Rand O'Malley dreams of superstardom. He hopes to one day sing the blues like a god. Moving to New York City and hiring a new manager are steps to make his dreams a reality. But nothing moves as fast as Rand would like, and everyone has opinions, for example that he should keep certain pieces of himself quiet if he plans on making it in the Big Apple. Like his bisexuality. Will Sanders is a gifted musician who dazzles Rand with his ability to coax gorgeous notes from an electric guitar one moment and play the piano like a professional the next. He's a geek, but Rand isn't concerned about Will's pressed exterior clashing with his tattoos. His focus is music. Yet there's something about Will that makes Rand think there's much more to the quiet college student than he lets on. As Rand's dreams begin to materialize, he's forced to reconsider his priorities and find his own kind of truth. One that might include Will.
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There’s lots to relish about this story. I particularly like single POV narrative, so that was a plus. Rand comes across as a strong character who knows his mind and can stand up for himself and what he wants for his band. For much of the time he oozes confidence and takes control of situations. I like that he is bi and that after he falls for Will he is not seduced or tempted by the viperous Leah.
Will’s character is interesting. He’s an adorably shy geek and a highly talented musician. He’s also a sexy cross-dressing virgin who becomes the bold Billie. When he wears the make-up, wig, fishnet stockings, and high heels he’s transformed, becoming more outgoing and confident. I love how Rand and Will embrace and celebrate this cross-dressing side of his character. In fact, I would have liked this aspect of the story to have been explored more fully. Did Will decide to use the clothes and make-up as a prop to become someone else or was it a reflection of his true self?
‘Love is like a bagel’
“It’s a never ending circle. No two are exactly alike, and best of all they come in many flavors.”
Although both guys are sort of in the closet at the start, their friends and band members soon realize something is going on between them. But for most of the story they have to keep their relationship a secret. I enjoyed the chemistry between Rand and Will, how they spoke to each other, and their explorations into a relationship neither of them had experienced before. There’s lots of banter and fun times for them. I loved how Rand cares and looks out for Will, as well as the sizzling sex scenes.
I was happy with the resolution and ending of the story, although I would have liked more book time spent on the events that were raced through in the epilogue when everything was hunky dory.
There are several aspects of the story I didn’t particularly care for. I couldn’t get my head around the massive student loan Will had racked up and this was a major point of the book. It was all tied into the idea of being ‘bribed’ into going back in the closet and returning home after he’d finished his schooling. I wanted him to stand up to his cliched wicked parents and I grew more frustrated with this ongoing issue. Why not tell them ‘no’ and make his own way in the world with his caring and loving new boyfriend? I didn’t want him to give up his happiness with Rand in New York. Will’s parents and the so-called family friend were hypocrites and their main role in the story was to add conflict and angst.
And Leah and Terry’s only purpose seemed to be to add conflict and ramp up the angst for both Rand and Will. I found Leah especially infuriating. But then she was meant to be. Rand should have told her to take a hike sooner rather than later. All the time I kept telling myself she’d get her comeuppance. I’m still not entirely clear on her motives. What did she want— a famous rock star husband, the money he could potentially earn in the future, or just a route to PR stardom?
Seth Clayton is a relatively new narrator on Audible. He did an excellent job and he has a fine singing voice too. I enjoyed his narration and the pace he set throughout the story. He made each character’s voice distinctive, which seemed to suit their personality. The ‘break up’ scene was superbly narrated by him. I had to go back and listen to it several times, and each time it brought tears to my eyes. This scene in particular shows how much these guys love each other and should be together. I sincerely hope Seth narrates the next story in the series.
- Lily G Blunt "Lily reads, writes, and reviews m/m romance."
5 stars = I freaking LOVED this book!!!
I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.
A Kind of Truth was absolutely fabulous! Rand sums up exactly who he and Will are to each other at the end of the book… “The geek and the rock star wannabe. The loud mouth and the quiet soul who speaks through music.” Fortunately for Will, Rand isn’t the stereotypical rock star who is looking to sleep his way to the top or through the groupies. Nope, once Will inadvertently catches his eye and then accidentally snares Rand completely with his occasional penchant for dressing up, Rand has eyes for no one else. Actually, until Will caught his eye, Rand had eyes for no one at all because he was on a mission to make his band, Spiral, the next big thing in rock and roll. Rand knows himself well enough to know that he has to keep busy and limit distractions if he wants to have any hope of fulfilling his dreams, and nothing compares to the level of distraction that a relationship brings – especially when his bisexuality could be an obstacle on his path to musical fame.
Although Will and Rand are just outside what I consider to be the typical age range for new adult novels, A Kind of Truth has a new adult angsty feel to it. Granted, the more we get to know Rand, the easier it is to understand why – his impulse control is severely hampered. I don’t mean that in a bad way because Rand isn’t malicious about it. Rather, it is more reflective of the exuberance of youth; a leap before you look mentality. While I believe Will is the younger of the two, he’s more cautious about his approach to life – with, as we come to learn, good reason to be so. These are two men who should not work and, based on Rand’s inner musings when they first meet, would not normally work because Will isn’t the kind of guy that Rand is usually drawn too. But their shared love of music provides a much sturdier foundation for a relationship than one would expect. In short, Rand and Will complement one another’s differences beautifully. And while their relationship is fraught with misunderstandings, a partner who does not listen (Rand), a partner who has a hard time making himself heard (Will), and outside forces on both sides set to keep them apart for their own gains, Rand’s impulsive nature and Will’s realization that he deserves to live his life for him, make for a bumpy, yet beautiful ride.
This is the first audiobook I’ve listened to narrated by Seth Clayton and I must say he did a wonderful job. He managed to annoy me perfectly when Rand was being obnoxious. He made me cry when Will gets caught in the crossfire. I laughed when I was meant to and I cringed in the same way. Clayton used little touches that made his performance even more enjoyable by making me feel as though I was listening in on Rand and Will’s life – scenes when a character is talking with his mouth full, spot on “happy drunk” scenes, acapella singing when Rand is moved to perform, and just his overall conveying of Rand and Will’s emotions. I thoroughly enjoyed Clayton’s performance and feel he brought Hayes’s characters and their story to life in a delightful way. A Kind of Truth was an enjoyable audiobook and I look forward to listening to Clayton again bring Hayes’s work to life in the next book in the series, A Kind of Romance.