Wednesday, October 21, 2015

1 star--Playing Hard to Master (Masters Unleashed, #2) by Sparrow Beckett

Playing Hard to Master was one of those books where I feel like I've read a completely different version than everyone else.

The quick of it is that Ambrose has gone in for a haircut and the stylist...totally catches his eye and in a slip of the tongue he finds out that she's just as kinky as he is. Woohoo! And he is in and the woo-ing is on!

While I liked a couple things there were just so many others that didn't work for me and they bothered me enough that I'm gonna break it down.

But first what I DID like. The hero. 

Ambrose was a good guy. He was easy for me to like, good to his family and friends and cared about the people he employed. Plus...he's a foodie! He loves him some good food.
"No dinner?"

She snorted. "You look so horrified."

He thought of the herb-butter-rubbed prime rib he'd had earlier. "You don't understand how much I love food."
I didn't totally buy into him being a Dom/Master but I liked him and felt he deserved so much better than his heroine despite a flub up on his part in hiding something from her (his wealth which considering her attitudes I totally got).

The cover is fantastic too. I really love the covers for the entire series though that's not the hero as far as he was described. Only mentions were tats on his arms.

So what did NOT work. And it's quite a list. 

The heroine

Immature, over-reactive, preachy. That pretty much sums up Everly. She just gave off a hostile judgmental attitude including thinking her mother (who she apparently loved) "had no class" because the way she did her hair wasn't what Everly liked. I'm sorry but seriously? My mom rocks overalls near every day and her hair does it's thing but my mom is awesome and her hairstyle doesn't make her classless. I would never think something like that about my mom over a freaking hairstyle. The entire time I just felt like Everly needed to grow up. She also thought he was classless over his decorating style at his apartment because he had a large tv, sparse furniture and paintings by friends on his walls. She's into protesting, petitions and aggressive advocacy.

Social Status Shaming

This was very in your face. Shame on anyone who has money. Who's done well for themselves. Likes nice things. How DARE you enjoy what you have or a fancy meal out. People with money are all, according to the heroine, "stuck-up asshole(s)"-- something she felt comfortable enough telling the hero within 5 minutes of meeting him. You know. When he was a client and had just walked in to get his hair cut.
"Rich people are entitled, selfish, and inconsiderate." she spouted off as if she'd said it a hundred times before. 
She talked bad about rich people while enjoying their homes and pools and then using the hero's money when she got into a jam. It was just ridiculous and frustrating and went on for the entire book. Every chance she had she took a swipe at anyone who had done well for themselves.

And of course as the book goes along the hero becomes ashamed of his nice home and that he likes nice sheets or meals because god! how could he be so selfish. I mean. He pays his employees well and gives to charity but he doesn't organize protests or stand outside harassing shoppers with fliers and petitions <---something the heroine does. Shame on him! He's gotta change and downgrade what he has to be good enough for her. *rolls eyes* Social status shaming is never okay to me regardless of the way it goes. It's not right to judge others for not having much and not right to judge others for having more than you think they should.

The Writing

The writing felt very flat and clunky. This is by a writing duo and it felt that way. 

There was no depth to the world or the characters and things just didn't mesh up. It was hard to actually differentiate the characters. They all sounded the same. The hero and heroine's parents sounded like 20 year olds when they were in scenes. The men sounded like women (with the hero saying things like how she made him feel all Dommy). There were also a handful of spots where it really felt like wrong words were used. Not typos but actual words where the meanings weren't quite what was intended I don't believe. It was just awkward. Plus the constant overuse of adorable and ugh by both throughout the book and seriously unfortunate terminology like calling it her 'bottom hole'. 

The Romance/Heat/BDSM elements

I never felt the romance. The book supposedly took place over a number of months and I was crazy shocked when that was first mentioned by a secondary character because it honestly felt like the relationship was about 4 days old when the time frame was mentioned.  And while some of the sex scenes were hot they didn't have a lasting impact because the romance wasn't really believable to me. As far as the BDSM elements went it felt clunky as well. Suddenly Master and slave were brandied about instead of them just being a Dom and bratty submissive and well. I'm not sure how that changed. The dynamic really felt off as well. I know she was a bratty submissive but the submissive side wasn't shown for the most part. It felt like she was constantly topping from the bottom and he just let her because she was adorable and he wanted the relationship to be fun. A couple times his Dom side come out but overall it felt like she called the shots and he want along with it. More like they were playing at BDSM instead of actually being in the lifestyle. 

All in all, Playing Hard to Master was a massive miss for me. It's only 16 chapters but it felt like it took an eternity to read and really hit very very few high points. I never felt a connection to the characters or pulled into the writing. Or really any need to carry on with the series. Disappointed to say the least. There's a lot of fangirling out there over this one though so who knows. Maybe it'll work for you.

Have you read Sparrow Beckett?
Ever feel like you've read an entirely different book than everyone else?

Abandoned by his submissive years before, Ambrose has avoided long term relationships. He amuses himself by hooking up with his buddy’s exes. That is, until he meets Everly—a curvy girl with a big personality, who refuses to be ignored. Just when he thinks he’s found a girl he can trust, he finds out she has big opinions about rich men. Telling her he’s wealthy will ruin everything, but he can’t collar her with this huge lie hanging over them.

Known as a brat in their small kink community, Everly can intimidate even the most experienced Doms, but Ambrose is different. Not only does he charm the pants off her, he makes her crave his mastery, too. However, Ambrose’s trust issues run deep, and Everly isn’t willing to be ‘temporary’ forever. Ambrose is hiding something from her, and that secret is keeping them apart. Can she get her scaredy-Dom to commit, or is he a lost cause?

Amazon | All Romance  | Goodreads
*covers link to Amazon


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