• Charisma Check

  • Roll for Love, Book 2
  • By: Charlie Novak
  • Narrated by: Joel Leslie
  • Length: 7 hrs and 13 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hatred is complicated, clothing is simple — Edward doesn’t need a man, and he certainly doesn’t need cosplayer and tattoo artist, Izzy Montes, a.k.a. The Masked Gentleman, Edward’s ultimate nemesis.  

Edward and Izzy have been antagonising each other for over three years. Their rivalry is fierce, and Edward is determined to keep Izzy at arm’s length. Which would be all well and good... if they weren’t engaging in a secret, heated hook-ups. 

Forced to appear together at a film premier in LA, Edward is determined to get in and out with minimal damage to his reputation... and his heart. But Izzy Montes proves to be a complication Edward couldn’t have predicted. Biting, funny, and charming in equal measure, he’s the one man Edward needs to loathe. 

He’s also the one man Edward can’t get out of his mind. 

Not that Izzy plans on letting him. 

Charisma Check is a 80,000-word contemporary MM romance featuring comic conventions, snark, many costume changes, and only one bed. It is book two in the Roll for Love series and should be listened to as part of the series.

©2021 Charlie Novak (P)2021 Charlie Novak

What listeners say about Charisma Check

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Geeky and Sweet

Awww.. this one was one sweet enemies to lovers story. I was curious to hear about Edward from when I heard about him in the first book. This book made me laugh because of their snark and banter, it also made me swoon. Admittedly, I don't do cosplay nor do I do D&D but listening to this book made me curious about them.

If you're a big fan of cosplay and some drama behind the scenes, or fond of D&D, or you love a good enemies to lovers story, then this one is for you!

1 person found this helpful

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D&D (Dapper & Droll?) Dressed for Sucess

First let me make the disclaimer that I joined this series already in progress. I’ve not read Natural Twenty the first book in this series. To be fair though, nothing in the book blurb suggested that it was required to enjoy the second book, and I’m pretty well still convinced that its not.

That said, this one initially felt a bit flat to me. As much as I loved the banter, and by-play, it felt a bit too sex-centric for me. The sex was very front-and-center and began as hate-sex but quickly went beyond that. OK, the fellatio amidst the flounces & furbelows was fun. But I found that the details of the two main characters lives, outside cos-play were much more interesting to me than their in costumed lives. Their insta-hatred was pretty much joined already in progress.

The “back seat author” in me feels compelled to say that this whole tale might have worked better for me if the backgrounds of the characters had been more fully developed early on. Edward in particular was hard for me to warm up to, but later, as we learn about his dysfunctional family, and why he is the way he is, he becomes a much more sympathetic character.

Izzy and Edward as a couple are fun to hear about. The scenes where the boys are out with their celebrity friends were some of the most interesting. I for one would be really interested in reading about how their buddies, actors Nate and Cayden had gotten together. Also there’s a laugh out loud moment when Edward quotes Elizabeth Bennett. It’s just the perfect “Edward” thing for him to do. Almost as good is his realization that they were really in love. “There was only the clear confidence that I’d found the man I wanted to annoy for the rest of my days.”

But this is supposed to be primarily an audio-book review…

Joel Leslie is a great narrator and his Aussie accents are second to none, but I felt he slipped a little bit in this one.

Chapters are narrated in the alternating viewpoints of his two main characters, staid and somewhat prissy Edward, and charming but earthier Izzy. For some reason the Edward voice seemed to keep intruding on the Izzy chapters. Perhaps I’m just used to more blue-collar Brits, but Edward’s voice (and attitude) were a bit grating at times.

The pacing overall was fine, the two main voices were very distinctive. They were clearly indicative of the characters they represented. The supporting character voices were good as well, but there wasn’t a lot of scope for their development here.

Having not read the text version of this tale, it’s only conjecture but I’d opine that the audio-book version is actually an improvement on the written word version. It was easy enough for me to listen through the less interesting bits where I might have set the text version aside prematurely.

*** Note: I am voluntarily reviewing this after receiving a complimentary copy ***

1 person found this helpful

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Such a delight

An enemies to lovers romance with a wonderful ending. Joel Leslie’s narration of this story was perfect. I recommend this for anyone looking for a funny, sarcastic couple who fall in love.

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Great second book in this series!

This book was truly the definition of an enemies to lovers story and I loved it. That isn't usually my favorite trope to read, but the way it was done here was great.
Edward and Izzy have an ongoing feud they learn later on is just two people having horrible things happen in their personal lives and that coloring the way they view each other when they first meet.
The way these two sort of lean on each other when they have these huge opportunities together as a result of cosplaying a popular couple in a hit fantasy film really helped build their romance from being purely sexual into something more. Also it has the there's only one bed trope. What's not to love.
Forcing the two of them to go to these movie premieres helped them both see the softer and human parts of each other. When Izzy opened up about his brother it felt like a turning point for the two of them coming to realize that maybe they weren't the type of people each assumed. And this eventually lead to Edward opening up about his family life as well. These true truly were made for each other and help balance each other out in a lot of ways particularly how they help cut through these facades the two keep up.
The narrator was amazing at depicting these two. I loved the vocal tones he choice for Edward and Izzy and it really helped the story come alive.
Overall it was a great continuation to this very nerdy romance series and I can't wait to finish book three! 

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Snarky & Sweet

I absolutely loved this book!! Edward and Izzy are great together!! They are both super snarky with just the right amount of sweetness!

I am not usually a fan of the enemies to lovers trope but I loved how this one was written!

Every book I read of Charlie's gets better!

The narration made the book even better! It brought life to the snark and banter between Edward and Izzy!!

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Geeky and steamy

I'm a geek and I love when authors write about geeks. This is a great story where both MC's are cosplayers and they hate each other.

This book was just amazing with both the cosplaying and all the emotions both have and the sorrow they went thru before they meet.

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Fun and steamy!

Another hit for Charlie Novak! So far I have never been disappointed by her writing style and great stories. Add in Joel Leslie's narration and you're in for a treat!
Edward was this intriguing and a bit mysterious character in Natural Twenty and it was obvious that there was something going on with his nemesis, another cosplayer named The Masked Gentleman.
And oh, was it funny to read what was really going on… despise-filled hook-ups in bathroom at conventions, a solid dose of snark and vitriol-laces remarks for three solid years, until they are forced to spend three days in closed proximity, which leads to them getting to know each other further than the hatred façade they always have on when they meet. This is when they start to thaw to each other and then there’s a sort of snowball effect from there.
I loved the banter, the book is fun and steamy and I loved how the characters don’t let go of their barbs even when they get together properly, that’s just how their relationship works.

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Fabulous story!

I adore anything by Charlie Novak! But I have to be perfectly honest...Joel Leslie isn't my favorite narrator. I know Edward and Izzy are very proper and very British. But I felt a distinct disconnect with the story due to his manner of narrating. I'm sure this is a personal issue, so PLEASE give this a listen! The story is totally worth it.

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Holy Moly, was this fantastic!!

Holy Moly, was this fantastic!! I was unsure of Edward from Natural Twenty, but he grew on me by the end of that story. This Edward we met had a ton of depth! Edward met Izzy (The Masked Gentleman) three years earlier at a time in his life when he was going thru some horrible family drama. Sparks fly between the two and they continue to meet at conventions. I absolutely loved the snark and banter between Edward and Izzy. The story was amazing, sweet, steamy, and funny, loved it!! Joel Leslie did a phenomenal job with the narration, loved it!!

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  • JKH
  • 12-03-21

Another exceptional book!

I was so excited for this book to come out as I adored Edward and Izzy’s story and I was not disappointed! Joel Leslie did an amazing job, as always, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A sexy and sweet enemies to lovers, you gotta check this out!

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  • AL
  • 11-24-21

Those two!

Story: I must say that this story was quite a challenge for me. While I like difficult characters, the level of pigheadedness those two MCs presented was really trying. The level of animosity made me think they are twelve! :D They sure are complex and unique, but boy did I want to smack them upside the heads.
The story is entertaining and very well written. I was very curious as to how the author will make it work and I was not disappointed in the least. And the overall feel of the book, with the cosplay surroundings, was awesome and something I did not encounter before this series, so kudos for an original idea.
Narration: The accent in this one was a bit much for me at times, but that is mostly a personal preference. The voice is nice, the narration emotional and clear. It was easy to follow despite my non - native English speaker status.

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  • KR Phoenix @ Books, Tattoos and Tea
  • 11-24-21

Tension, steam and cosplay!!

Such sweet nerdy goodness!
Full of wit, humour, angst and hate s*x, one moment I'm laughing out loud and the next I need some ice water.

I loved Izzy and Edward! their banter and back and forths are hilarious and the shift in their relationship was a long time coming. I really loved how Charlie approached the enemies to lovers trope with these two, it was refreshing and honest. With hate s*x to let off steam, tension always building and the slow growth of feelings it was refreshing to see these two realizes and admit their true feelings! and thank you Charlie for no silly hiding, miscommunication or denial! Communication is key!
Such great characters, passion and heart and even though I have know idea about D&D, I wasn't at all lost. Now I'm dying to know about all the other characters!!! So good!

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  • sarah mitcham
  • 11-23-21

More Below The Surface.

MM, Contemporary Romance. A fun story with snark, sweetness and heat. I laughed so much while listening to their story as it's so funny it really lightened my mood and was just what I needed, I really enjoyed it and thought that Joel Leslie's narration was perfect. Guaranteed HEA.

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  • Jacquie
  • 11-19-21

Edward's voice

I'd loved the story first time around in ebook format, with the banter between Edward and Izzy, in their mock enemies relationship, they are too good to be truly enemies and there was always a spark between them.
Joel Leslie does a fantastic job of elevating the story, adding a little more bite to their interactions and his Edward voice is just perfect. I don't think I'll re-read it without hearing him saying the words.
Plenty of spice since their relationship is based on a benefits without the friendship basis.
Edward is one of my favourite Charlie Novak characters for his love of wearing clothing against gender convention and his love of toys.

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 11-28-21

A fun, low-angst pick-me-up!

Competitive cosplayers, Edward and Isaac (Izzy) loathe each other from their first encounter but always hook up after each comic con. Apart from cosplay and their mutual hatred, they have nothing in common - Izzy is a heavily built tattoo artist while Edward is a refined costume designer. When they’re invited to LA for a film premier and are forced to share the flight and a hotel room, the barriers start to break down. This was a fun enemies-to-lovers / forced-proximity romance! I really enjoyed the film premiers, the bickering and sniping, the slow thaw, and the glimpses of Hollywood gay power-couple, Kayden and Nate - they need their own book! Audio narrator Joel Leslie rolled out his competent UK accents and performed well as always.