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Mastering Toby (Mastering Toby, #1)
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Mastering Toby (Mastering Toby #1)

3.16  ·  Rating Details ·  211 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Jared Asche has secretly loved Toby Rafferty from the moment he grabbed Toby's bare ass and had pretend sex with him for the cameras on the soap Mission Bay. But Jared knows Toby is straight and just needs a friend, so he lives with the pain of unrequited love... until Toby impulsively kisses him, crossing the line between friends and lovers.

Despite his fears about being w
ebook, 206 pages
Published March 29th 2010 by Dreamspinner Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Mastering Toby sounds like a story that will involve strong D/s elements and an insightful look into the romance and lives of Toby and Jared. It does that to some extent but it takes a lot of short cuts and implausible actions to get us there.

Lately there seems to be a lot of gay for you type plots bringing their uninitiated lover not only into the world of gay sex but throwing them right into the deep end with advanced BDSM elements. It seems that this should leave the main character in shock
Mar 31, 2010 Betryal rated it really liked it
Ok so you have Toby who is like this lost scared man who hides from the world and from himself, letting others control him all his life, but pursues Jared. They have their problems, they make it work but not without problems and demons needing to be conquered in their midst. This portion of the story had its ups and downs while I read it. Overall it wasn't too shabby and enjoyable.

But see here's the thing now... I was able to get snippets and portions of their friend Sahara and it was all just l
Apr 30, 2011 Matimate rated it did not like it
Shelves: m-m, 2011
I finished this book, but it cost me some nerves. I think I was wrong when expecting hardcore SM novel. It was not. It was rather melodrama about one heteroboy who decided that being tied and poked was huge fun and went for it with his gay friend and his hippy ex marine drinking and occasional fuck buddy.Three boys were sort of making our in sorting up what they really wanted from each other. Sex? Well no. Relationship? One wanted, other too and third did not know.

This book was clearly not for
Jun 02, 2010 Luvflix rated it liked it
Shelves: m-m, bdsm
This was an incredibly challenging read for me as it took me way out of my comfort zone. Jan Irving describes the dom/sub relationship in amazing detail, carrying you along with the characters’ emotions as they explore boundaries new to both of them. I guess my preferred style of romance makes it tricky for me to accept others being allowed entry into the intimacy of a couple. So although this part of the book didn’t resonate for me personally, it was still an exceptionally well written novel, ...more
Jun 27, 2010 Maygirl7 rated it it was ok
Shelves: m-m
A few thoughts:
The sex part was on the hot side, but it did happen fast and with little reticence on Toby's part despite being a virgin to gay sex. I totally didn't feel the dominance and submission thing; I was told about it several times but didn't feel its reality. I found both Jared and Toby to be very much "characters" and not feel true to life.

The new age thing really made me nuts. It was so overdone and cheesy. Granted I lived in Asia, so I am sensitive to its appropriation by new agers.
Jun 27, 2010 Chris rated it it was ok
Shelves: gay, 2010, owned, ebook
So-so m/m romance about a straight actor on a gay soap opera who has some confusing feelings for his gay costar (and best friend). This book never really came together, for all sorts of reasons: pacing issues, an odd tangent from the main storyline 2/3 through, and a mixture of Eastern mysticism and D/s that just didn't work.
Jun 09, 2013 Ayanna rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, meh
It wasn't bad.

Parts of it were good-ish. Parts of it were meh-ish.

Overall, it was weird. The parts on Sahara fractured the focus of the overall piece.
Nov 25, 2013 Anke rated it liked it
Where is my rating? And my review? I read this book, I know that, but here is nothing - nada?! So curious. I'll just add it now again.
Mar 09, 2016 Don rated it really liked it
Shelves: to-re-read, bdsm
Highly erotic sex scenes make up for the shortcomings in this spotty novel. Sahara's presence made this a 3.5 star rating rounded up, since that's where I frequently found myself.
Oct 30, 2012 Charly rated it it was ok
I wanted to like it, but it’s just too uneven

Warning: This review might contain what some people consider SPOILERS.

Rating: 4/10

- The characters are likeable and fit well together. Toby and Jared have been friends for a while, and the romance seems like a natural progression.
- There’s a secondary romance that I found pretty endearing because both of the guys are so shy (even though it’s not covered in much detail at all).
- I worried when I read the book’s premise that the Hollywood setting
Jan 21, 2012 Lori rated it liked it
I really wanted to love this book. It has all my favorite elements, a "straight" guy falling in love with his experienced, dominant gay best friend...he's a virgin to the joys of anal sex and oh yea, just happens to be a submissive. Score! This book's gonna be awesome! Unfortunately, it wasn't. I've only read one other book by Ms. Irving, The Janitor, which I enjoyed even less than this one. Both of these books contained characters who were not living up to their potential and needed to be "resc ...more
I really like this, there were just some small aspects I... just did not. So it's only 3.75*, which makes it 4****.
It starts out as a friends-to-lovers story with some nice variations due to the MC's occupation and that the plot does not completely focus on the discovering of their feelings for each other but on their insecurities about it. I just did not like, how these insecurities manifested themselves. It was just a little to stereotype.

(view spoiler)
Jan 04, 2012 Allybaba rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 08, 2011 Lily rated it it was amazing
This was one of those books that once you picked it up you couldn't put it down. In fact I am currently re reading this book. Then I plan to slide right into reading "Sahara Blue" the sequel.

Jared certainly never figured his fantasy of having his friend Toby in his bed was ever going to come true. But things happen, and they really happen in such a wonderfully paced, loving and caring way for both men. It all felt so natural, nothing rushed.

But nothing ever comes easy and they certainly have to
Nov 14, 2010 Tame rated it it was amazing
4.5/5 stars :)

Their story was really beautiful, and it's one I'll re-read again and again! I hope to see these 2 characters in Ms. Jan's new novel Sahara Blue :) It seem to combine the budding relationship of a man just discovering his sexuality and sensuality with an older friend who had been in love with him for years, and patient enough to teach him and learn about love along with him. It actually seemed to combine the concepts of Tantra (tantric sex) with a D/s relationship---very spiritual
It was a very interesting twist on a bondage/kink relationship. I liked the MCs, but I found it slightly confusing at times w/ all the POV switching. I also wish there was more time spent with the boys on set. They seemed to have a craZy amount of free time for actors on a hit tv show. I'm an actor and I wasn't sure if I really bought that element of the story. I hate the cover. Makes Jared look like he's sick or something. Not cute. lol. Other than that, it was a nice quick read.
Sep 27, 2010 Julia rated it liked it
Not bad, but not great. The shifts in POV were a little jumpy for me and I think I would've liked a little more build up to the sex and the BDSM. If you're looking for something that's just a hot read, though, this might fit the bill.
Jun 24, 2013 Beck rated it it was ok
rounded up to

I struggled with this one & ended up skimming whole passages of it ... I found the zen-ism a bit pompous & Toby was just so irritatingly needy ... I'll read it again at some point but it just didn't connect with me at all.
Apr 08, 2010 Dee rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To all people who love gay romance
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aidee Ladnier
Jul 06, 2012 Aidee Ladnier rated it liked it
This story was a little implausible with a gay virgin who leaves his girlfriend (because he was straight) to instead start up a BDSM relationship with his co-star. Still, the sex was pretty hot.
Jul 26, 2011 Saritza rated it it was ok
I had some serious WTF moments while reading this book. I finished it but it took a lot of effort to do so without giving it a 1.
Cori rated it liked it
May 21, 2010
Jennifer Lubow
Jennifer Lubow rated it liked it
Oct 07, 2011
Katra rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2013
Sabyul rated it liked it
Sep 13, 2013
Sarah rated it really liked it
Jun 04, 2016
Doseycat rated it liked it
Dec 22, 2011
Feelingodd rated it it was amazing
Dec 08, 2011
Sisska rated it really liked it
Sep 16, 2011
SusieQ rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2011
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

romance author
Jan Irving has worked in all kinds of creative fields, from painting silk to making porcelain ceramics, to interior design, but writing was always her passion.

She feels you can’t fully understand characters until you follow their journey through a story world.
More about Jan Irving...

Other Books in the Series

Mastering Toby (2 books)
  • Sahara Blue (Mastering Toby, #2)

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