A MelanieM Audio Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister and John Solo (Narrator)

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Anything but business as usual.

Billionaire CEO Nic Price lives for his job. With sales down and grumbling from the board of directors—including Nic’s permanently dissatisfied father—the last thing Nic needs is distraction from the new manny, whose freewheeling approach to childcare is outlandish… and who makes Nic feel things he’s never allowed himself to feel.

Ex-teacher Sasha Lindsey is all about fun—that’s the reason people love him, so he has to be. After a bad break-up leaves him jobless and homeless, the live-in manny job with Mr. Price seems like a windfall. But his chemistry with Nic is off the charts, and he can’t afford another workplace romance disaster.

Can Nic leave his dominance in the bedroom and open his heart to the best thing that’s ever happened to him? Or will Sasha’s leap of faith backfire and ruin his chances at the family happily ever after he’s always dreamed of?

If you’re looking to listen to your next contemporary romance, then I can definitely recommend The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister as narrated by John Solo.  Another in Dreamspinner Press’ Dreamspun Desires’ line, it has that wonderful manny trope I’m so fond of combined with elements of the holiday and two men who really end up rescuing each other, along with two kids.  Somehow they all end up a family at Christmas.  Can’t ask for better romance and heartwarming story than that.

Plus one of my favorite narrators is rolling out the tale. That would be John Solo.

Solo goes from character to character, age group (preteen to adult to stern aged father) easily.  He also manages the transition from gender just as smooth.

Angela McCallister gives us two men damaged and more than a little broken by their upbringing and their parents.  Sasha has been left debt ridden and with the feeling that he must always be “fun, lighthearted, and together”, no matter how dark and depressed he actually is. That no one would ever caer for the true Sasha. That person would always be left behind as not worthy of attention.  Even as his parents constantly let him down today, Sasha can’t pull out or away from the issues they installed in him.

Nic Price, wealthy, successful CEO, driven, oh so driven,  is in the same state, although he would hardly recognize it.  Beaten down by his parents high expectation, he’s reduced his life to meeting his father’s increasingly high demands to excel or lose his position at the company.  His family’s company.  He’s working 24/7, and it’s showing in his lack of care over his niece and nephew.

The author does an excellent job of bring us into the mindset of each man in their difficult situations.  The stress they are under and then put them together under one roof where we watch how their personalities mesh, they start to bring out the best in each other (and the children) while dealing with an entirely new set of issues for each.  Somestimes the scens were funny and evoked warmth and love, others heartbreak and tears. But they always felt authentic and believable.

If I had a quibble here, it was that I didn’t get enough of Sasha’s background and his parents.  Were they wealthy, formerly wealthy?  While we knew all about Nic and his history, Sasha’s were curiously lacking and I wanted to know more about his history and the parents that were obviously still having such an impact on his life.  That hole was one of the things that brought the rating down.

But other than that and perhaps a too fast “in love” relationship, this was just everything I wanted in a contemporary romance.  And in a audio version.  The narration was terrific and the story heartwarming and lovely.  The time just flew by and it was over before I realized it.  I will be looking forward to the next in the series and hope that John Solo will be narrating that as well.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Nice but could have done without the boat.  The house and the tree, or some of the other scenes would have been better choices.

Sales Links:   | Amazon | Audible |

Audio Book Details;

Listening Length: 7 hours and 5 minutes

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published May 2nd 2019 by Dreamspinner Press (first published December 18th 2018)
ASINB07QFSJ1QD
Edition Language English
Series Beyond the Boardroom #1
Literary Awards Lambda Literary Award Nominee for Gay Romance (2019)

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: The CEO’s Christmas Manny (Beyond the Boardroom #1) by Angela McCallister

Standard

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

From the blurb: Billionaire CEO Nic Price lives for his job. With sales down and grumbling from the board of directors—including Nic’s permanently dissatisfied father—the last thing Nic needs is distraction from the new manny, whose freewheeling approach to childcare is outlandish… and who makes Nic feel things he’s never allowed himself to feel. Ex-teacher Sasha Lindsey is all about fun—that’s the reason people love him, so he has to be. After a bad break-up leaves him jobless and homeless, the live-in manny job with Mr. Price seems like a windfall. But his chemistry with Nic is off the charts, and he can’t afford another workplace romance disaster.

This is a Dreamspun Desires story. As such, it’s based on an old trope: the billionaire falls in love with the nanny, which in this case is the manny. The execution was good overall, but there were segments where it dragged for me and I just wanted it to end.

On the flip side of that, the time it took for the attraction and then the romance to evolve was a plus. I do love a slow-burn romance. There are always pluses and minuses to these trope-based stories. In many cases, it’s nice to see them applied to MM romance, but in some cases, the plot gets bogged down in repetitive detail. In this case, what bugged me most was Nic’s relationship with both parents, primarily his father. He’s the most disgustingly reprehensible businessman I’ve encountered in a while, and of course, a nasty piece of work to his hard-working son who’s dedicated to making their company succeed. Thinking that might even remotely be true in real life hurt down my heart and saddened me so much I found it hard to enjoy the story.

And Sasha was a sweetheart, but another character caught up in the “nobody loves me” trope. For a guy who has so much going for him, his self-worth was sure in the dumps, and he easily thought the worst of Nic. Granted what Nic does is reprehensible (like father like son?) but honestly, I would have loved to see Sasha pop Nic in the nose. In any case, the two fumble their way back together, and we do get a HEA. And we get a nice secondary character in Percy as well, a man who I hope we’ll see in the future. 

If you love these Dreamspun Desires stories, you will likely enjoy this rich man/poor man theme.

Cover by Alexandria Corza is done in the style of other Dreamspun Desires books and shows a ferry on Puget Sound in the background and a man in a business suit in the foreground. It definitely represents the story and the bright color attracts attention.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 222 pages
Expected publication: December 18th 2018 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN13 9781644051207
Edition Language English