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    All kinds of love for this audiobook

    Just based on the blurb and some reviews of the writing style, I was a little nervous going into this audiobook. Happily, everything I was hesitant about worked. I’ve had this author chilling on my to-be-read list for a few months, but other releases keep bumping it down on the list. After listening to Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, I’ll be making room at the top of my list sooner rather than later. First things first, here we have proof what the right narrator can do for a good book. I really liked the voice, inflection, and pace with which Jesse Cota read. I liked it so much that I rushed to see what other books he had narrated and let out a disgruntled harrumph when I found this was his only audiobook. He had distinct voices for each character that weren’t overacted or distracting, but allowed me to easily distinguish whether Scott or Evan were talking. Best of all, the personality and tone he used matched the book’s causal pace. Just as the romance between Evan and Scott is slow to take hold, the way Mr. Cota read reflected that take-your-time quality. It made for a relaxing listen, yet I completely sunk into the story and found myself listening at every available opportunity. The story itself is very good, but this narrator undeniably enhanced my enjoyment. The plot is constructed around 6 kisses between childhood best friends Evan and Scott. It’s narrated in third person but exclusively Evan’s point-of-view. Miss Martin employed a nonlinear timeline, and while that normally would throw me off, this was a circumstance where the author’s choice magnified the effect of the story. It was almost like the reader gets a glimpse of what is to come, but then is taken back to understand how all the emotions and eventual conflicts built between the two friends. Then we bump back into the present day and the resolution of their story. The time jumps were all clearly notated at the start of each chapter and I had no trouble following along. Evan and Scott were both likable and well-developed. I liked that they had such different personalities, but always endeavored to understand and support one another. It felt like a natural bond even when there was tension, and the timeline jumps only served to underline this fact while giving the characters time to grow and mature as individuals. As is common with the slow burning, childhood friends to lovers romances, I found myself frustrated with each or both of them at times when they were especially clueless or showed their inexperience/age. However, I remained sympathetic with their conflicted reactions and emotions and thought they were well explained and developed throughout the novel. I really liked that the author took the time to explain Scott’s side. It gave me a full view of their story and added depth to the relationship. I honestly hadn’t even realized how much I’d connected with the story and characters until major plot points arose and my stomach would twist in response to the struggles they faced. Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me really was a beautiful and compelling love story that included quite a bit of self-discovery. I loved the gentle, persistent rhythm present in all the different aspects of the book and will certainly be listening to the audiobook again. If you’re a fan of friends to lovers or slow burns, I highly recommend this title. If you are a fan of audiobooks, I highly recommend listening to this one. In my opinion, it’s a perfect fit between story and narrator. *Audiobook reviewed for Alpha Book Club*

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