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Black Balled

Narrated by: Joel Leslie
Length: 9 hrs and 28 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (36 ratings)

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Summary

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 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 cutthroat 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.

©2015 Smith & LeNoir (P)2016 Smith & LeNoir

What members say

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A different, but fun story.

If you could sum up Black Balled in three words, what would they be?

Funny. Damaged MCs

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Troy's letter to his psychiatrist, re. his stepfather's reaction to finding him kissing a boy when he was young, made me teary.

Any additional comments?

I hadn't read the book, so the story was totally unknown to me when I started listening. With Joel Leslie's narration I was quickly drawn in and he kept me hooked to the very end.

Joel is (in my opinion) a gifted voice actor, and he masters a variety of voices both male and female. I've listened to a number of books narrated by Joel, and he has thus far not disappointed me.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant collaboration!!

What did you like most about Black Balled?

I liked the originality of the storyline. It was intriguing as to how these two fiery and arrogant characters could get through the book without killing each other.

What did you like best about this story?

I loved the humourous emailing scenes and further on in the book I loved the fiery passion that developed between the two characters.

What about Joel Leslie’s performance did you like?

Joel's voice was amazing!! Not only did he showcase the arrogance of the two main characters fantastically but the tone of his voice was simply sublime to listen to. I was so glad I got the audio version of this book.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed a lot at the sheer arrogance and connection between the two main characters. Their emails between each other were hilarious.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Overall a great book! Highly recommend!

(Story) While I was slow to listen to the book it had enough plot that I loved the book it had detail and characters that while they are not perfect (meaning having their individual personality flaws) made the book very good to listen to. Bonus chapters at the end were very funny.

(Narrator) I love the way the narrator put feeling and depth into each character with their own accent and speech pattern really made a difference between characters and the situations each of them had.

(over all story) loved the book was well written and well narrated looking forward to book two and more from both the writer and narrator.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Muffy and Ida stole the show

I enjoyed the book but I didn't like Troy nor Larson. I hated the way Larson treated Lloyd. I listened to Guns Blazing and I love Lloyd. Troy's critique of Authors books was appalling. There's constructive criticism and there's The gospel according to Babu😞, he was too abrasive. I enjoyed the story however because it shows a lot about what Authors and reviewers go through in the book world. It was a compelling story that delve deeply into that world and I loved how the Authors portray it. I'm a big Joel Leslie fan and he outdid himself with this one, so many accents and emotions. I was given this audiobook by the Author and voluntarily left this review.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic

I have to say that Joel Leslie is one of my favourite narrator,but a good narrator does not make a good story.... This one though was perfect... I have listen to a lot of books 📚 and this one has it all... I laughed, I I felt sad and I felt anger... I did not want to put it down to sleep... Well I mean stop listening lol I listen to books more than read as I find it difficult so when a good book written by a fantastic author is put with a wonderful narrator .... Well happy ☺ me and I always want more! Thank you I'm going to listen to the net one now 😁






  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wow not what I expected

This was a great story that kept me on my toes the whole way. I was laughing and wondering what was going to happen next. This MM romance was came out of the left-field for me. The way these two men meet and how they became lovers was a big surprise for me. I don't want to spoil anything, but the elevator scene was so hot I needed a drink of water after. If you like MM romance this is a must-have in your library.

🎧 AudiobookObsession

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not my jam

I DNFed this at chapter 10, about 15% of the book.

Not because of the drama surrounding the book though, I didn't know about it when I was listening it. The author gave me a audiobook code for review and I start reading right away. Joel Leslie did an amazing job but unfortunately I didn't like both MC's. I cringe at their child-like personalities almost all the time, couldn't relate.

But this is a personal thing, the problem is me not the book though :)

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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🎧Reviewed for Audiobook Obsession 🎧

The banter, snide comments, devious, underhanded tactics these two men go to in order to achieve a goal is hilarious. Plus they both have huge egos, extreme arrogance, and are pretentious.
There is a scene in this book that try as I might every time I think of it or see a book I crack up laughing, it has to do with one of the characters and what he asks a female companion to do to said book!!! I would give this book 10 stars if I could!!!
Joel Leslie did a brilliant job bringing these characters to life.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Black Balled

This is a M/M read/listen.
There are plenty of funny moments throughout this story, with lots of arrogant alpha thrown in. An author that broke a cardinal rule, and a critic that has turned his followers against the author. Hate to Love, their banter and back and forth is great. Joel Leslie's voice was amazing and his narration was very well done.

#AudiobookObsession
🎧AudiobookObsession

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved L and Baboo

An amazing concept of writer and review critic. of course throw in an Ex who is out for revenge and you have a great book. Joel was exceptional.

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  • Overall
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Profile Image for Dana Piazzi
  • Dana Piazzi
  • 03-08-16

Great narration - Interesting story

Would you listen to Black Balled again? Why?

Maybe. It was interesting but so much dramatics in the way the two main characters behaved.

Who was your favorite character and why?

The neighbor lady, though I can't remember her name. She had a good sense of humor and kind of calmed the two men down.

What about Joel Leslie’s performance did you like?

He has so many accents and little variations that he creates with his voice that he gives everyone a unique sound.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The bonus stories at the end definitely made me laugh hard.

Any additional comments?

The narration: I have become a big fan of this narrator, Joel Leslie. He creates so many different accents and tones that it seems every character has it’s own voice. I have enjoyed several of his narrations in the past, and would definitely listen to more from him in the future.

The story: I have to admit I had reservations about listening to this book because it is at least partially based on a real life fiasco that occurred on Goodreads. There are a lot of low rated reviews, and plenty of people who shelved it as will never read because of it. The fact that I received a review copy and the need to form my own opinions made me decide to put aside my doubts and check it out for myself.

One of the things that made it easier for me to listen to was that the authors do not just villainize the reviewer but also the author as well. They even make the reviewer’s sycophants look bad. I appreciate that it wasn’t a one-sided blame game.

The story opens up on a review posted by Babu for L.(Larson) Blackburn’s newest book. The reviewer tears the book apart, questions the author’s sexuality, and hints that he hopes it is just a woman writing about things women just don’t write well and urges “her” to stick to romance and chick-lit. Babu’s followers immediately thank him for saving them time. Since many of them are women, I don’t understand how the sexist remarks don’t bother them. They are definitely portrayed as mindless suck-ups that accept the word of a popular reviewer without checking things out for themselves. While Larson appears to be victimized by this reviewer, his thoughts upon reading the review, don’t make him sound like a much better person. Apparently being called a female is the worse thing that could happen to him. Obviously he needs to prove his manhood.

Now I’ve seen drama shared on Facebook and Goodreads, where an author will have problems with a reviewer or sometimes another author. I do my best to stay out of the arguments and side-taking, because it bothers me to see people publicly bashed and to see others take sides without knowing the whole story. It all just leaves a sour taste in my mouth. It was that same feeling I had for a few chapters into this book. Babu and Larson are pretty unlikable characters, but this is not the first book I’ve read where the mc’s are kind of nasty. Though I prefer nicer personalities, the truth is, there are people on this planet that aren’t easy to like and it just makes the story more realistic. Ultimately, I couldn’t stop listening to this drama filled story because, though the subject was sort of scandalous it was also engaging. Reality shows show how addicting people behaving badly can be.

As the story continues, we do learn more about Babu and Larson that sheds light on some of the reasons they act the way they act. The other facets of their personalities begin to redeem them some. Their hateful remarks to each other becomes like foreplay. An anonymous hookup between them, and a case of mistaken identity later lead to a physical fight. But when the smoke clears, the two must admit their attraction to each other. As a pairing, I actually like them. I’d have to say they deserve each other and not all in a bad way.

Though they do become a bit more likable, I can’t say that either of them changes completely. There will always be friction because they will always be stubborn. I felt the story was a telling commentary on the way some people act in the writing and reviewing community. I think constructive criticism can be helpful, but try to stick by the saying “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. I don’t want to discourage people from reading reviews, because I write reviews and enjoy reading others thoughts on books. I do definitely encourage people to form their own opinions on whatever is being reviewed. We are all different and can’t allow others to think for us or speak for us. If I hadn’t ignored the naysayers, I might not have had this enjoyable listening experience.

p.s. The bonus stories from the point of views of the neighbor and her cat were just hilarious. Probably my favorite part of the book because of the humor and lack of drama.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amor Leer
  • Amor Leer
  • 13-06-16

WOW, JUST WOW !!!!

If you could sum up Black Balled in three words, what would they be?

OH MY GOD!!!!

* I received a copy of Black Balled audio for an honest review*

Let me first start by saying that I have passed up on purchasing other audio books in the past as I found the narrator's accent a bit much; however, Joel Leslie was perfect.

I purchased Black Balled ebook a few months back and could not pass up the opportunity to own it once it was out on audio.

So..... I thought Black Balled ebook was hot, boy was I wrong. Black Balled audio had me squirming (and in a good way).

This story is humourous, sexy and entertaining. Did I also mention HOT!!!
I can honestly say that I really enjoyed this book. I loved the banter between the 2 M/Cs. This story is just what every MM novel wants - 2 alpha males. There is a lot of humour and journey to self discovery.

Do yourselves a favour, don't think about it, just buy Black Balled, read and enjoy - you're welcomed :)

For your reading pleasure, Guns Blazing is a spin-off from Black Balled which I also loved..

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karen Hulseman - MyOwnBookshelves
  • Karen Hulseman - MyOwnBookshelves
  • 23-06-16

Be prepared to Laugh! Awesome story

Would you listen to Black Balled again? Why?

Yes! Most definetely
Do you lack a sense of humor or is your funny bone broken? If you have any one of these conditions, pick up this book for the cure. This is a parody of epic proportions. If you've ever written or attempted to write a novel, write reviews, blog or promote, reader beware if you have tender feelings because no one comes out unscathed in the funniest way. I laughed and laughed until I basically thought I'd wet the bed. If you've ever interacted with the reading community, you will have most likely been in contact with one or more of these characters. Kudos to Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir to create these two humorous characters. But wait...they are more than the humor they are. There is a real story in here.

What other book might you compare Black Balled to and why?

Any parody lovers dream - especially if you love gay romance

Which scene was your favorite?

The elevator - enuf said

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

When the author and the critic can't stay away

Any additional comments?

This was a first novel for either of these authors and definitely will not be a last. As you can image with any parody, it doesn't lack in its own tales of controversy. Ignore the noise and let the story speak for itself. This is an M/M relationship so if this genre is not for you, then don't pick it up. However, if you are in the mood to read two crazy people find a HEA and LOVE parodies, pick this up. 4.5 stars out of 5

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-06-16

Just Amazing

Where does Black Balled rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This one is by far the best!!

What did you like best about this story?

The narrator Joel Leslie, he brought all the characters to life. I already loved this book, but he just made my love of the book that much more.

Have you listened to any of Joel Leslie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, but I will be looking for more of his work.

Any additional comments?

I loved reading the ebook of Black Balled, but hearing the words come to life was an amazing experience. It brought to life all the humor, banter, and the emotions.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Liz Thompson
  • Liz Thompson
  • 25-01-17

So entertaining! Will grab you from the start!

Would you listen to Black Balled again? Why?

Yes! I loved this story and narrator. It kept me so entertained and I laughed out loud so many times!

What did you like best about this story?

It was just so entertaining. It really grabbed me from the start!

Have you listened to any of Joel Leslie’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This was my first audio by him, but will not be my last!

If you could take any character from Black Balled out to dinner, who would it be and why?

This is hard! I love both Troy and Larson, but if I had to choose only one, I would pick Larson.

Any additional comments?

A great story!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jackie Satti
  • Jackie Satti
  • 22-01-17

Amazingly Black Balled!!

What made the experience of listening to Black Balled the most enjoyable?

First time reading anything by Andrea Smith or Eva Lenoir and I got to say, I am hooked. I need more. I loved Black Balled. The story was entertaining and kept me wanting more.

Troy Babilonia is a literary critic that does not hold back. He lets authors know exactly how he feels and what he thinks about their books without a care for their feelings. With his huge following he could make or break an author.

Larsen Blackburn is an Indie Author. His life is turned upside down after Troy reviews his book. In trying to save his writing career he gets intrigued by Troy.

The chemistry between between Troy and Larsen is off the charts. Their antics keeps me laughing and wanting yo know more. Between getting revenge and getting even their story changed. Their attraction to each other grew but they had other issues to deal with. Then they had the issue of who would be the alpha between the two.

Really enjoyed this story. It had me laughing and cheering. It had everything from drama, to jokes to a kitty that eats caviar. Recommend it!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Christy Godfrey
  • Christy Godfrey
  • 10-10-16

So good!

I love this story, I laughed and cried and laughed some more! Great narrative! I fell in love with these two!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Uncle B
  • Uncle B
  • 30-06-16

Not just another gay romance

When an indie writer goes too far in the comments section of a snarky reviewer who has made a career out of gleefully destroying writers, things escalate into an unhealthy obsession between both men. Very different and fun, performed by the always excellent Joel Leslie.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for HZ
  • HZ
  • 10-06-16

1st half Almost DNF, 2nd half couldn't stop!

from Amazon reviews I knew what I was getting into, but still had to FORCE myself through the first half of the book. AND since one of the majors plot points was the negative review of a book that the critic Did Not Finish... I kept going.

Once the MCs finally meet in person (stuck in an elevator while dressed as Cyrano de Bergerac and the Marquis de Sade, w/ George Sand along) things get interesting! By the last 1/3 of the story I couldn't stop listening long enough to do things like eat & sleep...

The story is set in the context of the current publishing industry and there are almost two different books here:

The first has unlikable MCs (one straight the other bi) behaving obnoxiously and insults anything/one feminine or effeminate including the evil ex wife. The narrator uses voices as annoying as the characters. This aspect of the book (mostly found in the first half) 3 stars overall, 2.5 performance, and 2 story.

The second has complex characters who have had MAJOR stuff happen to them. They are learning how to move forward in their lives. They are men wrestling with their baggage, people in their lives & on social media, and with each other. The chemistry between them is Potent and drives them to address/own their sexuality. Even the narration improves. You always know who is speaking and there are more character voices. For this aspect of the book 5 stars overall, 3-4 performance, 4-5 story.

I'm really glad I finished Blackballed, the 2nd half of the book was worth the credit.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Smitten with Reading
  • Smitten with Reading
  • 11-01-17

A- rating overall

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful