Genre: Romance (M/M/F; M/F; M/M,) LGBTQ+ (and polyamorous,) Contemporary
If any Latinx, queer male, and/or polyamorous reviewers have reviewed this title, let me know - I would love to link to your review.
She's also trying to keep the fact that she's dating both Ethan and Trey, together, as a unit, a secret.
Meet Trey, guitarist with Sinners. Though he's Reagan's public boyfriend, he'd prefer things between him and Ethan to be public too.
Meet Ethan - Reagan's body-guard.
Ethan's still in the closet, so admitting he's in a relationship with both Reagan and Trey is out of the question.
But with the tabloids around, and the music business to navigate, things are not going to be plain sailing!
Basically, if I had to pick the best aspect of this book, Trey would be it. He's amazing.
I also loved the way the romance wasn't the only thing going on here - each of our trio has their own life, their own hopes, their own personality. They're complete people, not just defined by their relationship.
I liked that we get scenes from each of the characters' points-of-view (POVs,) without the other main characters present, and that we get an understanding of their relationships with family members, friends, etc.
Can we also point out that polyamory is portrayed as a viable and healthy relationship (albeit not perfect)? I think we can. Guys, that's just awesome.
And the relationship itself is not 2-dimensional. People say the wrong thing, they mess up, but they also make things better, comfort each other, make each other laugh etc.
Of course, the rock music was one of the draws of this book to me - obviously, you can't hear it, but the whole rock-star deal gave this book a centre and a vibe that was pretty cool.
Cunning also explores the issues of being in the public eye, and the problems with being a woman in what is still predominantly a male industry.
People think you got where you are because of sex, because of your looks, etc. - not because of your talent.
Reagan's frustration at the sexist press, fans, and the band management who want to turn her into a sex symbol, is more than justified.
She knows she's good enough to be there. But everyone else seems determined to undermine her achievements.
'She knows she's good enough to be there...' Click to Tweet
'From where I'm stood, that's messed up...' Click to Tweet
- Negative trope of the homophobic and unaccepting Latinx family - something which gives the impression that all Latinx people are somehow homophobic, and really shouldn't have been tackled by a non-own-voices author.
- Ethan fears that his Latino brothers will beat up and harm his precious white boyfriend - I can't be the only one to see a problem there.
- Strange references to being in a Mariachi band as something shaming to the family, and the family's heritage. This seems inaccurate as Mariachi players take pride in their music, and the music is part of Mexican culture.
- Ethan has a different last name to the rest of his family. In context, this serves as a distancing of Ethan - who has a more Anglicised name - from the rest of his family, and makes that part of his life and heritage seem more 'Other.'
My main problem with this aspect was that, even though I know this is an'erotic romance,' the polyamorous people here are written as being heavy on the sexy times, and 'not satisfied' by only one partner.
- Ethan takes more offense to the word queer than the word perversion. While I get that queer was being used as a slur in this context... are we just supposed to let the perversion comment slide...?
- Being gay or bisexual is described as a lifestyle more than once. As I've said before, I don't like this, but it's a personal thing.
- The author gave the impression of confusion between the terms gay and bisexual (more in the 'sexual fluidity representation' section.)
Look, you guys know that I'm all for sexual fluidity in books. But you've gotta do it right.
It's an enjoyable book, but there are a lot of problems with it.
These are problems that can't be ignored, and should be learned from.
'There need to be more polyamorous romances...' Click to Tweet