An Ali Audiobook Review: For Real (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall and John Hartley (Narrator), Paul Berton (Narrator)

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Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

For Real AudiobookLaurence 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.

My heart is so zing I can’t even….. Seriously. Not enough words to express how much I loved this story. I had a bunch of friends who had read this and loved it but although I like this author’s work I was still a little dubious about the age gap. It wasn’t the amount of years as much as the fact that Toby was only 19. I went into this feeling a lot like Laurie did. I thought Toby was too young for this story to feel real to me.

This story looks at two very different men at two very different stages of their lives. Toby is working and still living at home with his mother. He knows he has dominate tendencies but really all he has are fantasies. He’s not had any real experience or opportunity to learn how to be a Dom. Laurie is on the opposite spectrum. He’s in his late 30’s and is a doctor. He has an established career and is financially stable. He’s had both short and long term sexual and bdsm relationships. While Laurie should be the one with the most self-confidence he really isn’t. He’s jaded and a tad bitter and he really doesn’t believe love will happen for him again. Toby also has a lack of self-confidence in some ways but his is more an age thing. He’s not sure what he has to offer Laurie. Watching these two try to work through their respective issues was just beautiful. While Toby struggles with not knowing what he wants to do with his future and how to have the sexual relationship he wants, he’s filled with enthusiasm and maybe most importantly, hope. And after awhile with him, those thing start to spread to Laurie.

I felt the author did a great job with both characters. The magic in the storytelling for me was that we got the story told from each characters point of view. I felt like this really helped me to understand what each of them were going through. I found myself identifying with both of them at one point or the other. I understood the doubts Laurie had in regards to Toby’s age. I’m not sure I could date someone that much younger than me. On the other hand I’ve been 19 and I though Toby was a great representation of what it’s like to be at that stage of life.

I also really enjoyed the kink aspect of the story. So often in BDSM books there is a type of formula that seems to be used. This book contained none of that. Toby has the desire to dominate but no real idea how to do it and it stands to reason a young Dom would need to be taught by someone. I loved how Laurie does that in this story and how he gently helps Toby to figure out who he is and what he wants in that regard.

An added bonus to this story was listening to it on audio. I highly recommend you give the audiobook a try. There are two narrators and they both do an excellent job. I think a great narrator can add to and enhance a story and in this case I feel like these narrators did just that.

I read a lot, like 300+ books a year, and there are usually only a handful that really stand out as something unique. Something that makes me think about it for days after I’m done. This book is one of those stand outs and I really can’t recommend this book highly enough.

Cover art by Simoné. I liked the cover and I feel like it does a good job representing the characters and the plot.

Sales Links: Riptide PublishingAudible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

Audible Audio, 13 pages
Published November 30th 2015 by Audible Studios (first published June 1st 2015)
Original TitleFor Real
ASINB018IJCQWY
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSpires Universe
Literary AwardsRITA Award by Romance Writers of America for Best Erotic Romance (2016)

A Stella Review: For Real by Alexis Hall

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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:
Glitterland
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.

Dive Into Love with a Side of Kink with “For Real” by Alexis Hall (giveaway)

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ForReal_200x300

 

For Real by Alexis Hall
Published by Riptide Publishing

Cover by Simone
Release Date: June 1, 2015

Sales Link:  Riptide Publishing

Alexis Hall quickly became one of Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words “Must Have, Must Read” Authors with his stories Glitterland, Waiting for the Flood (both Spires universe books),  and Sand, Ruin and Gold.  Now comes another standalone novella in the  Spires universe, For Real released June 1st.

Check out this wonderful author below and don’t forget to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment at the end.  Make sure to include your email address where you can be reached if chosen.

About For Real…

Laurence 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.

ForReal_200x300Book Details:

Author: Alexis Hall
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62649-279-0
eBook and  print release: Jun 1, 2015
eBook Formats: pdf, mobi, html, epub
Print ISBN: 978-1-62649-280-6
Word count: 125,000,Page count: 437
This title is part of the Spires universe.
– Read an excerpt at Riptide’s For Real book page.

About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the 21st century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a 17th century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hotwire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

Connect with Alexis:

Website : http://www.quicunquevult.com/
Blog:  http://www.quicunquevult.com/blog
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/quicunquevult
Goodreads:  http://http//www.goodreads.com/alexishall

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Giveaway

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a $15 Riptide store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 23. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Don’t forget to add your email so we can contact you if you win! Must be 18 years of age or older to enter. Prizes provided by Riptide Publishing.