Review of Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood

Keeping Sweets (Newport Boys, #1)Keeping Sweets by Cate Ashwood

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2 stars

Evan is a young man whom life has dealt quite a few hard knocks. At 18 he has finished high school and have been accepted to college on a scholarship. Unfortunately he is broke and on his own, so he needs to find a summer job in order to earn enough for living expenses when school starts. He finds an ad for adult modelling and gets the job.

Brandon is a veteran porn actor at 27. He is going to be trying his hand at directing off screen as well as participating on screen in the studios newest project.

The two develop a relationship during the 3 weeks of filming at the beach house. But they both know, that this relationship cannot go anywhere after the filming.

Beware: Spoilers  and rants ahead!!!
Hmm… This was not a story for me. I can normally suspend beliefs with the best of them, but in this story there were just some things that I couldn’t get on board with. Unfortunately two of those things were the characters, so this was really an uphill struggle for me to finish.

The writing and editing was fine, the story overall nicely paced. The story itself sweet and romantic in places – in spite of the porn setting. There were a few discrepancies here and there, but not enough to throw you out of the story. So really, nothing much to put a finger on there.

But… I really didn’t like it unfortunately.

Probably because there were too many of my least favorite plot devices at work. There was insta-love – which I do not believe in and do not particularly enjoy – and a total lack of communication between the characters. Not miscommunication but NO communication. They simply decided NOT to talk to each other. And the use of the unfortunate trope: the possessive alpha male and his pure virgin bride. I really do not enjoy this trope, not in MF and certainly not in MM. I do not mind virginity, but showcased in this way it becomes kind of annoying: Evan wouldn’t use a plug, because he wanted Bran to be “the first”!

Evan. Evan was young. Not that I mind his age as such, 18 is an adult, yes, when it comes to decisions such as having sex on screen in front of strangers for example. But being 18, broke, alone and homeless is not a good place to be when choosing a partner. It didn’t feel like love to me. It felt like infatuation and idolization of the first man Evan had sex with, an older good looking more experienced man. And the whole: “I want nothing between us” – scene made me very angry! You want to have unprotected sex with a man you have known for a few days, a man who has had sex with several hundreds if not thousands of men? good call mate!

Bran. Bran must have been the most unprofessional person I have ever heard of. I get that he was madly in love with Evan. But surely, after having spent all this time informing the reader of how professional the guy was, how sex was just going through the motions, how good he was at it, how the Studio owner called him “boss”, because Bran kind of always ended up being the one who made the calls… after all these things, it just seemed so incredibly out of character how the guy behaved on the shoot!

There was supposed to be a “vision” for this shoot. It was supposed to be “more real” because the guys lived together for almost a month. And yet, except for the drinking on the very first night, this vision is not upheld. We have straight up porn scenes, in settings not related to what the guys are actually doing at the house. We have all of the guys introduced – including a bit of back story on each and after that they are barely mentioned again. This was disappointing.

Except for hearing Bran calling “action” a few times, he does NO directing. He isn’t even present for a lot of the shoots. He does no editing, not even after returning home. Apparently the studio owner is happy for all that raw film to just sit and stew for 4 months? Come on! This is a business, people. They posted videos of the guys on the site prior to the shoot, as appetizers for the “big event”. They speak of funding in the beginning – surely they need to get this film done and out? That really annoyed me no end!

I was disappointed that the author didn’t run with the innocence vs porn theme. There was so much potential for awkwardness and funny and some great sex mixed with embarrassment as Evan was to fuck his way through 6 different guys on the shoot. Instead Evan only gets to have sex with Bran and shows some remarkable natural skills – complete pro at deep throating for example – for a guy who had never even kissed anyone when the book started.
The ending was cheesy but sweet, the guys get their HEA and everyone can go home happy, although the “The only thing he was passionate about was helping young people” came completely out of left field for me! huh? When has this EVER been mentioned in the story so far?

I would recommend this to people who doesn’t mind cheesy romance and who likes their heroes pure and overly sweet. But if you were hoping for a bit of grit and a look at the porn industry through the eyes of a babe I would advise you stay away. It is just too shiny to be real.

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