Monday, August 4, 2014

Virtual Book Tour and Review: Blue Collar

Book Name: Blue Collar
Author Name: Sean Michael
Author Bio:
Often referred to as "Space Cowboy" and "Gangsta of Love" while still striving for the moniker of "Maurice," Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to "Chicago".
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He'll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.

Author Links:
Twitter: @seanmichael09
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Kendall Webber is deep in the closet. Between working in a garage, having been in the army and a fundamentalist preacher step-father who sent him to summer camps to make him straight, he’s learned to hide his sexuality from absolutely everyone.
Still, when Barton Willis the Third roars into the garage with his Mustang, Kendall can’t help but look, just a little. When Barton not only looks back but invites him in, Kendall’s whole world is turned upside down. 
Can Barton help Kendall let go of the past and the attitudes he’s had, literally, beaten into him?

“Are you wanting factory original or an upgrade to a catback?”
One dark eyebrow rose. “Which’ll make it run better?”
“Well, it depends. The cats give a great sound, but the Borlas? They’re loud and I love the look from the rear. It’s a matter of money and taste and sound.” Kendall headed to the office, rambling on about all the different types and prices and options.
“I like a good-looking rear,” the guy told him when he’d done talking.
“Then you might consider the Borlas. It’s a little pricey, but fine. This is my boss, Pete. He’ll hook you up.”
“Oh, I’d rather you hook me up.”
Was that as suggestive as it sounded?
“I… Okay. Okay, I can help.” He’d done a few custom orders, but Pete would have to approve everything.
The man held out his hand. “Barton Willis, the Third.”
“Kendall. Pleased.” He held out his hand, then pulled it back. He was a grease monkey after all. “I’ve been working, man.”
“I imagine I can wash my hands.”
“Yeah, I tell myself that a lot, but the grime’s pretty deep.” He was not flirting. Not.
“Nothing wrong with a dirty boy.”

Tour Dates: 8/4/14

Tour Stops:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Rafflecopter Prize: $20 Amber Quill Certificate
Sales Links:

Blue Collar
Author: Sean Michael
Publisher: Amber Quill
Format/Genre/Length: eBook/M/M Contemporary/BDSM
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★

(3/5 averaged to 4)

Kendall works as a mechanic at Peter’s Garage. One day, a vintage Mustang with a sexy owner roars into the shop with a muffler that’s shot. The car’s owner is Barton Willis III, and he starts hitting on Kendall immediately. The mechanic never knew what hit him. Barton has to leave his car for repairs, and he talks Ken into giving him a lift home. That one ride is going to change Ken’s life forever.

Okay, so this is my first Sean Michael novel. I’ve heard a lot about him and his books, I know he’s popular, so I thought I would see what the hype is all about for myself.

I’ll start out by saying this about that—he isn’t a bad writer, far from it. But I wouldn’t call him particularly good either. And I’ll explain that, before all you SM fans take umbrage, which you probably will anyway.

First, this book is 90% sex and maybe 10% plot. That’s way overbalanced in the direction of smut. Which is fine, if it’s smut you’re looking for. My mistake, as it isn’t labeled as such. Now, I’m not a prude, far from it, and I have no problem with explicit sex. Love it, honestly. But there comes a point when there’s too much of it. And this book easily reached that point. There is hardly a scene that doesn’t have sex in it. Even good sex gets old if you’re getting beaten in the head with it.

When it comes to the plot, it’s weak as hell. Which leads to my next gripe – lack of any sort of character development. He never fleshes out these characters. And this book also falls into the dreaded insta-love category. Again, I have no problem with insta-love, if it makes sense. But there should be some reasoning, logic, or something other than I see you, I love you. Barton seems like a nice guy. He has loads of money, which comes in handy ‘cause he can lavish it on the poor mechanic. The mechanic, Ken, is very deeply closeted, and was sent to a gay healing camp over several summers as a youth. He also served in the military, during the time of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. However, as a character, I found him to be weakly written. In fact, his strongest scene is the first one, when he meets Barton. After that, once he’s under Barton’s thumb and influence, he almost disappears as a person, and becomes more of a stereotype, sounding at times like a sleepwalker, or as if he had mental issues, although I hate to put it that way.

The romance is unbelievable, part of that insta-love syndrome. I have no idea what attracts Barton to Ken, although I can see attraction from Ken’s point of view better. I think if you worry about it too much, you’re overthinking it. And this book doesn’t stand up to much thinking about, you’re just supposed to accept the insta-love and go with it.

Warning: this book contains sounding. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, you might want to look it up before you read it. I had heard of it, never read it until now.

Second warning: This book is filled with dubious consent, and this totally makes my skin crawl. I do understand dubious consent, and in some contexts, it works. But not when the person involved keeps saying no (which Ken does) and Barton just rides roughshod over him, telling him he knows better, he knows what’s good for Ken, and so forth and so on. No, dude, just no! That is wrong on many levels. No means no, not what I think is best for you. It’s immaterial that Ken accepted it after the fact. What counts is he said no, and his wishes were ignored.

“You can deny it all you want, I know what you need.”  That’s just an example of Barton’s philosophy.

We really see little of the plot outside of their bedroom antics, which cover all the basics and then some. He had the chance to make something really nice out of this story, it had potential. But he stuck with what I assume to be his formula, and let the opportunity pass him by.

I’d also like to mention that, at least in the copy I read, the editing is sloppy, which surprised me, as it’s an Amber Quill book. They are usually better than that.

So here is my dilemma. I’m sure his fans will eat this up, assuming all of his books are the same way. So in scoring it for its intended audience, it probably rates 5 stars. However, in my opinion, it is lackluster and wanting in too many areas to rate more than a three. So I’ll compromise and give it 4.

Will I read more by Sean Michael? Doubtful. Not that I think he’s bad, and yeah, the sex was hot. But when all is said and done, it just wasn’t memorable, and the characters were forgettable, and I think he is doing himself a disservice if this is what he’s putting out when I think he can do better. Granted, that’s just my opinion, you have to decide for yourselves. But frankly, there are too many better authors out there to go back to this one, even to get off with.

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