"This wasn't about money; it wasn't about experimentation any more. He didn't know what it was, but it was huge and scary and important."
I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Jay Northcote
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
Watching and Wanting is the forth instalment in Jay Northcote's Housemates series. You may also remember I reviewed another of Jay's books before - you can check out that review here - albeit not from this particular series.
Up to date I have read book one 'A Helping Hand' and book two 'Like A Lover' from the Housemates series. I plan to go back and read book three too at some point. Book one is probably my favourite but I would say Watching and Wanting is definitely a close second. I'll touch more on why later in the review. All of these books hold up as standalones but I feel like you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you skip them altogether. I'm going to say particularly the first book because Jez and Mac are just the best and got me hooked on Jay's work but again, I haven't read the third book. I really loved Dev and Ewan in Watching and Wanting though so I look forward to reading their story.
Watching and Wanting is the story of Shawn and Jude. Since graduating. Shawn has found himself stuck in a bit of a rut. Freshly dumped by his girlfriend, working in Boots for little pay and his friends - even his best friend, Mike - have moved on. Yet he's still there, stuck in Plymouth. Adrift.
Jude is a student and lives in the same shared house as Shawn. He's out and proud but unlike most of the other boys in the house, single. Unlike Shawn, Jude does not just scrape by making minimum wage at a store. Instead Jude works as a cam boy, making pretty decent money for a few hours of work, a couple of times a week.
When Shawn accidentally interrupts Jude in the middle of one of his shows, Shawn can't help but do a little bit of investigating. His curiosity soon stirs up desires Shawn has always denied and avoided. It's scary and he is not ready to admit or accept what this curiosity might mean, yet he cannot resist the temptation. Shawn makes Jude an offer he has no intention of refusing - doing a cam show together.
What starts out as a bit of fun and a way for Shawn to explore his bicurious side, soon becomes complicated. With everything up in the air and neither of them knowing how the other truly feels, there is one thing that is certain. Shawn is very deep in the closet and has no intention of leaving it any time soon. That is quite a deal breaker for out and proud Jude. If Shawn can't find a way to accept himself it may mean the end of whatever it is happening between them.I highly enjoyed this book and it was exactly what I needed to entice me out of my blogging hiatus. When the email landed in my inbox I couldn't pass up the chance to review it because A Helping Hand is probably one of my favourite m/m books. It's just such an easy read that does exactly what it says on the tin and I loved the characters. Jay completely nailed it again with this instalment. Like I said, I haven't read the third book so I can't speak to it but I felt like Watching and Wanting was a little more akin to A Helping Hand than Like A Lover. I guess because it was another romance that happened inside the shared house, whereas Josh met Rupert elsewhere. I think maybe that's why I preferred Watching and Wanting and why it's a very close second to A Helping Hand. It had similarities that I appreciated but also enough important differences that kept it interesting.
I was really happy that Jez and Mac were still around in the shared house and enjoyed checking in with them. I actually ended up going back and rereading A Helping Hand once I'd finished Watching and Wanting because it stirred up my Jez and Mac feels.
I believe I've mentioned this before but I also love that these books are set in the UK, so it's all a little more familiar to me. Even something as minor as Shawn working in Boots. That just adds another layer to the story that I don't often find in other books.
There's also an element of bdsm in this book and sub/dom play. Nothing too extreme though, if that's the kind of thing that would put you off. Also something to keep in mind is the fact Shawn and Jude's relationship starts out as an cam duo arrangement, so there's an element of voyeurism/exhibitionism.
All in all I really enjoyed this book and I feel like it's one that I'm going to come back to and read again in the future, probably after I read Practice Makes Perfect. I feel like my reviews are usually a little more balanced than this but there's nothing I really disliked about this book at all. I may not have found it particularly quotable and it may not have tapped into my emotions the way other books have but that isn't always what you need or want. Sometimes you just want but an easy read with lovable characters, some kinkiness and a happily ever after. That's exactly what Jay delivers. I hope we get to catch up with everyone again in the future.
If you're interested in checking out Watching and Wanting you can find it here: