Story Rating: 4.25 stars
Audio Rating: 2.5 stars

Narrator: Peter B. Brooke
Length: 6 hours, 1 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Stand By Your Manny is the third audiobook I’ve listened to in The Mannies series and it brings back two characters that were parts of previous stories: Sammy Lowell and Cooper Hoskins. Now twenty, Sammy was the grieving 7-year-old Tino babysat in The Virgin Manny, and Cooper, also twenty years old, is the quiet, eager worker Brandon hires to work construction in Manny Get Your Guy. Sammy and Cooper don’t know each other well until this story, however.

Sammy has grown up and developed into a music prodigy. He could have gone to Julliard if his deep love of family and deep fear of abandonment didn’t prevent him from even moving out to go to college. Good thing there’s a reputable school near enough to commute. He loves doting on his adopted siblings, though he’s having trouble keeping up with his school and the additional burden of a debilitating disease wearing him down. Sammy suffers aplastic anemia, which means he struggles to make new red blood cells, and the lack of them leads to fatigue and fainting when he’s overexerted.

Cooper’s been raising a foster sibling, Felicity, under the radar for the past two years—ever since she ran away from their neglectful foster home for the second time. He barely makes ends meet, and when he’s severely injured on a construction site, his boss, Brandon, calls in the Robbin-Lowells, aka Tino and Channing, to help a brother out. Cooper’s afraid he’ll get into trouble for raising Felicity without the state knowing, but Channing and Tino have a proposition: they help him recuperate, then Copper and Felicity will stay in their home while Cooper minds their two younger children. That way Cooper has a job, Felicity has a home, and Sammy can focus on his future.

In the meantime, Sammy and Cooper develop a friendship. Sammy has bad health habits, like neglecting to eat when he’s preoccupied with music, which aggravates the anemia problems. And Cooper, well, he’s hardly had a chance to be with another person, let alone a talented and educated musician. But, maybe Cooper’s steadfastness can nail Sammy’s effervescent wings to the floor long enough to take care of himself.

This is a highly innocent read, even for new adult. Sammy and Cooper are both virgins and their love story is light on the physical until the very near end. They have an almost soulful connection filled with mutual admiration and sexual firsts for one another. I really liked the story, but the audiobook? *shakes a fist at the sky*

Okay. Well, I’ve never heard a story performed by this narrator before, so it could be a problem with my ability to process the (pause) tempo, but it (pause) (pause) seemed he made all (pause) sorts of fits and starts, at places (pause) where (pause-pause) punctuation didn’t exist. It was exasperating listening, to be truthful, and I considered not finishing at points. The dialogue was okay, as it’s naturally choppy and he did give it a bit of emotion, but expository stretches and internal monologues were rendered pitchy, as if questions were inserted into statements. And while I could tell one character from another based on his voice, the telling of this story felt as if the narrator had picked up the book on cue cards and was cold reading them for the first time. I’m sure that isn’t the case, but that’s how it came across on my end. It really hampered my enjoyment.

This may have been the most innocent, and most tender, of the three romances I’ve encountered in this series, but it was, by far, the worst audiobook. I was mightily disappointed in the audio. I liked the story a lot, though it’s borderline YA in it’s content. For me, that’s not a trouble at all.

A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.

veronica sig

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