Stories audioStory Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.5 stars

Narrator: Kevin R. Free
Length: 12 hours, 35 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Audible
Book Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance


Something Like Stories is a collection of stories focusing on characters from Jay Bell’s Something Like… books (Seasons and Storm series).

In my review of the book, I said that context would help, but that I felt that the stories could work as standalone stories, and this time, I am not as sure. The dynamic of audio versus print does have an impact on ease of understanding, and because of that, I will incorporate my thoughts on the effectiveness of the audio within the reviews as necessary.

 

Something Like Yesterday

Eric Conroy, ill and on his deathbed, recounts stories of his past, his failed relationships within college, and his relationship beyond with Tim Wyman, the man who became the closest thing to a son that Eric ever had.

Yesterday was the most touching of the stories, chronicling Eric’s college years, good and bad, as well as his loves and losses. This simple journey through Eric’s past also serves to demonstrate Eric’s relationship with Tim. I will say that the  audio version, although good, had less emotional impact than the eBook, but it was still a powerful story that provided some much needed back story on Tim.

 

Something Like Tonight

Ben Bentley meets Jace Holden’s parents for the first time and encounters the ghost of Jace’s past love, Victor. The story also deals with Ben and Tim’s merging of households, the compromises, and the re-learning required to solidify their renewed relationship. Ben has the dubious pleasure of getting to know Marcello and the infamous Jason Grant, who adds complication to Ben and Tim’s already tenuous relationship.

Previously, I said that Tonight sounded like a mish-mash of character introductions and interactions, and because of that, I found Tonight difficult to follow in audio format. The storyline flows back and forth from present to past and more often than not, I found it hard to track the “when.” It did give an interesting insight into the dynamic between the characters, adding a different level of tension and frustration to the series, especially a series that has such dramatic highs and lows.

 

Something Like Fall

With a kind, loving husband, and a typical toddler, Allison Cross has reached her limit. Allison has realized that she is living her life for everyone else, and forgetting about herself.  Needing a break, Allison’s husband Brian suggests a visit back to Allison’s childhood town of Woodlands, Texas where she runs into Jace’s sister, Michelle, who helps Allison put her life and relationships in perspective.

Fall was seriously funny, the funniest of the stories, which delved deeper into Allison’s psyche. We also get to know Jace’s sister Michelle, who has always been such a solid, stable character, and demonstrates that there was a wild woman under that persona. From the beginning, Allison has been a pillar of strength and this story shows how a person can only hold the weight of the world on their shoulder for so long before cracking. It also exemplifies the importance of self-awareness, and that sometimes selfishness is not only necessary, but also can be healthy. Free’s narration of Fall was great, another example of how audio narration can take a good story and make it great.

 

Something Like Eternity

As Victor wanders the afterlife, discovering new places, creating old haunts, he feels the pull to continue his trek through the afterlife. It isn’t long before Victor finds himself in a bar, chatting the the bartender, when his cat Samson appears. Encouraged by the bartender to follow Samson, Victor is reunited with Jace, and discovers what has really been calling to him.

I loved Eternity, loved it.  I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first, but once I started reading it, I was captivated by Bell’s version of the afterlife, where anything and everything can and will happen. The raw emotion demonstrated by all of the characters, especially Victor and Jace during their separate and joint journeys, showed how even in death, regret can haunt a person, and personal growth is never-ending.  Free’s performance absolutely enhanced this story in ways that I can’t describe, bringing it to a whole new level.

 

The final section of Something Like Stories is narrated by Ben’s BFF Allison Cross, now a therapist in adulthood, and consists of mini-biographies of any key characters that appear in at least two books, either from the Seasons or Storm series. These were fun the first time in print because I could flip around and find the ones I wanted to read, and in audio, I had to listen to every one of them, which sadly became tedious after a while.

I have spent over a hundred hours in the Seasons world, both with the written word and the audiobooks. These stories made me laugh, cry, and gave me a greater insight into events only discussed on the surface. This book is a must read for readers of the series, and I feel that those new to the books could still enjoy these stories, but warning…you will be buying the books soon after completing this one.

Another home run for Kevin R. Free, in terms of character voice consistency and quality production value, including his trademark perfect pace, diction, appropriate levels of emotion, and the addition of a few new voices, especially in Eternity.

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