Title: Everything Changes
Author: Melanie Hansen
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Series: Resilient Love #1
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 01-12-2017
Genre(s): M/M Bisexual, M/M Gay-For-You, M/M Coming Out, M/M Military/Law Enforcement, M/M Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 200
Listening Length: 7 hours and 12 minutes
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
What happens when friendship catches fire?
Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.
Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.
A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.
4.5 stars- Raw emotion with a hopeful tone
I love military romances, but because I’m a military wife, I’m also picky. Everything Changes is a fantastic romance that deals thoroughly and respectfully with combat veterans. This book addresses both the psychological and physical wounds left by war- one hero is an amputee and the other suffers from PTSD. After reading this book, Melanie Hansen solidified her place as my go to author when I want a military romance that is as honest as it is beautiful.
There is a lot of military information and scenes throughout this book- some narrated as flashbacks. Told in vivid detail, the author never shies away from the hard truth, yet keeps the overall tone uplifting and hopeful. The specifics occasionally slow and disrupt the pace of the romance, though excluding them may have taken away from the story’s raw quality. I think this may be a case of a lot of elements within too few pages, between the history, their individual pasts, and the friends to lovers romance a lot transpired. That said, there are plenty of moments the narrator couldn’t read fast enough because I just had to know how a scene played out. While the pace may have fluctuated, I never lost interest in the Jase and Carey’s story.
The dialogue and writing is solid and the sexy scenes certainly aren’t lacking in heat. The characters have depth and their emotions are as vivid and palpable as the combat scenes. The connection between Jase and Carey is well established throughout the book, and you can feel the unbreakable bond the men shared. The chemistry builds off that and is strong both in and out of the bedroom. Despite having a deep friendship that morphs into more, lust fuels the bulk of the romance, particularly for Carey. This aspect works well within the gay-for-you frame. However, I found myself wishing there was a bit more exploration of Carey’s hang-up in admitting his attraction to Jase and reluctance to form a relationship. The subject is broached a few times, but I think a bit more detail would have propelled this romance to a greater depth.
I listened to this as an audiobook and I have to comment on the narration. I had not heard anything narrated by Robert Nieman before, but going forward I’ll seek out audiobooks he does. He uses excellent intonation, even including breath support to match the scene and emotions. Everything Changes is told in the third person omniscient voice, but the way Mr. Nieman narrates, the characters and their thoughts always come through unmistakably. While he doesn’t use voices per say, he uses distinct inflections which make it easy to follow along with Jase and Carey’s viewpoints. It truly was a performance and one of the better audiobooks I’ve listened to.
Once again I am taken by this author’s raw storylines and intriguing characters. Everything Changes proves this is the type of book I can continually expect from Miss Hansen and guarantees I’ll read all her past and future works. If you enjoy the GFY trope, military romances, or even friends to lovers romances, I highly recommend this one.