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What made the experience of listening to Rare the most enjoyable?
The personal growth of both the characters as it was brought to life by Lesley's narration.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Rare?
The last sentence, when Pete is able to wrap his arms around Ash from behind, and Ash doesn't flinch or pull away.
Have you listened to any of Michael Lesley’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
No, but I will.
Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?
I cried after Pete's accident when things went south for a little while there. But then, I was so proud of Ash and the way he handled it all, when he easily could have just checked out.
Any additional comments?
Link to Tams review for the e-book version of Slide: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/741288296?book_show_action=false
Link to Tams review for the e-book version of Rare: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/825536352?book_show_action=false
It’s been just over a year since I initially read the story of Ash and Pete. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t blown away with the written version of their story, I didn’t feel a strong connection to the characters at that time. But now, after listening to their story and being introduced to the always chaotic and slightly psychotic lives they lead through the voices they’ve been given, now I’m blown away.
Ashley Fagin, Ash, could give Christian Grey a run for his money in the fucked up department. His mother died when he was still a toddler and for the next dozen or so years Ash was tossed from foster home to foster home, until he finally had enough and ran away. Just a teenager and Ash was homeless and living on the streets. The one thing that brought him solace and quieted the voice of doubt that was stuck on repeat in his head was his art.
That is how he found his best friend Ellie, like souls drawn together by Ash’s street art, Ellie and her family sort of took responsibility for Ash. They moved him into the apartment of a trust worthy and friendly paramedic, got him insurance and helped him get a job at a tattoo parlor to showcase his fantastic Artwork.
Pete Adams loves his job as a paramedic, he loves helping people, but the stress of the job is weighing heavier on his soul with each passing day. Having to keep his sexuality a secret from his co-workers doesn’t help. He is enamored with his new roommate the minute he lays eyes on him, the blonde haired, blue eyed troubled soul, Ash. Pete doesn’t know what misfortune has followed Ash, the guy is as jumpy as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. And yet, Pete falls in love with every awkward, jittery, insane and beautiful aspect of Ash.
While Leigh did an amazing job of conveying the intense and diverse array of emotions in both stories, there was always a disconnect with the characters, the words I was reading and the way I interpreted them in my mind. Now revisiting this story through the narration of Michael Lesley has given me an entirely new perspective to the story. I was completely engrossed within the first five minutes. Lesley quickly found the appropriate tones and nuances for both Pete and Ash and I was swept into their world, their lives for the several days it took me to listen to both novels.
What Lesley did with these stories was chronicled the lives of Pete and Ash as they navigate their often volatile relationship through mental illness, discovering past abuse, feelings of loss, hopelessness and abandonment, and then finally, learning to love and trust in each other, developing a connection and a friendship that allows them to slide past Ash’s fucked up psyche and Pete’s recovery after the accident that almost killed him.
The thing that stood out most to me through these two books and these two characters was the way Ash was standoffish and skiddish about certain types of touch, ways Pete could and couldn’t hold him, things like that. At the start in Slide, Pete couldn’t come up behind Ash, ever! He would freak out to the point of a panic attack. And then slowly as the stories progressed along with their relationship, the love and trust grew, Pete could wrap his arms around Ash from behind and still feel the tension in his shoulders, but Ash learned how to not freak out and pull away. And then the last sentence of Rare, Pete wraps his arms around Ash from behind and kisses his neck. Ash doesn’t flinch, he doesn’t move to pull away, he melts into Pete’s embrace. It is truly a thing of beauty and shows a constant teather throughout the journey these two take together that just gets stronger until it’s to the point, it could never be broken.
This is one of those books/series I’ve mentioned in the past where as a great narrator can take a book you may not have liked so much, and turn it into something spectacular. I highly recommend this series, but I’d grab them on audible if you have the opportunity. The writing is intense and descriptive, I’ll give Leigh that, I just think that Leigh’s writing coupled with Lesley’s narration was the perfect marriage of words written then brought to life.
Be warned though, if you have triggers such as abuse, forced sexual acts, mental disease, then you might want to take the synopsis of these stories into account before reading. I will say that the issues are portrayed as best as they can be given the circumstance, but it is still dark and intense.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
A beautiful story of love conquering all after the darkness! There were moments that literally broke my heart and moments that mended it back together again.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful