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Signs of Life

Narrated by: Robert Nieman
Length: 8 hrs and 22 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Summary

Successful lawyer Jeremy Speer has it all - a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a cherished dream that's about to become reality. He's learned not to take happiness for granted, meeting the challenges of life and love head-on with unwavering commitment and fierce devotion. A series of tragic events leaves Jeremy shattered, adrift on a sea of unimaginable pain. He's able to piece his life back together, but instead of embracing it, he merely exists, using isolation and punishing physical exertion to keep the world at bay.

High school teacher Kai Daniels has a heart for at-risk kids - he was one himself, and a teenage brush with the law and some troubled years behind bars left him scarred inside and out. With courage, hard work, and the support of friends, he's built a fulfilling life that leaves no time for a relationship.

An intense encounter with Kai at a gay club ignites a spark in Jeremy that he thought was extinguished forever, but he's unwilling to destroy the fragile peace he's managed to create, and he leaves Kai humiliated and disappointed. Things should have ended there, but a bizarre occurrence brings the two together in a way neither of them expected.

©2015 Melanie Hansen (P)2017 Dreamspinner Press

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Awesome


I loved book one in this series and I'd go as far as saying this one is even better! Again I'm not totally sold on Robert Nieman as a narrator but the overall story is so gripping I just stopped noticing his lack of voice changes in the end.

This book has a very emotional and harrowing start. Jeremy and his husband are trying to cope day by day with Brent's crippling depression whilst also preparing for the imminent arrival of their baby boy via surrogate. In one devastating month Jeremy loses both his husband and his unborn child. This section of the book was exceptionally well written. In audio it had the added depth of hearing the emotion and it really added another layer to the experience.

Kai had a tough life growing up. He made some bad choices and ended up spending a couple of years in Juvie. He's now working as a teacher at a school for children that have failed out of mainstream education and he's so passionate about it. The two first meet on a night out in Portland at a gay club where frankly Jeremy's behaviour was disgusting but thankfully he does realise this straight away.

Their paths cross again back home and thy develop a tentative friendship that with their chemistry eventually leads to more. Jeremy wants to keep Kai firmly in the casual bracket initially but finds himself developing deeper feelings for him. There's plenty of issues for them to work through including Jeremy's irrational fear for Kai's safety when he's driving and Kai keeping things from Jeremy to try and protect him.

Kai's best friend Loren has a big part in this book. Kai and Loren are co dependent in a rather unhealthy way. Loren relies on Kai physically and Kai relies on Loren emotionally and they both eventually accept they need to break the cycle. Seriously cannot wait for Loren's book!

A fabulous story and audiobook. Robert the narrator is marginally growing on me as I get used to him. On to book 3!

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Profile Image for Smitten with Reading
  • Smitten with Reading
  • 01-07-17

A- rating overall

My Quickie Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.25

After a pretty brutal start to the story (that first chapter is heartbreaking...so that the reader understands just how much Jeremy has gone through), this book settled into a hot, sexy, and by the end...romantic story. I liked it. I recommend it.

And, yes, I know this is a super-short review...but...I'm good with that. It was a good book.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Morgan A Skye
  • 21-06-17

Really amazing! I'd give it more stars...

The story starts out rough. No holds barred. Jeremy loses his husband and their unborn child first thing. It takes him 2 years to rise from the depression that spurs.

Kai is a former gang member turned teacher. His childhood shaped him and he now works with at-risk kids to give them the chance that he didn’t have.

After meeting as a one time hook-up at a club, Jeremy freaks out and acts like a jerk. Luckily, Kai is truly wonderful and he understands the reasons behind the freak out and forgives Jeremy.

In the beginning they have a sex only, no-strings arrangement, but over time, feelings grow and emotions get involved.

**

This is a breathtakingly beautiful story. It’s so painful at the beginning but it has such a beautiful ending, the pain is worth it.

Melanie Hansen’s writing is perfection. She has improved even since book one (which was wonderful) and there are no rough edges to this book. The story line is clean, thought provoking without being preachy, real and rugged but still very sentimental and romantic. You can see this actually happening but still feel the fairy-tale-ness of the story. (The blazing hot sex helps with that!)

Kai and Jeremy are HOT together. Their chemistry is off the charts. But it’s also really touching and romantic when it needs to be. I loved how they fit each other so well. It’s never a big deal that Jeremy is rich – it’s just there. Kai is independent and always will be so it’s not a big deal. That was very refreshing.

It was nice seeing the happy Jase and Carey bits, seeing them with more of their HEA.

I really, really loved this story. It will count among the year’s best for me and I highly recommend it. (It’s absolutely fine as a stand alone, but book one was great, too.)

6 of 5 stars

Audio


Robert Nieman does a really nice job with this. He doesn’t do any accents or much to differentiate the characters – which I was a bit bummed about – but he’s really good with the emotion and pacing of the story. He knows how to make his voice reflect the tone of the moment and he’s very easy to listen to. His narration absolutely adds to the overall enjoyment of the story and I recommend it highly.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 5 of 5 stars

1 person found this helpful

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  • Annika
  • 03-02-20

So beautiful

I made a huge mistake picking up this book. I don’t’ regret listening to it – far from it, but the timing was not what I was planning for. Yesterday I sat down to write a review for another book but the words weren’t there. I had a million other things on my to do list so I decided to leave the review for now and pick up another book – preferably a mindless one where you could happily just bob along and one that didn’t make many waves. Something low-key, somethings happy. I’ve had my eyes on Signs of Life for a while and figured to go for it – and typical me I didn’t read the blurb all that carefully.

So 15 minutes later I find myself in the middle of the grocery store, trying my best not to cry or sniffle too loudly. Probably failed epically at that, and if I had to guess I probably had a splotchy face for most of my shopping that day. So yeah.. the timing wasn’t great ;)

Signs of Life was a beautiful and moving story. The beginning utterly gutted me, as you might have guessed already. There was so much pain there and, gah… Robert Nieman made you feel every single second of it. Just remembering it now has me tearing up. In just a few months Jeremy’s life was shattered into a million pieces and just when he had a moment to catch his breath the next debilitating blow was delivered with devastating accuracy. How he survived it I don’t know – but I admire him for it. For how he put his life back together.

Some two years later Jeremy has relocated and was working on starting over. Unsurprisingly he’s stand-offish and closed off. He doesn’t want or need people in his life, but a series of events brings a high school teacher, Kai into his life. The two are drawn to each other, but Jeremy is not willing to risk his heart again, he wouldn’t survive another loss.

Jeremy and Kai were wonderful together. Kai was the fresh air Jeremy needed, the spark that made him live again. And with Jeremy Kai was learning to navigate a relationship. They both stumble but they are there for each other to help. They had a connection from that first encounter in the bar and only grew stronger each time they met. There was a lot of angst here, both of them had issues and scars – visible and otherwise, but this book never ventured into the melodramatic or unnecessary angst or drama.

This was my first audiobook with Robert Nieman and I’m hoping it won’t be my last. He brought life to this story, brought so much emotions to it. He made you connect to both Jeremy and Kai and feel the love between them. He also made you invested in the kids, hoping that they’d make it, hoping that they’d take the chances they were offered. I loved how Nieman reflected the emotions of the story by varying the intensity and pacing of his narration, it sweeps the listener into the story and make you part of it. He makes you feel all of it – the good and the bad.

The story might not have been what I was looking for when starting out, but I’m so glad that I listened to it. It was a wonderful story and one that shouldn’t be missed out on.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

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  • A T
  • 28-04-17

4.5 stars- A second shot at happiness

Signs of Life opens with massive heart break and I immediately knew I was in for quite the journey. I should expect not less from this author by now, but her ability to write characters with difficult or tragic pasts still floors me. Signs of Life was no different in that respect. There’s this honest quality to the characters and story that forces the reader out of their comfort zone to experience the tragic circumstances Jeremy endures and empathize with Kai’s troubled past.

This is the second standalone book of the series. While there is minimal overlap of characters, it doesn’t overtly affect the characters or storyline if you haven’t read Everything Changes. However, it does offer a couple glimpses of Jase, who’s a close friend of Jeremy’s and the epilogue was a huge bonus for Carey and Jase fans. *happy sigh* There’s a lot of heartache in this book, and with both men’s pasts offering plenty of baggage, I was pleasantly surprised the dreaded plot points caused by failure to communicate were minimal. The characters were fairly up front about their feelings and expectations, so the focus remained squarely on the relationship development and personal character growth. I really liked the way the plot built around an extended timeline. It gave Jeremy the opportunity to work through the grief and self-destruct, ensuring it felt realistic when he starts exploring a relationship with Kai. I also liked the break in time between Kai and Jeremy’s initial lust-fueled encounter and their second meet-up, enabling the physical chemistry to morph into something more at a believable pace.

Once again, Robert Nieman offers a great narration. There’s emotion, voice variations to match the characters and scene’s moods, and good pacing without it feeling overacted. I found Signs of Life to be a gripping story of characters overcoming personal loss and finding love on the other side of tragedy. While it didn’t quite blow me away like Everything Changes, the characters and romance were just as well-developed and I’d certainly recommend it.

*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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  • VHB
  • 18-04-17

What a great storie with great narration.

I really enjoyed the characters,
A bit of fast ending but good epilogue.
Robert Nieman did an exellent job.

2 people found this helpful