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REVIEW: All He Wants | All He Needs by C....

All He Wants Gibbs

Dear Ms. Gibbs:

The All or Nothing trilogy (or in the UK Knight trilogy) is a series of erotic romance stories that feature the same couple–Katherine Hart and Dominic Knight.  Both stories end with some cliffhanger although the first is “worse” than the second. I’m reviewing the stories together but the third doesn’t come out until Sept. 2014 even though it is available in the UK already.  (Not to mention the UK prices are a lot better than the US prices)

CC Gibbs is the pen name for Susan Johnson and I’m not revealing any secret. It’s posted on the website.  And because I love Susan Johnson books (like Pure Sin, Outlaw, the Braddock-Black series), I wanted to read these. Not only did I want to read this series but I wanted to love it.

Katherine Hart is hired by billionaire businessman Dominic Knight to trace twenty million dollars. At first she almost walks away from the job when she overhears Dominic cursing to someone on the phone. She doesn’t think she wants to work with someone like that but Dominic convinces her to stay on.

For the most part, books 1 and 2 present a classic Susan Johnson dynamic. Uber wealthy playboy hero sets eyes on a successful woman and has to have her.  He pursues her assiduously and she resists, knowing that he is bad for her and that she doesn’t want to become another notch on his bedpost. They fall into bed and know from the strength of their lust and orgasms that the other is different.

In this series, Dominic plays at being dominant in the bedroom and sadly this is where the book falters.  Readers have been fully exposed to the BDSM lifestyle in various books, not the least of which is 50 Shades.  Dominic basically just likes to order Katherine around and worse, the lines of consent are super clear here. I know we are supposed to understand that this turns her on but we don’t always see it.

“And if you do as you’re told, I’ll screw the hell out of you because that’s what you want, isn’t it?” He could see the fury in her eyes, but he forced her to answer. “That’s what you came here for, right?”

Silence, incandescent with rage. He waited because she was flushed and trembling and he had what she wanted—a hard dick.

“Yes,” she finally whispered.

Gibbs, C.C. (2013-07-09T05:00:00+00:00). All He Wants (All or Nothing) (Kindle Locations 2736-2739). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

I mean, yes, she wants it but still. I wasn’t always comfortable. Additionally I found the sex to be rather tame. While the text tells us that he has an extensive repertoire, we actually only see the two of them engaged in a little oral and mostly the missionary position.  But beyond the eroticisim (or lack thereof) is the insane head hopping.

“So I’ve been told. Do you have family?” He preferred employees with a casual attachment to family. They were more likely to work the long hours demanded of them.

“You can’t ask that,” she flatly said.

His smile was mocking. “Are you going to sue me?”

“I won’t have to if I’m not working for you.”

His jaw clenched. “You can be a real bitch. Sue me for that too if you want. Now, could we stop playing games? I won’t ask you any personal questions, other than will you accept my job offer?” Leaning back in his chair, he unbuttoned his suit coat, shot his cuffs, waited for her reply.

She couldn’t help but notice his hard flat stomach under his white custom shirt. And the fact that he didn’t wear cuff links. She liked that. She’d always viewed cuff links as pretentious. Only an observation, the little voice inside her head pointed out innocently. No one’s trying to persuade you of anything.

Gibbs, C.C. (2013-07-09T05:00:00+00:00). All He Wants (All or Nothing) (Kindle Locations 136-144). Grand Central Publishing. Kindle Edition.

Finally, for me, a long time reader, the entire plotline and conflict is really predictable. Dominic is very jealous of the way that Katherine gets so easily turned on and that she may have had sex before him, even though one part of him acknowledges that his behavior is unreasonable. Katherine, in turn, is peeved about Dominic’s licentiousness.  There is shopping, a run in with his mother, and monetary excesses that actual show Dominic’s wealth.

The first book, All He Wants, ends in a major cliffhanger and the second one, All He Needs, does as well but with the couple together.

If you like 50 Shades and don’t mind a domineering arsehole, this may be entertaining.  I’ll read Book 3 someday but it’s probably good I’ll have to wait months by then anything I didn’t like about these two books, I’ll have forgotten.  It’s hard to grade these two because I’m sure part of my problem is the long history I have with Susan Johnson books, some that I’ve read and re-read multiple times.  A new reader might not be perturbed by the repetitiveness but the head hopping? That’s kind of inexcusable. C

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

8 Comments

  1. DB Cooper
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 11:35:03

    One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover…

    I suppose in this case, it’s probably unfortunately true. There’s something about the cover displayed here that I find compelling. I want to pick it up and know more…

    But yes, the head hopping would annoy the heck out of me. Maybe its just not vogue anymore? I swear that when I was a child I read more than one story where the POV shifted from character to character as they all went through the same situations…

    Also, I understand everyone’s taste differs, but I’m tired of being told that X likes it super kinky, only to find out that X has sex the way us normal humans do, except with just a few more vocalizations and an extra toy or two. It may be terrible to say it, but if this story had capitalized more on the disturbing bit, then at least it would have been something.

    Thanks for the review, Jane!

  2. Kati
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 12:03:53

    This book did NOT work for me. I thought the hero was unheroic and frankly, a dickhead. He seemed to live to humiliate the heroine, who was supposed to have been smart enough to recognize it. It was a DNF for me. And one that generated many Twit-rants for me.

  3. Denise
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 14:57:25

    Head-hopping means what it sounds like, right? The reader is told a story though someone else’s viewpoint, utilizing their thoughts/feelings, and then bam! There’s a change, no break in chapter or section, to someone else’s thoughts/feelings/POV.

    So for argument’s sake: Katherine knowing Dominic’s preference for employees who work long hours is not necessarily a switch. The sentence, though it begins with Dominic’s name and his preference (and as such is certainly misleading as to the POV), is still something Katherine may know about him. Not necessarily out of Katherine’s POV.

    No argument as to its clumsiness, though. It’d have been much clearer for the reader if the quote from Dominic stood on its own, with the next paragraph worded something like this: Katherine knew Dominic preferred….

    Though that feels awkward. Anyway.

    On down, she “flatly states” … she’s aware of how she sounds, I’m guessing, so it could be her POV. His mocking smile and his jaw clenching are both visible things to her, so still in her POV.

    Awkward phrasing isn’t necessarily head-hopping. If the story is from my POV and I know Jane likes romances, and I say that Jane likes romances, I’ll have readers presuming I’m head-hopping. But I know Jane and that she likes romances. What I know and think and feel are all fair game and in keeping with my POV. The problem is the way it’s expressed.

  4. Jane
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 15:00:27

    @Denise:

    He preferred employees with a casual attachment to family. They were more likely to work the long hours demanded of them.

    No, this was clearly from his POV and then it switches to her and switches back. It happens throughout the book and there is no way that the heroine knows this about him.

  5. Jenny
    Dec 12, 2013 @ 19:51:03

    I would’ve stopped reading when the “hero” calls her a bitch. That’s just a no-no for me in romances.

  6. Khrishna
    Dec 14, 2013 @ 10:18:48

    I can’t get passed an alpha/”dom” hero named Dominic Knight. I sprained my eyes from rolling them so hard.

  7. Angela James
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 18:36:30

    @Denise:

    Commenting only to clarify the description of head hopping since Denise asked. Head hopping is often misunderstood by new authors and often taught incorrectly. POV switches aren’t head hopping. Even POV switches with no section break, or POV switches that happen in a new paragraph aren’t head hopping, nor is it head hopping if your POV switch isn’t clear (that’s just unclear POV).

    What head hopping *is*, is the frequent, sudden change of POV. Not from scene to scene, but from sentence to sentence, within paragraphs, or sometimes, from paragraph to paragraph. It can create confusion and can be a real barrier in creating deep POV.

  8. Just sayin'
    Jan 24, 2014 @ 04:50:10

    So I have a problem with the accusation. My problem with it is that I view this as a narrative tool, when information is disclosed in this manner about a characters motivation/thoughts/feelings. And my question in response to the acusation of ‘head hopping’(designated label that sounds almost sexy?)is: What do you expect her to do? Do you expect her to start a new chapter to reveal his motivation within that split second? Do you expect her to have covered that and many other nuances in his character development from the start? Do you expect her to stop creating rapid moving conversations due to POV debilitations? How about becoming an editor? Do you expect to edit the work of popular authors without editing really really bad work also(wich Susan’s editor no doubt does)?
    You’re actually in a great position to be a reader. Taking it for granted isn’t as vituous as one makes it sound.

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