M/M,  Romance

C*ckblocked (Blockers #1) by K.C. Cassidy (a.k.a Sierra Hill)

Release Date: 24th of June

The premise for C*ckblocked was really promising.

The tv heartthrob, closeted Grayson Darling, goes off to a remote location in Ireland. He wants to stay under the radar – and away from paparazzi – and finish writing his screenplay in peace. Then there’s the grumpy B&B owner/sheep farmer Niall who might not know who Grayson is but he sure inspires many of Niall’s shower time self-loving sessions. Grayson can’t come out without ruining his career, and Niall is afraid to put his heart on the line, again.

There were a lot a liked about this read, and also a lot that I didn’t like. And, I’m sorry to say, that in the end, my dislikes won out.

I’ve encountered many reviews complaining that a particular MM romance was written like a an FM one, only with the woman exchanged for a man. I didn’t really understand what that meant. Not until C*ckblocked. Because it had that exact feel. I think a major reason might have been the abundance of clichés. There’s sizzling and sparks straight through heavy clothing just by the most casual of touches. There’s stumbling and unintentional colliding ending in moments rife with tension. There are long inner monologues extolling on the beauty and sexiness of the other MC. The insta-lust is so strong that neither of the MCs can think about anything else for the rest of the book.

Also, the dialogue. Good dialogue is my weakness. Bad and limited dialogue is a pet peeve. And unfortunately, the real-time conversations between Grayson and Niall are awkward at best. It’s supposed to be banter. I think. It’s supposed to be funny and cute. But it’s just… No. And in between these cringe-worthy, short exchanges, there’s a whole lot of describing and telling how they’re so attracted to each other and how much they like each other. But there’s no showing it. Meaning it’s not actually believable.

To be fair, the story picked up a bit after the halfway mark. Once the uncomfortable and embarrassing introduction and so called banter were over and done with. So the second half was way better than the first. Gray and Niall got over themselves and gave in to their desires. And I thought the story would end on that high note. It did end happily – naturally. But in a very rushed and strange way. Meaning I was left with a very unsatisfied feeling. There’s an epilogue available for download but I’m not even tempted to read it.

The writing in itself is good. But the style of writing, with the telling and not showing, and the generally sappy inner monologues. It wasn’t my kind of read.

Also, there were quite many small misses that should have been caught by an editor. Extra words, and sentences where it was obvious Cassidy had thought to write one thing then changed her mind towards the end. And other things too. Like Grayson having a tightly trimmed beard but still getting beard burn on his face from Niall. And them facing each other in bed and Grayson still describing Niall’s sexy back. Or them facing each other in a row boat when Niall’s rowing and Gray is in the bow. In themselves, these small things aren’t a problem. But when added up, they become one.

And there’s more. Like Niall’s loving sister that I’m guessing you’re supposed to like. She leaves Niall alone for two weeks to manage the B&B AND the farm AND taking care of their elderly father all by himself, all without any warning or remorse. And feeding antibiotics to small lambs as a preventive measure? As far as I know that was banned many, many years ago in Europe.

Okay. Sorry. This story rubbed me the wrong way in many ways it seems.

But for me this is still a 3-star because the writing wasn’t bad per se. And I’m sure there are people who will love this story. I just didn’t.

* A free copy of this book was kindly provided by the author *

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I'm a Swedish book nerd reading mostly steamy English romance novels. And since there is so much good stuff out there, and so much shitty stuff too. I just want to give credit where it's due (and diss the rest).