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Edge of Living

By: H.L. Day
Narrated by: Aldric March
Length: 8 hrs and 19 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (17 ratings)

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Summary

Sometimes, death can feel like the only escape.

It's been a year since Alex stopped living. He exists. He breathes. He pretends to be like everyone else. But, he doesn't live. Burdened by memories, he dreams of the day when he can finally be free. Until that time comes, he keeps everybody at bay. It's been easy so far. But he never factored in meeting a man like Austin.

Hard-working mechanic Austin has always gone for men as muscular as himself. So, it's a mystery why he's so bewitched by the slim, quiet man with the soulful brown eyes who works in the library. The magnetic attraction is one thing, but the protective instincts are harder to fathom. Austin's sure though, that if he can only earn Alex's trust, then the two of them could be perfect together.

A tentative relationship begins. But Alex's secrets run deep. Far deeper than Austin could ever envisage. Time is ticking. Events are coming to a head, and love is never a magic cure. Oblivious to the extent of Alex's pain, can Austin discover the truth? Or is he destined to be left alone, only able to piece together the fragments of his boyfriend's history, once its already too late? 

Trigger warning: Please be aware that this story deals with suicidal ideation and other dark themes. If this is a subject you find uncomfortable with, then this book is not recommended. Despite this, there is a guaranteed HEA.

©2018 H.L. Day (P)2020 H.L. Day

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

Emotional and gripping romantic thriller!

This was my first H.L. Day novel but it definitely won’t be my last! When gentle and friendly Austin falls for quiet Alex, he doesn’t realise that Alex has been through incredible trauma, mistaking his withdrawn nature for shyness. The budding relationship is tender, in contrast to the slow reveal of the brutal events that have left Alex suicidal. This is an incredibly well written and paced story, the tension carefully ratcheted up. It was deeply moving and utterly gripping!

1 person found this helpful

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

Deeply moving

Prepare your heart! Day’s deeply emotional and heartfelt story make so many emotions flow. A story within a story, I found myself completely engrossed in this book. March’s narration is riveting and kept me locked into this book. Truly not for those who are sensitive to this subject matter, it is a book that will make you feel.

1 person found this helpful

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

Emotionally harrowing

What an emotional gut punch the author has delivered with this story.
Ahh, my heart broke for poor Alex and I feared for his life.
He suffered a horrific tragedy and it left an indelible stain upon his soul, one he very well likely will never erase.
He barely has a tenacious grip on reality, he's not living, simply existing and going through the motions.
Austin was such a gentle giant who sensed how timid and desperately on the edge Alex was.
So he initially befriends him in the hopes of it becoming more.
He stealthily snuck in past all of Alex's defenses before he even knew what hit him, leaving him bewildered.
He was so kind, understanding and infinitely patient with Alex, never pushing for more than he was willing to give.
In spite of all of Austin's best efforts, Alex finally makes the decision to simply be done with the exhausting process of life and his secrets very nearly have fatal consequences.
Fortunately, Austin is able to swoop in and save the day.
The author's portrayal of emotional and psychological damage were spot on,unflinchingly realistic, and left me in a shambles, utterly devastated before ever so tenderly restoring me and rendering me whole one again with their oh so very hard fought for and very well deserved HEA.
Aldrich March is a new narrator for me and he did an incredible job.
His narration was spot on and absolutely put me in the right frame of mind for this wonderful book.

1 person found this helpful

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

A tight grip and a gentle caress to the soul

It's a little strange to say - regarding the theme of the book - but I enjoyed the listening and loved the book! H.L has a great sense to grab my heart by the emotions and don't let it go until the last sentence. I was really curious about Alex's past though I knew deep down it was horrible and I was really concerned about his mental well-being until the very end even though I know it will be a happy ending. The dosage of information was perfect, I haven't got bored even for a minute. I adored Austin even if at some point I could slap him (I think it's my kink with one of the MC's in every H.L book XD) by being too patient with Alex and not adding two and two together earlier.
Aldric March was a new to me narrator and it took a while until I used to his voice and style but he did a good job with the narration.
In overall I highly recommend this book.

P.s. I love the cover!

1 person found this helpful

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  • AL
  • 11-02-20

Best kind of torture

Story: When you encounter a story that makes you hold your breath 80% of the time, for me that’s perfection. This amazing story kept me on edge all the time! I loved the characters, but most of all I love how emotionally charged and challenging it was! It’s not for the faint of heart, it’s not for people easily triggered by trauma, but it is definitely a perfect book hangover inducer. The best kind!
Narration: I really liked the narrator’s voice and characters differentiation. It was easy to follow the story.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fabulous listening

I make no secret that this is my favourite book from this author, heartbreaking I listen to this and was surprised at how Aldric March delivers this he has made it his own ( its great to have a English man to listen to) Alex is a carefree young man until the night everything changes. That's all I'm posing because of spoilers but when he meets up with Austin who is like a dog with a bone Austin is by his side at every opportunity, this author takes you on a heartbreaking ride. Definitely one that I would recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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

Emotional

This is a gritty, emotional book which tackles very difficult topics exceptionally well.
Alexander is barely existing and has put a end date on his life, he’s suffered a lot in his past and doesn’t feel anymore. HL Day describes what Alexander is going through very well, my heart was breaking for him.
Austin is amazing, surprised by his attraction to Alexander he goes in full steam ahead and has no idea what he’s hiding. He is a lovely character with a very big heart and lovely to read.

I was emotionally invested in this book from the very beginning and enjoyed the flashback aspect.

Great narration throughout.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable read

It's an interesting story with a great potential, but I found the execution not believable enough to let me engage with the story and characters on deep emotional level. I dove into this one with an expectation of highly angsty read and was a bit disappointed of how artificial both the relationship and angsty events were portrayed.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Emotional devastation & a happy ending

This book comes with a strong trigger warning that is appropriate. Assuming you’re comfortable with (or at least can deal with) suicidal ideation and dark themes, this book is one you should definitely listen to.

I’m struggling to come up with the right words to describe this book. I don’t tend to read blurbs – I just jump in having no idea what to expect. From the first scene, I was hooked. I plowed through the book in a day and was blown away. There were times in the book when heightened emotions were called for – dread, terror, fatigue, devastation. Each time the author brought me right to that place, and I was immersed in the feeling. I felt Alex’s discomfort at his overly friendly neighbour. I rooted for Austin to find a way to break down Alex’s walls, and endured his confusion when he couldn’t.

I liked the slow courtship in this book. Austin was a surprisingly sensitive soul who sensed Alex’s skittishness and respected the other man, never pushing. We all should be so lucky to have an Austin in our lives. Alex is appreciative, even befuddled. He can’t conceive what Austin is getting out of the relationship since Alex is a shell of the man he once was. Of course Austin doesn’t know that. He only sees the sensitive man before him. The man who has panic attacks and is painfully thin. The man who sometimes detaches completely. Yet over and over Austin is there and, eventually, Alex starts to fall in love.

Slight problem? Alex has terminal plans, and if he stays with Austin, he’s bound to hurt the man he’s come to care for. This is clearly set up from the beginning and my heart lurched from moment to moment. I was guaranteed a happy ending, but that didn’t mean there were a few close calls and tears in the meantime. Interestingly, when the Oliver plotline was resolved, I believed the book would draw to a close, but there were more than two hours left. Two heart-wrenching hours of knowing what was coming and yet hoping something, anything, would derail Alex’s plans.

In the end, this book dragged me through the wringer, lurching from emotion to emotion. And I loved that. I adore books who can immerse me in the story and sustain my interest through every word. I can’t say enough good things about the book. If you’re looking for something emotional and powerful, this is the right book for you.

I’m always game to try a new narrator and Alric March did not disappoint. He had distinctive voices for Austin and Alex, fitting how I pictured each man. I also adored his British accent. I’m a sucker for a great Brit. Like I said, this book is definitely worth a listen and I’ll be happy to try out more books by this author. Oh, and if H.L. were to write a follow-up book with the two unlikely characters who sort of got together, that would be alright with me.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

so good

this was so good.. sexy and interesting.. made me feel good and it was a very good story and this author did an amazng job and this narrator made me feel good.

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  • Shannon Vess
  • 05-03-20

liked this so much

i liked this very much i found it to be an engaging story filled with well written characters and a great plot.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A T
  • 24-03-20

4.5 stars- Fantastic performance, memorable story

Edge of Living was the first book I’d read by this author and I haven’t missed a release by her in the year and a half since. I was excited to hear this title would become an audiobook and even more excited when I heard it would feature a new-to-me narrator. The narrator did an amazing job bringing this emotional, angst filled romance to life, reminding me of all the reasons Edge of Living made me fall in love with this author’s style and why it continues to be at the top of my list of recommended reads. His accent and fluid delivery fit the book perfectly, with an even tone that held all the emotion of the scenes without it feeling overdramatized.

There’s always an inherent risk with new narrators, especially when they are performing a favorite book, but I was impressed with this audiobook and very happy to revisit characters who had so much heart and a story that was incredibly memorable. If you like hurt/comfort romances that give you heart pangs as much as it warms your heart, I’d highly recommend Edge of Living.

*Received ACX promo code from author. The author and narrator had no influence over this review*

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Zara
  • 12-03-20

Good

A good second book in the series, this book had it all sweet warning comfort to sad and emotional hurt.
Enjoyably narrated.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennie
  • 11-03-20

Great story

Alexander is a library worker, scared of life and everyone in it.
Austin is a mechanic, a big loveable guy who has a crush on Alexander.
Over time they develop a very slow, tentative friendship.
Both men are wary of the other.
I loved getting to know these guys. My heart broke for Alexander and all that he had been through in the past year. Keeping his past a secret from everyone was enforcing the loner he had become.
So many feels in this story about strength, resilience, hope, comfort.
The narrator was new to me and although I struggled a little in the beginning with his accent (My issue, not his) I become comfortable with it as the story progressed and ended up quite enjoying it overall.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Randall J
  • 04-03-20

Dark but uplifting story of survival and love

You might think that this is simply a dark story that somehow turns out well by reading the blurb and a few reviews, but it’s much more than that. Alex is a man who has suffered a staggering, unimaginable loss and is simply going through the motions of living. He’s been reduced to a shadow of his former self, almost erased by this tragedy, and can only focus on one very short term goal. Then he meets Austin, who truly sees him, who is ignorant of his past but wants to connect with him, and whose urge to protect and care for Alex is something that he can’t completely understand himself. What seems like an inevitable progression toward a tragically unavoidable outcome will keep you interested all the way through, and the HEA that is promised in the blurb is more like a triumph of the human spirit and the curative powers of selfless love. Narration by Aldric March is nuanced and pleasant. Highly recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pink Texas
  • 02-03-20

Heartbreaking and beautiful

Thus was a heavy book to read. The writing was done very well. Alex just broke my heart, but and so grateful he had Austin. And Austin, what a sweetheart. I really enjoyed listening to the narrator. He had good voices and he was easy to follow.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Amocca
  • 28-02-20

Tough read!

Minor spoiler at the end of this review!

well, that was tough. Please be aware of the trigger warnings before you pick up this book. While it is in some sense a heart warming hurt / comfort story, Alex's horrors and past takes up most of the book and it lends a horrible sadness to the entire text.

The narration is very well done and the writing is engaging. I was engaged all the way through the book and felt for Alex. Unfortunately the romance part of the book is slightly less well done, as it seems a tad unbelievable that Austin would fall in love with Alex. He is, in many ways, a completely empty shell. But if you accept that, it works.

It is not an easy story, nor is there any fluff. There are few moments of happiness at all, and almost all of those are in the past, up until the very end. In fact, I was worried at one point that we would not actually get a happy ending. For those that need that - like me - I'll leave the small spoiler that it does end well in the end - or at least on a very hopeful note.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • HockeyfanT
  • 28-02-20

Difficult but worth it

Alexander's story broke my heart. He went through a horrible event, we know from the beginning. We just don't know the details until they are slowly doled out in flashbacks. Meanwhile, we know from the very beginning of the book that he has a plan to end his life. Alex walks around in a fog, a mere shadow of the man he once was. Then he meets Austin.

Austin is a great character. He's caring, hard working, and incredibly patient and gentle with Alex. He is also a bit blinded by love, but I like that about him. It's lovely to see the cracks Austin is able to make in Alex's frozen heart.

The narrator's performance was perfection. I don't think any of the many narrators I adore could have done any better. I hope he continues along this path, as I'd love to hear more from him.

The combination of a wonderful story and a fabulous narrator make it easy to rate this story highly, and I have no qualms about recommending this audiobook to others. Be aware though, it does include violence and suicidal thoughts.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Christina Wade
  • 27-02-20

This one has me torn

So, I’m a bit torn on how to review this one. I can’t say I liked it but that doesn’t mean it’s not a well written or good book. Just keep in mind these are only my opinions on the story and I prefer lighter reads. I decided to just rate it with 3 stars to place it right in the middle of the rating scale.

First, let me say I’m not sure this can be classified as a romance. While Alex and Austin do forge a relationship, there is very little romance involved, and they are a dysfunctional couple at best. Alex gives away nothing of his history and Austin knows very little about him. Austin is physically attracted to Alex and feels a need to protect him although he doesn’t know why. Austin can tell something is ‘off’ about Alex, Austin’s brother attempts to warn him that something is different about Alex, but Austin ignores it all and continues obliviously in the relationship. And they have sex…A LOT…so it seems to me the relationship is almost purely physical, but Austin still feels a deep connection to Alex. This made me feel a little icky honestly, especially since we didn’t know the details of Alex’s past.

Speaking of Alex’s past…this went much darker than I expected. I went into the book with the Goodreads trigger warning which is as follows:
“Trigger warning: Please be aware that this story deals with suicidal ideation.”

That is NOT a sufficient warning…AT ALL. The details of Alex’s past are gruesome, and I don’t know that I would have read/listened to this if I had any idea just had bad it was.

Also note, Alex’s history is told primarily through flashbacks.

There is a bit of a side story with Austin’s friend Wilko and his sexuality and a possible relationship with Austin’s brother which is left as a dangling plotline. They may have a book floating around out there…I haven’t looked, although I *might* be interested in reading it.

I dreaded the ending because I wasn’t sure it would be happy, but it was wrapped up neatly with a bow that niggled a little after such a darkly grisly story. Everything fell into place a little too perfectly for Austin to discover everything he needed to in order to save the day and guarantee an HEA.

While the vocal performance was really good – the distinct voices of each character, the emotions of the story (and that can’t have been easy), the anger in the antagonist was spot on – there are parts of this book that made the transition to audio difficult due to POV switches without warning and jumps between past and present without an obvious shift division.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Truus / Truths 🌈 Loveislovereview
  • 26-02-20

Amazing narration of a heartbreaking story

AUDIO EDGE OF LIVING HL DAY

I cried listening to the audio version of this book.
The narrator’s voice made me cry, the delicate voice of Alex versus the bit rusty voice with an accent of Austin. A really good job, also convincing with emotional parts. Shaky, stutter, raspy, all well done at the right moments. The little pauses between words or sentences here and there was excellent. The clear, delicate voice of Alex did something to me.
I enjoyed this story even though it was heavy af !

Here follows the review of the content.

Okeeehh.. rubbing my hands over my face, that was a harsh, devastating, heartbreaking, breath stopping story.

I was on the edge of quitting, but of course not really because I just couldn’t stop.. Alexander deserved it to be heard and to finished his story.

We get to know Austin and how he is intrigued by Alexander.
Alexander decided to let Austin into his life, but also hold him and the whole world at bay.
Austin was very protective but oblivious to the extent of Alexander pain.
It was an almost unbearable journey to go through. Really really hard.
Alexander’s life is difficult, more than difficult, he exists only.
He deceived everyone around him, e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. to let them think he had sort of a normal life.
He has only one goal… o.n.e.

This story was more than overwhelming. At times I had to remind myself to breath… I was just holding it in because it was all so devastating.
Amazingly written in a tentative but also almost unbearable realistic way. Very well done.
The heavyweight topic was palpable throughout the whole story.

This story has some serious triggers so be aware of the content and read the blurb.