Headmaster

 

Reviewed by Cupcake

*2 Stars*

Bland

I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this author’s work that when this popped up on NetGalley I pounced. It’s not that this story is bad per se, it just wasn’t enough for me. Not enough kink. Not enough feels. Not enough zest. Not enough zhooshing.

The blurb does a good job of recapping the plot so I won’t go there. It’s a decent interpretation of fantasy rescue wish fulfillment. A little contrived, yes, but I can see the appeal.

Mariela was strike one for me. She is a dance instructor at the RACK (cute, huh?) Academy which is run by Lennox. Her crush on him predates his relationship with Winnie and they are friends, but her attitude toward him rubbed me the wrong way. I think she’s supposed to be portrayed as a sub with a spine but she comes across as a vitriolic anger ball. She antagonizes Lennox at every turn and I could muster up little to no sympathy for her cause. I get that she wants to be his submissive but her openly hostile/bratty behavior was very off-putting.

Strike number two is Lennox who’s prone to the ole martyr syndrome. Everything’s his fault, his responsibility.

Neither one of them are fully fleshed out instead relying on constructing both of their identities as “dominant” and “submissive”. I have issues with one’s entire personality construct being comprised of one thing, in this case their sexual proclivities. Even in real life if all anyone ever talks about is this one microcosm of their world they tend to come across one-dimensional and boring. At least to me they do.

The remainder of my issues are nitpicky:

1. it’s sugarkink and as hot as spanking can be, this was halfhearted at best. There’s no depth to the kink. It’s all labels, calisthenics positions and mediocre sex (dirty talk, anal, face-fucking, spanking, non-restraint bondage, mild orgasm denial).

2. Mariela gets into a fairly serious car accident and allegedly crushes her leg yet a few weeks later she’s at a BDSM club sceneing and only wears an ankle wrap?

It does have a nice HEA that is romantic and will be appealing to some. It probably would’ve been moreso for me had I liked either of the characters.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love it but sugarkink fans will probably enjoy it more than I.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley

Man Hands

Review by Cupcake

4 stars

FUNNNNEEEEEE!

SB is just an auto-read for me regardless of who she teams with but this Tanya Eby person has her own magic happening. The WAGs series is comedic but this has a bawdy silliness that I found refreshing. I laughed through an entire chapter and that hasn’t happened to me in a long, looooonnnnnnnngggggg time.

Brynn is a great character. She’s a little flighty, really honest, kind and has a tendency to accidentally verbalize her thoughts. Her ex wrecked her self-image by ignoring her, so she needs someone ANYONE to see her as a sexual being. Recently divorced, not supermodel thin, struggling to get her mojo back with two of the BEST GIRLFRIENDS! who refuse to let her wallow and who decide that she needs to stop falling for her “type”: the pseudodude. They decide she need to go for “A MAN” which probably sounds sexist (and is) but CHEESE AND RICE!!! did it play out in the most delightful way.

Enter BFFs Ash and Sadie who make her go to a party so she can… jump back on the horse, so to speak. I don’t think they meant it literally but no one can say Brynn can’t follow direction! The story flips between their points of view so when she literally carped the gardener I was choking on my own spit but when it flipped to Tom and his first thought was:

And then I look into her green eyes and everything goes into slow motion. They’re a beautiful color. Like Benjamin Moore’s Clearspring Green.

I lost my shit. Like, I had to put it down because I couldn’t see or breathe.

Not only did I find this hilariously unexpected it also turned out to be a really great way to succinctly convey exactly who Tom is and that stayed consistent throughout the story.

Tom (not merely a gardener) is one of those HGTV renovator dudes who’s just come off a horrific and humiliating breakup that sent him spiraling into 9 mos of celibacy and meditation in Michigan at the advice of his BFF, Braht. Yes, Braht. Like a bratwurst.

So when he sees Brynn with her Clearspring Green eyes and huge rack charging him at the party, all systems are GOOOOOOOOOOOOO! They find themselves in the boathouse and banging ensues.

Completely subsumed by the sex fog that they missed the dicknozzle filming them…

*cue montage of their friends and random strangers making a version of the big eyes face while looking at their devices*

A little thing like a viral sex tape isn’t enough to keep these two down, though! In an effort to right the ship they decide to follow the advice of Tom’s publicist and fake an engagement. They carpe diem the bejeezus out of their “fake relationship” and in a twist that should surprise no one realize how perfect they are for each other. Crazy hot for each other, she can’t get enough of his calloused man hands, bulging… everything and power tools and he can’t get enough of her boobs and quirky underwear and unwrapping her from her ever-present wrap dress. I love it when couples can have fun while they’re shilly shallying.

At times I thought Tom’s dick being anthropomorphized was silly but I have to admit his exuberance for Brynn made me giggle. I really enjoyed how easy their relationship developed without dramatics. They both have backstories with depth and some pain but it just is what it is and neither dwell. Brynn is slightly insecure about her weight but in the face of Tom’s (and his dick’s) relentless appetite for her those body image issues didn’t stand a chance. The added bonus of this book was all the cooking since Brynn is a food blogger who loves a good ball. Or something on a stick that pairs so well with a dip and… alright, I’ll stop before I get voted off the island.

Great secondary characters. Great banging. Great writing chemistry. Great fun. Great start to a series. I’ll be rolling right into the next one to see what Ash did with Braht’s brat in that pantry besides rolling it in flour.

Enquiring minds wanna know.

Recommend to fans of fluff, comedic romance and low angst reads.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.