Audio Review: Shira Anthony – Forgotten Paradise (Dreamspun Desires #32)

51iq66tNYrLAuthor: Shira Anthony
Reviewer: Barb
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

Narrator: Andrew McFerrin

Summary:

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

Review:

I may definitely be in the minority on this book, but I can barely say I liked it. I certainly didn’t love it for find it outstanding in any way. And I usually love the Dreamspun Desires stories—all based on old romance tropes. But this time? Not so much. So that’s disappointing. But to be honest, I’m not sure if that’s related to the performance of the narrator who was okay, but didn’t bring anything remarkable to the storytelling, or if it was the story itself. This one is full of angst, most of it self-inflicted, which is definitely the kind that makes me crazy—especially when it’s on a loop, the MC rehashing the same stuff over and over and over again.

But the biggest issue was that the story did not hold my interest. I wanted to fast forward—something I may have done if I was reading the e-book where I could speedread and flip ahead a few pages at a time without missing something really critical, but I couldn’t do that with the audiobook, without worrying about missing possibly important segments. The memory-loss trope was one thing, but the angst and frustration of Adam not being able to get in touch with Jackie after the memory return drove me crazy because it went on and on. And on. Honestly, I hate that in a story. It feels as if there’s a word quota for the book and this is the only way the author can reach it. I’m not saying there was—just that it felt that way.

There’s a line uttered by a secondary character about one hour before the end of the audiobook. At that point, she shouts, “It’s over! Oh, thank God!” And that pretty much summed up how I felt at that point—so much so that I made note of the quote and the time stamp. I desperately wanted the end of the complete frustration of the MISUNDERSTANDING that was making me crazy. I understand that these are resurrections of an old trope, and those old plot devices are to be expected, but the degree of repetitiveness and rehashing of the same situations and feelings in this one was just too much.

All that being said—there were parts I liked. Both MCs were sweethearts and deserved to get together, and both the first hour and the last hour of the audiobook were interesting and enjoyable. Jonah’s friend from the island was a great secondary character and the narrator did her voice so well I forgot a male was narrating her part. But the “meat” of the book? Didn’t enjoy it much for reasons already stated. I’m not going out on a limb to recommend this one to anyone, however, since there are so many more enjoyable books and audiobooks in this series.

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