we can get.

Ryan La Sala made the interesting choice of starting the story in the middle and then with alternating chapters working forward from the beginning to the middle and also the middle to the end. It really worked though, and it was such an interesting perspective, seeing how Raffy and Luca got together, how they fell apart, and how they got back together all at the same time.

The audiobook narrator was excellent and really brought life to the story. He was a bit over-the-top in how he portrayed Raffy but then Raffy is pretty over-the-top all on his own. I’m so happy I was approved for the audiobook arc because I probably would have chosen to read an e-book otherwise and I would have missed out on a fabulous audiobook.

After Reverie and now this, I look forward to anything Ryan La Sala writes.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for providing an audio arc for review.