Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Husband Material by Alexis Hall (2022)

We’re trying something a little different this week, where we read different books that all have the same title. Our first contender in Who Wore It Best: Smut Edition? Husband Material.

To properly kick off Husband Material week, I figured I should read the book that inspired us to do this in the first place: the version written by Alexis Hall that Erin squeed over. 

Her review is below, but here are three additional things that you should know about this book:

  1. It does not stand alone

You *definitely* have to read Boyfriend Material first. There are approximately a million characters who are vaguely introduced, but the expectation is that the reader already knows what Luc’s job is and who his coworkers are, who his besties are, and the general outline of his history. Luc’s friends Bridge and Priya get the most page time of the secondary characters and feel the most fully fleshed out, but if I hadn’t read Boyfriend Material, I would have been very confused with every interaction Luc has with his fellow CRAPPers.

  1. I would maybe call this book smut-adjacent

Not because of the non-heteronormative HEA, but because I thought it read kind of day-in-the-life women’s fic-y. The focus of most of the book is not Luc and Oliver’s relationship, because their relationship is great, but on the stuff going on around them that’s making them process their various messes.

On the other hand, the conflict and resolution at the very end of the book may have changed my mind about this statement.

  1. The last paragraph is perfect

Just trust me on this one.

Read on for Erin’s review.

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Husband Material by Alexis Hall (2022)”
Recommended Read, Review Revisited

Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (2020)

So, Erin has been yelling at us about Boyfriend Material and how it’s her favoritest most funniest book ever for a while now, so I figured I should read it. 

Erin and I do not have exactly the same sense of humor, because I was not laughing so hard that my husband had to check on me to make sure I was ok. (Maybe also she laughs harder at things than I do.) And there were some scenes where I could tell that we were going for humor, but it was too over-the-top for me to get a giggle out of it. (Erin and I had similarly divergent reactions to Something Fabulous.) 

BUT. The bit where Luc is telling his coworkers the “interrupting cow” knock-knock joke is fucking hilarious. Alex Twaddle 4-EVA!

I will also say that I read this as part of a larger Alexis Hall binge, which really highlighted to me that his books are not for everyone. They are thoughtful and absolutely brilliantly written, but I find them incredibly stressful to read. The protagonists tend to be messy and unlikable; therefore, being in their heads is not always a pleasant experience.

Read on for all the deets (and lots of squeeing) from Erin.

Continue reading “Review Revisited: Holly’s Take on Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall (2020)”

Review: Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall (2022)

Winner Bakes All, Book #2

Review of Winner Bakes All, Book #1

Heat Factor: Tariq is waiting for marriage, and we’re going to respect that decision

Character Chemistry: They’ve got a cute grumpy-sunshine thing going on—when Paris can get out of his head

Plot: Paris and Tariq are both competing on Bake Expectations, and the internet casts Paris as the season’s villain.

Overall: Was this a difficult book for me to read? Yup, it sure was. Did I bad decision book club it anyway? Yup, I sure did.

Continue reading “Review: Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble by Alexis Hall (2022)”
Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Alexis Hall

Looking for a new author to try? Here’s everything you need to know about Alexis Hall, whose books include Boyfriend Material, Glitterland, and Something Fabulous.

What He Writes: 

Queer romances, mostly (but not all) M/M, mostly (but not all) contemporary. Plus some mysteries. And some steampunk adventure stories. And some literary pastiches. He’s incredibly prolific.

What Makes Him Unique: 

He writes a new bio for every book he releases. 

But really, his voice is one of the most unique author voices we’ve ever found. No matter the particulars of a book, in terms of time period or subgenre, his books are recognizably his.

Writing Style: 

Hall’s books cater to a pretty broad range of audiences—historical romance fans, urban fantasy fans, rom coms that are actually funny fans…His books also span a range of heat levels, from no sex (Paris Daillencourt Is About to Crumble) to firmly closed door (Boyfriend Material) to waxing rhapsodic about the glories of anuses (Something Fabulous) to full-on erotic romance (Arden St. Ives).

However, his narrative voice remains remarkably consistent. Expect tongue-in-cheek literary and pop culture references, absurdist comedy, and single POV narration that, even when done in third person, really captures the unique voice of a character. His narrative voice is very very British; class conflict frequently plays a role in his romances. Also expect extremely messy POV characters who are dealing with trauma or mental health issues.

Why We Love Him:

Hall excels at writing books that are hilarious while simultaneously thoughtfully grappling with serious issues the characters are dealing with. When we pick up one of his books, we know we’re going to laugh at least once, and that we’re also going to be punched in the gut with emotion.

How We Feel When We’re Reading His Books:

He Might Not Be For You If:

Look, there are messy characters, and then there are Messy Characters, and Hall writes the latter. Being in someone’s head as they’re processing anxiety, depression, and trauma is not always pleasant or comfortable. This also means that his protagonists are not always particularly likable.

Sometimes the comedy veers into the too-absurd and silly territory, so if you prefer your comedy more understated, Hall may not be the author for you. 

Steer clear if you don’t like profanity. 

Notable Quotation:

“‘Polite and well reasoned’?” Oh God, now Tarleton had gone back to repeating everything Valentine said. “Have you not read a single novel?”

“I don’t see what that has to do with anything.”

“Well, if you had, you’d know that ‘polite and well reasoned’ are not qualities people look for in marriage proposals.”

“For heaven’s sake”— Valentine tried, and failed, to keep the impatience from his voice—“if we lived life as though it were a novel, we’d spend all our time becoming embroiled in improbable adventures and spouting nonsense about filling our vast and empty souls with joyful aches.”

“Yes,” said Tarleton, “and?”

Something Fabulous

Content Warnings:

Struggles with mental health (depression, anxiety), trauma, and characters who act like general wankers.

The Bottom Line:

Hall is a brilliant writer whose books don’t always make us swoon, but they do always make us feel.

Start With:

Boyfriend Material probably has the largest crossover appeal.

Recommended Read, Review

Review: Husband Material by Alexis Hall (2022)

London Calling, Book #2

Review of London Calling, Book #1

Heat Factor: Lots of kissing and even some canoodling, but it quickly fades to black

Character Chemistry: There is honestly nothing better than the ways that Luc and Oliver show they love each other, both with little, everyday things and when they both let all their messes hang out

Plot: To wed or not to wed? That is the question. But it’s not really a question because the real grownups all get wed… Right? RIGHT?!

Overall: There is so much humor and love in this book, and I had such a blast reading it, but I also had to check myself in the later sections as the writing on the wall became more and more clear

Continue reading “Review: Husband Material by Alexis Hall (2022)”