Monday, February 10, 2014

Digital Review: Every Part of You: Tempts Me
Yes, I'm the reason.  I'm the reason that so many readers out there bitch express dissatisfaction with the latest publishing trend of digital serializations.  I love them.  The urgency, the anticipation waiting for the next installment, even the cliffhangers from one episode to the next.  I blame it entirely on the soap opera addiction instilled in me at a very young age by my mother and grandmother - an addiction I have only been able to kick by trading it in for another, romance novels.

This all being said, I'll admit I am curious how Megan Hart is going to handle the format.  She's not a writer known for "soapy" plots, which lend themselves so well to serializations.  However, Hart is definitely one of my very favorite writers (period, regardless of genre), most notably for the skill she shows in creating authentic-feeling characters.  That was more than enough for me to give the first installment of her Every Part of You series, Tempt Me, a whirl.  And wouldn't you know it?  Now I'm hooked.

From her office, Simone Cooper has a direct line of sight into Elliott Anderson's office.  Elliott is a high-priced lawyer, devilishly handsome, who favors classically tailored suits.  He also favors willowy blonde women that he likes to take back to his office and bend over his desk.  Simone admits it, she's a wee bit of a voyeur, but watching Elliott doesn't so much scratch an itch as it does get her all hot and bothered.  Until, finally, one evening, working late, she finds herself sharing an elevator with him.  Before Elliott knows what hits him, he's inviting Simone to a party he feels committed to attending, even if he has no desire to.

That's pretty much the gist of this first installment, but don't let the simplicity of it fool you.  Hart's strength as a writer has always been in her characterizations - and she excels in laying the groundwork for both Simone and Elliott.  Simone is a woman with hidden depths, and a sexual kink towards pain/pleasure.  What I loved about her is that she's not a submissive.  She gets off on pain, but she's not the sort of woman who cottons to a man bossing her around, telling her what to do, basically thinking that "dominating" her gives him carte blanche to take over her entire life.  This was exceedingly refreshing, especially given that Elliott is, to put it bluntly, kind of a jackass.  Reading in between the lines there are definitely reasons for his tendency towards being an asshole, but the author isn't about to let the cat out of the bag this early in the game.  So yeah, while he's kind of a jerk?  It's OK since 1) the reader knows there's more going on behind the scenes and 2) Simone doesn't roll over and die.  Simone is just the sort of woman to tell him what an asshat he's being.

So while this first story doesn't feature any over-the-top soap opera shenanigans, it does feature the very best of what Megan Hart does so well as a writer - she hooks you with her characters.  And hell, Simone alone is enough to make me want to walk over hot coals to get my hands on the next novella.

Final Grade = B


nath said...

Very nice review, Wendy! Ames put it on her radar and I was a bit skeptical... but now, perhaps I'll give them a try! Not a fan of serialization. I can get behind the anticipation, but I think my issues are mainly the pricing and the length.

Wendy said...

Nath: It's a format that works very well for me, and I totally blame it on the recovering soap opera addict in me! But I hear you on pricing. $1.99 per installment (novella-length) is pretty good - but at five installments you're looking at just under $10 for a digital-only release.

nath said...

Exactly. Of course, I can wait for the whole thing and hopefully, the publisher will price it more decently.

Lynn Spencer said...

I might have to try this one. I love Hart's writing. Used to be a soap opera addict, too. I blame my grandmother and her sisters. They all watched soaps and I spent many summer days at their houses while my parents were at work. No one had central AC and summers in Virginia are brutal. Since the window unit or fans were always in the living room with the television, guess where we all planted ourselves? I still kinda miss Guiding Light and Young and the Restless.