This is one of those stories I had to think about. I truly enjoyed this one as I have enjoyed other books by this author. I was immediately taken in by the fact that the story was told in a "window view" way. Slice of life if you will. It has some of the same qualities as some of the manga I enjoy. Non taxing conflict. What I mean to say is that the conflict was not emotionally exhausting. More on that later.
The writing style is solid and easy on the mind. I really appreciate that when it comes to slice of life stories like this. As with Curious Beginnings, the author shows what is happening. No just telling the reader. This is a book about puppy play. What is that? Well, in the world of kink you have all types of discipline, submission, and dominance. This is a story about one of them.
On to the good stuff.
Nathan is a fascinating character. He reminds me of an absent minded professor. He is sweet, caring, and easily sidetracked. I love that. I am not quite that bad. I think my family is used to my getting sidetracked. That, and my filter works 95% of the time. What I like about Nathan is his innocence and curiosity. I am with him on that. Research the hell out of something and have your questions ready. Nathan stands up for himself. Even in his self-conscious, he stands up for what he believes in. He doesn't judge others. He accepts his friends for who they are. Even if one of them is an overbearing asshole.
Nathan is lost as to who is sexually and what he wants. It isn't a bad thing. The author gives us a little peep into Nathan's upbringing and that answers questions. The author handles this with the utmost tact and humility. She avoids the trope of traumatic upbringing. I thank her for that.
Gabriel is our sweet dominant. He is Nathan's roommate. While we really don't get his background, I don't think that it is needed. I like Gabriel in the present. I think adding the past would have cluttered his character in the here and now. He sees what Nathan needs, a keeper at first. But the longing t
hat Gabriel has seems a little one-sided until one morning he is found sleeping on the couch by Nathan.
Let's talk about the asshole. Allie. We all know someone like this. We just do. Judgmental to a damn fault, but we love them and all of their flaws. They just can't, won't, or don't return it the same way. Allie is the stereotypical judgy friend. While her heart might be in the right place, she is without a doubt a stereotypical female character. I wouldn't classify her as a bad guy, I would just say that she is representative of what often happens to female characters in gay romance. Antagonistic and judgy. She doesn't try to understand Nathan. She inflicts her past hurts onto what she thinks sees. She doesn't take time out to listen. I mean really listen. While her behavior in and of itself is interesting. I was a little disappointed that she continued to come off like she would interfere at any given opportunity.
In this book we have themes of self-discovery, standing up for oneself, and friendship. These themes are woven beautifully together. This makes for an interesting book. I like that while the daily life is examined, the conflict is still there. It doesn't but the reader in an emotional tailspin. This is the kind of book you can curl up with after a stressful day and enjoy whether you like kink or not. The kink aspects of the story are sweet and well researched.
Everyone loves a sweet puppy. One who cuddles and adores their master with no strings attached. The love of another transcends barriers. This is a story that demonstrates that.