Monday, 6 July 2015

Review ~ Black Balled by Andrea Smith and Eva LeNoir

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4 stars

“...authors do not think their books are great. They think they’re crap. They are their own worst critics, the destroyers of their very own egos. We are fragile souls, Troy and we need validation because the shit that’s printed in those pages is the inked version of our blood, sweat and tears. You don’t have to like it but to trash it? It’s low and it’s completely unnecessary.”

Well, firstly I have to say this book was not what I was expecting; I think I may have just experienced my first M/M romantic comedy. Yes, this book made me laugh...a lot! I have been on a bit of an M/M kick recently, I love this genre and to think in the first instance I was extremely reticent to try it! This is also the first time I have encountered too extremely alpha men, so the game has literally been set, this is one battle and what a battle it was.

For those of us that are avid readers and reviewers you may have seen a few reviews that have made you go “ouch.” While I am a reviewer that tries to be constructive and fair, there are some out there that really go for the jugular but personally I am of the opinion if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say it at all. We all believe in freedom of speech and it is within our right to express those feelings and opinions but at the end of the day we have to appreciate that authors pour their blood, sweat and tears into a book, it is their baby and they are extremely protective. Sometimes, just sometimes, there is that one review that tips them over the edge and they break the cardinal rule of commenting and this is where this book starts.

L Blackburn (Larson) is an author, who to be honest was a bit of an arrogant arse in the beginning. He wants to think his books are the bees knees after all he has spent months and months working on them and thinks extremely highly of himself, so you can imagine his disbelief when one the biggest, published reviewers totally pans his book and is entirely derogatory in his review, especially when he hadn’t even finished it. Panicking at how this awful review would affect his book sales, he breaks that rule and comments and therein starts an all-out war of words and pictures. Not the most ideal thing to do, in fact his agent warned him not to, but he couldn’t help himself, he wanted to defend himself.

Babu (Troy) is one harsh critic, seemingly not enjoying any book he reads and he seems to take great delight in destroying author’s books. Not content with “this wasn’t for me” and why, he really goes to town and is downright cruel in his reviews, but this has led to a huge following. Babu believes that he is the King of reviewers, he has his flock that follow his every word and for once he feels accepted. Babu was a recluse, only leaving the house to attend his appointments with his shrink. He had been a victim in the past and this had been life altering for him but still didn’t deter him from his work, he never changed.

When L Blackburn and Babu meet, neither one knows it is the other which only adds to the hilarity of the situation that they find themselves in. I was actually jumping up and down going OMG, OMG, OMG with my hand over my mouth; once you get there I am sure you will be doing the same. This really is a case of never judge a book by its cover, online these two hate each other, yet neither one of them actually know the other. When they meet there is that undeniable click, a connection and it is this that surprises the both of them. Larson is openly bi but Troy is so far in the closet his is in Narnia and it is this aspect of the story that I loved the most.

“I can’t wait to be his first. His last. His fucking only.”

This book deals with some sensitive subjects and while humour is rife throughout this book when it comes to the nitty gritties they were dealt with sensitively. Troy hadn’t yet “found” himself, he has a journey ahead of him and it is one that he was always afraid and scared to take and admit, yet Larson was the perfect person for him and held his hand throughout. This was going to be an experience for both of them but Larson believed in them and went for who he wanted, even if it was his arch nemesis.

 “...this is the only time in my entire life where sex wasn’t just a process, it was a need above all others with a pleasure I have never experienced before in my life. I am gay, and I’m okay with that.”

I will say though, I have seen the scandal surrounding this book and I have always been one to make my own opinions. I don’t read reviews until I have read a book and written my own, I like to keep my mind clear so that any opinions I make are exactly that, my opinions. At no point in this book was there “blogger bashing” in fact the authors go to great lengths to bring light to the downfalls of authors as well as bloggers. Both sides are revealed in all their glory but it was done with humour and was tongue in cheek. The exchanges between these two were hilarious and I found myself shedding tears of laughter. Being a blogger I found myself imagining if it was me in their shoes and I just couldn’t, what they did and said made me blush!

But underneath all that was a beautiful story, a voyage of discovery for both of them and this is truly what this book was about. The sexy times were seriously hot and with two alphas who for all intents and purposes were tops we were treated to that dominating power struggle for bottom and who would have guessed that when the time came, those lions would become cubs.

“We’re fucking beautiful together. Created separately for the sole purpose of coming together.”

I have read all of Andrea Smith’s work but this was my first taste of Eva LeNoir and it will not be my last. I loved the banter, I loved the premise and I have to say I loved both of these characters, there is something about them that gets tugging at those heart strings and you cannot help but will them to make it work. For me personally, I didn’t get that emotional connection, I think really where this book ends is their beginning so that “love” would come through if their story were to be continued. For me this came across more as lust at this point in their story. I would love for their story to be continued though, as I said, for me this was just their beginning and I would love to read about their end.
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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a very thorough and articulate review!! So happy you enjoyed Black Balled!