Mature Content (Cyberlove #4)

Author: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Publisher: Megtino Press

Rating: 4 stars

Buy Links: Amazon

Type: Novel in a Series

Received from Publisher

 

Blurb:  My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

 

Review: Beau Starr and Trashy Zane are the figurative light and dark of their respective corner of the internet. Beau is all the wholesome and Zane is trashy. Of course it’s not that simple, but they each let their respective image get in the way of reality. They really push each other’s buttons. I’d say it’s kind of deliberate and cruel. Then comes the explosive hate sex that unfortunately happens to be the best sex either of them have ever had. To say their worlds were rocked in more ways than one is an understatement. They can’t escape each other nor do they really want to. One instance of hate sex turns to more then there is online chat then they’re suddenly in a secret romance with no one willing to name what’s happening and everyone too afraid to admit they want more. None of this is happening in a vacuum, of course. Beau only looks like his life is smooth sailing. Beau has an ugly past he’s done his best to hide. Unfortunately for Beau it’s hard to hide who you love.

My immediate take away from this book is that I am not young. Consciously I know I’m past the median age of Americans both in general and for my gender. Rarely do I feel it as much as I felt it when reading this book. In some ways this was really awesome. I could watch, from the child’s perspective, as helicopter parenting damaged family dynamics and children’s self esteem. Then I could watch as children ignored what could have been potentially good or helpful advice because it was just another form of control from parents that had and wanted all the control. Beau hid serious stuff from his parents. Zane shut his parents out entirely. From a family dynamics perspective this book was fascinating. It also wasn’t what this book was about at all. It also doesn’t mean I liked everyone, but that’s a good thing.

So, I really, really dislike Zane. I view him to be a self-absorbed, privileged child. Seriously, this kid dripped with so much privilege I think I have contact privilege. At no point in his life is Zane ever in a situation where he has to moderate himself to survive or maintain a basic living standard. Everyone must meet Zane’s very high requirements for how he is to be treated or he walks away. This is, literally, him demanding everyone give him what he wants or he’s going home. When things go bad with Beau at no point does it even enter Zane’s head that it’s not about him. At no point does Zane even realize there is a potential for real danger. I mean, the worst thing that can happen to someone is they’re slut shamed, right? However, the stuff that really made my head spin around in a circle is his stance on safe sex. Does he not get how privileged he is to be able to afford PrEP? Does he not get how privileged he is to live in a state with no religious exemption laws for pharmacists who may not want to fill a prescription for PrEP? Safe sex isn’t for one gender or one sexuality. It’s for everyone who has sex. Honestly, STIs don’t care whether or not you’re the wokest bae who is anti-stigma.

Anyway, now that I’ve ranted about how much I dislike Zane I want to say I don’t need characters to be likable. I need fictional characters to produce a reaction. Zane produces a reaction in me! Mediocre writing has me wondering when I need to get up and start dinner, what color scheme do I want to knit something in, what shirt should I wear tomorrow, or did I remember to wash my favorite pants when I last did laundry. My mind did not wander when I read this book. Okay, that’s a lie. My mind did wander. This was set in LA and written by two people who are clearly not Los Angelenos. For the most part nothing is egregiously wrong, it’s just not right. They didn’t talk about the weather or traffic. You know that old skit on SNL, “The Californians?” It’s funny because it’s true. We talk about the weather and the traffic all the time. And food. Yeah, we eat at In-N-Out but these guys are young and in LA and don’t have breakfast at Egglsut even once? Really? Not a single Milky Bun? And where was the Mexican food?!?!

This series has been a roller-coaster for me. Thankfully, with this book I’m coming back up from a low so low I almost stopped reading the series entirely. Yes, I disliked Zane but I disliked the person I can see Zane as. I didn’t find myself talking to my reader about how stupid and or annoying the character was. I was mad at Zane. That’s good writing no matter how you slice it.

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