This was my first buddy read over on GR with the awesome Christelle. Thanks for the giggles and the occasional ragefest ;)
'The Heart as He Hears It' was the third and probably the final book in this series since Ms. Arthur tends to write her series in sets of 3. Hopefully there will a spin-off series as we have seen happen previously since she left us with more than a couple of characters that we need more information on. There was Jake, who seems to keep showing up with mysterious and really poorly explained injuries, Dane who is just a big ole' sexy enigma, Dell who is Chet's nephew and fell off the rehab wagon for reason's known to Rick but which Rick refuses to clarify and yeah, let's not forget Rick, but I'll get to him later and there's also the sexy and seemingly sweet nurse, Vinson who was hired to care for Henry. So yeah, lots of new characters begging for their own story.
'The Heart as He Hears It' is Jon's story. Jon and ultimately Isaac, the grandson of Jon's dearest friend Henry, whom as we know from book #2 is dying. In his efforts to get his affairs in order Henry discovers he had a son named Jerome. While Jerome is no longer alive he is survived by a son. A son who is damaged both physically (he has a severe hearing loss) and emotionally (things in his past have left him both mistrustful and basically terrified of the outside world resulting in Isaac becoming agoraphobic).
When Isaac first meets Henry and Jon it takes all his inner strength to open his front door and let his aunt bring these strangers into his home. While he is leery of Henry who bares a vague resemblance to his abusive deceased father, he is immediately drawn to Jon. Jon who is magazine model beautiful and whose voice Isaac wants desperately to be able to hear better because it sooths him.
While the attraction between these two men is instant the love is not and this I really liked. Their relationship built through a series of events that draw them together and Jon realizes immediately that Isaac is not ready by any stretch of the imagination to dive into a relationship so he offers Isaac what he feels he can handle...a friendship. One that Isaac can determine the pace of. it's hard but for Jon it's worth the effort and he's willing to do what it takes to keep them in each others lives.
I loved how the relationship between these two progressed and there were some very giggle worthy moments...sex talks were epic...I might have digressed to being a 12 year old once or twice. In spit of his fear of the world Isaac is a young man with an insatiable thirst for knowledge, he is full of questions and he asked them in the most direct manner.
It may have been Jon & Henry that got Isaac to open the door and let the world begin to slip in a bit at a time but it was a sweet little grey kitten that helped him to be brave enough to take that first step back outside of his backdoor and it was such a wonderful moment. Once he did this he became determined to stop existing and begin living again. It wasn't always easy and there were setbacks but I loved watching Isaac as he struggled with his fears, watching Jon give him friendship, support and ultimately seeing them admit their love for each other and yeah, there were definitely some 'fan yourself' moments...there was the time in the shower and of course the bed, hours spent kissing on the couch...there is much to be said for kissing.
This all sounds pretty good right? It was. This part of the story easily gets a solid 4 maybe even 4.5 stars from me...so, what happened? where did it go wrong? Why only 3.5 stars? Well as is often the case with this author I think she got out her 'angst & sh!t went wrong' shopping list and just kept adding. Rick is the perfect example did we really need him in the story? From my perspective no. But yet there he was.(show spoiler)
There was more so much more that it really did start to feel like a shopping list of 'angst & sh!t that went wrong' that the author was using or maybe it was just her way of digging Rick out of the corner that she'd put him in so that we'd like him enough to want his story. If that was the case than it worked because I went from wanting him to be able to sing soprano to relocating certain parts of his anatomy to thinking 'well maybe, he's changed tell me a bit more about him and I'll consider it' but he was still a douche when he was with Jon and sorry, not going to believe differently and Chet's gold halo has a big tarnish spot on it for making Jon feel like he believed Rick over him...oops, I guess you now know what one of those ragefest that Christelle got pertained to ;)
So at the end of all this we know 2 things for sure. #1 Once gain this is a case of less would have been more as in more stars from me, if there had been less angst and drama towards the end and #2 sometimes I suck at writing short reviews...oops, 3 things...#3 Christelle is an awesomely fun person to do a buddy read with. Thanks my friend.