Steven has a large port-wine stain on his face that makes him feel like a monster and he’s nervous about what Tamara will think one she sees him in person. Tamara has struggled as a woman in the male dominated gaming entertainment world and she doesn’t want anyone to control her life.
I love nerdy beta heroes, so I really enjoyed Steven even when he was self conscious about his birthmark. I married a nerd so I love books that embrace that type of character and Sidney Bristol really committed to the theme and you can tell she’s a gamer herself. I liked how relevant the culture was in this book, from cosplay, to Youtube shows, to Reddit, it was very relevant to the current internet landscape.
Most of Tamara and Steven’s relationship is developed prior to the start of the book. I would have preferred to have seen more of this so that as the reader we can better understand why their feelings for each other are so strong. They do most of the discovery part of a relationship online and the reader doesn’t get to experience any of this.
The female friendship between the 4 girls is also really nice because it’s real and honest and makes you want to call up your closest friends and just talk. I really appreciated how therapy and having a therapist is portrayed in this book. It’s not something to be ashamed of and not something that needs to be kept secret. Tamara and her friend, Piper, both see a therapist regularly and it’s discussed with their friends like its no big deal. Which is really nice because lots of people get therapy for a variety of reasons and that’s perfectly normal.
Though Bristol’s writing doesn’t come across as preachy it still feels like she had a checklist of feminist/social injustices women face and she was attempting to put all of them in her book. I have nothing against having a feminist theme in a book but this one just had too many. We have a heroine that’s been raped at a Con and is then villainized online for reporting it, a female friend that’s been stalked, a female friend that’s had intimate photos and videos put online after a breakup. Our heroine is fired from a job when she turns down the advances of her male coworker, she’s hit on aggressively at the beach, she’s harassed by her ex-coworker, she gets her butt grabbed while taking a selfie at a Con, she’s sexualized because she’s an Asian woman in gaming and has a larger than average cup size, and she gets in a “don’t tell me how to feel/how to demand self-respect/to man-up” fight with Stephen. I understand that all of these things happen to women, and sometimes frequently, but having them all experienced in a book that was less than 180 pages was a bit ridiculous. Bristol could have focused on 2 or 3 and really explored those issues and given them the page time they deserved instead of glancing over a dozen or more.
At this time, I will not be continuing with this series.
••• Book Details •••
Gone Geek #1 • Romance, Contemporary • Inked Press • September 6, 2016
Professor Steven Kipper is used to the stares, the muttered insults. Monster. Disgusting. Gross. It’s all he’s ever known. Relationships suck when his date won’t even go out in public with him, which is why he hasn’t bothered. That is until her. The woman on the internet who gets his every quirk. He’s hooked on a person he’s never met. The way she gets his jokes, the uninhibited sexuality and…just talking to her. She’s everything he’s ever wanted, only she’s a stranger. Unless he can convince her they should unplug and take their virtual relationship off-line.
Tamara Roh has heard all the insults from slut to whore and they bore her. She refuses to let other people define her. Life’s tough in the gaming industry, and if she can’t handle a few insults the haters will chew her up and spit her out. Her only haven is with her friends and in one very explicit chat room. On-line she can be anyone she wants to, even the normal girl-next-door who just happens to get off on dirty talk, erotic gifs and video chats from the neck down. She might not be able to trust guys in real life to see past the Hot Asian Girlfriend stereotype, but with her internet beau anonymity is her safety net. The only problem is…she’s falling for a man who thinks she’s someone else.