A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second's hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.
Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn't lacking friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there's an emptiness in Jaime's heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.
When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little understanding.
©2016 Cardeno C. (P)2016 Cardeno C.
A really great story, with tons and tons of charm. I admit that when I first read about the chubby MC I was skeptical as to how 'sexy' I'd find this as I'm so used to all the MCs being hot and ripped. But, my goodness - this was such a sexy book and it totally challenged my preconceptions of what a leading man could be :) This was sexy in a sensual, passionate and intimate way. Yes, the twist is quite obvious, but it weaves its way through the story really well. I loved both the characters, strong, endearing and quite charming and this came across wonderfully in the audio.
Great story from CC, great narration from Michael Ferraiuolo....just a wonderful love story, period. My fave CC story since Perfect Imperfections. 4.5 stars from me.
Avid drinker of tea and reader of all things, romance is best.
The characters are so real, likeable and easy to relate to. Plus Cardeno C writes the best dialogue. Ever. Seriously.
That the love of Jamie helped Oliver to like himself, and develop a confidence he never knew he could have. The curious start to the relationship added a brilliant twist.
Gosh, Michael is a new narrator to me, and he brought such a special vibe to this gorgeous book. He totally hit it out of the park.
Over and over! I couldn't get enough.
A must listen for a perfect, fulfilling contemporary gay romance.
"Perfect fluffy goodness!"
I honestly didn't think I could love this story any more than I already did. Easily on my favorites shelf, this is a perfectly fluffy, low angst, feel good romance that is absolutely, impeccably captured by Michael Ferraiuolo's performance.
I loved every minute of it.
Ferraiuolo's choices for Oliver, Jaime, and Jack's voices were faultless. He precisely captures Oliver's shyness, Jaime's infatuation, and even Jack's wistfulness.
The narration is a brilliant complement to a really wonderful, lovely story.
This is a perfect romance for anyone looking for a lighter, low angst, feel good story with great characters, hot sex, and a perfect sigh-worthy HEA ending.
"So Effin' Sweet!!!! 6 stars!"
Oh my goodness this is SO effin’ SWEET!
The blurb tells the basics: Oliver, an overweight game designer, has moved to Seattle and has decided to do a make-over with his life.. He hires an escort to teach him how to be a better lover since he was told by an ex that he lacked skill. When Jaime, a very attractive older man, comes over and notices the book he’d brought in to signal the escort, Oliver assumes Jaime is the escort.
Jaime is just a man who’s finally realized his passion leans toward bigger men and he’s finally embracing it and he approaches Oliver out of real interest, not professional, but he realizes that Oliver needs the “paying for it” to overcome his shyness.
Just as can be predicted from the beginning – the deception can only go so far before someone gets hurt.
But… it’s so much more than that. There are layers, and a sad ex and growth and laughter.
Unlike SO MANY books with overweight characters – this is NOT A MAKEOVER STORY! Thank GOD! Oliver is PERFECT as he is and Jaime shows him that he can be loved exactly as he is.
Even disguised as “just getting healthy”, books that show the MC changing their bodies and finding love are really telling everyone that only the physically perfect can find love. Even if the author tries to show differently. Cardeno C doesn’t do that and it’s so beautiful!
Another GORGEOUS part of this story is that there is no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING! Instead of drama and angst, we have two grown-ups having conversations about their concerns. Despite the way they met. It was so refreshing!
The writing is excellent as always. I couldn’t put this down and in fact started reading it again as soon as I’d finished.
I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, somewhat unique, low-angst romance. It’s funny, terribly sweet and somewhat thought provoking.
Michael Ferraiuolo does an excellent job with this. He gives both Jaime and Oliver very calm, serene voices and nobody has any over the top accents to add drama to this lovely story. He’s excellent with pacing, is easy to listen to and adds just the right touch to bring this story to life. Highly recommended.
6 of 5 stars
"A definite must-listen for M/M romance fans!"
For me, the characters-especially the main characters-are the driving factor in determining if I like a story or not. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to Cardeno C.'s books...I know I'm going to get wonderful characters who are complex and deep, and with distinct personalities. I'm also going to get characters that are easy to relate to, and that is clearly illustrated here in Not A Game with one of the main characters, Oliver.
Oh my goodness, Oliver is just so sweet and adorable. He's insecure, extremely self-conscious and not at all confident in himself, with the majority of these things being caused by the size of his body (all of these things struck a huge chord with me). Then we have Jaime, who is the exact opposite, and is Oliver's dream guy in pretty much every way. They meet under some interesting and unique circumstances, setting up some complications for their relationship right from the start.
What Oliver doesn't realize? He's Jaime's dream guy too-something Jaime has to help Oliver understand and accept. This is complicated by a little...well, maybe not so little...secret that Jaime has.
It is so heartwarming to watch the relationship develop between them, especially as we watch Jaime help Oliver open up. And while things between them are sweet and evolve slowly, there's also a nice bit of spice to complement that as things grow ever more serious for the two of them. I loved every moment of their interactions, though for me once Oliver discovers Jaime's secret, it felt less strained than I expected given what Jaime was hiding.
Not A Game is classic Cardeno C. storytelling at its best, and was a 4.5-star read for me. I'd recommend this for any M/M contemporary romance fan, and it's for those readers 18+ due to the M/M sexual content. I hope we get to read more from this world, as I'd love to get Jack's story as well! As Jaime's best friend and somewhat pining ex, I'd really like to see him get his own HEA :-)
The narration: I thought Michael Ferraiuolo did an outstanding job with Not A Game. His smooth, even voice and well done characters kept my head in the story--even when I was listening at work. He did an excellent job bringing Oliver and Jaime to life, and made me love them both even more I truly enjoyed listening to his narration of this book, and am now looking for what other stories he's narrated. 5 stars for the narration!
"I liked the narrator...."
I may have liked it better if I didn't feel like the author was pushing their personal issues with sexism in gaming down my throat. And I was hoping for a fat character who actually liked himself.
Totally. This one just wasn't for me.
Loved the narrator. Characters have unique voices that match their personality (like how shy, insecure Oliver is soft-spoken). I would definitely listen to him again.
The "sexist co-worker" characters. They seemed exist solely to show us how mean (straight) boys are in the workplace.
These characters have zero chemistry. Their relationship was just awkward and rushed. And Oliver was almost child-like sometimes, which was weird. And oliver's easy acceptance of Jamie's real identity was ridiculous. And the attempt to throw in all current slang phrases reminded me of when my grandma tries to use phrases she learns on facebook (on fleek. Shade. The struggle is real. And on and on) was annoying. Also annoying: basically getting preached to about those sexist dudebros in gaming. Why must we constantly be reminded that basically every straight man at the office was a pig? Plus I just found the story boring.
I liked the love story between Oliver and Jaime. I think Oliver's insecurity was a bit over the top though. Im glad the big reveal was handled in a low angst way and led to a more cemented relationship between them.
The narration was good. I could tell the difference between the characters. I guess my only complaint is that I am an Okie and there wasn't even a hint of an Okie accent when Oliver spoke. I can guarantee that anyone born and raised in Oklahoma will have a bit of an accent.
I'm a huge Cardeno C. fan, but I hadn't had time to read this book since it came out, so when we were given the chance to review the audiobook, I jumped at the opportunity.
Oliver is a chubby nerd, with low self-esteem issues that he hopes to get over to find the man of his life. Mistaking Jaime for the man he was supposed to meet at a bar, provides him with the chance to make some of the changes he'd planned on doing in his life. The more time they spend together the more he likes Jaime, but he's not sure Jaime could really be attracted to him, considering Jaime could have any man he wants.
Oliver and Jaime were adorable together and individually. Oliver is shy, sweet and funny and Jaime is oh so very dreamy and treats Oliver with all the gentle passion that the situation requires. They're so hot together and I just adored listening to their interactions, they definitely fit together in more things than just in the bedroom, but the explosive sex definitely was a huge plus!
The story is as amazing as Cardeno C. has me used to. Flawlessly written, with a very organic progression in regards to Oliver and Jaime's relationship and very light on the angst, which was just what I needed.
The narration was awesome as well. Michael Ferraiuolo has a very pleasant voice and really brought the story to life for me. He did an outstanding job with all the different voices he came with for the different characters and of course, it doesn't hurt that he was really good at reading the hotter than hot sex scenes, either.
All in all, either by reading or listening Not a Game, you definitely can't go wrong! Highly recommendable!
Rating: Story: 5 Stars!!!
Narration: 5 Stars!!!
Overall: 5 Stars!!!
*** Audible code provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my listening pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement.***
I enjoyed this audiobook, but was not particularly blown away by the narration. This was my first audiobook by Michael Ferraiuolo and I just did not feel like he differentiated the voices enough. I guess I am getting spoiled by all of the narrators who actually do different voices for characters. I don't want a book just read to me, but want an experience. I love this story though so I did like the audiobook as well.
"One of my favorites by the author"
The vocal performer was pretty good. He had a slight variation in voices between most characters. There were a couple of times it was hard to distinguish who was talking but it became clear quick enough that I wasn’t too bothered.
My relationship with this author is tenuous at times. I literally almost DNF one of her books at like 90% because I was SO mad about what happened (and yes, I’m still bitter about that). BUT, I really liked this book. Is it perfect? No. Are there issues that might be hard for some to overlook? Yes. It’s not earth shattering either. Is it light, entertaining and low on angst? Yes! And the premise is unique enough to hold my attention and keep me from putting it down.
I liked both characters a lot. Oliver is a self-conscious, cubby, inexperienced geek that moved to a new town to try to makes some major changes in his life. He’s super smart, quirky and cute but is completely socially inept at times due to lack of experience and self-confidence. Jamie is the exact opposite – he’s confident and well experienced in relationships. I love Jamie’s patience with Oliver. I love that Jamie wants Oliver as is instead of wanting him to change. I love that Oliver didn’t over react when he learned the truth.
They do move fast in their relationship after the first couple of times they get together. It’s almost insta-lovey but it worked for me. The first few times they meet are very descriptive, lengthy scenes and the rest of the book sort of flies by but I didn’t have a huge problem with that.
Overall, and possibly because of my history with this author, I liked this book a lot and would totally recommend it.
"Wonderful Love Story"
I absolutely loved this story. I loved the MCs and how supportive Jamie was of Oliver. Beautiful story and the narration was perfect!! LOVE Cardeno C!
"Sweet and Sexy"
Another good read from Cardeno C. A solid pace with a plot that kept me entertained and looking forward to how the story would unravel, I happily absorbed this great book. The MCs were both very likeable and believable. Cardeno C. built in a relatable theme/issue of weight and self image. It was handled well.
The performance delivery was really well done. Each characters' voice was unique and personality and tones were perfectly captured.
A really great 4.5 star read/audiobook.
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