A Strong Hand by Catt Ford
A long, mellow story that explores BDSM and photography. While not plot heavy, this detailed book gently rocks the reader through each page to the conclusion. With a third-person perspective, the author hops around views freely, giving an almost-omniscient feel although each view is limited. If you want sex and a study of characters, this would be a good book to pick up. Although the scenes are sexy, I wouldn't call them hot and heavy, because the amount of detail often makes them more sensual than sexual. Be ready for a longer read that is lengthened by its slow and steady pace.
Characters. While the characters weren't amazing (okay, Ashley was a little), they are consistent and comfortable (like my favorite pair of shoes) and you take them everywhere. As the story progresses, we see them evolve from what they think is a fine way to exist, to slowly opening up to one another and making mistakes with one another and finding happiness.
Although nothing stands out as something that was done amazingly well, I still found myself enjoying the book. Enjoying it enough to give it a rather strong rating. (It probably would have been a 3.5, but the cover bumped it to 4. It's just so relevant!)
Not much happened. The plot could be summarized in five sentences without leaving anything out, which can make this a very slow moving book. While it's more a study of character and relationship (and lifestyle), I hope all of Ford's books aren't like this. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't what you'd call 'meaty'.
Limited characters. This is a rather long book and we are introduced to about eight characters (who have talking roles). Most of the time there are only two or three who are really doing anything. The rest are just shadows filling the space, which for the most part works. My only qualm with this is Nick's family. I wanted to see them, and I especially wanted to see their reaction to his change and his relationship with Damian. This is addressed, briefly, but I felt like I wanted to actually see the family that seemed pretty important to him.