Title: Goodbye Paradise (Pay it Forward #1)
Author: Sarina Bowen and Teddy Hamilton (Narrator), Dake Bliss (Narrator)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Release Date: May 9th 2017
Genre(s): M/M New Adult Contemporary Romance
Length: 8 hrs and 1 min
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 4 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Most people called it a cult. But for 20 years, Josh and Caleb called it home. In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farmwork and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.
Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own and a plan to get away – until it all backfires. Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?
Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title In Front of God and Everyone.
This is a romance about two young men who have been raised in a religious cult striking out on their own after one is thrown out (Josh) and one runs away (Caleb).
I’ve owned this book since it was published as In Front of God and Everyone, when I bought it after actually reading It’s Never Over first. But I put it off because….the whole cult thing made me skittish.
The story is actually far less angsty than I thought it would be. It’s low angst, sweet, sexy as hell, and, with the exception of one boneheaded moment from Caleb towards the end, a pretty smooth sail to a lovely HEA. I recommend the story!
As for the narration…for half of it I wasn’t a fan. Allow me to explain. I was hoping because there are two narrators that this would be a “duet” narration. Where each narrator takes certain characters and only voices those characters throughout.
Alas, no. Though this was less muddled than some of the dual narrations I’ve listened to where the narrators trade off by chapter POV, this was different because there are four Parts or “Gospels” according to Josh or Caleb and each narrator voices the entire Part, with all its chapters, of the book.
(So, I could be wrong but I think) Teddy Hamilton voices the parts of the book from Josh’s perspective, and Dake Bliss voices the parts from Caleb’s perspective.
I LOVED Teddy’s narration. It was smooth, he does great character voices, has great pacing, and is a genuine pleasure to listen to.
I was not so much a fan of Dake’s performance. He was stilted, his pacing was off, and his character voices sounded stiff, and sometimes even robotic.
I’m not going to lie, it was jarring for me to go through 38% of the story with Teddy’s smooth tones in my ear, to suddenly be listening to a different actor playing the same parts, and not nearly as well.
Frankly, it lessened my enjoyment of the audiobook.
I just wish if an author, or publisher, cannot afford true “duet” narration that they would just stick to a single narrator.
If Teddy Hamilton had been the only narrator for this I would be giving it 4, possibly 4.5 stars…but having to consider in Dake’s performance and this goes down to 2.5 to 3 stars.
Bottom line – It’s low angst, sweet, sexy as hell with a lovely HEA – I just wish it had been a single (Teddy) narrator.
NOTE: This is the second edition. The title was originally published as In Front of God and Everyone (Pay it Forward #1) by Nealy Wagner, February 18th 2015.