A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2) by Renae Kaye and Dave Gillies (Narrator)

Standard

Rating 4.5 stars out of 5

Davo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays, who are femme and girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.

Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub in fright. That’s where he meets Lee, who is cute from her cherry-red hair, to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story, even though there were many moments in this 8 hour audiobook that caused me to rethink why I was listening to this. Those moments all centered around Davo and his attitudes toward effeminate gay men and his opinions on how men should act—gay or straight, real men don’t wear pink. There were times when his attitude was downright hurtful and unreal. And yet, I kept listening. Why? Because the author wove so much humor into the story, it was easy to believe that his character was somewhat of a spoof of men with that attitude.

The author also gave us the perfect MC to balance Davo’s macho act, and two great characters—Patrick and Jake from The Blinding Light—to make this a heartwarming and lighthearted story with many WTF and equally oh-so-sweet moments along the way.

What saved Davo from being a total jerk was the reveal of how he was raised. The poor guy was literally persecuted from grade school up for having any opinions that weren’t macho. In fact, the worst memory of his young life was of having to throw away his My Little Pony collection. Now, staunch in his opinion of what a real man should and should not do, he’s shocked to see the change in his best mate, Jake, who married a blind man (The Blinding Light) and now has a baby girl. Jake’s whole world now revolves around the baby, and Davo can’t figure out why his macho friend has changed so much.

At the tav, when he meets Lee, a cutie with cherry red hair, he’s freaked by how much she lights his fire. She is attractive and fun and has a good sense of humor, but it’s not until days later, when he finally finds out she’s a he who likes to dress in women’s clothing occasionally, that he feels reassured in his masculinity again.

The author takes us through Davo’s painful journey of self-discovery as he comes to learn more about his perceptions of others, his preconceived notions, and finally, his awakening to his own softer side. Accompanying him on this journey is Lee, the cross-dressing man who, at first, shook up Davo’s world and now is everything he ever wanted. It’s obvious from Davo being my focus in this review that the story is really all about him—more so than many other romances that equally balance perspectives of both characters. Maybe it’s that his attitudes and feelings are larger than life, but it resonates well in the telling of this story.

Along the way, as we share that journey to change with him, we laugh and we cry and sometimes want to kick him in the rear, or slap his face, but by the end, all I wanted to do was wrap him and Lee up in my arms and wish them the best.

Dave Gillies did a terrific job in narrating this audiobook and bringing the characters to life. And I must add kudos for his voice for Lee, which was totally different from the other males—higher-pitched, yet soft and feminine.

This was a really great, heartwarming MM romance. Not to be missed in either e-book or audiobook format.

~~~~~

Cover art by Bree Archer features a back view of a male with naked torso against a light blue scenic background.  The cover is attractive but not one I would have chosen for this story. 

Sales Links

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 8 pages
Published March 1st 2017 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published August 7th 2015)
ASINB06XC8CP86
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesThe Tav #2
CharactersDave Pederson, Lee Brennan

A MelanieM Review: You Are the Reason (The Tav #2) by Renae Kaye

Standard

Rating: 4.75 stars out of 5

You Are the REason coverDavo’s a pretty average guy. He has a decent job, owns his own home, and spends his weekends at the pub. He fully accepts that he’s gay, but doesn’t want to be one of those gays, who are femme and girly. He likes football and other masculine pursuits, and firmly avoids anything that could be seen as femme—including relationships that last beyond fifteen minutes.

Then Davo’s friend and gay idol not only gets a boyfriend, but also adopts a baby girl. Davo is seriously spooked and scuttles down to the pub in fright. That’s where he meets Lee, who is cute from her cherry-red hair, to her pretty little dress and pointy red shoes. Davo is charmed—but how is that possible? He’s gay. Isn’t he? Then Lee tells him he’s actually a guy—he just likes to wear women’s dresses occasionally. Thoroughly confused about an attraction that’s out of character for him, Davo begins the long journey to where he can accept himself without caring what everyone else thinks.

I found Renae Kaye through her novel The Shearing Gun (which I loved) but the the stories that followed captivated me just as fully.  Whether it was Safe In His Arms, The Blinding Light or the hilarious Shawn’s Law, in each Renae Kaye continued to address serious issues such as sexual abuse, PSTD, and physical disabilities while framing them within a loving, realistic romance.  Her characters were just that smidge outside the norm that you felt like you hadn’t read about them before, and the locations in Australia, often Melbourne, made her stories fresh and unknown (at least to this American’s eyes).  Now comes, You Are The Reason, and everything I love about Renae Kaye’s writing and storytelling abilities is showcased here once again.

Two of the serious elements here, cross dressing and the shameful impact of bullying, are dealt with the author’s typical sensitivity and knowledgeability.  I love that Kaye  brings the two elements together in such a gentle disarming way instead of the hate filled clash we normally see.  Davo’s past history isn’t really hinted at in the blurb and the reality we find here isn’t pretty.  Why Davo thinks and acts the way he does (anti fem all the way) is a past that is given out in bits and pieces to begin with.  As Davo starts to break down why he  thinks and reacts the ways he does now , more and more information starts to flow about the past events that caused it.  I think this is a terrific way of plotting the story to help the reader really see the impact of childhood events upon the adult man.  And who’s helping him with this makeover?

That would be Lee, a man who challenges Davo’s idea of what being a “ok gay” means, even the idea of what is male.  Lee likes to cross dress and is great at it, its part of who he is.  In order to accept Lee, all of Lee, something Davo wants desperately, he must first address what the bullying and fear has done to his self image and notions of acceptable homosexuality.  Its quite the journey in Renae Kaye’s hands and I loved every sentence and paragraph.

Lee is such a strong character,yet his frailties lurk there for all of us to see.  Lee and Davo have layers to their personalities, as well as a depth that makes them surprising in places in the story where we might expect otherwise. Back to help Lee and Davo are Jake Manning and Patrick Stanford from The Blinding Light.  They play a major part here in this story.  I didn’t think it possible but I like them even better as an established couple coping with new parenthood and all the joys and issues that arrive with a new baby.  That scene with the poopy diaper from hell is hilarious!

I noticed that Renae Kaye is calling You Are the Reason, a story from The Tav. That’s The Coolgardie Tavern or The Gardie Tav is a bar owned by Charlie Lombardo. Why The Tav? From author Ranae Kaye:

Because this little pub seems to be the place to fall in love, and it definitely has more stories to tell.

Well, be still my heart. Already we have had The Blinding Light (The Tav #1). Now this  I can only hope that The Tav has a ton more stories to tell.  I’m going to pull up a bar stool and wait.  Join me.

I highly recommend this story and this author.  Love contemporary M/M romance that makes you think, laugh, and wave that fan over the heat of the couples inside?  Want to fall in love so deeply that you will forget that these men can’t be found walking the streets in Australia?  Pick up You Are The Reason and discover why Renae Kaye is a must read/auto buy for me and so many others.

Cover artist: Bree Archer. Its a  nice cover but it is so generic it could be for any contemporary M/M romance. In that respect, its disappointing.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | All Romance (ARe) | Amazon | Buy It Here

Book Details:

ebook, 226 pages, also in paperback
Published August 7th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634764834
edition languageEnglish
url http://renaekaye.weebly.com/you-are-the-reason.html
seriesThe Tav #2