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Surprise Groom

Marital Bliss, Book 1
Narrated by: Kenneth Obi
Series: Marital Bliss, Book 1
Length: 9 hrs and 38 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

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Summary

Can two men fake their way to marital bliss?

Caleb Taylor is shocked to learn his family could lose Bliss Island Resort - their home and livelihood - unless he makes use of a clause to marry the child of investor Louis Chastain. Sofia Chastain is more like a sister than a love interest. And Caleb isn’t ready to sign over his future. But Sofia has a brother, and Caleb has a plan.

Julien Chastain was disowned at 15 and has made a life as a go-go dancer in Miami, but he lives paycheck to paycheck. When his childhood friend proposes an outlandish marriage contract, he thinks he’s crazy. But it’s a chance at a future that’s tough to pass up.

Caleb and Julien must present themselves as an authentic couple for the legal loophole to work, but the lines between “fake” and “real” keep shifting as they navigate intimacy, public scrutiny, and sabotage.

Love isn't part of the plan, but plans change. If they can outsmart Julien's father and prove that their love is worth more than a transaction, they just might find a true happily ever after.

©2019 D.J. Jamison (P)2019 D.J. Jamison

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

a fake relationship trope gem

I love the fake relationship trope and this is a gem. Caleb and his mum run a wedding resort on a private island and when a loan that they didn't know about becomes due they are faced with a dilemma, either they loose the resort or he marries one of the children of the investor, Louis Chastain.
While Louis is determined that Caleb marry his daughter, Caleb decides to look up his old best friend, Julian Chastain.
Julian was disowned by his father when he was a teenager because he was gay and Caleb eventually tracks him down and proposes a marriage contract. Caleb is straight but the more time he spends with Julian the more he is attracted to him and it's only a matter of time before the lines between fake and real start to blur.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

not great

I just don't like villains with no motivation other than being a pain in the ass.
And I suppose the loose ends will be solved in the next novels, which I will not read.
There also was an ongoing issue with the noise reduction, but it did not distract from listening.

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as great as the ebook

The story is always full stars, because if I wouldn't like the story as ebook, I wouldn't listen to the audiobook.

The performance from the narrator is also very important for me. I can't listen to a lot, because my English as a non-native-speaker isn't so perfect to follow a whole story over hours, when the narrator speaks too fast or too sloppy. Normally I have to SEE the person, who is talking to me in English. Kenneth Obi is one of the top 5 narrators (so far) for me, I can listen without break and have no problems to follow. I'm just not yet finish with the book, but I listen enough to give a review.

PLEASE READ MY RATING SYSTEM!!!

To my ratings:

5* - very very good
it's like an A+

4* - very good and will be often re-listening
it's like an A

3* - it's more then a one-time-listening.
it's like a B

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Love wins through

Have read this story and enjoyed it and now having listened to it I enjoyed it just as much if not more, great voices from the narrator.

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  • VlD
  • 11-01-20

the book was good the narration was horrible

although the book left you with a questions at the end that I did not like and I do felt like the altar did. Review and research contract law and Financial laws in Maine very well. it was the narrator that took the most away from the story. the main character Caleb sounded more like a mixture between Jimmy Stewart in Forrest Gump. the only reason I didn't return the audible was because I was traveling and didn't have time to buy another story

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Kj
  • 14-12-19

Fake Relationship Trope - A Bit Below Average

First, the not-my-taste portion, since I rated it the lowest and if you like it then you might enjoy the experience of this audiobook far more than I did. The worst bit for me was the narration:

I knew going in that I wouldn't love the narration, so I wasn't tricked into it by listening to a sample or anything. Kenneth Obi narrates a lot of books I take an interest in, and each time I see he's the narrator I put the book in my wish list and decide to come back when I'm desperate for any new book, because I know I don't like his narrating style. I have listened to at least five books he's narrated, and I've never liked his style, but a lot of people like him, that's all fine. I found his narration itself less challenging in this book than usual, but his accents were grating. Until the narrative spelled it out, I couldn't place what he was aiming for: "is that supposed to be... British? No wait, that line was more maybe - Australian? Oh, no, it's South Carolinian? ...Bostonian?" and indeed, nearly all of the characters are meant to have a New England accent, apparently. It was incredibly distracting, especially Julian's voice as his kept dipping more southern to me, I was left really wishing the narrator used his normal accent.

Now, to the story:

I have been feeling that trope-craving, seeking out that comfort-blanket warmth of the familiar with just enough difference to hold interest. I always base my ratings off of what could be expected given the summary and the genre, I don't think it's fair to judge every book as if it was aiming to be a deeply thought-provoking, poetic read. That's not even what we want all the time, is it? Sometimes we need the story that just brings us in enough to pull us along with the plot, but not any of the rest. A light popcorn read.

Even so, this book was not great. It wasn't awful by any stretch, but it was on the lower end of what I'd hope for given the fake-dating/fake marrying trope, and I've read pretty extensively from the trope.

I liked some of the side characters for the little glimpses we got, I look for characters who aren't complete copies of genre stereotypes within the trope-y stories, I figure since the plot writes itself to a great extent in these cases then a good author can give us some interesting characters to stand out in the mix. I appreciated that Diego and Sophia, a prior hook up and the potential alternative spouse, were not characterized as awful people, and that though there were few female characters with speaking lines in the story, none were particularly demonized (though we did get the ex-who-is-a-gold-digger).

I also appreciated the element of 'continuous consent is the only consent' that went on, especially given the discussion of what one of the characters had gone through in past. I liked the trust that developed, keeping misunderstandings from being that particularly obnoxious sort that the genre can lean on starting about the 75% through the story.

There was a lot of missed opportunity in this book, so much that was superficially interesting just didn't come together, it felt unpolished. I didn't love either of the main characters, I didn't care much about their relationship, I didn't love the setting, There is something of a side-story about another couple who lived on the island years prior that seemed to take up story time without committing to it in a way that brought the audience in, it felt like a way to keep Julian busy more than anything. It felt a bit like a story of "Caleb is going to have an important job and do things and lead the plot, and then Julian needs to not get in his way, bring the issues, and feel like he has a life here too" rather than actually tying disparate bits of story together and weaving something immersive, intriguing, or heartwarming together.

Some elements of the story also challenged my ability to suspend disbelief, mostly the evil-villain levels and host of people who are not bright enough to see what is happening sorts of characters.

Overall, I won't listen again. I think if you like Kenneth Obi, and are okay with the attempted accent, then this isn't a bad read, but there are better out there. If you want a fake marriage story, I'd give a higher rating to The Husband Gambit by LA Witt, bonus because the amazing Greg Boudreaux is one of the narrators (and Michael Ferraiuolo is the other).

1 person found this helpful

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  • OnMyShelf
  • 02-04-20

Sweet Story Great Narration

This was an enjoyable fake marriage story. Caleb and Julien, childhood friends, come together 10 years after they were separated to fake a marriage in order to save Caleb's family from losing their island and business to Julien's father. This story has some wonderful characters you'll love and a horrible father you'll happily hate.

Kenneth Obi does a great job narrating. His New England accent is a lot of fun to listen to. This is a story that I think really shines in audio.

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  • JKS
  • 30-03-20

Love finds a way

This is a wonderfully written story about Caleb and Julien, two childhood friends. In order to save his home, Bliss Island, Caleb propositioned Julien into marrying him. What started out as a fake romance turned into so much more. Caleb and Julien really are so good for each other. I'm glad they got their happy ending. I can see them happily working together on the island for years to come, Caleb as a wedding planner and Julien as the photographer.
Narrator Kenneth Obi does a fabulous job.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • F. Moon
  • 19-03-20

My Personal Opinion

Narrator Kenneth Obi did an outstanding job, as usual.

I was disappointed at about the final fifth of the story as the MCs went waaay too far into the "woe is me" pity party.

The villain is a homophobic father who feels like the world is all about him. NDA's are his power play, with bribery and a bit of blackmail thrown in.

With that type of an antagonist, I was hoping our MCs had a more creative way of curbing his meddling. This is fiction, after all.

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  • TG
  • 04-02-20

Good story

i liked the story. Fake relationship books aren’t what I generally go for but this one sounded good and it was. I really, really liked Kenneth Obi’s performance. Each character has a distinctive voice.

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  • Elle Kay
  • 29-12-19

Obi makes Jamison's story shine

I’d read (& loved) this book, so thought it would be a good choice for my audio over the Christmas holidays - I’d enjoy it but there’d be no surprises (& therefore no problems turning it off to attend to all holiday-related activities)

I was wrong.

So, so wrong.

Kenneth Obi’s narration is amazing. If it is at all possible, he built the tension even more. I kept sneaking away from responsibilities for “just five more minutes”. It was, realistically, a ridiculous situation.

And I loved every minute of it.

From Caleb’s New England accent, to Julian’s dad’s incredible pompous disdain, Obi brought Jamison’s fun story to life. The characters were made even richer (& frankly, Julian was a handful to start with) and the emotions made more poignant.

I’d give this audio 5 stars for story, performance and overall. My family may, however, rate it slightly lower for contributing to our holiday. No regrets.

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  • Alladdin
  • 05-12-19

Great book

Very impressive story. I really enjoyed the character development and the realistic story. Love is great!!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sue C
  • 23-11-19

entertaining

Did the story keep me engaged: yes
Were there any parts I found annoying: no
Did I feel an emotional connection to the characters: yes
Would I listen to it again: yes

• Friends to lovers with a fake marriage = pure entertainment.
• Good pace, well written and likeable characters.
• Kenneth Obi does a fantastic job at bringing the characters to life and adds to the audio experience.

Great series start and I look forward to the next one.