Wendy reviews Dinner at Home by Rick R. Reed, narrated by Michael Anthony. Published by Dream Spinners Press. Audible release October 17, 2014, 7 hours and 33 minutes. Original release date May, 8, 2014.
It only takes a few days for Ollie D’Angelo to lose his boyfriend, his job, and his home. Instead of mourning what he doesn’t have, Ollie celebrates what he does: the freedom to pursue his real passion – cooking. He begins Dinner at Home, a home-catering business, and it takes off. Late one night, Ollie catches Hank Mellinger, a streetwise hood down on his luck, about to rob his car. Ollie soon discovers that appearances aren’t necessarily what they seem. Hank isn’t a criminal caught red-handed, but a hungry young man trying to make a life for himself and the four-year-old niece he’s trying desperately to take care of. Instead of calling the cops, Ollie offers Hank a job and a way to pull himself up by his bootstraps. Together, they discover they can really cook…and that their shared passion for food just might lead to a passion for each other.
Why I listened to this audiobook: This weeks theme has us picking a story for one of our fellow reviewers to read (or in my case, listen to). Mt. Snow picked this one for me when I told her I liked stories about cooking. She really nailed it.
This story made me hungry… I’m serious… right away, no leading up to it, just BAM! HUNGRY. I’m certain that I can credit that to the wonderfully descriptive writing of the author. But, I can guarantee that the narration had part in it as well. Michael Anthony could sell rocks with that voice!
I will get back to being hungry later, because it happened more than once in the listening of this story. What I want to talk about before that, is the characters. I fell for these guys right away. Ollie drew me in instantly with his passions. Call me crazy, but I also find myself thinking along the same vein as he does when tackling just about any project. Especially cooking. I’m one of those people that shows you how much I love you through my food, or really just about anything that I do. So I was able to connect with this character on a level that I don’t usually get to. I also find myself loving his character for being the advocate he is, helping out people in need (yeah, I’m a helper too).
I also really liked Hank, but he needed some time to grow on me. I know that it must be very difficult to write a character that has a previous addiction problem, but Rick R. Reed did a fantastic job. One of the things that the author did to make it seem more authentic to me was that he put Hank in several situations that could have triggered his addiction and sent him into a downward spiral. I think that is probably just the way it is in real life for a recovering addict. That living life is not without stress and temptation is always around the corner. Hank was faced with some real doozies too. His mother and sister were amazing secondary characters. I didn’t like either at first and grew to at least understand one of them by the end of the book.
I also liked the slow build that these men take to get into a sexual relationship. Of course it took some jealousy to bring it about, but that was a sweet, well timed event.
I’m going to get back to my being hungry now. Not only does the story describe some wonderful meals and the love that goes into cooking them… THERE ARE RECIPES!!! I’ve actually bought this book in ebook format just because of that.
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Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”