Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Review for The Hand He Dealt by Tanith Davenport
Astra Scott's life seems to be going perfectly. A great internship with the promise of career advancement, great friends, and a seemingly solid relationship with her boyfriend. But everything changes when she sees her boyfriend Harry coming out of a club that she assumes is a strip club. When she discovers differently, her life suddenly changes as does her view of sexuality. From there on the reader is treated to one super steamy read where happiness is possible for those willing to accept the truth about themselves.
Astra starts off the story secure in her beliefs about sexuality until the night she sees her boyfriend Harry coming out of a bar that she believes is a strip bar, but is actually a gay bar. He assures her he's just experimenting and not doing anything serious. At this phase in the story Astra is very naive about sexuality in my opinion. She believes what Harry tells her and keeps dating him. Even presented with the truth about his sexuality she remains his girlfriend in all ways. I was very disappointed in her for not accepting the truth right away and I became very irritated with her for staying in a relationship that had no future. By the way she talked I think she felt so desperate to be in a relationship like everyone around her that this made her stay with Harry. Harry too was irritating by begging Astra at every turn to stay his girlfriend. He truly believed that as long as he had a girlfriend no one could say he was gay. I had no respect for him until the very end of the story and by then I was happy to see him go.
Astra further complicates her life by having a sexual relationship with her best friend Sasha who already has a boyfriend of her own who is constantly giving Astra difficulties. This relationship seemed to come out of the blue and even though Astra says she'd be angry if Harry cheated on her she has no problem being with Sasha. The sex doesn't stop with Sasha though. Soon Astra is sharing herself with both Sasha and Ash and for someone who seemed naive at first when it came to sex now seems to have no restraint.
Ash is an interesting character with a personality that for most of the story is very unlikable. He treats Astra like garbage for the first part of the story so his latter declarations of love don't feel very believable. He too supposedly carries a secret that invaded many of his sexual encounters but I didn't find the secret to be that big of a deal. What I did find invasive was his chronic need to be reassured in the bedroom. It made him sound needy and was a bit distracting during the sexual interludes.
Of the sexual interludes there were many. There were m/f, f/f, m/f/f, and m/m. They were varied and plentiful and were a main part of the story. The scenes were sexy and, no matter the coupling, were nicely written. Ms. Davenport definitely knows how to write fiery sex scenes but I do think that a few could have been excised to tighten the story up a bit. Another aspect of the story that was unnecessary were the attacks against Astra from an unknown person. The actual criminal came way out of nowhere and seemed to me to live up to some very negative stereotypes. This plotline felt needless and was purely a way to make Harry look like an even worse boyfriend and make Ash a more likable character.
By the end of the book the story finally felt right to me. People that were good together finally ended up together and others finally accepted the truths about themselves. It's a true HEA with a very intense sexual journey taken to get there. If you like your stories long on sex and a bit short on a satisfying plot then you'll definitely want to put this on your reading list.
My rating for this is a C+
*This book was given to me by the author for my honest opinion.