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For Real

(Spires Universe #3)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  6,673 ratings  ·  1,372 reviews
Alternate cover edition of ISBN 9781626492806

Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.

Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.

Toby d
Paperback, 1 edition, 437 pages
Published June 1st 2015 by Riptide Publishing
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Alexis Hall Um, I wouldn't say so. Power Play is what I would characterise as a very formalised BDSM relationship and I read the arc as being very much about a su…moreUm, I wouldn't say so. Power Play is what I would characterise as a very formalised BDSM relationship and I read the arc as being very much about a submissive coming to terms with their nature. For me, For Real, isn't really about BDSM in the same sort of way, but your mileage may vary. Kink is quite a broad category and people approach it very differently. The dom isn't a masochist, he's just young and inexperienced in practice, though not in instinct.(less)

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Julio Genao
Apr 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
spectacularly good.


subversive, clever, and full of surprises.

my hands-down favorite bdsm-themed romance.

hall's books are always so thoughtful, and his aesthetic so similar to mine—i am simply powerless to resist them.

i ate this badboy up like a slice of lemon meringue pie.

more, please!

PS: it is occasionally and gloriously a one handed read:


...make of that what you will.
~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~

Nearly 500 pages of brilliant, thoughtful writing.

But his [cock] I could be kind of obsessed with. It's really ... beautiful, all strong and straining, needy and aggressive at the same time, and sheathed in gleaming skin, with these drops of moisture crowning the tip, like tiny perfect opals ... they'd taste of heat and salt and tears and him.

And that is the most delicious description of a cock. EVER.

In his review, Julio called this book "subversive, clever, and full of surprises."

I c
Heather K (dentist in my spare time)
*4.5 stars*

I love it when I'm wrong.

I had started fearing everything that I had loved about Alexis Hall's Glitterland was a figment of my imagination. Perhaps I had dreamed the wonderful, squee-worthiness that was Glitterland? Stranger things have happened...

I tried, with epic failures, to read his other stuff (Iron & Velvet, Prosperity, Waiting for the Flood). Each of those books was a huge disappointment, and I decided to just throw in my Alexis Hall towel and snuggle down to dream my dreams o

Advanced review copy of For Real provided by Riptide Publishing via Net Gallery in exchange for an honest review.

Folks attracted to this book enough to read reviews are most likely looking for a hot and steamy BDSM romp. And, boy do you get it here! Hotter and steamier than any BDSM book I've read in years! But what will surprise most of you is that behind all this glorious pain and submission is an absolutely beautiful love story. For Real is a M/M romance which just so happens to include cha
Vanessa North
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A few months ago, I was whining to Alexis Hall about how few kinky books there are that don't seem to have ghastly rapey backstories, etc. etc, and that I really just wanted to read something filthy and romantic without rape or abuse and why was that particular combination so damned difficult to find?

And he said something along the lines of "Um, I might have written something like that, it's in edits, but I'll send it to you."

To which I said "OMG GIMME" or something equally horrible and enthusia
Kaje Harper
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book goes straight into my favorites. BDSM, but with much more focus on the psychology, the needs of the two men and the balance of the relationship, than any mechanics of the physical side. Not that there aren't excellent sexual episodes in it, but there are no formal scenes here, no careful planning and stylized progression. Just two men, one older, one younger; one experienced in the scene, one completely new to it; one broken by losing love through no fault of his own, one urgently ...more
captain raccoon.

Some word vomit will be added to this when I've managed to compose myself. So in the meantime... All the stars. This gets all the stars I have.
5+ Snowdrop Stars

Aftercare , Mr. Hall. I know that you are familiar with the loving recovery that follows a highly charged BDSM scene. I know that you are familiar with it because your characters demonstrate aftercare so sweetly in “For Real.” Gentle caresses, tender snuggles, affectionate murmurs, water to rehydrate…All given to show that they are there for each other. Letting each other know that they are safe, helping them gain their emotional equilibrium…

However, dear Sir, what about your
You’ve got to tell the world how to treat you. If the world tells you how you are going to be treated, you are in trouble—James Baldwin

For Real is a love story upending labels and stereotypes (sexual or otherwise); how two people come together not allowing themselves to be flattened into labels—dom/sub, top/bottom, beautiful/plain, younger/older, educated/uneducated, high class/blue collar, etc. It's the story of Laurie and Toby, who should have nothing in common, who, on the surface, are diamet
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
4.5 Rounded Up!...

WARNING: This does not make sense.

I honestly don't know how to write this review without turning it into a horrible personal thing. There are writers that manage to write stories that stay with you, and manage to write characters that seem way too close of a mirror of what you were, or are. Or both. This is one of them.

When I knew this book was coming out I knew to expect awesome, and I knew I could expect something different where BDSM is concerned. Of course you have whips,
No rating... DNF @ 38%.

Okay. I tried. I really did. I tried for me and for my friends who really liked it. I had to give up at 38% and just call it a wash. I am the odd ball out on this but I think the author is a one hit wonder for me.

The idea was great; a younger inexperienced but "natural" Dom who gets off on the idea of hurting someone and making them cry meets the older experienced sub who can possibly show him the way. I like the age gap and the play on roles but I could not connect with
Apr 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book is getting better and better with every read or listen. Loved the audio <3






So we put our arms around each other again. I lead and Laurie follows [...], and there's moonlight, and we dance and dance and dance until we fly and my heart is so zing, I can't even.

I found it :D The perfect quote.
It makes me smile so much, I can't even.
Not only is this quote from one of my (many) favourite
When this first popped up on my feed, I was a bit skeptical. 400+ pages of a 19-year-old Dom? It didn't sound fun. But I was very obviously wrong. 'For Real' takes age, society's expectations, BDSM, and sex, and basically turns everything on its head. It was marvelous.

I think what I enjoyed most was how Alexis Hall portrayed the contrast between two very different stages of life. Toby is nineteen, and has absolutely no clue what to do with his life. I think most everyone had moments of despair w
I admit I was confused. I wasn’t sure who was the Dom here. Supposedly Toby calls the shots, but Lauren fulfilled that role a way too often. Yes, I’m aware Toby is new in the scene, and I could really imagine him as the perfect controlled Dom in the years to come. But this book felt… strange, at least.

Am I allowed to have these doubts and at the same time love the relationship just as it is?

As if.

Despite all of the above, I could really appreciate the D/s theme here. I loved that first scene tog
Alexis Hall
Sep 10, 2022 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Some notes:
- FOR REAL is book 3 in my Spires series, with there being 6 books in total.
- Each story is loosely connected and will be about a different couple—so you can read them in any order you like.
- GLITTERLAND, WAITING FOR THE FLOOD, and PANSIES will also get the same new covers and extra content, and their rereleases will be staggered.
- After PANSIES you can expect a book for Niall & David (who appear in GLITTERLAND) and one for Dom the Dom (who you meet in FOR REAL).

Expected (re)release:
Lisa *-* GiViNg It To YoU * LoCk StOcK & TwO SmOkiNg BaRrELs

Don't Take My Word For It, Mary Berry Thought It Was Awesome!!

Alexis Hall is one of my guiltiest of guilty pleasures ... I just love he's writing....Beautiful, Meaningful, Thoughtful.

It's that intangible thing that we all recognize but would be hard pressed to truly describe. Like human behavior and how to translate that onto a page......well, this is what Hall does so exquisitely.

For just that...REAL!

Two guys, two completely different lives, different ages, with p
Lyn❤Loves❤Listening #AUDIOBOOKADDICT
Audio 5+++ Stars!
Story 4 Stars

Overall 4.5 stars!

Loved that the Dom in the story was the younger and smaller guy.
Loved that for a bdsm themed book, there were also funny and fluffy moments.

My 2nd Alexis Hall book, and I'm beyond impressed!
May 27, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
This was brilliant. Hilarious, sad, sexy, and so real. The writing is impeccable. The characters are so real and amazing and you slowly fall in love with them.

Toby. Baby Dom, insecure, passionate, impulsive, and hilarious. 19yo. I loved his voice, I laughed so much with his POV.

And I didn’t know what to do, because once you’ve put a condom on wrong, it’s hard to keep selling the idea that sex with you is going to be fab.

Laurie. Hardworking. Cynical. Over it. 37yo. He infuriated me at first. So h
Apr 18, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: bdsm, mm
BR with Elsbeth and Belen

I am sad. This started out so strong, and I thought for sure this would be amazing. And it was good, really. I just had all these expectations after reading the blurb. So basically, it is all my fault that I didn’t like this book more.


Because I truly loved Laurie and Toby. Laurie and his quiet ways and Toby’s insecurities and babbling. The sex scenes were hot and I really liked those too. There was a lot of humor too, especially when we were in Toby’s head.

Maybe I sho
I've read For Real by Alexis Hall twice in the space of three weeks. The first time I was so stunned by this novel that I couldn't even think to set it aside. My second read, instead, was all focused on savouring the language and the characters in this wonderful novel.

Toby Finch and Laurie Dalziel are utterly real and moving in their fears, hopes, and behaviours.

Toby is fierce, headstrong and scared as only a 19-year-old can be but also so true to himself to be incredibly affecting. His inten
AND dirt cheap at right now:


Still one of my favourites!
This is a book that I read every time I need to get 'my kink' on, but don't feel like taking a chance on BDSM novels that end up pissing me off because the subs are seen as furniture or sandwich-makers. Or when I need to laugh out loud.

Laurie is one of the BEST subs ever IMO, and I have a special place in my heart for Toby. He is one of the be
May 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: m-m, june-15
I was reaaaaally nervous about requesting this book. My first try with this author didn't work out so well, but this one-

was great!

*I loved the writing- it didn't feel like almost 500 pgs.
*LOVED the relationship build up!!
*This book is smoking hot!!!!

I can't write a review that will do this book justice- all I can say is: READ IT!!!

**ARC kindly provided by the publisher via Netgalley for an honest review**
Kati ☆ *・゚ readsRomance
4.5***** stars

It's been a little while since I've read this book but I think of it a lot.

There is this scene right at the beginning of the book that had me totally enamored and made me fall in love with Laurie and Toby, and their story that was so different from anything else I've read this far, instantly. [scene is shortened]

“I know what I want. I really know what I want. I just don’t know how to get it.”

“It’s like,” he went on tormentedly, “you’re not allowed to be a dom until you’re fort
Beautiful, painful and raw 5 REAL stars
“Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me

—John Donne”

Toby, oh Toby

“He’s my prince. Fierce and fragile and tender and cruel.”

Oh boy, how I Loved this book...It hit all my buttons... amazing MCs, love, angst, BDSM...Oh, I Just couldn't put it down. The story is brilliant and so very very real.

Toby is a magnificent character, a 19 year-old who is so honest and loving an
☆☆☆~Bev's World of Books~☆☆☆
I cannot do the story justice at all with this review, I am not worthy of it's magnificence, so I'm not even going to try [besides, my quotes would have taken up nearly as many pages as the story...I highlighted nearly everything, THAT'S how good this story was].

I will also say I've added a 'brilliant writing' bookshelf especially for Alexis, and a few other writers who excel at WORDSMITHERY , and make my knees go wobbly with the sheer and utter wonderfulness of it all, and I can think o
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing

Everything about it: Toby and Laurie, their struggles, everything about themselves, their desires, them together, their passions,...everything was wonderful.

The only thing that's holding me back for giving it a perfect rating is the references. I don't understand most of them. :(

But nevertheless, this is one of the GREATEST STORIES I've read this year. Congratulations to Mr. Hall!


4.5 STARS!

PS: Btw, for those who are scared of BDSM, the kink in
Apr 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Reading this book was like spending a gorgeous summer evening with someone really close, drinking your favorite wine until you get giddy and laugh to tears at everything and anything, and then suddenly you end up spilling your heart out and share things you were scared to say or even think. But that’s ok because this person gets you and won’t look at you in a weird way next time they see you. And then you feel relieved and free and just … better but also somewhat nostalgic because you don’t know
5 stars for this wonderful story ❤️
*J* Too Many Books Too Little Time
Jun 17, 2015 marked it as i-m-a-quitter
Shelves: male-action
Throwing in the towel at 30%.....

Mind you it took me 3 days to get to this point.


So I think the length more so then anything got in the way of this one. Granted, had I enjoyed what I was reading a bit more I might not have noticed.

It's no secret the BDSM theme is not my thing. I don't really get it. And I really didn't get it here. Their roles didn't fit in the traditional sense of things. But again what do I know?!

I didn't really notice the age gap so much at first and I actually f
Gail Carriger
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance, queer, favorites
I truly adore this book. One of the best portrayals of BDSM ever put into print. Hall's writing is truly brilliant. Some of their sentences are almost painful to read, they are that good. I will read anything written by this author for that reason alone, but For Real is (so far) my favorite. ...more
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Q&A with Josh Lanyon: September 2016: For Real 23 54 Oct 08, 2016 06:10AM  
The Backlot Gay B...: For Real, by Alexis Hall 2 65 Jun 17, 2015 07:21AM  

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Genrequeer writer of kissing books.

Please note: I don’t read / reply to DMs. If you would like to get in touch, the best way is via email which you can find in the contact section on my website <3

Here’s where I stand on reviews: I read what I feel like reading, and I review what I feel like reviewing. If I’m rapturous about a book, it’s because I felt rapturous. If I’m not rapturous, it’s because

Other books in the series

Spires Universe (6 books)
  • Glitterland (Spires, #1)
  • Waiting for the Flood (Spires, #2)
  • Pansies (Spires #4)
  • Rough Ride
  • Fool's Gold

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