Erryn reviews ‘Pretty Perfect (Boys in Makeup Book 1)’ by Christina Lee and Riley Hart. The ebook was published January 16, 2020 and was 261 pages. The audiobook version of this story was narrated by Michael Dean, released February 6, 2020 and is 7 hrs and 15 mins long. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read this book: I adore this writing duo.
After spending the first part of my life trapped in a small town where it wasn’t okay to be a makeup-wearing boy who liked boys, I swore I’d leave and never be anything but loud, proud, and unapologetically me. I’ve kept that promise. I’m following my dreams, have an apartment with my bestie, and get to dance my nights away at one of the hottest gay bars in Portland.
The only downfall is Dane, the sexy bartender with a perma-scowl always aimed my way. The tension between us is so strong that even the clubgoers notice, and they eat that stuff up. Our boss makes us dance on the bar together every Friday night. I might shake my booty a little more with Dane just because I love getting under his skin. It’s not my fault he doesn’t know how to have any fun, but I kind of want to teach him.
I got burned bad by my last boyfriend. Thankfully, my sister Bree and my niece Hailey make my days a whole lot brighter. I’m getting back on my feet, including a decent job as a bartender. But working in a gay club makes it harder to keep to myself. No way do I want to get reeled in by another charming, pretty face and get hurt again, and definitely not by someone like Jesse, whose audacity frustrates me to no end.
So, why do I want to shove him against the wall and screw that boldness right out of him?
Only, sometimes, he’s pretty sweet, especially with Hailey. As we go from enemies to angry hookups to friends, our feelings are changing and moving into uncharted territory. This can’t go anywhere. Jesse and I are like oil and water. We just don’t mix. Right?
Captain Crankypants and the Twink (an audio review)
Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes because, when done well, it’s fun. The best part? Snark. It’s not easy to have banter filled with snark but, again, when done well, it works. Pretty Perfect is pretty perfect. I get my snark, I get my hot angry sex, and I get my tender moments when things start coming together. I also get my dark moment when it looks like things won’t work out.
Jesse is the life of the party. He’s a twink who dances at a gay club in Portland. He counts on big tips to help pay for school, so he also has a serious side. Every Friday night, though, he gets on the bar and angry dances with Dane, the bartender. They do this twice, each set lasting one song, and it’s a favorite amongst the patrons. They love watching two men who obviously loathe each other have an angry dance. Dane and Jesse repeat the process over and over because the tips are amazing. Dane also needs the money, so he goes along with this, even though he hates doing it.
There are reasons why each man dislikes the other. Dane is, as Jesse names him, Captain Crankypants. Not in all things, to be sure, but his ex did quite a number on him, and Jesse reminds him of the man. Is this a fair comparison? Not really, but where love and hate are concerned, rationality often goes out the window. Jesse, for his part, comes across as a party boy who loves makeup and doesn’t take anything seriously. So, basically the opposite of Dane. These things come into conflict a number of times until the day they don’t.
Jesse and Dane run into each other outside of the club and suddenly each sees his nemesis in a completely new light. It takes a long time for each man to open up about why they are the way they are – Dane because of his ex and Jesse because of his family. Once they reach an understanding, things change. Oh, and the hot angry sex might be helpful as well. I loved Hailey, by the way. She’s the perfect reason for the two men to put aside their differences and work together.
The dynamics in this book were great. The character building was also well done. I felt like I knew these characters. Like I could be friends with them. Like when they were their true authentic selves that there was something redemptive about each of them. I also liked how we got to meet their families and see how those interactions shaped the men they’ve become.
Michael Dean (formerly Michael Pauley) narrated this story and I have to say I’m in love with him. He’s one of my favorites and for good reason – he always delivers a solid performance. When I see he’s narrating, I know I’m going to enjoy the audio. When the book is well written by two talented women, I know it’ll be time well spent. I also love that the next book has been set up. I can’t wait.
10/10 Pots of Gold – Compares to 5/5 Stars
Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic. A lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together. If she’s not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.
Riley lives in North Carolina with her awesome family, who she is thankful for everyday.
Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina Lee lives in the Midwest with her husband and son–her two favorite guys. She’s addicted to lip balm, coffee, and kissing. Because everything is better with kissing.
She writes MM Contemporary as well as Adult and New Adult Romance. She believes in happily-ever-afters for all, so reading and writing romance for everybody under the rainbow helps quench her soul.
You can find more info on her website: www.christinalee.net. From there you can link to her Facebook reader group called The Swoon Room as well as her IG account and newsletter.