Monthly Mini Review
Sun of a Beach by Mia Sosa, narrated by Valentina Ortiz & Sean Crisden – C This only-on-audio novella was offered to me for review by Audible Studios. I’ve read and enjoyed Mia Sosa’s books before so I was pretty happy to give it a go. At just over 2 hours of listening time and using a rule of thumb of 30-ish pages to an hour of listening time, I expect a printed version would be maybe 70 or 80 pages at the most. It has an awful lot to do in a very short time and because of that, it did not entirely succeed.
Naomi Reyes works at M-Class magazine which mainly caters to white men. She’s interested in expanding their demographic to be more inclusive and has pitched her boss her ideas. The creative director of the magazine is Donovan Taylor and she don’t get along well but there’s always been a simmering sexual tension underlying their reaction to one another. When their boss teams them up for a “swimsuit edition” at a beautiful private beach resort in the Bahamas, the sparks fly.
Much of the story is setting up the dynamic between Naomi and Donovan. Neither (but most especially Donovan) shower themselves in glory with how they deal with one another. Donovan does something pretty stupid and career-limiting and Naomi tries to drag it out of the ditch as it’s her career on the line too. The turn from “enemies” to “lovers” was way too fast for me. But there wasn’t enough space in the story for anything like that.
Part of Naomi’s backstory is that she left a previous magazine after being stabbed in the back by a cheating ex with whom she’d been working so for her to jump so quickly into a relationship with Donovan didn’t quite gel with me. I could have got there but I would have liked some more introspection. Again, there wasn’t time.
The narration was a bit of a mixed bag as well. Both narrators seemed to be racing at times and I felt the pacing was generally off. Of the two narrators I preferred Sean Crisden’s performance. The problem with the uneven pacing was was that I couldn’t slow the listen down to correct for it; there were times when the timing was right and to slow it down would have messed with those sections. Unfortunately, the emotional shift of the story required me to buy into the emotions I was hearing and they weren’t always there – largely because of the pacing.
There were things to like. I enjoyed the way that Naomi and Donovan worked together once they actually started to cooperate and I liked the cool ideas they came up with. I believed in their underlying attraction and had I had more time to see their relationship develop I’m sure I’d have enjoyed the listen much more. The pluses elevated the story from being bad but the brevity (and narration issues) kept it from being truly good.
Reviews of these books will be up soon at AudioGals.