Triple Review: The Club Series by Jenna Elliot

Ethan (Book #1): Her name was Mia. Rich girl, law school drop-out, smart, crazy sexy, and in over her head with me from the moment I rescued her on the side of a South Florida road.  She’s going to require some delicate handling on my part. Maybe that’s what challenges me about her. Her innocence.  She’ll play my games. They all do. I train them, and they love what I give back. I need them, too, but only the sex; it keeps the nightmares away. I’m addicted to the game, to the action, to the control.  I’m good at what I do. I own a piece of Command Performance, one of South Beach’s hottest sex clubs.  But no one owns a piece of me.   Not even Mia. Not yet.   Jenna Elliot has been writing since she was a baby gator at the University of Florida. What started as sweet romances soon turned into steamy new adult novels. When she’s not writing—or researching (wink!)—Jenna enjoys spending time with her adopted Basset Hound and cat, Sherlock and Watson, cooking new recipes from Pinterest, and binge watching Netflix. Her life goals include being a contestant on a game show, writing a book (check!), and conquering her resting bitch face. Jenna is a lover, not a fighter. 

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review:

Hhhmmmmm . . . . I’m not entirely sure how to review this particular read as I have completely mixed emotions about it and contradictory thoughts.  I guess the most logical approach would be a list of likes and dislikes so, here goes . . . .

Likes:

Mia: Mia describes herself as completely independent of her past – her parents, her ex-fiancé, law school – and she’d like to keep it that way.  Even independent girls sometimes need help and that happens when Mia finds herself and her beloved Jeep in a ditch at 4 a.m.  Luckily, there is help available in the form of a completely sexy control freak who apparently knows his way away her body as well as he knows his way around her Jeep. 

In the coming days and weeks, Mia gets in deep with Ethan and it scares the Hell out of her.  He plays her body like a violin but outside the club and the bedroom he is hard to read and even harder to understand.  Mia both loves how Ethan makes her body feel and is frightened by her reactions to the things he asks her to do.  To be with Ethan means accepting a part of herself she is only just discovering and not all certain she likes.  

Ethan:  There is no other way to describe Ethan other than seriously damaged.  He has horrific nightmares that he uses sex to deal with.  Ethan’s brand of sex involves total control and total acquiescence to his demands.  Oh, he’s no deviant but he is demanding and all his pets know, if they break the rules, they’re gone.  Ethan has lived this way for so long he doesn’t really know any other way until he meets Mia on the side of the road. 

Like Mia, Ethan gets in deep and rather than dealing with his new feelings and emotions, he lashes out and causes far more pain and confusion than is necessary.  In fact, Ethan acts like a total d*ck rather than an adult and damn-near loses the one woman who can calm his demons.

Plot: Overall, I like the plot with the newly independent young woman crossing paths with a darkly dangerous man.  The sexual awakening and discovery aspect is always fun especially when the teacher is hot as hell.  There’s also a story mixed in among the sex which includes some backstory on Ethan and an eventual HEA for he and Mia.  An HEA and no cliffhanger are always plot bonuses!

Dislikes:

Mia: Yeah, then there’s the other side of Mia that doesn’t quite sit well with me.  Mia proclaims to herself and her best-friend (who is adorable!) that she is making a break from her past, becoming a totally independent woman, and forging her own  her parent’s and her trust fund.  Yeah, you’re not at all independent when you’re not even paying your own rent.  To top it all off, her response to eventually being cut off by her parents is utterly ridiculous and irresponsible.  In many ways, this turn of events really changed my generally positive feelings toward Mia to less than favorable feelings.

Ethan:  Before the big reveal of his past and the cause of his nightmares, Ethan is a real d*ck.  He refers to his sexual partners as pets and cares very little for the feelings of his partners.  Make no mistake, he isn’t abusive and physically, he does care for his partners but he is admittedly using them to deal with his own darkness and demons. 

Plot: There is a lot of sex in this book as well as a little bit of story to go along with the sex.  I don’t mind a load of sex in my reads but I do mind when it comes out the way it does in this book.  Nearly the entire first half of the book, and I do mean first HALF is given over to sex with the actual story finally showing up near the end.  It is only after Ethan has been forced to tell Mia a small portion of his story and Mia has made a rash and incredibly irresponsible decision that things get going on something more than a sexual level.  The backstory should have been spread out over the course of the read thus making the eventual HEA a bit more understandable and/or reasonable.  As it stands, the HEA is based on a whole lot of sex and just a little bit of actual conversation. 

The Bottom Line: See?  I told you I have totally mixed feelings about this read.  Added to this mixed-up feeling business is the fact I couldn’t put this book down.  I read it in one stretch even though my feelings about the characters changed dramatically as I read.  I wanted to choke the life out of both characters multiple times all while hoping they would work their crap out.  In all, I think my mixed emotions may have been more clear if the plotting issues I have with the read had been handled differently.  If the actual story had played out over the course of the read rather than far too quickly at the end, I may have been able to overcome some of the other issues.  With all that being said, I have one more contradiction for you.  I bought the other two books in the series and am going to work my through them over the next few days.  Yeah, this one is all kinds of crazy 🙂

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Ace (Book #2:): Her name was Emme. Girl next door, thrill-seeker, open and eager for everything she could learn from my club, Command Performance. Everything she could learn from me. Sensations she could only imagine in her wildest fantasies. Acts of submission that would change her forever. But she’s playing me. A level one candidate is playing me. A neophyte.  I might laugh except I’m intrigued. It’s been so long since anyone’s caught my attention.  Emme submits. Obeys.  Yet challenges me at the same time. Her brightness calls to something dark in my soul, shines light into a past best left unexplored.  But how is that even possible?  No one gets that close. My past is my past. Dark. Lethal. Hellish. I am what I am. I warned her. The rest is up to her.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review:

Yet again, I find myself on the fence with this series.  Round two of Jenna Elliot’s The Club series features Ace and Emme, one tragically broken man and a woman who brings light to every single corner of his world. 

When he’s at the club, Ace is the life of the party.  He commands an audience each and every time he walks onto the floor of the club’s second level.  He trains new initiates in the ways and rules of the club’s second level and without exception, he doesn’t get close to any of the people who adore him.  In fact, Ace is well known for for both his sexual prowess and his ability to remain completely detached.  Men and women alike want him, but those same men and women know they’ll only have Ace for a brief amount of time and then he will move on to his next lay.

Emme is the perfect sub and from the very moment Ace realizes this, he knows she is different than any woman he has ever encountered.  Training Emme is pure pleasure and having sex with her is beyond anything Ace has every experienced.  Given his career and lifestyle, that’s certainly saying something.  Emme should have been just another trainee, but Ace can’t seem to get her out of his head and before he knows it, she is becoming involved in his life outside of the club.  Ace can’t quite figure out how it’s happened, but he quite likes having Emme around and isn’t at all looking forward to the time when he must let her go.  But, let her go he must because historically, anyone who has gotten close to Ace has met a tragic end.  Yeah, Ace has a unquestionably awful past.

While she’s at the club, Emme can let go of all the fears, worries, and frustrations that populate her day to day life.  She knows the club is temporary, a place she can sow some wild oats before implementing her “real” life plan.  The “real” life plan includes not having to worry about money constantly, a husband who loves and adores her (and won’t cheat on her!), and an incredibly large number of children.  Nowhere in her “real” life plan does it say, “Fall for a dom at a sex club who is without doubt unattainable and the best sex I’ve ever had in my entire life.”   The “real” life plan has also left out “Be stalked and terrorized by a crazy person to the point I have to leave town without a trace.”  While she tries to keep her real life and her club life separate, Emme finds the two overlapping with great regularity.  She doesn’t want to drag Ace into her drama, but he doesn’t seem to want to go away either.  That is, until the moment Emme drops the one bombshell that send him running for the hills and paying her off to disappear from his life for good. 

The Bottom Line:  I think I enjoyed this read.  How’s that for certainty??  Without doubt, I liked Emme and I liked the naughty bits.  Ace is the one character that has me on the fence.  Emme really is light and fun, but her life is sort of a mess.  She’s got an a%^hole of an ex, an apparent stalker, and feelings for a man she intellectually understands isn’t a long-term prospect.  Until the moment she just can’t, Emme tries to make the best of her situation and go with the flow.  It’s the moment Ace breaks her that is the most heartbreaking in this read.  Ace isn’t all that complicated, he’s just stubborn and an absolute d*$k when he feels the need to retreat and protect himself.  Most of the time I liked Ace, but there are few instances in which his behavior made me hate him with a fiery passion.  To be sure, he redeems himself in the end, but his bad moments are incredibly bad and designed to hurt Emme, the one character I thoroughly enjoyed.  Now you see my dilemma. J  As with the first book, the naughty bits are steamy and exciting and the ending comes so quickly that one is reminded of a virgin’s first time.  In all, I remain on the fence about this book and series, but there is nothing so significant to keep me from reading the third and final book, Jax.

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Jax (Book #3): Her name was Audrey. Tough as nails, gorgeous, but she didn’t get to the highest level in my South Beach sex club by being eager to please. She’s also a troublemaker, a hot-as-hell, world-class domme-in-the-making. She could be one of Command Performance’s stars. But not until she truly submits to me, first. Right now, she still wants to make me angry, make me care, but I shut down that painful part of me a long time ago.  She won’t give up, and I won’t give in. I own her beautiful body, but I need a way to slip inside her head, find out what made her so defensive. Unlock her secrets. I need to rock her world, right down to her caged spirit, and set her free.  I need to do whatever it takes to turn her into that world-class domme. She’s an asset to the club. That’s the lie I tell myself.  

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

Finally!!  It only took me until book three in the series to get myself off the fence and know exactly how I feel about a read 🙂

The (current) final book in Jenna Elliot’s The Club series features, Jax, the über-wealthy owner of an exclusive sex club who has spent his adult life carefully creating a world for himself that doesn’t include attachments.  As far as the outside world is concerned, Jax is off limits.  He oversees the smooth and successful running of his club, he trains dommes and doms for their successful entry into the BDSM world, and he enjoys the occasional challenge.  Audrey is a challenge of the highest order.

Audrey rivals Jax in her ability to create a world for herself that includes no attachments.  She runs a very successful business with a single partner, takes a lover when the mood strikes, and is a domme in training in her free time.  Trouble is, her business partner wants to take things to the next level sexually and her temperament toward training has gotten her booted from Ace’s training program and into Jax’s care.  Audrey knows she has what it takes to be a world-class domme, but her attitude has thus far kept her from completing the training successfully.  Jax is her last chance and if she can’t learn to submit to him and truly understand both sides of the domme equation, she’s going to be out of luck and likely kicked out of the club.  Submitting is something Audrey just can’t wrap her brain around because it involves a level of trust she hasn’t been capable of in years.  With Jax though . . .

Audrey shakes up everything in Jax’s world and isn’t at all pleased about the situation.  She’s gorgeous, smart, headstrong, and seemingly capable of doing without him.  Though Jax tells Audrey she is to be with no one else, sexually, during their training, he knows she is seeing another man, and doesn’t at all care for the feelings that dredges up.  For the first time in a very, very long time, Jax feels jealousy and doesn’t quite know how to handle that emotion.  His solution to the problem is to whisk Audrey away to his private island (yes, the man owns an island!) where she is at his mercy and hopefully, will fall into line as her training demands.  What Jax doesn’t anticipate is how attached he becomes to Audrey, how mind-blowing the sex is, and how painful her eventual betrayal is going to be.

The Bottom Line:  I liked this read!  Audrey and Jax are just perfect for one another and their struggle toward their eventual HEA sure is fun!  Audrey doesn’t need a man, but she does enjoy having Jax around.  He understands her desires and proclivities better than anyone else, and is willing, on occasion to let her take the lead.  There’s a very interesting dynamic between Audrey and Jax that kept me interested throughout the read.  They are both intelligent, both wealthy, both stubborn, and both in need of the other though they are loathe to admit such a thing.  As with the other two books, there is an element of drama and danger beyond the naughty bits which adds to the tension of the story.  Audrey’s drama and danger become Jax’s drama and danger (in a not so surprising way) which brings the two closer together, splits them apart, and, ultimately brings them back together.  The ending to this one very much follows the model set by the first two reads and wraps up way too quickly, but, it didn’t keep me from absolutely liking the read this time around.  Jax and Audrey are a strong enough set of characters to finally pull me off the fence 🙂

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About the author and where to find her:

Jenna Elliot has been writing since she was a baby gator at the University of Florida. What started as sweet romances soon turned into steamy new adult novels. When she’s not writing—or researching —Jenna enjoys spending time with her adopted Basset Hound and cat, Sherlock and Watson, cooking new recipes from Pinterest, and binge watching Netflix. Her life goals include being a contestant on a game show, writing a book (check!), and conquering her resting bitch face. Jenna is a lover, not a fighter.

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