Audiobook Review: Something's Brewing at Joe's by S.J.D. Peterson

The promise of a dream job lures Murphy to Tampa, but he arrives to the rude awakening that the offer is on hold. Now he’s got two choices: slink back to Michigan with his tail between his legs or stay and look for work. Things perk up when he goes into a coffee shop and learns the owner is looking for someone to renovate the apartment above it. He happily takes the job, only later realizing he’s met Joe Sterling, Kaffeinate’s proprietor, before… when they hooked up at a club Murphy’s first night in Tampa.

Murphy and Joe are both proud, passionate, and outspoken. Neither is looking for a relationship, though they can’t deny they go together as well as coffee and doughnuts, in spite of their tempers. But that’s before Joe learns Murphy will be working for the corporation he believes is harming local businesses and the environment—and if Murphy will be supporting it, Joe will want nothing to do with him, dooming any possibility of an unexpected happy ending.

Listening Length: 7 hours and 29 minutes
Narrator: Chase Johnson

I don’t quite know what to say about this story. I think it has some really great things to it, but on the rare occasion that an audio can make or break a read for me, it really affected my thoughts on how these characters and the story were interpreted.

Basically, Murphy and Joe meet up in a club, and they hit if off immediately. They both want a no strings attached hookup and really believe their one off is just that - a fabulous night of hot fucking never to see each other again. However, of course circumstance will not allow such, and they find themselves employee and employer in an unconventional setting. What proceeds is the inevitable feelings and wanting more despite both of them protesting too much.

Per the blurb, these two are “proud, passionate, and outspoken”, and boy does narrator Chase Johnson take that description to heart making both Murphy and Joe aggressive, brash, and arrogant. I admit I do not have much experience reading Peterson, but this just seemed a tad bit OTT, a tad bit too much in how these guys acted and thought and spoke, running hot and cold and back to hot, as they grapple with their feelings and the volatile conflict arising from Murphy’s other job. Now granted, that could be solely from the audio, which just did not work for me. Murphy and Joe are live hot wires, and Johnson uses those cues to the max, so much so it was jarring every time they growled or snapped or barked at each other. Unfortunately, he did this constantly with both characters, making them nearly indistinguishable. Even their thoughts were loud and indignant and it seemed like they were in a constant battle to see who could be the most tough and manly.

So yes, this time around the audio influenced my rating. Usually, I can keep things separate but this was so dramatic and in your face, I was exhausted every time I listened to this. Points towards Murphy and Joe being horny with a capital H. They’re young, single, and looking to have a good time, and boy do they find it with each other over and over again despite all their squabbles. If you’re a fan of Peterson I’d say sample this audio hard, but I recommend sticking with the written word instead.

Thank you to the author/publisher for the audio in exchange for an honest review.

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