Ash Winters is barely holding on, near drowning in his own darkness and fear. He lives a gray shadow of a life, sullen and cynical, unable to remember hope or happiness - much less the distant, fading glitterball of love. It has to be a sick joke of the universe that he finds himself hooked up with good-humored Essex boy Darian Taylor, a wannabe model in a sparkly jacket and a fake tan. Darian may not be an intellectual giant, but he's hysterically funny, and he's got the courage to challenge Ash to live again.
Just being able to laugh is extraordinary enough to Ash. Loving may be a gift he can't bear to accept, even if his denial breaks the biggest heart he's ever known.
©2013, 2016 Riptide Publishing (P)2016 Hedgehog Inc Productions
"Why did I wait so long to read this?!!"
Absolutely! This is the first time in I can't remember when that I have wanted to reread a book right away.
All, excellent job
I laughed so much. I teared up some.
I am in love with this book. I've been seeing it around for awhile, but I just never took the time to check it out for myself. I'm beyond thankful that I finally did.
I didn't realize that it would be so funny. I laughed a lot. Ash's dry since of humor is in sync with mine. He's like my book character soul mate. He and a friend are having a moment. He says, "Look, I need to stop having this heart-to-heart before I throw up. My heart gets claustrophobic." That's so perfect that I'm going to have to borrow it, haha.
There's a serious side to the story as well. I had a bit of teariness. Ash is dealing with mental health issues. It's a constant struggle.
Darian handles him so well. He hops right through those defenses. They're total opposites and absolutely the one for each other. Darian is such a sweetie and easily works his way into your heart.
I read so much that I don't often take the time to return to a story, but I'm certain I will with this one.
"Glitterland Sparkles and Shines, and I Was Wowed"
Coming in to this audiobook, I already loved Glitterland, which I had read in ebook before. It's a smart, humane, emotionally honest, entertaining story. We experience it through Ash, the writer A.A. Winters, who has mental health issues, among them bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. The story starts out right at the start of an episode he has after a certain hook-up. We see him at, not his worst, but certainly not his best, where he calls up his friend/former lover, Niall, who's had to literally save his life before and is pressed into picking Ash up. It's a bold move to start off a romance with that scene. Neither man comes off very well (though only one is one-half of the main couple) and it is not a light start, but it's perfect, pulling the reader in and giving us insight already into these characters and their story.
Next we're introduced to the other half of the romantic pairing. Ash is struck by the look of a man on the dance floor at another friend's stag night, a man whose silver epaulets, among other things, catch his eye. "He was a ridiculous creature. A vulgar, glittering pirate of a man, all jewellery and fake tan, gold glinting in his ears, on his fingers and round his wrists. His dark hair gleamed with product and had been painstakingly teased into a quiff, that defied taste, reason, and gravity. And I couldn't stop looking at him." And that's when we first meet Darian, the wannabe model out of Essex, whose bright smile and brighter clothing, charms his way into a hook-up with the very opposite Ash.
What follows next is a strange courtship, with the open, big-hearted, self-identified shallow Darian seeing something amazing in the dark, struggling, often caustic Ash. It's never supposed to be something for Ash, but he can't help but be drawn to thoughts and then action when it comes to Darian. And Darian, while seeming less complicated than Ash, has a boldness and backbone that pushes these two together as much as Ash's inability to stay away. These two opposites bring a unique equality to their relationship that's wonderful to watch.
There is no straight shot to a happily ever after, a thing maybe that can't even be hoped for, for these two. There are complications and misunderstandings and some may wonder how things could ever be patched up again, but that's the power of Alexis Hall's writing here. Things do come together, in their perfectly imperfect way, and it's real, and it's beautiful. There were tears and sniffling from them and me by the end.
When I said at the beginning that I already loved Glitterland, it was a shallow love compared to how I feel about it now that I've experienced it through Nicholas Boulton's stunning narration. This was the first audiobook of his I've read, and I was absolutely blown away. No way, NO WAY, was I listening to just one person who sounds, as Darian proclaims about Ash, "Omigod, you talk like the Queen. Are you in parliament?" and then also as Darian, with his Essex accent who says things like "There you go, babes. That was ahwight, wunit." (Direct quote from the book.) And it wasn't just the accents that Nicholas does, it's the emotion and personality of each person and line that shine. I wish I could pull little samples to include because there are so many brilliant moments throughout where it's so pitch perfect as to feel like I was actually eavesdropping instead of listening to a performance. Just top shelf the whole way through, and I can't recommend the experience enough.
"Beautiful and Brilliant!"
Nicholas Boulton -- need I say more?
There were several moments when the beautiful poetry of Alexis Hall's descriptions and prose brought to mind the book, "Written on the Body" by Jeanette Winterson.
Nicholas Boulton's performance is breathtaking and epic. He made Alexis Hall's amazing story an HD experience for the ears. He is an amazing actor-narrator. The emotion he brought to Hall's story and characters made this story unforgettable. His performance made this story so heart achingly real that at times I had to stop what i was doing and sit down. He made me feel Ash's heart pain and desperation down to my marrow. The way his voice broke at moments took my breath away.
I laughed, cried, and at times felt my heart soar. I loved the honest and vulnerable view given of relationships with all its ugly lows, soaring highs, and lovely middles. It made my cynical heart flutter with hope.
Beautiful and brilliant. I'll admit that at first glance, I was a little apprehensive with the same sex romance, but the story description and the fact that Nicholas Boulton is the narrator inspired me to give this book a whirl. And I'm so happy that I did. This is one of the best books I've heard this year. The writing and narration are brilliant. The love story in this book is absolutely lovely.
"Great story, ridiculously amazing narration"
“Why, in all the vastness of the world, did a sparkly idiot from Essex make me feel alive?”
So, this is my first romance where both of the main characters are male. I'm not going to lie, I don't think I would have read/listened to this if it hadn't been narrated by Nicholas Boulton, who is my very favorite narrator (no surprise that he is nothing short of brilliant in this story (that Essex accent!) Needless to say, I am so glad that I did.
Aside from the ridiculously amazing narration, I was surprised how much I liked the story… how well written it was. The author conveyed the relationship between Ash, a bitter bi-polar writer and Dorian, the “glittering pirate” model from Essex with such poetic vulnerability. I just loved both of them and how well they complimented each other- uptight, messed up Ash and beautiful, carefree Dorian. It was an erotic *cue blushing* heart- warming, funny, soul- laid- bare kind of book.
"If you listen to audio books you will want to get this one!"
I had not read this before, so listening to it was amazing. The characters just pulled me in. Ash broke my heart and Darian was simply beautiful. The words Alexis writes are gorgeous.
Nicholas brought these characters to life for me so much.
I read Glitterland Aftermath after and I have to say listening to this story brings it to a whole other level. And I heard their voices while reading it, which was fantastic. 😃
"This author could make me believe anything"
I want it to be a tv show that I can watch every week for the rest of my life. Luv every character, which is rare. And Boulton is the best narrator in the world! What can he not do?
This book is the most creative, fun, sad & funny, though not hilarious. I don't even know why I believe the relationship, except that the writing is that good. This author's ability to make me care is beyond most of the 1200+ books I've listened to. And this book was made for audio listening as long as it's with a good narrator, and this time we have a great narrator.
This book showcases the positive and negative side of ourselves, is introspective enough without feeling like anybody is wallowing, and shows growth and personal insight. This book is not alone in these things, but few authors can tell it, describe it, purify the experience of pain and longing and relief like this author can.
"Narrator nails the accents!"
The Narrator captures the Main Character's interior life so well and his Essex accent of the other MC is so delightful. I listened to this audio book in nearly one sitting, in a near dream state of rapture. The story of these two unlikely men finding love together is a pure delight and the burden of class in Britain is made clear. I adored this story and I will be listening to this story again very soon--Narrator Nicholas Boulton is swoon-worthy!
The first few times you hear Ash and Darian exchange dialogue--their accents are so different and Darian is so sweet and funny. A Delight!
No, but I will be searching him out right away!
Not your average Notting Hill!
This is a beautiful slice of Oxbridge meets Essex and finds Romance after much travail.
Nicholas Boulton brings Alexis Hall's characters to life. His narration elevates an already wonderful story into something truly wonderful. Glitterland is an excellent book and an even better audiobook. You won't regret spending a single minute with Hall's characters. This was a joy to listen to.
"This recording is a gem - Highly recommended!"
I took my time with this, allowing myself only small amounts each day, savoring each morsel because I really didn't want it to ever end :)
This recording is a gem, a beautiful rendition of a beautiful, and for me, much beloved book, perfectly capturing all the humor & pathos & sheer delight of the original. Nicholas Boulton's voice is pure velvety-dark gorgeousness. And what he does with these characters is far more than just "creative reading". This is voice acting in the truest sense of the word; Boulton performs these roles as movingly and effectively as he might do on any stage or screen.
He does a dead-on perfect Ash in every mood, and his Darian is particularly endearing. When Boulton speaks you realize Yes!, that's exactly how Ash sounds, how Darian sounds! It's like he reaches right into your head to capture what you imagined but could never quite "hear" - only now you can. And he gets the Essex-speak just right, yet there's no difficulty understanding a word. Boulton does simply stand-out work with every character. His Chloe & Nanny Dot are remarkable, there's not the slightest hint of silliness you might expect from a man trying to read in a woman's voice, it's just . . . perfect, can't come up with another word for it :)
Audio books, to my mind, are best used as an enhancement, a deepening & sharpening, a signal-boosting, if you will, of the reading experience, rather than a replacement of it.
I used to say an audio book is the next best thing to having a movie made of a book you love. But now I'm kind of thinking audio books may actually be better. With the right voice actor & production, good audio books like this one can accomplish what I feel movies should aspire to but rarely manage: They can be the ultimate expression of a book. They can illuminate the text, bringing out it's essence as a dash of salt or spice can do with food. And they can bring the story & characters to life in a way that feels movingly 3-dimensional. The only thing missing is the visuals, but I guess you can't have everything :)
A good audio book gives you new ways to enjoy something you already love. The best ones reveal the story and characters to you in fresh ways. This recording does both. I highly recommend :)
This has to be the most enjoyable romance I have read/listened to in like two years. I love the characters and the narration was perfection- it really made the characters come to life. Especially since I had no idea what an Essex accent should sound like. I love that mental illness was part of this story. As someone who suffers from depression- Ash's anxieties and daily struggles really struck a cord with me. I found him to be a very brave and relatable character and I enjoyed every moment of this story. If you like m/m romance, do yourself a favor and buy this one. You won't regret it.
Hilarious, Emotional, Satisfying.
The wonderful writing and characters, the wit and the understanding shown of Ash's condition, and of course, the lovely Darian!
Nicholas Boulton is the God of voices! I have NEVER heard a more beautifully gifted performer, ever. I have over a hundred Audio books and many voiced by Nicholas.
WHO NEEDS A FILM?
With this narrator you actually see the story as you listen and I wouldn't want the story spoilt by miscasting and bad direction as happens nowadays. Readers are readers, after all, and do have imagination.
This is just an experience no one should miss. What a writer!
"Brilliant story - fantastic narration"
Whilst I loved the book, there is just something about hearing the characters brought to life that adds that little bit extra - Nicholas Boulton absolutely nails the narration, both in terms of bringing the characters to life but also acting out the story so it's less about listening to Glitterland and more about living it.
Hmm - don't think I have read anything that quite compares. It's a romantic, honest, endearing, yet sometimes serious book, and without doubt the funniest one I have ever read.
No, but I will definitely take a look. His take on Darian was like Michael Caine crossed with Rylan Clark and hit the nail on the head.
"Perfect in every way"
Lovely story made even more entertaining by the narration. I completely recommend this audio book
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