Author: Caitlin Ricci
Rating: Three Petals
On the Author's website:
At seventeen, Jamie was cursed to always have his inner thoughts exposed as a tattoo across his neck for all the world to see. He lost his home, his family, and his relationship with his best friend when the tattoo outed him.
More than a decade later, he's a successful porn star who loves his life and never once thought about returning to the horse farm he grew up on. But his boss wants to do a shoot with him where he grew up, and Jamie can't say no.
I received this book as an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Despite being cursed by a tattoo that tells the world everything Jamie is thinking, Jamie has made a very successful life for himself as a porn star. Then his boss decides to do a photo shoot at a horse ranch, except the ranch is the home Jamie was thrown out of at seventeen for being gay.
I do admit I hesitated before choosing this book to review because of how much I didn't enjoy a previous story I had read by this author. However, I've had good luck lately with authors showing wonderful improvement in their writing ability, so I decided to give this book a chance too. My luck did hold because Ricci's writing improved. I very hesitantly gave this story an extra petal because of it. The awkward, choppy, and poorly fleshed out writing style from before has begun to smooth out in this book and I commend Ricci for the hard work.
I think the magic in this book exemplifies what Ricci still needs to work on the most. I was expecting something interesting what with the magical tattoo on Jamie's neck, but it didn't deliver. The explanation of how Jamie got the tattoo was rushed and offhand, as if the one thing that horribly altered Jamie's life was an afterthought to him. Readers saw none of the struggle Jamie had to go through because of it. Instead we're given the aftermath when Jamie's apparently forgotten all about the tattoo except when the tattoo's existence can be trotted out to provide Jamie with a memory of past drama. Something that pivotal should have been much more central to the entire story.
Additionally, none of the magic in the world is ever explained. Jamie runs into a fae at some point as a seventeen year old and the fae curses him. Readers are left wondering whether fae are a common occurrence in the world. Since Jamie never seems surprised by the magic I'm wondering if magic is common as well, but as there's no other instance in the entire story of magic usage I can't say that for certain. I think this book would have been better served without the magic entirely.
This book did show a lot of improvement in Ricci's writing abilities, however the story still felt short. It needed more explanation and more depth to every single aspect. The story would also have been better served without any magic in it. I therefore cannot recommend it.
Maggie reviews paranormal and fantasy novels and novellas. She also interviews authors and hosts giveaways.