Author: Z.A. Tanis
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Publication Date: 15. February 2017
Rating: 2.5/5. Stars
Diversity: LGBT Characters
Summary: For Mark, choosing to transition was one of the best decisions he ever made. And life has been looking up recently because he’s got his MFA and landed a huge commission to build one of his welded bike chain sculptures. He’s even got Enis, the most amazing best friend anyone could ask for. The only thing he’d really like to add is a lover, but so far his romantic relationships have been nothing more than learning experiences.
Then a breakup leaves Enis available, and Mark starts to see possibilities he hadn’t before—but intimacy could ruin the friendship he values more than anything, and that’s assuming Enis would want him at all once the clothes come off.
Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Mark is a really great character and I liked reading about his sculpturing and how much he loved his art. I’ve never read about a character that makes sculptures before and I found it really interesting. Sadly we barely get to know anything about Enis outside of their relationship, which is weird since they are supposed to be best friends too? I just didn’t really feel it. There was some familiarity between them, but it just always felt a bit off to me, because we have barely any information on Enis, so I couldn’t connect to him at all.
I liked that there was no casual transphobia and I think Mark’s transness was handled quite well (though I’m not an authority on this since I’m cis). I also like that there were a lot of anxieties of trans folks mentioned when it comes to more intimate parts of a relationship.
However, the book is only ~100 pages long and there were three quite explicit sex scenes in them which felt too much for me. While I understand the intent of the author it bothered me. I had a hard time caring for the characters since they felt kind of flat and I think if the book had been extended more it would have felt more realistic for me? The immediate relationship/date/sex talk just after Enis has broken up made me dislike Mark at first (also it felt really uncomfortable to me? Like he just broke up with his boyfriend and it just felt too much, too fast??) and so I took a quite long time to really warm up to him. I also felt that many things went to fast and maybe because of this their fight felt also kind of blown out of proportion to me?
I also disliked that there were barely any important side characters. There’s a few that have names but only very few play any kind of role in the story? And that also only one time and then they are never heard of again. I can be a fan of romance novels, but I dislike it when neither the main character not the love interest seem to have anything to do besides their relationship and their work. So all in all, I think the story just felt too rushed and too underdeveloped for me to truly enjoy it?
However, once again, I really liked how Mark’s transness was handled and that hormones and surgical operations were mentioned and that there was barely any transphobia (Mark was misgendered once over the phone) and all in all it’s a nice feel-good story.