Sicken of the Calm by Marina Vivancos

sicken of the calm.jpgJoaquin would never forget the boy who came out in the middle of the school cafeteria when they were both fifteen. Would never forget his bright eyes and clenched fists, in defiance of the rest of the world. Ezra. His unapologetic bravery was something that would haunt Joaquin who, despite being the captain of his high school football team, was too reserved to come out before college, let alone approach the boy he admired from afar.

Joaquin is in his third year at Fox Lake University when he sees Ezra again. Joaquin expects the distance between them to remain unbreeched, but Ezra, as brash and impetuous as he was in high school, crashes into his life. At first, it’s just a shared class project, but it doesn’t take long for things between them to heat up. Before Joaquin knows what’s happening, he’s squirming on a chair as Ezra watches him jerk off, those clear, intent eyes pinning him in place. This starts a friends-with-benefits relationship with the aim of exploring a submissive and Dominant dynamic in bed, dipping a toe in the BDSM world together.

However, nothing is ever so simple. As their sexual relationship amps up, so does their friendship deepen, fed by those gentle moments after sex, underbelly-soft and vulnerable. As Joaquin gets to know Ezra better he realizes that his assumptions about who Ezra is, and even the assumptions he has made about himself, have to be challenged in order to break the cycles that may lead to their relationship breaking apart.

[This story contains plenty of banter, a fuckbuddies-to-more romance, and light, exploratory BDSM themes revolving around Dom/sub dynamics and kinks such as orgasm delay, praise kink and mild bondage. Although part of a series, this story can be read as a standalone with its own HEA.]

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*I received the book in exchange for an honest review*

Joaquin and Ezra are both students at the Fox Lake University, but to be honest, despite the part where they are studying for the exams, I never really got the impression of them being students. The book concentrates more on the characters themselves than on the surrounding. The only other really prominent character is Joaquin’s best friend Iva.

While Joaquin and Ezra knew of each other in high school but they never really interacted much. Yet when they bump into each other at the University, they end up exploring BDSM ‘thing’. It’s not a hardcore BDSM, and it is very consensual. The two even sit down at the beginning and discuss what they’d like or not.

I feel like most of the story was focused on sex, and while they were in a relationship, they were both very unaware of how they acted and kept thinking that they are only fuckbuddies. As I said, the story is actually mostly focused on the main characters, especially Joaquin. Later on, we get to know more about Ezra’s family life and his secrets, but that was just a small part of it. While sex scenes were well written, by the end of the book I was a bit tired of it and wanted more of an actual story.

Another thing that bothered me was the time progression. I was completely confused at some points, not having been able to determine how much time has passed between the events. It may have been the result of having been less concentrated on the book by the end, but that was something that bothered me.

It is a nice book, easy, with lots of sex scenes but not as much story around it as I have grown used to in many other books. It was worth the read but honestly not a book I’d reread too often.

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