Erryn reviews ‘Bouncing Back’ (Cozzi Cove Book 1) by Joe Consentino. The ebook was published March 19, 2016, 232 pages. The audiobook was released January 30, 2018. It is narrated by Chase Johnson and is 7 hrs and 33 mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I was eyeing this series as it came out in ebook, so the chance to listen to the audio was exciting.
On Cozzi Cove at the New Jersey shore, handsome Cal Cozzi’s seven bungalows are open for summer and love.
Mario and Harold are brothers and college students who happen to look alike, but couldn’t be more different: Mario is searching for love, and Harold is searching for lust. Josh and Greg, a wealthy older couple, are matchmakers for their son, Christopher.
When it comes to Connor, the maid, packed with muscles and a roving sponge, anything can happen. Opposites attract as wild Tim with the secret past meets shy Mark, and porn star Chuck Caliber connects with Sean, a virgin romance novelist.
And what will happen when computer-game designer Arthur has a midnight sea rendezvous with a merman? Even married Cal faces an emotional upheaval when a gay bashing turns into something quite unexpected.
What secrets and passions lie in magical Cozzi Cove?
Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back contains adult content suitable for mature readers only.
I loved the premise of this book – a group of seven cabins on the Jersey Shore, LGBT-friendly. This particular week, all seven cabins are filled with an eclectic group of gay men. The operation is overseen by Cal Cozzi, assisted by his able and horny assistant, college student Connor.
While listening, it was hard to keep track of all the new arrivals and I found it easier to write them down. If you can’t, though, no worries. At the end of the first chapter, Connor and Cal review all seven cabins and their inhabitants.
Eclectic is the perfect word for these men and as they form acquaintanceships, friendships, and even romantic relationships, I found depth in these characters.
There were over-the-top moments, such as when the married couple freak out because their son is bringing home Julie (who, for the record, disappears completely without another mention).
The four-way (not in the way you think) between the college students was cringe-worthy. Way over the top in the silliness and miscommunications. I get it – trust is an issue. It got to be a bit much.
Another thing that niggled was how Cal met Michael. Michael shouldn’t have been walking around less than an hour after the ‘incident’. I’m not saying every law enforcement procedure needs to be followed, but the lack of care in applying them was glaring.
Finally, the physical descriptions of the men. Sure, it’s fun to hear every piece of clothing they are wearing – colour and all. It was the physicality of the men. I didn’t count, but I think ‘pectoral’ was used at least 10 times in the first two chapters. I get it – most of the men are buff. I don’t need the constant repetition.
Okay, on to what I loved.
Cal. All is not as it seems, but his desire to create a safe space for his guests is admirable. For him, meeting the young Michael is a turning point, and I love the growth in his character.
The mysterious hunk and Sean the novelist. They both have significant insecurities and huge baggage, and yet they work through it.
I adored Arthur the clumsy trainwreck. Anyone who has stumbled – physically or emotionally – through life – can relate to him. His story was unusual, his happy ending uncertain, but wow, when it came? Blew me away.
Finally, there are Mark and Tim. I don’t want to ruin their story, but by the time Mark is introduced in the first chapter, it is clear what his destiny is. And I’m tearing up now as I write this, even more than a week after listening to it. Be prepared – it’s an emotional wallop and a reminder of the power of love when all else is lost.
Chase Johnson is an amazing narrator. There are more than thirteen male voices and he made each distinct. This was important because there were many, many changes in point-of-view. Without the visual of a page break, it was sometimes difficult to orient myself. The cute transitions when one person saw another and the POV shifted is something I haven’t seen very often.
I went back and forth between a 7 or an 8. 7 because of all the irritations which often pulled me out of the story. In the end, I settled for an 8. Between Mark & Tim’s tale and Cal & Michael’s, there was some great storytelling, and providing so many happy and satisfying endings must have been a challenge.
But I got what I had hoped for – a special romance.
8/10 Points of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 4/5 Stars
Joe Cosentino was voted favorite LGBT mystery, humorous, and contemporary author of the year by the readers of Divine Magazinefor Drama Queen, the first Nicky and Noah mystery (Lethe Press). The other Nicky and Noah mysteries are: Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise,Drama Luau, Drama Detective. He is also the author of the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); the Dreamspinner Press novellas: In My Heart: An Infatuation & A Shooting Star (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention),The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), A Home for the Holidays; and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll,Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married.