Audio Review: Renae Kaye – Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You #2)

twunkAuthor: Renae Kaye
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: Mm Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 


Narrator: Joel Leslie

Summary: Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

Review: First off I have to admit, I’ve never read the book before this one, Loving Jay. And I know I’m going to be in the minority here but I don’t think I will read it because Jay drove me up a wall! He and his boyfriend, Liam, are the stars of the first book in the series, Loving Jay, and they make quite a few appearances here and Jay just, well, annoyed me! Yes, he had his good points and at times was a great friend but so often he came across as vapid. Luckily, this wasn’t the story of Jay and Liam, so I got to enjoy Kee and Tate.
Kee has been away from his friends, away from the club scene and away from anything social for a year, since his ex-boyfriend, Matt the Rat, used him as a punching bag and destroyed Kee’s faith in himself. You wouldn’t think it to hear it, because he comes across as very self-assured, but the rat did it. That was something that confused me a bit about this book – Kee talks about how twink/twink hookups don’t work, everyone is so indecisive, gives an example of that happening to him but honestly, he doesn’t come across that way at all. Yes, he’s a twunk now, but I couldn’t imagine him ever being anything else.
The twink/twunk/twank was also a bit annoying, just saying. Supposed to be funny, I think, but it got tiresome.
When Kee hooks up with “All in white” at the club, he’s a definite departure from Kee’s usual type. Tate is very fashionable, slim, polished and has a problem of his own that I didn’t think got addressed as it should have. If you are going to have a character with an eating disorder, it needs to be given more. . But the bigger focus is on Kee and dealing with his past and loving on his present, Tate.
Kee has gotten bottoming (a former favorite pastime of his) tangled up with his abuse, more of a “…afraid I’m doing it wrong.” He struggles with it, as is expected. He and Tate are dealing with Tate’s eating issue, Kee’s past (which is faced unexpectedly on Tate’s birthday), Kee’s family and the whole new relationship thing. Kee does mention how difficult his family can be but Tate handled that like a master. “Oh My God!!!” I laughed at that because Tate normally doesn’t come across as, in Tate’s words, “…a flaming femme…” but he does it well.
Let’s talk about Joel Leslie doing the Australian accent. I was actually sort of shocked when the book started (no, I hadn’t read where it was set) and I’ve listened to Joel many times in the past and adore his voice. This sounded like a completely different person and I had to admit, I was impressed by that. He did a great job differentiating the voices (something I always look for in an audio as there is nothing more confusing than listening to a book and never knowing who is talking).
I liked this story and these two guys, who are not perfect but are perfect for each other.

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