Book Reviews

The Temple of Heaven (Made in China 2) by Z. Allora at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / New Adult / Interracial / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 11-July-2018

Book Blurb

Music is Tian Di’s life and his love, and he’s made plenty of sacrifices. His career is finally taking off with his band, Made in China, and he’ll continue to put music first… until he meets Jordon. Then insta-lust becomes insta-love and a commitment to the future—no matter how difficult it might be.


Jordon lives in a bubble constructed by his overprotective older brothers, who are so controlling that they’ve kept him from dating. A talented artist, Jordon managed to keep his success with a Japanese manga publisher a secret from his family, but now he fears discovery. It’s easier to let his brothers handle everything, but Jordon has reached his limit. He’s ready to draw some boundaries so he can be his own man and face all the challenges that come with that.


Their families and careers aren’t the only obstacles. Jordon must accept his identity as a gay man who doesn’t top or bottom. Fortunately, Tian Di—and his special talents—help Jordon open up to his sexuality in an erotic adventure that spans Japan and China, and with love, luck, hard work, and open minds, will end in a happily ever after.


Book Review

Centered around another famous landmark in China, the Temple of Heaven, this second book in the ‘Made in China’ series is as fantastic as the first. It tells the story of not just one rock band, the recently successful group called Made in China, but includes wonderful interactions with the Dark Angels. As suspected, this pretty much doubles the angst, drama, interpersonal shenanigans, and general excitement of this second story in the series. There are multiple settings in China – from Suzhou and Beijing to Hong Kong, as well as an extensive visit to Tokyo, Japan. Their “touristy” activities added a great deal of local color and made me feel as if I were traveling with the characters. All descriptions of modern-day China are based on Z. Allora’s six-year experience of living there, increasing the story’s depth and credibility.

Tian Di was a fascinating secondary character in ‘The Great Wall’ from the moment he joined the band as their singer, but he really comes into his own here. His dedication to music has brought him far, but he is lonely despite having found friends as well as band mates. He is out to his family, with his sister as his only supporter, but he can’t be openly gay in China without facing serious repercussions. He wants what Styx and Jin found in the first volume and is floored when he meets Jordon, falling into lust immediately and into love pretty soon afterwards. Tian Di has a lot of prejudice to fight against!

Jordon is from New York, new to this series, and boy, does he have a lot to deal with. The youngest of three brothers, his mother kicked him out and disowned him for being gay when he was sixteen, and his two older brothers took him in. They are extremely protective and have basically run Jordon’s life for him because he is a bit helpless and has always found it easier to let them do what needs to be done. When Jordon meets Tian Di, he finds that boundaries need to be set if he is to have a life of his own, It is a real struggle for him, especially because he loves his brothers and they love him, but Jordon is determined. After all, he is a very successful manga artist in his own right and he is not helpless.

The insta-lust between Tian Di and Jordon is super cute and it is clear that they want to stay together forever. They both tell the story, alternating their point of view, and that added a lot to my enjoyment. Their enthusiasm lets them overcome a ton of obstacles – be they internal or external – and watching them get to know each other and fall in love was a true treat. Jordon sees the sights that Tian Di introduces him to through an artist’s eyes and that is really special. Tian Di has to confront his parents and deal with his growing success as a rock star. They teach each other about their cultures and explore their sexuality with all the angst that can bring with it when neither man is very experienced.

The secondary characters also deserve mention - they are fantastic! And, much to my delight, I discovered there are several books out there where they are the stars – in fact the ‘Dark Angel’ series tells the story of the rock band that helped make Made in China a success. I want to read them all now!

If you like interracial/intercultural romances where both characters learn and grow as they get to know each other, if you want to watch two young men come of age together but in slightly different ways, and if you’re looking for a read that has cultural and psychological depth, multilayered characters, a wonderful plot, and a love that will not be denied, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. It’s as enchanting as book one, and I hope that there will be a third volume soon.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 308 pages/98916 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 10-July-2018
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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