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review 2016-07-20 00:13
Well this one was a mixed bag for me, but in a good way...
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

'Farm Fresh' is actually book #1 in Posy Roberts series 'Naked Organics' in 'Naked Origins, Hudson' we basically got the story of how Hudson came to live at Kaleidoscope Gardens and in 'Farm Fresh' we're given more of his life and the addition of Jude a young man whose past seems to be similar to Hudson's and to whom Hudson has a very strong attraction.


While Hudson was looking to find somewhere that he could be himself and not feel he had to hide his sexuality or be ashamed of it, Jude is struggling to accept himself as a sexual being and to  not only be able to express himself sexually but to not be ashamed of his needs and desires.


After months of seeing each other at the local farmer's market, Jude finally works up the courage to ask Hudson about all aspects of life at Kaleidoscope Gardens and what it means to live at the commune. Hudson decides that he needs to give Jude truthful answers. Answers that will either draw him in or scare him away. Jude is drawn in, he feels like maybe this is the place he's been looking for. Someplace where he can safely get himself sorted out.


While Jude and Hudson are very central to this story because of the dynamics of their household so are Leo and Charlie the other two men who share a house with Jude and Hudson and who their actions directly impact the most. However, while they do figure prominently in this story it's in somewhat of an indirect manner and I'm hopeful that there's a story that deals more directly with the past and future of these two men and will be shared with us in the near future..dare I hope?


For me the dynamics of commune life is not something I'm familiar with, however, I was intrigued to read a story that focused on a lifestyle that I knew so little about. How accurately this story portrays this lifestyle I don't know and I would hazard a guess that it would depend very much on the individual commune. But I felt like the author did a rather effective job of making me open my mind to the possibilities offered by this type of lifestyle. I liked all the environmentally friendly aspects of it. It was interesting and different.


While the social structure of the commune was in some ways dramatically different from what I've known, I very much liked the idea of people being accepted for who they are and not having to hide their true self or pretend to be someone they're not until it came to the point where I felt like Jude was being told that he had to participate in all aspects of commune life...wait...so does this mean if he's asexual he won't be accepted? That to me doesn't seem right in a commune where everyone's suppose to be able to be themselves free of judgement and accepted by all and yet, there seems to be a condition on the acceptance. Admittedly this niggled at me and still does. In spite of the fact that I know that this was not the case where Jude was concerned. 


Ironically the other issue for me was Hudson. He was so interested in Jude and then once Jude arrives at the commune...charming adorable Hudson kind of turned into a bag of dicks...not cool Hudson, but of course everything wasn't quite that simple. Mostly because Hudson seemed to have some unresolved issues of his own and at times I felt like he was left dangling in the wind with no one to support him in his hour of need so to speak. So for me there was a bit of frustration during this part of the story and I'm ok with all that because I like it when a story gives me a bit of an emotional roller coaster ride. It makes me think and consider options, look at things from a different perspective, sometimes I even change my viewpoint midstream because something clicks into place that I initially miss.


Was this story perfect...no, definitely not but overall I really enjoyed 'Farm Fresh' and I'm looking forward to reading more. The world of Kaleidoscope Gardens is a work in progress but so is my world so I can appreciate what's good and what's still broken and needs fixing.


Sometimes it's the pieces of perfection that we find among the imperfections that can shine the brightest and give the most hope.

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review 2016-05-17 22:40
Farm Fresh by Posy Roberts
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

So. This story made me very, VERY uncomfortable, but problably not for the reasons you think.


Let me point out at first that I was looking forward to this book very much. A farmer living in a commune and an environmental engineering student with some sexual hang-ups crushing on each other, finally taking a leap? Yes, please! I loved the unique premises of this story, I loved the beginning. Painfully shy Jude struggling with his past, his body, his sexuality and desires. I liked Hudson too, so protective of his commune, an organic farmer to boot, with a big heart and all his insecurities as results of past relationships. I also loved the idea of an LGBTQ commune where everyone lives and loves freely and openly. So I pretty much enjoyed the story until Jude took his first steps on commune ground. It was only then that I had issues, and I had a lot of them. I guess part of them were my own fault, because if I'd paid attention to the blurb, I might have caught on before getting in too deep.


Jude moves to Kaleidoscope Gardens, however his sexual hang-ups make it hard to adjust. He’s an uptight virgin living among people who have sex freely and with multiple partners. When Jude finally loosens up, Hudson is flooded with emotions.


In hindsight, I already felt uncomfortable reading this part of the blurb, just chose to ignore it. Don't ask me why. As it stands, I'm not at all happy with the "uptight virgin" part, because it has a certain ring to it I don't much appreciate. It got worse when I actually learned what Jude's "loosening up" entailed.


Let me be clear: I am not opposed to polyamorous or open relationships. I had one, I enjoyed it, I was freaking happy, I would do it again with the right people at the right time. My first issue was that basically everyone living in an open/poly relationship in this commune had Problems with a capital P, mostly to do with trauma. Which was a little disappointing in the way that not everyone living in "alternative" realtionships does so because they can't have a "normal" (monogamous) relationship, or because they are dealing with (sexual or other) trauma and this is their way of coping. It felt a little too clichéd for my taste, and I'm concerned that parts of this book might manifest certain prejudices people have regarding open and poly relationships instead of resolving them. A lot of potential wasted, IMHO.


What really got me going though, were the rules the members of the commune had to follow.


If I wanted to get technical or really bitchy, I'd point out that asexual people are part of the 'queer' (the Q in LGBTQ, you know?) community, too. In this book however, there would not have been a place at the table for them. Not cool. Which brings me to the big fucking thing that made me uncomfortable and rage-y as hell. In order to be allowed to stay and live with the commune, Jude had to participate in a sexual act in front of the other members in some kind of ritual.


Pause to let that sink in.


I'm sure you can see and interpret that as a positive, life-infirming way of introducing Jude to the commune, and make him feel welcome.


I felt no such thing.


For me the statement "Fuck with us or you can't stay with us - no matter how much you help our farm or love some of our members." is NOT okay. In fact, I'd go as far as saying: This is COERCION, pure and simple. When you blackmail someone into "willingly" participating in a sexual group act? That's not including, welcoming or ROMANTIC. It is wrong. No matter the context or intention. So, so wrong. And if you want to intercept here to tell me that Jude really wanted it in the end, that it was liberating for him and helped him to grow? That he just needed a little push in the right direction, because he didn't know what he really needed? I'd say that maybe, just maybe, you think about the implications of these statements.

"He/She actually really wanted it, they just didn't know it."


"You didn't mean it when you said 'no'. Your eyes and body said 'yes'."


"I know you think you don't want to, I know you might not be ready, but if you don't do it now, you have to leave."


Still see no problem? Because holy crap, I do! I could list my issues alphabetically or according to time of occurence, there are so many of them! So, yeah. I hated that part of the book. I hated it with a vengeance. It made me spit fire and venom all over the place, because NOOOOOO. I do not have enough words to express how bad this was for me.


I did try to move on. Mostly because I liked Jude as a character and wanted to see where his story would go. Unfortunately, things didn't get better. After opening up - the marvellous justification for pushing him way beyond his limits - he would have need an even more nurturing, supportive environment, in addition to some very special attention and care from the one he started to fall for. What did he get instead? An abrasive dickhead of a self-centered jerk who treated him like shit. I know Hudson had his own issues. Some of his thoughts made sense to me, I'll give him that. I even understood parts of him, because I didn't hate him as much as I could have. But the things he did and said pissed me of. Some of them were just unforgiveable and I was pretty much done with him after that. I was also done with the book.


Even though I finished it, I didn't really care anymore. Things got ugly, things got tense, things got emotional, but I remained fairly entouched throughout it all. Maybe a blib here or there for Jude and his brother, nothing more though.

All in all, I was not happy with this book. I had high expectations and even bigger hopes for it, but I was bitterly doisappointed with the execution of the whole thing. The notion that coercion is romantic in any form or fashion will never fly with me, so these scenes combined with Hudson's appalling behaviour at times ruined the book for me. 2 stars, one of them is solely and exclusively for Jude, because I really liked him and felt for him as a character.

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review 2016-03-24 10:15
Original and good read
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

I love stories that take me of the well-trodden paths and into something new and surprising. Farm Fresh certainly does that. The community at Kaleidoscope Gardens and their lifestyle are unique and beguiling. Everybody living in the commune is at ease with nudity and sexuality. While there are established couples (and triads and other combinations), sex and intimacy are freely exchanged both within those relationships and outside of them.


Poor Jude is ill prepared for the world he’s entered, and yet it may be exactly what he needs to overcome all the hang-ups his upbringing have left him with. It is a very slow process but with perseverance from Jude and patience from those who have invited him into their commune and house he slowly loosens up.


For Hudson the process happens almost the other way around. He’s been in the commune for years and appears to have found his place with Leo and Charlie. While he is attracted to Jude he is also afraid about how it will upset the balance in his life; a balance he’s fought hard to achieve after another man broke his heart five years earlier.


And so Jude and Hudson start a dance during which they seem to move apart at least as much as they pull together. Every step forward is followed by several paces backwards until the moment has arrived where someone has to put his foot down and force the issue.


There was a lot to love in this book. First and foremost there is Posy Roberts’ writing, which is smooth and gently pulls you into her world until it feels as if you too belong there. The setting of this story is fabulous. What’s not to love about a mostly self-sufficient community where people live a life filled with love and without any of the shame society so often associates with sex and nudity?


Both Hudson and Jude at times charmed and frustrated me. While I felt the pain and issues they deal with as a result of their upbringings, they were also the embodiment of one of my pet-peeves (both in real life and in fiction); lack of communication. On several occasions I wanted to pull either of them or both together through the screen of my Kindle to give them a good talking to. And while Jude’s issues with intimacy made sense given his background, I had a harder time understanding Hudson. After all, he had been living in the commune for years and should by now have learned that open communication is vital for any successful relationship.


On the other hand I loved that the author didn’t glamorise the commune lifestyle. She freely acknowledges that while open relationships can be a wonderful way to live, they are neither for everybody nor for any time.


Overall this was a fun, occasionally heartbreakingly sad, layered and at times thought-provoking book that kept me enthralled from start to finish. I can’t wait for more stories set in this environment. Visiting Kaleidoscope Gardens in future books is going to be a pleasure; almost as good as being able to visit the place for real would be.

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review 2016-01-26 00:00
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1)
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts Review originally posted at Sinfully.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect going into a story about life on a commune, but I really liked getting to know the community of Kaleidoscope Gardens and the four men who were the main characters in the book, especially Jude and Hudson. The men in the story are consensually polyamorous, living in a sex postitive community, so if you don’t like romance that is outside of the traditional monogamous coupling this may not be for you. If you’re willing to give it a try it provides a different take on an m/m/m+ relationship that I really enjoyed.

Jude has escaped parents that are part of a religion that sees sex as only for purposes of procreation and, in Jude’s case, took steps to make sure he didn’t so much as masturbate. He ran as soon as he could and is now twenty years old, in college and working toward an environmental engineering degree. Their shaming still rings in his head each time he tries to be sexual with someone or even just alone in his bed. Thus far, his attempts at exploring sex with another person have been misguided and unsuccessful. He does, however, look forward to his trips to the weekly farmer’s market where he gets to see and talk with the sexy Hudson.

Hudson knows what it’s like to grow up in a family steeped in religion and suffered until he ran at eighteen. He has been at the commune since then. Hudson enjoys sex for the sake of pleasure and doesn’t need to have it wrapped in emotion, but he does crave love and hopes someday to find it again. The last man Hudson loved left him five years before, and while his housemates Leo and Charlie include him in sex and give him affection, he still feels left out and lonely when he sees them together. They love him, but it’s not the same as being in love.

When Jude decides to try living at the commune, Hudson couldn’t be happier, but soon emotions run high and misunderstandings threaten everything Hudson loves and counts on. Jude is finally in a place where he is beginning to feel safe and comfortable enough to express himself and fight through the shame, but the one man he hoped to be with seems to push him away at any turn. As Leo and Charlie try to help, things go from bad to worse fast. There is also growing unease about their homophobic neighbor who has been looking to start trouble for years.

The dynamics of the relationship between Hudson, Leo and Charlie were complex to begin with, but when Jude enters the equation, he unintentionally opens up wounds for Hudson that have never healed. Both men have had similar family issues, but they are at different points in dealing with them. Hudson recognizes the mistakes he is making as far as Jude is concerned, but his jealousy and fear of abandonment prevents him from working to fix them.

Aside from the well-developed main characters, the community of Kaleidoscope Gardens is yet another character in the story and is essential in bringing Jude to a place where he can really start to heal. The open love, affection and joy in the physical he finds there has a big impact on him from the moment he arrives.

I thought the book moved along very well and had just the right amounts of angst, emotion and sex. Posy Roberts shows both the ease and complexity the men find in their arrangement and what each individual gets from it. While Hudson and Jude are the main characters, we also get to know a bit about Charlie and Leo and they play an essential part in the story.

While there are storylines that will obviously be continuing, there is a full story here. While Jude and Hudson are just starting their relationship and there are more tests ahead, there is solid ground to build on and everyone is happy at the end. I’m really looking forward to the next book to catch up with Hudson and Jude and to learn more about Leo and Charlie as well.

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review 2016-01-25 18:00
ARC Review — Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1), by Posy Roberts
Farm Fresh (Naked Organics Book 1) - Posy Roberts

This was a story I needed to read. A story I haven’t read before. A story that resonated in that part inside me that still feels like it’s missing a piece.


I’m not sure I could ever personally live in a sexual commune like the one described, but it was liberating and beautiful to read about the intricacy of the feelings between the members. This is open relationships to the umpteenth degree. With love and commitment. Friendship and companions. Sex and happiness. All over the place, literally.


I truly loved this unusual story, and the backdrop of an organic farm up on a hill made it all the better. It is quite low on the usual angst, and plenty sexy.


If you cannot fathom a relationship outside of the ordinary couple, this might put you in a situation where you feel a bit lost. But listen! It is well worth reading to the end; come explore something outside your comfort zone?


A final note: even though this is a first book in a series, it feels both fully rounded and finished. There are certainly some things left to explore, so I, for one, will be on the look out for the next installment in the series.




I was given a free copy of this self-published book from the author. A positive review wasn’t promised in return.

Source: annalund2011.booklikes.com/post/1323501/arc-review-farm-fresh-naked-organics-1-by-posy-roberts
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