Cover Image: Going Public

Going Public

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Member Reviews

DNF. I love a good m/m romance, but the writing just wasn't doing it for me. The prose feels wooden and overly descriptive, like it needs another pass through copyediting to tighten it up.

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Raymond works for Jade Harbour, an investment firm, and is Elvin’s boss, they work just fine together. Elvin is the best assistant you could wish for. He makes breakfast for him, shoves Ray’s one-night hooks out of the door, he runs his life.
Elvin loves to work with Ray, in short, he’s been in love with Ray for years.

On an auditing job where Ray, Elvin, and colleague Ming, the job turns into something else.
We get a look in the finance world, the auditing, the run into the shady side of the business.
Ray is good at his job, Elvin trusts him, only, he hopes the decisions he takes now are the right ones.

Because dealing with the mafia isn’t something Elvin would choose.

They work closely and at some point, Ray starts to look differently at Elvin, he’s getting more and more aware of his feelings for this sweet, marvelous man.

Elvin waits for the other shoe. Ray is way out of his league, it’s probably a matter of time.

To a certain extent, I enjoyed this story but must confess I scrolled through some pages. While I enjoyed it, on the romance front it was, for me, a bit boring. I wanted more conflicts, more tension, it was way too sweet. I couldn’t feel the story at times. For me, the characters were sweet but felt emotionally flat and underdeveloped, that’s why I had trouble to connect. On the other hand, the business part was well developed and plausible. The other way around would have worked better for me. I did finish the story but was a bit disappointed.

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Super fun, high stakes read with great characters. I love Hudson Lin. If you hate white characters being used as stereotypes don't read this. Lin does it on purpose and if you can't get why this book is not for you.

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Sexy and sweet. So much passion and banter! The main characters really pull this story throughout and feel so real and romantic, I loved it.

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I am a member of the American Library Association Reading List Award Committee. This title was suggested for the 2023 list. It was not nominated for the award. The complete list of winners and shortlisted titles is at <a href="">

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Honestly what even is this book? Why are all the romances I've been reading so mediocre? This is like part investigative mystery, part romance, and a whole lot of issues. Workplace romance books are difficult and authors have to tell a very fine line especially when there are power dynamics involved. Having an assistant who is so in love and enamored with their boss be taking advantage of over and over and over again throughout the majority of this book and then all of a sudden boss realizes that he's in love with him just doesn't really work for me. Not to mention that the boss is an arrogant asshole and he's an arrogant asshole of the entire book.

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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Rating: 3.5 stars

I want to start off by saying that I wasn't the biggest fan of the first book, Hard Sell. But I really wanted to love this ongoing series so I gave book two a go and it really paid off! The romance was so great, and I LOVED that we got demi and bi/pan rep. I thought the relationship worked really well and the development was great. The aspect I struggled with most is the side plot and ending. It just didn't really work for me unfortunately.

Overall, I'll definitely be picking up more of this authors work, and I hope they'll be more to come in the series!

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I wasn't the biggest fan of Hard Sell, but I was still interested to read this one. And I'm glad I did, because I enjoyed this one much more. That is to say, I think I can safely assume this subgenre of romance isn't really for me, but I did think it was done well here. And I did really love the characters and the romance.

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This was a beautifully written Gay romance! The chemistry between the two characters was hot but their love was just as sweet, very good book!!

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This was another read that I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about when I finished. I adored Elvin and I have to admit that even though I wasn’t sure about Raymond in the beginning, he kind of grew on me and I began to see what Elvin saw in him. On the surface, Raymond seemed to be a cut throat business man that went through men without a second thought. It also seemed like he used Elvin more than he appreciated him, but that was on the surface. It turned out that he thought about Elvin and cared about him more than even Elvin realized.

I liked the building relationship between Elvin and Raymond and I understood why Elvin felt compelled to support Raymond, even though he didn’t agree with his actions. I could sympathize with Elvin in that way because I didn’t agree with a lot of Raymond’s actions. Which is the crux of my issue with Going Public. Unfortunately, I can’t really say a lot more about really bugged me because I don’t want to give away anything. Let’s just say that the ending wasn’t what I expected and didn’t leave me nearly as satisfied as I was when I finished Hard Sell. *sigh*

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I did not finish this book. What I did read I enjoyed, I loved the main characters and their protective, supportive tendencies towards each other.

My expectations going into the novel was a traditional workplace romance where their relationship is the main focus of the storyline however it quickly evolved to be more complex and involved the Mafia, which made me lose interest. However, for those who enjoy those storylines, I think it would be a perfect blend of the two.

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I absolutely loved this dynamic between the main characters. When I think of romance, I think of books just like this one, that gives all the feels and satisfies every romance junkies' heart. This is a perfect books to snuggle up with on any day.

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I requested an ARC of this one from the publisher after I saw it in their upcoming titles email that I get monthly.* The fact that there was not just one non-white man on the cover of this MM Romance novel, but TWO of them was a definite 'okay let's give this Hudson Lin person a try.'

Totally on me, but I also thought it was written by a man (damn you pseudonyms!), but that didn't change my opinion or reading of the novel, I was just excited that there were BIPOC protagonists AND they were on the cover. Add in that I don't think I've read many with Asian protagonists and it caught my attention.

For the most part, I wasn't disappointed. There were a few big unanswered questions, primarily though why in the hell was no one at Jade Capital talking to Ray and Elvin about their very clear breaking of rules and crossing boundaries when they finally got together. I mean does HR not exist at these private capital firms?!? I also have questions about whether or not Ray's family was involved in the paper company fiasco, that plot wasn't wrapped up satisfactorily for me. It's either they were involved or Lin struggled with introducing red herrings and making them believable they weren't involved.

Elvin looked away, dropping his gaze to the floor. Of all the people in the whole wide world, he had to develop these feelings for his boss. Figured. As a demisexual, sexual desire wasn't a thing for him unless he'd already established an emotional connection with the person. And since he didn't have much time for a social life, it wasn't that farfetched that he would latch onto someone who filled so much of his day-to-day routine. (Chapter 3)

The relationship development between Ray, the higher up in the firm who went against his very wealthy family to join Jade Capital and make his own way, and Elvin, his assistant who has worked hard for everything and spends most of his money supporting his parents and four siblings, was a little odd. From Elvin's side I thought it worked great and it was well written, he pined after his boss for many years and got glimpses of his body while being disappointed while Ray slept around. But the weirdest part, as mentioned above, was the fact that when they were together NO ONE said anything, just gave side-eye and smiled secretly at them.

On the Ray side, it happened a little too slowly and abruptly at the same time. Unfortunately, I think this comes from Lin's writing. Lin seemed to have a better grasp on Elvin's voice and situation than she did on Ray's and that really came across in how Ray finally acknowledged his feelings for Elvin, I think if a few things would've been swapped around it might've worked better. The one place where she really got Ray right though was his interactions with Ming who may or may not have been flirting with Elvin but was 100% trying to recruit him for a job on another team. Those interactions and the way Ray got super alpha protective of Elvin were fun and interesting to read.

Lin did a great job with both of the protagonists' families and I felt that she could've spent more time with them. And I desperately want to know how Ray's family reacts to his being with Elvin and his background. I don't think it'd be a pretty scene, but it would add to the building of Ray's character as a changed man toward the end of the novel. And frankly, might've made the underwhelming climax of Ray's arrest have a lot more impact since he would've had to change/be more vocal about his change and then go to jail.

The sex scenes were interesting with most of the book not having any and then a quick progression from frottage to full-on penetrative sex. There was nothing improbable or impossible about the scenes, but they were like 95% of the way there.

Recommendation: This was a decent read. It wasn't enough to put Lin on my must-read and check out new releases, but it was enough to make me remember her name if I'm at a reading loss and want a decent MM Romance. This read more like a debut novel that could've used a stronger editor to help Lin find the characters' voices and quite a few of the wrap-up scenes left me wanting more explanation or clearer explanation. Again though, take this with a grain of salt since I've already put book one of this series (Hard Sell) on hold at my local library.

*I received a copy of Going Public via NetGalley in return for my honest opinion. No goods or money were exchanged.

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Heat Factor: Gentle and affirming
Character Chemistry: The buildup was great, but maybe there was a little too much of a jump into the recognition and acknowledgement of feelings
Plot: Elvin is Ray’s long-time EA at a financial investment company, Ray is tasked with auditing an asset, everything personal goes well while everything else goes sideways
Overall: Decisions were made here. They’re good decisions, but are they romantic decisions?

This book looks like an employee-assistant unrequited love situation. Maybe there’ll be some new, unexpected forced proximity that will force them to come to terms with their intense relationship? Maybe there will be some seduction using the trappings of the wealth and power? Maybe we get some illicit relations?

Y’all. I was not prepared for this book. Here’s your notice: there is going to be some material I discuss that could be considered spoilery.

Look, if you like some moral grayness in a romantic hero, this is a book for you. And, honestly, the blurb does include several very specific keywords that will give a prospective reader clues that all is not necessarily going to be on the up-and-up. I had forgotten the blurb between the time I picked up the ARC and the time I read it, so for me the criminal prosecution component departed from, like, any generic verisimilitude that I can think of associated with criminal protagonists in romance novels. Was it the morally upright and ethically focused decision? Yes. Was it what I wanted in my happy ending? Not gonna lie, it exited fantasyland too much for me to really feel satisfied by the conclusion.

There is 100% an audience for this romance, like, for example, a good chunk of TSR followers on Twitter. I feel a bit morally corrupt for enjoying other books with criminal protagonists while having that be a sticking point for me with this book, considering that in this book the crime is in no way excused.

Elvin has positioned himself as indispensable to Ray, coming to his house to make him cappuccinos before work instead of simply meeting him at work, spending long hours with him simply because Ray is also a workaholic. It’s not a super healthy relationship, yeah? The thing is that Elvin is demisexual and has fallen in love with Ray over the course of his employment, so these extras that he’s attached to his job are a way of being close to Ray. The problem is that Ray picks up a new bed partner, like, every night, so how could virgin demisexual Elvin even compete with that? Also Ray is Elvin’s boss, which is actually a bigger problem.

When Ray is tasked with auditing a company that has been recommended for an IPO, he and Elvin end up in a few situations that throw them together in new ways (Hello to the “only one bed” crowd!), which leads to a romantic liaison, even as Ray continues digging into deeper trouble with the assignment at hand.

I really enjoyed the book; I read it much faster than I read most of my recent reads. But there were moments that the thread of the story variably bunched and pulled taut. For example, I understand that we need to meet Jade Harbor’s new outside counsel, but why do it as a sexy exchange at an art fundraiser like it’s going to be a huge plot thread when the attorney shows up twice more and barely speaks? Or Ming, a lateral colleague of Ray’s, spends a lot of time being a shit-stirrer and jealousy-inspirer early on, only to fade into the background. Ray’s family is a huge emotional weight for Ray, and instead of leaving the family outside of the story, his dad is nowhere, appears for one very significant moment, and then we hear nothing else. The power dynamics of Elvin and Ray’s relationship is the reason they can’t be together for the first half of the book, and then after a private conversation it is no longer any concern? Or, maybe more importantly, some of their emotional entanglement is not initially seated in a really healthy place because they’re both kind of filling emotional holes in each other, but the deeper emotional work of personally taking care of those holes for their own health and wellbeing doesn’t happen.

Can you tell I’m having so many feelings about this book? I like that, though. As I said, I read it much faster than I’ve been reading lately, so it was definitely engaging for me. And I liked that the power and influence of the ultra wealthy is specifically called out. (Think of speeding tickets, yes? In the US they’re a set cost so as long as people can pay for them then they don’t necessarily care at all if they get caught, but in Finland the cost of a speeding ticket is based on income so it’s more impactful when it’s issued. The executives at Jade Harbor Capital exist in the US speeding ticket world almost all of the time, which is a problem for Ray.) I would have liked it even more if the legal consequences hadn’t existed (definitely a Me issue), and if some of those uneven moments in the story had been ironed out a little bit more.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

This review is also available at The Smut Report.

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An excellent romance, well developed characters, and a gripping plot that kept hooked.
I rooted for the characters and love how their story slowly developed.
The storytelling is excellent and it was an entertaining read.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Office romance + one bed + mafia . . . + surprise audits?! This book is as fun as it sounds, and Elvin and Ray are adorable together. Ray's the boss, and he is, in his own words, a filthy-rich, entitled bastard, but he mostly wields his powers for good. Elvin's his sweet, anxious executive assistant who juggles all the balls, including a very demanding family. We don't see much of their history, so it seems like they were quick to fall in love, but it's obvious how well-matched they are given their banter and the various ways in which they care for one another. It was exciting to watch their personalities unfold in the context of their work, to see them both complement and oppose one another until the end, where things take a scary (illegal!) turn before turning out just fine for an HEA. The sex was equal parts tender and steamy, and I loved that there was pan- and demi-sexual rep between two very different Chinese-Canadian men! The food descriptions were also drool-worthy. The book made me miss the awesome food in Barcelona! If you're looking for a fun, fast read, pick this up!

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I enjoyed reading Hard Sell, the first book in the Jade Harbour Capital series, so I was looking forward to returning to the high-stakes world of playboy businessmen. Raymond was friends with Danny, one of the protagonists from Hard Sell, and he made quite the impression on me, so I wanted to know how he would fare as a protagonist.

The setup here is opposites attract/friends to lovers. Elvin, as Raymond’s assistant, does everything for him, including kicking Raymond’s one-night-stands out of the apartment the morning after a hookup. There’s a bit of adorable pining, but it doesn’t take long until “there’s something there that wasn’t there before.”

The chemistry between the two men is great. Raymond has a lot more experience than Elvin, and he is so sweet and tender with him—always making sure that Elvin is comfortable and reassuring him that there’s no pressure to do anything sexual.

Raymond and Elvin have vast socioeconomic differences: Raymond has always been extremely wealthy, and he takes some things for granted. Elvin, on the other hand, supports his parents and younger siblings, and is reluctant to accept help from Raymond with things like a birthday party for one of the siblings. Raymond’s position of privilege plays a role in a maverick decision he makes; to be fair, circumstances placed them in an untenable position, but surely there were other options. Going rogue does lead to consequences, leading to a surprising but satisfying denouement.
I would absolutely recommend Going Public. This book functions well enough as a standalone, so you don’t necessarily have to start at the beginning of the series, although you should because it’s a fun book. I’m looking forward to reading more from Lin in the future!

I received a digital ARC of this book from Carina Press/NetGalley.

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3.5 Stars

What I Loved: The premise, the personal assistant in love with his boss, the playboy boss who finally realizes what has been in front of his eyes the whole time. Unfortunately, the book didn't quite match the blurb.

What I Liked: I really liked Elvin, he was hard-working, responsible, a great son and brother, and a great employee. I liked Ray in those little moments in which he allowed himself to be tender and sweet to Elvin.

What I Didn't Like: I didn't quite like that Elvin would feel he was beneath Ray, not just because Ray was his boss and financially was above him, but because he was more experienced and Elvin felt that he wouldn't compare to his many flings. I felt like the romance was underdeveloped, yes, we knew from the start of Elvin's unrequited love for Ray, but Ray's realization was too sudden for me. I would've liked a smoother transition. Plus, I was a bit underwhelmed by the whole mob plotline, which is unfortunate since it took so much page time.

I didn't read book 1, but I didn't think that I was missing much plotwise, Going Public can perfectly be read as a standalone. And even if the book wasn't what I expected, it was moderately entertaining. So there's a chance you'll enjoy it more than I did.

*** Copy provided by Carina Adores through NetGalley for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. ***

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DNF'd at 21%

I really liked the sound of this book, but for some reason it just wasn't gripping me. I didn't feel the connection between the characters and the plot wasn't grabbing my attention.

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I don’t know precisely what was missing for me in Going Public, but I definitely went in expecting more. Typically, this author is an easy win for me with her well-detailed plots, interesting backgrounds, and polished writing. While all of those attributes are true of Going Public, I never fell for this book or couple.

Ray and Elvin have a well-oiled partnership that is evident from the start of Going Public. I found both characters with their diverse background and sexuality to be interesting and liked seeing these two men matched up considering how different they and their experiences were. I also liked watching the men develop over the course of the book. That said, I expected more push and pull in this boss-employee romance and it fell flat for me in some ways. Specifically, things between Ray and Elvin felt a little too easy and I never had that moment when I was really rooting for the couple to get their happily-ever-after.

I felt similarly indifferent about the financial scandal aspect of Going Public’s plot. While it was definitely exciting and promising at the start, it fizzled out for me. When I started Going Public, I was looking forward to the excitement of a boardroom drama and an unanticipated office place romance. Although I got a polished story with unique characters, it failed to really ignite for me...which seems to be happening more and more with this line from the publisher even when they feature authors I love (perhaps it's just a bad match for me). I would say if you enjoy stories about characters who don’t fit the mold of most contemporary romances and are looking for a quieter, well-written drama about the complex world in an investment group, Going Public may be a better fit for you than it was for me.

*eBook received via Netgalley. The publisher and author had no influence over this review*

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