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What I love about L.A. Witt is that she isn't afraid to try new things. Where most other authors don't want to go there and write a M/M romance with religion in it, L.A. Witt dives right in. In fact, I think she is one of the most fearless authors out there, trying her hand in all sorts of genres, all sorts of pairing, all sorts of genders, all sorts of races, and just going for it!
I've read about two dozen (!!) L.A. Witt books, if you count all of her other pen names, and it is always a mixed bag of good and bad for me. I liked this story, but I really had conflicted feelings about it in the end.
I'll start by talking about the narrator, Charlie David, who is very popular in the world of M/M. Now, I enjoy Charlie David a lot, and I think he does a fabulous job with his emotions and timing while reading, but it drives me UP A WALL when a narrator doesn't change his voice when reading two MCs. It literally makes me crazy. I really, really need my narrator to have very separate voices for both MCs, and really for all side characters too, and I'm not particularly happy with anything less. I found this narration to be a bit frustrating because, while I loved Charlie's acting skills, I had a hard time following who was talking some of the time.
Now, in terms of the plot, this book also has me divided. I'm always interested in reading stories with religion in them because, well, I'm fascinated by really religious people. Some of my closest friends in the past have been orthodox Jews, and I've learned so much about what really believing in something intangible means (interesting lessons for a mostly secular Jew like myself). I personally am friends with three different ministers/rabbis, the two ministers both being lesbians (what are the odds??), and only one of them can I picture dating a non-believer. Mixed religion relationships are very difficult things to navigate, as I know well, having dated a devout Catholic and then marrying an atheist.
Honestly, I had a hard time imaging someone who is a pastor marrying a non-Christian. I really struggled with it. Even if Darren decided that he didn't mind having open discussions with someone who didn't share his beliefs, it is hard to forget that Darren's whole JOB requires him to give sermons and spend lots of time at the church. There are also many holidays to observe, traditions to preform, and speeches to make. It was just unfathomable to me that these two men would be able to be together and not participate in these events as a unit.
My husband is an atheist who was raised Christian, and the only way it has managed to work out so well between us is because he is totally cool with us doing the Jewish holidays and traditions. If my husband really believed that Jesus was his lord and savior and wanted our kids to believe too? Yeah, it would never work between us. It is one of those things that I tried to wrap my brain around in the story, and I'm still not sure if it made total sense to me, even knowing that Darren's religious beliefs are only one facet of his life and not even close to the whole thing.
Much of this book (most, I'd even venture to say), focuses around sex and discussions of religion. Seth and Darren both have baggage from past relationships and past religious experiences, and it was really interesting to read about that, even if it wasn't new ground for me. In terms of sex, these guys had a lot of it, and I thought that scenes were really hot and well done. I liked the chemistry between these two guys, and though I wish I had Darren's POV, I thought that the story was well-told.
This whole review is a jumble of mixed emotions. It was an easy listen, with some good and some not so good, but it made me think so I guess we can call it a win.
**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review**
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Where does Covet Thy Neighbor rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Top 100 (yes I said 100, I'm an audio book fanatic!)
What was one of the most memorable moments of Covet Thy Neighbor?
When Seth finally realizes what he did wrong.
Have you listened to any of Charlie David’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have, he is one of my favorites. He doesn't do a lot of voices and characterization with his narration, he mostly just tells the story. I believe it's his personality and presence that makes him such a great narrator.
Who was the most memorable character of Covet Thy Neighbor and why?
Seth. Lots of personal growth and figuring out what's important.
Any additional comments?
E-book review April 2013<br/><br/>LA Witt is an author who’s work I will grab regardless, I have yet to read a book by this author that I did not like. Witt has a keen eye for details and possess the ability to transform the reader directly into her world. Likeable characters, realistic situations and some of the steamiest sex scenes I’ve ever read!<br/><br/>For those of you that read book 1 in this series, Where Nerves End, you will immediately recognize Seth. The openly gay, laid back tattoo artist hasn’t always had an easy life. Shunned by his fanatical family when he came out to them in college, he had to learn to make his own way in life quickly when all communication and funding for college were abruptly cut off. He has a good life now with a good job, an apartment and a fantastic close knit group of friends. <br/><br/>When sex on a stick Darren moves into the apartment across the hall, the animalistic attraction between the two is instantaneous. Darren wastes no time getting Seth into his bed. When Seth learns that Darren is a minister he immediately withdraws from him. The pain of his past hasn’t faded and he subconsciously groups Darren in the same class with his family. But he can’t stop thinking about the minister with his dark hair and eyes and a dry, witty sense of humor that makes Seth laugh. <br/><br/>Seth tries very hard not to want Darren, but the fact that the two of them can’t be around each other for very long without ending up in bed doesn’t help his flimsy resistance. Unlike Seth, Darren knows exactly what he wants and what he wants is Seth. When Darren approaches the subject of taking their relationship beyond just the bedroom, Seth’s self preservation mode kicks in. Will the harsh words he says create a rift between the pair that can’t be undone? Or will Darren forgive the man he’s fallen in love with, the man that’s also fallen in love with him, but won’t admit it, not even to himself.<br/><br/>The story flows effortlessly and before I knew it I was at the end. The characters are both flawed and carry some pretty serious baggage, but this only makes them more believable and likeable in the end. The sex is sensual, steamy and well conveyed by the author. This is a must read for any M/M fans.<br/><br/>Audio review May 2016<br/><br/>This was already a favorite read of mine, now with Charlie David's narration I love the story just that much more. David is not so much a narrator as a story teller. His changes in tone, nuance and inflection are slight from one character to the next, but he still does a great job of making sure the reader/listener is aware of who's voice they are hearing. Listening to Seth and Darren's story actually brought things to the forefront that I missed when I read the book. The struggle Seth had with his attraction to Darren coupled with his disdain for Darren's profession had more impact when I was listening to their conversations. As I stated 3 years ago after reading the book, these guys are inexplicably drawn to each other to spite their differences, both having some baggage that they automatically bring into the relationship. It's Seth that really has to examine who he is and who he wants to be before the two of them can make a go at it. <br/><br/>Definitely worth the read or the listen, both even. I think that you will get something different from each version as I did, and both are well worth your time. A passionate love story about how opposites not only attract, they can make it work.
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