A Stella Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

Rating:  5 stars out of 5

For Real coverLaurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.

The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.

It can’t be real.

Usually I don’t read books this long (this one is 437 beautiful pages), cause they always dragged at some point during the story. Not For Real by Alexis Hall. I was caught in the MCs’ lives till the end, there wasn’t one little moment of boredom. I didn’t want to put it down and I could have going on for another 400 pages. I felt everything Laurie and Toby felt, almost if I was there in their amazing world.

Of course I didn’t expect anything other than perfection from Alexis Hall. Recently I realized that he could simply write my favorite pie recipe and turn it in a masterpiece. He not “just can write”, there a lot of authors that can really write, he writes magically, everything is so poetic, even the smallest and stupid description of something you could have thought useless for the purpose of the story. The use of words in the descriptions and the reality of this story were two elements that made this book a winner to me. Even if the story flows easy, still I found it complex and that was what I appreciated more.

For Real is definitely not the usual BDSM story, the way in which the roles were defined plus everything was one continuous discovery. And not just for the young Toby, too young to know how to express himself in his desire of dominate Laurie. This was a dynamic I hadn’t read yet, at first it almost sounded strange to me but then I got it. I understood that the author gave me Toby and Laurie, two real characters, both full of flaws but true in their feelings. Their story was complicated, sweet and hot. Moreover I so appreciated to be able to know every little detail that went on in their minds.

As I said a complex book with a beautiful happy ending. I already know I’m going to reread it very soon because the positive, happy vibes it gave me are addictive. For Real deserves absolutely a spot on my fave shelf. Not a crumble less than 5 stars!

Cover art by Simoné. I love this artist style, it’s magical and dreamy. This cover is perfect and fitting in every detail. I especially love the colors and all that light coming from the windows. Just like the book, it’s real.

Sales Links:   Riptide Publishing  |  All Romance (ARe)  |  Amazon  |  Buy It Here

Book Details:
Published June 1st 2015 by Riptide Publishing
ebook, 437 pages
ISBN13 9781626492790
Edition Language English

Spires Universe:
Waiting For The Flood
For Real

What’s this “Spires” thing?

Author Alexis Hall: My feeling is that even contemporary-set romance stories to an extent take place in imagined worlds. So even though they’re not direct sequels to each other, my contemporary romances often have overlapping characters, ideas and settings. Spires is how I refer to this collection of thematically linked but otherwise standalone stories.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.


  1. Lovely review! For Real is a definite keeper/reread for me, too. I know just what you mean about your expectations for his writing. All of his stories are just filled with amazing characters and wonderful storytelling, both in style and content. I’ve been delighted by everything that sometimes I find it hard to pick a favorite! (But not really, because I love Prosperity just *that* much more than everything else.)


    1. Hi Carolyn, thanks for the comment! I need to to start the Prosperity series as soon as I can. it sounds so good. Last month I read Sand and Ruin and Gold too and it was really special to me. so different but so emotional.


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