Author: ET Malinowski
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Bree Archer
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars
Length: Novella (~ 15K-50K)
Genre: Contemporary, M/M Romance
Arik Blackbourne has a talent for wringing emotions from his audience. He can make them believe in anything, including love, although he detest plays about love even more than love itself. When his best friend and director decides to do an erotic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Arik bows out. Yet Arik’s past rears its head unexpectedly, forcing him to return to the play and take on the role of Helenus, the spurned suitor of Demetrius. Despite his dislike of the play, it might be tolerable if it weren’t for the man slated to play Demetrius.
Donovan Montgomery is an amicable man, but Arik Blackbourne tests the limits of his patience. When Arik leaves them high and dry, Donovan decides to get answers. While he still doesn’t care for Arik’s standoffish attitude, Donovan has to admit the man is smoking hot and seriously talented. What starts out as just a love scene soon becomes much more, and Donovan must fight Arik’s past to win the love of his life.
A man with a secret crush who had sex with said crush. Said crush then doesn’t remember a thing about that night. Man is embarrassed and takes it out on Crush. Crush thinks man is a first class asshole all around. Man and Crush get thrown together as love interests in an erotic adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Passion ensues.
It all sounds like it would make for a relatively nice, possibly light, somewhat predictable, and presumably hot read. In all honesty, the premise was good. Yes, it was predictable, but that is sort of why I picked it up. Sadly, the execution left much to be desired.
Let’s start with the positive. It was a quick read. Also, despite the author’s best efforts otherwise, I managed to care just enough for Arik, that my heartstring tugged as his heart broke.
So now for what wasn’t so great. First of all the main characters go from loathing to loving with NO transition. There is no legitimate reason for Donovan to want suddenly into Arik’s pants, much less want to keep him. We already know Arik is infatuated with Donovan, but I never felt the reciprocal feelings.
Secondly, the entire sister sub-plot was unnecessary and a distraction from the main plot — that of the love between Donovan and Arik. Yes, it served to illustrate how alone in the world Arik is, but that has already been established. We understood that he had been beaten by his family and cast out by his sister. I think that subplot was to help us see what a good guy the “asshole” main character was, but I just found the whole thing distracting and poorly executed. It felt like an afterthought.
Finally, there were some plot oddities that just killed what little respect I had left for the story. Donovan has his obligatory epiphany that he loves Arik only to find Arik shivering from sitting too long in an ice-cold shower. A blanket and a hair brushing later, they are on their way to dinner with Donovan’s family. Umm… really? That shows love? Obviously, Arik has some issues to work out. He also should be put in bed and given some warm soup, not taken out on the town. The family meeting can wait. The second inconsistency that ruined the story completely was when they teleported from Donovan’s apartment to Amanda’s house. Amanda (the aforementioned estranged sister) shows up on Donovan’s doorstep in crisis. About halfway through the scene, all of a sudden, Arik is leaving Amanda’s house and later returns to Amanda’s house. At no point do they actually relocate from Donovan’s to Amanda’s home. There are also no scene breaks where it would have happened off page.
Overall, I would say nice concept, poor execution.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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,
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