Reviewed by Morgan
Title: Never a Hero
Author: Marie Sexton
Narrator: Iggy Toma
Series: Tucker Springs #5
Heroes: Owen Meade/Nick Reynolds
Genre: MM Contemporary
Length: 4 Hours, 54 Minutes
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Release Date: April 29, 2016
Available at: Amazon, Audible and iTunes
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Everyone deserves a hero.
Owen Meade is desperately in need of a hero. Raised by a mother who made him ashamed of his stutter, his sexual orientation, and his congenitally amputated arm, Owen lives like a hermit in his Tucker Springs apartment. But then hunky veterinarian Nick Reynolds moves in downstairs.
Nick is sexy and confident, and makes Owen comfortable with himself in a way nobody ever has. He also introduces Owen to his firecracker of a little sister, who was born with a similar congenital amputation but never let it stand in her way. When she signs the two of them up for piano lessons—and insists that they play together in a recital—Owen can’t find a way to say no. Especially since it gives him a good excuse to spend more time with Nick.
Owen knows he’s falling hard for his neighbor, but every time he gets close, Nick inexplicably pulls away. Battling his mother’s scorn and Nick’s secrets, Owen soon realizes that instead of waiting for a hero, it’s time to be one—for himself and for Nick.
Review – Book: Owen has one shortened arm – since birth – and in his mind it defines who he is and prevents him from ever “being the hero”. He also has a stutter and is very socially anxious. When the new neighbor moves in below him, he knows his denial about his sexuality won’t stand in the face of his attraction to Nick.
Nick is everything Owen isn’t – on the surface. Though Nick is attracted to Owen, he keeps giving off mixed signals. Eventually Owen confronts him about this and thus starts their on again/off again relationship.
Without giving any spoilers Nick is hiding something, and this keeps him from being with Owen or anybody else. His guilt is extreme and being lonely is one way he punishes himself.
Eventually both men exorcise their demons (to an extent) and we get a HFN.
The Tucker Springs series is full of some heavy subjects. Every book seems to have a big “issue” that gets discussed/overcome/explained away/etcetera. For Nick, his guilt is his issue, and for Owen, his lack of self-confidence.
I think that I’m in the minority when I say that this was my least favorite book in the series. I know many others really loved and bonded with these guys, but to me they never felt as authentic as the characters in the other books.
While I loved some of the unique twists and turns in this story (*** small spoiler warning – Owen TOPS! ***) and things that come about that you wouldn’t expect – I was disappointed in the way Nick’s “issue” is handled.
On the other side of the coin – I loved how Owen’s “issue” is handled. The metaphor of the hero, the references to “lending a hand”, the use of the piano as a tool to let him do something he dreamed he’d never do… these were all wonderfully creative and well done. In fact, they were so well done that it made Nick look even more whiny, and I didn’t like his character nearly enough for Owen. As a result, my lack of affection for Nick colored my enjoyment of the whole story.
I think Marie is an excellent writer and this was a compelling story, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by the “feels” this couple invoked.
Impression – Book: I liked it
Review – Audio: Iggy Toma is very easy to listen to. There are no sound issues or consistency problems, and he’s good with emotion and pacing. He didn’t do a lot to differentiate voices, but it was always clear who was speaking. But, I don’t think he added in the extra flair that I’ve seen in other narrations – the acting, if you will. When delivering a groaned out bit of dialog, he doesn’t groan, but speaks the line and tells us it was groaned. I miss those extra touches. That being said, it was a good narration, just not superlative.
Impression Audio: I loved it
Overall Impression: I really liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*