Sass (Style #3) by Jay Hogan
Estimated Release Date: October 27 2022
The first word that came to mind when I was about to write this review was ‘delightful’. And sure, it is. but it’s actually a blend of wholesome low-angst and some pretty heavy subjects. So delightful might be a bit of a misnomer even if it is true.
It’s more like there are two parallel story arcs to this read. There’s Kip’s/Chris’ and Leon’s lovely love story that unfolds despite Kip’s reluctance and overall prickliness. Then there’s the underlying story of Kip’s struggle to overcome the trauma and betrayal from his childhood. In truth, there’s also a third arc, and that’s Leon’s grief and guilt over the death of his sister, but to me that was the least interesting development. It didn’t grab me quite as much as the other two did.
Blurb: So Kip’s a really fabulous guy. He manages Flare, the clothes store of his designer friend/boss. He’s beautiful, sassy, and takes no prisoners. Living his life out loud and refusing to be put down by anyone. Leon’s the big and hairy tattoo artist who owns the tattoo shop next door to Flare, and also the guy who turned Kip down a few years earlier. And that’s the starting point of the story. Kip resenting Leon for, in his eyes, trying to shame him for his ‘promiscuous ways’, and Leon trying to apologize for being a dick and making Kip feel that way. So when there’s water damage to Leon’s apartment, Kip’s boss decides it’s a perfect idea to let Leon live in the apartment above Flare for a few weeks. And so the mating dance begins. *chef’s kiss* .
There’s a lot about this book that impressed me.
Top-notch writing all around.
The way several strands of the story were woven together in such a natural way, forming a complex and realistic picture.
The genuine feel of… well, everything. Emotional but not exaggerated.
The portrayal of both Kip and Leon, apart and together.
But mostly I’m blown away by the heart-warming found family vide that suffuses the entire story. Again, there’s nothing exaggerated to it (which is unfortunately otherwise too common) but just authentic and lovely and it gave me all the warm fuzzies.
And the fact that I never lost interest for a second!
Maybe I’ve read too many books. Maybe I’m just getting picky. But it appears to be more and more difficult for me to find books that I actually become engrossed in. If the plotline is interesting enough, then the writing is poor, the characters silly/one-dimensional/over-done/etc. Or the story structure or pacing is off. But Sass was practically perfect! There wasn’t a single thing that pulled me out of the story or made me roll my eyes. While I read, I lived Kip’s and Leon’s story.
The one and only thing I’d like to comment on, is the very public proposal in the epilogue. I mean, what’s up with that!? It’s a personal and precious moment between two people (or maybe three if you’re feeling adventurous), and making it a spectator sport is just weird. Like, in my eyes, that’s taking the familial love way too far. But unfortunately for me it’s pretty common in romance novels, and I guess even Hogan isn’t entirely perfect. (Even if it’s a close thing)
* A free e-book was kindly provided by Gay Romance Reviews and this is my unbiased and voluntary review *