Friday, May 15

Review: Hard and Fast by Erin McCarthy

Nath and I both read and enjoyed Flat-Out Sexy last year so we decided to buddy review the sequel. Note, there are spoilers.

Grad student Imogen Wilson realizes she's hit on the perfect thesis for her sociology degree. If she follows the so-called "rules" on how to get a man, can she steer her way into the world and hearts of stock race car drivers, and establish their dating— and mating—patterns?

Although sexy and reckless racer Ty McCordle is the ideal test subject, Imogen knows that for the sake of science, she can't give in to her growing attraction for him. Yet he's the one who's chasing after her, and Imogen realizes that she actually wants to be caught. A southern gentleman like Ty will satisfy all her curiosity—and make all the risks worthwhile...

Nath: I don't really know how I feel about this one... I like the idea of Ty and Imogen together, because they are so different. Opposite attracts is a cute theme and I enjoy it. Thing is, there wasn't much to their story no? Got together for sex, had great sex, fell in "love", conflict and resolution. Too much of the book was about them having sex and the conflict and resolution were really rushed at the end.

Ames: I had a tough time for the first half of the book. I thought the sex scenes were drawn out and Imogen really got on my nerves. She constantly questioned why and it kind of reminded me of a little child.  "Why?"  Over everything!  After the camping trip though, things did pick up - Imogen relaxed and started to go with Ty's flow.

I enjoyed the book, but I do agree with you - the conflict and resolution at the end did feel rushed. But they needed to have that conflict. It addressed the fact that they did fall in love kind of fast and it deals with Ty's dyslexia and Imogen's...I don't want to say uptightness...but her analness I guess. LOL

I liked how they were opposites. It worked for them. Ty's risk taking with Imogen's tendency to observe and think everything through, they balanced each other out.

Nath: See, I think I'm the opposite of you. I had a tougher time with the second half of the book, because I thought it was too rushed. I think the pacing of the book is off - slow in the beginning and fast at the end. If the book was a bit longer, it would have worked better.

Ames: I agree that the pacing was a bit off.  There was a slow build up and then boom, conflict and resolution and its over. In and of itself, that's ok, because really, who wants to read about a long drawn out conflict? I think just coupled with the slow beginning for me, it creates an unevenness. But the book is still enjoyable to read! Don't get me wrong about that.

Again, that conflict was needed. Things had been smooth sailing for Imogen and Ty and they needed something to test their love, to prove to each other that yeah they can argue, they don't really have a lot in common but that they love each other and in the end, that's what matters most. They know who the other person is, even if they don't know all the details of each other's lives, they know what lies inside. And that's why I enjoyed Hard and Fast. It's not perfect, but damn it's enjoyable.

Nath: Oh, of course, nobody wants a long conflict, but it needs to be well-balanced in order to work and I absolutely agree with you that they needed a conflict and you're right, it addresses the fact that their relationship developed very quickly... but they way it was done, it really screamed "CONFLICT NEEDED" and so it was thrown in just to make the story "interesting." I don't think it was well-balanced and served the storyline well.

Ty having dyslexia was interesting and unexpected; however, I don't think Ms McCarthy fully explore that characteristic of Ty. I can understand why she wouldn't want to blow it out of proportion and make dyslexia the focus... because it's been done previously with varied degree of success. At the same time, I think it was an important aspect to Ty and the way it was handled, I felt like it was an afterthought, "Oh, by the way, I have dyslexia."

Ames: I don't think Ty's dyslexia was under-explored. He came up with coping mechanisms that allowed him to function and he was scared to make himself vulnerable to Imogen by revealing his "weakness" to her. The way Ms. McCarthy handled it was fitting with Ty's personality. I kind of think Imogen got too mad at Ty over it though. Yeah he didn't reveal it to her right away, but why would he?

Another thing - I hate nicknames in books - but Emma Jean and Engine were cute. I love the dynamic between Ty and Imogen. Nothing gets me better than witty dialog and banter, and these two had it in spades. And I thought it was really sweet of Ty to memorize those lines from Shakespeare.

Nath: I don't mean that Ty's dyslexia itself was under-explored. I actually thought it was done well. In many instances, I was like: maybe if he wrote it or someone spelled it to him... and then, I realized that it wouldn't work. It's like wow, reality check here. What I meant is that I think that Ty's dyslexia was part of the conflict, not the main focus, but important and I felt it wasn't dealt properly as an issue between the couple... but then, the whole conflict wasn't, so I guess this is a bit of a moot point.

I liked the fact that Ty wasn't ashamed of his disorder. Sure, he's not advertising it on top of his lungs - but it's kind of understandable. In his position, a lot of people would take advantage of it. At the same time, he has come to terms with it and there is no awkwardness that is often present with other characters with dyslexia. That I found refreshing.

I actually thought that it was very cute that Ty called her Emma Jean :) Engine was also cute LOL :)

I liked Hard and Fast, but then, like many, not as much as Flat-Out Sexy. I really liked the first part, but I kind of lost interest by the end. I thought nothing was happening... like we said, I think the pacing was totally off. As a result, I'm giving it a C+.

Ames: I enjoyed Hard and Fast, but like you, not as much as Flat-Out Sexy. I found Imogen annoying in the first half of the book, and the first half went kind of slow for me. But things picked up towards the middle and that's when I really got into the story and enjoyed it. I'm giving it a B-.

Nath: I thought Imogen was okay. She's a peculiar character and it's nice to see a nerdy female for once :) However, I thought the whole matter about her thesis subject was boring and seriously, in the end, it's Tamara who came up with one.... LOL, the way Tamara presented it, it was so funny because it did really sound like a thesis subject :)

What do you think is going to happen in the future books? When Tamara got sick near the end of the book - it said that she was nauseous - I was like, here we go again, somehow, Elec went from sterile to not and she got pregnant... I'm glad it was just a case of food poisoning.

Ames: When Tamara was sick, I was afraid she was miraculously pregnant, so I'm glad that was just food poisoning. But then, what was the point? Ah well.

Nath: I don't know if there is a point ^_^; There is very little information on this series (which I find frustrating)... but I was wondering if Evan would get his book, although I think the next book is going to be Ryder and Suzanne. I want to know if the person in Ryder's bed was Suzanne, but I guess not.

Ames: I think the next book is going to be Ryder and Suzanne. I'm not sure if the woman in Ryder's bed was Suz or not. If not, I feel bad for her, because they obviously still love each other.

That one scene, when Suz was telling Ryder that she was going back to work because the alimony was almost dried up and he offered her another year or two, that scene really touched me. I was just like, "awwww!"

I don't know how I feel about Evan getting a book. We don't really know him at this point, so I don't really care. LOL

Nath: Yeah, I feel the same for Suz... if she wasn't the one in bed with Ryder... I wonder why they divorced when it's obvious they still love each other. At the same time though, can't really blame Ryder for having sex.... but yeah, hoping that it is Suz, but I doubt it.

That was indeed a very nice scene - which further reinforced the point that Ryder still loves Suz. So wake up, kids! It came at the right moment though, because I was actually wondering why Suz wasn't working?

As for Evan, true, we don't know him very well so far, but he's been appearing in the book with more than a cameo role, don't you think? In the first book, he had to mouth out and insult Tamara's dead husband. In this one, he gets punched LOL :)

Ames: I think it'll be good for Suz to see Ryder with someone else. So I'm hoping that woman wasn't her.

But someone getting punched doesn't scream sequel bait to me. LOL

Nath: No? LOL :) He's the character on the peripheral, not part of the obvious pairings, that steers up trouble. It does scream sequel bait to me :P

What do you think people?


Randi said...

I haven't read Hard and Fast yet. I did read Flat Out Sexy and loved it. Great dual review!

~ames~ said...

Thanks Randi! I hope you enjoy Hard and Fast. :P

And Tamara and Elec do make appearances.

Seneca said...

Hi girlies,
I need to read more from this author.

Jill D. said...

I read Hard and Fast and LOVED IT!!! But, I am a total sucker for a nerdy heroine and bad boy hero. I thought the banter between the two was fantastic. I don't know, humor can be so subjective. What one finds funny, others may not. Anyway, great review girls!! The next book is definitely Ryder and Suzanne's. I don't know how I know that. I tried to find the information and I can't. I am pretty sure I didn't dream it up, though.

~ames~ said...

Hey Jill - I agree that the banter was excellent. And I don't have anything against nerdy heroines (heck, I am one! LOL) but for me, Imogen was just a bit too much. If it had been toned a little bit, it would have been perfect. Imogen is what made the first half of this book slow for me.

Anonymous said...

I still need to read FLAT OUT SEXY and because of the nerdy heroine, I I'll probably read this one, too even though you both didn't sound totally over the moon about it. But I have one question: is this a series where you have to read the books in order? So far, I just thought the books were kinda related but not necessarily a "series" series.

Thanks for the review! :)

nath said...

Randi - Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed :)

Seneca - So far, I've enjoyed her contemporaries :) My only biggy with this author is a lot of her books comes out in trade-size first :(

Jill - I'm pretty sure you're right, that the next book is going to be about Ryder and Suz... ah well, we'll have to wait :)

I enjoyed the banter between them as well. I'm glad that Ty turned out to be a smart guy instead of simply a dumb jock... and while the sex scenes were hot, I thought they were too long. It just sucked out the pacing in my opinion... and then, the ending ^_^;

Taja - The nerdy heroine is in this book, Taja :) and she only makes a brief appearances in Flat-Out Sexy :)

The books are a continuity. I wouldn't say it's absolutely necessary, but it would help :)

Rowena said...

Hmmm, okay maybe I don't want to be her cousin anymore, LOL.

Putting this on my list, great discussion ladies.

Tracy said...

Thanks for the discussion. I'm currently reading this and just had to put the book down right after Ryder and Suzanne's conversation about the alimony. I will wait to comment on likes/dislikes til I finish. :)

nath said...

Rowena - Thanks :)

Tracy - So? I read your review and seems like you agree with us :)

Kate Diamond said...

Is Flat Out Sexy the first book in the series?

nath said...

Kate - Yes :D