Tuesday, May 3, 2016

High Contrast by Tess Bowery

The deepest scars aren’t the ones that show.

Jacob Shain is your average member of Generation Screwed. He has a boring internship, no cash flow, and a tiny NYC apartment he has to share with Ethan, his much-cooler, tattoo-artist twin brother. Not to mention his love life is DOA. At least, until his brother’s shop hires on a new piercer, and Jacob’s humdrum life takes a turn for the weird.

Cody Turner is gorgeous, funny and kind—everything Jacob wants in a boyfriend. Except for the way he refuses to talk about his past, or where he lives, or anything about his personal life.

When Ethan is arrested while on a mission of mercy, the reason Cody is so tight lipped comes to light. And while Jacob and Cody fight to understand the depth of their feelings for one another, the police dogs catch their scent. So does the local mob.

Now Jacob has to make the hardest choice of his life: stay safe like a good boy, or dive headfirst into a world he barely understands…and hope Cody is there to break his fall.

Warning: Contains a good boy who wants to be bad, a bad boy who longs to be good, bodies that are canvases for living art and high-speed chases with police dogs.

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Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Samhain  Publishing

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

4.5 Inked & Geeked Stars

I had no idea what to expect when I started High Contrast. I try to begin a book with no expectations and an open mind. From the get-go, I adored Jacob's narration. I loved being inside the intern's head. Jacob was a mix of self-deprecating man, adorable geek, and a Jewish grandmother who wants to feed you.

High Contrast follows Jacob and his Scooby Doo gang of friends and family. Half of a set of identical twins, Jacob is the unpaid intern fresh out of college, and his brother, Ethan, is a tattoo artist who also has the art of snark and annoying, pestering 'big' brother. Jacob's BFF, Andi, will probably become his sister-in-law someday. The rest of the gang works at the tattoo parlor, including an eighteen-year-old girl who brought a fresh, innocent edge to the storyline, a lawyer on retainer, and a gruff Russian landlord.

In walks Cody... Big, blond, pierced and tatted up, the gang's new piercer has a past he's running from, and Jacob is the type of person who is a caretaker-fixer. Cody's one secret, being a lover of comic books and all things geek, has poor Jacob's tongue hanging to the floor.

Now, obviously upon meeting this god among men, Jacob's internal dialogue was without a shadow of a doubt hilarious. Not over-the-top, either. Just insecure hilarity that men and women alike could relate to. Jacob and Cody are banterific. Yes, it was the usual boy meets boy, boy thinks new boy won't like him, and new boy is amused by the entire exchange. We're not talking insta-lust, because this was a slow-building romance from a budding friendship. I'd say upon first meeting, it was instant intrigue.

Poor Jacob – Cody plays a tune with his emotions. He likes me! No... he doesn't. Yes! Cody really likes me. *crestfallen* No, he doesn't. Now, the way I wrote that out, it seems annoying. But I was connected to Jacob, so every time Cody plucked at his heartstrings, mine were plucked too. My chest would constrict when Jacob's insecurity would rear its ugly head, and my heart would ache when he was rejected, and I would soar when Cody displayed his wings and will to fly.

I just gave you the setup, and I'm not going to spoil the rest. The writing was fluid. I loved the ease of Tess Bowery's writing style, and the realistic edge to the storytelling, making it beyond easy to immerse myself in the debut of the Evolution Ink series. The cast of characters was built around all walks of life from the eighteen-year-old receptionist, to the Russian elderly woman. There was even the landlord's muffled pooch. Together, I dubbed them the Scooby Doo gang who got into waaaayyy too much trouble.

The reason why I can't hand out an easy 5 stars is simply because of said trouble to be had. It made me doubt their intelligence, their sanity, and their survival instincts. But, nevertheless, it was beyond entertaining to read.

Tess Bowery is a new-to-me author, and I can't wait to read more by her, especially the next in this series. Highly recommend this title to MM Romance fans who want a steamy, slow-burn romance, a solid cast of side characters, and zany yet not over-the-top adventurous hijinks with the Russian mafia.

I got hooked by this book right away. The characters came to life and were written in such depth, I connected to them right away. Jacob Shain is the geek of the crowd, a computer programmer with a dead end job. His twin is a bad boy tattoo artist. While hanging with his brother and the gang at Evolution Ink, he meets the new hire. Cody is the new piercing guy with a jaded past, and Jacob is star struck by him. While Cody is a bit "hard to get," the love interest unfolds beautifully. A great slow burn that leads to fire! Cody is an interesting guy with multiple piercings, tattoos and even angel wing scars. He's everything Jacob is not. How could Jacob ever be this lucky? The two have amazing chemistry and I enjoyed their story from front to back. The rest of the gang is just as interesting and I’m excited to see where this series will go. I found the whole "Russian mafia" thing a bit "jumping the shark" but even it worked, somehow. Tess Bowery is definitely on my new favorite author list.

I wasn’t sure what to expect after reading the blurb, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story had some hot sex and had me laughing out loud at times. I liked the total differences between Jacob and his twin, Ethan, that was appealing to me. The slow burning relationship building between Jacob and Cody was awesome. When Jacob asks Cody how many piercings/tattoos he has and he can only count 14 of the 23, I couldn’t wait to find out where the rest of them were!!! I think the mob drama and the other stuff was just something the author threw in there that wasn’t really needed. Overall, a good book and I can’t wait to see whose story is next.

Characters: Well written
Sex: Yes
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: First of the series
Genre: M/M Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

Oh, this promises to be a good new series. We are introduced to the team that work together at Evolution Ink, and one of the tattooist's twin, Jacob. All manner of adventures befall the team – or do they bring them on themselves...it depends, I guess! Anyway, it is a good ensemble cast, and I am guessing that we will follow them through their highs and lows – a couple are already in relationships, but there is definitely scope for more with this group.

Jacob and new piercer, Cody, are the central characters in this installment. Jacob is interning in a marketing department, has no tattoos and has a nerd wardrobe. Cody has multiple piercings (oh yes, you will want to know where...) and plenty of tattoos too – but the chemistry is definitely there, and relationships are more than just skin deep. Both men have some serious self-esteem issues, which are beautifully played out in the inner voice – to the extent that you might feel the need to slap them once in a while – luckily their friends often interject and do just that.

The plot is somewhat wild, yet also fits the slightly crazy lives that the group lead. It has a satisfying ending, and the promise of more to come.

Tess Bowery lives near the ocean, which sounds lovely, except when it snows. An historian by training and a theater person by passion, she’s parleyed her Masters degree in English history into something that would give her former professors something of a surprise.

Her love for the Regency era began as they always do, with Jane Austen, and took a sharp left turn into LBGT biographies and microhistory. Now she indulges in both of her passions, telling the stories of her community in the time periods that fire the human imagination. Her first foray into contemporary M/M fiction, High Contrast, releases in 2016.

Along with writing, Tess splits her time between teaching, backstage work, LBGT activism and her family. She spends far too much money on comic books, loves superheroes and ghost stories, and still can’t figure out how to use Twitter properly.

Connect with Tess

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Blog  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of High Contrast (Evolution Ink #1) by Tess Bowery to read and review.

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