Title: Hipster Brothel
Author: K.A. Merikan
Publisher: Acerbi & Villani Ltd.
Release Date: 01-24-2017
Genre(s): M/M Coming Out, M/M Contemporary Romance, M/M Bisexual, M/M Romantic Comedy, M/M Multicultural
Page Count: 162
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
— The lumberjack of his dreams is now available for rent. —
Mr. B has always been a safe guy for Jo to crush on. He’s the cutest bearded lumber-god to salivate over. Add to that his friendly, outgoing personality, and Mr. B might just be the first guy Jo would be willing to kiss. Fortunately, Mr. B has been in a relationship for years, and Jo is no home-wrecker.
But when Mr. B breaks up with his partner and all of a sudden is single, available, and talks about his plans to be sexually adventurous, Jo isn’t so sure anymore if he has the guts to come out as bisexual.
After a sour breakup, Mr. B wants to show his ex that he’s independent, exciting, and can do very well without him. His best friend Jo is there to the rescue, and they come up with a great new business venture. One thing they lack to start their own line of artisanal boozy jams – money for the investment.
After a drunken brainstorming session, Mr. B finds a way to both gather the cash and show the middle finger to his ex. He will create a one of a kind Hipster Brothel – The Lumbersexual Experience – offering wood chopping lessons, pipe smoking, and a reclaimed wood bed where the magic happens. It’s bound to be a success… if only Mr. B can go through with it, because the mixed signals from Jo are making him wonder if his best friend is as straight as he always seemed.
Ridiculous scenarios with a serious streak
When I requested Hipster Brothel, I was hoping for a fun story that capitalized on exaggerated stereotypes. At the start, that’s precisely what unfolded. The book is a snappy friends to lovers romance in which Jo and Mr. B brainstorm to create and launch a joint business venture following the end of Mr. B’s long-term relationship. The writing is casual and fun. I smiled and laughed a lot with some of the ridiculous scenarios and conversations. The pace was relaxed, but the book moved along steadily and the humor wove perfectly into the narration so it didn’t feel forced. The heroes were embellished hipster types- a lumbersexual and a Chinese American who is fashion forward. Though they were a bit of a caricature at times, they were also genuine and charming.
Jo and Mr. B’s relationship is sweet and progresses rather quickly. Jo is a bisexual man still in the closet. That element added both humor and conflict, but the authors balanced both men’s self-doubt and the fun aspects well and kept it interesting. The sex was pretty hot, especially as Jo explored his bisexuality. However, the couple encounters trouble when they consider going public with their relationship. Unfortunately, that is where the book lost me. The excessive amount of back and forth spurred on by Jo warring with coming out wore on me. The angst zapped the levity from the book. Furthermore, I didn’t have a significant connection with the couple, so I didn’t care much when their issues cropped up. As the humor dropped away, so did my interest in the book. Overall, this was an enjoyable read, but it wasn’t as chock full of humor and silliness as I expected at the start.