Saturday, August 21, 2010

All or Nothing (Taking the Odds Book 3) by James Buchanan


Once again I'm reviewing a book that isn't the first in the series, and where I've read but not reviewed the earlier books. So, I'll be giving a semi review of the first two books, and a full review of the third.

Here is the blurb for Cheating Chance:

Vice Detective, Brandon Carr, despite his tattoos and bad-boy cool, lives in the closet with no intention of ever coming out. Then he meets Nevada Gaming Agent, Nick O'Malley, at a Goth convention and his perfectly constructed world starts to crack. Nick's passions for him, a restored hearse and rope bondage might drown Brandon's will. With the odds stacked against them they try to move from simply sex to something more. Sparks fly as the pair probes a world of cheating, murder, drugs and money laundering. The investigation repeatedly derails their relationship, finally forcing Brandon to choose between staying in the closet and saving Nick's life.

The blurb for Inland Empire:

Agent Nick O'Malley and Det. Brandon Carr are back. Nick heads to Riverside, California, center of the Inland Empire and Brandon's home turf. But every minute Nick's in Riverside threatens to out Brandon. When events embroil Nick in one of Brandon's investigations -- gang hits, prostitution, illegal gambling and human trafficking - can they survive both?

And the blurb for All or Nothing:

Blundering his way forward in his relationship with Nevada Agent Nick O'Malley, Riverside Detective Brandon Carr brings his daughter, Shayna, to Las Vegas to meet Nick. Nick has his own reasons for pushing Brandon toward a deeper commitment. But when the unthinkable happens, what every cop knows ends in tragedy, can Brandon hold it together long enough to solve the crime? As Brandon spirals into the hell of being a cop and a distraught parent will his love of Nick, and Nick's love for him, be enough to see them through? It's all or nothing and they can't afford to lose.

I have enjoyed all three books. There is a good bit of crime drama involved, some geek stuff, and the sex is pretty good, too. Actually, make that smokin' hot.  There wasn't as much sex in the third book, All or Nothing, and that was a bit disappointing. It was still a good story, and the relationship between the two men moves along. It's a nice set up for the fourth book, too. And that book promises to give the guys a lot more time alone than they had in All or Nothing.

I'm trying to decide if All or Nothing is relationship driven, or plot driven... and I'm leaning towards plot driven. A lot happens with the relationship, but it's the main plot that drives the story forward, the relationship is mostly just along for the ride after a certain point. It was a pretty emotionally draining book, with the sex and power play taking a (very) back seat to the events going on.

BDSM elements, All or Nothing:
  • Bondage and Discipline: When it happens, the bondage is fairly involved. There is an intense discipline scene as well, though it's not really supposed to be about discipline, more about helping Brandon find his center. I'm tempted to give it a 2 of 3 for the lack of quantity, but in the end I'm going to give it a 3 of 3 for content.
  • Dominance and Submission: When they fall into their roles, yes, it is very much there. I'm only giving it a 2 of 3 though, because the roles really aren't there that much.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Yes, but again, a 2 of 3 because it's not there that much. 
  • Extra Point: No extra point this time.The BDSM is not really an intrinsic part of the story.
As for the writing elements: The plot is very well done and pretty twisted (though I knew the bad guy pretty early on). Pacing was good, prose and dialogue were excellent, action scenes were also well written. Character development is exceptional in this series, the characters are very much alive and three dimensional.
  • Book Rating: All or Nothing: 8 of 10
  • Heat Level: 3 of 5
  • Intensity Level:  7 of 10  (3+2+2)

It's been a while since I've read  Cheating Chance, but my  memory of it would have the Heat Level at 5 and the Intensity Level at 9 or 10.

1. Cheating Chance
2. Inland Empire
3. All or Nothing

I believe we were being set up for a fourth book at the end of All or Nothing, and I look forward to reading it when it comes out.


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