Sweet Talk by Cara Bastone

Friday, April 23, 2021

by Cara Bastone
Narrated by: Lidia Dornet and Chris Brinkley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Adult
Publisher: Audible Originals
Publication Date: April 22nd 2021
Length: 5 hr 43 min
Source: ALC received for review
Star Quotient: ★★★★1/2
Kiss Factor: ✷✷✷✷1/2
Audiobook Production & Narration: 🎧🎧🎧🎧🎧

You all know I'm a self-proclaimed Cara Bastone fangirl. I love her works so much and she continues to impress me with her sheer talent. I couldn't wait to dive into the audiobook of Sweet Talk. Last year, Call Me Maybe, the first book in this series, charmed my pants off. I had high hopes going into Sweet Talk and as always, Cara delivered for me.

This is a story of a drunk text gone wrong (or right??) which ends up bringing together two people who otherwise may never have gotten together. Both Eliot and Jessie are night owls who struggle with insomnia, so they wind up texting each other, watching TV shows together, and this soon transitions into phone calls. Jessie happens to know exactly who Eliot is (and even has a crush on him) but she keeps him guessing as to her identity because she doesn't think she is his type. What starts off as a playful friendship soon develops into flirtatious banter which then evolves into a much deeper relationship. While, for the most part, the first book remained heavy on the light and fluffy side, Sweet Talk dives a little deeper into some heavier topics. If you've read Cara Bastone's Forever Yours series, the tone here is very similar to the tone there. The author is very skilled at balancing the heavier themes with lighthearted moments and she handles everything with care, so it's an absolute treat to listen to even though your heart is heavy at times.

I loved both Jessie and Eliot. They both have charming personalities. Jessie, with her combat boots-wearing badass exterior, but soft and vulnerable interior, is a joy to get to know throughout Sweet Talk. I feel like my love for her only grew more and more as the story progressed. While Cara's characterization is definitely why Jessie was a fantastic character, Lidia Dornet's narration also is to be commended. Without Lidia, there would be no Jessie. Her voice embodies Jessie's characteristics and she does a beautiful job at showing all the nuances of Jessie's personality through voice modulation. She especially nails Jessie's sadder moments. One thing I really liked Jessie is her relationship with her father. They share a loving bond and she clearly looks up to him and wants to make him proud. She's also grappling with the grief of his impending death from cancer. It's a lot of burden on someone so young so my heart ached for her. She's very strong though but Eliot teaches her that it's okay to be vulnerable.

Eliot is an equally endearing character and I couldn't have imagined a better fit for Jessie. He is a sweet, slightly nerdy man with a big heart. If you listened to Call Me Maybe, you may remember him as Vera's brother. I already liked him a lot there and he somehow only got more lovable here. I loved hearing him nerd out over his uber-popular webcomic, but most of all I liked how kind and attentive he is. Once again, I think the Audible team nailed it with the voice casting for Eliot. Chris Brinkley has a fun and soothing voice, exactly how I imagine Eliot's voice to be, and he absolutely brings Eliot's boyish charms to life. 

The chemistry between Jessie and Eliot is palpable from the very beginning. It's hard not to be entirely wooed by these two and I promise, they will leave your heart feeling 1000% lighter and with a gigantic grin on your face. I love how Cara Bastone writes romantic relationships. There's something very real about them and ugh, guys, they just make me swoon so hard. Jessie and Eliot are definitely one of my top OTPs. I will be melting into a puddle of goo every time I think about them and I will be screaming about them to everyone at the top of my lungs. Also, this book has one of THE BEST couple conflict resolution at the end. Be prepared to gush nonstop - you've been warned!

Final thoughts: Sweet Talk was incredible. Not only is the story itself charming, full of life, and exceptionally romantic, but the audiobook production itself is a work of art. The excellent narration, the chemistry between the narrators, and the use of fun sounds such as incoming text pings and background noise, all make for a memorable listening experience. I can't recommend Sweet Talk enough.

CWs: robbery, use of a gun on the hero by an intruder, parent dying of cancer

Relationship disclosure: Cara Bastone and I are mutuals on social media.

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