Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AUDIO REVIEW: Kandi Steiner's A LOVE LETTER TO WHISKEY





Kandi Steiner
Lauren Sweet: narrator
Book Release: September 25, 2016
Audio Release: November 28, 2016
(Available in Kindle Unlimited at the time of this review)

There are some times when I wonder why I put myself on-the-line in writing reviews as a blogger. I mean to review a book as a reader can sometimes mean flying anonymously, but in this forum, I'm exposed. Me and all of my prickly opinions about what makes a book a great read. It's harder when the book in question is one that has been highly recommended and dearly loved. It makes it awkward when I have to say, "oh, well, it wasn't my favorite." Yes, I've made a few rather upset with those words. So, brace yourself because, well, this wasn't my favorite. Which book am I talking about? Kandi Steiner's "A Love Letter to Whiskey".

Let me start by saying Ms. Steiner is truly a gifted storyteller. Her words flow smoothly across the page and she commands the attention of the reader through the entire story. I absolutely adore her first book, "Weightless" and highly encourage folks to read it. It's a story with characters that I believe readers can identify with, regardless of age, education, or economic status. 

But "A Love Letter to Whiskey" just falls flat for me. The story of Brecks, aka "B", and Jamie, aka “Whiskey”, is one that spans a decade. Okay, I love these stories. I love meeting the characters when they're young and learning to navigate life but develop into thoughtful adults. This was a huge element missing from ALLTW. Reactions to life at 18 and 19 are the SAME reactions B and Jamie have at 28. This is where the story fails me as a reader: Ms. Steiner started on a brilliant path but continued to loop it over and over in the story. The first conflict as teenagers seem to be the way the characters continue to react to events and situations in their lives. The only difference is they are legally able to drown their sorrows in alcohol at 28.

And then the theme of alcohol. Ms. Steiner works too hard to convince the reader that love can be viewed as an addiction and as such bad decisions are often made in its name. This was really hard for me to swallow. Addicts are in desperate fights for their lives. They are not able to control the need, hence centers for help and professionals. Love however is a choice, a feeling, and one that can be controlled and nurtured if lucky to have it. The comparison of love to alcoholism is just a bit upsetting.

I won an audio copy of "A Love Letter to Whiskey" directly from Ms. Steiner in a giveaway a few weeks ago. Lauren Sweet single narrates the story as it's told solely from Brecks' POV. Ms. Sweet is a very talented narrator, but I found her portrayal of Brecks to be whiny. I often find the narration to help give me a different perspective on characters, but Ms. Sweet's performance just left me not liking the heroine much.

So here's the big question: where does it fall on my recommendation? While it's not a "One-Click" for me, it's definitely NOT a "Risky Read". That leaves it as an "Add-TBR" recommendation. As always, read any book before judging it. And please, let me know your thoughts!

http://amzn.to/2iDMYWr

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