Mature Content by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell w Poke Bowls and Chenin Blanc

MatureContent-f.jpgLet’s get the basics covered before we move on to more “in depth” coverage of the Beau and Zane Show:

  1. Hot as Hell, like with lots and lots of flames. Actually just listen to this song before you start (just think of it as the gay romance version of pre-gaming).
  2. Funny as Hell. Zane in particular is just that bit of extra extra I was hoping for.
  3. Vernacular and Pop Culture references ON POINT and a plenty (I personally find these very amusing), almost like a guided instruction of millenial lore.
  4. This universe keeps growing and I expect more Cyberlove is in our future.

So, this is the fourth book in the Cyberlove series  co-written by Santino Hassell and Megan Erickson and for all intents and purposes it was what I was hoping for. Entertaining, sweet when it needed to be, with a heavy dose of intense smut, and a happy ending that came about with a pretty swift resolution and didn’t leave me feeling on edge or ragey.  Like with the other books in this series, Megan and Santino took an interesting look at yet another part of the social media machine and how the players in it operate. I have to give it to them this series is so damn clever and fun, honestly how had no one done this before?!

OK before I get a bit more into the story, let’s talk food! For this book I was not sure what to make, there are some foodie moments, but I wanted to make something VERY SoCal and SUPER trendy, basically the edible version of Beau and Zane. I decided to go with Poke Bowls, if you have been to the West Coast recently or watched Food Network for longer than ten minutes in the last year, you will have heard of Poke. Poke is originally Hawaiian made with raw fish (tuna or salmon mostly) which is cut into large chunks and marinated with spices and soy sauce. I am CRAZY about poke and whenever I visit my BFF in Cali, he knows that my request will be to stop at “the good poke place.” Poke is delicious, easy to make and a slam dunk “impress your date” meal. It goes great with ANY dry white wine, I served mine with a lovely Chenin blanc, from one of my fave wineries Indaba from South Africa.  Chenin blanc has a more delicate taste and not the bite of a Sav blanc and goest great with fish or seafood was $8.99, it is a DEAL.

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Beau and Zane are explosive in all ways, in bed, on camera, on text, EVERYWHERE, they just crash into each other. Beau can’t stand Zane’s messiness he is crass and careless with his privacy, but what he hates the most is how open Zane is about it. He’s trashy and completely unrepentant about it. Beau is annoyed by it all and yet there is something about the way that Zane goes about his life, that makes it hard  for Beau to stay away.

Zane on the other hand sees Beau as nothing but a sanctimonious fake. He dismisses him as a hypocrite who is just trying to push his own internalized shame and hang ups on his viewers. To Zane, Beau has just fallen into the bullshit heteronormative trap that he refused to fall prey too.  Zane gets to say how he will live his life as a gay man, and he’s just no interested in hearing from anyone who wants to put labels on him or try to make him into someone he is not interested in being. And yet when they are together it all feels so right, so real, he keeps coming back even if he hates himself for it.

The funny thing with these two is ,they are both so black and white, they are one polar opposite ends and Judge Judying (gonna coin this one!) the hell out of each other, but when the clothes come off it is all PERFECT. They give each other exactly what they need. It’s a classic enemies to lovers trope done well, all with that sassy/edgy/clever combo that Megan and Santino achieve so well together.

There are  also moments of pretty insightful reflection on celebrity and how it transforms a person’s perception of themselves. All the things that it can take away as it gives you popularity or wealth. There were also so pretty important moments in there related to friendships and loyalty that made the book feel more grounded, and even a bit different in tone than the others.

If you like the fist four you will love this one. It’s exactly what I was expecting and I had a ton of fun reading. Can’t wait for the next one.

Now the recipe:

Poke Bowls (Serves 2)

2 cups of cooked brown rice (I made mine in the Instant Pot in 22 minutes, what was life before the Instant Pot?)

4 Oz of sashimi grade ahi tuna (if you have a sushi counter at your local grocery you can just ask for it and they will just sell you a chunk of tuna!)

1/4 of a sweet yellow onion VERY thinly sliced

3 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 teaspoon of sesame oil

dash of rice wine vinegar

1 1/1 teaspoon of honey

1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

2 sliced scallions

kosher salt to taste

black and golden sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Directions

Cut the tuna into 1/2 inch chunks, then mix in all the ingredients, except the sesame seeds. Let sit in fridge for 5 minutes before serving. Adjust soy sauce or salt if need.

Serve on top of rice, topped with sesame seeds and pickled ginger of the side. It makes an awesome meal for two!

Hope you enjoy the book, the wine and the recipe. They go GREAT together!

You can buy Mature Content HERE.

You can learn about the rest of the Cyberlove Series HERE.

You can learn more about Santino Hassell and his other work HERE.

You can learn more about Megan Erickson and more of her work HERE.

Enjoy your weekend guys! Cheers and Happy Reading!

Lauraa