Kim Holden
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Tantor Audio
Release Date
September 2015
Book 2 of Bright Side
Contemporary Romance, New Adult

The journey that began in top-rated, best-selling Bright Side, continues ...

This is the story of Gus.
Losing himself.
Finding himself.
And healing along the way.

" … but the honest-to-God truth is I don't even know how to function anymore. Bright Side wasn't only my best friend; she was like my other half ... the other half of my brain, the other half of my conscience, the other half of my sense of humor, the other half of my creativity, the other half of my heart. How do you go back to doing what you did before, when half of you is gone forever?"

Book Review by BJ (reviewer)
Nov 25, 2015   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
108 people found the following review helpful
5 "Do Epic/Yellow Sticky Note Love" Stars for the story and the narration!

Kim Holden is a master at eliciting emotion from her readers/listeners! Her understanding of human nature and adeptness at creating one-of-a-kind, truly inspiring characters is unparalleled. Thank you Ms. Holden for another fascinating, love-filled story that reminds us all why we should never lose hope and instead always aspire to "Do Epic"!

Moreover, not only is this story first-rate, but the narration is also top-notch both from returning veteran, Lidia Dornet, who also narrated Bright Side, and Alex Kydd, who although new to this series, did a magnificent job of voicing and bringing to life the California surfer and deeply tormented but yet extremely selfless rock god, Gus!

For those of you that have not yet had a chance to travel the emotional journey of Bright Side, I highly recommend that you read or listen to that book before GUS. While the romance is technically self-contained within this book, it is nearly impossible to completely understand the hero's background and the experiences that have tainted and inspired his perceptions without experiencing Bright Side first. All that said, for those of you who were emotionally drained and torn in Bright Side, and therefore are not sure if you want to continue the journey in this book, I will note that while GUS certainly has its sad points, overall I found this book to be less emotionally draining, and only needed the occasional tissue, rather than the the whole tissue box like I needed in Bright Side. However, without the tears I shed in Bright Side, I'm not sure it would have been quite possible to achieve the extreme high and satisfying feeling of GUS. So again, I highly suggest that you start with Bright Side to get the full effect.

After the striking loss he experienced in Bright Side, Gus doesn't know how to go on. He is going through the motions but has almost entirely given up when a girl with her own fair share of tragedy crosses his path. First she just seems to hate him, a personal assistant thrust upon him to keep him in line, but after a while he starts learning--one sticky note at a time--what makes her tick and how she just might be the most real thing in his life.

Scout is a girl who has her own personal scars. She's lived a life trying to hide them from the world, and can't understand a spoiled rock god like Gus. But she has been given a task and she is going to see it through. What she never could have imagined is just how different the reality of Gus could be from her initial impression. So much so that by the time she starts feeling things she knows she shouldn't, she doesn't know how to turn back to her old safety zone any more.

Lidia Dornet and Alex Kydd narrate GUS in the traditional new adult style. With Ms. Dornet narrating the chapters from Scout's point of view and Mr. Kydd narrating the chapters from Gus' perspective. This division works well to highlight the vastly different states of mind between these two main characters and neatly provided a natural demarcation to understand each's point of views.

Lidia Dornet delivers another fantastic performance. Her voice was greatly suited for Scout and she also managed to create a slightly deeper variation that also worked well for Gus. Once again proving her propensity for bringing to life deeply emotional scenes and stirring the inevitable heartfelt moments, Ms. Dornet proved to be a great choice for continuing this emotional tale.

I originally questioned the decision to bring in a new male narrator for Gus. However, in the end, I was greatly pleased with this casting choice, as I felt that Alex Kydd rendered the perfect Gus. Sounding just like I would have imagined this California raised, vegetarian Rock sensation to sound, Mr. Kydd was a great choice to bring Gus to life. Additionally, Mr. Kydd also had an impeccable sense of timing, truly lending humor to the numerous witty repartee between Scout and Gus.

All in all, GUS is another hit for Kim Holden. What a special series. I'm always happy to find a unique and fresh story and both Bright Side and GUS managed to both hit just the right spot. I can't wait to see what new and original stories Ms. Holden comes up with next!
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