LOUDER by Jorja Tabu is free over at Amazon until this Friday, so I figured now would be a great time to delve into her novella set, DEEPER LOUDER HARDER, which includes her first three IR stories.
DEEPER – Prim and proper librarian, Charlotte Goodtree, finds herself loosening up in all the right ways when a handsome contractor enters her life. But will his explosive secret destroy their budding relationship?
LOUDER – Up and coming rapper, Ghost Diva (Gabby to her friends), receives the break of a lifetime when she lands the opening spot on tour for multi-platinum rapper, Echo. And, to her surprise, their chemistry burns even hotter off-stage.
HARDER – Black secretary, Lisa Tyrell, is just about to quit on her domineering half-Japanese boss, Mr. Yamamoto, when he confesses that he’s not just domineering, but a conflicted Dom. Can she help him navigate his emotions without losing her heart.
DEEPER – Ms. Tabu excels at nailing the awkwardness of getting to know the person to which one is sexually attracted. Her characters in all three books have considerable — but understandable and realistic self-esteem issues, stemming from class, racial differences, and internal conflict. The couple in DEEPER are super-sweet and the sex is AH-MAZING, with really clever set-ups. Also, Charlotte’s sister, Mandy, is a hoot, who really does need her own story.
LOUDER – I’m not a fan of lyrics in books, but Ms. Tabu nails the ones she gives to her characters. I love that her H/H are terrifically conflicted within themselves and with each other, as two people in their separate situations would be. She sets up great situations for them, and builds sexual tension that you could cut with a knife. I found this story to be just ridiculously romantic and the characters really stayed with me.
HARDER – Ms. Tabu has put this book in the exact right order, because each novella just kept getting better and better, and HARDER was my favorite of the three. This is just a really smart romance. Ms. Tabu is very concerned with her characters’ emotions, which makes them feel like living, breathing people, and the situations she sets up for this H/H just blew my mind. At one point, I found myself nodding and saying, “Respect, respect” out loud. Also, her dialogue in all three novellas is crazy-solid. This novella, in particular, is really funny and really different.
The Bad: I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a romance author who ends her stories so abruptly. I can understand not having an epilogue. But writing-wise, it feels like the author has a very short attention-span, and just decides she’s done with the story at a certain word-count mark — even if the story isn’t quite done. Reading this novella collection, felt like eating a plate of slightly undercooked cookies. I mean, cookies are yummy, no matter what, but I wish she had left them in the oven just a beat or two longer.
DEEPER – Because the H/H meet and fall in lust within the first few pages, the author fails to establish the heroine’s character before unraveling it. We’re told she’s an uptight good girl while watching her do wild bad girl things.
LOUDER – The hero has a daughter who’s mentioned often, but whom we never get to meet.
HARDER – The cover for the individual novella is not great, and even misleading at first glance. I didn’t realize that the cover model was wearing a stocking, and thought that I’d be reading an IR romance, involving a white woman and her PoC boss.
Though I loved the heroine’s POV, the hero was so compelling that it felt weird that he didn’t get one of his own — especially since the heroes of DEEPER and LOUDER got their own POVs. Of all the stories, this one gives you the most “kicked out” feeling. Luckily it’s given a sequel in HARDEST, which feels more like the ending this novella should have had.
The Naughty: Erotic. Serious breast play. (DEEPER) Steamy>Erotic. Sex on couch. (LOUDER) Erotic. D/s. Lingerie. Heightened sexual tension. (HARDER)
Editing issues: 12 typos found in set. DEEPER has a weird indent situation. In all three novellas, the author uses “taunt,” when she means “taut.”
Publisher: Indie author
Length: 60,000 words
DEEPER – B+
LOUDER – A
HARDER – A
Click on the book widget to buy at Amazon for $4.99.
Love IR romance as much as I do? Then pick up THE OWNER OF HIS HEART and HER RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE, the first two books in my 50 Loving States series!