You guys! I found another narrating pair to glom on. *throws streamers*. I love listening to Sebastian York and Andi Arndt but there comes a time when a girl wants to hear someone else in her ears and let’s face it – they can’t narrate ALL the books. I’ve been on a bit of a search to find more narrators to love. In Man Candy I found a winner. Ding ding!
The story is fairly simple and not terribly new or different – but it was well told, with engaging characters and a quirky sense of humour so I was pretty darn happy with it.
Social media manager Jamie Owens is a happily single 27-year-old living in a house owned by her brother which has been split up into two separate apartments. Jamie lives in the top floor and the ground floor is vacant. Jamie’s brother leases the other apartment to his good friend Quinn Rusek on a short-term basis while Quinn’s new condo is being renovated. Quinn and Jamie have history. When he was 18 and she was 17, she threw herself at him at a party, telling him she loved him. And he laughed at her. She was heartbroken.
Now, Jamie doesn’t believe in love or happily ever after. She loves sex and is happy to have short term (or one night) flings but she’s not looking for a relationship.
After graduation, Quinn found success as a model and has been living in LA enjoying all the rewards of his fame. However, the death of his beloved mother had him rethinking what is truly important in life so he’s moving home to Detroit and going back to college to study to be a teacher.
Because the story is told from both Quinn’s and Jamie’s point of view, the listener knows that Quinn has always had a thing for Jamie and only turned her down 10 years earlier because of the best-friend’s-little-sister thing and other family-type obligations which made Quinn reluctant to go there. Now they’re both older and Quinn has no hesitations about pursuing a relationship with Jamie. He just has to convince her that he – that love – is a good bet.
They have a funny game of “chicken” during the course of the book, including a hilarious evening out when Quinn is excessively mushy to Jamie (something she hates) and the first time they kiss is after Quinn finds Jamie hiding in his closet (it’s a long story but worth it). They tease each other good-naturedly and have scorching and adventurous sex. Over time, Jamie finds herself falling for Quinn and that terrifies her. I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to guess what happens next or at the end (it is a romance after all – we know there’s going to be a HEA). But the journey is engaging and the narration is so good, it’s a little delight to listen to.
I’d not heard either Lee Samuels or Brook Bloomingdale narrate anything before. But they’re great. Really. Mr. Samuels doesn’t have as deep a baritone as Sebastian York but he was very pleasing to the ear nonetheless and his female character voices were more than creditable. He also (and perhaps most importantly for a book like this) nailed the humour. Where something could potentially have come across as mean or churlish, his characterisations delivered the underlying affection and caring behind the words.
So too with Ms. Bloomindgale. I was very impressed with her delivery and pacing as well. Jamie is a very sexually straight-forward character. She’s unashamed about her enjoyment of physical pleasure while being quite closed off about emotional intimacy. And Ms. Bloomingdale portrayed that clearly to my ear. I also liked that the other female characters in the story were given distinct voices. Ms. Bloomingdale’s male voices were also good so the narration was pretty much made of win for me.
Both narrators delivered not only the fun and the sexy, they also brought out the pathos within the text as well. There was a time or two when Ms. Bloomingdale had a catch in her voice, that little wobble one gets when she’s trying to keep it together and it was just right.
I hope we get stories about Jamie’s friends Claire, Margot and Elise and I hope I get more audios with this narrator pair. Win.
Book Content: B+
Steam Factor: Glad I had my earbuds in
Violence Rating: None
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Audible Studios
Man Candy was provided to AudioGals by Audible Studios for a review.