Erryn reviews ‘Before the Call’ by Emma Alcott. This book was released on January 27, 2020, and is 346 pgs long. The audiobook version of this story was released March 13, 2020 narrated by Michael Ferraiuolo and is 9 hrs and 37 mins. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I enjoyed the first story and was glad to nab the second.
Rule #1 Don’t fall for the ridiculously hot straight guy
Rule #2 Especially not if he’s your best friend
Rule #3 Extra-especially not when you’re supposed to be his private tutor
Rule #4 Oh, god, but those eyes
Rule #5 Okay, maybe eyes are fine if you don’t look south
Rule #6 Don’t look south
Rule #7 You looked south, didn’t you?
Rule #8 Are you even listening?
Gabe Mitchell isn’t listening. What’s worse, ever since he moved back to the small town he thought he’d left for good, he’s turned into a habitual rule breaker.
Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers? Check.
Falling for his straight best friend, Clark Summers, who also happens to be his newest mature student? Check.
And don’t you dare get him started about what’s going on down south, because Gabe doesn’t need to check that to know he’s in deep.
It’s a good thing Clark’s missed him these last four years, and a better thing that he’s willing to do whatever it takes to have Gabe back in his life, because rules are about to be broken. All of them. And Clark’s only rule? The one about being straight? It might just end up broken, too.
Before the Call is the second book in the Small Town Hearts series, which features heroes scattered across the rural United States who find love where they’re least expecting it. In addition to friendship that turns red-hot, you can expect to find generous servings of vanilla ice cream that are anything but vanilla, interesting “tutoring” techniques, a nerd who’s head over heels for the best friend he can’t have, and a jock who loves his Dork even after years apart.
I enjoyed the novel After the Crash so when I saw Ms. Alcott was releasing another book, I leapt at the chance to listen to it. This time she used Michael Ferraiuolo as her narrator. I adore Michael and have high expectations when I listen to his performances. He was as good as I expected, and I especially adored his high school teenagers – male and female. The contemptuous and entitled note was perfect. Reminded me of all the twits I had to deal with back then. Of course his great performance was because he had a great text to work with.
I’m gong to repeat what I said about the last book – don’t pay too much attention to the blurb. I hope listeners aren’t put off (I find them confusing, although maybe it’s just me). Basically this is a gay-for-you first-time best-friend-to-lovers book. There are plenty of tropes in those nine and a half hours, but it worked.
Gabe escaped his small town in for two reasons. He was gay and he was in love with his straight best friend. Since he could do nothing about either of those things, he left Missouri and headed to the left coast. Portland, Oregon would be far enough away, right? Yeah, except his crush on his bestie never really went away and upon graduating with a teaching degree, the only job he could find was in his old hometown. He knows teaching math in a town where kids either get out or go to work in the lead mine will be a challenge, but he’s up for it. And if that means he runs into Clark and they take up where the friendship left off, that’ll be okay, right?
Of course there are tons of complications. Like Gabe is teaching Devin, Clark’s younger brother. Or the men’s best friend Peyton and her nosy ways. Or Clark’s many many many younger siblings. Throw in a little dash of crime, meddling old biddies, and you’re set for what turned out to be a very enjoyable book. I loved how the getting together of the two men in a romantic way was almost accidental, but man did I cheer. I wanted Gabe and Clark to find their happily ever after and although there was drama, it didn’t much center around them. It was like their coming together made everything bearable. Made everything right.
I’m hoping there are more books in the series and I hope they are narrated by Michael. Well done.
10/10 Pots of Gold (100% Recommended) – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Should you ever find yourself traveling down the gravel street of a quiet forest community in the Midwest, you may come across Emma Alcott—suburbanite by birth, but small-towner by choice. Emma loves all things doctors say you should only enjoy in moderation, writing the stories of her heart, and traveling. Once upon a time, she fell in love with a man from another country and moved mountains in order to be with him. They’ve now been married for half a decade and have far too many fur-children. Seriously. Do you want a dog?