Dana reviews Sweet Thing (Pretty Boy #2) by Isobel Starling. Narrated by Gary Furlong. (Released on audio April 8, 2018. 8 hrs 31 minutes length. Print published by Decent Fellows Press, September 8, 2017, 416 pages) An audio book was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this: I loved this author and narrator combo on the Shatterproof Bond series. I jumped at the chance to listen to this book.
French male model Simeon Duchamp has a lot of explaining to do.
Two years after a breakdown, Simeon is off drugs and booze and wants to stay that way.
On his road to reclaiming his life and modeling career, Sim first needs to apologize to the man he hurt the most – his ex-best friend and object of his unrequited affection Pieter Bayer. Pieter now has a long-term partner, artist Emily Raven, with whom he shares a baby son. Sim is amazed when Pieter accepts his apology, and invites him into his family.
Closeness to Pieter sees Simeon’s longing for his friend is rekindled. But then, when Simeon meets an attractive older man, Bastian Roth at an Art Exhibition, he realizes that there is a soul more broken than his, and Simeon feels compelled to help. Simeon’s connection with the troubled Bastian Roth turns his world upside down. He has to decide whether to allow himself to fall for the man who wants him or pine for the man he can never have.
This book can be heard as a standalone.
The narration: If you haven’t listened to this narrator yet, you definitely should. He performs so many accents in a way that seems flawless to me. I am always impressed by his variation and his ability to emote. Listening to a book narrated by him only enhances the enjoyment of the story.
The story: Sweet Thing is book 2 of a series and can definitely be read as a standalone. The first book is an m/f book, some of Simeon’s backstory seems to take place in it. The author catches us up enough that it doesn’t have to be read first, but I did find myself adding it to my to-read list.
Simeon is kind of a broken character. He is on the mend after rehab and counseling for drug and alcohol addictions. His addictive personality disorder isn’t something that will go away so it’s a constant struggle to stay away from his former vices. And not to form new ones. He finds himself having to apologize to his very best friend Pieter, who he hurt in book one. There is such a history that is glossed over in this book, but you can feel their bond. Hence my wanting to read book one. Through Pieter and his wife, Simeon meets Bastien.
Bastien is broken also. Pieter and Emily encourage the relationship between Simeon and Bastien, thinking that two broken men can help each other. It’s debatable if that is a good idea, but their intentions are good. Bastien’s problems are with intimacy and while Simeon is able to help, Bastien is also dealing with loss and a lack of closure from his last relationship. He cares for Simeon, no doubt, but he has a lot of issues that don’t allow him to put Simeon first, and things between them hit some rough spots.
There is some angst in this book, but it’s not overly emotional. I felt disappointed at times in both characters. Which means they aren’t too perfect to be real. It’s a love story between broken and flawed men. I enjoyed the story and really liked Pieter and Emily’s place in the book. I’d say they are the most prominent secondary characters and they add to the story. Overall, I would definitely recommend the book, especially the audio version.
9/10 pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
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 and has been translated into French, German, and Italia. The series is also available as audiobooks, narrated by Gary Furlong. Book #1 in the series “As You Wish” was the only M/M Romance finalist in the Romance Category of the Audiobook Reviewer Awards 2018.
“Sweet Thing” is now out as an audiobook, narrated by Gary Furlong.
“Fall Together” and “Sweet Thing” will be translated into French by Reines- Beaux Publishing.
“Silken” is out in German, and will be translated into Italian and French in 2018. The audiobook version is narrated by Gomez Pugh.