Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Random Review: Blue Boys Boxed Set by Garrett Leigh #Review #Giveaway

Title: Blue Boys Boxed Set 
Author: Garrett Leigh
Self Published
Publication Date: February 5, 2020
Length: 404 pages 

Reviewed by Sammy


BOOK 1 – Bullet: Levi is a power top with an alcoholic mother, and a chip on his shoulder. Sonny’s a dancer with attitude and the biggest heart. Their scene together is just another day at work until Levi realises he’s falling hard for the twink he used to hate. Enemies to lovers is inevitable.

BOOK 2 – Bones: Skater boy Cam is a veteran actor at Blue Boy adult studio. Nursing an unrequited crush on his boss, he’s never needed anything else until kind-hearted Sasha rides into his life on his BMX. They share more than mutual attraction, and when Cam find himself in need of some healing comfort, friendship turns to love.

BOOK 3 – Bold: Go-go dancer Kai has never been the object of anyone’s desire, at least not for real, away from the adult studio where he films scene after scene from the bottom. Then quiet Matthew enters his life. A scene with a difference comes to call, if Kai can figure out how to truly own Matthew, inside and out.


Bullet by author Garrett Leigh marks the first book of the newly released boxed set of the Blue Boys trio. These novels are an unvarnished, gritty look at the porn industry and some of the men who star in the films. Each man is drawn there for different reasons and each story has its own unique plotline with multiple characters crossing over in each.

Bullet focuses on Levi Ramone for whom porn is simply a job–a means to an end. Rarely do the men who are paraded before Levi to film with make any emotional impact on him. For three years, he has mindlessly shot each sex scene and collected the paycheck that would allow him to care for his mother, a bitter and often abusive alcoholic. Now, unable to care for herself and barely lucid enough to do even the simplest of tasks, Bella is the burden Levi must bear. Hence he works two jobs, one repairing motorbikes with his best friend and the other shooting porn. Every part of his life is neatly compartmentalized so that he doesn’t need to reach beyond his exhaustion and self-loathing to really examine where he is going in life he or contemplate letting down his guard long enough to let another man in.

In an unprecedented move, the studio asks the rough and aloof “top” that Levi has become known as to do a three-way scene and be a “bottom”. Not only is Levi asked to try anal sex for the first time ever, it will be with the biggest and roughest top the studio has on the payroll. The third member of the scene is a dancer that Levi dislikes and the only man at the studio that can seem to get under his skin. Everything in Levi screams to turn the scene down, but the money is huge and his mother is being evicted from her current apartment, and there are bills to pay and he…he is trapped. When Levi finally agrees to the scene, little does he realize how greatly his life is going to change and just how effective the young dancer, Sonny Valentine, is at pushing his way into Levi’s carefully controlled life.

This is an unvarnished and gritty look at what motivates men to sell sex on film for a living. The author delves deeply into Levi’s character. He’s no pushover but instead angry and strong, often treating other actors with disdain and even cruelty. While he is never physically abusive, it’s his aloof demeanor and uncaring attitude that tells the other man in the scene that they are of little or no importance. The sex for Levi is beyond just casual, it’s almost on auto-pilot, a means of release and nothing more. So, when he comes up against the outspoken and equally angry Sonny, Levi is pulled up short at the image of himself that Sonny presents. For the first time, Levi begins to realize how much the deep bitterness and horrific life he has been saddled with affects the way he treats his fellow actors. Levi’s tenuous grip on his emotions bursts wide open. The pain and suffering of this man was palpable.

Author Garrett Leigh has a real gift for writing multi-layered characters who are slowly revealed piece by piece within a carefully crafted story. Bullet was the story of a man who had been beaten down so often that he simply erected walls around himself in an act of self-preservation. He was just so unhappy, so wounded, your heart just bled for him.

I believe the real talent of author Garrett Leigh is the way in which the characters are allowed to be vulnerable. This story shows the utter breakdown of one man’s life and the tentative beginning of a new life and love that will ultimately save him.

Much the same can be said of the second book in the trilogy, Bones. Once again we read about a veteran porn star at Blue Boys, Cam. But unlike Levi, Cam is known for his kindness while partnering and his love of partying. He is close friends with Levi and Sonny and in one instance in this novel they engage in a threesome—but don’t worry—at the time Cam is not involved with the man who will ultimately win his heart, Sasha. That’s primarily due to the fact that Sasha keeps pushing poor Cam away—we really never get a solid reason as to why and that was frustrating for me but it definitely seemed to have something to do with the fact that they share a similar health crisis. It is this issue that will really make Cam stop and reflect on what he is doing with his life. There is also the fact that the boss of the studio, Jon, provides a little BDSM roleplay which allows Cam to lose himself for a while—a much needed release. Lest you think there is more than Jon getting off, think again—he doesn’t really care about poor Cam at all. But all that goes south in a big way, leaving Cam’s life in real disarray and his emotional wellbeing at rock bottom.

I will admit that I didn’t enjoy this story as much as its predecessor. I felt the emotional connection between Cam and Sasha was weak and that the issue with Jon, Cam’s boss, was never really resolved, particularly after Cam discovered that Jon had done something pretty smarmy and set about to angrily right the situation. It just felt as though there were a lot of dangling pieces that never got resolved or were pushed away in the pursuit of Cam trying to discover what he wanted from life. I also found it hard to reconcile that an educated psychology major was now working in a record store and performing in porn—this was a smart guy so the link as to why he chose to run from his schooling and pursue the mindless work he did was never discussed. Again it led to the feeling that this installment wasn’t really as well polished as the first book.

I must admit that I also had some real difficulty with the pairing of Sasha and Cam. Perhaps it’s because we learned so little about Sasha’s past and he seemed to suddenly get over any reservations he had about being with Cam and was then all in. I’m not sure what it was but I do know that unlike Levi and Sonny no sparks flew in this relationship and I found it hard to believe in it.

That leads us to the final story of the set, Bold, which features the cute twink, Kai. Poor Kai—with a mother who could care less about him, his dyslexia which caused him to drop out of high school and a real sensitivity about feeling stupid Kai is actually much more than appears on the surface. When he delivers yet another lackluster performance bottoming, the new owners of Blue Boys studios try to help him out of his slump by suggesting he top with a newbie, Matthew. They also work with him to get both a solid diagnosis for his reading disability and achieve his GED. I liked the new studio owners and others will find them familiar from another book by Garrett Leigh.

I also really liked Matthew—he was innocent, smart as a whip and earnest in a way that made him appealing. I liked Kai but felt I knew him much less by the end of the novel—unlike Matthew who I felt was pretty much an open book. Kai and Matthew end up spending time becoming friends in order to make their upcoming scene more real and entertaining. I appreciated that but it seemed to take an awful long time for these guys to work out how their first scene would go. Still with other plot pieces moving about things were kept interesting and  the developing relationship between Kai and Matthew made this a nicely presented story.

All in all, the Blue Boys boxed set was a fairly intense and emotional look at the men beneath the images many leer over on the small screen. It gave much needed access to a world that is so much more than just sex and introduces us to some wonderful men who were able to reach beyond their pain and insecurities to find love.


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