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Hearts On Fire Reviews

We read and review for the love and joy of books.

Alex Kidwell – After the End Audio Edition

After the End - Alex Kidwell, Gregory Salinas

Reviewer: Barb

Genre: M/M Contemporary

3.25 Hearts


Quinn O’Malley has become a recluse ever since the death of his partner two years ago. They were together for ten years and losing Aaron to cancer caused something inside Quinn to die too. At least, that’s how it feels, and Quinn wants no part of meeting anyone new, despite the push to do so from his good friend Tracy.


Quinn owns a comic book store and is also an artist though he hasn’t picked up a paint brush since Aaron died, being completely uninspired. He meets Brady Banner on a blind date arranged by his friends after giving in to their pressure and is immediately attracted, even though he wallows in guilt over what Aaron would think about that. Brady is very interested in Quinn, and he’s smart, warm, loving, concerned, and sincere. He seems to understand Quinn’s need to go slow, and he’s willing to go along with that, but after their first night together, Quinn shuts Brady out and withdraws into himself, staying alone in his apartment, not even responding to his friend Tracy.


She finally convinces him that Brady deserved more than to be blindsided and shunned, so Quinn makes an attempt to reach out to Brady once more. They slowly develop a relationship, one that has possibilities for future growth if Quinn can let go of Aaron. And he tries to do that by going to the cemetery and talking to Aaron’s grave. It works for him, and he finds that he can be a little more free in his interactions with Brady.


He also finds that he’s starting to feel creative again. Brady is inspiring him in more ways than one, and together they find a rhythm and pace which seems like it will go somewhere. When tragedy strikes late one night, the men realize just how much they care about each other and, rather than tear them apart, it brings them closer together.


This is a nice romance which took a while to build as Quinn needed to be able to move on from Aaron and to begin to accept that he could find happiness without him. Quinn also got in touch with his creative side and it was nice to listen to the slow development of something strong between the men. The narrator, Gregory Salinas, provided two different voices for the MCs so it was easy to distinguish which was talking, but I didn’t care for the way the story was narrated. It’s hard to describe but might be easiest to say that it was a very dramatic and flourishing prose-style of narration which I found to be too overdone. In addition, there were some words that were mispronounced which pulled me out of the story. For this reason, I’m marking the story .5 lower than I would have if I had read the book.


I would recommend the story to those who enjoy a sweet romance, and to those who enjoy a story about healing from grief.

Source: http://heartsonfirereviews.com/?p=31870