H.B. Pattskyn's Reviews > A Strong Hand

A Strong Hand by Catt Ford
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really liked it

Closer to a 3.5.

The premise was delightful and I loved the entire cast of characters. Nick is so sweet, and so lucky to have not one, but two great Doms looking out for him (Ashley as a friend and Damian as a lover). I loved the interplay between Damian and Ashley, it felt very real. The BDSM elements were spot on. (That said, readers who don't enjoy BDSM may find some of the scenes uncomfortable; personally, I found them touching. Damian is a Dom I think anyone would respect.)

The use of stereotypes was, for the most part, perfect; it is really enjoyable when an author gets it and does it right.

On a personal level, I found the angst sweet and just right--it's not everyone's cup of tea, but I love a little angst in my fiction. Nick and Damian had my stomach fluttering as they each went through their bouts of insecurity with the relationship. The angst was also very believable, grounded in sort of things most people would be insecure about.

My biggest problem with this one was the head-hopping, particularly as there wasn't any clear break in the page where the author jumped from one head to the next, to the next and to the next. It wouldn't have register as a "problem" in my own head if the only POVs we got were Nick's and Damian's. But we constantly get looks into several other men's heads and after a bit (less than a chapter), it became an annoyance. I found myself skim-reading through parts because I hadn't picked up the book to read about Ashley's romance, I was interested in Nick and Damian. I would have much rather seen Ashley just get his own novel; there was enough story there to warrant it, certainly.

I wasn't at all sure why we needed a prologue or an epilogue, since the prologue we got would have functioned perfectly well as a first chapter (usually a prologue is used to give bit of back story), and the epilogue picked up immediately where the previous chapter had ended. But that's Helen the critical reader talking, not Helen the casual reader talking. It's a technical knock, not a criticism on the story or the writing. (I'd honestly forgotten there was a prologue until I went back to the beginning to see something.)

There were a couple of minor "as you know Bob" moments, and one or two phrases that just annoy me on a personal level ("for some reason this felt right....") I find the use of "for some reason..." (much the same way I'm sure I use turns of phrase that annoy other people.) My personal feeling is that writing is stronger without phrases like that.

There was one or two WTF moments (see spoiler below if you want to know what) near the end and a few elements that I personally felt were unnecessary (mostly revolving around Crispin and Eddy, whom we thankfully saw very little of.) Lately I cringe whenever there's a "club" in a BDSM book, but no points off for something that gets a knee jerk reaction out of me through no fault of the author's (and this one wasn't "perfect" by an stretch--that's a compliment--although I had to wonder about the public nudity in Crispin's club).

(view spoiler)

Overall, though it's a book I enjoyed and something I would recommend to any of my friends (well... maybe not the totally vanilla ones...oh. Wait. I don't have any of those! :D )
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
February 6, 2012 – Shelved
February 6, 2012 – Finished Reading

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