Hard Rhythm, Cecilia Tan
I’ve liked a few of Cecilia’s stories and looked forward to this one especially and its got my favourite band trope connection! Its a hot and sensual novel, and one I enjoyed reading.
I was a little puzzled at first, it seemed as if I should know more about certain characters, events and places and then about 25% I decided to check and …yes, this is the third in a series and I’d missed the first two.
That would have made things clearer, I enjoyed and could follow the story without reading those early ones, but I think it’s more likely to have been a five star read for me if I’d read them first.
Still it’s a good read and didn’t “lose” me with details, just would have been easier to pick up some incidents and see their relevance earlier.
I liked the characters, we’re mainly with Maddie and Chino but what we see of the others is promising, some from earlier books and maybe some in the future ones?
Maddie’s been and done it all it seems, and she feels kind of jaded about everything, nothings really exiting her now, really enticing her to take part, and then Chino makes his move.
There’s been a subtle undercurrent between them for months, nothing you could really point to, no obvious tensions, but its clear they both are strongly attracted to each other. Maddie thinks its a one night only and she’s happy with that, she’s been wanting him for a while and they have a great time, but that one night stretches and soon they’re in a solid sensual relationship.
I loved Maddie’s sex toy blog, and the way Chino was so enthusiastically helping her with it 😉
I liked Maddie, she’s one of those people who project confidence and self security even when she’s struggling inside. She’s worked hard to get where she is even without parental backing, and she’s not actually upfront about what it is she does to them. Understandable, not everyone can accept that kind of life and job.
Chino and the band connection…well, that was it for Band trope stuff, that he was in a band and the novel includes his band-mates. There’s no huge band dramas, no touring life-on-the-road stuff, just that they are band members. A little disappointing for me in truth, but it was still a good read.
I loved his backstory, can see that as so true, there are people like his deeply religious family, who see his lifestyle as wrong. The resulting parts of that section of the story surprised me! And I do like to be caught out, to get a touch of the unexpected even when its not part of the main plot.
I loved Chino himself, the thought he put into sex, the way he planned hard, organised what he wanted rather than just leaving it to chance, the way he played Maddie, knew what she wanted, needed, even when she didn’t realise it.
They may not have been together long, but he’d been watching her and planning long before they got together.
I did love his stance on p-i-v sex, that there are alternatives, that waiting can make it special. That was a treat to read when so many stories have the male balls deep by page five it seems. It makes me thing what can come next when they’ve reached the main part so quickly.
Stars: Four, an enjoyable read, and I think if I’d read books one and two then this may have been a five for me.
ARC supplied for review purposes by Netgalley and Publishers
Slow Satisfaction, Cecilia Tan
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
I loved the first two in this trilogy, and have been waiting for this final part. Since FSoG ( which I loved despite the eye rolling etc) there seems to have been numerable erotic, BDSM trilogies of very variable qualities. Some Authors, Jodi Elen Malpas and K Bromberg have written trilogies that are fresh and engaging, but sadly far too many are like reading the same story over and over with just very slight changes. This trilogy though – its BDSM, its erotic, but its a very different read from most out now. Cecilia has brought in a totally new angle with James being a secret Rock Star, ( and of course a control freak) and some storylines that are new and welcomed. Once again the sex scenes are sensual and not repetitive, but often have an edge that’s just a bit different from the norm. I was a little uncomfortable at one of the later scenes where she ends up really crying…that’s just me though, and it was given the appropriate explanation. There was so much happening in the last novel i did have to go back for a quick peek and refresh my mind…it’ll be a great trilogy to read in one long session!
There were times when I thought Karina might say “enough” when James lets her down yet again over his secrets, but it seems she’s finally standing up to James over them and demanding answers – well, some of the time Winking smile I’d have wanted an explanation about Ferrara far fuller than she got….she still settles too easily for what he tells her, rather than asking more questions. Still, she’s treading a fine line, and its hard for him letting go of what he’s hidden for so long so I can see reasons for her (in)actions.
Karina has grown such a lot since that first meeting, and James has changed immeasurably. That’s part of his problem IMO, he’s been one way for so long that it scares him to think and act differently. Throw in the complications with the bitch Ferrara and no wonder he’s been so protective of himself. Ferrara was a great character – I always feel a good “bad” character adds so much to a story, and provides a great contrast and interesting storylines.
There were times when I wondered if there were just a bit too many co-incidences, sort of did A happen because of B, or B happen because of A or was it all just chance?
James and Karina have come such a long way and it was good to see them moving forward finally as a team, and facing up to the (myriad of) problems that surrounded them. Those were all very different to what usually crops up, and that’s what kept this interesting and fresh for me.
Stars: Four and a half. There were a couple of times when I felt things were muddled or a bit lacking in substance, or where Karina was too accepting. Somehow too James didn’t always come over as the strong character we know he is. A trilogy for the keeper files though.
ARC supplied via Netgalley and publishers
The Hot Streak, A Baseball Romance, Cecilia Tan
Review from jeannie zelos book reviews
Cecilia has written lots of novels but the only ones I’ve read are the fabulous Slow Seduction books. I thought as I enjoyed them so much, maybe this would be a good read for me. Well, it is a good read, a fun HEA romance, a sweet story, but it doesn’t have for me that magic spark that the Slow novels do…..Casey is Ok as a heroine but a bit overly picky in her dates, even her friends seem to think so, and when she meets Tyler she’s questioning herself straight away whether its a good thing, is it going to be worth it? etc. instead of letting things develop. It seemed to me she wants to shape events, and then moans that they don’t go the way she wants. She doesn’t really give people a chance to succeed without her pushing and prompting, and thinking it won’t work. Negativity reigns for her. . Tyler was a great lead, funny, caring, and enthusiastic about everything. He was a bit like an overgrown Labrador puppy, words spilling out of his mouth without though, impulse buys and actions…and yet you cant help liking him.
Baseball I only know through novels – its not a big UK sport, reminds me very much of Rounders at school, though I know the States revere it! I’ve picked up a few terms from books, and a rudimentary understanding, and there wasn’t anything here that was overly complex to follow. I hate books where I’m so lost in the terms used that I can’t follow the plot, and although this is romance its sport based, and one needs to understand a bit of how people feel about the sport to understand Tyler’s actions.
I liked the drama part, but it was a little understated for me, Casey seemed a bit harsh on judging the baseball side of their problems and for me, a bit lenient in the end of the other – to me – Huge problem. I’d need to know far more about that – it was a real shocker and I’d want to know why no one said anything earlier…
Overall it was a fun read, but a one off.
ARC supplied via Netgalley
Slow Seduction. Cecilia Tan
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
So we pick up the story with Karina determined to trace James, but with little to go on she’s clutching at straws. The LL grapevine says he’s in England ,so she jumps at the chance of a summer job in the art world in London. There she meets Damon, member of the English branch of the club in US that James took Karina to – and the one he abandoned her at. Not a happy memory for her, but she’s willing to re renter that world if it helps her find James. Damon clearly wants her for himself though – openly says so, and isn’t put off that she’s told him about James, and her mission to find him, without revealing anything other than his club name. He agrees to help her, convinced that he can change her mind about him in the meantime…so she enters a world of Submission, Service and Secrets.
Karina didn’t seem quite as sparky in this book, maybe its just that the magic is between her and James, and though she showed her mettle to Damon and clearly intrigued him, it wasn’t as fun as when she was with James. Damon- on the surface helping, but we know he only wants her to find James convinced he will leave her again, leaving the way open for him. He’s an odd man, very arrogant in ways, very in love with himself, and yet when it comes to Karina, like James he’s fallen for her magic, the spark that makes her so different form the obedient, placid ladies he’s used to. Then there’s Vannette who has a senior position in club management. She seemed very cold at first I thought, and yet when Karina needed help and advice she was there and spot on.
Through her search Karina meets lots of other characters too, some funny and quirky, some from James past, and more of the LL fans. They crop up in a number of different, minor plots that end up joining and being connected. Its like that six degrees of separation thing again 🙂 I thought it was really clever the way Cecilia has taken what seem like disparate events and characters, and yet woven them into a thread that winds round the journey, and brings it full circle. Once again there’s lots of erotic sensuality without actual sex, and after all the books where its sex every other page, its such a treat to get an author who’s clearly put a lot of thought into how to portray sensuality and passion, without just giving us constant, in your face, boring after a while sex. That’s what happens when we get the same thing, page after page after page, it gets dull, the reader switches off and it loses its edge. I really enjoyed that Cecilia has taken a different direction with this book. When she does do sex, then it becomes something to be treasured, something special and revered, a magic moment between two lovers, more than just another quick shag, and fits the novel perfectly.
The ending – wow, what a lot of surprises and revelations, and once again I’ve a truckload of questions I need answering. Of course, as has become almost obligatory in contemporary erotica, there’s a semi cliffhanger ending. Semi because thankfully Cecilia gives us a glimpse of what’s to come at the end, and its positive so it left me wanting more, wanting it now but at least feeling positive, and not that awful empty feeling so many cliffhanger endings give me. Part three should be out this autumn 🙂
Stars: four and a half again. Fabulous read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Slow Surrender. Cecilia Tan
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
OK – I was hoping this was a standalone – I’m so fed up of waiting months for next instalments of novels. To me that spoils them, by the time the next part is out I’ve lost the impetus of the book and have to re read – I don’t mind that, but I hate the wait, the time spend reading something with no conclusion, and I think if all two or three parts were out at same time I and many other readers would like it much, much better. I appreciate that’s tough on authors, but paying for parts of a story and waiting months – or never in some cases – for final endings is tough on readers too. Personally I’m tending not to buy books now unless all parts are out, having got caught on ones that turn from trilogies to 5 part series or where publishing date gets pushed back..and back.. and back and in some cases it seems authors just go on to write other books and abandon some started already 😦 I’m sure many readers will know exactly which books I mean 🙂
Anyway Slow Surrender – not a stand-alone but a trilogy – part two out soon, hurrah, and part three hopefully this year. Then, dammit, dammit, dammit – my real personal hate, a sodding cliffhanger ending – though we do get a glimpse of what’s to come and some light in the dark. Its such a shame because this is a terrific story, well written, full of sensuality that shows how love scenes can be erotic without full on conventional sex. Sometimes we get so much sex its actually boring, but Cecilia keeps it fresh and fun this way. The air of mystery about James has me pulled in, he’s a real gentleman and yet we feel there’s a dark undercurrent to him. I thought I’d an idea of who he was at first, then a red herring was thrown in, and I though I’d guessed wrong and then..more clues so I was still wondering – right til the end 🙂 It was clear James had some demons in his past somewhere, that he was fiercely protective of his identity, and that he was a good man, as evidenced by the care for him his staff had, and yet he took a huge risk with Karina, acting on an impulse when I feel he rarely does anything he hasn’t considered all parts of. I want to see and know more of him.
Karina – she fun, on the surface a light-hearted, happy girl, and yet under family pressure to conform, struggling with her career, and with a jerk professor threatening her doctorate. She’s a sunny side up girl though, and James is entranced by her. She says the most off the wall things – I sympathise, sometimes my brain is shocked by what comes out of my mouth too! James loves it all though, so long as she obeys his one rule – honesty. I wonder just what’s happened to him to make that so important? No-one likes to be lied to but he takes it to another level completely. Karina’s happy to play along though – sometimes I just can’t believe how open she is to trying anything, she puts great trust in people, in a way she’s very naïve, but yet its a kind of refreshing openness, rather than a juvenile “don’t know” facet of her personality.
I really enjoyed this book, was hooked waiting to see what was next, what had James got planned, what was happening to Karina in her family and professional life, so many things to enjoy. It was a pretty positive part of the whole series overall til the end – and that was dramatic. Fabulous! I love drama.. I’m hoping that this sad part doesn’t end too quickly – I want desperately to see more of James, but need some unhappiness to balance all the positives we’ve had. I need some answers too – if they just pick up where they left off that won’t work for me. Oh – so many questions and such a wait….that’s exactly what I hate about books divided into parts. If it wasn’t for that damn awful cliffhanger, and three part stuff this would be a full on five star read but I really really hate those 😦
Stars: four and a half
ARC supplied by Netgalley