Bookmarked is the first of a series of novella written by five authors. While all of the can be read as stand-alone (and at this moment, all of them are sold in only $0.99, yes, for a LIMITED time) but I thought starting with this one would give me a 'vibe' of what Heartsville was all about. The main couple here were Mark Werner, owner of the local's bookstore, Bookmarked, and Shepherd Knight, a reclusive author whom also Mark's favorite author-crush.
As always with Vaughn's stories, it had cozy feel to it. However, I must admit that I didn't feel the romance between Mark and Shepherd. Shepherd indeed came as a bit rude in the beginning, although he then later had a good reason for it. That wasn't my problem. The problem was that I thought the relationship switched on a little bit too fast for my liking. Especially because, well, Shepherd said that he wasn't good with strangers. Plus he was still a bit of a mysterious guy to me. I didn't feel him.
Mark was a little bit easier for me to connect because he was the main narrator. I liked his optimistic deposition. It was clear that he put his heart into the book store and how could I not love somebody like that? In fact, I felt a little guilty when Mark said the book store was struggling because most people were buying things online nowadays. Although in my defense, since I live in Indonesia, in order for me to get my M/M romance fix, I must buy things online *lol*.
Okay, back to the story -- I guess I even felt the relationship between Mark and his friend, Adam, or Mark and his father, Bruno, to be more deeply affecting me rather than him and Shepherd. His friendship with Adam was wonderful and his relationship with his father was tender and loving. I found myself caring more about those rather than Mark and Shepherd.
And urgh, the sex scenes. No, the sex scenes were NOT a winning point to make me love Mark and Shepherd more. I just cringed my nose and smirked when I read this line (“Gonna eat you out,” Shep whispered. “Lick you open for my cock”). Urgh. NOT sexy. But then again, most sex scenes just annoy the hell out of me these days, so count that part as "me-not-the-book" situation.
It was a nice read though -- and I didn't dislike it; I am pretty much intrigued with other stories in this series. I just wish I love Mark and Shepherd more than I did...