Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell
Publication Date: June 2, 2017
Publisher: Megtino Press
Rating: ★★★★★/ 5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, m/m relationship
My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.
Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.
But we still hate each other. I think.
Zane: Wait. Do you think I fucked someone else and then had a Greek feast? Like, you think Mr. Greek is real?
Beau: Okay, no.
Zane: I’m screaming lmao. You’re jealous of a fake version of you!
Trigger Warning: Slutshaming (that’s challenged on page) and Beau’s had a manipulative relationship in the past that rears its ugly head.
It is with the heaviest heart that I start writing this review because it’s for the last available book in this incredible series. While Cyberlove is a collection of stand-alone stories that contain incredibly written characters, the entire series is such a welcome reprise from heteronormative NA series out there. Today is kind of a shitty day when it comes to m/m romance especially since there are books out there who get the queer experience so wrong yet have a fanbase that consists of diehard fans who’d support it no matter how problematic the book is yet there is Cyberlove which is made with such carefulness and love and yet there are less than 1500 ratings and even less than 450 reviews on Goodreads. I don’t understand this at all. If you’re going to read queer stories, why not read good queer stories? Never mind this. I’ll just go back to my Cyberlove cocoon of love where my queer babies are respected and given all the love and care they deserve by Megan and Santino (my new best friends.)
Again, if reading these reviews did not make you want to read these series: Shame On Me. Also: If you do read them, you’ll have me, Sil, Leah (the bae), and Tristina as your friends because hello we are like starting a fan club of the cyberlove books.
As we’ve seen them in Hard Wired, Beau Starr and TrashyZane are polar opposites of the YouTube queer scene and their antagonism is clear as day. What is also clear is that there is this tension between them that anyone with a soft spot for enemies-to-lovers trope will appreciate.
But maybe I’d always been a mess. I was just excellent at covering it up with a smile.
First of all, Beau is 100% me because this man literally is a mess who puts on a whole persona for other people. He is all positivity and social justice, which I ate up! I never related to a character as much as I did to Beau whose level of paranoia got me so emotional!
What starts off between them as a harmless “Who?” by Beau develops into Zane throwing a thirty minutes long rant about Sugarless Vanilla Ice-cream Beau Starr (I’m exaggerating the 30 minutes part but my child Zane is extra like his parent… me…) which puts the two YouTubers on the radar for other gossip channels who try and find out what the heck is going on between the two. While Beau is remorseful of what happened, Zane is not so quick to forgive… Beau’s implied slut shaming comes too close to home especially since Zane’s family has never been very accepting of his sex-positive lifestyle.
He’s showed up at my apartment buck naked under a trench coat, and it was the single most romantic thing anyone had ever done for me.
What neither of the two plan is the one night they succumb to after a good heady argument in a bar after a long day at a con (the same one where Ian and Jesse made their debut as POWER COUPLE) and how that one night can never leave their minds.
With their lives so heavily watched by their combined 3.5 million subscribers, Zane and Beau construct a reluctant casual relationship in which each gets their frustrations expelled in the healthiest way they can find: sex. Slowly, in true Megtino manner (that’s Megan+Santino), the two develop this camaraderie that left me smiling for HOURS as I read through their texts. It was delightful to read the way they behaved around one another in the presence of other people in real life versus each other with the combination of so much angst exploded in their faces by 80% of the novel.
Mature Content comes with a great deal of minor characters that play a role in Zane and Beau’s relationship. There’s Team Zane consisting of: Miguel and Deb (cuties who need their own book), his childhood friend Gail (there are others whose names I forgot, I apologize) and surprisingly Lyrix aka Dante who comes to the rescue at one point. Team Beau consists of: Jesse of course, which also means a reluctant Ian who’d rather be on Zane’s team… and we all know he’s lowkey Team Zane, and Chanel, the transgender makeup guru… who needs her own f/f book NOW. While the cast sounds big, there is a great heft of concentration on how Zane and Beau break down the misconceptions that have accompanied both men in their lives once they got into the spotlight of being Gay on YouTube.
“Most of the fun is knowing how much you want me to hold you down and do what I want. To know you trust me enough to do so.”
There’s an element of soft-core BDSM that satisfied me to no end since it was based on consent and making one another feel good and accepted. It involved: tying of wrists, blindfolds and real gentle spanking. There is also a good deal of Zane and Beau talking about the effect their careers had had on their familial lives. Zane is also Jewish and Beau is just the sweetest when he makes sure all the food he orders for them to eat is A-Okay for Passover.
We also have a villain! I say villain very loosely. He’s mostly just jealous and petty and loves to start drama: Lush. In his attempt to Start Shit, this guy basically acts like the biggest investigator and analyzes the smallest of things that Zane and Beau do everywhere… basically like stans on twitter… heh…
A huge applause to Megtino for capturing the essence of being on social media because not a second went without me feeling like I was reading a book directed at people my age. I have no qualms about re-reading some scenes whenever I’m sad because in Mature Content, I’ve found this solace from all the shit in life.
Beau burst out laughing, and his eyes twinkled. It was sick how handsome he was already, but when he laughed like that… butterflies exploded in my stomach, and tingles spread through me. Danger, danger.
Big same at Zane. (Does that rhyme?)
Things I enjoyed in Mature Content:
- Zane ranting about fuckboys
- Beau being the sweetest irl but a softcore DOM in the bedroom ;^)
- Zane’s trashy outfits… each and every one of them
- The Touch My Body Challenge. I need footage… unedited… please.
- Beau calling Jesse and Ian LOVEBIRDS. Pure.
- Hate-to-love not only slowburn but centering on unlearning prejudices and allowing them to apologize for shit they’ve said before.
- “I’m sorry if—“ “Bzzzz.” (Loose quote but yes! If YOU THINK SAYING I’M SORRY IF IS A REAL APOLOGY I’m sorry but bye)
- Zane’s hair. Every fucking strand of that little shit head’s hair is precious.
- Beau telling Zane not to wear underwear… Yes, I love crying.
- “Surprise Versatile” Leah would know its effect on me.
Really? You have not tried any of the Cyberlove books? For Reals? Come on! They’re gold! They’re diamonds! Please do yourself a favor and get all four books… I’m available for endless chats about how good they are…
About the Authors
Megan Erickson is a USA Today bestselling author of romance that sizzles. Her books have a touch of nerd, a dash of humor, and always have a happily ever after. A former journalist, she switched to fiction when she decided she likes writing her own endings better.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her very own nerdy husband and two kids. Although rather fun-sized, she’s been told she has a full-sized personality. When Megan isn’t writing, she’s either lounging with her two cats named after John Hughes characters or… thinking about writing.
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.
He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.