Sunday, June 1, 2014

Review: Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley

Cross posted on Pants Off Reviews

Tread Marks & Trademarks Title: Tread Marks & Trademarks by S.A. McAuley
Series: Team Maker Jock #1
Genre: M/M Romance, Contemporary
Published December 11th 2013 by Wilde City Press
Length: 200 pages

Rating: 5 Stars
Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Alex Maddox may be a genius. Or not. In thirty-four days he’ll know for sure. The robot he’s been perfecting for the last four years is finally ready. Alex won’t accept anything less than perfection—if he can keep a broken air conditioner, a flaky twin brother, a thirtieth birthday, and falling for the Norse god of advertising from derailing him.

Christian Lawson is an advertising god. A blond hottie with the beautiful brains to match. He’s worked hard to move past the accident that nearly took his legs, but it’s been years since he let any man get close enough to see just how deep his scars really go.

Christian isn’t the advertising executive Alex expected, and Alex isn’t the coolly confident inventor Christian’s had his eye on for years. But what they discover in each other may just be better than what either of them could have hoped for.

Note: This is a novel that is an expanded and re-edited combined version of the two novellas previously published as The Maker Jock and Tread Marks and Trademarks.

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Alex is working on a robot with the newest technology that can potentially change the world of robotics. His twin brother and friends set him up with an advertising/marketing agent, Christian, and they hit it off. Together, they design and present Alex's robot at the Maker Summit. Alex worries if his presentation will be a success, but when it is, there is another set of problems. 

Alex is gay and geeky. He prefers commitment over one night stands and continuously seeks the man who loves what he loves and understands his geeky side. He's a very endearing character and I love his interactions with his twin brother, Micah. Alex is the smart and geeky one while Micah is the life of a party. They pretend they are on bad terms but they really care about each other. Micah and his lover play a major role as Alex's support system and guide him throughout the story.

The romance between Alex and Christian doesn't seem forced (their mutual geekiness probably helped with that). Christian is super charming and excels at his job. He has a bad leg from a motor accident, which further shows how he copes with lost and trauma. His imperfections make him very human and easy to connect with. Even though their development into full time lovers seem a little fast, they are perfect for each other. 

The second half of the story focuses on Christian and paying for surgeries on his leg. In addition, the team is trying to take Alex's robot to an international level on their own and they need financial help. Christain's old flame steps in and causes some trouble between Christian and Alex. This half of the novel has a different feel because it's more focused on Christian. It's not as exciting as the first half because Alex is the more excitable character and the anticipation of the robot's success is greater in the first half. Nevertheless, the second half is important as a sequel and answers how Christian and Alex will work as lovers in the long term. 

This is a really creative story with a lot of details on robotics and marketing but they fit in naturally with the dialogue and aren't overbearing. I love the use of acronyms in the story and other little touches help to orient the reader to the high-tech, creative maker culture. It's fun to read about the maker culture that Alex is a part of and how that fits into the economic world. This story has excellent writing and fabulous characters that really help to make the novel an enjoyable read for me. 

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