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Officer Declan Grant responds to a call at the Hope Cove docks to find Lucas Hale barely alive after being beaten and tossed off his fishing boat. The violent crime rocks this tranquil community where everyone knows each other and doors are rarely locked. Despite Declan being new to Hope Cove, he wants to keep his new home and Lucas safe. He starts by volunteering to care for Lucas after he's released from the hospital.
Lucas just wants to put the whole incident behind him and move on, but the more he gets to know Declan, the harder he finds it to push Declan and his do-right attitude away. The investigation into the assault continues, but Declan will soon face a moral dilemma, a choice that may topple his tidy life and force him to choose between Lucas and the law.
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Audio recommended only
Any additional comments?
Before I start - the story itself I would have marked as 1 star -that this got to 3 Stars is because of the audio!
Let me say this: While I had a whole hell of a lot of problems with the story - John Orr's narration is 5 Stars! It was absolutely flawless.
Once again, Orr was an absolute pleasure to listen to...and if it weren't for his incredible narration I would have probably marked this DNF 50% through.
This was not realistic...like at all. Also, I did not understand how Lucas was up for sex three days out of the hospital sporting broken ribs, a stitched up stab wound, a broken arm, a wrenched shoulder and numerous contusions and bruises.
Then there's the whole MISUNDERSTANDING / MISCOMMUNICATION deal. Ugh.
John Orr's fabulous narration is the best part of this story.
Recommended (audio only) with caution.
2 people found this helpful
Beautiful story of love, hope and trust.
Where does Wholehearted rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Top 10 for sure!
What other book might you compare Wholehearted to and why?
Hot Head. The narrators of both stories have similar voices and tones.
What about John Orr’s performance did you like?
Oh hell yes! My first audio with him, but it won't be my last.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It was and I did, from start to finish, 6 hours chained to my laptop but so worth it!
Any additional comments?
Wholehearted is book 2 in The Hope Cove series by Cate Ashwood. I initially read the written story last December, and I was anxious to see what a narrator could do with the words.
This is the story of Declan Grant and Lucas Hale. Declan is a cop in Hope Cove who finds a bruised, battered and stabbed Lucas at the docks one night and is so drawn to the spirit of the young man, that he makes it his mission to find the assailant and ensure Lucas's safety and recovery. But Lucas is a very untrusting person. Not just from the attack, but from a past full of misery as well. Can two like spirits with similar pasts of abuse and hate come together and trust and love each other?
Cate Ashwood is a fantastic author that always ensures her books have a happy ending. Rich with perfectly flawed characters and original storylines, her novels really are a must read. John Orr is a narrator that is new to the scene and this was my first listen for him, it will not be my last. His voice reminds me of Charlie David where as he is telling the story and though he's not acting it out per say, he still manages those subtle changes in tone and inflection so you are always aware when there is a change in characters, mood or surroundings. Orr captured the lost, insecure and vulnerable tone for Lucas while nailing the mostly assured and protective, yet scared nuances of Declan.
I've always said that a great narrator can make a bad book good; and a bad narrator can ruin a fantastic story. It's really a thing of beauty when the story, author and narrator are all good and the end result is music to my ears. And man oh man, Ashwood is one of those woman that can write some toe curling sex scenes. Orr literally threw himself into that part, with every grunt, moan and "please!"! This book is a must read and now, a must listen.
2 people found this helpful
Another super sweet story from Hope Cove
I didn't like this one as much as the first book, but I still enjoyed it. This is a "love at first sight" (literally) story of Declan, the local deputy and Lucas. Declan finds Lucas near death as a result of an attack. He is instantly drawn to him and falls pretty fast. What follows is a really sweet story of boy meets boy, boy loves boy, boy loses boy, and HEA. The quintessential romance novel, but well done; not overly sappy, but pretty predictable. We also get a look at Mac and Oliver and some pretty significant occurrences in their life. I really like this narrator, I think he does an excellent job. Good comfort read and worth a credit.
2 people found this helpful
What did you love best about Wholehearted?
The narrator. I've purchase probably 100 books in the m/m genre, and my biggest complaint is usually with the narrator. Not the case with this series. John Orr does an amazing job. He's able to make each character sound a bit different, his female characters sound perfectly normal - not like either a ditsy valley girl or a flamboyant gay man (which I've encountered far too often in this genre), he has a young voice that fits the characters he's performing, he makes it easy to distinguish the narration / thoughts vs. dialogue, he's a fantastic actor... I could go on all day. Audible or Dreamspinner Press or whoever, please hire John Orr to narrate more books!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I really enjoyed this story. It's my favorite from the Hope Cove series. The first book (Brokenhearted) was just okay for me, this one (Wholehearted) was great, and the last one (Ironhearted) was good, but could've been better.
What was one of the most memorable moments of Wholehearted?
The bathing scene. It's really hot. Plus, there's an exchange between the main characters directly after this scene that I love, and John Orr performs it so perfectly. "You smell good." "I smell like you." "Yeah. Good." "(laughs) Fucking edible." LOVE!! I listened to those lines about 15 times... because I'm weird like that :)
Which character – as performed by John Orr – was your favorite?
Lucas is my favorite character. He's suffered a horrible beating and stabbing at the beginning of the book that leaves him nearly dead. Officer Declan finds him on the dock and he's rushed to the hospital. He's a bit hostile when he wakes up in the hospital, which makes sense considered what he'd experienced. His belligerent attitude just makes me love him more. Does anyone else have to picture a celebrity while they're reading in order to truly get a picture in their head of what the characters look like? I do, and my Lucas looks like a 2014 Andy Biersack (with no makeup). haha I can't even remember the physical attributes the author gave Lucas, I just like Andy in this role.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
How about Obsession at first site?
Hope Cove Maine patrolman Declan Grant responds to a call at the docks to find Lucas Hale barely alive after being beaten and tossed off his fishing boat. But somehow Lucas is not just another victim... at least to Declan. Once he spots Lucas unconscious on the pier, Declan is enthralled. He can't even let Lucas ride alone with EMTs to the emergency room. Or leave his hospital room for long, or NOT invite the otherwise total stranger to move in with him while he recuperates.
While there are some sweet moments here, I had trouble with the recurring thought that Declan's behavior was stalkerish and unnatural. If one can dismiss that, the honeymoon aspects of this courtship are sweet and some of the scenes including one particular one in the bathroom are very HOT.
One early problem in this book for me was the overuse of the victim's name (Lucas.) Perhaps it was because I'd just finished a book where the eponymous character was simply referred to as "the boy" for the entire first chapter, but the frequent use of Lucas's name here (before we even meet the conscious character) seemed kind of strange and overly familiar.
This is the second book in a series and I've not read the first installment. There are other very positive reviews of this book and I'm wondering if Declan's behavior is somehow easier to understand if you've read book one.
It also seemed to me that the author included a number of details that I might have omitted in favor of spending time on other things. One example was the inclusion of a scene in which Declan recalls responding to his first incident involving a dead child. Those details seemed unnecessary to me. By the same token, Lucas's reasons for NOT wanting to prosecute his attackers were never explored or explained. Given the impact that that decision had on the overall plot I felt that it deserved more explanation.
Still, on the whole, if you're looking for a book about the honeymoon period in a relationship between a small town New England cop and a victim he saves you might have just found the ideal book for you.
Rather than reading this, I listened to the audio-book version as narrated by John Orr, the same fellow who did book one. He has a young masculine voice that seems ideally suited for portraying Declan and Lucas. His portrayal of women's voices was a bit annoying but there are so few women in the book, this is a minor quibble. He also has a prozac like, dead-pan delivery that is an asset in spots and a detriment in spots. Like prozac it seemed to remove the worst of the lows (of poor prose) but also seemed to limit some of the better passages. You'll have to judge for yourself, I'm still undecided as to whether the net effect was a plus or a minus.