Story Rating: 5 stars
Audio Rating: 4.25 stars
Narrator: John Solo
Length: 10 hours, 49 minutes
Mr. Naughty List is one of my favorite holiday books, favorite kinky stories, and favorite Leta Blake works all rolled into one. When I first read it two years ago, I went absolutely crazy for it and gave it a rare five stars. I just adore this story of Aaron, a closeted teacher who lives under the thumb of his badgering mother, finding himself with the help of a hot former student, RJ. The book plays a bit with the taboo of student/teacher, particularly as RJ loves to teasingly call Aaron “Mr. Danvers.” But it isn’t really about that, as RJ was 19 when he was in Aaron’s class many years ago and Aaron barely knew who he was. The story is much more about watching Aaron blossom under RJ’s love (and his spanking) in a way that helps him find the confidence to live the life he really wants to live. At the same time, RJ begins to rediscover his family connection and to feel a part of their lives again. There is a nice juxtaposition here, as RJ is rebuilding that connection with a loving mother, while Aaron is finding the strength to cut ties with his toxic one. So there is really such a nice growth for both men and a sense of support that they provide each other. But this story also really shines in that it is high heat and super sexy. The chemistry between these men is amazing and Blake really explores how Aaron gains strength and confidence through his submission. I talk a lot more about all of this in my original review of the book, so for much more of my thoughts on the story, check that out.
I listened to this book in audio with narrator John Solo, and I think Solo does a really great job here. This story is one that really seems to fit Solo’s style, with his sense of drama and intensity. I think a lot of this narration rests on RJ’s voice, as he is at times dominant and even slightly cruel (in exactly the way Aaron wants and needs), but also sweet and caring, and even nurturing and gentle. As a reader, you have to be able to believe this one man can have all these different sides at different times, and so it is important that it all comes through naturally in his voice. This is a place I think Solo does particularly well, capturing RJ in all of the various dynamics and really making it work. Aaron’s voice also fits him well and the men have plenty of distinction, making it easy to tell who is speaking in conversation — something important as they spend a lot of time alone, just the two of them. The side characters are done well, including the kids and the women, which can often be more challenging for male narrators. So I felt like overall the narration really worked here and was a nice fit for this book.
As I said, this is one of my favorite books in so many ways and I find it that perfect combination of blisteringly hot and sexy, but also sweet, warm, and loving. Definitely do yourself a favor and pick this up in either format.
P.S. This is the second book in the Home for the Holidays series, but it stands alone perfectly fine. Also, if you have read My December Daddy, RJ also makes a brief cameo there providing some advice to Erik.