Bradley Zelder can't find his way in life. After struggling for nearly a decade, he has yet to complete his college degree. Working as a school custodian, living in blue-collar Landsbury, MA, his love life is as empty as the rest of his existence. But on his way home after another disastrous date, his truck breaks down in upscale Oceanside. When he thinks life can't get any worse, a man who is the epitome of Boston elite and everything Bradley finds attractive and intimidating helps him move his truck to the side of the road. Ashamed of his lot in life, Bradley almost lets the opportunity slip away, but he comes to his senses in time and tracks Caleb down.
From a random act of kindness, romance begins to grow, filling all the dark corners of Bradley's empty life - until a random act of violence threatens to take it all away. Bradley must step up and be the man Caleb believes him to be. Caleb rescued him from a life without hope. Can Bradley rescue him in return?
©2014 Mia Kerick (P)2015 Dreamspinner Press
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"Came for the narrator, stayed for the story"
I really enjoyed this book. I’ll be honest; I initially only bought it because Iggy Toma was the narrator and he is a fav of mine . However, I found I really enjoyed the story too. I think the fact the Iggy brought such life to these characters is what really made this for me. This is the second book I have read/listened to from this author and both have been really good. This is the story of Caleb and Bradley. It is told from Bradley’s POV. Bradley is a working class, insecure, bisexual “player” that hides his insecurities behind meaningless relationships with men and women. He is a self described “a**hole” but feels he has to hurt them before they hurt him. Then a “random act” occurs and he meets Caleb. Bradley believes Caleb is everything he is not and of course falls for him, hard. Through a series of random acts much drama occurs, including a violent attack on Caleb. Bradley’s journey of self-discovery is really a pleasure to experience. The dialogue is great; heartfelt, sweet and witty. It is not a perfect book as it does stretch the imagination at time and Caleb sometimes comes off as overly formal. But overall, a really enjoyable and sweet story.
"Story and narration didn't add up for me"
This is one of those situations where the story and the narration just don't add up for me. Which is stunning to me as I normally love Iggy Toma's narration. However, this time around I really did not like the voice he used for main character Caleb. To me he sounded like a creepy Hal from 2001: a Space Odyssey. It just...every time he spoke I cringed. It didn't help that every time the character opens his mouth he sounds horribly pompous and pretentious.
"But I owe you honesty as you've just given me your truth..."
"I too sense that love is blooming right here and right now."
"I love a man in a white t-shirt Bradley, but it is going to have to go as well."
"Your muscles never cease to amaze and arouse me." Caleb smiled as he ran his fingertips across my chest.
"Not so fast Mr. Zelder"..."now you may lie on your stomach on the bed."
Story-wise maybe it's that the whole thing is from the POV of Bradley, who is a self-confessed asshole. And boy, is he.
Bradley is a bit of a dichotomy. On one hand he's commitment phobic but on the other he's tired of bedding women with whom he feels no emotional connection. (And personally, I would have preferred to not read about Bradley’s sexy times with women.) However, once he meets Caleb he makes a remarkable 180 and is ready, after a month together, to completely upend his life for Caleb.
He does step up to the plate, which was nice to listen to, and it's true he does redeem himself by the end of the story, it just was not enough for me to truly like the character. And if I heard one more time that Bradley looked like Bradley Cooper I would have screamed. Seriously.
So bottom line: I like the character of Caleb, even with his poncy talk, but dislike Bradley. Love the narration voice choice for Bradley, even if he starts out as a major (self aware and self-confessed) asshole, but hate the voice of Caleb. I like the romantic aspect, even if it was a bit insta-love, but the "mystery" side of the story was a huge "WTF - how can you not see what's happening here?!" time for me. All of which are personal niggles though.
I would still recommend it if you are a fan of Kerick or Toma. Maybe you won't have the same issues I did.
"Rom-Com Beginning, Then BOOM, Angst."
After finishing Nowhere Ranch, I decided I needed something lighter to listen to. I picked this because I thought it fit the bill, and bonus, also narrated by Iggy Toma. This didn't turn out to be the light-hearted romcom I expected it to be, though it started out that way.
The story is told in first person, entirely from the POV of Bradley Zelder. Bradley is what I'd describe as a loveable asshole. At least, he starts out that way. I enjoyed the thoughts that ran through his head and found myself chuckling a few times at his antics. He actually sort of reminded me of Austin Glass from Shattered Glass (if you haven't listened to that yet, I highly recommend the audiobook).
Caleb, due to the limitation of first person narration, is a bit more of an enigma. He's the put-together older man, a widower, someone who at first glance seems perfect and polished. But due to an event midway through the story, we find out just how fragile he really is.
I wasn't expecting the kind of angst I got when the halfway point was reached and it threw me. Here I was, finding Bradley amusing, enjoying the budding romance between the MCs, when suddenly, I got hit with... drama. And not just any drama. The kind that involved a hospital, broken bones, mental issues, and psychiatric meds. It was only because I was enjoying Iggy Toma's narration that I continued on despite my brain going 'nope nope nope'.
I could identify with Caleb's depression. I mean, I don't know what it's like to lose a spouse, or get physically assaulted, but I did go through the same bouts of depression and period of helplessness after my parents died while I was in high school and after I was almost assaulted on two separate occasions. The way Caleb found it hard to accept the randomness of the bad things that happen in life was the same feeling I had, so in that regard, the character really resonated with me even though at the same time it was triggering this almost visceral reaction in me of 'no, no, no. I don't want to remember feeling this way’.
I recommend this for people who don't mind a mix of laughs and serious angst, or love Iggy Toma (because of course he does a great job narrating the story), if you like a somewhat May-December pairing (Bradley is 30, Caleb 40), already a fan of Mia Kerick, or if you like watching Lifetime movies (because it sort of had that kind of atmosphere - for me, at least).
I almost don't have words for how much I absolutely loved this book/story. Sweet, romantic, heartbreaking and hopeful. Real life hopes and struggles, real life relationships. For me it was Mia at her very best! Random Acts is everything I want in a romance. This couple and this book will stay with me for a LONG time!
Iggy brought this book TO LIFE! It felt true and honest and his voice was a PERFECT fit!!!
This is a MUST LISTEN! CLICK NOW!!!
"I'm a bit vague about the detail"
As I've said before, I wait until I have 4 or 5 review to write before I tackle them. The test of a good book is if I remember the details when it comes time to write the review. For this book, I'm a little vague on the story. Even reading the synopsis didn't spark an instant recollection, - more a "sounds familiar" kinda feeling. Make of that what you will.
"Great narration, not a great story"
Bradley had a bad experience with a man in his early years, so he now has sex with women, but can’t connect with them emotionally.
Caleb lost his husband a few years ago and is only recently able to think about moving on.
When Bradley helps Caleb out the two find they have a strong connection that slowly builds from friendship to lovers to permanence.
About 60% through the book the focus of the book shifts to the “random acts” aspect of the title when Caleb is attacked and sinks into a depression. From there the focus changes from their relationship to dealing with life’s “haphazardness” and issues of how people handle things like “accidents” .
This is a tough book to review because on the one hand I liked the characters and thought the overall sentiment was really sweet and touching.
On the other hand I find Mia Kerrick’s language sometimes terribly stilted and awkward, especially when it comes to dialog.
I enjoyed the slow burn and the gradual unfolding of the love between the two men – I thought it was awesome that Caleb was able to differentiate his feelings for his dead husband and his new lover and that Bradley didn’t seem to dwell overly much in the land of jealousy for the past relationship.
I wasn’t sure that the attack (especially as it came from left field).
3 of 5 hearts
I really like Iggy Toma’s narrations and felt he did an excellent job here. He definitely added to the overall experience and I would recommend listening to this above reading it.
5 of 5 hearts
Overall 4 of 5 hearts
"Just great. "
Amazing book I loved it great story full emotions well written and loving characters, totally recommended
I have only heard it on audible
I really liked the main characters and the story
loved his voice
"A Bit Disappointed"
I loved Iggy's narration, but I really hated the way the story dragged and the conclusion was just not fulfilling or satisfying.
Something lighter and more cohesive I hope.
Yes I have. His performances are wonderful and I always look forward to listening to his work. I'm not sure this one was worth his time.
I guess Ms. Kerick is going to be hit or miss for me. I will choose more carefully next time.
Real love makes two people whole able to find peace and courage to face the future.
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