High-Sticked by Lily Harlem ~ Review by Brandilyn ~

I will admit it, when I was approached to review High-Sticked, I didn’t hold out a lot of hope for a quality M/M romance.  I had no doubt that Ms. Harlem was a quality writer, but I have often found that main-stream authors just don’t switch over to M/M very well (the term “chicks with dicks” comes to mind to describe many of their attempts at Gay relationships).  I am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by High-Sticked.  It is the 5th book in Harlem’s Hot Ice series; the first 4 of which are M/F pairings (with the forth being MFM).  She assured me that I could read High-Sticked as a stand-alone.  She wasn’t wrong

18004756Title: High-Sticked (Hot Ice #5)

Author: Lily Harlem

Publisher: Ellora’s Cave Spectrum

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the Publisher

Dating Todd “Pretty” Carty was a trailblazing, headline-grabbing ride that shocked and divided a team, a sport and a nation. While controversy ruled, our feelings exploded and we couldn’t deny the desire that sizzled between us. Nothing, however, was easy outside the bedroom. Not when my world-class, fearless athlete wanted to shout from Everest that he was in love with another man.

But laying my heart on the line and having my picture dominating the papers was worth it. Everything about Todd turned me on. His bold hockey skills, his courageous attitude and the way he melted in my arms when I kissed him. I melted too, because he knew how to press my buttons, remind me of the man I used to be and take me to those places where ecstasy ruled.

The world might have trouble accepting us, but we’d committed to each other, mind, body and soul, and nothing could change that.

My View

Well, I already told you that this book was a pleasant surprise, but I am sure oyu are wondering WHY I hold said opinion.  Well that is a little more difficult to put into words.  I know, I know that is my job to put my thoughts into words.  Okay, I will try.  Matthew and Todd meet when Matt is contracted to take some promotional photos of NYC’s hottest new athlete, Todd.  They form a fast friendship, that eventually blossoms to more.  A fairly typical gay for you trope, but done quite well.  The story is written in first person, for which you know I have a soft spot, but not from the perspective of someone trying to come to terms with their sexuality.  It is written from Matt’s point of view.  He has had his heart trampled and has only recently put it back together.  He knows he is attracted to Todd, but is scared that Todd isn’t committed to being with him.  Due to the POV, you don’t spend the entire book  listening to Todd argue with himself.  As much as I love the GFY/OFY trope, it does get a little tired at times.

Todd owns his sexuality, and, once he makes a decision, he is balls to the wall.  Matt is more concerned for Todd than Todd is for himself.   Even though Matt is “scared shitless”, he doesn’t let that stop him from moving forward.  Another aspect I appreciated is the fact that the conflict was entirely external in High-Sticked.   This is actually one of my favorite aspects of M/M, the recognition that for some couples, the hardest thing they face is everyone else.  I loved that even together, Todd and Matt were individuals.  I loved that Matt respected that Todd could be having a bit of an issue with a change in his entire view of himself.  I loved that Todd recognized Matt’s insecurities and worked to soothe them without seeing them as a negative.

So I guess the moral of the story (well of the review) is if you are looking for a new author, but don’t want the girly bits, check out High-Sticked.  If you don’t mind the girly bits, read the first 4 books as well (heck even I ALMOST wanted to go back and read book 4, which is where Todd is introduced).  If you have read the first 4 and aren’t sure you want to pick  up this one because it is M/M, well I will ALWAYS tell you to go for it (what else did you expect?).  The sex is HOT, but if you are not completely comfortable with M/M pairing you will still most likely enjoy this book.

 

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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