By J A Huss
Before I get started, make sure you’re sitting comfortably and have food and a drink with you. This could take a while. I’m serious. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
So normally I write one review for each book I read. I don’t like writing one review that encompasses two or more books simply because one review here would equal two or more on Goodreads and the number of reviews won’t match. To me, that’s the equivalent of the world ending, and I just can’t have that kind of stress on my shoulders. Wait!!! Please don’t leave. I promise I’m not crazy. Just self-diagnosed with OCD (aka anal retentiveness).
Unfortunately, the time has come where I have to write one review that encompasses six books. The Social Media series comprises of six cleverly named novellas: Follow (# 1); Like (# 2); Block (# 3); Status (# 4); Profile (# 5); and Home (# 6). Each book follows the story of Grace Kinsella and Vaughn Asher, with each book starting directly after the book before it ended.
Vaughn is an A-List actor and is made out to be an A-List asshole. But thinking back, I don’t see how he was an asshole. Yeah, he’s a little pushy and is used to getting what he wants (usually with money or blackmailing) but other than that, I didn’t think he was that bad a guy. The books seem to imply that his treatment of women is what makes him an asshole. But when he enters into a sexual relationship with a woman, he’s very upfront about what he wants from them: Sex with their total submission; No commitments; They’ll be aided financially while they’re with him; and Never talk to anyone about his sexual appetites. It’s the women he’s with that confuse the situation, so I don’t blame him for being rude with them when he lets them go. They think they’ll be the one to nab him permanently, they want more and are upset when they’re cut off. But the women knew what they were getting into and did so willingly. A man’s need to dominate does not make him an asshole. A man providing a woman financial assistance while in his care does not mean he thinks they’re a whore. It’s taking the money that makes them feel like a whore. That’s on them, not on him. I think the most asshole-y thing he did was continuously invade Grace’s privacy by using questionable methods to find out information about her.
Grace is an Event Planner, but it’s her hobby that’s the initial focus of these books. Her hobby is running a Twitter group in which they posts all their dirty thoughts and hers are all about Vaughn, the celebrity of her fantasies.
Vaughn meets Grace while she’s holidaying at his resort. He’s determined to know her and get her kneeling on his sheepskin rug. Unlike most women he’s used to, she pushes back, despite having fantasised about him for the past four years and wanting to submit to him. He loathes her disobedience, but it’s her lack of total submission that keeps him coming back for more. I lost count of how many times he told her to leave and how many times he had to chase her because she did leave.
Given how long this story ended up being, I’m not sure how to explain it all. It’s about Vaughn’s desire to dominate. It’s about Grace’s desire to submit but finding it difficult to. It’s about Vaughn growing and learning he doesn’t need total submission when he’s with the right person. It’s about Grace’s past which comes back to haunt her with a vengeance. It’s about Vaughn and Grace trying to overcome her past and present when her demon returns. It’s about Vaughn getting the ultimate revenge on those in the media that seek to destroy him. I think that’s about as quick as I can sum it up.
Julie says this book is not about BDSM, but really about the media and how they affect the lives of Vaughn and Grace. To be honest, I didn’t catch onto this at all, especially since it’s only in the last book that the media really make their disgusting presence felt. And being honest again, I didn’t even see the point of needing the whole media blackmail/Black Bash plot in book 6. I don’t think the series would have suffered if it wasn’t included.
Now I know I mentioned that the story was quite long over the six books, but I think Grace’s second abduction and details of her abductor could have been fleshed out more. From memory, we never found out how he was able to get her past her security that was supposed to be located right outside her door, and they never explained how her abductor managed to outsmart everyone, or why he fixated on her so badly.
There were two things I absolutely hated in this book.
1 – The fact that Vaughn never used a condom with anyone he slept with. That’s just stupid and totally unrealistic in this day and age. Given his celebrity status and wealth, you’d think he’d insist on wearing 10 condoms just to make sure no woman ever tries to get pregnant to him. While he might be clean, who’s to say all the women he sleeps with are. No condom at the beginning of a relationship is one of my book pet peeves.
2 – I hate how he calls her “girl”. I get saying “Good girl” but he addresses her as girl. Gross. At least call her “woman”, or “sub”.
Onto the positives. I liked how the author wrote Grace’s feelings regarding submission. Grace liked the idea of submitting, but as you know, sometimes thinking and doing are two different things. She wanted to submit to Vaughn but had a lot of trouble actually doing it. It turned her on, but made her feel cheap and dirty for liking it, which I assume is a perfectly normal reaction for someone new to submission. It took her a while to come to terms with what Vaughn was trying to achieve for them. There’s no whips or floggers in this story. The author focuses on getting Grace to realise that her pleasure (or pain) is not only Vaughn’s hands, but hers as well. She always has a choice: Submit or don’t; Yes or no; Leave or don’t.
I liked the covers. I love how the only colour is in the title and the author’s name. However, I think the cover photos should be in reverse order. Vaughn starts out harsh but ends up softening quite a bit by the time book 6 comes around. The cover of Follow (# 1) is where Steve Boyd looks the most soft, so that should have been the cover for Home (# 6). The only cover I didn’t like was for Home (# 6). Why step away from tradition?
Sorry Julie. I know you don’t want to hear any bitching about the length of the books, the cliffhangers or the price in your reviews, but I have to comment on all those things.
Let’s talk about the length and cliffhangers of these books. In her End Of Book Shit of book 1 (aka Acknowledgements, but EOBS sounds so much cooler), she explains the reasoning behind releasing a six novella serial. This was originally going to be a two book series, but she expanded the original storyline and with the plot points, she felt that six novellas worked better than two books. I feel this could have been turned into three longer books rather than six shorter ones. Especially given how hard she said it was to release six books over a 12 week period. She was still writing book 4 when book 1 was released. I don’t pretend to understand the demands placed on a writer, but wouldn’t it have been easier to release three books instead of six? Books 1 and 2 could have been the first book, books 3 and 4 could have been the second book and books 5 and 6 could have been the third and final book. I think the cliffhangers in books 2 and 4 were better plot points to support that idea.
Let’s move on to the price of these books. The price for each novella is $2.99 on Amazon, the total for the 6 novellas is almost $18.00. Personally, I think that’s too much. I’m not a writer and I can only assume that writing and editing and selecting cover art (and everything else that goes into a book) is a very time consuming and expensive process. Not knowing the exact costs, I still feel ebooks should only cost $1.00 for every hundred pages, and being that as per Amazon there were only 700 pages to the series, $18.00 is too high. I was fortunate to be able to get these books for free through Kindle Unlimited, so I know it’s very hypocritical of me to comment on the price, but there it is.
Finally, given how quickly she had to pump these novellas out, they’re written very well with very few spelling mistakes, most of which are in book 6. Normally I wouldn’t comment about that sort of stuff, but I feel it’s important to mention in case you’re worried there’d be a tonne of spelling and grammar mistakes, especially given how quickly she wrote and released the series.
Purchase from : FOLLOW: Social Media # 1
Purchase from : LIKE: Social Media # 2
Purchase from : BLOCK: Social Media # 3
Purchase from : STATUS: Social Media # 4
Purchase from : PROFILE: Social Media # 5
Purchase from : HOME: Social Media # 6
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