Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Black Balled by Andrea Smith and Eva Lenoir (audiobook)

Title:  Black Balled
Author: Andrea Smith and Eva Lenoir
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Joel Leslie

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Black Balled #1
Main Characters: B and L
Release Date: July 2016 (audiobook)
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
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 the 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 cut-throat 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.
My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 3.5
Story: 4.5

This is a book I heard of before the controversy began. As both a book reviewer and an indie author, I was fascinated with the idea of the story line. And then the controversy hit. I hate that there were so many hard feelings over this book, but honestly that's what the book is about...the drama that can erupt overnight when a book blogger and author get into it...but this book has the added drama that the two men in question end up falling in love.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have no idea what the true story is about one of the authors and her background with the blogger that this book appears to have been patterned after. I personally hate that she used a name so similar to a current book blogger. If she hadn't done that, I think she could have avoided some of the drama. But again...honestly there is drama on both sides within the story...both for the indie author and the blogger. Both of these guys are truly (seemingly) jerks at the beginning of the story. In fact, I was wondering if I was going to have to DNF for entirely that reason...unlikable MC's. 

But then the story evolved and I kind of fell in love with every thing about the story. The story line originally appealed to me and that was for a good reason...I liked the book. Everything about the story and conflict worked for me...eventually. Yes, there was a niggling, uncomfortable feeling when it first started just because the conflict is such a hot button, but as I settled into the story, I didn't want to stop listening. In fact, I spent the day cleaning my house just so I could keep listening to the audiobook. 

I loved the two guys and as the full story of the mental anguish that Babu has gone through was revealed, my heart broke for him. He's a harsh man, but wow...he has a good reason for that. I also really loved that the nature of his reviews did not change...those final pages were awesome. I loved that that part of him didn't change, no matter that he was in love with the author. I believe in maintaining the integrity of my reviews, no matter who I'm reviewing and I loved that he did that, too. 

Narration note...overall, I enjoyed the audiobook version, but there were moments when it was difficult to discern the narrators different between the two MC's, especially during the chapter transitions.

And after I started this review, I saw that there's a second book. It's been bought. I can't wait to see what the authors do next.