• Pura Vida

  • By: Sara Alva
  • Narrated by: Joseph Northton
  • Length: 2 hrs and 23 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-14-15
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Sara Alva
  • 4 out of 5 stars 3.9 (23 ratings)

Regular price: $6.95

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Publisher's Summary

Simon has found himself in an open relationship for the summer - though not by choice. Instead of wallowing, he's decided to make the most of a family vacation to Costa Rica by hooking up with the first hot guy available. The trouble is, he has no clue how to go about doing that.
Luckily, he runs into someone with a little more experience. But when the moments of lust turn into something more, Simon isn't so sure he'll be able to return to his old relationship. And there's no way to hold onto this new one, either, as thousands of miles will separate them in only a few short weeks. Either way, he'll have to learn to let go.
©2013 Sara Alva (P)2015 Sara Alva
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Tams (TTC Books and more) on 10-10-15

Fast, Fun story.

What made the experience of listening to Pura Vida the most enjoyable?

The voices that Northton gave the characters.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters and the story line.

What does Joseph Northton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I haven't read it so I don't know.

If you could rename Pura Vida, what would you call it?

It's perfect already.

Any additional comments?

Pura Vida has a simple English translation but a far more profound meaning to the people of Costa Rica and anyone spending any amount of time in this majestic country. Pura Vida. Pronounced POO-rah VEE-dah, in English means, "Pure Life".

Vacation is supposed to be a happy, relaxed time where you can forget your troubles and just enjoy the peace. But for Simon this vacation is racked with stress, worry and a nosey sister. He and his long term boyfriend are taking a “break” for summer break. Translation: boyfriend wants to be able to screw anything in a pair of pants and not feel guilty about it. Simon sits on the beach soaking up the sun and drinking margaritas while mentally lining up all the possibilities that surround him. The one that catches his attention turns out to be a local with a lot of character.

Juan sells bags, sunglasses and hats around town and down the beach by day. But at night he camps out at a local reserve for turtles. He watches the sea turtles; helps protect them and their eggs from poachers and find their way back to the sea. Simon is intrigued with what it is Juan does with the turtles, even more intrigued with Juan. The two decide to “pass the time” together, both fully aware it is nothing more than that, until feelings grow and hearts get involved.

I really loved the message behind this story, Pura Vida. And I enjoyed the way the romance wove its way around the scenery of Costa Rica, helping to shape and mold both young men, especially Simon. The sea turtles were an odd secondary character, but it worked so well in the storyline. Those turtles are what brought these two unlikely lovers together. There was a little bit of danger added to the mix, giving the story just a little bit of suspense. But overall it is a story about figuring out who you are and who you want to be, then making it happen.

Narrated by Joseph Northton who really brought Simon and Juan to life. Simon was sort of wistful and unsure and that really conveyed will the way he was voiced. Northton did a great job of bringing Juan to life with an authentic accent, especially the way he pronounced Simon’s name. It was a fast, fun read that kept me entertained and engaged from start to finish. My first from this author and this narrator, but I’ll be looking for more from both.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Morgan A Skye on 09-24-15

Amazing accent! Sweet NA story

Simon left school knowing his boyfriend was going to be exploring other relationships, despite his preference for monogamy. So he decides to “explore” a little himself.

He meets Juan on a moonlit walk on a beach. Juan is a local boy who saves baby turtles from poachers. In a moment of braveness they embrace and realize the other is gay. But their relationship can’t work, can it? Juan lives in Costa Rica and Simon has to go back to school in a week…

In the end we get a very nice HFN and we learn a lot about turtle conservation!


So, this book fit into the niche of NA – but read more like a YA with a little bit of sex thrown in. Nothing wrong with it, but I think it would have done better to commit to either making it a bit more sensual or leaving the sex as fade to black.

While I loved the imagery and descriptions of Costa Rica, it at times felt a bit like a travel-log and a bit preachy in regards to the turtles.

I didn’t buy the “long-term” of their relationship and though I was happy for them at the end, I didn’t have a lot of faith that it would really work out. Maybe if the epilogue had been a bit longer with them later in life, I would have bought into it more…


The narrator totally made this story for me. His accent was amazing and he really did well with the emotions and the tone of the story. Listening is the best way to experience this story.

For the book and the audiobook I give it 3.5 of 5 stars.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Mr on 05-15-16

Cute Costa Rican Love Story

This is a short but perfectly formed little love story in the traditional sort of Mills and Boon way with a gay sex twist!

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