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Friday, July 4, 2014

Beyond the Velvet Rope by Tiffany Ashley

A lot of people, myself included, have been anxiously awaiting this book. It is a sophomore novel for the author that has been a long time coming following her fan favorite first book Love Script. Although I wasn't blown away by Love Script, I was impressed by the author's ability to tell a good and interesting story. She was an author that I was keeping a close eye on. When I first saw the cover for Beyond the Velvet Rope I admit I was pretty excited. I love this sort of cover, understated but telling. No need for the same 'ol cover models we've seen a million times over. Frankly, I've had enough of trashy IR romance covers (although a few author's do get it right, but I digress...). The cover's simple section of velvet rope and shiny silver left me eager to know what was actually beyond that velvet rope waiting in the digital pages for me to discover. I was even fortunate enough to get an ARC from Netgalley, so anxiously I dove in ready to be entertained and thoroughly engrossed. Darn it, I was set to LOVE this book... but sadly that wasn't the case. Beyond the Velvet Rope left me feeling disappointed.

Beyond the Velvet Rope is about New York club promoter Thandie Shaw. She's been invited by a dear friend to help promote one of his investments, which just happens to be one of the hottest new clubs in Miami called Club Babylon. After some persistence, Thandie convinces the club owner Elliot Richards that she can do the job despite his (chauvinistic) reluctance. Elliott is filthy rich, womanizing, sexist and obviously a magnet that no mortal woman can ignore. Upon meeting Thandie he's determined to have her, but she isn't planning on mixing business with pleasure, especially with a man like Elliot. Ruthless seduction and games begin...

There's no doubt that Tiffany Ashley can write. I am still impressed by her ability to weave a story. It's just this story was lacking for lack of a better word. It lacked romance, it dragged in areas and lacked the ability to captivate me, it lacked a lead hero that I could cheer for and swoon over. In essence it lacked that extra something that keeps me riveted and anxiously turning the pages. Beyond Ms. Ashley's obvious skill to pen a story (the writing isn't what I had a problem with) and the wonderful fact that it was a full-fledged novel and not a 90 page pamphlet, there wasn't much that I liked about it, unfortunately. Thandie was a strong woman who turned weak over the course of the book. In my opinion she did the reverse of growth and actually regressed as a character. Elliott was a pig. No redeeming qualities although an attempt was made to explain him a bit, but it came a little late for me. Never once did I feel that he actually cared for or even loved Thandie. She was simply a game for him to play, and because she was a little more difficult than most he was fascinated and challenged. There's nothing to make you believe that the shine won't eventually wear off or that he won't be off to the next conquest.

Another problem that I had with the book was its attempts to be edgy and shocking. I say they were attempts because they were poorly executed and often left me scratching my head in confusion wondering what the heck I just read and why. A scene at the beginning of the book between Thandie and her ex (who I actually wanted more of) and later scene's with the couple from Love Script come to mind. These are such total fails in my opinion and served no purpose other than to lower my opinion of all parties involved. I don't mind scenes that are meant to shock me as a reader, but come on! These two examples just didn't work or make sense in the grand scheme of things.

Overall my peep beyond the velvet rope was one I could have done without. I appreciate the author's skill as a writer and there's a chance that I'll check out the second in the series in hopes that this was just a stumble. Unfortunately, Ms. Ashley zagged when she should have zigged and the story didn't quite go where I believe she wanted it to. It is with much disappointment that I give Beyond the Velvet Rope a 2.5 out of 5 rating.

*I received a copy of Beyond the Velvet Rope courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

Rating: 2.5 out of 5
Published: July 1, 2014
Publisher: Kimani Press
Pages: 544

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