- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 52 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Riptide Publishing
- Audible.com Release Date: August 28, 2017
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0753K7654
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Caught!: Shamwell Tales Audiobook – Unabridged
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I first read this story when it came out in 2014 and when I saw it is being re-released I knew I had to read it to see how my taste and opinion changed in the past few years. Let me tell you I loved it all over again. Quality writing never loses its value. It is timeless no matter the trend changes and unique styles and a great voice never go out of fashion.
JL Merrow is an absolute master storyteller and I adore her writing style. The way she chooses the voices of her characters, and that light elegance she uses to make us fall in love with them just by reading their thoughts are one of a kind.
Caught is being told from Robert’s first person point of view which gives us a great opportunity to get into his head all we want. I really love his character. His quirky behavior, unique clothing style and his overall being-different-and-I-own-it attitude make this book and this MC unforgettable. The story spoke to me on so many levels and it also deals with important subjects like bisexuality, single parenting, gender behavior and acceptance. Being a teacher myself I always enjoy reading stories about “colleagues”. The portrayal of the school situations, the kids and their different family backgrounds give an extra layer of awesome to the story. That being said, I really miss Sean’s POV. I would have loved to see what he was thinking, but I also understand that this is Robert’s story and is told that way on purpose!
The humor that is woven into every line makes the writing unique and very enjoyable. I was laughing out loud many times and grinning almost all the way.
If you are an old school reader like me you will appreciate the slow, emotional build up, the whole courting process and the wonderful connection between Sean and Robert. There is also just the right amount of conflict to give your heart a workout and make things emotional and exciting.
I am not sure the name choice was intentional in a deeper level but Mr. Emeny has the name that with a bit of ignorance turns into Mr. Enemy in a heartbeat. It might be funny with his second graders but is very telling.
The way Robert’s life turned upside down the same way in a jiffy, we know that people are quick to judge and Mr. Enemy’s past, and the incident that had happened to him a while ago has long lasting effects on his life. Telling or not telling that is the question. Do you share important, possibly life altering information with your new relationship or keep it to yourself hoping it never comes up? But secrets are always revealed sooner or later. And we live with the consequences, the way Robert has to live with his.
What I really enjoyed here is that things are real. The emotions, the conflicts, the friendships, the misunderstandings, even some sex scenes have that natural, little awkward parts at times with clothes in the way while getting undressed… Everything seems lifelike and real… everything has its right place and all of them work in sync to make this story a fantastic reading experience. Highly recommended!
Love Bytes Reviews
The other issue, for me, is that every conversation and thought seemed laden with quips and entendres (ie) in the beginning portions of the story. It took me a while to get into the rhythm of it. It's not that it's British either, as I'm an anglophile at heart and I fully appreciate British authors (Harper Fox anyone?). It just seemed like they (Rob and Rose in particular) never had a normal conversation. Rather than being clever, it was just annoying after a while. I both liked Rose, and was exasperated with her. At times, I asked myself, do people talk like this ALL THE TIME? I know, it's me, but I couldn't help the way I felt as I was reading.
I loved that neither MC had familial issues being gay; bi, in Sean's case. In fact they had full love and support on both sides. I loved the brief glimpse of Peter, Rob's step father, that we get, and how NOT a wicked one he is. Refreshing. I also liked the portrayal of Rob's students and some of their parents. The conversation between Rob & young Charlie's dad was sweet in its way, and not what you'd expect from his dad going by appearances. Destinee's mom was also colorful. These bits were good.
My sort of lackluster/mixed reaction to Rob is really one of personal preference. I'm just not crazy about ditherers, but he was multi-faceted enough to redeem himself to a degree by the end of the story.
Cute story w/ some minor annoyances for this reviewer ;)
Robert could be a bit annoying, what with always second guessing everything, but it's such a part of him as a character that it fits well and makes him endearing (even though I've wanted to shake him a few times). Sean is just a good guy all around, the kind you wish you had in your life at the very least as a friend. The kids are well written, and like KIDS. They're funny and charming and they add something to the story instead of hindering it like it's sometimes the case in M/M. All the SC are fleshed out and have their own voice too.
And I liked the conflict. I could understand both of their position with Sean never quite sure what he should trust and Robert not wanting to tell his secret. Sure it relies on the old misunderstanding trope but it doesn't last for pages and pages either. They do take it upon themselves to talk about it and clear the air. And the secret was well thought, I don't think I read it before so that's always nice.
In the end, I think this might be my favorite Merrow to date. Such a fun story!
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