Title: Toys and Baby Wishes
Author: Karen Rose Smith
Narrator: Johnny Peppers
Format: eBook and AudioBook
Length: 6 Hours: 10 minutes
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Finding Mr. Right # 5
Best Read in Order: Not Necessary
Overall: 4 Narration: 3 Story: 5
Purchase Now: Amazon § Audible § Barnes&Noble § iTunes
About the Book:
Josh Flannigan owns a toy store. Someday, he wants a wife and lots of kids. Lexa Kittredge plans to adopt her unwed sister’s baby because she loves children…and because she believes she can never conceive.
A passion burns in Lexa to help others. Actively involved in a local senior center, she meets Josh’s Aunt Clare and helps her find new verve in life by bonding with other seniors and sharing a house together. Away on a backpacking trip, Josh returns home to find chaos!
When Josh and Lexa meet and sparks fly, they can’t deny their unwavering attraction to each other. But Lexa has secrets. Can Josh teach Lexa to trust?
Follow Josh and Lexa on their road to happily-ever-after.
WARNING: Consummated love scenes.
I really enjoyed this story, with well-developed characters that are engaging, to the interplay between Josh and Lexa, and even the pearls of “wisdom” sprinkled throughout the story by the seniors that provide a secondary story line, each character has a distinct level of importance to the story and its forward movement to the climax. While Alexa is very much the “good girl” who is very much invested in being needed, sorting problems and becoming a sense of strength for others, her underlying insecurities and determination to be independent are often influences warring within her. Josh is far less burdened by his past experiences, wanting simply to love and be loved in return, while being able to take care of his woman’s every need.
As the two start to explore their relationship and feelings for one another, Lexi realizes that she may finally be able to share her secret with Josh, yet she delays and procrastinates, allowing passion to take over and sex to speak for her heart as her lips remained silent. The sex scenes are beautifully written, if slightly retro in feel, bringing to mind a sensibility more suited to the 90’s: while that is never a bad thing, some of the references did bring a giggle.
Narrated by Johnny Peppers, there were some unusual moments that distracted and felt at odds with the story. Peppers has a beautiful voice, although there were tonal and voice adjustments that were meant to convey specific characters, many felt too ‘false’ to the character. While this is not the first (and will not be the last) male narrator I have heard voice a romance, his female voices felt more drag-queen and were distracting. Far more effective were the pacing changes, with slight distinctions in accent that distinguished the narration from the character voices, and I did notice several instances of multi-syllabic words losing a syllable. A dual narration utilizing male and female voice actors, or removing the focus from ‘sounding’ more female, and adopting those changes to concentrate more on volume, pacing and delivery would have made this a more enjoyable listen.
Overall, this was a good version, with a few voicing inconsistencies that distracted more than I would have hoped from the author’s very clever romance.
I received an AudioBook copy from the author for purpose of honest review for the Heard Word. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
About the Author:
Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania.
Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an
extended family. Since her father came from a family of ten and her
mother, a family of seven, there were always aunts, uncles and
cousins visiting on weekends. Family is a strong theme in her books
and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.
In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to
be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was
born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating
business. She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her
life led her to writing romance fiction. Now she writes romances and
mysteries full time. She has sold 82 novels since 1991.
Presently, she is hard at work on a three-book series for Harlequin
Special Edition as well as a three-book mystery series for Kensington.
Married to her college sweetheart since 1971, believing in the power
of love and commitment, she envisions herself writing relationship
novels, both romance and mystery, for a long time to come!