Audio Review: Jay Bell – Something Like Stories: Volume One (Something Like #6.5)

51h0-1BUWQLAuthor: Jay Bell
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Self published
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Narrator: Kevin R. Free

Summary:
Benjamin Bentley and many other beloved characters from the Something Like…series make their triumphant return in this collection of short stories and bonus material. “Something Like Yesterday” travels to the past where Eric Conroy attempts to find love against a backdrop of intolerance and political upheaval. In “Something Like Fall”, Ben meets Jace’s family and tries to cope with many changes in the years that follow. Allison Cross finally gets her dues in “Something Like Tonight”, examining the relationships in her life during a girls’ night out. “Something Like Eternity” takes the series where it has never gone before as Victor Hemingway seeks out his ultimate destiny. Also included is a character guide and a timeline of key events thus far. Laughter and tears await you in this very special anthology!

Review:
This audiobook and these stories were amazing. First of all, the narrator, Kevin R. Free, was outstanding, providing close to a hundred different character voices and accents, both male and female. I forgot I was listening to a narration and felt like I was observing the characters in real time.

The stories? Superb supplements to the core stories already released, most are short and provide enhanced information, thereby providing readers a greater appreciation of the series.

In Something Like Yesterday, most of the narration is from Eric Conroy as he tells his personal life details to Tim while Eric is lying on his deathbed. While listening, Tim is working on his latest project—a portrait of Eric. We learn why Eric was originally kicked out of the frat house where Tim was tricked into soliciting funds from Eric as an alumnus in Something Like Winter. We also learn of his love for his long-time partner, Gabriel, and his heartbreak when Gabriel left him. Eric also tells of how his friendship with Marcello developed, and when Tim finishes the portrait, the story concludes. Get ready to sob your heart out if you are anything like me.

In Something Like Fall, we go back to 2003. The story opens with Ben’s first trip to meet Jace’s parents. Though he and Jace have been together three years already, Ben’s never gotten to meet his parents. While there, Jace takes him to see the clearing where Victor hung out, and Jace explains that this is where he spread Victor’s ashes, and he quietly asks Ben to spread his own ashes there if Ben outlives him. Don’t open the spoiler unless you’ve already read Something Like Autumn. This segment ends with Ben going back to the clearing several years after Jace died so that he could spread Jace’s ashes as he requested. Of course, this time I sobbed even harder.

Continuing in this story, there’s another segment about when Tim and Ben got together after Jace died and finally decided to buy a home of their own. The first part is Ben’s POV and deals with his fears of letting go of Jace. It then moves to Tim’s POV and how he deals with the memory of Jace and Ben’s inability to forget his husband. Then this mini-story moves to Jason’s POV as the young boy has contacted Ben and is now moving in with Ben and Tim.

In Something Like Tonight, the story opens with Ben’s BFF Allison and her husband, Brian. She’s a therapist and her first client in the segment is Kelly (Something Like Lightning and Something Like Thunder). When Allison needs a break from so many needy clients, she goes away for the weekend where she bumps into Michelle, Jace’s sister. They become fast friends and get drunk together on the beach, lose their clothes and car, and have to rely on a truck driver for help as they are limping along an isolated road. I enjoyed this part, much more than I thought I would, but I especially loved the voice the narrator gave Allison’s husband, Brian. It was so geeky, but it made him sound like the sweetheart he is.

In Something Like Eternity, we get to visit the astrophysical plane where Victor is wandering from place to place. Already having been through both Purgatory and Hell, he’s heading to Heaven when he comes across Sampson, who leads him to Jace. They revisit Victor’s clearing and he apologizes for not having reached out to Jace when they were living. Jace shows him how he’s watching over Ben from above and tells him anyone can become a guardian. After a while Victor wanders off and finds his mother, Star, who leads him to a family member he wasn’t aware of—his son, Nathaniel. Yes, the same Nathaniel who loves Kelly, and now Nathaniel has a guardian.

The last section of the audiobook is a brilliantly executed cast of characters, narrated by Allison as if she were profiling them as their therapist. The list is in alphabetical order and lists both MCs and important secondary characters from all the books and stories to date. It even gives us a glimpse of the characters who will be featured in upcoming stories.

It’s hard to say what I loved most about this collection of stories, but if I had to pick, I’d say it was the graphic depiction of how the lives of so many different characters can be intertwined. The impact of one person has far-reaching effects and that was clearly illustrated in this book.

Honestly? This series is superior and is at the top of my all-time favorite series list. I can’t begin to recommend it highly enough.

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