AUDIO REVIEW: Mister O
Anyone who knows me or reads my reviews regularly will know that I’m not really one for Contemporary romance. I freely admit to sneaking in the odd Harlequin Presents now and again, but I’m not into tattooed bikers, hockey players (or anything sport-related), Navy SEALs, firefighters, lawyers… and being British, I don’t get the appeal of small-town America. With all that said, though, I’m not averse to sampling something different occasionally, and when I was scrolling through Audible’s new releases pages recently, this caught my eye. Not only was the title one that made me grin and click to find out more, I’ve heard a lot of good things about narrator Sebastian York, so I decided to give it a go.
As one would expect from something called Mister O., it’s a very sexy book. It’s also very funny and, because the story is told entirely from the male point of view, refreshingly different. Add in a superb performance from Mr. York, and you’ve got a thoroughly entertaining listen.
Nick Hammer is twenty-nine, single, successful and knows how lucky he is to have landed his ideal gig. A few years back, his online comic strip – The Adventures of Mister Orgasm – was picked up by a television network and is now a hugely popular late night TV show. Once a weedy nerd with pencil and paper forever in hand, Nick is now a seriously hot nerd; glasses, great hair, toned body – he’s all that and a bag of chips. And fortunately for the women he dates, he is just as dedicated to the pursuit of female pleasure as his fictional creation.
It would have been easy for Nick to be an arrogant arsehole, but he isn’t. He’s genuinely aware of how lucky he’s been in his life; he’s charming and self-deprecating, and while he loves women, he’s a one-woman-at-a-time kinda guy, describing himself as a serial monogamist. He has, however, been single for a few months now, ever since the last woman he was with – a romance writer – jetted off to Italy to research her new book. There’s someone he’s seriously interested in, but – and I don’t know if this is a genuine guy thing or just a romance novel convention – she’s his best friend’s little sister and therefore strictly off-limits.
Harper Holiday has known Nick for years and they are great friends who get each other in a way many other people don’t. A few months back, something changed between them when the two of them decided to wind up her brother and make him think that they were getting it on. That prank involved a bit of touching and groping, and Harper hasn’t been able to forget the look and feel of Nick’s hard body and warm skin under her hands. But she knows she’s not his type, and is content with his friendship. Mostly.
Harper is a great character. She’s vibrant, funny and insightful, but when it comes to men, she’s hopeless. She’s a magician, and makes her living by performing at children’s parties and events, but while she loves her job, it’s also quite a lonely one. Most of her time is spent with kids and parents, so she doesn’t have many opportunities to interact with single men. When Nick witnesses her getting tongue-tied around a guy she likes, and realises that she has absolutely no idea when a man is interested in her, he’s stunned. Harper is the girl of his dreams (with alarming frequency) – how can she not know how attractive she is?
Things start to ramp up between them when Harper shyly asks Nick for dating advice. Naturally, he’s appalled at the thought of teaching her how to be with another man, but when he realises how alone she feels and how important it is to her, he can’t say no.
There’s no question where this is headed – it’s a romance novel after all! Flirty texting, dirty sexting, multiple Os on multiple surfaces… it’s all here; and it’s hot and sexy and sweet and filthy and incredibly honest. But it also becomes about much more than just sex and I really enjoyed listening to Nick’s thought processes as lust turns to love.
In addition to the humour and the male PoV, another thing the story has going for it is that it’s wonderfully free of contrived angst and drama. There’s a point towards the end when I wondered if things might be headed that way but Nick and Harper are intelligent adults who actually TALK to each other, so thankfully, it doesn’t go there.
Sebastian York is a narrator I’ve been aware of for some time, but because he narrates mostly Contemporary and New Adult romances, I’ve never listened to him before. Boy, have I been missing out! He has a lovely, deep baritone that can quite easily send shivers down the spine and his manner of delivery and comic timing are perfect. This is a first person narrative and he totally inhabits the character of Nick Hammer, bringing him to life in all his deadpan, honest and sexy glory. Mr. York’s female voices are very good, too, a slight hike in pitch and softening of tone working well to portray Harper and the various female secondary characters, all of whom are very clearly differentiated. The sex scenes are frequent – I have no idea what the sex-scene/page-count ratio is, but it’s pretty high! – but they’re very well written and narrated with self-assurance and absolute conviction.
Mister O. turned out to be one of those impulse decisions that paid off, supplying me with eight hours of funny, sexy entertainment. If you like your audiobooks on the steamy side, then you should definitely check it out.
Breakdown of Grade: Narration: A Content: B+ Unabridged. Length: 8 hours.