Nick Jorgensen is a quirky genius. He's made a fortune in the competitive high-tech field with his quick mind and attention to detail. He believes in hard work and trusting his gut. And he believes in karma. It’s the only thing that makes sense. People are difficult, but numbers never lie. In the disastrous wake of a broken engagement to an investor’s daughter, Nick is more certain than ever he isn’t relationship material.
Wes Conrad owns a thriving winery in Napa Valley. The relaxed atmosphere is a welcome departure from his former career as a high-rolling businessman. Wes’s laid-back nature is laced with a fierceness that appeals to Nick. In spite of his best intention to steer clear of complications, Nick can’t fight his growing attraction to the sexy older man who seems to understand him. Even the broken parts he doesn’t get himself.
However, when Wes’s past collides with Nick’s present, both men will have to have to decide if they’re ready to lean into the ultimate fall.
Leaning Into the Fall is my favorite book of the series (my review of the book), so I was eagerly anticipating the audiobook version.When Miss Hayes announced one of my favorite narrators, Nick J. Russo, would be the one to bring Nick Jorgensen’s story to life, my excitement level ramped up. Happily, it was everything I hoped it would be. Seeing as I read this book before listening to it, I'm going to incorporate some of my original review of the book into this review of the audiobook.
In the other books of the series, Nick comes across as slightly oblivious to social cues and generally self-involved. Oft-referred to as “the absent-minded professor” by his friends, it’s clear his attitude isn’t mean-spirited on his part. However, it didn’t necessarily endear him to me either. While I always expected there was a lot more to his character, I hadn’t anticipated just how well developed his character would be in Leaning Into the Fall. The raw emotion, confusion, and frustration Miss Hayes tapped into telling this story was incredible and the narrator gave life to each and every one. I found his delivery of Nick’s frustration over his self-perceived flaws and Geordie’s grief particularly poignant. Nick’s character come alive over the course of the book, and the listener experiences his ups and downs right alongside him. I don’t know that Nick was technically a character in need of redemption, but it felt a little like that. The amount of growth he went through in this book made it a story that will be impossible to forget. Although Nick stole the show for me, I can’t deny Wes was an equally incredible hero with an interesting story. I loved how he approached Nick’s moments of genius and uncertainty, and the steady presence he provided proved that he was the perfect partner for Nick. Beyond that I liked hearing his personality really shine as he and Nick found their way together. I enjoyed the ebb and flow of this romance so much. Though this wasn’t a love story teeming with angst, it certainly felt like every good moment was earned.
Speaking directly to the narration, Mr. Russo maintained a nice rhythmic tempo throughout the audiobook, making this a smooth, easy read. Sometimes when I listen to a book after reading it, I struggle with the voices or accents the narrator chooses because they don’t fit with how I originally envisioned. I was very happy this wasn’t the case in Leaning Into the Fall. Mr. Russo’s voices for the characters were pleasant and distinct, ensuring I could follow along with the narrative and dialogue without any difficulty and without ever feeling it didn’t measure up to my imagination. I loved reliving my favorite parts of the book and think fans of this book, series, or author won’t regret picking up the Leaning Into the Fall audiobook at all.
*Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Leaning into the Fall is without a doubt my favorite book in the Leaning Into Stories series, so of course, I jumped at the chance to listen to the audiobook.
We met Nick in Leaning into Love and I didn't particularly like him there, he seemed to be a bit of a jerk. However, my opinion changed after the first chapters of this book. He was quirky and weird and special, trying to make do in a world that didn't quite understand him and I ended up loving him more than words can express. It was kind of odd that no one else realized he might have some kind of Asperger's before Wes mentioned it, but I guess his friends just saw it as Nick being Nick. I loved Wes. He was just perfect, a blend of sweet and dominant. I adored the progression in their relationship, it felt so natural. I loved how well they fit together despite the age gap between them, or perhaps because of it? Wes had the maturity and patience to realize what Nick needed, to know when to push and when to draw back. Never mind that they were hot, hot, crazy HOT together! *fans self* Lane Hayes definitely writes some intense sex scenes!
Now, while the book was amazing, there was something special about listening to Nick Russo portrayal of Nick, Geordie and the rest of the gang and truly, his voice for Wes was the stuff hot, sexy dreams are made of. *fans self* Mr. Russo has a very nice tone of voice and gave the scenes the emotion they required to make them come alive for me.
Overall, Leaning into the Fall is fabulous, no matter if you read or listen to it, it's engaging, fun, hot and emotional. Lane Hayes made me fall for Nick and Wes, I just wanted to cuddle them both and make it all better and it was fantastic having them come to life in Nick Russo's voice. Highly recommendable!
Overall: 5 Stars
Story: 5 Stars
Narration: 5 Stars
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I received a free copy of this audiobook to listen to and review for Wicked Reads.
Okay, I’m writing this review in reverse because I usually address the story first and then talk about the narration. However, in the case of Nick’s story – and I just chuckled because I realized that Nick is the name of both the main character and the narrator, but I digress – addressing the narration is the easy part. Nick J. Russo did an outstanding job of bringing Nick, Wes, and the rest of the characters to life. I absolutely loved the character voice he created for Nick Jorgensen, the genius of which becomes glaringly apparent once Nick’s “secret” is revealed later on in the story – which is part of the reason the storyline portion of the review is a little harder for me to write. But, here it goes…
We met Nick in book one, Leaning into Love, as Eric’s business partner and former friends with benefits/lover. The Nick we meet in Leaning into the Fall is an entirely different Nick, but not really. Because Nick’s story is told from his perspective, we’re privy to more information about Nick than was shared in book one. Some of which left me wondering if Eric knew Nick as well as he thought he did, but I doubt it because Nick is ashamed of his “secret” and I imagine it was easier and more comfortable for him to let Eric and the rest of their circle of friends think of him as the quirky, absent-minded professor or as a self-involved a-hole. And this is the point where I have to say that in book one, I agreed with the self-involved a-hole characterization, but as I got to know the real Nick, I began to suspect what his secret was… before it became obvious that there was a secret. In fact, when Wes said those two words to Nick, I actually shouted aloud, “I KNEW IT!” because I’ve worked with people in Nick’s situation and the more I learned, the more I suspected. Of course, this made me want to champion for Nick even more than I already was. The misunderstood genius. The absent-minded professor. The man with a mission and a one-track mind. I loved him as all of those, but his “secret” made him and his plight even more meaningful for me. And as much as I loved Wes for not letting Nick’s quirks and behaviors send him running the other way, it also made my disappointment in him for throwing in the towel when he did, that much worse. In the end, it worked out as it should, but I felt my heart breaking right alongside Nick’s when Wes walked away and then stayed away. But the ending that Hayes has penned for Nick and Wes made it worth it, well worth it.
I’ve already listened to Leaning into the Fall twice, so it’s earned its 5-star rating because I also know I’ll be queuing it up again in the near future. But I had to listen to it a second time for this review because I felt compelled to go back and listen to Leaning into Love again to see where my opinion of Nick had gone so wrong. But it hadn’t because it was based on the Nick that Eric knew. My advice for series listeners: Don’t re-listen to book one first. Go in without the refresh and meet the real Nick. Then go back to Leaning into Love if you want to do a series listen. I think you’ll appreciate Nick more that way.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I'd already read Leaning Into the Fall when it was released last year, but as is often the case when it comes to books that I consider favorites, I'm curious as to how they "sound" when they're released in audiobook. I loved Lane Hayes's first two audiobooks in the Leaning Into series, both of which were narrated by Seth Clayton, but for Nick Jorgensen and Wes Conrad's story, we've got listener favorite Nick J. Russo, and if I wasn't already a believer in the man's talent in other audiobooks that he's narrated, his performance in this latest addition to the audiobook would have done the trick. Any doubts I may have had about how this new partnership would turn out were totally, absolutely, and undeniably obliterated. I certainly wouldn't say "no" if Russo remains the narrator throughout the rest of the series because seriously? The guy brought something extraordinary to this audiobook. Five-plus stars! ♥
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is book #3, in the Leaning Into series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. To avoid spoilers, and to better understand the series, I recommend reading it in order.
Nick is a tech genius, who tends to forget everything when he is making better things happen in the lab. For real life and relationships - he does not do so well. In the middle of a deal with a deadline, he is hoping for a miracle. Hoping he can still trust those closes to him.
Wes owns an amazing winery where Nick purchased some wine. They meet when Nick goes to the winery, and unexpectedly has the worst run of luck he has had in some time. Despite all the animosity and attraction crackling in the air, Wes does his best to be kind to Nick.
This story actually surprised me. I was not a big fan of Nick's character after reading the first couple books int he series. His story made me understand him, and why he does what he does better. The flow and pace seem to go along well. The characters make a great couple. The narrator made some odd pronounciations that caught me off guard, but otherwise had a very pleasant voice. I give this a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!
***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.
I read this e-book last year...but I love the story so much I was excited to listen to it. The vocal performance is pretty good. I wasn't overwhelmed by Nick's voice but Finn's Irish accent was decent. There are 2 things about the vocal performance that were - for me - worth every penny paid for this audiobook: 1) Wes' VOICE - it was deep and rumbly and sexy; and 2) the way Wes said Nicky...it just turned me inside out. When I read this book, I never thought twice about Wes using that nickname but when you HEAR it...wow, it did something for me.
I didn't re-write my review of the story but I am including my original review of it here.
I’m not going to lie…I didn’t want to read this book. I did not like Nick, AT ALL, in book 1 and I KNEW Ms. Hayes was going to change my mind but I was pouting and didn’t want to believe anything good about Nick. Zane and Eric both loved and trusted him so I knew deep down that Nick had to be a good guy, I just didn’t want to like him (crosses arms like a 3 year old throwing a tantrum). But of course Ms. Hayes magical words make everything all better. Her writing is just so damn good. I get sucked in every time.
Wes was damn near perfect. He was older and wiser but he also just understands how to live. He knows what he wants, how to get it and goes about getting it unapologetically. He is the calming anchor Nick needs. When he finally figures out what makes Nick tick, he’s fascinated instead of repulsed like most people in Nick’s life. I think I was just as entranced and enchanted as Nick was, but Nick couldn’t see past himself enough to appreciate what was right in front of him. There were exactly 2 quotes I highlighted in the story…one from Wes and one from Nick. This is Wes’…
“You break my heart, Nick. You’re perfectly imperfect. I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want you. No one. Not even Mike. I loved him carefully, without any real passion. You… you take my breath away. You’re inside me. I feel everything you do. I don’t just hear your laughter or sense when you’re sad… I feel it. I want to make you happy. I want to fix you. Make you strong when you feel weak. Make you smile when you feel like crying. But I want someone who feels that way about me too. I’m not going through the motions of a one-sided affair again.”
Nick is…a bit of a mess. Wes eventually figured out what we could see in Nick…why he claimed to be ‘broken’ and he cared enough to figure out how to be with him just as he is. Nick is a genius and that makes him a bit unique. He doesn’t have social skills and has been shunned his entire life for being ‘disabled’. He didn’t have the best childhood. Only his college buddies – Zane, Eric, Josh and Grant – have accepted him without question. He has always been a bit selfish mainly for self-preservation. He’s been ok with people not wanting to get close because he doesn’t really know how to handle relationships with anyone. When he finally finds his words, they are worth listening to…
These pieces of you… they’re so real. I want them to be mine. I don’t have much to offer in return, but whatever I have is yours. My pieces aren’t as pretty as yours. They need work, but I want you to know… I love you and I don’t want to waste any more time spinning on things that aren’t important. I just want you.”
Wes grounds and calms Nick. Nick brings out the fun side of Wes. They are quite literally made for each other. Their passion and chemistry is undeniable. Wes takes the time to understand Nick and to love him just as he needs to be loved. I absolutely loved their story! (However, there is still something missing that I hope we get in a future story!)
I can’t wait to read Josh’s story. He was a big player in this story and I’m anxious to see what happens with him. We still don’t know much at all about Grant but I’m assuming as the series progresses we will.
As always with Ms. Hayes, this is a must read!!
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I listened to this as an audiobook, and my biggest complaint is that I could only listen in my car, and I wanted to keep going. I considered at many points to just stop listening and open the book so I could keep going. I didn't, though; I stuck with the audio
What was one of the most memorable moments of Leaning into the Fall?
I initially didn't like the character Nick much in the other 2 books, but he redeemed himself in this book.
Any additional comments?
This was so great. I wasn't a huge Nick fan in the first 2 books. I couldn't quite get a handle on him, and he always seemed so crass. While this was still true (because it is who he is), I loved that we got to see the real Nick and understand what makes him tick. I loved hearing about Nick as a child, and how his mannerisms affected him. Wes was such a great match for him. He was kind, patient, and understanding. He loved Nick because of his quirks, not despite them.
Despite being a mathematical/computer genius. Nick is socially awkward and clumsy. He finds it hard to read and respond to certain situations, including personal and business ones. His outbursts are sometimes unfiltered and he is seen by many as selfish. His best friend, business partner, and ex-boyfriend, Eric, gets him and offers him advice on how to behave in given situations.
Wes soon comes to understand Nick's personality. There’s over a decade age gap between them, so Wes comes across as more mature and in control. He’s hot and sexy. He falls hook, line, and sinker for Nick and doesn’t try to change him. Indeed, he helps calm Nicky’s overactive mind.
I loved their story and their romance. It’s humorous, uplifting, and downright steamy. Their scenes together were a joy to listen to. I laughed out loud at some of the things Nicky said or did, and their bedroom scenes are just sizzling. They're perfect for each other.
It was also great to catch up with Eric and Zane after their honeymoon and see how happy they are together. I’m looking forward to Josh’s story next and finding out what’s going on with him.
I always enjoy Lane Hayes’s writing style, her well-crafted characters, and the situations she puts them in. Poor Geordie’s scene near the end and Wes and Nicky’s fallout scene had me in tears. Wow! Loved it so much!
Nick J. Russo’s narration made the story even more enjoyable. He packs so much emotion and expression into his work. Pacing and characterisation are both great. The mature, sexy voice he gave to Wes was delicious and matched the character’s personality spot on. The only niggle I have is the unrecognisable ‘Irish accent’ he gave to Finn.
I highly recommend this fabulous audiobook. Listen to Book 1 and 2 first so you get the background to EN Tech and Nick’s backstory.
When I read the first book in this series, Leaning Into Love, I said that Nick just rubbed me the wrong way. I also said I hoped he'd be redeemed in a future book, and I am so very happy to say that Leaning Into the Fall does exactly that (yeah, I'm a sucker for those kinds of follow-up stories). Here in this book, we get to see exactly why Nick acts the way he does, and everything more I learned about him endeared him even more to my heart.
There's an innocence to Nick that, combined with his personality, makes it almost impossible not to fall for him. For me, the fact that he's a genius and an analytical super-whiz is like icing on the cake (I love the brainiacs!) But it also makes it seem like he's not sure what he wants-at least to others. Wes was simply put-amazing. He's experienced, intelligent, savvy and knows exactly what Nick needs--and is ready to take care of him. The two of them come together so easily, but Nick's insecurity gets the best of him-something that doesn't bode well for their relationship.
I loved that their relationship and feelings develop over time, and felt that Nick and Wes fit together like the proverbial puzzle pieces. I was almost distraught at the thought that Nick's difficulty trusting others and his way of thinking might ruin such a beautiful relationship, as any outcome other than the two of them together just would have been...well...WRONG.
Oh, and I loved, loved, loved Geordie. A bit flamboyant, definitely emotional, and certainly heartbroken-yet he still plays his supporting role wonderfully and I cannot wait to get his story at some point in this series.
You can surely say I'm hooked on this series, and Leaning Into the Fall was a 5-star read for me. This series has turned Lane Hayes into an auto-buy author for me...and M/M romance fans will definitely want to add this book to their library. While it can be read as a standalone, I think readers will appreciate Nick a lot more if Leaning Into Love is read first. This book is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and some hot and steamy M/M sexual content.
The narration: Nick J. Russo is always a pleasure to listen to, and I thought he did a great job with this book. The voice he gave to Wes I thought was particularly apt and made it very easy for me to visualize him in my head, and it was the same with Wes as well as Geordie. The one for Finn though was a bit inconsistent and didn't come across as Irish to me. Regardless, the rest of the narration was spot-on, and made the story an enjoyable listening experience. 4.5 stars for the narration.