Dana reviews Mascara & Bandages (Mary’s Boys Book 3) by Brandon Witt (Published by Dreamspinner Press, July 12, 2017, 121 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.
Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.
The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?
I reviewed the first two books of this series so I was excited when this book came out and wanted to review it, too. The Mary’s Boys series revolves around a Hamburger Mary’s in Denver, CO. I like the tour the author gives us of the area. Besides the Hamburger Mary’s restaurant, there are a few other places that make me want to go to Denver so I can see them too. I am definitely scheduling a trip to the nearest Hamburger Mary’s to me soon.
Each book lays out such a different tale from the others as each set of main characters have to face different issues of being gay in their culture. The stories aren’t predictable and I enjoy their uniqueness. In Mascara & Bandages, Zachary is a drag queen. Performing on stage sets a part of himself free and allows him to embrace his effeminate-ness. Outside of performing, he doesn’t feel that he can attract other men, being femme. He also knows that he is vulnerable to bullying and violence because of his stature. Unfortunately, his worst fears come true.
But from the darkness comes a silver light. Dr. Teegan Chau is immediately drawn to Zachary even though he is a patient. For Teegan, growing up Chinese, there were cultural expectations of him. He tried to be what his parents wanted, but eventually he found the strength to be himself. After Zachary is released from the hospital, the two men pursue the attraction between them. But there are hurdles for them to face. Zachary has flashbacks to the night he was hurt, and Teegan has parents who would prefer he hide his sexuality forever. Not to mention a young daughter.
There is a sweet love story between Teegan and Zachary, but it’s also a story of courage and self acceptance. I love the supporting characters, most who have appeared in other books and I love the addition of Teegan’s ex wife who is super supportive of him. The employees at Hamburger Mary’s are a family and I love how they all support each other also. I definitely recommend this story as well as the whole series.
9/10 Pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Brandon Witt’s outlook on life is greatly impacted by his first eighteen years of growing up gay in a small town in the Ozarks, as well as fifteen years as a counselor and special education teacher for students with severe emotional disabilities. Add to that his obsession with corgis and mermaids, then factor in an unhealthy love affair with cheeseburgers, and you realize that with all those issues, he’s got plenty to write about….
Visit Brandon’s webpage: http://www.brandonwitt.com/
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