The Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TasteOfInk[The]LGThe Taste of Ink by Francis Gideon
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
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Trevor Dunn has never gone to the Calgary Stampede, in spite of living in the city all his life. He would much rather listen to music and draw comics in his basement than hang out with a bunch of cowboys. When his sister drags him to the Stampede’s opening parade anyway, Trevor is drawn to a cowboy sporting a green hat.

Charlie opens Trevor’s mind to the world of country music and country boys. But then an old flame appears in the middle of the festival and Trevor is torn. He adores Charlie, but Mathieu—a punk singer turned acoustic crooner—was Trevor’s first love, and Trevor lost him by being too afraid to chase the dreams they shared.

When the Stampede ends, Charlie will go back to Toronto, Mathieu will go back on tour, and Trevor will go back to his basement. Realizing that’s not what he wants, Trevor enters a mechanical bull-riding contest in hopes of winning the heart of his true love—or maybe both of them. This time, fear won’t stop him from going after what he wants.

four-stars

Me and this book, we bonded. Oh boy did we bond and bond and bond again. We bonded so much that I feel as if I could tell you about it, or keep it to myself because you know, bonding is personal.

I’ll try to find a midway point and try to make sense.

When the book came passing through my radar, the cover hooked me and then I read the blurb. There would be music, there would be a punk rock singer and there would be a character who has a second chance at either love, or the future he really desires or a blend of them both. That character, his name is Trevor Dunn and he could by my new BFF if only he were real.

Sigh.

Trevor, I liked and GOT him immediately and wanted to learn everything about him. From his instinctual denial to attend the Calgary Stampede with his sister to his giving in and being right there with him as he experiences the parade and all it has to offer, including clowns *shivers* I loved being in his head. When Trevor sees the man in the green cowboy hat – aka Charlie – I was ready for him to take that first step toward something new.

The first encounter with Charlie was totally memorable. I like how ALL of him was described and the cowboy is deliciously dirty. Charlie is into Trevor and in town for Stampede so why don’t they just hang out for 10 days and see what they can get up to?  But while we get Trevor finding some quick ground with Charlie, we learn about Trevor’s first love Mathieu and I was instantly torn.

and it’s all in how you mix the two
and it starts just where the light exists
it’s a feeling that you cannot miss
and it burns a hole through everyone that feels it 

~ The Used, Blue and Yellow

We are old from the blurb that Mathieu comes back into Trevor’s life and when he does, with songs about heartbreak, I was a goner. I read through my fingers wondering how it was going to go down, the first face to face meeting with these two after that fateful night Trevor couldn’t move forward with his life and their relationship. I felt awful that I wanted these two back together after knowing so little about their past and I felt guilty that Charlie was there waiting.

Charlie, he is such a patient man with wisdom and simply this essence that makes you fall for him. You want him to want what Trevor wants and yet you admire his live in the moment attitude. The time Trevor spent with Charlie was read with an underlined feeling of anxiety for me. I was counting the days until the Stampede and the end of this “let’s see where it goes” deal right along with Trevor. But while I loved the two together, I am a sucker for second chances with first loves and I selfishly needed the Mathieu deal to happen.

I enjoyed the way the story was told and how we get bits and pieces of each man’s past revealed. I couldn’t tell you who I wanted Trevor with more because at different parts of the book, I felt different ways and kudos to the author keeping me spinning. The presence of the mechanical bull was a fun treat with its reason, resolve and respect for the story.  Plus, I mean;  men riding a bull, gripping their spread thighs tight around an object while biceps strain and torso’s become taught with the fight to not be thrown,  is hella hot. I’m not afraid to admit that.

Songs become meaningful when they’re meaningful to other people.

The music in this was what connected me to the characters. I am a self-proclaimed music nerd and I loved that bands I saw live in my early 20’s were mentioned as well as country artists I knew though I don’t listen to much of the genre. I mean, I think everyone kinda goes through a country phase and I hit mine in the late 90’s. I love the bits of music we get and how they give added depth to the characters as well as let them bond over a shared love.

The Taste of Ink for me, is full of allegories and metaphors, which I found engaging. If you look between the lines, look behind the lyrics, beyond the bull riding and just LOOK, you see more than the words on the page. You get a fully loaded romance of complex characters who find out the blend of the right colors, is worth being temporarily stained.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

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