…we're keeping our name but expanding our offerings!
Today, our blog team does a group review of the new book. But first, a GIVEAWAY!
Today’s giveaway is for a copy of PENT UP by Damon Suede! Comment for a chance to win! Read it and let us know if you agree with us or disagree with our thoughts!
PENT UP: Mix business with pleasure and take cover.
Ruben Oso moves to Manhattan to start his life over as a low-rent bodyguard and stumbles into a gig in a swanky Park Avenue penthouse. What begins as executive protection turns personal working for a debonair zillionaire who makes Ruben question everything about himself.
Watching over financial hotshot Andy Bauer puts Ruben in an impossible position. He knows zero about shady trading and his cocky boss lives barricaded in a glass tower with wall-to-wall secrets and hot-and-cold-running paranoia. Can the danger be real? Is Andy for real?
What’s a bullet catcher to do? Ruben knows his emotions are out of control even as he races to untangle a high-priced conspiracy and his crazy feelings before somebody gets dead. If his suspicions are right, Andy will pay a price neither can afford, and Ruben may discover there’s no way to guard a heart.
Title: Pent Up
Author: Damon Suede
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 290 Pages
Buy Link: Dreamspinner
Looking over our comments throughout the read it’s clear that as a group, we agreed that the beginning, in particular, was a bit confusing. Not really sure what was happening as the story was being set – the introduction of our two MC’s to one another, the working relationship, the side characters.
Susan – the first 10+% I was lost. It felt ALL over the place!
Kristie – It sort of feels like the story isn’t flowing because maybe Ruben isn’t flowing. Because he’s a mess, seriously.
Gaby – I have lots of questions because some things weren’t clear enough for me.
Sheri – I find myself constantly rewinding a sentence or two, trying to find where I lost the thread of conversation. I’ve been lost quite a bit. It’s almost like Ruben has ADHD
But as we read on, the characters were intriguing. Ruben, our bodyguard who’s not that great at his job. Andy, the brilliant financier who you’re not quite sure is good or bad or really good or really bad. There’s a slow reveal about each of the characters, a peeling back of layers, that had us talking! We were conflicted!
Ilhem – On the one hand, there is Ruben’s voice – jaded and cynical, yet vulnerable and confused – that has its moments. On the other hand, there is this mysterious mystery that is vague and deliberately confusing
Kristie – Ruben had a lot of hang ups. He’s totally put off by maybe having feelings for Andy, yet totally wants him. He is polite and tries to be a good person, then acts like an ass. He’s a walking contradiction.
Susan – I’m less annoyed with Ruben than I am with Andy. I can’t really put a finger on this guy. Is he good? Is he bad? Is he sinister? Is he naive? Urgh…and then sometimes I really like him. Ha!
Gaby – I don’t actually dislike or feel put off by Ruben. There’s a lot of judgment going on his part, but it’s a nice and interesting change in this kind of book. I also find it realistic, in the sense that I know people who are sort of like him.
Susan – I actually feel very sorry for him. He’s seriously down and out. I’m not entirely certain what made Andy so attracted to him…but vice versa, to be honest. I guess that’s the hook. Their growing attraction…
The attraction between the two of them also had us in opposite corners.
Gaby – I liked the MC’s, especially Ruben. The chemistry between them was pretty good, and they were sexy together. I liked the no fuss over having fallen for a man. I always like that.
Sheri – Funky GFY. Okay…what was up with the gay for you twist? It didn’t work so well for me. Older guys? No, that’s not it. Almost homophobic? Yeah. It felt like Ruben was a bit of a homophobe before he discovered the wonders of peen.
Susan – I totally got into their sexcapades. There were some really sexy scenes (sneaky hand touching in the limo, and that scene on the terrace? In the rain? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Yowza!). But my favorite was when they finally gave into their attraction and went AT IT! *fans self*
Ilhem – when is something, anything going to happen?!
Kristie – yeah, the UST is off the charts. Almost too much.
Sheri – One thing I can say…Pent Up is a brilliant title.
All in all, here are our individual thoughts:
Admittedly, for a lot of this book, I was kinda confused. I think the plot itself didn’t grab me and mostly because it often lost me.
That being said, I actually really enjoyed reading it. It was too tempting…there were things that were…shocking. It felt very raw, unpolished. And that was refreshing. I didn’t especially like either of the characters, to be honest. Not drawn to either of them. BUT, despite that, I was oddly drawn to the two of them together. And where the UST was frustrating, it actually felt SO SATISFYING when the pay off came. For me at least. I thought it was HOT.
This was a new side of Damon Suede’s writing for me. I’ve LOVED his characters in his other books and liked the sweetness and hotness between them. This one was a “I dare you to like this” type of read. And something about that is really intriguing. As a group, we haven’t had a book that garnered so much conversation in awhile (even stuff we didn’t share here: the use of Spanish in their interactions, the “Ruben sucks at his job and we don’t like that” angle, Andy’s family. So much meatiness to discuss.
All in all, I think it was a book that was equally entertaining as it was frustrating.
Ruben is of Latin heritage. Now here’s the deal. Most of the times you find that Latin characters are ruled, somehow, by their culture. I was… Impressed, and maybe a bit sad too, to see that this was not the case. I was impressed, because the author took a huge risk and tackled a completely different angle of the one that we usually get with immigrants. People who leave their countries, do it for a reason, and some will still embrace their roots while others will try to bury them 20 feet under. This was Rube’s case. His family pretty much got rid of anything that spoke of who they were. It was sadly, real. Did I love this? No. Do I appreciate it a lot? Yes. Yes, because it’s still a representation of a culture. And I appreciate that tremendously.
Ruben was the one I liked the most, actually. He comes off as a bit assholeish at times, but there is a reason behind it. I’m not saying all of this reasons are justifiable, but if you put yourself in his shoes, and try to see things from his perspective, things get a new, more accurate meaning.
About the MC’s relationship- I love the opposites attract thing. In this case it mostly worked for me. I liked that the MC built a friendship before they fell for each other. There was a huge deal of UST. And when I say huge, I mean huge. So much that it took way too long to actually act on it, and this stressed me out a bit. And I think this was because when something happened it exploded, but when nothing was happening, I got lost. One of the things I enjoyed the most was that once they went for it, they went for it full force. I especially appreciated this of Ruben.
It starts out solid, Damon’s voice rang strong and I quickly remembered why I adore his funny, quirky, testosterone-laden voice.
And then….I got confused.
The jumpy distracted dialogue was all over the place. Multiple times a train of thought was left flapping in the breeze, conversations switched mid sentence, spinning scenes….I was dizzy.
I can’t say that I disliked Ruben or Andy but I didn’t love them either. I appreciated the real, raw battle of Ruben’s alcoholism. There’s not a moment that passes when he’s not fighting his demons and I respected Rubens honesty and diligence. He wants to stay clean and in turn, I wanted him to cling to the wagon too.
I’m a sucker for broken men finding their other half and healing from the power of love. I was hopeful that Andy would support Ruben and with a bit of role reversal, protect Ruben. However, the only thing Andy supported was giving Ruben the high he was craving in monetary power.
I struggled with the gay-for-you romance factor here. It felt…off. Typically GFY is a trope I’m drawn to but their affair felt forced. I’ve fumbled trying to put my finger on it, but it was hard for me to buy into their affections towards one another. Maybe it was the sex scenes? Dirty is different than crass. Awkward isn’t the same as phobic. It was a pubic hair on Mammaw’s dining table….it just wasn’t right.
The title is perfect because it’s clear there are a lot of pent up emotions that need to get out. The amount of UST in the book is staggering.There are a lot of issues that I have…from the use of Spanish to the way I really disliked both characters quite a lot. I was intrigued the entire time, and I really did want to know them better, but I never felt like I learned anything good about them, at least mostly about Andy.
Ruben was a terrible bodyguard. He’s not qualified, and he admits that a couple times. He’s had limited training and mentions that, yet continues to keep himself in a situation he’s not doing well, and knows it. That frustrated me so much.
I did like that once Ruben decided that he was going for it he just went for it. I like that he had real reactions and his brother had real reactions that are probably to be expected. There was the interesting dynamic of the parents basically deciding to forgo their heritage, but how sad is that?