Surreal Estate

By: Jesi Ryan
Narrated by: TJ Clark
Length: 7 hrs and 30 mins
Categories: Fiction, Gay & Lesbian
4.5 out of 5 stars (26 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Sasha Michaels is a psychic with an affinity for houses. And he’s homeless. Go figure. After months of sleeping rough, he stumbles upon an abandoned house, and the lonely place beckons him inside. He’s finally safe...until someone comes blundering in to his hideaway.

House flipper Nick Cooper lost everything in the recession. Desperate to revive his business, he turns to a loan shark to fund his comeback project: flipping an abandoned house full of potential. But it turns out the house has an unexpected occupant.

Nick and Sasha make a deal: Sasha can stay, in exchange for helping with the renovation. To both of their surprise, the closer they get to the loan shark’s due date, the stronger grows their feelings for each other. Problem is, Nick isn’t the only one with feelings for Sasha, and now, the house doesn’t want to let Sasha go.

©2018 Jesi Lea Ryan (P)2020 Riptide Publishing

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

Loved the story and the narration :)

It was a pleasant surprise and a lovely listen. I loved the characters and had a genuine sympathy towards them.
Big thumbs up to TJ Clark :) I adore his narration.

3 people found this helpful

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

Great read with a high quality romance.

I wasn’t sure what I expected when I picked up this book but it blew those expectations away. The main two characters feel like real people. The story is so immersive. I couldn’t put this book down. I got misty eyed more than once. The romance in this book feels so real. None of the phrases distract from the scene or made me roll my eyes. A+

The narrator really helps the book flow. The chapters switch between the two main characters but it was so easy to tell who was who. It was interesting to hear how the the two main characters "heard" people differently. I really like the way the narrator did the onomatopoeia words. The one with the amp was my favorite. The attention to detail was amazing. Off to find more by this narrator, just want to listen to them read all day.

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

Best Reading Experience Ever

I absolutely love this book. The writing and narration are amazing. I was fully immersed.

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

Pleasant Surprise

I was hesitant about this book given the premise but the author pulled it off. I loved these guys and their slow burn romance. Seeing Nick come to terms with being bi was done very well. I definitely recommend this book.

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

Love the concept and the characters!

This was really cute with a nice concept and realistic characters.
Sasha's connection with houses is unique (to me) as far as psychic abilities go. I found it interesting but I wish there had been more of it. All of the characters feel real to me - I find it hard to listen when everyone is a flat stereotype, but that wasn't a problem here. Sasha was probably my favorite because he has such an interesting background with his mother's addiction issues, his homelessness, his relationship with his grandfather.

The narration was good as well! TJ did a good job differentiating between the two different narrators, which can often be difficult. He also had the right tone for the right moments.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Loved the concept and the narration

I’ve read numerous of books with various types of psychics before, I’m partial to the trope. But this take on it was new and really interesting.

Sasha has an affinity for houses. They speak to him – in a way. They show him memories, good and bad. But they also affect him on a physical level. His life used to be solid, but trusting the wrong people caused him to not only lose his money and the band he played in, it also cost him going to college and even having a place to stay. So when an abandoned house beckons him inside, he listens. Little did he know that the house had plans for him. Not in any nefarious way, it had just made up its mind about the next resident and it did not include being sold first chance the new owner and house-flipper Nick Cooper got.

At times I felt like the story and the ideas behind certain things were underdeveloped. The ideas were great and I really wanted to know more. Do this deep dive into the thick of things. Most ideas were explained and explored to a certain point, it wasn’t shallow by any means, but it also wasn’t quite cohesive. We jumped from one thing to the next, without really finishing it. Take Sasha’s gift as an example, I loved this take on psychic ability. That houses had memories and feelings. And I really wanted to know more about it. I think the author could have done so much more with Sasha’s gift, exploring it more.

The pacing of this book didn’t feel quite right, there was no real flow to the book. It almost felt like many separate events thrown together in he hopes of forming a story. They were only loosely connected and many left open ended. Now, normally this would be the perfect premise for the beginning of a series. But it wasn’t those kinds of loose ends – for the most part. And while I do think this was interesting world Ryan created, and I’m very fascinated by the whole house psychic thing, I’m also very satisfied with reading this one book.

There was this strange mix of never ending drama unfolding one after the next. But the way this book was written it never felt overly dramatic, which I greatly appreciate. I am not a fan of drama for the sake of it. On the other hand there was no consequences for what happened either, no real impact, for the characters or me as a listener. Things that should have some kind of reaction or repercussion never had. Once the scene ended, the topic was closed never to be brought up again. That works for some things, but there were some major events here that I felt should have impacted a lot more. Every ingredient is there for a great story, it was just slightly off

Surreal Estate was narrated by TJ Clark, another first for me. His narration was my second favourite thing about this book, the first one being Sasha’s affinity of houses. He was widely talented and his narration held a good pacing and his various voices enhanced the story. He captured the different personalities of the characters, from Sasha and Nicky to the more slimy Frank Diamond. I loved the concept and narration of this story and I’m glad I gave it a try – for nothing else to explore Sasha’s talent and finding a new narrator to look out for.

A copy of this book was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review for Love Bytes.

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

Solid Boy-Meets-Boy Love Story

This book is definitely more romance than supernatural. There is a supernatural element to it, but it’s more of a characteristic of one of the characters that plays into the plot - not a force to be reckoned with, or a huge element. (I only mention this because I was more interested in the supernatural aspect when I chose this title, so I was a little disappointed - my fault for not reading the blurb well enough.) But the romantic relationship between the two characters evoked sympathy, as others have mentioned. Some steamy scenes were definitely a plus. A solid performance by the narrator, who created distinctive voices for the characters. This is a safe bet for a sweet & spicy romance.