Mini Reviews of Noah by Melody Anne + The Secret One by Ruth Cardello ~with audio review

Two romance series I follow, two mini reviews. One wasn’t all that great though…

Salt-of-the-earth navy veteran Noah Anderson is just starting to understand what it means to be exceedingly wealthy. Since he and his four brothers received a huge payout from their long-lost billionaire uncle, they’ve been hard at work building a new veterans center—and hard at play with the lovely ladies in their lives.

Noah, in charge of designing the center, has been mostly focused on work. However, coarchitect Sarah Jennings commands more of his attention all the time. Sparks fly whenever they’re together, but she’s wary—even afraid—of love, and Noah isn’t the biggest fan of commitment.

When they reach a creative roadblock, Noah and Sarah decide to jet across the United States and study the buildings that most influence them. The trip quickly inspires more than just a love of architecture, and with a little help from Uncle Joseph, the reluctant couple gets ever closer to discovering what they’re really looking for.

Audiobook: Teri Clark Linden once again shines in her narration of this novel. She’s definitely one of my favourite narrators! She’s able to deliver excellent variation in her voices for the female characters. Her male voices are distinct from the female and she’s even able to achieve a decent level of differentiation between Noah and his brothers (and there are quite a few of them). The audio production quality is high and I noticed no blips.

The Story: As much as I love Teri’s narration, the story itself fell flat for me. I’ve loved Melody Anne’s books in the past, including the various Anderson spin off series but this one really isn’t doing it. Book 1, Finn, wasn’t great but I wanted to give the series the benefit of the doubt. Book 2, Noah, is even more disappointing

The characters are perhaps too one dimensional. Where’s the real back story? What about Sarah’s family? Why is she so committed to this job? There were constant allusions to her having ‘issues’ in her past yet nothing was ever revealed. Seemed a bit lazy on the author’s part to insinuate there was a reason but then never explore it. What is their challenge? I felt no interest in them individually or as a couple. The chemistry was okay but I wasn’t interested.

I was still going to give 3 stars as I really do like the Anderson books, overall, but then the ending involved a sobbing Sarah because Noah had to go away for work for a few weeks; and despite being oh so in love, their relationship couldn’t survive a separation. Oh, pul-lease. And this is the reaction from someone who is overly forgiving of cheesy romance stories.

Sorry. This one totally missed the mark for me. I give it 2.5 lukewarm espresso shots.

When Christof meets a beautiful mechanic on the side of the road, he knows they’re meant to be. His family, however, needs him and his mediation skills in Italy, where decades of secrets and betrayal could cost them everything. His mother is convinced a fiancée would help smooth things over. But he’d be nuts to ask a woman he just met to participate in such a farce.

Men always find something about McKenna they want to change – her independence, her success, the grease that clings to her after a satisfying day in the garage. So when she starts falling for a handsome billionaire, she doesn’t believe it will last. Their engagement is fake, but the sparks that fly when they’re together are too real to resist.

If Christof and McKenna trust themselves and each other, Italy will jump-start a love as intimate as it is intense. If not…their relationship isn’t the only one on the line.

Available on Amazon and through Kindle Unlimited with audio included.

Audiobook: Teddy Hamilton are Lidia Dornet the narrators. I love the male and female voices to deliver the chapters told from the respective perspectives. Lidia Dornet does a good job of differentiating between various female voices and ages. The male voices are fairly well done, even if lacking in quality differentiation. Teddy Hamilton has a great voice, perfect for a romance novel. He gets good differentiation for his male characters but not so much for the female. Overall, excellent quality production by Brilliance Audio with no noticeable blips.

The Story: Such a feel-good romance. I enjoyed every minute of it… cheese and all! The two main characters are fun to read. He’s a wealthy charmer, who loves his family ferociously and is looking to settle down. She’s fiercely independent and wondering if it’s time to finally let someone in to see the real woman behind the brilliant mechanic. Their pretend engagement takes them to Italy where readers are treated to the sights, tastes and crazy family antics that make this story come alive.

I enjoyed that both characters, while admittedly never fully explored, reveal different aspects of their personalities and readers see each of them interact in their own zones, with their families and then together as a couple.

This series is a spin-off from another Ruth Cardello series and we once again encounter Dominic Corisi. He’s the thread that ties the series together and regular readers of Ruth Cardello’s novels will be delighted by the cameo appearances of past main characters. There’s even an intriguing segue into a new series.

I give The Secret One 4/5 espresso shots.

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