Tuesday, March 22, 2016

High Contrast by Tess Bowery

Title: High Contrast
Author: Tess Bowery
Purchase at Amazon
Purchase at All Romance eBooks
Cover Artist: Kelly Martin
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult
Length: 88,700 words
Formats: mobi, epub, pdf, paperback

The deepest scars aren’t the ones that show.

Evolution Ink, Book 1

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.

Product Warnings
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.
Definitely an opposites attract situation, with Jacob as corporate uncool personified, and both his twin brother and his love interest as tats and free spirits. This is also an ensemble piece, as best friend Andi and the rest of the tattoo parlor crew, plus some others they accumulate on the way have parts to play in what is a fairly large book. New Adult for sure, as Jacob and Cody both have some growing to do, and definitely some changes to make in their outlooks and their ability to trust.

While I enjoyed this book, I also felt like there might have been a bit too much plot stuffed in. I’m pretty fond of plot, too, so this might give you an idea of how much stuff is in there. Poor Cody, getting issue after issue piled on him, and while all were dealt with, some of it was once over lightly.

Cody had so much to cope with, revealed a bit at a time. His own moral dilemmas in what he’d done, should have done, and what he’d admit to had to be worked through. That definitely affected how he could express his interest in Jacob, who had to be the personification of the life Cody never lived. Orphaned and turned out by the foster system, making his living putting ink and metal into people to make them look the way they the felt they should look, so very far away from Upper East Side Jewish corporate.

Jacob, in contrast, thought Cody was the most amazing ever, with his long hair and ink, and deliberately inflicted scarification. Part of this was from suspension, which hits my squick button, and I may have missed some details after each time that got mentioned, though I was more or less not jumping by the end of the book. It served a need for Cody though, so okay. Mention of previous experiences is all there is, it’s not on page, which this weenie reviewer appreciated.

The two have a lot to overcome to get together, including the occasional midnight raid and waving gun, and a less romantic setting for a kiss cannot really be imagined. (The scene in the tattoo parlor made up for it though.) These two have to work very, very hard for the happiness. Jacob is the only POV character, so we have to learn Cody through his eyes.

The plot points kept appearing, and appearing, and appearing, which meant a lot of stuff to wrap up before the final moment of “yes we can be a couple” but it all twined together in a way that made sense by the end. And also brought enough growth to the guys so they’d be worthy of love.

Jacob’s relationship with his brother was a fun point, please don’t take the twin tag as anything but a familial relationship where they’d do anything for each other. One scene where they really zingo’d each other made me laugh aloud.

This book tackles a lot, what with a damaged hero and danger from outside forces, but I read it straight through. 4 marbles

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