Read how to bang a billionaire by AlexisHall Online


Rules are made to be broken . . .If England had yearbooks, I'd probably be "Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire." So far, I haven't. I've no idea what I'm doing at Oxford, no idea what I'm going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he's brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.It's impossible noRules are made to be broken . . .If England had yearbooks, I'd probably be "Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire." So far, I haven't. I've no idea what I'm doing at Oxford, no idea what I'm going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he's brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.It's impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he'll be through with me.I'm good at doing what I'm told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian's shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it's him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn't have the power to give me....

Title : how to bang a billionaire
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 31445002
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 384 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

how to bang a billionaire Reviews

  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    2019-05-01 20:44

    4 stars!This book is the gay 50 Shades. Except I actually liked it. And I actually liked the characters. And there were no inner goddesses. This was a book I requested on a whim, I love MM and am always curious to read more. I'm not one for billionaire romances, or BDSM but for some reason this book called to me. How to Bang A Billionaire is about Arden, an Oxford student soon to graduate with a literature degree. He volunteers for an alumni fundraiser and ends up talking on the phone to billionaire and former student, Caspian Hart. On the phone they strike up a banter, and then Caspian comes to the fundraising dinner. There’s something there, but while Arden wants to pursue it, Caspian wants to resist.Arden gives up hope of being with the attractive billionaire, when Caspian offers up a deal…..“Everything was worth it for the power to give Caspian Hart just a little bit of joy.”I really liked this book, like I said above I’m not huge on billionaires, not huge on BDSM, but this one worked! I thought Arden was such an interesting character, his outlook on life and his motivations. He’s playful and fun and up for anything. Caspian was more of a mystery, one we didn’t get to the middle of yet. I expect there will be more about him in the next book. But what we did get to know of him I liked, he just doesn’t know how to express very well.This book wasn’t super steamy like I was expecting, and honestly I really liked that about it. It meant we could actually get some character development and get to know our players without constant sex. But there is sex! I promise. And you’ll like it. Hall just found a really great balance. And the BDSM element wasn’t as present as I thought, but I expect we will see more.There’s no cliffhanger! I promise. I cannot wait for the next book though despite no cliffy, I want to know more about these two men. They were wonderful!“I want to make you feel safe. And I’d make sure you never forget the extraordinary man that you are.” ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥

  • J *deep in the heart of Texas*
    2019-04-30 00:02

    4.5 Stars!I'm not ashamed to admit I liked the 50 Shades the time. Would I like them now? Probably not. My tastes have changed considerably since my time with Anna and Christian. But I like a good billionaire book as much as the next person....and that fact that it's an MM book, well even better. I quite liked both Caspian and Arden. A lot. They had some great banter. I just wish we also got Caspian's POV. That little niggle aside, I can't complain much about this one at all. Perhaps a little more steam would be nice, but I was certainly satisfied. Plus it's book 1 of 3 - so I have a feeling the steam levels will likely pick up. Not much BDSM in this one....but it's Alexis Hall so it's coming. Not sure how I feel about that. Hopefully it's on the lighter side. This one wasn't near as long as some of Hall's books, most of Hall's books. Another plus for me. Definitely a HFN ending - the only other real "complaint" I have. But I'm certainly eager for more. November can't get here fast enough! Recommended read for sure!

  • Alisa
    2019-05-20 23:44

    4.5 starsI think what the author did here was fantastic. I loved this. I think though that this book is going to be one of those that divides readers. You're either going to love this or you're going to hate it. This is a m/m reimaging of Fifty Shades of Gray. The overall plotline is the same. Twenty year old college student meets emotionally detached billionaire and they enter into a contract type of relationship. Arden is the narrator for the story and he's charming and funny and self-deprecating. He's not a naïve virgin and he thinks he's totally fine getting into this *thing* with Caspian (see what the author did with there with the names?) It doesn't take Arden long to realize that sex is not the issue. The emotional detachment though is and it begins to make him feel horrible about himself. As the story goes along Arden gets to see these brief glimpses of the guy Caspian is inside and he keeps going back for more despite his overall unhappiness.Caspian is an ass. He goes back and forth emotionally. He's detached most of the time but then shows these little bits of himself & you get the feeling he might be a good guy underneath it all. I personally liked Caspian. Although he's detached he's totally honest with Arden about what he's willing to give. There are numerous hints at his back story but by the end of this book we still don't know what makes Caspian tick and neither does Arden. I'm super curious as to where the author is going with his character. It's my feeling that the author knows exactly what he's doing with his characterization of Caspian and it's meant to be subversive. If you have read FSoG you are going to catch a bunch of similarities (ie Arden trips and falls when he meets Caspian). I guess you could perceive this as the author making fun of FSoG but that's not how I took it at all. I know this author a bit (in that abstract way you *know* people from the internet) and it's not at all in his nature to be mean or make fun of others. I took it in a positive way and those scenes made me smile and think "Oh, I remember that part". It is a bit cheeky but I think that's obvious from the title alone.So....this is FSoG but better. I don't mean that in the mean, bitchy way it sounds though. I read FSoG when they very first came out and I really enjoyed them. I actually hate it when people bash FSoG. A lot of people enjoyed that series and it opened up a lot of people's eyes to the erotic side of books. (I have an entire tangent about the haters who feel the need to crap on other people's happiness but I'll spare you from that). This though, was, imo, better written. The author's prose is lovely as usual and I felt more attached to these characters. I thought this was both funny and full of feelz. (Not all of the feelz were good mind you but that's real life. Relationships are not always easy.) While there are similarities this story is also very different. It's hard to explain but I think you'll see what I mean when you read this. This book ends in a hfn but they're barely there. I believe there are two more books in the series and I personally can't wait to read them.

  • Jan
    2019-04-23 00:04

    **** 3.5 ****See this pic??I'm the one in the middle.Got mixed feelings here. I liked Arden in the same proportions as I disliked Caspian Hart. Arden(20) is a down-to-earth person. He's happy, passionate and sassy. A free spirit, honest, generous and possesses a trait that I love: he has no filter. The "no filter" makes him a really singular and special character because you never know what will come out of his mouth next. Capian Hart is complicated. I'll give you him at his best:"I like to avoid personal conversations.""We shouldn't.""I don't do relationships.""We can't do this.""You ask too much of me.""You have no idea what you're asking.""I would ruin you.""It's not that simple."For God's sake! Somebody help and take off the chip from his shoulder!I have to say, Arden and Caspian are a weird combination They are so different!The relationship is so unbalanced. Scratch that! There is no relationship.So, here's to hoping that book 2 brings me some answers and give me more info about Caspian, because so far, I feel frustrated and annoyed by him.

  • Truuss
    2019-05-02 22:56

    The second time it was again... awesomeness !!5++ I don't know how to express this...this awesomeness From the first sentence I was totally in and addicted. These are the sentences I crave for....every one.... read: e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e was captivating as hell...every line I absorbed and consumed like it was the best chocolate on earth.For me it was an instant memorable experience. I'm not exaggerating, it really felt this was written in the best way possible...It was funny so fucking funny I laughed out loud, at the same time it was heartbreaking damn I cried (also loud....)It was strong forwarding and it makes you think and wonder. The self reflections of Arden are funny, witty and with so many layers it made my heart squeeze.The appearance of Caspian was could think you know what this is all about....but don't make the mistake....because it so much more. He is one big contradiction and endearing as hell.Damn....the whole package was just perfect it was all I wanted of a story. And what I'm gonna say will sound very strange.... is wasn't even the content that made this perfect, more the way it was put down, the way it was written. Of course the story was amazingly good and captivating but I think this author can make gold of every storyline.So.....the storyline.....The prologue is intriguing as hell....Arden and Caspian...Inferior was the feeling he had when he saw himself pertaining to Caspian....and Caspian....?....didn't had a clou....didn't understand Arden or his feelings...They made a deal....Arden is there for Caspian at all times and Caspian will take care of Arden at all times.Arden...... even when he felt at his worst....utterly wanted to give Caspian a way out...a chance to make it all good ...he saw the man....really saw him.What Arden didn't realize, was the fact that he was the center of Caspian's world.Their connection is strong, only not in the way Arden had in mind...Caspian is sort of alienated...Arden has a breaking point and that point is close....very closeAll my negative feelings about serial reading evaporated with this one.... I will patiently wait for #2 No cliff here.... *swipe forehead*

  • Tamika♥RBF MOOD♥
    2019-05-04 00:01

    DNF @ 67%ARGHHHHHHHHHIt's only so much you can take! Goodness, I really tried. I tried Alisa, oh pudding pop I tried. LOL.I literally want to take a bat to ARDEN'S head and shut him the hell up. It was TOO MUCH internal monologuing. I liked the premise of the story and the reversal of the FSOG saga, but it was too much for me. Honestly, I read up to 67% and put up with alot. I couldn't deal with a few sentences of dialogue between Caspian & Arden, and then 5 long pages of internal yammering from Arden. It was this way the entire book so far. Then Arden would go on extended rants about things that were so left field. I really feel like he had ADHD. It is okay to admit it.Don't get me wrong, I liked Arden a lot. I even liked Caspian, and certain parts of the story were good and funny. Both characters were likeable, but to many words and not enough execution left me bored and pissed off. I wish it was maybe dual pov's. Maybe it would have flowed more easily reading from Caspian's pov.This is a bummer for me. I don't find myself reading this author that much but I do like a couple of his stories. I don't think I'll be recommending this persay, but people seem to read enjoy it. There reviews are a lot more positive in energy about the characters. It didn't work for me, but it might work for you. Try it.   

  • Adam
    2019-05-16 23:45

    I really didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. I'd seen a few reviews comparing it to Fifty Shades of Grey, which made me nervous.But I had no need to worry. Alexis Hall delivers once again - complex and interesting characters, some comedy, hot sex, and a sweet romance.I immediately fell for Arden. He's the cute funny twink who has a habit of getting into trouble. He charmed the socks off me.Caspian is, to put it bluntly, a dick. He's cold and aloof for the vast majority of the book. Yet in the second half, when he began letting his guard down a bit, it was obvious that there was something behind the facade. I'm still not entirely sold on him, but I'm pretty sure he can change for Arden.The sex. It was hot. It wasn't particularly kinky, with just some domination here and there. But these two are clearly moving towards heavier stuff. I'm all for it.The big stumbling block in Arden and Caspian's relationship is Caspian inability to let down his walls and let himself love and be loved by Arden. Things aren't completely resolved by the end of the book, but Caspian's definitely making an effort.I think these two have quite a way to go before they get their HEA, but I have no doubt that they will. They fit together perfectly. I can't wait for book 2!

  • Debra
    2019-05-12 20:44

    Review originally posted at Sinfully.3.5 starsThis is one of those books that’s going to have a distinct divide between loved it and hated it. Alexis Hall’s take on the broody, kinky, emotionally stunted billionaire-dom who is suddenly taken with the awkward college student, starts off seeming like a parody of Fifty Shades of Grey. The framework is there, with striking similarities to start, but after the first few chapters the parody feel was gone. It is still clearly a play on the familiar theme, but Arden isn’t Anastasia Steele and Caspian isn’t Christian Grey.I loved Arden from page one. He is about to graduate Oxford with hopes of a journalism career, but he’s been lazy and has no real prospects. He does have an inner monologue that is smart, witty and self-deprecating. He’s not an innocent flower, but he is rather emotional. Our pansexual hero has had a parade of people through his dorm room and wants to be a slut in a dungeon for Caspian from their first meeting. When the two actually meet for the first time and have their first sexual experience, Arden knows that Caspian wants something similar, but things don’t go well after that.The men eventually come to an agreement. Caspian wants Arden but doesn’t want more than sex. Arden wants Caspian and agrees to a six month period of just that. No strings attached sex when Caspian wants it. Caspian installs Arden in one of his apartments in London, convincing Arden that it will be easier to meet up and will provide Arden with the freedom to look for work and not worry about being homeless. Things pretty much go downhill from the start. Arden just wants to be with Caspian – not the billionaire, not the closed off man, but the man he had glimpses of the first time, the man who apparently has a certain sexual appetite for rough sex and bondage. What he gets is a closed off Caspian who treats him like a whore (unintentionally because Caspian is apparently just clueless). Arden isn’t a shrinking flower and he thought he could work with what Caspian offered, but he’s just too emotionally invested.Arden wants rough sex, he wants to explore a BDSM relationship and he makes that clear, but Caspian keeps throwing out this nebulous fear he has of hurting Arden and his need to maintain control. A need which Arden clearly tests. We don’t get more than that – a fear he’ll hurt Arden like he hurts others, that he isn’t a relationship man, that he must have control. While it’s obvious that Caspian is taken by Arden and that he’s trying to be what Arden wants, within his own limitations, it’s just as obvious he doesn’t know how to deal with Arden’s effect on him. That is still all we know by the end of the book. We don’t get to know Caspian much. There is the capacity for warmth and tenderness but most of the time he’s just very cold even when he thinks he’s being kind and sweet. We know that Caspian has family issues, we meet his troubled younger sister, but it all remains a mystery.This book has me all jumbled up. I loved the writing. Alexis Hall always gives spectacular dialogue, witty with a beautiful use of language (I always learn a new word or two). I loved Arden. He is a bright light any time he is on the page, but Caspian is another story. I didn’t hate him, I certainly didn’t love him, it was more I was indifferent towards him for much of the story and that was a problem for me, even though with the story’s framework I know that was the way it was supposed to go. The initial spark between the two when they first talk and then meet, slowly dwindled for me to the point that I didn’t feel a connection at all. Whether it’s Caspian’s cold nature or what, the flame didn’t grow for me until the last pages of the story where we finally see a peek of Caspian as person, the glimpse of what Arden saw early on that kept him coming back for more. The sex scenes were often vague and I felt detached, likely the way Arden felt while it was going on, but that also did little for me as far as feeling the connection. While some of this may have been the author’s intent, it made it difficult for me to want to see them together, especially once Arden decides he’s had enough.There’s not a lot of romancing in this book, there’s also not really any BDSM at this point. The story started off great and was a lot of fun, the middle lost me a bit, but It ends on a hopeful note, what some may consider a bit of a cliffy, a HFN with a promise to try. I knew going in it was a series, but didn’t realize it was going to follow the same couple. Now that I know it, even though there were some big bumps in this one, my love of Arden and the author’s writing will have me crossing my fingers and coming back for the next installment.

  • Em
    2019-04-20 23:48

    re-read 11/14.I wasn't so rushed reading this a second time & I enjoyed every bit of it all over again. I love Arden's sense of humor and it's so easy to see why Caspian falls so hard for him. He's awesome. ____________________________________________________Oh I never wanted this to end. So much still to learn about Caspian Hart!!!!!Random review tangent:I hesitate to link E. L. James with Alexis Hall, but I'm just going to go ahead and do it. As I read this story I kept thinking it reminded me of another book though the link remained illusive (er. in hindsight it's like duh). How to Bang a Billionaire is the m/m version of the relationship Christian (50 Shades) might have had if the one with Anastasia failed. stay with me. In this completely fictional 4th book, Anastasia would have helped Christian while they were together to resolve his lingering negative BDSM associations, and very real need for a D/s relationship as a means to express his love. He's at peace with his past and his desires, but unwilling to participate in a D/s relationship with her. They break-up. Then, Christian meets someone else who's super great and the REAL love of his life. Christian is unwilling to explore a BDSM relationship with this person out of fear, but this NEW BETTER person is into it and doesn't want this vanilla, artificial expression of Christian's affection. The fictional future partner likes a bit of BDSM and the D/s relationship. He/she also thinks they can have a healthy relationship exploring it together. But Christian resists and resists and resists. End 4th book.back to How to Bang a BillionaireIn this book, using the aforementioned theory, Arden St. Ives isn't Anastasia - he's the person after her. The true love. Caspian Hart is the Christian character - damaged by his (in this case) mysterious/intriguing past and trying to have a healthy relationship but unwilling to explore a D/s relationship with his new partner.At least I think that's what is happening here with Arden and Caspian - though the jury is still out.What it definitely is is a complicated love story - and it features my most favorite trope of them all - opposites. Returning to my earlier analysis (hmm), Caspian is the detached, wealthy, handsome business titan; Arden is the naive (in his own way) college student who sparks Caspian's attention and focus. They're different in every way but intensely attracted to one another from the first moment they meet. In fact, there's an instant connection between them before they meet, when Arden cold-calls Caspian to donate to his alma mater. Caspian is charmed, Arden is curious. The conversation is a delicious preview of what's to come - and the story sucks you right in from the get-go.Again, much like 50 Shades, Caspian tries to dictate the terms of the relationship and Arden, bewildered by the attention and interest of his powerful crush, cedes to his demands. Which we all know is never a recipe for a successful relationship. And it isn't here either. Arden doesn't want Caspian's wealth or power or connections - he wants Caspian. Unfortunately, Caspian's past casts a very dark shadow over the relationship. We get glimpses of who and what might be there, but Mr. Hall deliberately leaves Caspian's history mysterious and unclear. Caspian is deeply fearful of a D/s relationship with Arden, though Arden urges him to let go and stop resisting what they both want. It appears they're moving in that direction when...Yep, the novel ends.Misunderstandings/hot sex/missed opportunities... this is the relationship between Caspian and Arden in How to Bang a Billionaire. But this is a book by Alexis Hall and not E. L. James, so you already know he elevates this complicated love story into something better and more excellent than most everything else. It's poignant, bittersweet and tender - and just terrific.I loved it almost as much as my favorite title by Mr. Hall - and I love knowing there is more to come from this pair and this author. You will too. SO SO GOOD. And also, the title. ITS HILARIOUS AND AWESOME.p.s. does anyone know how many books are planned for the series?

  • Amanda
    2019-05-18 01:58

    4.5 starsA drop dead gorgeous billionaire who is a repressed Dom and after the whole damn book we still don't know anything about him beside being a repressed Dom? Oh yeah, sounds pretty familiar and pretty dark. But since this book had such a cheeky and blunt title call 'How To Bang a Billionaire', the little twist come in the form of wannabe submissive Arden St. Ives.Arden is a English literature student volunteering to make cold calls to successful alumni hoping to get some generous donation. Due to his wacky personalities, he made an impression on Caspian Hart, the most beautiful man to grace the earth. His words, not mine. This book is told entirely in Arden's POV, which honestly most of the time I find it hilarious. He had a tendency to be optimistic one minute and self deprecating the next. Bipolar, much? He also tends to babble a lot and he can go on and on about the same issue over and over again in his head. Initially I want to shout at him to just get over it already and stop being a drama queen. But Arden being Arden, I think he is an acquired taste, the more I read about him, the more I like his idiosyncrasy. Caspian Hart is the rich asshole extraordinaire. He is like this gentleman who is always being nice and proper but I want to throttle him most of the time for being an emotionless brick wall. He is very close off about his personal stuff, but tend to shower Arden with anything money can buy. Arden has little self worth when it comes to comparing himself to his secret lover. And living like a mistress or worst a prostitute waiting for Caspian's attention is initially tantalizing, but later on make him feel worst than a whore. When Arden finally grow a back bone and showed Caspian what he needs, will Caspian able to reciprocate? Okay, in the end Caspian is still as mysterious as ever and I still haven't seen kinky scene yet, but this book do end with a nice HFN for them.I know this might sounds really 50 Shades, but I don't care cause this is M/M and I love it.

  • Krista
    2019-05-19 21:49

    DNF at 60%I wanted to love this book so much. Based on the description, there was every indication that I was going to. But, once I got into it, I realized that there was one big thing that was wrong. Caspian Hart is the biggest asshole "hero" I've ever read in any book. Ever.I'm okay with the hero running hot and cold for a while. It gives the hero/ine a chance to prove that what they could have together is worth wading through all the bad stuff. But Caspian just runs cold all the time. There is no hot. I realize the hot could come at a later time in this book or in the series, but I need SOMETHING in order to keep me engaged - a few moments of genuine tenderness and affection or some other indication that a future real relationship is even possible. And there was none of that. At 60%, we still know absolutely nothing about Caspian other than he's a billionaire and his dad is dead. We don't know what he actually does or how his father died or if he has siblings or what he likes to do in his spare time. We've never seen him in anything but a fancy suit (even when he's having sex). Which makes Caspian flat, one-demensional and incredibly difficult to connect with. Caspian's continued treatment of Arden as a high-paid whore (and Arden's acceptance of that treatment) gave me so much rage, I had to take frequent breaks from reading. His constant coldness and dismissive attitude toward Arden was degrading and demoralizing. Which made me hate him. And then I hated Arden because he accepted it all, even though he admits that it makes him feel like crap. Also, as a side note, I was shocked at the similarities between this book and Fifty Shades of Grey... Caspian is a billionaire who meets Arden when Arden calls him to talk him into a donation for the university that Arden is fixing to graduate from in mere weeks. Caspian finds him intriguing and they have a few interludes where Caspian starts to woo Arden before telling him that he's not someone Arden wants to be with and leaves. Then, Caspian shows up unexpectedly at a bar where Arden has gotten drunk while celebrating his graduation and saves Arden from a potential suitor getting too frisky. After barfing on Caspian's shoes and passing out, Arden wakes up in a fancy hotel. Caspian buys him breakfast and then tells him he wants him. They enter into negotiations of their sexual relationship. Caspian provides Arden with a phone and a place to stay and a credit card in exchange for Arden making himself available whenever Caspian wants him (because Caspian is a busy man, so Arden always has to be ready at a moment's notice). Sound familiar??

  • River
    2019-04-30 02:09

    I'm still not sure if this book is supposed to be taken seriously or if it's supposed to be judged and laughed at.I've read other books from Alexis Hall so I know she is a good writer, I was utterly confused by this book which is basically the MM adaptation of 50 shades of grey.This is the story of a quirky, happy, confused about his future, oxford student Arden and the disturbed, closed off but with a huge heart billionare Caspian. First I need to clarify that the book is not a carbon copy of 50 shades obviously, a lot of things are changed but the core of the story is the same.Arden enters an arranged relationship with Caspian and honestly believes that he can have a phisical only relationship without issue but of course get involved and Arden wants more but Caspian doesn't talk about himself and seems to have a troubled past and Arden wants to fix him. I don't know what more to say.. The ending of the book even had an invitation for a masquerade party that's gonna happen in book 2. *massive eyeroll*I swear there were parts that I thought "maybe in the end they are not going to end up together and it's going to be like the story should end, because it is not a healthy arrangedment." but of course that didn't happened. Arden is going to change Caspian with the power of his love and will to submit.

  • MaDoReader
    2019-05-07 02:56

    No estoy de humor, definitivamente

  • BWT (Belen)
    2019-05-15 04:00

    This is the story of funny but flailing Oxford student, Arden St. Ives, and the enigmatic billionaire he falls in love with...but will closed off Caspian Hart be able to return Arden's love? With some (I think) tongue in cheek nods to Fifty Shades of Grey, although thankfully much better written, this has plenty of laughs, mostly at Arden's expense, without becoming silly about it. While I found it funny, certainly witty, and I appreciated even though Arden was head over heels with Caspian he didn't just let Caspian walk all over him, I struggled to get through the story. Because it's told entirely from Arden's POV it unfortunately provided little insight into Caspian's mind or motivations. Also, the tentative HFN ending about killed me.The real gem I found here is Joel Leslie's narration. He perfectly captures how out-of-his-depth Arden is, how Arden grows, and conveys the brilliant-yet-tragic tones of Caspian beautifully. Leslie's voice was so rife with humor and emotion...he just keeps getting better in his character voices and performances.Truthfully, the story wasn't for me but the audio kept me going throughout and I found it to be a delightful listen.Story: 2 Stars; Audio: 4 Stars = Total = 3 StarsAudio copy of How to Bang a Billionaire (Arden St. Ives #1) provided in exchange of an honest review.This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.

  • Hollis
    2019-05-03 23:44

    The most painful thing about Caspian Hart wasn't desiring him; it was liking him.Which is basically what my experience with this book was. Except I neither desired nor liked it. But it was painful because I have just discovered this author and he has made me fall in love with his writing and his characters.. only to follow it up with this.Part of me really hopes this whole series is like a big fuck you to FIFTY SHADES OF GREY in the sense that it's a polite but gently mocking homage done in a gay way. Or a parody. Please be a parody. Because if it's not.. I don't know. I just don't know. And if it is.. I still don't know."That's all ambition is. A fire that burns in empty places."Spoiler alert : I did not like FIFTY SHADES OF GREY. I never read books two or three. It took me two weeks to read the first one and anyone who knows me, or has followed me for more than five seconds, knows it doesn't take me long to read a book. And that it took me, actually and literally, two weeks to finish that series opener says a lot I think. It was horrible. I did not like it. And, if you can imagine it, I like retellings of that plot even less. Because the concept hurts my brain. These characters hurt my brain. And if Hall has written this genuinely and sincerely as something he wanted to write.. well, I mean, good for him. I hope he makes a fortune off all the fans of the original. He's a brilliant writer when (in my opinion) he isn't writing this. [..] and there was my audience : five of them, be-suited and exquisitely composed, regarding me with the careful nonreactiveness British people adopt when you've mortified yourself so severely that they're embarrassed on your behalf.As a result, I'll probably be avoiding the rest of the series -- at least until some time has passed and I've forgotten how much I disliked this experience. At which point, when (if) my library gets the sequel, I'll keep it on the down-low (aka won't tell Melissa so she can talk me out of it) and be forced to rely on my diminished hopes to cheer me on in my desperate need for a less frustrating and redundant and cyclically painful experience."Sebastian's a crab.""How can you remember that? Are you sure you're mostly straight.""He was a comedy sidekick with a racist accent. You don't forget that shit unless you're too busy speculating about whether the male lead is any good in bed.""You're right. That is pretty gay."Arden in general was not my favourite character (and as I observed to my aforementioned friend, the only reason Caspian was marginally more likeable is because initially we know nothing about him, until we are given bits and pieces of things, at which point the things we do know are mostly terribly vague reasons for him being terrible and vague and I just couldn't) but I did like him best when he was bantering and whatever with his friend Nik. Which happens like twice. But as a result the opening chapters of HOW TO BANG A BILLIONAIRE were probably the ones I enjoyed most. I thought the not-actually-meeting meet-cute of the cold call charity collection scenario was cute. But Arden is basically a Bella (I know, obviously, hello) and he's weepy and clumsy and clingy and ridiculous; all of which could be cute or endearing but it's to an extreme where it no longer inspires sympathy. Just ridicule and long-suffering sighs. Also bitchy whinging via fbook messenger to people who understand my pain. He was the human equivalent of an offer from Oxford : difficult to get, impossible to turn down, and guaranteed to make you feel as if you'd only been chosen because of an administrative error.And the conversations with Caspian just.. went around and around and around and words were being said but nothing made sense and what I hate most in the romance genre is how this kind of behaviour is now widely acceptable. That this non-communicative relationship is sexy and mysterious. No, it's not. It's a pain in the ass and awful. Stop it. But we're always given just enough, aren't we, to tolerate it. Case in point : the final chapter. It was sweet but of course it's all going to go to shit in book two (because reasons) and yet we'll be reminded of these moments, in addition to all the glimpses of real emotion and little non-smiles and choked back laughter, to make whatever clusterfuck is coming "easier to bear" on Arden and/or something he uses to validate it all and convince himself that Caspian is "worth the investment". As a reader, however, it was hard to get invested in this glimpse of a real person because glimpses do not a whole person make. It's hard to be invested in a couple when one half is a caricature and the other is a vague hazy outline of a concept. But I guess we'll see.1.5 "and what was up with those non-sexy sex scenes, anyway?" stars

  • Gillian
    2019-04-24 23:42

    Reviewed for Just Love4.5 starsI’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was intrigued when it was announced that Alexis Hall had decided to tackle the most overused, overdone, and arguably, the most popular trope in romance – the bildom.I mean, this is the person that made us believe that a successful doctor on the verge of 40 would gladly relinquish control of his body and his heart to a 19 year old short-order cook with problem skin in the award-winning For Real. He also the same author who made us fall in love with a brilliant, sharp-tongued, depressed author and an earnest but uneducated, over-tanned, Essex boy – who turned out to be the wisest of the two – in Glitterland.So yeah, I was very excited to see how he would spin a trope made uber popular by the much maligned FSOG and make it into something of his very own.How To Bang A Billionaire (henceforth known as HTBAB), is everything the bildom trope should aspire to be; smart, funny and sexy with the added bonus of Alexis Hall’s trademark gorgeous prose. To paraphrase Meghan Trainor (because why not) it has “all the right words, in all the right places”.Arden St. Ives is an absolute delight. I’m not sure I’ve fallen in love with a character quite so quickly before as I did with Arden. He’s not only delightfully funny and self-deprecating, he’s also smarter and more insightful then he gives himself credit for. Whether he’s struggling through making a cold call for a fundraising campaign, worried about his grades and his future plans after Oxford, or gamely negotiating a “short-term, prearranged” relationship with a billionaire, he’s always eminently relatable.“Arden, I want to fuck you.”He wanted to…Gosh. Well, I hadn’t been expecting that. Especially not when I felt – and probably looked – like I’d been shat out by a gastrically distressed camel.Far from being the wallflower virgin who is plucked from obscurity (and from his aforementioned virginity) by an ultra-rich alphahole, Arden is well aware of what he is looking for when Caspian Hart enters his life. Unfortunately, what he wants and what Caspian is willing to offer are two different things. While Arden would be perfectly happy having a fling with the intriguing and handsome billionaire, Caspian initially dismisses the idea out of hand.“…I’m quite a busy man, Arden, and I have neither the time or inclination to embark upon something both complicated and inevitably unsuccessful.”And again with the half-empty glass. “How can you say that without even trying.”He sighed, a finger stroking the crease between the eyes, as though it pained him slightly. “Because I know myself. I know what I’m capable of and I know what my life permits.”While he’s not impervious to Arden’s charms and eventually does relent, Caspian insists on a restrictive verbal contract that stipulates a start and end date to their relationship, plus the requirement that Arden always be available on Caspian’s schedule. The payoff? It comes with a luxury condo and a credit card. But Arden desires something more than…stuff. Okay, he *likes* the stuff, but it’s the man he really wants. The ‘real’ man, not the aloof, watered down version Caspian is offering.“I told you I wasn’t very good at caring for people.” A pause. “You keep saying you want me, Arden. Well, this is who I am.”“No.” I came at him like a very small but determined tornado. “This is bullshit.” Since HTBAB is told almost entirely from Arden’s perspective, any insight into Caspian Hart is filtered through Arden’s impressions. He’s precise, demanding and almost always implacable, except when he’s…not. These few exceptions are like a tease, both to the reader and to Arden, who is desperate to push their boundaries and pursue the D/s dynamic that he knows Caspian wants but refuses to allow.For God’s sake, Caspian. Can’t you see I’m desperate for you to let go and dominate the fuck out of me? I like it rough. I like it filthy. And, most of all, I like it with you. When it is you. Not just the paper-thin façade of the man you think I want you to be.”“It’s not that simple.”“Isn’t it? It’s just sex. And I’m a fully consenting grown-up. No matter how rubbish I am at the grown-up part.”“Those impulses in me aren’t…that is, they don’t come from a good place.”Combined with the scorching prologue that starts this book, the above exchange is utterly enticing and leaves us with more questions than answers about who Caspian Hart really is and where and when “those impulses” were born.If I haven’t mentioned it already, and if you couldn’t tell from the above quotes, a huge part of this book’s charm is it’s humour. Arden isn’t only the heart of this story, he’s also its funny bone. Whether it’s an extended internal dialogue or a throwaway line, he brings a beautiful levity to this story. Even Caspian is allowed to show a subtle wit and gentle teasing manner with Arden that makes him likeable and sympathetic despite knowing so little about him.He took a neat little sip from his own glass. “Well, this is a Piper-Heidsieck Rate Vintage from 2002, reputably their best year since 1996.”Oh dear Lord. I was so outclassed. “You know that just from tasting it?”“It’s, ah, written on the bottle behind you.”His tone was very careful, his expression unreadable, but his eyes were full of secret mischief. Any similarity you see between HTBAB and Fifty Shades of Grey is strictly intentional (just look at the names of the characters). But don’t make the mistake of thinking this is some sort of parody. To me, this is the book that FSOG *should* have been if it hadn’t taken itself so seriously. Yes, Caspian is just as closed off and broody as Christian (albeit with a dry sense of humour), but Arden…oh, Arden is everything that Ana wasn’t and this book is all the better for it.I will spend the next little while eagerly anticipating the next book. I want to know all of Caspian’s secrets and I definitely want more of the wonderful Arden. I would also like to see a little more of Caspian’s buttoned up assistant Justin Bellerose, who I didn’t mention in this review (I only have so much space here!) but who intrigued me greatly.I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a witty, sexy billionaire romance that, above all, else is just plain fun.I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  • Vallie
    2019-04-26 23:42

    Yowza baby! Billionaire romance with the quirky college kid? Alexis Hall be like:Yes, * cough *50 shades satire *cough*, this was EVERYTHING you want in a tortured-soul-billionaire-meets-fresh-faced-college-kid-with-kinky-inclinations romance.First off, Arden. Dear me, that kid is in my bones now. I absolutely adored him. There’s something to be said about the bravery required in being yourself, especially when that might make you feel a little like an outsider. Arden has such a unique voice and that becomes obvious very quickly from his interactions with his college roommate and his reaction to Caspian. Arden has a sensitive soul that is fortified by an honesty that can render you speechless. It’s like he doesn’t know how to fake it. Whether it’s silly, vain insecurity about his clothes, or deeper worry about his life choices after college, he exudes this adorable “LIKE ME SAVE ME LOVE ME” quality as well as a bit of the “I could do with a spanking” *wink* quality. It’s been a while since I was in a character’s head that felt so real, so well-developed, and so damn entertaining. I just adore this kid. And Caspian.Well.You want to talk about sexual frustration.He is the embodiment of the hot, young, tortured billionaire. Move over Mr. Grey! Seriously, he is withdrawn, obviously a genius, very well spoken, and totally smitten with Arden. The expected developments occur –Arden is moved into one of Caspian’s flats with the understanding that they will have a sexual relationship. Mind you, the sex scenes are actually very few in this book but the UST was off the charts and the interactions between Caspian and Arden were so intense (THAT PHONE SEX SCENE!) that even though my greedy self would like more, it was more than enough to establish intimacy without being gratuitous. There is no silliness in this book. The characters have depth and while there tends to be some melodrama here and there, it’s very carefully tethered before it crosses the line. Also, what surprised me is that a D/s dynamic is very heavily implied but barely acted upon in this book, all under a veil of Caspian’s darkness that he wants to control. Very cloak and dagger and damn you Alexis Hall for making me wait till fall to see what happens next!And this is how Mr Hall wrote a billionaire romance par excellence. The thematic similarities with 50 shades are too big to be coincidental. This was no accident in my opinion. This was a brilliant twist on a tired, overused trope, written with wit and full of current references. And the writing –if you’ve read any of this author’s previous works you have seen how he can manipulate language like clay and make it profound. There was no difference here. However. As much as I loved all of the above, and as much as I can appreciate how a cliché trope can turn brilliant at the right hands, the comparisons kept taking me out of the story. I was made too aware of the structure of the plot, often catching myself wondering if something with turn out in a way vaguely or closely reminiscent of 50SOG, and that took from my enjoyment significantly.This is for readers who enjoy billionaire romance with a sprinkle of pretty woman vibes –with numerous references in text for this. If you like your MM characters insanely hot, vulnerable but with a hint of danger, dirty talk, and kink that slips right out of your fingers, just barely whetting your appetite, pick this up. Recommend!

  • Mare SLiTsReaD Reviews
    2019-05-03 22:55

    Sigh........DNF @ (view spoiler)[ the giving of the grant(hide spoiler)]Here's the thing, while the author has lovely prose, because they do, just take Glitterland or Waiting for the Flood which are some of my all time favourite reads, and while this book had lovely prose.... it just didn't work for me. Truth be told I feel very hit or miss with this author and TBH I feel that way with a lot of writers. Readers are not going to love everything and that is just a fact. So while I probably did not give this book a fair shot because I did DNF early, there are reasons.....(view spoiler)[I am and will always be a 50 Shades fan. I am and will always be someone who doesn't really read BDSM books unless it is Joey W Hill. I did not look at 50 shades as a BDSM book. I didn't. I looked at it as a love affair and that in the end people will change only if they want to.... Dont bash me cause I liked 50 ok...... This book is a parody of 50 Shades. Once I read how the MC fell in front of the other MC it was pretty much over for me. And then...The Grant......Like the books...... I just couldn't get over the similarities. Also this is a 3 book series with the same couple. With that said, I probably will go back to finish this book once the series is complete. In what 2 years? I dont know when the next 2 books will be put out but when that happens I will go back and finish. I hate Cliffhangers and I hate incomplete series.(hide spoiler)]Mare["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Joyfully Jay
    2019-04-24 23:44

    Updated for audiobook review Read Jay’s audio review in its entirety here.A Joyfully Jay review. 4.75 starsHow to Bang a Billionaire is the first book in Alexis Hall’s new Arden St. Ives series and I absolutely loved it. This one pretty much had me from “billionaire dom” to be honest. Interestingly, the dom/sub side of things doesn’t play prominently here in this first story. In fact, Caspian quite clearly is trying to keep that side of him at bay. Yet I was captivated nonetheless with this one from the very start.First off, I have to say this story rests strongly on Arden’s incredibly engaging shoulders. The story is told strictly from his POV, which is a really clever choice. So much about Caspian is a mystery to Arden and the man holds so much of himself back, that it makes sense that we never truly know what is happening in Caspian’s head. Plus, Arden is so adorably, unintentionally charming I couldn’t help but love him. Arden pretty much admits he has wasted his time at Oxford having fun and has no idea what to do with himself now. And he has such a great voice, I found him so incredibly entertaining.Read Jay’s review in its entirety here.

  • Lennan Adams
    2019-04-30 19:49

    I'm an enormous fan of Alexis Hall. I adore everything he has ever written and this book is no different. I think Ardy might be my favorite AJH character ever, and that's saying a lot. He is so sort of young and unsure in such a believable way, but also so very willing to accept himself and the people around him. He's open and happy and just wonderful. Caspian really wars with his desires and Arden is basically like, umm why tho. It's just great. I can't wait to see the ways in which Caspian and Arden continue to make each other be better versions of themselves. The writing is just GORGEOUS of course, the little references to Fifty Shades of Grey are subtle and wonderful and I just love everything that Alexis did with the trope. The Ana character (Nathaniel) isn't successful in his attempt to "cure" Caspian of his dominance and sadism because Caspian doesn't need to be cured. He needs Arden and Arden needs him and their complementary kinks aren't evidence of psychological problems. It's beautiful and I can't wait for the rest of the series.

  • Izzy
    2019-05-14 02:55

    Full review on A-This review of How to Bang a Billionaire was difficult to write in terms of approach. Has Alexis Hall written an enjoyable, entertaining novel? Of course, he has. Has he written a pastiche of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey? I will leave that for you to decide when you have read this, the first in his Arden St. Ives trilogy. I think my response is clear in my review.Do I approach this as a Romantic Comedy with elements of BDSM? There are certainly arguments for this; or do I approach it as Tragi-comedy where, as we often see in this author’s works, a strong but broken man is saved by a street smart, witty, golden hearted nerd?However you approach this novel, I can almost guarantee you will want to read the next two.It opens with an italicised Prologue, so intriguing, so beautiful and perfectly worded that Chapter One is a jolt of reality I actually resented. Believe me, if the novel had continued in style of the Prologue, Alexis Hall would probably sell fewer copies initially, but would have made the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize! It’s a short BDSM scene in which the sub being beaten loves the Dom and bears the pain for him. However, the Dom just cannot allow himself to give into his sadistic needs any longer. There are also hints of a much deeper story within the Prologue.Back to the present, and we are introduced to Arden St. Ives, an adorable, rather lazy and de-motivated English Student at Oxford. He is currently phoning the alumni of his college to beg for money for St. Sebastian’s College. He isn’t having any luck until he calls Caspian Hart, a renowned, reclusive billionaire. Caspian is amused and intrigued by the bumbling, but refreshingly honest Arden. The phone call is a lovely way to bring them together and Arden remembers to invite Caspian to the fundraising dinner, and unexpectedly, on the parts of both men, he accepts.Their relationship begins with a lusciously described blowjob on the balcony overlooking the grand hall, where below them the fundraiser is winding down. The verbal and sexual sparring is, of course, thoroughly entertaining and the author creates an intangible something between them that causes the characters to keep coming back to each other and ensures readers will stay with this couple, whatever happens.We also have secondary characters of note; Arden’s straight, best male friend, Nik and Caspian’s sister, Ellery, who is a very complex and interesting character. Although she has had the seemingly lavish and expensive upbringing Caspian has, she is a rebellious, suicidal, self-harming, drug-taking thrill seeker, and yet is very likeable. Ellery adds to the intense thread of sadness woven through this novel.Caspian’s office is beautiful, as are all of his male secretaries and assistants who resemble Calvin Klein models, especially Caspian’s PA, Bellerose. We even have Arden tripping over and making a fool of himself in front of businessmen in a meeting with Caspian. Sound familiar? Yes, there is a beautiful apartment. Plus, a negotiated contract, which Alexis Hall manages to make very funny while also revealing how boring the life of a ‘kept man’ actually is. Towards the end, Arden receives an invitation to the masked ball that’s being held to mark Ellery’s birthday. There is no misunderstanding of references to the Fifty Shades trilogy – they are meant to be seen.However this is the queering of Fifty Shades of Grey, where people react in a complex and believable way to complex situations – and although I suspect there will be BDSM power exchange to come, there is none in this first book with the exception of the Prologue. Arden’s inner voice and his dialogue are humorous and slightly innocent. Alexis Hall restrained himself from giving Arden an inner god in a tutu.I would call How to Bang a Billionaire, a pastiche rather than a parody because there is no spitefulness or malice in his writing. Indeed, I think Alexis Hall has emphasised the sadness and complexity of his dominant, Caspian Hart, rather than merely queering the misogynistic attitudes and abusive sex of the original.This is his first book to be published under the Forever Yours imprint, and his new editor has done a marvellous job of retaining the author’s distinctive style, although I felt it was lacking some of the gorgeous evocative ramblings I love so much in an Alexis Hall book.There was never a doubt in my mind that I was going to give How to Bang a Billionaire (who chose that title? lol) a rating in the ‘A’ range. It was A++ after that Prologue but I’ve settled on an A- .I was unsure about the number of intertextual and cultural references. Intertextuality, allusion et al are part of writing and I like when I recognise them and they enhance a description or humour. But occasionally, they can become slightly elitist or isolate readers who do not recognise them. I noted down eighteen such references when I realised they were starting to jump out at me. Many, such as the reference to Alien, or to wonderfully romantic scenes in old, black and white movies and even American classics like MacGyver and Ferris Bueller, are pretty international and well-known. The ‘Balrog’, I am Legend, Ulysses, Heyer’s The Corinthian, du Maurier’s Mrs Danvers, G.K. Chesterton, or allusions to Narnian stone lions are perhaps too obscure for a romantic trilogy about a billionaire...

  • Jo * Smut-Dickted *
    2019-04-27 02:59

    I think the core of the story was there for me - I just found it hard to deal with the constant analogies and references. It kept pulling me out of the story for the sheer volume of things that were compared to, referenced against, or kind of pithily joked about- it makes for a complicated read and I found it mentally exhausting instead of exhilarating. Sometimes I just wanted things to be. Instead to be like - if that makes any sense.Arden's internal (OMG SAVE ME from a reader POV) struggle drove me wackadoodles. He seems to have very few to no friends and it's absolutely understandable. I don't want to be near his head either. And there is no real reason for his angst - though we really know very little of his background really in terms of experiences he seems to have a loving and supportive family - so what's his drama? There are some very funny quips and one liners and diaologues here but, for me, they were buried under two very unlikeable characters, so much internal drama with no reason really that I thought my head would explode, and no real care for the future. I would have appreciated it far more if Arden had just been the rent boy he was hired to be, let Caspian F*&^ the hell out of him, and used the time to get a job. In the immortal words of Cordelia - I very badly wanted to tell Arden "Don't you have an elsewhere to be?"

  • Ula'ndi Hart
    2019-05-09 23:04

    UPDATE - 2018.01.17 - So I just heard a little bird chirp about an Audio version for this book! YEAH ME! But then, the little bird also told me who the narrator is..... I might be in one of my moods, but I’m not impressed about it at all.Why would you get someone who sounds 60 and up to read a book where your MC’s are both UNDER 30???? I’m sorry if I’m being a B+*&% here people but really?? What exactly is the fascination with this narrator about?Yes, he reads really well but again! He has an OLDER VOICE! IT DOENS’T WORK FOR YOUNG MC’S! ARGHHHHH – so frustrated. Overall book rating: 4Audio Book: N/ABook Cover: 4 This was meant to be my “rescue book” from my book hangover. Its sole purpose was to take my mind of brooding and so I really wasn’t looking for the next MM awards winner. Just something totally different. I read somewhere in a review that this was FSOG MM style. So what could it hurt? It can’t be worse than the original now can it?I can tell you this. Young Arden St. Ives is an absolute DELIGHT in comparison to his female counterpart.Arden made me laugh out loud countless times! He is funny and totally out of his little Oxford box. A Fresh breath of air I say.I enjoyed his view point of the world and everything in it. And even if I should have turned out hating the book he would still be a fabulous little sparkle in my day.I actually quite enjoyed this rendition may I say. It’s the same but also not? It was “fun”, the way the author didn’t make a carbon copy of the story only with male leads. Great fun actually. Yes Arden isn’t always the brightest bulb around but he is sweet and so interesting! It makes up for everything else that may have you lifting your eyebrows a bit. PS. I just loved his accessorising with nipple rings! It’s so much fun!Caspian Hart will get away with a lot because he’s hot and tortured. I don’t really know anything more about him yet but really that doesn’t bother me at the moment as I’m not in this for a mind blowing deep experience. Hell I’m even wishing to starting up book two as we speak. Where ever this takes me. I’m in for the ride

  • damnit, liz
    2019-04-23 20:45

    Of course Alexis could pull off writing a romance featuring a super gorgeous, twenty-something billionaire and make it subversive. As you've likely heard, this is somewhat of a re-imagining of Fifty Shades of Gray, but with the things that put many people off of that book fixed. Just about every issue or character trait that made me uncomfortable in FSoG, AJH takes and does the opposite.Arden may be the floundering, awkward, subby guy who is being pursued, but he's no blushing virgin. He knows he's a little ridiculous, but he also knows he can be sexy and charming. Caspian is a mess, emotionally closed off, and weird, but he's not a creep. I loved the way they begin their arrangement; it's business like, but there's no pressure, no NDA, no uncomfortable "breaking in the new sub" kind of trope. The plot of this revolves mostly around Arden trying to prove to Caspian that it's okay to let loose around him (physically and emotionally)- that he's into it as well. That it's not abusive because he's a willing participant who gets off on it. But Caspian pulls the "I'm not going to do this because I know what's best for you, woe is me, I am a horrible person" stuff. Ordinarily, that would bug me, but it feels like it's almost done with a wink. I feel like Arden is only a few chapters away from saying "oh quit being a brooding romance hero already." This has the same witty/silly humor you'd expect from this author if you've read his other stuff. The same flowery language and delightful similes. The same authentic dialogue. It's not necessarily erotica as you'd expect with books of a similar nature; they haven't even gotten to the kink stuff yet. We're just getting to know these guys, and I can't wait to see what's next.

  • Kristie
    2019-04-21 21:06

    2.5 StarsNo, not my favorite from Alexis, but you can see why as my review posted on Just Love yesterday. Check it out...

  • Angie Elle
    2019-04-29 02:54

    I'm drawn to Alexis Hall's writing for reasons I don't understand. I haven't absolutely loved anything I've read from the author, but I can never resist the name when I see it on a book. This was more of the same - your standard billionaire 'I don't have time for a relationship but want convenient sex' book. (Except that I liked it a smidge more.) Nothing made it really stand out, but it was a decent read.

  • Bev
    2019-04-30 23:06

    I'm quite proud of the fact that I know nothing, nada, zilch about Fifty Shades of Grey, books or to see comments in other reviews about slight similarities between this story, by one of my favourite authors, and the poorly written load of garbage by Ms James, was just a little disconcerting and slightly worrying to me. Maybe some of what goes on in this story does mirror things in FSoG [I wouldn't know], but as Alexis always produces superior writing and he IS the reason I have a 'Brilliant Writing' bookshelf, I wasn't too concerned [no pressure there then Alexis 😉].What I did find upon reading HtBaB was that IMHO this is not Alexis at his best...and I should just point out that there was very little 'banging' on page, not much banging at all in fact. Yes, there are elements of AH's trademark humour, lots of wonderful descriptions and Arden's character I loved to bits [a little reckless at times, but he's 20, what can you do?]; however, I just felt so disconnected to Caspian [or as Arden says, detached], I didn't warm to him at all [unlike Laurie in For Real]. The story DID NOT blow me away, as Alexis' stories normally do, and I say that as a HUGE fan of his writing. My favourite part of the story was Arden's painful retreat to Scotland and his mum. As a side note, the frequent typos and missing words certainly didn't help matters...and I'll be over the moon if something can be done about those in the next story, it's not all about the formatting....4 stars from me.

  • Romancereader
    2019-04-27 21:40

    MAJOR Spoiler: *Don't read review if you have not read the book*until about 80% of this book I was loving it and ready to give it 5 stars despite never ending inner dialogue (skipped some). I thought the story was heading some where interesting and was thinking we might finally understand more about Caspian and his reasons for treating Arden so poorly. Perhaps I was in denial about this(book is entertaining)but suddenly I realised towards the end that this is just 50 shades of grey and Caspian whole angst about not being able to commit to a relationship is because he wants to choke the guy. BDSM!!😞😪, get this the whole bloody angst and mystery is because Caspian is into good old BDSM. I would never have read this book if I knew it was heading in that direction. first of all I think BDSM in romance is beyond lame(it's been done to death, move on) and second of all what a Pathetic reason to treat someone like dirt. what is stopping Caspian from committing and having loving relationship with Arden, and also having his BDSM fantasy (especially sense Arden was into it as well) This is basically 50 shades of grey for MM romance. If you wanted romance this is not the book for you.

  • Kirmizi
    2019-05-05 03:49

    MOAR!It might be just me that I am seeing things that are not there but this book is not just what it is on the surface. Yes it is still a billionaire romance story with all the usual tropes. But, there is also this..Then my phone rang. I scrabbled for it and answered without even checking the caller ID.“Yeah?”“Arden, it’s—”I sat up so fast I practically hit my head on the shelf over my bed. “Caspian.” God, I’d never expected…why was he…“How did you get this number?”“I put my considerable resources to the task.”“You can do that?” I snuffled discreetly into sleeve of my T-shirt. Of course, he couldn’t see me but I had my pride. “I feel like I’m living in some kind of cyberpunk dystopia ruled by megacorps.”“It’s on your Facebook page.”It is like Alexis Hall took kinky billionaire fantasy (fifty shades style) and merged it with some real life sense? It is not realistic per se, (I don't think that was the intention anyway) but it is more down to earth I guess?

  • Pam Faste aka Peejakers
    2019-05-20 21:55

    Okay, so, it’s official (if there was ever any doubt): I am crazy in love with this book! It’s just delightful: Funny (hilarious, even), adorable, moving, and very, very sexy. All of it beautifully written, of course, and shot through with that emblematic poignancy that is, more than anything else, this author’s brand. His, um, Hallmark, you might say ;) And featuring a cast of intriguing and appealing characters, notably one of the most lovable protagonists you’re ever likely to meet on a page. I mean, of course, unless you don’t like funny, sweet, endearingly neurotic, smart, self-deprecating, flirty, kind-hearted, reflective, tender, sex-positive, vulnerable, assertive, and cuddly . . . but I’m kinda partial to all that myself :) I think this one of the best things Alexis Hall has written so far, especially in terms of achieving a perfect balance between accessibility and art, as it were. Without sacrificing any of the trademark qualities that make his writing so exceptional.Don’t get me wrong, I love rolling in the linguistic opulence of some of his previous work, i.e. Glitterland, and look forward to doing so again. Yet here we have the same beautiful, deeply affecting writing, just slightly more . . . sparingly gorgeous: Like fragments of poetry strewn amongst the prose. We have the same charmingly irreverent (often laugh-out-loud) humor. The touchingly vulnerable characterizations. The sex scenes as moving for their exquisite tenderness as for their rapturous sensuality. And that almost subliminal aura of feeling with which everything, even scene-setting descriptions, seems to imbued. Most importantly, we still have that ineffable magic Alexis Hall’s work possesses that is more than the sum of those qualities. Which just . . . gets to me, like nothing else. Makes me feel vulnerable when I’m reading, like all my outer layers are peeled off and I’m sort of . . . skin-to-skin and heart-to-heart with the story, so to speak. Something I know I’m far from the only one who feels.The book opens with a darkly compelling prologue, exquisite prose as sharply delineated as a fairy tale, a scene to be lingered over and pondered. I did both. Then I moved on to the first chapter. In which we find university student Arden St. Ives in the midst of cold-calling college alumni to hit them up for donations. During which, lo and behold, he soon ends up speaking with the billionaire of the title. Which, in a matter of moments, was doing this to me:Aww, he’s so cute. Omg, he’s adorable ! *audible squee**snortcackle*AwwwOooh *shivers*Hah!Mmmm!AwwHahaha!*is captivated by amusing banter*Awwwwwwww!All of this, mind you, between 2 and 3% in the book!Now, here’s a thing. Though I love his books above all others, I’ve only somewhat rarely reviewed Alexis Hall’s work, because I typically get so emotional about it that my reviews turn into a rambling, incoherent ode in which I vainly attempt to capture, with mywords the way his words make me feel, and then babble on effusively about it forever. It’s usually so difficult for me to separate the book itself from all of that in order to discuss it halfway intelligently. However, as I’m feeling slightly more than usually capable of doing that this time, let me move beyond the gushing to give that a try. You may judge for yourself how well I’ve succeeded ;)So, these are a few of the things I really loved about this book:I love the way it takes on the popular “bildom” trope (if you don’t know by now, that means BDSM flavored romances built around a billionaire dom and a “regular person”), and in particular the preeminent example of that trope, Fifty Shades of Grey, and engages with it on multiple levels. I have a real weakness for this sort of thing, I confess. I see these tropes as archetypes, and I feel there are as many fresh perspectives of those archetypes to be revealed as there are human beings to write them. Like, I think you can probably never run out of new ways to re-imagine Beauty and the Beast, for example. Though, maybe that’s just me :) Anyway, that’s what I feel this story is doing with this particular trope/archetype. And doing, if you’ll pardon the expression, a bang-up job of it ;)This book isn’t, from my perspective, parody or spoof or caricature (those are probably all the same thing, but the words have slightly different connotations to me). And it’s more than simply a retelling with LGBTQ+ characters. This is the author simultaneously entering, in good faith, into the spirit of this trope, while also playingwith it. Putting a different spin on it. Subverting it. Queering it. Turning “expected” power dynamics on their head. Moving the various elements around, presenting them from different angles, in different contexts, different light. Paying it homage. And gently, even affectionately, sending it up all at the same time: Sort of like that thing where someone you love has a noticeable quirk that you both tease them for and love them for. I also particularly appreciate the way this book takes on some troubling attitudes reflected in Fifty Shades and similar works: The romanticizing of abusive elements in the core relationship, its conflation of BDSM or kink with abuse, and a related issue, its tendency to identify BDSM/kink almost as a symptom to be healed, a brokenness in need of fixing. This book, let me make it clear, doesnone of those things. In fact, it does the opposite. It challenges those attitudes, and does so masterfully, but also organically. By validating kink elements in the budding relationship of Arden and Caspian as simply a variety of turn-on and sexual option. And by creating two bases for comparison: The first, by giving us, in the opening scene, a brief window into a relationship that more closely parallels, in terms of emotional dynamic, the one in the Fifty; a vignette in which we see (view spoiler)[someone suffering self-sacrificially in a kink scene, characterizing a lover as “broken” and aspiring to “save” him (hide spoiler)]. The second, by referencing abuse (in brief mentions of an off-page, past relationship involving a supporting character) thus contrasting consensual kink with something that is actually abusive. I cannot tell you how much I love all of this!I also love how you can see the “bones” of the trope origin, while the story that fleshes those bones is something completely, delightfully original. The emotional story of Arden and Caspian, is a far different one than that of Anastasia and Christian. And, this is a small thing for me, but not so small for other people maybe: I love that Arden identifies as pansexual, which I think is great representation for anyone who also identifies as such. Because that’s not a label you see so often in romance, at least in my experience. It’s also worthy of note that we get to see a lovely poly relationship later in the book. Then, the sex scenes, I gotta say something about those: #Wow! I found them just gloriously, meltingly sexy, yet I think it’s notable that this is achieved almost entirely psychologically, without employing any of the “typical” BDSM accoutrements you might expect to see: There are mentions of, but no actual, dungeons, whips, chains, cuffs, crops, etc. It’s all thought, words, fantasy, tone of voice, and touch, or sometimes the mere suggestion of touch. And it works, omg, does it ever work! Of course it does, because there’s so much in desire, kinky or otherwise, that is mental. I mean, there is a phone sex scene in here that is genuinely one of the most powerfully erotic things I’ve ever read. Aaand (omg, this is going to be a novella), I want to say something about the characters too.In comments “overheard” about this book, I’ve seen a reference or two, by people who really enjoyed the book, to the characters as being wonderful caricatures. And that’s as valid a reading as any. But my take is that the characters, like the book itself, are more than that. I don’t think Alexis Hall ever really writes pure caricature, his characters are far too nuanced, and despite its trope-y basis, this book is no exception. Caspian, the billionaire love interest of the title, is all cool control and faint arrogance, exactly as you might expect a billionaire to be – except when he, enchantingly, isn’t. It’s all so infused with humanness, with tantalizing glints of complex layers, of uncertainty, vulnerability, the barest hint of hidden hurt. Caspian is intriguing, but not completely known. Not to Arden, or to the reader. Nor, I think, to himself. Which seems entirely reasonable for a non-protagonist, in the first book of a 3-part trilogy. Revealing and discovering the depths of Caspian will be, I think, the work of books 2 and 3 of this series. And I’m so looking forward to that!And then there’s Arden. Omg. I have the greatest affection for the protagonists of every Alexis Hall book. But with Arden he’s truly outdone himself in the huggable department. Arden is, hands down, the most adorable creature I’ve ever encountered in a book. I can’t even tell you how many times it was necessary for me to pause in my reading to squoosh up my eyes and squee over him :) I mean, we are talking eminently squishable. Serious ded-of-cute territory <3 But, let me hasten to add, Arden is much more than merely adorable. At 20 years old, he bears some resemblance to Toby in For Real, in that he’s a sort of an ingénue character, still finding his way, figuring out who he is and what he wants, second guessing himself, scared to death but also brave – though this last isn’t something he sees about himself. There’s something universal in this. It’s not just for 20 year olds; I’m 3 times his age and still identify with so much of that. I think being human is being in a perpetual state of uncertainty and discovery and becoming. So I love that in Arden. I also love his reflectiveness. And the way he really cares about people, worrying about his friend’s laryngitis, smiling at someone because they need it, impulsively reciting a poem (view spoiler)[on a rooftop, to a self-destructive near-stranger (hide spoiler)] just because it might make a difference. I love how in touch he is with his emotions. I adore his lovely, non-normative expression of masculinity. I love how absolutely comfortable he is with that, and also with his sexual expression. By which, I don’t mean his sexual orientation, but his expression of himself as a sexual being, his self-identification as a “wanton hussy”, his self-validation of that. It’s not only the counterpoint to Anastasia’s virginal innocence in Fifty, it is also the absolute opposite of slut shaming, in all the ways, and it’s fantastic.Ellery, Caspian’s younger sister, is haunting, a character painted movingly in tones of darkness with flashes of light. Hers is a fragile vulnerability in brittle, cynical armor. You kind of want to hug Ellery a little bit too, though you feel like she might take a swathe out of you if you tried.There are several other characters of note, but I’ll just say a little about them, because I really do need to stop somewhere! There’s Nik, Arden’s “mostly straight” bff and onetime university roommate. The genuinely caring and mutually snuggly “friendmance” between these two is as charming & endearing as all get-out, even succeeded in giving me big, sniffly feels at one point. And there’s Bellerose, Caspian’s dauntingly efficient and chillingly . . . chilling, but definitely intriguing assistant. And last but far from least, Arden’s family, whom we meet at about 80% through the book. And about whom I won’t give anything away except to say they are super lovely and loving.Anyway. Highly, highly, highly recommended for all humans, but especially the ones who like Alexis Hall’s writing, and/or for those who enjoy the “bildom” trope but don’t hold it sacrosanct. And if you’re not familiar with either, or aren’t especially into the whole bildom thing, you might want to give this a try anyway, because you’ll find this particular take on it is the exception to many rules. If you’re on the fence, you can always download a sample to try. I’d just hate for anyone to miss out on this. It’s really pretty bang dang special <3