6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anna Audiobook Audiobook Month BDSM Book class difference Contemporary Gay Heat Index May/December May/December Mid level angst Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Opposites attract Purchased S & M Scorching/high heat young adult

Audiobook Month: For Real by Alexis Hall Narrated by John Hartley and Paul Berton

Audible Link


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.

Review: This is one of my favourite books in the world. And the narration only adds to it.
It is BDSM and yet it is also sweet and fluffy and adorable, as well as angsty and emotional. This is basically a love story, at its very finest.

Writing a review for an Alexis Hall book is somehow always a bit daunting to me, because Alexis Hall can write. His writing is so beautiful that I sometimes need to go back and re-read a passage, just to appreciate it once again. But his beautiful prose never takes away from the story or the characters. This is very much a character and relationship driven story. And I love it.

I love the way it makes me feel. I love the way Laurie shows the strength and joy in submission and Toby’s exuberance in finding what he wants and needs.

I love the age difference between the two, and even though I feel the strongest connection to Laurie (he is my contemporary after all, one tired cynical late thirty something to another), Toby feels just as real, with his teenage angst and insecurities in one scene and his maturity and self confidence in others. The way the two find a way to something that is just theirs, without the story ever falling into the cliche’ed pit of formalised master / sub territory is brilliant. The BDSM is pain play and domination, but it is light, so I do believe that even readers who do not normally enjoy BDSM books would enjoy this.

The narrators do a terrific job of depicting the separate characters and I only have very minor niggles about any of it, and they are so minor that it has not stopped me from re-listening several times. All the stars for Toby and Laurie.

Overall Impression: 6 out of 5 stars


Purchased for Review


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