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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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to How to Bang a Billionaire the most enjoyable?
Let me just say Joel Leslie can read the phonebook and I would buy the audiobook. Arden is is a emotion hurricane and Capian is controlled simmer. I literally laughed loudly at some bits. Looking forward to the continuation of the story.
What was one of the most memorable moments of How to Bang a Billionaire?
Probably the phone call at the beginning. It sets the tone of the story to me.
Which character – as performed by Joel Leslie – was your favorite?
CASPIAN of course.
If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?
I can't think of one at this moment.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Even if Arden St Ives thinks he is the least likeliest person to set the world on fire Alexis Hall with Joel Leslie’s superb narration certainly have for me. I have a serious case of book hangover after finishing listening to this excellent story. It is so much more than 50 shades could ever hope to be. Roll on the next audiobook. Joel’s voice in my imagination as I read How to Blow it with a Billionaire is a poor substitute for the real thing.
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.