Listen Up! #Audiobook Review: I Want It That Way by Karen Grey

Posted August 21, 2023 by Jen in Listen Up!, Rating B, Recent History/Nostalgic Fiction, Romance Tags: , , , , , ,

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Audiobook review: I Want It That Way by Karen Grey

Book Cover of I Want It That Way by Karen Grey

Dani and Luke first met two years prior to the story when Luke was in town filming a Hallmark movie and she was his driver. Now, he’s back in Wallingford as a producing director on the hit show Lawson’s Reach. He requests Dani as his driver, and then finds out he only has her for two weeks. Unable to drive himself due to post-accident anxiety, he convinces Dani to teach him to drive.

Dani is tired of doctors telling her she can’t get her tubes tied because she’s under thirty and not married. After a half dozen rejections, she is about to call it quits until Lukas Keith needs a favor. On a whim, she suggests he pretend to be her fiancé for her doctor’s appointment in exchange for driving lessons. 

Set in the recent past of the late 1990s, I Want It That Way features a delightful fake relationship/forced proximity romance. Dani feels that she’s losing her closest friends to marriage and babies; she’s also tired of everyone in her family wanting something from her. Luke provides a refreshing distraction once she understands where he’s coming from. He’s easy to talk to, not to mention kind and sexy. He understands Dani and doesn’t judge. 

 I Want It That Way is super cute. Luke had his heart broken when he was young and subsequently spent his whole life pretending. Dani doesn’t let others in because she thinks people just want something from her. Their relationship grows as they spend time together. 

Deciding to take a chance and help out Dani, Lukas insists they marry so she can get her surgery. Things get interesting when they need to move in together, and desire takes hold. Yes, it’s a silly premise, but it allows both to open up and let the other in. I love how being together all the time allows each to share more and more of themself. Both characters genuinely like the other and fantasize having a real relationship, yet both are frightened to take the risk to share their feelings, thinking that’s not what the other would want. 

Narration: The story is shared in the alternating first person POVs of Dani and Luke. McFadden performs Dani’s POVs and dialogue with a no-nonsense sounding voice, perfect for Dani who knows what she wants and goes after it. McFadden uses a slight southern accent, fitting for the native North Carolinian. Similarly, Haynesbridge’s Luke is a solid, firm voice that is mid-range masculine, yet he allows for hesitation with a softer voice when nervous or fearful. Both narrators utilize a partially-voiced reading style, with slight alterations to dialogue based on gender and age and without a lot of differences between characters of the same gender. The narrators are well matched in vocal tone and speed.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to I Want It That Way. I loved watching the characters take a chance and learn to love.

My Ratings
Story: B+
Narration: B+

About the Book:

Fake relationship? As if.

I don’t need a man to complete me, but to get my tubes tied before I turn thirty, I do need a husband.

When the former child TV star turned producing director for the angsty hit drama series currently shooting in my hometown comes to me desperate for a favor, the exchange of my services for his seems like a great idea.

I help him relearn how to drive a car, and he acts as my fiancé for a few doctor’s visits.

What could go wrong?

Bingeing 90’s TV shows like Seinfeld and Beverly Hills 90210 have you jonesing for a time when email and cell phones were strange new things, and an app was something you ate before the first course? Then this slow burn, fake relationship, entertainment biz romantic comedy is just what the doctor ordered. Perfect for fans of Meghan Quinn and Lucy Score seeking all the feels in a sweet and sexy romance.

Author: Karen Grey
Amy McFadden & Alastair Haynesbridge
 Carolina Classics #3
Genre: Retro/Nostalgic Romance
Audiobook Release Date: August 22, 2023
Publisher: Home Cooked Books
Length: 8 hours; 45 mins
Source: Author
Audio Speed: 1.4x

Purchase info:
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)

Reviews in the Series:
I’ll Stand by You by Karen Grey (Boston Classics #4.5; Carolina Classics #0.5)
You Get What You Give by Karen Grey (Carolina Classics #1) – Audiobook Review
Hold On To Me by Karen Grey (Carolina Classics #2) – Audiobook Review