Friday, March 10, 2017

Service with a Smirk by Ariel Tachna

Pascal Larocque, a waiter at a high-end Montréal restaurant, knows what it means to love—and he knows what it means to lose. He buried the man he expected to spend his life with years ago. He’s perfectly happy with his solitude, or so he tells his friends. But a chance encounter in a neighborhood bar followed by a run-in at his apartment building turns his world upside down.

Mathias Perras is twenty-four, newly arrived in Montréal, and works two jobs so he can live on rue Sainte-Catherine in the heart of the gay district. During the day, he’s on a fast track to management at the Banque de Montréal. At night, he waits tables at a gay bar down the street. He’s burning the candle at both ends, but it will be worth it when his career takes off and he has the life he’s always dreamed of. When he meets Pascal, one more piece of that dream slots into place. Pascal is everything he wants in a lover: older, self-assured, established in his life and his career. But Pascal doesn’t look at him twice. What’s a boy have to do to get a little action?

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Book 2
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I really wanted to like this book. I like the age difference between Mathias and Pascal, but I just couldn’t connect with either of the characters. I didn’t feel any passion between them. I just felt like I was reading about two friends who kind of liked each other. The only scene that had any feeling for me was the phone sex scene. I was hoping after that part it would get better, but it really didn’t. I am sure others will enjoy this book, it just wasn’t for me.

Characters: Couldn’t connect with them
Sex: Yes
Religious: No
Would I recommend to others: Yes
More than one book in the series: Not sure
Genre: M/M Romance
Would I read more by this author: Yes

This is a sweet, slow May to December romance between two very different men. Mathias is ambitious, driven, and focused. He knows what he wants in all areas of his life and he is willing to nearly kill himself to realise his dreams. When Mathias decides he wants the much older Pascal, he won’t stop until he gets the man he wants.

At 48, Pascal is settled in a comfortable life. His work as a waiter in a high end restaurant pays him enough to enjoy good food and exotic travel. After burying his life partner, he doesn’t anticipate another romance and he is happy enough on his own. Until he meets Mathias and feels pulled towards the much younger man. Pascal is a difficult character. I enjoyed his friendships and the peaceful life he created for himself, but I found his brooding and overthinking a little tiresome at times.

I enjoyed Mathias more. His drive to get ahead in his career contrasts well with Pascal’s contentment. I loved the way his initial excitement at the attention from bar customers was tempered as he reflected more on the nature of his job and the boundaries he wanted to set up. I’m not sure I fully understand his desire for an older partner, but I liked that it was Mathias pursuing the older Pascal in this story.

The May to December theme is very clear in this story. Mathias definitely reads like a 24-year-old. I loved his impetuousness, his energy, and his quick certainty. In contrast, Pascal is guarded and cautious, slow to trust and slower to invest in a relationship. His caution makes for a story that is very slow and more romantic than sexy.

Montreal is a great choice for setting – Ariel Tachna is the queen of exciting and unusual settings and she manages to capture the elegant, liberal feel of North America’s most European city. I loved the way her characters switched easily between languages and the way her Montreal is so distinct from her Paris in the last story.

When ARIEL TACHNA was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Service with a Smirk (At Your Service #2) by Ariel Tachna to read and review.

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