Javier Torres was a sweet, plump, and very unpopular child. But over the years, he turned himself into a gorgeous gym god. The problem is he's also become an egotistical snob. But one day his arrogance pisses off the wrong little old lady, and he wakes up to find that, like the Prince in Beauty and the Beast, he's been transformed into something from his personal nightmares. Javier has nowhere to go but back home, where to his surprise, he is greeted with open arms, not just by the family he remembers, but by his new brother-in-law, Cole. Cole suspects there might be a pretty heart to go with the pretty face locked inside that new body, but has Javier learned enough to earn Cole - instead of coal - for Christmas?
©2011 B G Thomas (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press
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"The Beauty Within..."
A story about never forgetting where you come from or else a mysterious gray-haired older lady will make you remember. A play on a Christmas Carol, Javier must realize what he has become and remember who and what he use to be. During this journey, Javier learns that those whom he thought were important were not and those forgotten were indeed important parts of who he was. An enjoyable tale that I recommend...
"I want Cole in MY Stocking!"
One of the best. Short, sweet and perfect for the season.
Definitely Javier, he grows and learns so much in just a few hours of content.
I think this audible was the first time I've heard Morey actually whine, but it was perfect for this story.
Javier Torres went from an isolated, over weight and insecure teenager to a conceited, self absorbed and condescending adult. Somewhere along the way, Javier forgot what it was like to be the one who was picked on, ridiculed and ostracized because of his appearance and sexual preference. Enter one lovely little old woman with silver hair and a stunning smile to remind him.
When Javier wakes up in the body he thought he left behind and his partner jets off to vacation without him, he is left alone and confused just days before Christmas. A cup of coffee in the mall and a random message scrawled on the table send Javier back to the place he couldn’t get away from fast enough a decade ago, home.
In a twist on the It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Carol stories, Thomas takes a man that lost sight of what’s important, and shows him that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. In an effort to hide the pain of his past Javier re made himself only to turn into the type of person that sent him away in the first place. When the tables are once again turned and he heads back home, he is embraced, to spite his appearance.
I really enjoyed the moral of this story and how Thomas explored such a wide array of emotions in such a short amount of time. Add to that the voice of Paul Morey and his ability to stretch himself into a multitude of characters from one breath to the next. I don’t think I’ve ever heard him actually whine before though, and it was so perfect for Javier when he is at his lowest point. Javier learns through pain and disappointment what is truly important. The good thing is, it’s not too late for him to have a chance at happiness. And for the first time ever, someone WANTS Cole in their stocking!
"This is a sweet melancholic holiday romance"
Cal is going home for Christmas. He’s part of a huge family and though his parents are very liberal, he worries about coming out to them, but this is the year he plans to finally come clean. He’s invited his “roommate” (his boyfriend) to share the holiday as well.
Philip is the perfect boyfriend. Supportive. Loving. Understanding. Loyal. He wants to be part of Cal’s family, yet he doesn’t pressure him into telling them, but he’s hopeful.
Most of this short Christmas story is about Cal facing his family and their surprise announcement that his parents are selling his childhood home. He has to face what “home” really means and determine just who he is and what “family” means to him. He has to finally grow up.
Philip is nothing but supportive, and when he shows up he’s embraced with open arms. He’s shown the crazy life Cal had, being one of seven children, and falls in love with the madness.
When push comes to shove, it turns out Cal needn’t have worried, the family accepted his announcement with grace and Philip rewards Cal’s courage with an important question of his own.
Though this had romantic elements, it wasn’t your typical romance. Cal and Philip are a solid couple and there really isn’t any issue there. Mostly, Cal just needs to face the final hurdle and claim his adult-self, free from his family, free from his childhood home, and embrace who he is, as a man and as an artist.
I really enjoyed this story. It was almost a “coming of age” in that, at 26, Cal still needed to cut the apron strings of parental expectations. Though he had lived on his own for years, he still pictured himself as the boy who lived in the house where he grew up.
When he learned that childhood home was going to be sold, he had to face the fact that he was no longer that child. He needed to make the leap and “confess” his sexuality and face the fact that the art he wanted to do wasn’t the typical portraiture his family thought, but instead more body forms and creative, less “reliable”. He wants to travel the world with Philip and take photos. This does not lend itself well to becoming a father.
His biggest hang-up was that he worried his mother would bemoan the loss of grandkids, because though adoption, surrogacy, etc. is an option, he and Philip really didn’t want kids. This is ridiculous, given that he has 6 other siblings, some of who already have kids, to provide the needed grandchildren.
In the end, it was touching and sweet. Sort of a melancholy look at growing up and letting go, but hopeful and exciting, too.
I give the book 4 of 5 stars
Paul Morey, a favorite in this genre, did another really nice job with the narration. My only problem was Philip. He was supposed to be British, but the accent was definitely more Scottish or vaguely Irish. It’s a small thing, but it sort of bugged me.
The rest of the voices were nice, nothing too dramatic or exciting, but easy to understand and it was easy to lose yourself in the story.
I give the narration a 3.5 of 5 stars.
Overall, I’ll round it back up to 4 of 5 stars because it really was a nice listening experience and I enjoyed the story.
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