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By Barrie Farris
Read: June 2020
This was a great book! Let me get that out first and foremost. Not your standard gay m/m romance. Admittedly, I found writing a review for Ingenious to be difficult. The only reason, there is so much action packed into this book, I had a hard time avoiding too many spoilers.
You want a good read that will keep the page-turning set in a dystopian, sci-fi world with plenty of steamy scenes. This is the book for you.
Thank you, Barrie Farris!
The Story Line
A world that is at war with vines that are constantly invading The Triangle needs a great mind like Quiggs to help save it. The challenge is Quiggs is a man living in a world ruled by women. Men outnumber women dramatically, therefore they are kept in line by traditions and laws put in place by the Assembly of Ruling Mothers. With fortunes, land, inventions, and an impeccable pedigree, he can have his pick of wives and if he figures out how to beat the vines a seat at the Assembly (despite being a man). First, he needs to graduate from the academy.
After entering into a marriage contract that limited his personal contact with other men or women he was caught in a compromising situation just days before his intended marriage. Of course, he was caught by his fiancée and her three fathers. Albeit, the compromising situation was not what it had seemed, despite his pleas of “We were only saying hello”. But it was too late, the wheels were already in motion and while he avoided execution, he did lose his fortunes and reputation, ultimately was left to the concubine lottery.
His master is a well-regarded soldier. While he is a man with some power, he is also at the mercy of the laws, traditions, and the Assembly of Ruling Mothers. Not to mention, not well-liked by the Governor or the entire First Family.
Here is where the romance begins its slow build, BUT also where the excitement really takes off! There was an assassination attempt on Quiggs (or two); a kidnapping by ferals, a rescue, an important technological discovery, execution orders, an unborn child, a reward of gold…and more….it will surely keep you turning the pages to see what happens next.
What Did I Love
Ingenious is a romance story that is well told and moved at a quick pace. Well-rounded characters that develop and grow throughout the book (in some cases, literally). You could not help but feel for them. I found myself yelling at my e-reader at one-point because I found myself emotionally involved with one of the characters during a particularly exciting part of the book. (Sorry, I am trying to do too many spoilers here).
When it comes to world building, Barrie did it with ease and kept it engaging. Many authors do all that up front and it is easy to lose interest in a book where the first half of it is telling you about it. She gave you the nuggets of information when you needed to know it, in the moment, which kept the story moving and engaging.
I did enjoy the build of the romance and relationship. At first, I thought it went from zero to love immediately. However, on continuing the book, it was clear that they were still building the relationship, trust, and adjusting their lives to accommodate each other.
What Did I Not Care For
Truthfully, I cannot think of anything that I would change or did not care for specifically. Which is odd for me, I am generally a pretty opinioned person (as you can see from some of my other reviews).
JUST A QUICK WARNING NOTE: Just because I do not have anywhere else to put this…I will take a moment to call out a possible trigger for some. This story does contain concubines. In the real world, any type of sexual servitude is wrong, and the book does not glamourize it. It is well presented as part of the culture of this fictional society and a choice provided to go in that direction while in school. The book even illustrated how they were well cared for and held in esteem by their lovers. I felt it was well presented but wanted to call it out for those this could trigger.
Why I Recommend the Book
Despite this novel being a slowly built romance story, don’t worry there is plenty of physical sex happening, given the world that Barrie created. I could not quite figure out if it is an HFN ending or a HEA ending; I guess just like real life, in romance or otherwise. For the purpose of this review, I will say it is a Happily-Ever-After ending, with a clear continuation of the story in the last few lines of the book….Well play Ms. Farris!!
About the Author: Barrie Farris
Barrie is a first-time author. After falling in love with the m/m gay romance genre, she made the decision to sit down and write her first book. In my talks with her, she even gives this advice: “Just sit down with your coffee and just start writing”. Barrie says she has no issues getting that first draft done, but she really enjoys the process of going back to “polish” it, which coincidently seems to take the most time.
She is in the final stages of her second book, Intuitive, which she thinks will be released in October. Thou she was clear: “it will be ready when it is ready”. She is not planning to compromise a great story by rushing it out the door. As she says at the end of Ingenious: Beau deserves a story.
I look forward to more great things to come from Barrie!!
Check out her profile on Good Reads: Barrie Farris on Good Reads
Her Facebook Page is Barrie Farris.
Now she did forewarn, she is not super active on Facebook, but plans to once her second book is out.
Coffee Talk with Barrie!
Given my addiction to coffee (everyone remembers I have 3 kiddos and a day job as well, right?), my blog has this coffee themed undertone to it. Therefore, I reached out to Barrie to ask about her caffeine preferences. Happy to report, she is someone after my own heart: Cold Brew Coffee!
While in the morning, she is a hot tea person, she does have a rather specific coffee drink she makes for her afternoons. Starting with Starbucks Cold Brew (which is around the corner from her), she blends 1 cup of it with half a cup of low-fat milk. Adds 1 tablespoon of half and half, a dab of vanilla extract, and 2 Sweet-n-Lows, poured over ice. She sips that all afternoon, refilling as necessary.
Barrie is on the lookout for a good cold brew…. Starbucks seems to get it right, but she has not found the right bean for homebrew yet…. Please feel free to comment below on suggestions, I will pass them along as we talk!
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- I DID NOT receive a copy of this book from the author or publisher. I purchased it outright.
- All these opinions are mine and I received NO compensation for this review.
- This post contains affiliate links. They are no cost to you but help to keep my little site afloat. Check out my disclosure.
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