It’s not news that I’m complete and utter trash for the Arden St. Ives series by Alexis Hall. You may remember my review of How To Bang a Billionaire from last year. I was minutes from offering the publisher my first born in exchange for this story on audio when the author announced that the audiobook was indeed coming, and I promptly lost my mind. I know you’re all dying to know what I thought of the audio version, right? RIGHT?!?!? Well, read on friends…
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. The second book in the series, How to Blow it with a Billionaire, (review to come!) was equally amazing, and I’ll be completely useless until the release of the final book in this series.