Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Release Day Review ~ Mascara & Bandages (Mary's Boys #3) by Brandon Witt (Giveaway)

Title: Mascara & Bandages
Series: Mary's Boys: Book Three
Author: Brandon Witt
Release Date: July 12, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 121

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.
Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.
The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

Mascara & Bandages is Book 3 in Brandon Witt's Mary's Boys novella series. These books could probably be read as standalones but I don't think you'll get the full enjoyment of Mary's or all of its characters if you didn't read all these novellas in the appropriate order. The author has built an entire world in this story, and you really should do it justice by reading all of them! And they're novellas, so you could easily just read them all in a day!

In the previous books, we were introduced to Zachary but didn't know much about him except he was the new drag queen at Hamburger Mary's. Outside of Hamburger Mary's, he leads a very solitary life. He had wonderful, supportive parents, but has lost both of them at a young age. He lives alone and runs the bookstore his parents left him. He's very shy, but when he becomes Ariel Merman, he's brought out of his shell. Unfortunately, on his way home from Mary's he comes to the attention of three men who have been targeting gay men and Zachary ends up hospitalized in bad condition. When he's finally awake and needs the support, he learns that his friends at Mary's are his family as they band together to take care of him. But Zachary has a new member to add, the doctor who treated him at the hospital, Teegan. Teegan has just recently come out to his family, and with some work, he and his ex-wife have maintained their friendship and family for their daughter. Teegan accepts that he's gay, but he's never acted on his feelings and he can't get Zachary out of his mind.

This series is just full of characters! I've loved every member of Hamburger Mary's that we've met. They live life to the fullest and express their love to each other. Some seem so crazy and over the top (ManDonna), but I wouldn't have them any other way! Zachary was heartbreaking in his loneliness but with the help of the Mary's group and Teegan, he learns how to let others in his life and love the family he's become a part of. Teegan was the perfect man, to be honest. He's a doctor so he's able to understand what Zachary is experiencing after his beating; he's open to a relationship and he's not afraid to be with a man. He's unafraid to tell his parents about Zachary, even though he knew how they would react and that he would lose them. Teegan is comfortable with himself and accepts himself and I think that makes a big difference with a character.

I loved this story and it may be my favorite of the series so far, but there was some horrific violence in the story that was hard to read. And, not that I don't read books with violence, but there was something about this that was harder for me. I cried through the attack on Zachary and his conversation with Teegan regarding his medical issues. The author did such a great job writing this whole novella that my heart broke for what Zachary was undergoing and I was so happy for him to get his HEA. I highly recommend you read this series, it just continues to get better with each new addition!

Rating: 5++++ stars!

5 Stars 

New drag queen Ariel Merman aka Zachary Cooper is finally coming into his own and finding a family at Hamburger Mary's, when he is the victim of a homophobic assault. Waking up in the hospital bruised and broken he meets his surgeon Dr. Teegan Chau and Zachary feels some of his good fortune return.

Teegan is lost after divorcing his wife and coming out, but he feels an attraction to his patient he can't deny. Zachary steps up and asks Teegan on a date, but that was the easy part, the challenges that they face will make it hard on their growing love.

This is book 3 of the Mary's Boys series and Mascara and Bandages is my favorite so far!! Zachary is so sweet and loving, but is struggling with the aftermath of his assault. Zachary was finding a family at Hamburger Mary's and learning he wasn't alone. As Ariel Merman he was exposing a new side of himself, learning to be more confident. At least when he was Ariel he felt in control. The things that make him feel inadequate as Zachary are the same features that make Ariel come alive.

Teegan is feeling lost and after treating yet another victim of a homophobic assault he finds himself drawn to Zachary. Teegan understands the extent of his injuries and the trauma Zachary went through and is willing to go as slow as needed to make Zachary feel safe again. Teegan had troubles of his own with his family, his ex-wife was great after their divorce and him coming out, but his parents want him to deny who he truly is.

Zachary and Teegan face so many daunting issues and come out stronger, together. You can really feel the strength it takes for Zachary to deal with his assault and Teegan with his family. As their love emerges slowly you know they have an emotional bond that will just continue to grow.

The side characters of Hamburger Mary's are absolutely a family! I love seeing how Cody and Darwin and Vahin and Marlon are doing. ManDonna is a scene stealer of course, and Pat mothers over them all. The ending will leave you not only wanting more for Zachary and Teegan, but waiting impatiently for Steven's story. As much as I have loved the Mary's Boys series Mascara and Bandages has moved to the top of my list as the favorite! Another amazing story from Brandon Witt.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*

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  1. Thanks for the review post. The books with drag queen that stay in my head are Melanie Hansen's Spectrum Nights series though the character was more a supporting role than main one. As for books with doctor character, I love Josh Lanyon's I Spy series with an older doctor character.

  2. I loved Brandon Witt's Under a Sky of Ash which features ManDonna as a supporting character.

  3. My favourite book has to be T J Klune's "Tell Me It's Real" drag Queen Helena Handbasket wounderful character.

  4. My favorite book with a drag queen was Heidi Cullinan's Tough Love.

  5. Thanks for the great review. I like the Hamburger Mary's setting in this series - I have some fond memories. For a fav, I'm going back to a sort of cult classic, Franny, the Queen of Provincetown by John Preston. It ended up being pub by Stonewall Inn Classics, so check it out. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  6. believing blue by Nicole colville

  7. Not so much a drag but a cross-dresser, I like Rose is Rose by Jet Mykles. I LOVE Josh Lanyon's "I Spy" series which feature a doctor

  8. I just lovr this story so much. Must read. What great review. Thanks for sharing