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Publisher's Summary

Two dominant males, two worthy adversaries, in a business that takes no prisoners will soon learn that fate refuses to be ignored.
My name is Troy Babilonia, but I'm best known as Babu, a renowned literary critic with my own online column. I'm followed by thousands! I'm a living god in the literary world. I have no filter, and for that my flock of humble followers are forever grateful. If it weren't for me, they wouldn't know what to read. I have zero tolerance for weak-minded attention seekers, nor do I have respect for the self-proclaimed geniuses of the indie world. My advice to all indie authors is to never break the cardinal rule in this cutthroat business. Ever.
My name is L. Blackburn, and I'm an indie author. My extraordinary genius was loved and worshiped throughout the literary world until one egocentric critic tried to obliterate my career. It seems I broke some "cardinal rule", and now I'm paying the price for it. But I don't plan on going down without a fight.
©2015 Smith & LeNoir (P)2016 Smith & LeNoir
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By DPiazzi on 08-03-16

Great narration - Interesting story

Would you listen to Black Balled again? Why?

Maybe. It was interesting but so much dramatics in the way the two main characters behaved.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The neighbor lady, though I can't remember her name. She had a good sense of humor and kind of calmed the two men down.

What about Joel Leslie’s performance did you like?

He has so many accents and little variations that he creates with his voice that he gives everyone a unique sound.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The bonus stories at the end definitely made me laugh hard.

Any additional comments?

The narration: I have become a big fan of this narrator, Joel Leslie. He creates so many different accents and tones that it seems every character has it’s own voice. I have enjoyed several of his narrations in the past, and would definitely listen to more from him in the future.

The story: I have to admit I had reservations about listening to this book because it is at least partially based on a real life fiasco that occurred on Goodreads. There are a lot of low rated reviews, and plenty of people who shelved it as will never read because of it. The fact that I received a review copy and the need to form my own opinions made me decide to put aside my doubts and check it out for myself.

One of the things that made it easier for me to listen to was that the authors do not just villainize the reviewer but also the author as well. They even make the reviewer’s sycophants look bad. I appreciate that it wasn’t a one-sided blame game.

The story opens up on a review posted by Babu for L.(Larson) Blackburn’s newest book. The reviewer tears the book apart, questions the author’s sexuality, and hints that he hopes it is just a woman writing about things women just don’t write well and urges “her” to stick to romance and chick-lit. Babu’s followers immediately thank him for saving them time. Since many of them are women, I don’t understand how the sexist remarks don’t bother them. They are definitely portrayed as mindless suck-ups that accept the word of a popular reviewer without checking things out for themselves. While Larson appears to be victimized by this reviewer, his thoughts upon reading the review, don’t make him sound like a much better person. Apparently being called a female is the worse thing that could happen to him. Obviously he needs to prove his manhood.

Now I’ve seen drama shared on Facebook and Goodreads, where an author will have problems with a reviewer or sometimes another author. I do my best to stay out of the arguments and side-taking, because it bothers me to see people publicly bashed and to see others take sides without knowing the whole story. It all just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It was that same feeling I had for a few chapters into this book. Babu and Larson are pretty unlikable characters, but this is not the first book I’ve read where the mc’s are kind of nasty. Though I prefer nicer personalities, the truth is, there are people on this planet that aren’t easy to like and it just makes the story more realistic. Ultimately, I couldn’t stop listening to this drama filled story because, though the subject was sort of scandalous it was also engaging. Reality shows show how addicting people behaving badly can be.

As the story continues, we do learn more about Babu and Larson that sheds light on some of the reasons they act the way they act. The other facets of their personalities begin to redeem them some. Their hateful remarks to each other becomes like foreplay. An anonymous hookup between them, and a case of mistaken identity later lead to a physical fight. But when the smoke clears, the two must admit their attraction to each other. As a pairing, I actually like them. I’d have to say they deserve each other and not all in a bad way.

Though they do become a bit more likable, I can’t say that either of them changes completely. There will always be friction because they will always be stubborn. I felt the story was a telling commentary on the way some people act in the writing and reviewing community. I think constructive criticism can be helpful, but try to stick by the saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I don’t want to discourage people from reading reviews, because I write reviews and enjoy reading others thoughts on books. I do definitely encourage people to form their own opinions on whatever is being reviewed. We are all different and can’t allow others to think for us or speak for us. If I hadn’t ignored the naysayers, I might not have had this enjoyable listening experience.

p.s. The bonus stories from the point of views of the neighbor and her cat were just hilarious. Probably my favorite part of the book because of the humor and lack of drama.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Amor Leer on 06-13-16


If you could sum up Black Balled in three words, what would they be?


* I received a copy of Black Balled audio for an honest review*

Let me first start by saying that I have passed up on purchasing other audio books in the past as I found the narrator's accent a bit much; however, Joel Leslie was perfect.

I purchased Black Balled ebook a few months back and could not pass up the opportunity to own it once it was out on audio.

So..... I thought Black Balled ebook was hot, boy was I wrong. Black Balled audio had me squirming (and in a good way).

This story is humourous, sexy and entertaining. Did I also mention HOT!!!
I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the banter between the 2 M/Cs. This story is just what every MM novel wants - 2 alpha males. There is a lot of humour and journey to self discovery.

Do yourselves a favour, don't think about it, just buy Black Balled, read and enjoy - you're welcomed :)

For your reading pleasure, Guns Blazing is a spin-off from Black Balled which I also loved..

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Avid Reader on 06-20-16

A different, but fun story.

If you could sum up Black Balled in three words, what would they be?

Funny. Damaged MCs

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Troy's letter to his psychiatrist, re. his stepfather's reaction to finding him kissing a boy when he was young, made me teary.

Any additional comments?

I hadn't read the book, so the story was totally unknown to me when I started listening. With Joel Leslie's narration I was quickly drawn in and he kept me hooked to the very end.

Joel is (in my opinion) a gifted voice actor, and he masters a variety of voices both male and female. I've listened to a number of books narrated by Joel, and he has thus far not disappointed me.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Kes Callaway on 06-19-16

Brilliant collaboration!!

What did you like most about Black Balled?

I liked the originality of the storyline. It was intriguing as to how these two fiery and arrogant characters could get through the book without killing each other.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the humourous emailing scenes and further on in the book I loved the fiery passion that developed between the two characters.

What about Joel Leslie’s performance did you like?

Joel's voice was amazing!! Not only did he showcase the arrogance of the two main characters fantastically but the tone of his voice was simply sublime to listen to. I was so glad I got the audio version of this book.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed a lot at the sheer arrogance and connection between the two main characters. Their emails between each other were hilarious.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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