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Audiobook Reviews: Hard Play series
Author: Nalini Singh
Narrator: Justine O’Keef
Audio Listening Speed: 1.5x
Series: Hard Play #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Tantor Audio
Cherish Hard is the first book in a new contemporary romance series that spins off from Ms. Singh’s Rock Kiss series. Sailor and Isa’s romantic journey is actually a prequel to the second book in the that series, Rock Hard, which featured Sailor’s older brother Gabriel. I enjoyed this fairly simple and straightforward romance.
If you are expecting the more suspenseful and dangerous edginess of the Rock Kiss series, you will be disappointed. However, if you are looking for a heart-felt love story of two people overcoming their own internal conflicts – this is it. I started this novel thinking it would be something different from the previous series, and I was satisfied by the overall story-arc. We have two characters with seemingly opposing goals with their romance being either an obstacle or a doomed distraction. Through their fairly slow burning (but mega hot) romance, they fall in love, but worry that the long haul may not be possible. I found it odd that for all their stubborn determination they both felt that love and a dream/ambition were two opposing goals.
The do communicate and come together; however, Sailor and Isa neglect to discuss the foundational point of a long-term relationship once they realized that this was more than just a fling (which I find funny since it was never going to be a fling as neither have that personality). I understand with Isa’s past history she has this scarred and fragile self-image – but considering where she is in life, I would think that it would have healed, and she would have gotten stronger. The courage and determination that Isa funneled into her education and career propelled her into great success. It’s a shame that she doesn’t realize what a strong and caring woman she is. However Isa’s character is completely shadowed by Sailor. He is the star of the book, stealing the spotlight with his determination, wit, and animal-magnetism.
Though their relationship started slow, once they truly started to connect, the novel flew by. I also really enjoyed the interactions of Isa’s friend who crossed paths with Sailor’s friend. I hope we are able to experience their journey as the snippets afforded us are fabulous teasers. Overall the several mini-plots helped to keep the novel moving as Sailor and Isa found the courage to openly talk about long term and make the commitment that their hearts had already cemented.
The story was immensely enhanced by Ms. O’Keef’s narration. She truly brought the personalities of the characters to life with her masterful ability at accents. I’m not sure what an Icelandic accent is, but she fooled me. I was easily able to hear the nuances between the different characters and truly loved the warmth and spirit she brought to the characters.
Cherish Hard is a solid start to Ms. Singh’s new contemporary romance series, Hard Play. Though Isa and Sailor’s story was a bit slow, it was still gripping and witty, full of heart and passion. The story was brought to life by Ms. O’Keef’s narration and I look forward to listening to the next story in this new series.
Review copy provided by Tantor Audio.
About the Book:
Sailor Bishop has only one goal for his future – to create a successful landscaping business. No distractions allowed. Then he comes face-to-face and lips-to-lips with a woman who blushes like an innocent… and kisses like pure sin.
Ísa Rain craves a man who will cherish her, aches to create a loving family of her own. Trading steamy kisses with a hot gardener in a parking lot? Not the way to true love. Then a deal with the devil (aka her CEO-mother) makes Ísa a corporate VP for the summer. Her main task? Working closely with a certain hot gardener.
And Sailor Bishop has wickedness on his mind.
As Ísa starts to fall for a man who makes her want to throttle and pounce on him at the same time, she knows she has to choose – play it safe and steady, or risk all her dreams and hope Sailor doesn’t destroy her heart.