Author: Jack Byrne
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Christy Caughie
Rating: 1 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 07/15/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Contemporary, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance
Jake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.
I am having trouble putting together my thoughts about this book. While it was technically well written, the story itself made me angry. In fact, the more I thought on the story, the angrier I became and I had to write this review ASAP or I would have had a meltdown.
I think my biggest issue is that I never understood anything about these men. Jake didn’t understand himself so I have no idea how I as a reader was supposed to understand him. He was so unsure of himself and to be honest, I hated the way he constantly apologized for being the way her was. As if there was something wrong with him. And actually he admitted more times that I could count, that he felt he was damaged or “wrong” and that he was OK with taking the blame for everything. It is very hard to like a character who doesn’t even like himself.
There were so many instances that I just wanted to throw the book and scream at Jake to just admit he didn’t like sex. Stop sugar coating it to make Damien feel OK about himself and just say “I don’t enjoy sex and don’t want to sleep with you.” Instead he entered into this tense and awkward relationship for what? I don’t know!!! Yes, he wants a companion, but why Damien? Why force himself to stay in a relationship that was unhealthy and emotionally distressing from day one? It certainly was not for love because Jake freely admitted he didn’t know what love was. So then why force himself to stay in some weird companionship thing? The author never explained this well to me so I was mostly just annoyed. I hated watching Jake slowly descend into this constant state of worry. He continually made excuses for Damien and allow Damien to make him feel like less of a person for not wanting sex.
And Damien? Nope, didn’t get him either. Why was he so willing to stick with Jake when Jake obviously did not have the same needs and desires as Damien? Why stay in a relationship that could only give him half of what he needed to be whole and content? WHat bothered me most was Damien’s words that said he understood, but his behavior was not one of understanding. He continually pushed Jake for more than he was willing to give and then threw hissy fits when Jake reacted just like Jake always did. It was as if Damien was just waiting for Jake to change because Damien for sure wasn’t. This is not understanding and kindness. This is emotional blackmail!
These men were miserable together and I as a reader was nothing but uncomfortable and confused. I never once had any clue as to why these men “loved” each other. Never understood the initial attraction and really never understood why they forgave each other so often for things that any other person would have walked away from. Especially that early in a developing relationship. All indications were that things would never be healthy and happy between them men so WHY did they stay together? Why did the settle? I mean for all his “understanding” Damien still pressured Jake for sex, even after Jake got physically ill from a handjob! Damien wasn’t even a bit happy until sex was had and then it was as if Jake’s dislike of sex disappeared because Jake was a pro at sex and now Damien was happy. I felt like Damien was emotionally abusive and Jake was never really factored into anything at all. Damien got everything he wanted and Jake was left to deal with it all in the name of having someone who supposedly “understood” him. Well unfortunately, I was never convinced and ended this book rather pissed off upset on Jake’s behalf.
Maybe it was the overwhelming confusion and sense of anger and dissatisfaction I had. Or the way things felt forced between Jake and Damien the entire book. Or maybe it was the back and forth and inconsistent behaviors of the men. I am not sure, but I was left with a bad taste in my mouth when this book ended. The only saving grace was that the ending gave Jake a clue as to the real nature of his sexuality and I can only hope that it means he and Damien will be better educated and develop a relationship that will be mutually satisfying for them both and not just Damien. Or maybe Jake will realize his self worth and find someone who really can accept him fully.
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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