A Taste of Honey, by Ari McKay
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: May 17, 2017
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Boone Phillips needs a girlfriend—now! If he shows up to the family reunion alone, his mother will throw every woman in sight at him. But the only “woman” Boone trusts enough to ask is Honey, the drag queen alter ego of his best friend, Rob. It’s a crazy idea, but Boone is desperate.
Boone wins Rob over to the idea after first going on a “date” with him as Honey, but everything feels different once the plan is set in motion. Between nosy relatives, illegal moonshine, and the sight of Rob in white lace panties, Boone starts to wonder if he’s as straight as he thought. When an earth-shattering kiss sends Rob running, however, Boone learns some surprising things about both his family and himself. Now he needs to convince Rob to give him another chance, or his first taste of Honey might also be his last.
First Edition published by Torquere Press, 2016.
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Friends to Lovers
Welp… this book was something, and probably not in a good way. Rob Coombs agrees to accompany his best friend Boone Phillips to his family reunion weekend dressed as his drag alter ego, Honey… yes *smirks* Honey Coombs.
Okay, I’m going to just dive right into my issues with this book. So first things first, looking over my notes apparently I thought this book was “unsophisticatedly cheesy”. That one note sums up EVERYTHING that went wrong here. The book attempts to tackle a lot. Boone throughout the book internally recognizes that he is bisexual and attracted to Rob. Even with Rob dressed as Honey, playing the part of his girlfriend during a family reunion, Boone doesn’t shy away from the fact that when they kiss or touch he’s aware that it’s Rob, not Honey, he’s attracted to. He mentions that he’s been celibate for six months because he hasn’t clicked with any women he’s attempted to date in California, and has settled into a comfortable pattern of spending his time with Rob instead. Rob from start to finish has the hots for Boone, who he assumes is straight.
I went into this book aware that I was going to have to suspend some disbelief that Boone’s ENTIRE, LARGE, SOUTHERN family (located in Charleston) would all believe Honey was Rob’s sister. Apparently not, because his mother, reflecting on their conversations about Rob, didn’t think Rob had a sister and took it upon herself to contact Rob’s family since Honey was coming to town. Rob’s family promptly tells Olivia, the mother, that they don’t have a daughter, but a son who is gay and does drag. Olivia decides to just go with the flow… bless her heart.
Things take an even weirder turn when shit hits the fan; after a late night make-out session, Rob, fearing the worst, departs early, fleeing to the airport. Olivia talks some sense into Boone, who goes and insists that his man come back as himself, though Rob has already been introduced to the family as Honey. What goes on for the next 20% is so… odd I almost took this down to one star.
First, not only is the family accepting, but they have this conversation about how Boone’s father (he’s since passed) was in fact bisexual, and he had a gay uncle who really helped him through it. Olivia basically had accepted that it was going to be possible that Boone wouldn’t be straight… cause… genetics? Now I have no clue if sexuality is in fact inherited, but with the juvenile dialogue that takes place between the two MCs from this point on– who are now “in love”– I just couldn’t take it seriously. They are also super cool because Boone has a gay cousin, who asks her girlfriend to marry her at the reunion.
Oh and then… they have sex… at the mom’s house, for the first time, DECIDING THAT DRIVING TO A HOTEL WOULD BE TOO LONG OF A WAIT. An uncle (not the gay one) leaves them “supplies” in a brown paper bag tied up with a bow on the bed.
Some of the cheesy dialogue at this point included:
“How bad do you want to find out how hot and tight it’s going to feel?”
“I’ll have to teach you about preparation…”
“We have all night, and after that, we’ve got the rest of our lives,”… as he leaned over and grabbed a box of condoms.
“That’s what I want… to spend the rest of my life making you happy.”
This was the fastest transition from straight to bi, ‘best friends’ to ‘happily ever after’ I have read in a long time.
I seriously sat down to lunch and had a long conversation with my husband about how there is a real misconception that the romance reader wants quantity over quality because of this book. I want to encourage you to form your own opinion and read this book, but sadly I’m too deep into thinking about whether or not I should downgrade this to a one star.
Ari McKay is the professional pseudonym for Arionrhod and McKay, who collaborate on original m/m fiction. They began writing together in 2004 and finished their first original full length novel in 2011. Recently, they’ve begun collaborating on designing and creating costumes to wear and compete in at Sci Fi conventions, and they share a love of yarn and cake.
Find them online at: http://arimckay.wordpress.com/
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.