• Not a Game

  • A Contemporary Gay Romance Novel
  • By: Cardeno C.
  • Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
  • Length: 6 hrs and 4 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Not a Game  By  cover art

Not a Game

By: Cardeno C.
Narrated by: Michael Ferraiuolo
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Publisher's summary

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second's hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn't lacking friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there's an emptiness in Jaime's heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little understanding.

©2016 Cardeno C. (P)2016 Cardeno C.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: LGBTQ+

What listeners say about Not a Game

Average customer ratings
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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

❤️

I honestly didn't think I could love this story any more than I already did. Easily on my favorites shelf, this is a perfectly fluffy, low angst, feel good romance that is absolutely, impeccably captured by Michael Ferraiuolo's performance.

I loved every minute of it.

Ferraiuolo's choices for Oliver, Jaime, and Jack's voices were faultless. He precisely captures Oliver's shyness, Jaime's infatuation, and even Jack's wistfulness.

The narration is a brilliant complement to a really wonderful, lovely story.

This is a perfect romance for anyone looking for a lighter, low angst, feel good story with great characters, hot sex, and a perfect sigh-worthy HEA ending.

Highly Recommended!

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So Effin' Sweet!!!! 6 stars!

Oh my goodness this is SO effin’ SWEET!

The blurb tells the basics: Oliver, an overweight game designer, has moved to Seattle and has decided to do a make-over with his life.. He hires an escort to teach him how to be a better lover since he was told by an ex that he lacked skill. When Jaime, a very attractive older man, comes over and notices the book he’d brought in to signal the escort, Oliver assumes Jaime is the escort.

Jaime is just a man who’s finally realized his passion leans toward bigger men and he’s finally embracing it and he approaches Oliver out of real interest, not professional, but he realizes that Oliver needs the “paying for it” to overcome his shyness.

Just as can be predicted from the beginning – the deception can only go so far before someone gets hurt.

But… it’s so much more than that. There are layers, and a sad ex and growth and laughter.

**

Unlike SO MANY books with overweight characters – this is NOT A MAKEOVER STORY! Thank GOD! Oliver is PERFECT as he is and Jaime shows him that he can be loved exactly as he is.

Even disguised as “just getting healthy”, books that show the MC changing their bodies and finding love are really telling everyone that only the physically perfect can find love. Even if the author tries to show differently. Cardeno C doesn’t do that and it’s so beautiful!

Another GORGEOUS part of this story is that there is no BIG MISUNDERSTANDING! Instead of drama and angst, we have two grown-ups having conversations about their concerns. Despite the way they met. It was so refreshing!

The writing is excellent as always. I couldn’t put this down and in fact started reading it again as soon as I’d finished.

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a sweet, somewhat unique, low-angst romance. It’s funny, terribly sweet and somewhat thought provoking.

Highly Recommended

Audio

Michael Ferraiuolo does an excellent job with this. He gives both Jaime and Oliver very calm, serene voices and nobody has any over the top accents to add drama to this lovely story. He’s excellent with pacing, is easy to listen to and adds just the right touch to bring this story to life. Highly recommended.

6 of 5 stars

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I liked the narrator....

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

I may have liked it better if I didn't feel like the author was pushing their personal issues with sexism in gaming down my throat. And I was hoping for a fat character who actually liked himself.

Would you ever listen to anything by Cardeno C. again?

Totally. This one just wasn't for me.

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

Loved the narrator. Characters have unique voices that match their personality (like how shy, insecure Oliver is soft-spoken). I would definitely listen to him again.

What character would you cut from Not a Game?

The "sexist co-worker" characters. They seemed exist solely to show us how mean (straight) boys are in the workplace.

Any additional comments?

These characters have zero chemistry. Their relationship was just awkward and rushed. And Oliver was almost child-like sometimes, which was weird. And oliver's easy acceptance of Jamie's real identity was ridiculous. And the attempt to throw in all current slang phrases reminded me of when my grandma tries to use phrases she learns on facebook (on fleek. Shade. The struggle is real. And on and on) was annoying. Also annoying: basically getting preached to about those sexist dudebros in gaming. Why must we constantly be reminded that basically every straight man at the office was a pig? Plus I just found the story boring.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sweet!

couldn't put this down. incredible, improbable but believable storyline. characters were so likeable. cardeno c did it again.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome book!

I enjoyed this audiobook, but was not particularly blown away by the narration. This was my first audiobook by Michael Ferraiuolo and I just did not feel like he differentiated the voices enough. I guess I am getting spoiled by all of the narrators who actually do different voices for characters. I don't want a book just read to me, but want an experience. I love this story though so I did like the audiobook as well.

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1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A definite must-listen for M/M romance fans!

For me, the characters-especially the main characters-are the driving factor in determining if I like a story or not. That's one of the reasons I keep coming back to Cardeno C.'s books...I know I'm going to get wonderful characters who are complex and deep, and with distinct personalities. I'm also going to get characters that are easy to relate to, and that is clearly illustrated here in Not A Game with one of the main characters, Oliver.

Oh my goodness, Oliver is just so sweet and adorable. He's insecure, extremely self-conscious and not at all confident in himself, with the majority of these things being caused by the size of his body (all of these things struck a huge chord with me). Then we have Jaime, who is the exact opposite, and is Oliver's dream guy in pretty much every way. They meet under some interesting and unique circumstances, setting up some complications for their relationship right from the start.

What Oliver doesn't realize? He's Jaime's dream guy too-something Jaime has to help Oliver understand and accept. This is complicated by a little...well, maybe not so little...secret that Jaime has.

It is so heartwarming to watch the relationship develop between them, especially as we watch Jaime help Oliver open up. And while things between them are sweet and evolve slowly, there's also a nice bit of spice to complement that as things grow ever more serious for the two of them. I loved every moment of their interactions, though for me once Oliver discovers Jaime's secret, it felt less strained than I expected given what Jaime was hiding.

Not A Game is classic Cardeno C. storytelling at its best, and was a 4.5-star read for me. I'd recommend this for any M/M contemporary romance fan, and it's for those readers 18+ due to the M/M sexual content. I hope we get to read more from this world, as I'd love to get Jack's story as well! As Jaime's best friend and somewhat pining ex, I'd really like to see him get his own HEA :-)

The narration: I thought Michael Ferraiuolo did an outstanding job with Not A Game. His smooth, even voice and well done characters kept my head in the story--even when I was listening at work. He did an excellent job bringing Oliver and Jaime to life, and made me love them both even more I truly enjoyed listening to his narration of this book, and am now looking for what other stories he's narrated. 5 stars for the narration!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

SPECTACULAR!!!

I love this book the story the narrator, oh my gosh! I don't even think I can write a review, just get the dang book cause it is good and the narrator makes the sex scenes soooo gooooooood, if I could blush I would have several times! the dialogue between the main characters was so relaxed nothing seemed rushed it was a sweet story. this is exactly what I needed I have been picking alot of duds lately and this book was like a breath of fresh air (I know it's super cliché) but it was, trust me buy it, use a credit whatever just get this freaking book you won't be disappointed.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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I'll be Listening to This One Again!

Excellent storyline with likable characters and sexy times a plenty. Always love Michael's narration! I'll be listening to this one again in the future. Highly recommend!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

lighthearted romance

Is this a realistic scenario? No. But, is this a sweet, gentle read? Yes. If life is getting you down, this is the perfect narrative for you. I enjoyed it very much.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Listener received this title free

Super sweet story

I enjoyed Mr Ferraiuolo's telling of this sweet story. This is the second time I listen to a story narrated by him and both times have been a pleasure. He brings all these wonderful characters to life and makes them sound real. Totally enjoyed the story.

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