Audiobook Review: Everything Changes (Resilient Love #1) by Melanie Hansen

What happens when friendship catches fire?

Former Marine and lower-leg amputee Carey Everett keeps a grueling schedule of counseling fellow war veterans and their families. The injury he received in Afghanistan forces him to rely on a reserve of strength he didn’t even know he had. A much deserved vacation will let him reconnect with his best friend, who saved his life and has been there for him through devastating injury and painful recovery.

Part-time EMT and aspiring singer Jase DeSantis has been in love with Carey for years, but he’s come to accept that his straight friend will never be able to offer more. Jase fills his days with band rehearsals, ambulance shifts, and willing groupies, all while trying to cope with debilitating PTSD.

A week of sun, fun, and music in San Diego changes Jase and Carey’s lives forever when their relationship takes an unexpected turn. Jase has been longing for that change, but it leaves Carey reeling with confusion. As Jase fights to hold things together, Carey deals with doubts, fears, and his own preconceived notions about labels and the true nature of love.

Listening Length: 7 hours and 12 minutes
Narrator: Robert Nieman

If you are a hurt/comfort junky (as I am) than this is the book you need to listen to. It’s hurt/comfort x 2 because both MC’s are hurting in their own way and the way the author built their backstory and connection was perfection. Carey and Jase have also been close for years so you also get a healthy dose of friends to lovers. It’s a tropapalooza of awesome.

So, Carey and Jase met in the military and have literally been through hell on earth and back. Carey almost didn’t make it home at all and both have PTSD to deal with. It’s been awhile since they’ve seen one another and the story begins with Carey heading to San Diego to spend some time with Jase. The author did a great job of telling the story in the present and flashbacks to their time in Afghanistan and after. The timing and pace were perfect for the way the story progressed and I got a real sense for both characters as they are and as they’d been.

Friends-to-lovers is not an easy story line to pull off believably for me. I can be a picky pain in the ass with it. I want to feel the connection through conversations and all the “little things” that make up a real relationship, I don’t want to be told that two people are BFF’s and that’s that. Everything Changes made me believe in these two from the beginning and Robert Nieman narrating their convos and thoughts was so spot on with what I imagined for both of them.

These guys have not had it easy since their return home (Ya think Ann? Downplayed statement much?) and it was honestly heartbreaking to listen to. At the same time, the story treated both men’s lives with deference to their experiences and while it was tough to listen to their pain, I had so much respect for both characters and how they helped themselves in the long run by helping each other in the short term.

There’s always been a little somethin’ somethin’ between Carey and Jase but there’s no way anything could have played out naturally given their active duty service. Priorities were elsewhere, obviously, and when they came home they had their hands full with a new kind of survival. It seemed like they came back together at just the right time and I loved hearing their relationship grow again and the story behind their stories. One of them was always aware of what they could be together and the other was clueless. That setup made for some quality angst in among the rest of what they were going through.

Not gonna lie, there was a moment or ten towards the end where I wanted to throttle the hell out of Carey. Of course, those moments did make the story more believable, but dammit Carey! Just, dammit! I kind of wanted a lit bit more when he finally came around, but what happened and the communication fit with his personality, plus Jase was happy, so at that point, that’s the only thing I cared about.

Robert Nieman does an amazing job of capturing the characters during wartime and at home. That’s a big range of emotion to cover and the balance was spot on throughout. The transition from current to the past and back again was seamless and easy to follow without ever being jarred out of the moment by the changes. This isn’t the first narration of his I’ve listened to and he’s a narrator I love to see attached to a book I want to listen to. And after listening to him read Melanie Hansen’s words I’ll be getting more from this series.

Visit Dreamspinner Press for more info on Everything Changes.

**a copy of this audiobook was provided for an honest review**

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