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Tell Me It's Real | [TJ Klune]

Tell Me It's Real

Do you believe in love at first sight? Paul Auster doesn't. Paul doesn't believe in much at all. He's thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother's homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
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Publisher's Summary

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Paul Auster doesn't. Paul doesn't believe in much at all. He's thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother's homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Enter Vince Taylor.

Vince is everything Paul isn't: Sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.

But when Paul hits Vince with his car - in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it'd-only-be-manslaughter kind of way - he's forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself - and that is one obstacle Paul can't quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince's family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he's perfect the way he is.

©2013 TJ Klune (P)2014 Dreamspinner Press

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  •  
    T. Henry The Woodlands, TX 07-08-14
    T. Henry The Woodlands, TX 07-08-14 Member Since 2012

    T.Henry

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't read on a plane!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Tell Me It's Real to be better than the print version?

    That is a toss up. Having read everything T.J. has written, I feel like I can hear his voice in my head, but saying that, he has wonderful narrators for his books.


    What other book might you compare Tell Me It's Real to and why?

    There is no other book to compare to the banter and diatribes that go on in this book, nothing like it....


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Hard to choose, the hippo scene, the love scene, the johnny depp scene, the GPS scene, bike store.... on and on and on.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The story about Sandy when they were in high school and he finds out his parents have been killed, and the scene where Paul tells of his father, and maybe the scene where Paul speaks to his mother, too many to count


    Any additional comments?

    Get this audio, book and audio, worth every penny. Just make sure you are not listening to this where it is not okay to bust out laughing at anytime, because you will, there is no stopping you!!! It will come out as a Snort, a gasp of laughing, hee hawing, it will not be pretty :0

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald Louisville, Georgia, United States 09-21-14
    Donald Louisville, Georgia, United States 09-21-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An Outstanding Story..."

    I am a huge fan on TJ Klune, basically because he knows how to tell a story in such a way that every emotion is reached and the narration by Michael Lesley was beyond reproach. The vocal inflections were phenomenal and his voice brought each character to life in my mind. Initially, I was afraid that the protagonist was going to annoy me...but I laughed so hard, so many times...OUT LOUD...that people thought I was weird (which I am, but that's alright). Began the book on the treadmill and I seriously fell off the daw-gone thing from laughing so hard...a few of my favorites...the entire book...although a special tribute to the menstruating ghost and Johnny Depp...a definite must read!!!

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 09-03-14
    Kim 09-03-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Get ready for the tears of both joy and sadness"

    Cutting my review into two parts: first one's for the story/plot, the second's for the audiobook.

    STORY RATING: 4

    If you're feeling down, riddled with insecurities so much that you don't believe that someday your prince/princess will come, one who'll Freddie Prinze, Jr. you SO HARD (and in a good way, mind), and you think that you're nothing and you want to celebrate that fact by stuffing your face with a beef burrito while wrapping yourself up in a blanket burrito, this book is for you. On the other hand, if you want to read a book with a badass, awesome drag queen who won't take any of your BS and can rule fabulously over the world, and a lovely dog in his very own wheelchair, and you really, really wanted to be proven right that long-term relationships brought about by love at first sight aren't feasible, then I'm sorry, sister, this book ain't right for you. NOT. Seriously, just read this if you're in it for the laughter and tears, and you want to feel good about yourself. A few warnings though: the book (especially if the audiobook) may take up a lot of your time so you better not have something important else to do
    because it's hard to do anything else once you've already started this. Trust me, I wanted to blow up RL so hard due to the interruptions it kept giving me. Please also keep in mind that the book is laden with swearing and a whole lot of bitchiness, so if you can't stomach these things, then uhm, do tread lightly.

    The blurb says it all. Ordinary guy caught hot guy's attention, hot guy pursued ordinary guy, ordinary guy thought it's just a fluke but still fell in love with hot guy nonetheless. Hot guy's trying to convince ordinary guy that he's very much sincere, then ordinary guy's trying to fend off his feelings because he think's he's not good enough, and got reprimanded by his badass best friend and awesome family because of it. Then when ordinary guy finally got into a reluctant relationship with hot guy, BAM, a tragedy happened and ordinary guy had to conquer his fears in order to support hot guy. I am aware that my own summary sucks and it doesn't do these boys right by just calling them "ordinary" and "hot" when they're not just that, not really.

    As I keep remembering this story, a quote entered my mind: "You get the love you think you deserve." And that pretty much says it all. Like Paul (and Vince), we get the feeling that we're not good enough to be loved--being told that we are loved no matter what we are is good and helpful but accepting that love is hard especially when you think you're nothing. So loving (and accepting) yourself first is the key in order to accept the love from others and love those people in return. I think the book served as a good reminder about this, and for that I truly am grateful that I came across this.

    One more thing I liked about this book is how grief was portrayed. It wasn't overly dramatic, yet the feelings portrayed were raw, heavy, painful yet slightly optimistic. It felt realistic, so much so it made me remember how it felt when I lost a family member. It also emphasized the importance of a support group, of having people who can anchor you and make you find strength inside you.

    Though I sympathized with Paul think we had a lot in common, I don't like him that much, partly because I can see myself in him (his internal monologue of him not being good enough? my monologue too). I loved his humor, how he can think of the most absurd things that really made sense to me, how he splutters (like I do all the time Oh God), his clumsiness (let me tell you someday about the bruises I get just by riding a bus or by simply existing). I love his worst-case scenarios (boy sure must be proud of his imagination). I can also relate with his shyness and his self-loathing. However, what I don't like is him calling his bouts of drama/sentiment/mushiness as having a vagina (a gaping one at that). That really bothered me while I was reading/listening especially since the women all around him (including Helena and the sassy Black nurse) are way more badass than him. That's really the reason I can't give this a five-star no matter how much my vagina and I liked the story. Blaming God at every single mishap didn't help either, but since I enjoyed everything else I can tolerate/slightly overlook these bits.

    One more thing that I'd contest is that Vince isn't dumb! I was expecting that his character would be like Doug in The Epic Love Story of Doug and Stephen, and Vince isn't like that, really. To tell you the truth, the guys I know are pretty much like Vince. What I get from Vince's character is that he has his own set of priorities, a very different and refreshing mindset. Not knowing Asia is a continent and that thing you do to stop a person from choking is called Heimlich maneuver don't automatically make you dumb, methinks.

    Moreover, I think what I would like more is a book about Sandy and Helena Handbasket. (S)he is such an interesting character, and Paul would surely be lost without him. I'd love it if I can see things from his perspective, and I am eager to see the interaction between him and his love interest.

    Overall, this was way better than Bear, Otter and Kid for Me, and I am amazed at the difference of TJ Klune's writing between these two books.

    AUDIOBOOK RATING: 4.5

    This is the first audiobook I've ever listened to (if you don't consider podfics), especially one with a male narrator. And after listening to this, it made me realize two things: 1) I truly am a visual person. I love to read and listen to the book at the same time, and 2) Being a narrator of an audiobook is fucking hard! Especially if you have to do lots of voices.

    Honestly, I was kinda weirded out during the first few moments because I imagined Paul's voice being a bit lower/gruffier, but that did not keep me from laughing (and crying) so hard at some scenes which means that he's truly an effective narrator. He has a clear and crisp enunciation of words, though he speaks a bit fast for my taste that it took me a couple of paragraphs to get his rhythm. But once I got past all of that, I enjoyed listening to this; I loved his other voices, especially Johnny Depp's! There were also sometimes that I was distracted and am not really that listening (this is why I need visuals sometimes) but because of his tone and delivery, I knew what Paul is feeling at the moment, which is really, truly helpful.

    So yeah, I can say that Michael Lesley, is a lovely narrator and I would be happy to listen to his other works.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Angela 07-08-14
    Angela 07-08-14 Member Since 2008

    40-something mother of 5, grandmother of 1... English supervisor in bilingual school, love to shop, eat, sometimes cook, and my family

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Funniest.Story.EVER!!"
    Would you listen to Tell Me It's Real again? Why?

    Over and over again, no doubt. I live for books this entertaining!


    What other book might you compare Tell Me It's Real to and why?

    Usually I stick to books narrated by Sean Crisden. He is by far my favorite narrator, but I think Mr. Crisden might have competition now. Michael Lesley gives such life to the characters in this story! I didn't like his Gramma Gigi though. Why did he talk that way?


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I was howling laughing, with tears rolling down my face, swear to God, when Paul was walking down the hallway to meet Vince for their first real date! I couldn't breathe. In fact, throughout this book, I had that problem a lot. Paul and Sandy both have such sharp, sarcastic, sassy wit. Loved it!


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    From dental blocks to killer hippo shit to bastard mayors, this movie has it all! Totally unforgettable!


    Any additional comments?

    Did I say how hilarious I thought this story was? Totally! Now leave me alone so I can check out other books by this author and narrator!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HaloLove 01-30-15
    HaloLove 01-30-15 Member Since 2015

    🌺 Lover of Amazing Stories 🌺

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "BRA-freakin-O to the Performer!!!!!!"
    Any additional comments?

    Michael Lesley did a fantastic job with this performance! The way he was able to change his voice for each character was fabulous and I liked every voice he did.

    This story was fun, witty, charming, romantic, and overall full of comedy! Mr. Lesley was able to bring this story to life for me. This is a definite recommend from me.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    wickedwolvesanddreamingdragons 08-28-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Laugh out loud funny!"
    What did you love best about Tell Me It's Real?

    ** I received this audiobook free for review from the narrator through the DBML (Don't Buy My Love) program in the M/M Romance Group on Goodreads.**

    Let me start by saying that I had no idea that these were characters that I had read about before! Yes I was bursting with excitement when I figured out they were familiar characters. Paul and Vince are also in The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter and the Kid #3) by T.J Klune

    This is certainly not an audiobook that you want to be listening to with anyone else around you. Not just because of the content but because I guarantee you will be laughing out loud and heaven help you if you should be drinking while something funny happens! Yes I am speaking from experience here , drinking coffee while listening to this book was so not a good idea.

    T.J Klune is an author that does not disappoint his readers. It was no surprise to me that I loved Paul an Vince's story. They are definitely opposites and they surely attracted. Vince and Paul both made some mistakes along the way but their story is oh so enjoyable, it is not one you will want to miss.

    Michael Lesley is the narrator of this fantastic audiobook, and let me tell you he did an excellent job. I have listened to books that were totally awful for me, not because of the story line, but because of the narration. If a narrator just doesn't connect with the story it will throw the whole thing off. That being said Michael Lesley nailed this one! The inflection was amazing and he uses different tones for each character so there is no doubt who is speaking. I certainly hope he does many many more in the future as I would just snatch them up!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pete 07-19-14
    Pete 07-19-14
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    "Best read ever!"
    Would you listen to Tell Me It's Real again? Why?

    A Truly fun emotional roller-coaster, you'll laugh and cry. this is a heartwarming story of true love, the kind we all yearn for.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell Me It's Real?

    " Tell him it Real..."


    Which character – as performed by Michael Lesley – was your favorite?

    Paul was written from my life, it's as if Klune knew me personnally, the only difference is i've never had anyone fall in love with me. But Paul could be me with only the name changed. every thing about him i can relate to.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I've never laughed so hard or cried so deeply, the whole store is one of the best.


    Any additional comments?

    T.J. Klune has a new fan, and Michael Lesley is an outstanding narrator, I'm sure his voice, and feeling for the characters made the difference in bringing the audio version to life.
    What a great read. Thank you! I was kind of sad to have it end.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Riva 07-15-14
    Riva 07-15-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wonderful RomCom and the Perfect Narrator"

    This is a VERY funny M/M romcom listen from TJ Klune. The narrator was perfect and really brought all the characters to life, especially the MCs. He was fabulous!! My only warning is you will laugh out loud at this book, so be warned if you happen to be in public at the time. Also, I truly hope there is a sequel on the way and they can get this same narrator. There is a weird production error between chapters where there is a 7 - 12 sec pause and you feel like the narration stopped; it didn't, just a long pause between chapters. Other than that, this was a great listen. Definitely worth a credit.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly KC, KS 04-20-15
    Kelly KC, KS 04-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Fantastic Romantic Comedy. One of my favorites."
    Would you listen to Tell Me It's Real again? Why?

    I've listened to this book dozens of times. It always makes me laugh. Paul and Vince are just genuinely cute together. They really enjoy each other, which it rarer than it should be in romance novels. I think that this why I have a weakness for friends-to-lover books (which this isn't) but this book manages to have that same feel, even though they just met and are getting to know each other.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell Me It's Real?

    SO MANY THINGS! But the first date is definitely one of my favorite parts. Poor Paul. Nothing goes right, but he manages to be so adorable despite his flaws. And Vince's appreciation is just written so believably. Despite Paul constantly questioning his own appeal, the reader can see why Vince falls.


    What about Michael Lesley’s performance did you like?

    He was perfect! I'll admit this was one of the first audiobooks I listened to, so though I always enjoyed it, I didn't truly appreciate how good it was. Until I heard so others. EEK! I've become obsessed with audiobooks since so I've heard many great narrators since but at time I don't think I realized how good Michael Lesley comic timing was. Too many of the narrators walk all over the jokes. Not giving the appropriate pauses or using the correct tone of voice. Too earnest when they should be wry. ETC. I think Lesley actually found a few jokes. And his voices matched my image of the characters perfectly (unlike the cover which isn't really how I picture either of them.)


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stephs 04-13-15
    Stephs 04-13-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "It is LOL funny throughout"

    My advice is to listen to this when you are not in a restaurant or where a lot of people are. I was completely unsuspecting, so I did start the book in a restaurant and I received a few weird looks when I burst out laughing.

    It is also tender and sweet and full of love, all kinds of it. It is not steamy by any means, but the story does not really lend itself to it either. You will find insinuation and teasing, though.

    I think it is delightful and I have listened to it at least five times. I am not a general fan of the author, but this one is stellar. My favorite character is Johnny Depp ;-) The narration also hits the spot.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 39 results PREVIOUS124NEXT
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  • Andrew
    Dartford, United Kingdom
    8/19/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Laugh-out-loud funny, frustrating, heart-warming"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    If it's the right sort of friend!! This book is not for everyone - some reviewers elsewhere have been slightly offended by some of the topics, and the language is not for the faint-hearted, or people who cannot easily comprehend high-speed speech, but listen to the preview and you will have a pretty good idea of what type of book you've selected. I really enjoyed it. It is very amusing in places - dangerous when you are listening in the car! The characters are well-defined, possibly a bit over-the-top, but real enough that you can feel what they are feeling themselves and with each other - especially when you really want to slap them and tell them what they are doing wrong! There are some really touching moments, and it left me with a nice warm feeling inside.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell Me It's Real?

    There are too many to mention really. Paul and Vince's first real meeting (rather than encounter), and the funeral are particular high-points for me, but there are very few dull moments in this story.


    Which character – as performed by Michael Lesley – was your favourite?

    Difficult to pick one. I especially liked Paul's father, who shouts "Language!" whenever somebody crosses his profanity threshold. The way in which Michael Lesley makes the two alter egos of Sandy and Helena different and yet the same is very impressive. Paul is a bit of a whiner but the incredibly fast rate at which he speaks was very well performed. I have even found myself reading things on my PC with the Paul style of delivery in my head!


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Love at first sight can happen - it is real.


    Any additional comments?

    T.J. Klune has a marvellous way with words, and with completely conveying the characters just by what they say. The narrator in this book definitely helped that become even more apparent, and both of them are to be congratulated.

    There are one or two mis-speakings in the narration, but that is more than acceptable considering the rapid rate of delivery - you might even need to use the "play slower" function for this book! One phrase is repeated - presumably a re-take that didn't get edited out of the recording - but these are minor complaints. Overall I loved this book and will miss it now it has finished.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Dave
    3/21/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well impressed with the book"

    Really good book. Was not expecting much from it as I bought it in a whim but had me laughing out loud all the way through. Got me some weird looks as a walked around cackling to myself like a mad man. Hilarious sad witty. Very good book not the usual gay romance book which don't float my boat. Loved it!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Taylor Lewis
    1/13/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Well worth a listen"
    If you could sum up Tell Me It's Real in three words, what would they be?

    Funny, lively, engaging


    If you’ve listened to books by TJ Klune before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first listen.


    Have you listened to any of Michael Lesley’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    This is my first listen.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    It made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion and I found myself structuring my work day so that I could work on stuff that also enabled me to listen to more of the book as I worked.


    Any additional comments?

    The production isn't as perfect as some books I've bought - there's a couple of instances of repeated lines that were missed in the editing process and the dead time between scene or chapter changes were way too long - but this is definitely one of the most talented narrators I've ever listened too. Even though his Vince voice drops a little too low in register at times to be easily understandable as he switches between characters the narrator reads with ease and confidence that makes the whole book a delight from beginning to end. It was my first time with this author as well and, like the recording, the story itself could have done with an intense edit before final release, but on the whole it was well told, funny and I would consider buying something else from the author again. I am hopeful that a sequel featuring Sandy/Helena and Darren is in the works as I would love to read/hear their story and if the same narrator is used then I would definitely buy it as, for me, he was what made the whole story take off. I think that I might have given up on the book if I'd read it in the written format but in audio I really enjoyed it and will probably listen to it again more than once.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • M. L. Tieman
    Netherlands
    9/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Sooo funny!"

    Ok, I'm only at chapter 8 right now, but I have to put something here already. This audiobook is simply hilarious! It is not a setting that attracts me at first: clubs, a lot of four letter words, young modern gay scene; but this has me laughing out loud regularly.

    I hesitated before using my credit for this, but was won over almost immediately by listening to the fragment. I haven’t read it as a book, so I don’t know how much of it is courtesy of the performer, but it wouldn’t surprise me if a lot of it is. Michael Lesley is phenomenal in this story! It’s not a calm listen before bed, he reads fast and intense and amazing. He really brings the characters to life.

    The story is simple so far, but that's totally ok. I hesitated whether to give 4 or 5 stars, decided on 4 because if you read/listen to this for just the story as a story, you might be disappointed, it's more about the way things are described, the humour of the situations etc.

    If you're into m/m romance and like humour, this is an absolute musthave. The characters are lovable and a bit over the top in a truly fun way. I am really looking forward to the rest of the audiobook.

    I may add to this review when I finish the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Cazzi-Jane
    9/10/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny, adorable little read, that had me laughing"
    What did you like most about Tell Me It's Real?

    The humour


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell Me It's Real?

    Winnie the Pooh, piglet and Eeyore sex scene


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    When he took his new fella to his grans


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marius F.
    Hastings, UK
    8/13/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "An absolute must of the genre"
    What did you like most about Tell Me It's Real?

    The humour. The writing is absolutely laugh out loud hilarious.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    I'm just reaching chapter 5 and so far is Paul.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Definitely impossible to choose one. There are so many.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes and no. I force myself to read it in small chunks just to make it last and enjoy it longer.


    Any additional comments?

    I will buy the kindle version as well, to support the author. "The Bear, Otter and the Kid" is already next in my wish list.
    An absolutely brilliant narrator as well, really brings the characters to life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • JoanieX
    Buckinghamshire
    7/8/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Ordinary Joes are extraordinary too"
    What did you like most about Tell Me It's Real?

    Paul's inner monologue.The characters were very natural and likeable including your embarrassing family members and trusty best friend.
    Although there are emotional scenes the book is not overly full of angst there are the humorous comments which help us to deal with life's vagaries.
    Look out for 'Wheels'


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Tell Me It's Real?

    Too many but from when Paul first catches Vince horizon at the nightclub to when Vince first meets Paul's family.


    What does Michael Lesley bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    The characters are individually realized with excellent timing.
    He knows not to read it as a comedy but as matter of fact.


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed, I had the sick feeling you get when you feel overly emotional.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the book but I think the audio edition is even better.
    Like putting on your favourite slippers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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