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Alexis Hall is a really good writer. Listened to a few of their books and I’m always so utterly drawn in and absorbed, and love how you become a part of the character’s world. They are always so real and you fall in love with them. This is a rare writing skill in all the books I have listen to (and I have listened to way over 1000 in many genres), but practically unheard of in the m/m romance genre. Listened to the whole book pretty much in one go, and eagerly about to start on the next book of the trilogy.
I’d say this book is similar to the 50 shades type trilogy romance, with a tortured love interest and gradually revealing more about them and developing the relationship. However, the big difference with this book is that it’s really good! And m/m, obviously. So many of those types of books are mediocre. It’s not really a BDSM book, but the urges are there and it could easily go that way in the other books in the trilogy - but if it does I imagine it will be pretty light stuff. It’s more about emotional, intimacy and control issues.
Although it’s all from one character’s point of view, you still feel like you are getting to know both of them and its done really well.
Joel Leslie is a fantastic narrator too and you can tell he really knows the story and is being the character as he speaks, and feels what they feel - rather than just reading the words with voices like so many other narrators.
Just realised that the final book won’t be out for a few months which is a great shame as I usually don’t get books until they’re all available. Will be keeping an eye out for that one for sure! In the meantime, on to book number 2...
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
So, I read and loved this book, but I'm a bit in love with the audio. Yes, it has parallels with 50 shades, but it is so much better - it focuses on Caspian and Arden and they are truly front and centre here. The story takes you through Arden's journey from his POV but we also get to see Caspian's struggles with wanting to both protect and love Arden and also see him suffer.
And that's where this narration really comes alive. This is a book you live through, not listen to - it felt like I 'was' Arden - when he suffered, I suffered. The audio added that realistic dimension so rarely achieved for other books, by bringing each character to life in their own unique and distinct way. Both Arden and Caspian were the voices in my head, and the people I imagined when I read the book.
I could rave about this all day, and any review would feel woefully inadequate - and honestly, this has kind of recalibrated my rating as 5 stars just doesn't seem enough.
The next book I listen to has big, big shoes to fill.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
How to Bang a Billionaire was a top read of 2017 for me, and while this was my first read from author Alexis Hall, he quickly became one of my favorite authors as I worked my way through his backlist. When I learned that this book would be coming to audio, I was excited but wary. While I have been quite impressed with all of Alexis’ audiobooks thus far, I have been let down by m/m novels with a single narrator in the past. Some performers don’t have a distinctive enough voice for each character, and I’ve been left confused as to whose perspective I’m listening to at any given time.
This was not at all the case when it came to the performance of Joel Leslie. Joel did not merely narrate this book; he brought these characters to life. He portrayed Arden so well, his humor, his quirkiness that I love so much came through so beautifully. Arden is brave and bold and not afraid to be vulnerable, and Joel captured everything I love about Arden and somehow elevated his character to new heights for me.
Likewise, his portrayal of Caspian is eloquent and striking. I felt like he was letting the listener in on a secret, revealing Caspian to us chapter by chapter. The secondary characters are so distinctive, you’d be hard-pressed to even tell that they were all voiced by the same person. Joel is incredibly expressive and really shone in emotional scenes, at times he even evoked a physical reaction from me. I had already read this book twice before listening to the audio, but this version opened up new facets of this story for me and made me love it all the more. Joel doesn’t just tell you a story; he makes you feel it.
My fangirl switch has been flipped, and I’ve added Joel Leslie to my personal Narrator Hall of Fame. (It’s a very prestigious honor, I assure you). I’ve since listened to a few of his other books and purchased several more. My preorder for the sequel, How to Blow It with a Billionaire, is already in, and I’m counting the days until that release.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This was so much fun I truly did NOT want it to end. The story is funny and interesting, nothing is predictable. Oh, and I love the main character, Arden, so much. He was a breath of fresh air. I never knew what he was going to say or do next, which is wonderful. I want more!
And Joel Leslie, as always, did a great job. He said something once about not being an actor. I think he is one. Better, even, because he only has his voice to work with and he always comes through. I stayed up way too late listening to it. I think this might be my favorite of his narrations. At least until the next one comes out!
Truly, listen to this one. It made me go to Hall's other books. I bought another one and it was completely wonderful in a completely different way. Which is what I want in a writer. Something different every time.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful