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    4.5 stars- A second shot at happiness

    Signs of Life opens with massive heart break and I immediately knew I was in for quite the journey. I should expect not less from this author by now, but her ability to write characters with difficult or tragic pasts still floors me. Signs of Life was no different in that respect. There’s this honest quality to the characters and story that forces the reader out of their comfort zone to experience the tragic circumstances Jeremy endures and empathize with Kai’s troubled past. This is the second standalone book of the series. While there is minimal overlap of characters, it doesn’t overtly affect the characters or storyline if you haven’t read Everything Changes. However, it does offer a couple glimpses of Jase, who’s a close friend of Jeremy’s and the epilogue was a huge bonus for Carey and Jase fans. *happy sigh* There’s a lot of heartache in this book, and with both men’s pasts offering plenty of baggage, I was pleasantly surprised the dreaded plot points caused by failure to communicate were minimal. The characters were fairly up front about their feelings and expectations, so the focus remained squarely on the relationship development and personal character growth. I really liked the way the plot built around an extended timeline. It gave Jeremy the opportunity to work through the grief and self-destruct, ensuring it felt realistic when he starts exploring a relationship with Kai. I also liked the break in time between Kai and Jeremy’s initial lust-fueled encounter and their second meet-up, enabling the physical chemistry to morph into something more at a believable pace. Once again, Robert Nieman offers a great narration. There’s emotion, voice variations to match the characters and scene’s moods, and good pacing without it feeling overacted. I found Signs of Life to be a gripping story of characters overcoming personal loss and finding love on the other side of tragedy. While it didn’t quite blow me away like Everything Changes, the characters and romance were just as well-developed and I’d certainly recommend it. *Reviewed audiobook for Alpha Book Club*
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