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The Assistant

3.71  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Burned out ex-soldier Nick Kurosawa has drifted from job to job since he lost his family in a car crash. Lately, he’s been working on and off as a bouncer, barely managing to cover his bills; an opportunity for steady, well-paying work is just what he needs to get his life back in order.

Jacob Umber, a secretive philanthropist, gives him that opportunity. Umber has fibromya
ebook, 178 pages
Published August 24th 2020 by NineStar Press
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Average rating 3.71  · 
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 ·  45 ratings  ·  38 reviews

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This is my second book by this author and I can confidently say that if you’re wanting an OwnVoices story, one that treads outside the beaten paths of mainstream M/M, and populated by diverse characters, John Tristan is your man.

Nick Kurosawa was discharged from the army for medical reasons, mainly psychological ones attributable to devastating familial loss. Since then he’s been flailing through life, from one meaningless job to another, seeking the guidance he needs through sexual relationshi
Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
ARC provided via netgalley

Pairing: MM
Orientation: Gay
Identity: Cisgender, Trans.

Warning: discussion of depression, dealing with a chronic illness/disability, depiction of a D/s relationship between boss and employee, and a heavy caning scene.

This was a very different book than what I usually read. Or maybe not.
This was my first time reading this author and John Tristan is a wonderful writer.

I loved our main character, Nick. He was in the military and because of traumatic pasts, he has been on a
Kelsie ♡
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: like-not-love
3.5 Stars

I wish this had been longer. I think some of the plot suffers from not being panned out enough - the ending in particular seemed rushed. I like our MCs together, but I wanted to see more of their relationship to be entirely on board.

A strange thing is that the kink (which never gets too crazy) is quite present, but the steam was next to nothing. I was a little bummed about that. 😅

Also, it’s not mentioned in the description, but one of the MCs is transgender, and I loved seeing that rep
Ed Davis
Aug 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It took a few chapters to get into it, but once Nick met Mr. Umber it just flowed. This is a really different kind of love story. Nick is a big man who works as a bouncer at a gay bar called Hellhole. A friend tells him about a job working as a PA for Mr. Umber. Nick is a submissive and Mr. Umber a Dom. Nick is immediately attracted to Mr. Umber , but their relationship grows very slowly. It’s hard to review this book without giving too much away. I’ll just say I highly recomm ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not sure what I expected when I began this book, but it wasn't something as powerful as what I got. I'm new to John Tristan's writing but I would definitely pick up another of his books.

The Assistant is quite short but there is a ton of characterization packed into it. Most intriguing, Nick is an ex-soldier who is working as a bouncer at the opening of the novel. Although he's suffered some trauma in his life, including the death of both his mother and sister in a car accident, he's clearly
Joyfully Jay
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kris
A Joyfully Jay review.

4.25 stars

I have to say that while the writing was a little lyrical at times, the narrative was compelling and engaging, the characters well developed, and I’d definitely see what this author has to offer in the future.

This book is told solely through Nick’s third person POV, and since it really is his journey, that made sense. He’s had a tough time of it. Depression has been part of his life since he was young, and he lost his family in a car accident.

Though we don’t get
Aug 15, 2020 rated it liked it
I liked the premise of the book. Nick was an assistant to a disabled transgendered man. I thought it would be interesting. The romance was a bit off. There wasn’t the chemistry I was looking for. I would have liked more interaction between them. I think the subplot threw me for a loop. I didn’t understand it. The ending was a bit odd. Overall it was an okay book.

I received this book from the publisher and Netgalley for my honest review.
Sep 07, 2020 rated it liked it
So, I'm in two minds about this. What drew me to the story was a main character with Fibro, not something found often in stories, but I was disappointed that we didn't get Jacob's POV in the book.
It felt a little flat and monotone for me, at least for the first half of the book. Once the characters started interacting more, getting closer and pushing their boundaries, it picked up in emotion.
It was interesting reading as Nick got his needs met for domination through serving another, pain and a
Veronica of V's Reads
Nick Kurosawa is a former army man, trying to maintain his cool despite his inner trauma. He still suffers the loss of his family, even though it's been several years. He is working as a bouncer at a gay bar, and is bored to tears--and also struggling to make sure he doesn't get too physical with the troublemakers he encounters.

Nick's friend and some-time sexual partner Alex recommends making contact with Mr. Jacob Umber, a wealthy curiosity shop owner who needs a personal assistant. Mr. Umber i
Aug 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Nick Kurosawa is an ex-soldier who lost his family in an unfortunate car accident. Since then, he has been living as a drifter, taking on temporary jobs to make ends meet. A chance at a steady job and getting his life back in order is what leads him to the doorstep of Jacob Umber.

Jacob Umber has been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a chronic and variable illness. Some days he is fine and some days he can barely manage to get out off bed.
Jacob wants a personal assistant, someone adaptable, without p
Anna Aguirre
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: m-m-romance
The Assistant is Nick Kurosawa who is a former soldier battling with depression as he drifts from job to job and from one meaningless back alley encounter after another. Nick has found himself in a place where he doesn’t know how to move forward, but understands that he can’t stay stagnant. His one and only friend, Alex, gets him an interview for a position as a personal assistant to the secretive Jacob Umber.

The book is about the relationship that develops between the two men. The way they move
Smut Librarian
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, you are thrown sideways by a book you didn’t expect. The Assistant by John Tristan is one such book.

This slightly quirky, deeply compelling and fascinating read drew me in immediately – with strong characters and descriptive text that made it extremely difficult for me to tear my eyes from the page. The novel landed on my Kindle and within four hours, I had barely engaged with real life while I absorbed this masterful tale.

Nick has needs. He can’t define them, but he knows
Stephanie Panach
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Sometimes it is fascinating to read about a type of relationship that is so far out of your comfort zone it really pushes your boundaries. That was this book for me. The relationship between Mr. Umber and Nick is fascinating. Nick is ex-military whose entire family was killed in a tragic car accident while he was deployed. His parents and baby sister were gone and his extended family didn't even wait for him to get home to have a service for them. In that moment he really lost everything. Since ...more
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you Netgalley for letting me read this book in return for an honest review.

"WARNING: discussion of depression, dealing with a chronic illness/disability, depiction of a D/s relationship between boss and employee, and a heavy caning scene - - TAGS: LGBTQIA, age gap, BDSM, contemporary, D/s, depression, disability/ chronic illness, gay, interracial, Japanese-American, personal assistant, power play, slow burn, trans"- The publisher's note.

All warnings are also on the inside of the book at th
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Intriguing. Intellectual MM story of two men who are finding themselves in certain times. Both different, yet unpredicted times. A underlying mystery of sorts unfolds and a small current of lust takes place between the characters that dusts the words and storyline to want you to flip the page for more.

I had a whole other vision for how this story was going to unfold; I did not see or predict the ending nor the romance between Nick and Jacob. I guess I was eager for more sex appeal, mor
A well written, slow burn romance.
'The assistant' follows the story of Nick, a worn down ex soldier who has a tough time finding stable ground or even someone to trust and talk to about his fears and thoughts. When he takes up the job of working as a personal assistant to the enigmatic and mysterious Mr Umber, he's captivated by the latter's sense of order and stability. 
Helping and serving Mr Umber brings about so much joy to Nick and he soon gives into the simmering attraction he feels for his
Put John Tristan on your author reading list because if The Assistant is anything to go by, Tristan writes intriguing characters that stay with you long after you have flipped the final page.

I loved this story. Tristan includes everything from intrigue to someone living with a disability and then adds for fun some BDSM. Can you say, “Yes, Sir, I want some more.”? Tristan creates a very complicated character with Mr. Jacob Umber. All of the mystery and matter-of-factness is such a contradiction
Aug 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: adult
I'm not adding a star rating to this book because it doesn't fit into the rating system for me. I find this book a solid 3.5 stars - normally I can decide to rank it as 3 or 4 depending on a few things in my heart but this time I can't, it's 3.5 and I refuse to make it higher or lower.

There is a lot of good here. It is well written, and it definitely kept me reading. There is a great lot to like. The depiction of someone living with fibro. The fact that a main character is a trans man living lif
Ije the Devourer of Books
Aug 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

I thought this was an engaging story. I don't read many D/s or BDSM stories but the author is one of my favorites and so I decided to give this a go. The author usually writes sci fi or fantasy and I was curious about how this contemporary story would feel.

It is a good story. It is quite simple in the way it portrays the two men, haunting almost. Their relationship develops slowly. Nick is a kind of wounded warrior trying to find his place in the world. Jacob is a quiet man, living in t
Diane Dannenfeldt
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Okay, I really needed this book to have been longer. Nick, who I absolutely adored, is having trouble holding down a job suffering from past traumas. When his friend recommends applying for a personal assistant position for Mr. Umbers, he thinks his friend has lost his mind. But he does, and Jacob hires him on the spot. Jacob is a trans-gendered man suffering from debilitating fibromyalgia and who at times can barely move. He absolutely broke my heart. I enjoyed watching Nick come int ...more
Dec 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I didn’t much care for this story. It was an unusual story that lacked cohesiveness. Nick is a listless ex-soldier existing on the fringes of society. He moves from job to job with no real connection to anyone. Jacob Umber is mysterious, secretive, and reclusive. He is living with fibromyalgia and needs a personal assistant. On a friend’s recommendation, Nick scored an interview with Jacob. The interview went well and Nick is hired on with Jacob on a temporary basis. Over time, Nick began having ...more
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Suze by: Review JoyfullyJay
Two damaged MCs, written in first person pov - which normally I don’t like but I didn’t notice whilst reading - interesting story.
Nick suffers from depression which has led to his army discharge and a lethargy in life. And to him seeking out extreme BDSM to quieten his head.
Jacob has fibromyalgia although this only becomes clear as to being his issue later in book. He is also trans and I liked that this was a fact and not his definition as it was rarely alluded to.
Jacob and Nick’s BDSM rel
Fearne Hill
Thanks to Netgalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.
I found this story well written and quite intriguing, so much so that I will choose to read more by this author.
Nick is drifting after a military career and the loss of his family. He drifts into working as a PA for a Mr. Umber, a wealthy, slightly mysterious older man with a chronic health condition. Developing a crush on the older guy, their relationship slowly becomes a sexual one. Mr. Umber isn't all he seems.
Sarita Chapdelaine
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
This book was provided by the author via IndiGo Marketing & Design in exchange for an honest review.

This is a well written and intriguing story with a lot of interesting twists and turns, amazingly complex characters, an engaging storyline and a great ending. Nick knows he needs something more in his life and he hopes that he has finally found what he is looking for in his mysterious new employer. Mr. Umber is everything Nick wants but even after their relationship changes he really does not kno
Sarah E.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was gifted an ebook via Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts are my own.

I requested this book because the cover drew me in. I expected it to be a steamy good ole time. I'm honestly quite disappointed. I was looking forward to the rep in it of both LGBT and chronic illness but the chronic I have a family member with fibro so I can't exactly say I'm an expert and know what it's like, but I feel I'm pretty familiar with the ins and outs. I didn't really feel c
Aug 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, netgalley, ebook
Thanks to Netgalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was an interesting story that took an surprising turn, plot-wise. I liked how the relationship was more of a slow-burn. The reasons that Jacob wanted them to ease into it, even more than the type of relationship, made sense with that plot twist. The beginning of the story was very character-based, and the plot was almost non-existent until the twist. I found this to be a good thing as there was no insta-love and t
LianaReads blog
Aug 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
The assistant is was an interesting read and my first book by the author.
I enjoyed the overall concept but I feel like it’s a bit too short and has the potential for a greater character development as well as tying up some loose ends in my opinion.
I’m looking forward to read other books by the author because I liked the writing and every now and then it’s a good to try something new, something outside my comfort zone.
Sep 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This story had a lot of potential, but I don't think it made the most of that potential, to be honest. The story felt a bit flat and there wasn't that much character development overall. I would definitely have liked to see the characters growing more as people rather than just in their relationship. ...more
Aug 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked it, the D/s part was hot and also intense, but I wished the story was longer, the last twist fell flat, it should have been something to explore with more detail or at least with a better epilogue.
But talking about the relationship between them, it was really great.
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant mind-bending tale. This story took unexpected twists that will leave you gasping. Nick is relatable while Jacob is an enigma. I’ve not read anything by this author before but you can bet I’ll be checking out his other work.
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I'm John, and I write gay romance, usually with a SF/F twist.

As for reading, I will read pretty much everything you put in front of me, but I will always have a special love for all genre fiction. I'm of the firm belief no story can't be improved by an elf, dragon and/or spaceship or two!

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