Better (Audiobook), Jaime Samms

Better Audio BookRating – Book: 3 Stars Narration: 4 Stars

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Genre: MM Romance

Tags: College-Age MCs, Psychological,  BDSM, Contemporary

Length: Audiobook : 8 Hours 33 minutes

Reviewer: Paul

Purchase At: Dreamspinner Press


After filing charges that put his abusive ex-Dom behind bars, Jesse Turbul relocates halfway across the country, hoping to escape his past—but, of course, it’s never that easy. When Jesse meets third-year law student Aadon at the library where he works, their mutual attraction is instant and obvious.

Despite the sparks, they just can’t seem to make it work. Aadon is mired in guilt over his inability to help his older brother, damaged by events far too similar to Jesse’s past. Jesse is stuck in his own desperate wish to forget the painful shadow that continues to threaten him and any hope of a happy future.

The only way to move forward is for Jesse to acknowledge he’s broken and for Aadon to accept he can’t make him better.


Audiobook Review 3 STARS

Narration 4 STARS


This  book  is  for  everyone  who  got  through,

found  their  strength,  and  made  it  to  a  better  

place,  and  to  those  who  helped  them  do  it

The full impact from that statement above, that Jaime Samms has placed in the front of the book, didn’t hit home until I’d finished listening to “Better.” It’s so succinct in relation to this novel.

“Better,” was a bit slow off the mark and I was almost put off it initially because it’s about college students that were portrayed more like typical high school students. Not to mention a touch too much angst. Well, the high school attitudes die a very fast death and the early twenties angst is misplaced. I feel it was used as a bit of a smokescreen, but as it dissipates very quickly it’s been used to hide some extremely nasty and traumatic pasts.

It does takes its time to build up the main characters because the sub characters play huge roles in this storyline. The two main characters, Jesse and Aadon, are still gaining the skills and strength while coming into their own to keep fighting their internal and external demons as the book ends. I will say one thing though, it does keep you thinking for a while.

Jesse is a pretty quiet guy who works in the college campus library and while chatting with his best friend Sarah one day, they see a very cute guy is totally cruising Jessie. Sarah notices him, and over the next few days Jesse realises that Aadon has been lurking around checking him out.

He soon meets the big blonde adonis as Aadon isn’t shy, but he also thinks Jesse is beautiful, quiet and shy As Aadon pursues Jesse quite intensely, he soon finds out that Jesse was never really quite that tongue-tied person he thought he was. Their relationship pushes and pulls on them so much throughout the entire book, they nearly come apart at the seams themselves, constantly.

They are also forced to become very strong young adults in college – one running from a horrific past that is unspeakable and the other is dealing with his as the plot plods along.

“Better” is aimed at a more YA, M/M audience but you can’t pigeon hole and label everything. I enjoyed it a lot more as it progressed, but it’s not a book for everyone. It’s well written but gets a little lost and maintains a slow pace, but it needs to for the book to work. I think that’s one aspect or tip as to why it’s a bit slow. Because it has to be.

When you’re dealing with people who are healing from severe emotional trauma, well, that’s not something that is ever accomplished quickly, so it’s no page turner because it doesn’t need to be. This is a story that needs time to explain itself, so it does.

**Extreme Trigger Warning** there is Strong theme’s of Sexual Abuse, Child Sexual Abuse and BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) self harm/cutting.

Aadon and Jesse’s stories are both extremely sad,  two lost young men that need each other to heal way more than they realise until the very end.

Now as this is an audiobook review I think it’s important to address the narrator, Randy Fuller. He does an excellent job with this book. I don’t know how the system works within the M/M genre but I feel that this is extremely important. With some other audiobooks in the M/M genre I’ve come across they’ve chosen to use an obvious gay narrator. This is fine, I’m a gay male, but sometimes hearing the wrong type of voice in the wrong circumstances just kills an Audiobook. If you’re reading a book with a big strong character, like a cop or a military guy, 99% of the time you wouldn’t know, so if you’re reading this, do you, like me, imagine them to be big muscular men with rough manly voices? I do and sometimes these characters have rather effeminate voices within a book. You’d expect that to be conveyed with the voice from the characters you’re reading.  I’ve found one voice in this that didn’t fit. If you have read the novel, did you get the feeling or any indication that Jesse was effeminate guy? I didn’t get that vibe off him at all, yet his voice was rather camp, so much so that is was worse than one of the female characters. He was portrayed this way in the audiobook yet I just didn’t feel that from him.

Please tell me your thoughts on this, I really want to hear what others have to say about it. I have given Randy 4 stars for narration as he was excellent.

I make a point on the importance of narration as audiobooks get returned frequently due to this problem with every single genre. In our little genre, we need this sorted out as there is not enough LGBT, & M/M audiobooks and each one is a huge win for us. We just have to get them right.

Review copy supplied by the publisher return for an honest review.

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I agree that the narrator is extremely important. Like Kazza, I’ve never listened to a romance audio, but I have listened to other literary works. It’s extremely important for the voice to fit with the story. The story as a whole looks interesting.

Thanks for another great review, Paul.


Thank you both for letting me try this, I have just begun starting to get friend invites since this second review has gone up, and every single one of them has the same issue with the voices that I do and I hope this reaches authors more than anything for some really positive feedback and makes more authors pick up the challenge to have their books recorded, keeping their characters voices true to the nature they have portrayed them in. I appreciate this so much. All thanks to the both of you, people have so far agreed with me and… Read more »


I hope that authors and publishers are starting to realize how very important the narrator voice is to the success of the audiobook. I can get turned off to an audiobook within minutes if the voices aren’t right, even if the story is highly rated. There have been many times when I have chosen to put an expensive audiobook aside to read the book instead. Nowadays, when people don’t have as much leisure time for reading, it is so convenient to be able to listen to a book in the car or when doing work around the house. But the… Read more »


Thanks Connie for taking the time to contribute to the conversation. I couldn’t agree with you more. That is my point exactly. I couldn’t have phrased it better myself if I tried