Review: Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video, Book #2)

Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video, #2)
"This gamer geek has a lacy little secret."

Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he's recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he'll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

 Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you're sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

 Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what's on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn't like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he's not all man?

Quick! Can you find me 5 published MM books featuring both a Chinese and Inuit romance lead? I'll wait...

*starts filing nails*

Couldn't find any? Maybe one closer to none? I KNOW. The popular MM romances tend to lean towards the less diverse main characters - white, hunky males with monster packages. You'd think in this diverse world we live in that there would be a better representation of all different cultures and ethnicities that are out there. There are authors that have tried, some fail epically in a stereotypical way (not going to name any names but there's a certain one that comes to mind) and sometimes, you can hit paydirt with an author who knows how write characters as real life people, with normal flaws and issues and not make it about their culture.

I have found this with Heidi Belleau.

She writes characters realistically with different backgrounds (actually researched about her characters' ethnicity), three dimensional feel and diversity. Thank you. She gives good...characterization. ;D

Now getting my kudos for her having two minority romantic leads out of the way, I'll get to my thoughts of "Wallflower", book #2 of the Rear Entrance Video series.

It's quirky. If I had to give a one word description, that would be it.

The series could be read as standalone but trust me, you're going to want to read book #1, Christian and Max's story was an interesting one. Happy we get to see them as secondary characters in "Wallflower". Book #2 is Christian and Max's housemate's story, Robert Ng. Here's a little introduction about Mr. Ng:

"I'm Rob Ng. That's N-G pronounced like I-N-G. Ng. I'm nineteen--"crushing on my straight male roommate who won't so much as glance at me "--in first year, just graduated high school." And I wish I was a girl.
Robert is first generation Chinese-Canadian, an art major freshman, hasn't fully come out of the closet and extremely shy. He internalizes...a lot, he is the wallflower you might ignore or not quite remember if you meet him. Which is fine for Rob because in his downtime, he plays video games and gets to pretend with his alter ego, the extrovert to his eternal introvert, his feminine side...the fun Bobby.
And besides, Rob wasn't a girl. Wasn't born one, not physically and not even on the inside. He just liked...playing one. Dressing up as one.
At nineteen, Robert is still exploring and learning about himself. He has more fun as Bobby, makes some mistakes but his still young right? Plus he works at a porn/sex toy store, Rear Entrance Video which as Rob was intimidating but for Bobby...well just imagine. And Rob happens to meet six foot tall Inuit, fellow art major, Dylan Ford. He's adopted, out and proud, has white parents, a major chip on his shoulder for being a Sixties Scoop kid (don't know what a Sixties Scoop kid is? I didn't either but it's an interesting yet disheartening fact) and the owner of one very smart mouth. But he's charismatic and draws both Rob and Bobby's attention. Rob...he struggles throughout the book to try to find himself, a balance into the mixed up world he's in. Sometimes I wanted to hug him...other times give him a (light) boot in the arse. He did take the coward's way most of the time.

I like being a guy. I just like being a girl sometimes too. And not just as a sex thing, which I think is an important distinction? Or feels like it should be? I guess I'm both. Guy and girl. But more guy.
Dylan and Robert meet at Rear Entrance and share a class together. The sparks...I guess they flew. Their match was definitely an insta-love feel. The sex was hot, the dirty talk and alley sex scene definitely gets my vote for the hotness factor. But I have to comment on the suddenness of their feelings and some of the actions Rob takes. This kid has a lot of social issues and quirks so some of his choices seemed so out of the box for him. Maybe he could say it was a Bobby fueled behavior but at the end of the day Bobby and Rob are still one person. And I have to compare Dylan/Rob to Max/Christian. The couple from the first book is much more believable when comparing this book's couple. At the end of Wallflower, it was nice...the men say the right words I just had a harder time fully believing the longevity of their relationship.

This book gave a lot of focus to Robert/Bobby soul searching, the Dylan pairing felt rushed at times. I wanted to know more about the mouthy comic book artist. He was really good for Robert, very understanding, patient. I just wished I could have read some of his POV. The story is a good one, I enjoyed the secondary characters and storyline. I learned a bit about Canadian culture too. There was a nice twist at the end, a HEA with insta-love. A difficult topic (gender identity) handled with expert care that it was secondary to the rushed  "love you".

Check this book out. The writing is pretty good. Not as good as book #1, in my opinion...but damn close.

Am I checking more from the author? Affirmative.

Reading more of the series? (Please, pretty please let there be more) Definitely.

A copy provided for an honest review.

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  1. Yet another series to add to my tbr. I love the blog, but it is seriously gonna expand my list!

    1. I can't say we're not glad to help feed your TBR! (*whispers* You really are going to want to read this series) Thanks!