Audio Review: Renae Kaye – You Are the Reason (Tav #2)

Author: Renae Kaye
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: MM Contemporary

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Narrator: Dave Gillies
Summary: 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.

Review: The best thing about this book was not only the romance between Davo and Lee but the growth of Davo from a gay homophobe. Who would have thought he could make such progress? In the previous book in the series, The Blinding Light, Davo’s method of seduction was, “Hi, my name is Davo. Do you bottom?” And that was that. He’s a man’s man and he will never be one of “those gays.” He’s terrified anything femme, pink, girly, emotional or having to do with a relationship will rub off on him. In the beginning, I thought, oh boy, he’s going to be unlikeable.

For a while and at times throughout the book, he is. But he’s trying. He based his “way of being gay” on some mistreatment in the past and it’s hard for him to move past that. Yes, he makes mistakes in what he says but as the story progresses you can see how much he is trying. His idea that being attracted to Lee when he thought Lee was a woman (Lee was dressed in drag) possibly made him straight, “What would my dad say?” was ironic.
Lee is an awesome character, “…sometimes I like to wear dresses”. He owns it. I was a little disappointed that for most of it he refrains from the dresses, mainly due to Davo’s attitude. When Mama Bear goes for Davo on that score, I wanted to clap for her.

I admit I downgraded it some because of the Cynthia aspect. That came out of absolutely no where and didn’t add to the story. Rather, it detracted from it because it was so out of left field. If the author wanted something like that in there, I think it should have been handled differently instead of seeming like it was there for shock value.

I was curious as to who the man on the cover was supposed to represent. It’s not Lee, because he has that amazing red hair. I didn’t think it was Davo, if only because I can’t see him as this guy either.

The supporting characters, especially Lee’s family, were realistic and caring. I loved getting to catch up with Jake and Patrick and especially loved getting to meet Maxine. Davo’s reaction to her was precious. His reaction to dirty nappies was funny, so I appreciated that.

There is the trademark Renae Kaye humor throughout although I will admit the Magic Eight ball got a little tiresome, except at the end. That part I liked.

Narration by Dave Gillies was done well, with voices I could differentiate easily. Since I listen to books as I’m driving, this is important. The book is sweet, funny and a bit sappy, which I liked (well, other than that one scene!) Getting to that place where they are a couple while getting to that place where Davo makes positive changes to himself (and Minty!) made for an interesting book.



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