Author: Quinn Anderson
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Length: 347 Pages
At a Glance: At the end of the day, Hotline is not one I would rush to the top of my list.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: Zack never intended to become a phone sex operator, but with half a college degree and a smart mouth, his options were limited. It helps that he has a knack for thinking on his feet and a willingness to roll with whatever his clients throw at him. Sure, he gets his fair share of creeps and unconventional requests, but it pays the bills, and he’s in no danger of breaking his one rule: never fall for a client.
Until a man named “John” starts calling, and Zack finds himself interested in more than a paycheck. It’s not just that John has money, or that his rumbling baritone drives Zack wild. He’s everything Zack isn’t: educated, poised, and in total control of his life.
A twist of fate brings them face-to-face, and now that they’ve seen each other—and spent an unforgettable night together—they can’t go back to the way things were. A sex worker and a trust fund brat . . . It’s like Romeo and Juliet, but with less stabbing and slightly fewer dick jokes. Hopefully they can pull off a more successful ending.
Review: My feelings on this book are quite mixed. It was good—there were things I liked about it—but it wasn’t great. I wanted it to be great; the cover is so fun and the blurb is so promising. But unfortunately, while I didn’t hate it by any means, I do have to say that Hotline started off much stronger than it finished.
The best thing about the book was, undoubtedly, Zack. I can’t imagine that working as a PSO (a term I learned from the book. Ha!) is always a fun job, or a job that it’s easy to speak comfortably about to friends and family. But, there is no shame in Zack’s game. He has no issue with being a sex worker, and doesn’t think anyone else should take issue with it either. He isn’t up front with everyone about his job, exactly—there is one friend who he doesn’t think would ‘get it’, and his parents also don’t know. But, overall, he’s very comfortable in his skin, and I adored him. He was such a realistic twenty-one-year-old, so funny and cute.
My second favorite thing in the story would have to be Zack’s neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez. Zack doesn’t see eye to eye with his own parents—he refers to his dad as classist, and they also don’t seem to be fully ok with his being gay—but he and Mr. Alvarez have a special relationship. They bonded over their love of cars, in particular, working on Zack’s beloved Firebird, Marilyn. And both Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez take care of Zack’s dog, Ziggy, while he’s away. Zack is incredibly fond of them, and it absolutely comes across on the page. When he’s going through a rough patch with John, it’s Mr. Alvarez he goes to for advice. I completely loved them.
If we’re talking ‘best parts of a book’, one of the things that should make the list is the other MC. But, I gotta be honest, John didn’t do much for me. I didn’t feel like he was a good match for Zack. And, honestly, we really know nothing about him other than that he’s a law student and a trust fund baby; he had very little dimension. Sexual attraction aside, I felt like he and Zack truly had nothing in common. And, speaking of sexual attraction…Zack and John’s phone chemistry was pretty intense, but as soon as they met in person, things seemed to go downhill. John was just so flat, I never bought the long-term attraction or relationship.
Also, the whole conflict felt so manufactured and sort of ridiculous. Here is a telling little snippet where Zack shows his feelings about the whole thing:
“Zack groaned. “It’s like one of those bad teenage dramas where the whole plot could be fixed with two minutes’ worth of honest dialogue.”
That ^^^ times ten. While I appreciated the fact that the author acknowledged the silliness of it, I would have much rather had the two minutes of dialogue.
So, what are my final thoughts? It was an interesting and fun premise for a story. It’s definitely an interesting business, which led to a few amusing moments. And, I did like Zack very much. But, at the end of the day, it was not one I would rush to the top of my list.
You can buy Hotline here: