This the contemporary pen name of Susi Hawke, who is one of my fave MM omegaverse authors. How to Live is the 7th book in her Livestrong series. I’ve reviewed and talked about this series in the past, and I can’t even say how much I love them. So, let’s talk about Asher and Derek. Before I get started, I want to warn people that this book does talk about breast cancer, because, well, main character and all.
Asher is a tattoo artist. He also has 4 other brothers, one of them is his twin. He and his brothers, except for his twin, aren’t related to each other. They were fostered by their mama, who raised them all. She’s pretty damn awesome. Anyway, Asher has ADHD, loves to tattoo, works all the hours of the day, and isn’t really in a relationship with anyone. He is a good man who loves his family and the people in his shop. He has done pretty well in his life, and he works on giving back to the community regularly. He does things like provide tattoo coverups to former gang members and free tattoos to breast cancer survivors to cover their scars. He’s just a helluva good guy.
Then we have Derek. Derek is actually a sweet guy, if not hopelessly naive. He has lived the last couple of years with his grandmother, who he moved in with after his dad kicked him out for being gay. She has recently died from breast cancer, and his father is kicking him out of the house. Again. Derek’s family is rich, and he has spent his life pretty insulated from everything and he doesn’t really know how to adult. And? On top of all of that, he has just found out that he has breast cancer. Yes, breast cancer.
Cis males have some mammary tissue, which means that they can get breast cancer. It is a lot rarer, and men have a much lower survival rate because by the time anyone thinks breast cancer, it has gotten pretty damn bad.
Derek decides that this is just the heaping spoonful of shit sprinkles on top of his shit sundae. He doesn’t want to die in his 20s of breast cancer. He also doesn’t want his boyfriend of 5 years to watch him die. So, Derek makes some choices. Those choices include destroying his relationship with his boyfriend, spectacuarly. Then he borrowed money from a loan shark and flew to Atlantic City. And he gambled. And gambled. And gambled.
I thought that Derek was a really sweet guy, but, seriously naive, and he couldn’t adult to save his life. Then again, he’s never had to. There has always been staff who has been there to do everything from his laundry to driving him around. If you don’t have someone who teaches you how to adult, it is really hard for you to figure it out. Plus, he has all these things happening in a relatively short time. His grandmother dies, without changing her will, so his dad, who hates him, inherits everything, which means daddy dearest is going to kick him out. Then Derek gets cancer. So boom, even the most adulty adult is going to be at a loss at that point. Just one of those things is bad enough, but all of them? Yeah.
I think that Derek and Asher really are so good for each other. They fix parts in each other that are maybe not broken, but definitely fractured or bent badly. Both of these guys really need to have a lot of love, and they both have so much love to give. I mean, you see what kind of man Asher is with all his charity work. And Derek has done a lot of charity work, and he just is like this little light, IMO.
On a sort of side note. I personally hate the way that some of the way that breast cancer awareness gets talked about. Some of the phrases really seem to ignore the fact that the tatas and boobies are attached to real women, and focusing on that instead of the women can be hurtful. Also, all the pink ribbon stuff bothers me because of the Susan G. Komen foundation, which is seriously shady. Anyway, those are just my grumble about these things, and aren’t related to the book at all, really.
Nothing under the pic today. Go check it out! Happy reading!