Friday, January 15, 2016

Book & Audio Review: Winning Ben by JoMarie DeGioia

Winning Ben by JoMarie DeGioia
(A Cypress Corners Novel)

Publisher & Release Date: Bailey Park Publishing, November 1, 2015

Time and setting: Present Day, Cypress Corners, Florida

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Length:  312 pages

Heat Level: 2 Flames

Rating: 4.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description: 

The guy trying to build a life for himself

The girl determined to keep her life uncomplicated

The thrill of the chase…the heat of the moment

And a chance to win it all

Architect Ben Chapman is building a new environmentally-friendly neighborhood in Cypress Corners. He not only has a new job, though. He has siblings he didn’t know about until three months ago. They welcome him but he feels like he’s on the outside looking in. Raised as an only child, he doesn’t know how to do family.

Tammy Donato’s blend of cool and sexy attracts clients and closes deals at Cypress Corners. She comes from a big family and vows to never settle down. When she meets Ben, she can’t deny her attraction. But he’s a Chapman. He has forever written all over him.

Can Ben convince Tammy to take a chance on him?

Or will he lose what he never even knew he wanted?

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Vikki’s Musings

This is the fourth and final book in the Chapman family saga, but I don’t believe it will be the last book in the delightful Cypress Corners. There are still plenty of characters clamoring for Ms. DeGoia to give them their own story–I hope. I thoroughly enjoyed Ben and Tammy’s romance. Since I believe the book description clearly depicts this book, I’m not going to do a synopsis with this one.

I met Tammy as a secondary character in the other three books, and Ms. DeGoia introduced Ben at the end of the third book as the brother the other Chapman siblings never knew existed. I have anxiously awaited his story, and I was not disappointed.

I loved Ben’s character from the first page. For a guy practically ignored by his father for most of his life, he’s a fairly well-adjusted individual. I attribute that to the close relationship he obviously had with his mother before she died. It’s her death that has him questioning his life and wanting a change. His desire to get to know his siblings is commendable. I loved his pursuit of the skittish Tammy. The man refused to give up!

Tammy’s character is fairly complex. Never truly discovered why, but she is determined to remain single and wants nothing to do with a relationship, other than one based on physical needs, and even that scares her. She’s definitely a career woman and takes pride in her accomplishments. She’s loyal to her friends and loves her family, a likable character. I just would have liked to really figure out her deepest fears. For me, that didn’t happen. That’s the only reason I’m not giving this book 5 Gold Crowns.

Now, I listened to the audio version performed by Wendy Rich Stetson. As always, Ms. Stetson truly brings the characters to life for me. From the delightful southern-bred older lady, Lettie, with her scandalous comments, to the young receptionist at the sales center where Tammy and Ben work. She gives each character a distinct voice, making it easy to recognize who is speaking, even if the author didn’t use many dialogue tags.

The author does very well, by the way. That’s so important in an audio recording. Too many he said, she saids, become tedious to listen to, but that is definitely not the case with Ms. DeGoia’s books.

This is not the first performance I’ve listened to by Ms. Stetson and it will definitely not be the last. I love Ms. Stetson’s smooth voice and well-modulated tone a great deal. With each performance, her skill as a narrator shows amazing growth, and I’ve enjoyed seeing her brilliance only become brighter.

If you enjoy light-hearted, witty contemporary romances with plenty of heat between the sheets, then you will enjoy Winning Ben. I highly recommend this book, along with the other three books in this great series. Happy reading!

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