MtSnow, Bethany, and Dana review the audiobook As You Wish (Shatterproof Bond #1) by Isobel Starling (Self-published August 28, 2015, 238 pages. Released on audio May 09, 2017. 4hrs 9min length. Narrated by Gary Furlong) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
One wedding, two best men, one hell of a love story!
Declan Ramsay’s brother Oliver was marrying Annabelle Aiken at a fairytale castle on the banks of Loch Ness in Scotland. The bride and groom decided that Annabelle’s gay younger brother would share the best man duties with Declan. Declan had never met the kid who was to be his joint best man. Sam Aiken was abroad, working as an interpreter and finishing his studies. He wouldn’t meet Declan until a few days before the wedding, so the best men communicated and planned their speech by email for more than a year.
But on meeting Sam Aiken, Declan is surprised to realize the kid isn’t a kid at all, but a tall, blond, and athletic young man. Declan is sure he’s straight, so he’s alarmed by the ferocious attraction he feels for Sam. And as the attraction is reciprocated, the events at Dunloch Castle change everything Declan has ever believed about himself.
But, is Samuel Aiken all that he appears to be?
This is the first time I’ve read/listened to anything by this author, and I’ll say it was a very pleasant surprise. What started out as a sweetly romantic romp in a castle, with a wedding, a certain movie theme, duels, survival bracelets, and a speaker of many foreign languages, this book had many things going for it.
Narration – Gary Furlong did a fantastic job pulling me into the story, with the crisp British accent of young Sam, and the deeply earthy Scottish brogue of a bit older Declan as they ready themselves for a wedding between their siblings in a location reminiscent of a far away and romantic movie set. The narrator set the mood, timing and emotions quite well, especially with the accents and delivery of the quotes from ‘that movie’.
Story – The beginning had our two MCs being almost enemies with eye rolls and rudeness in the airport due to a collision between seeming ‘strangers’, then on the plane they end up seated next to each other, and it was funny when you realize, before they do, that they actually already know each other, at least electronically. It was nice foreshadowing with the reminiscing of an email exchange for the past year, and both characters enjoying the others’ personality without ever having met.
So they were attracted to each other as friends before ever having seen each other in person. This helps lay the groundwork for what could’ve been deemed as insta-love for 1 week of hot and heavy sex in a romantic castle with family and friends.
Declan, well, for a formerly ‘straight’ man, he had very little angsty moments over his attraction to a man after many unsuccessful attempts at trying to have relationships with women. I like that he just kind of took it all in stride, allowing himself to be happy he finally was ‘feeling’ and enjoying himself, no matter the sex of his lover.
And Sam. For a 23-yr-old joyous, extroverted and downright charming gay man, he had loads of surprises up his sleeve! Fluid in at least 10 foreign languages, having climbed 3 of the top ten highest summits in the world, and able to maim with deadly force, I found myself wanting to know more about him! Of the two, I found him to be the more likable character.
There were some fun times had by all in kilts, gag underwear, leather laces, and a mirror. I greatly enjoyed the cool AND cheesy lines they quipped from ‘that princess movie’, and the stunts they pulled and the fun they had made this first book a great introduction to what I’m hoping will be an exciting series.
I experienced a bit of head-hopping and unexpected POV changes, but after awhile I got used to it and just went with the flow. The last few minutes/chapter of the book bring more questions than answers, and make you definitely want to get the next book immediately.. HFN, with more questions than answers! Highly recommended, and can hardly wait to dig in to the next one. Escapism, pure and simple.
(The movie in question is definitely one of my favorites, and the plot line weaved itself rather well throughout this one *grins*)
9/10 pots of gold equivalent to 90% recommended or 4.5 of 5 stars
NOTE: This week is New To Me Author week so I thought this would be a perfect book for that.
Narration – Oh my goodness I am a sucker for men with accents, so much so my Siri is a male with the Australian accent. I have not listened to Gary Furlong before but I must say that I will be looking for more books that he narrates. He easily pulls off both the British and Scottish accents, and that made the listening experience so much more enjoyable.
Story – Well I didn’t see that coming. Here I was going along about a third of the way in thinking, ok this is a typical gay man meets straight man thats not so straight. Then stuff happened at work and in real life, so I put it on the back burner thinking I was just getting a sweet, fluffy, feel good book, it can wait a while. And you know what I am kind of glad I waited, because if I had continued when work and life was crazy I would have missed a lot and not truly enjoyed it.
I immediately loved Sam, but I was intrigued by Declan, there was just something about his gruff exterior that drew me in. I wanted to know more about him. He and Sam had been emailing each other back and forth for a while before the wedding getting to know each other and planning their duties as best men. You see Sam is his sister’s best man and Delcan is his brother’s best men. I just LOVED this idea so much, because it show the tight bond they each have with their sibling.
So while they had been communicating prior to the wedding getting to know each other, they meet in person for the first time in the airport. Man it did not go well to say the least. While Declan knows that Sam is gay, he has a strong pull towards him. But he has always been straight, so this attraction for Sam is a bit unnerving for him. This is where I was afraid that Declan was going to cause a big issue about his feelings for Sam, but I was pleasantly surprised when he took it in stride and accepted that he was falling for a man.
Here is where my comment above about not seeing that coming comes from. I am almost done and I’m really enjoying these two and watching them, then Sam says his father is sending him to yet another country for work, even though he was promised that his last trip would be his last. Sam leaves and Declan goes home, and here I am waiting, for Sam to make some huge declaration about how he loves Declan and can’t stand to be away from him. Well that kinda happens, and I’m all excited for the HEA and BAM, Sam drops a bomb on Declan that knocked me on my back side. Then it’s over. Wait. What? NOOOOOOOO, I need more. Well luckily it follows them in book two, which I plan on getting right away.
I highly recommend this book, I see that it is the beginning of a very thrilling ride. Oh and the movie reference is only a huge reason to get this book, lol.
This is the first time I have listened or read anything by this author, so it is perfect for new authors week. But after listening to this book, I know I will be reading more from her for sure.
Narration – I have listened to one other book narrated by Gary Furlong before, and I remember liking his voice. In this book, I was really impressed by the accents he is able to produce for the characters. Scottish and British accents are mostly present in this book, but I know he can do others as well. I would not be able to tell what country he lives in or which is his real accent because he does them so well. I will definitely be looking for more books narrated by him.
Story – When I started listening to this audiobook I thought that I was getting a cutesy romance between two men who meet at a wedding. To be fair it is partially that. Declan and Sam started a friendship through emails while helping to plan their sibling’ marriage to each other. When they meet for the very first time, they don’t know each other by looks and things kind of get off on the wrong foot. Declan’s bad day makes him less than kind to the shaggy-haired stranger. It is a lesson that you should treat people nicely because you never know if you will meet again or what the circumstances might be. Sam is easy going and doesn’t let the bad attitude get to him. The two men are as different as night and day. Declan is high strung and Sam is relaxed.
I have to say from the beginning I liked Sam better than Declan because he is just more likable. He is also smart, and adventurous. Declan does grow on me as he figures out his sexuality and learns to ease up, in the arms of Sam. Their romance is sweet as the two characters both love the movie, The Princess Bride. The title of the book hints at it, but the story is full of references to the movie as Declan and Sam talk to each other in movie quotes.I really fell in love with the two of them together. But once the wedding is over they have to go back to their old lives, and though both hope to see each other again, there is a major twist that takes the story to a whole new level. My interest was piqued. I went online after listening to immediately get the second audio, knowing I needed to see where the story will go from the end of this book. Needless to say, I definitely recommend this story, especially the audio version.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art.
The ‘Shatterproof Bond’ series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her eleventh book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The ‘As You Wish’ translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017, and as an audiobook in May 2017.
Isobel’s greatest love is writing M/M relationships, and she hopes one day to actually finish the fantasy novel that she put ‘to rest’ three years ago.