Erryn reviews ‘Spencer Cohen (Spencer Cohen Book 3)’ by N.R. Walker. This book was released by the author on April 21, 2016 and is 230 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Joel Leslie, released by Tantor Audio on May 8, 2018 and is 6 hrs and 26 mins long.
Why I read this book: Well, I have to finish the series, right?.
******Check out the giveaway at the bottom of this review for a chance to win an entire autographed set of the Spencer Cohen books courtesy of N.R. Walker.******
Learning to be in a committed relationship has been easy for Spencer. In fact, too easy. Andrew has fit into his life seamlessly. Spencer’s let go of his insecurities and hang-ups, and he and Andrew are enjoying where things are headed. For the first time in years, Spencer’s life is unbelievably perfect.
Andrew overthinks everything. So when Spencer gets a phone call from Australia, he’s certain Spencer will push him away. But instead of driving them apart, maybe it will solidify what they already have. Maybe Spencer will depend on Andrew more than ever. Maybe the Spencer Cohen story will come full circle, and maybe, just maybe, Spencer will have the happily ever after he never thought possible.
Contains mature themes.
Click on the titles to read the reviews for the previous books in the series.
Being the adventurous soul I am, I listened to the entire Spencer Cohen series in less than a week (4 days, to be precise). Each of the first three books are around 6-7 hours, which is a perfect way to pass a day. (Book 4 is different, but read tomorrow’s review to find out how.) I did, however, need to take copious notes. Firstly, because the books flow so seamlessly from one book to the next, and secondly, because I wanted to try to capture some of the pain, joy, and humour in these books.
Book 3 begins with Andrew’s co-worker Michelle (Shell) and her girlfriend Wendy coming to Emilio’s tattoo shop. I loved that Andrew was happy to show off Spencer and prove he actually has a boyfriend and a really good excuse for why he’s been grinning like a loon for weeks.
As tattoos played a major role in the first two books, (Spencer DOES have two full sleeves AND lives above a tattoo shop owned by his landlords who happen to also be dear friends…) they are central to this book as well.
Spencer dares (or asks, depending on your perspective) Andrew to draw him the perfect tattoo that Emilio can put on Spencer. Andrew balks, of course. A small one? Sure, he can come up with something simple that he feels represents Spence, but something elaborate? Something permanent? Yeah, even I wondered if he could pull that off.
Since Spencer and Andrew did – eventually – consummate their relationship in the last book, there are some truly sexy times afoot in this story. Whereas Spencer calls Andrew, “Bossy Andrew’ with true affection, Andrew’s demons come out.
“I’m a perfectionist, but not perfect.”
“Don’t ever censor yourself. Don’t ever change…you are perfect.”
“I am not.”
“You are for me.”
Spencer also has a new client, and again, I loved that Andrew was (relatively) understanding and not (overly) jealous. Peter, the new client, is nicknamed ‘Stuffy Old Guy’. Unlike Wanker Lance (Yanni’s abusive ex-boyfriend from the last book), I didn’t find Peter’s moniker suited him. He’s not stuffy. (Or old, because he’s younger than me, for Pete’s sake, and I’m not that old…am I?) But Peter has a thing for twinks and so hires Spence to see if there is any hope for a second chance with his ex, Duncan.
Now, I try not to judge others and their relationship choices. One of my favourite books (Julie Bozza’s ‘The Apothecary’s Garden’) had a 40-year age gap and yet it worked. For those two men, in THAT book, it worked.
In real life, I know several couples with significant age gaps and I tell myself it is their business, not mine. Who knows why they are together or what makes them happy?
Still, I could understand Duncan, an apparently quite immature man in his early twenties, not wanting to settle down with a perceived ‘old’ man who is in his early forties and prefers a night in rather than partying at the latest nightclub.
As always, it is Spencer who has to deliver the reality check and his genuine care for Peter’s well-being reminded me why I love him so much. And Peter? He has a story, I know, but his willingness to invite Spencer’s Andrew and a friend of theirs to join his pity party, gave me hope he would soon move on. His kindness to the group despite his heartbreak gave me the notion that I hadn’t seen the last of him, unlike Wanker Lance.
And, in fact, when Andrew and Spencer invite their combined friends to a Universal Studios tour, Peter, and even the very fragile Yanni, join in. Again, this is real life – with a couple trying to fit together like pieces of a puzzle by integrating their friends. These moments may be ordinary, but are so powerful because this is often the basis of successful relationships.
Ordinary is good because things get kind of crazy from there. A health scare precipitates a visit to the emergency department and is so serious it requires a stay in the hospital. Fortunately, Helen and Alan Landon (Andrew’s parents) are, uh, good actors and quick on their feet, ensuring Andrew and Spencer aren’t separated.
Have I said how much I LOVE Andrew’s parents?
Upon returning home, Spencer checks his voice mail messages. Since it’s in the synopsis, I’m not giving anything away by saying Spencer has to go back to Australia. Although I guessed some of the plot points ahead of their revelation, I was still dragged through the emotional wringer.
And when Andrew went out of his way to find the ‘perfect’ way for Spencer and his L.A. crew to honour Spencer’s reason for the trip, I was bawling. Yep, sobbing. Thanks, N.R. Remind me to keep the tissues close. And when Spencer realizes ‘this is what a family is’? Well, I pretty much lost it.
And that was only the beginning of the tears, so consider yourself forewarned. That being said, every moment was genuine. My emotions were not purposely being manipulated because what Spencer goes through is the reality for so many children who have been disowned by their parents – whether because they are gay or for other reasons. It hit a little close to home for me.
But there are moments, like in the hotel after a particularly poignant and painful moment when Andrew and Spencer are discussing the ‘Cockness Monster’ and I was able to find an even keel for my reeling emotions. Eventually, Andrew and Spencer head back to L.A. or ‘home’. On the flight, Andrew can’t sleep and he draws the tattoo for Spencer on the back of an airline safety manual. (See? Those things are good for something.) Andrew asserts, “It’s not perfect,” but Spencer counters “it’s perfect for me”.
And it is.
I could never have guessed what the tattoo was going to be (but after having spent about eighteen hours with these guys, I was willing to try). I wasn’t close, but the choice was brilliant and I’m hoping there is an artist out there who will create a rendering (if it hasn’t already been done).
After these books, I seriously (okay, maybe seriously is a strong word) considered getting a tattoo. I loved how Spencer’s life could be told through his tats. Just as I loved how Andrew’s love for Spencer came through in his choices of music for Spencer. And I STILL need to find Jeff Buckley’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah.
The book ended as perfectly as it could and I was left without an iota of doubt that these two amazing men belong together.
Yet again, how many great things can I say about Joel Leslie’s narration? From Spencer’s Aussie to Emilo’s Latino to Andrew’s California to Helen Landon’s elegant aging actress, he hit every single note – every single character – perfectly.
I love N.R. and I love Joel. Together, they create magic in the form of a story. Reading the books is wonderful, but hearing Joel interpret them is a special treat.
Andrew: “9 inches”
Spencer: “Have you measured?”
Happily ever after.
(And there is one more book! Andrew and Spencer are part of Book 4 in the series, ‘Yanni’s Story’.)
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who she gives them life with words.
She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love. She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.
She’s been writing ever since…
Comment on this post for the chance to win the entire Spencer Cohen set (4 books) provided and autographed by N.R. Walker
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This giveaway ends on July 15, 2018 at 11:59 PM CST. GOOD LUCK!