Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Macarons at Midnight
Authors: M.J. O’Shea and Anna Martin
Narrator: John-Paul Barrell
Series: Just Desserts #1
Heroes: Tristan Green/Henry Livingston
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 7 hours, 50 minutes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: November 25, 2015
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Tristan Green left his small English town for Manhattan and a job at a high profile ad agency, but can’t seem to find his bearings. He spends a lot of time working late at night, eating and sleeping alone, and even more time meandering around his neighborhood staring into the darkened windows of shops. One night when he’s feeling really low, he wanders by a beautiful little bakery with the lights still on. The baker invites him in, and some time during that night Tristan realizes it’s the first time he’s really smiled in months.
Henry Livingston has always been the odd duck, the black sheep, the baker in an old money family where pedigree is everything and quirky personalities are hidden behind dry martinis and thick upper east side townhouse facades. Henry is drawn to Tristan’s easy country charm, dry English wit, and everything that is so different from Henry’s world.
Their new romance is all buttercream frosting and sugared violets until Tristan’s need to fit in at work makes him do something he desperately wishes he could undo. Tristan has to prove to Henry that he can be trusted again before they can indulge in the sweet stuff they’re both craving.
Review – Book: Henry is a laid back baker who comes from money but wants a different life for himself. Tristan is a rather uptight Englishman who had to work for his money but who hates his job and where he’s at in life. They meet over sweets and start a slow burn romance. Tristan eventually knows who Henry is but it’s Henry that wins Tristan over, not his money.
Tristan knows it’s getting serious when Henry takes him home to meet his very rich family. Henry knows that since Tristan can’t “do” anything for his family they won’t approve, but he’s fallen in love and he doesn’t care. Of course, this lands Tristan in a spot at work where “he just can’t say no” and it all goes south.
Henry finds out and there is a BIG MISUNDERSTANDING and… eventually it works out for a lovely (if rushed) HFN/HEA.
There are parts of this book that really worked for me and parts that didn’t (and if I hadn’t read the story first, I would be really mad if I’d only had the audiobook to experience.)
I loved that it was two quiet/nerdy guys. The love between these guys develops slowly and sweetly – like the recipes in the book – and it’s a nice gentle “getting to know you” kind of romance. There’s not a lot of steam, but lots of feels and a low hum of sexual tension. In fact, it took til 33% in for them to kiss and 75% for them to have sex… but it works. At this point, I was expecting a lovely little crest into eternal happiness but that doesn’t happen. Instead…
BAM – there’s this BIG MISUNDERSTANDING and then they’re broken up. (The misunderstanding is really silly and one of those things where if they just talked to each other it would have been nothing, and since they love each other already, it seems like they would have no problem discussing things.) Of course, they eventually get back together again, but it was a very rushed ending and left a bad taste in my mouth.
I get that there needed to be a little “something” here at the end to give it a climactic finish, but this didn’t seem to fit the rest of the story. I think there was plenty of stuff just between Henry and his family to give enough “friction” that this misunderstanding didn’t need to happen.
Review – Audio: So – I had these rather mixed feelings about the story before I had the opportunity to listen to it. Sometimes, I’m won over by an audiobook in a way that makes it even better than reading the book – a good narration can do that. This is not the case here. This is a terrible narration. Seriously.
John-Paul Barrel’s reading voice here is monotonous, nasal and flat, and his English accent is horrible.
I’m sorry to say that I cannot recommend this narration at all. I love the two authors, and I thought the story was good, I’ve listened to this narrator before do a fair job, but this narration doesn’t work on any level.
I hate to do it, but I give this 2 of 5 stars for the narration. (I’d give the story 3.5 of 5 stars, but the narration is just not good.)
Overall Impression: It was okay, but not good
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*