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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Erotic Romance I've Ever Read!
And I WRITE erotic romance for a living! I just finished HOLDING THE CARDS by Joey Hill and I've never read anything so heartwrenchingly beautiful. Two broken souls searching for love, for acceptance find each other on a Caribbean Island ... and play a game that leads to revelations that will heal them--or destroy them. FANTASTIC!!! A keeper on my shelf forfreakingever.
Published on May 3, 2005 by Michele Bardsley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok
I enjoy reading Joey Hill but this story just didn't do it for me. I think having the second male in the story threw off the love story for me. Hill always writes flawed and intense characters. Maybe this was just outside of my comfort zone.
Published 8 months ago by Amazon Customer


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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Erotic Romance I've Ever Read!, May 3, 2005
This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
And I WRITE erotic romance for a living! I just finished HOLDING THE CARDS by Joey Hill and I've never read anything so heartwrenchingly beautiful. Two broken souls searching for love, for acceptance find each other on a Caribbean Island ... and play a game that leads to revelations that will heal them--or destroy them. FANTASTIC!!! A keeper on my shelf forfreakingever.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, but not *quite* as good as other Joey W. Hill books I've read, November 3, 2009
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This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
Warning: This review might contain what some people consider SPOILERS.

Rating: 8/10

PROS:
- Hill is an excellent writer. The characters are well-rounded, the dialogue is realistic, the plotting is tight, and the exposition is pithy and at times very funny.
- Many of the plot devices are overdone and predictable, but Hill manages to make them work for the most part. She even makes fun of the story's progression at one point: "[Lauren] had been sucked into some parallel dimension, where every tawdry cliché from a cheap romance novel was going to be played out."
- I enjoyed reading about each of the (three) main characters in the story. Lauren and Josh are interesting, and I believed that they belonged together after just the short amount of time covered in the story. It was Josh's friend Marcus, though, who I thought was the most intriguing: I found the one scene describing him and his young lover at a BDSM club to be more intimate than many of the scenes between Josh and Lauren. So Marcus sort of overshadows the main couple at times, which I'm not sure is a good thing.
- The sex scenes are very hot. And they get progressively better and more in-depth as the story progresses. This is, I must admit, frustrating at times, but the payoff is pretty decent.

CONS:
- This is the 4th novel (3rd romance) I've read by Joey W. Hill, and while they're all good because she's a fantastic writer, this one didn't have the all-encompassing, very settled feel of the other two. The ending is happy and all; it's just a little open for my taste.
- Some scenes are entirely from one character's POV, and other scenes switch around. I found the switchy scenes difficult to navigate at times because I was expecting a comment about Josh to be from his perspective when in reality it was Lauren's PERCEPTION of Josh.
- As much as I liked the character of Marcus (and look forward to reading his story in Rough Canvas), I did get a LITTLE annoyed on a couple of occasions when he was present and I didn't want him to be. I understand that he's necessary: Josh feels safe with him, and it's only Marcus's presence that allows Josh to let go with Lauren and allow her to draw him out of himself the way he needs someone to do. But there were just a couple of intimate scenes that I wanted to be "Josh and Lauren" that were instead "Josh and Lauren plus Marcus."

Overall comments: I made the mistake of reading Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul before this volume because I didn't realize this one occurs chronologically before those two in the world of the stories. So one of the big REVEALS in this book wasn't at all a shock to me: I knew about it already from the later books. This is a solid romance, that's for sure; although I found it just a tad disappointing after reading the near-perfection that is the Ice Queen-Mirror of My Soul story.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Joey Hill is a treasure, December 30, 2006
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amf0001 (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
She is one of the best writers in erotica today, especially in the difficult field of BSDM. She has complex characters and wrenching romances coupled with explicit sex. She is also one of the very few who can have male subs and female doms and still have a love story that most women can relate to. I love her books.

This one, set in a mythical island where only 3 people seem to live (and an elephant!) is not her best, but her weaker books are better than most. I bought it to complete my collection (that's the sort of fan I've become) and am happy to have it on my keeper shelf, but have reread Natural Law more often. If you can only buy one, buy Natural Law, but if you want them all, this more than satisfies...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, August 30, 2012
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This is a 4 star book but I didn't particularly enjoy reading it. I loved the second book in this series ([book:Natural Law|1208966]) but I found this one just meh. I dislike the books where the male sub is portrayed as emotionally damaged. Why can't a healthy, rational, emotionally balanced man enjoy subbing for a woman?! The domme was a tad needy & insecure too. Having said that, these were my problems not the books problem. I was objective enough to see that the book was beautifully written with creative erotica too. Just not for me.

Originally posted on Goodreads.com
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read on a cold night!, January 24, 2006
This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
I have to admit I had no expectations for this book, but once I started it I couldn't put it down. If your bored on a lonely night and have a need to read something. I would highly recommend this book. I look forward to reading more of her work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tropical Island, Party of 3!, July 3, 2014
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This is my first Joey Hill book and I must say I was very happy to have tried it. The story is amazing from front to back, and I loved every minute of it.

Mistress Lauren is a lost soul right now, because she put herself out there to want more than just a D/s relationship with her live-in Jonathan. But as things go, sometimes you don't always get what you want, and Lauren loses Jonathan because he can't commit and has a mean streak in him a mile wide. Bad Jonathan.

Lauren takes a much deserved long weekend to a tropical island at her friend's urging for a little R&R and reflective quiet time. Plans well made don't always happen as we expect them to, and Lauren finds she's in a situation where she must trust a man to catch her when she falls this time, literally. When Lauren falls from a tree into the arms of Josh, who tells her to trust him to catch her, she remembers the last time she trusted a man to catch her and he didn't. So when she ends up in the arms of her new savior, she's a little gun-shy of him and his intentions. Not to worry, Lauren, your knight in shining armor will ride to your rescue, but not the way she expects, on that white horse of his. Josh just happens to have a pet white elephant. Read the book and find out why because its amazing how Josh and his elephant met.

Josh and his friend Marcus, who is also on the island for some R&R from a broken heart, end up taking care of Lauren's sprained ankle, and in doing so take care of her broken heart and trust issue. Josh, having his own trust issues, and Marcus, talk Lauren into playing a card game where the High Card dictates who the boss is in any given situation. Lauren draws the highest, and the men follow her lead for the weekend, letting her be a mistress to Josh's submissive nature. Marcus, a Dom himself, encourages her and the two of them help her recapture herself, and help Josh to recaputre himself. Needless to say the two of them are meant for each other. In turn, by the end of the weekend, Marcus is encouraged to follow his heart and go back to NY to rectify his own relationship (Book 6 Rough Canvas is Marcus' book....yum).

I loved this book and am up to Book 7 before I wrote this review, and I'm happy to say that Lauren, Josh and Marcus show up in the other books as well. Glad I followed my gut to read this series and I recommend it to everyone.

Thanks, Joey, for some awesome reading.

Keep it up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars good, but not as good as natural law, May 5, 2014
im reading this AFTER book 2, and i have been and altered my score for Natural Law from 4 to 5 stars.

this is not as good as that one, and i was a little disappointed for what i paid for it (£3.21)

Lauren goes on a weekend retreat with her friend not coming. Joshua immediately gets her attention, Marcus is Josh's friend. when Lauren gets herself in a bit of a pickle, the two gentlemen come to her aid and the game is afoot!

full of deep dark emotions, its also full of long winded internal conversations and flashbacks, which i found off putting, another reviewer said it interrupted the flow of the book, and i agree. Also, we dont get much from Joshua, just Lauren, and i would have liked more from him, as well as some of whatwas coing through Marcus' mind at points. there isnt much actual sex til very late in the book, but lots of play before then, so full of tension and desire, just not upto the Natuarl Law standard.THAT said, Natural Law is a newer book, and you can tell the author has developed their style of writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Liked it a lot, April 26, 2014
This is my first book by this author and I enjoyed it very much. It was well written and EDITED much to my delight.

I enjoyed the characters and the scenery, although at times I felt the story got bogged down with an abundance of description.

I would have rated it higher, but on a personal level I dislike books where a character constantly refers to her ex, as did the heroine in this story. I realise it was a necessary part of the story, so again this is just a personal thing.

My personal reading issues aside, this was a wonderful well rounded story and I am going to jump right into the next book Natural Law.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hot Read from a great author!, May 31, 2005
This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
This is the second book I have read by this author. The first one, "Natural Law", I gave a 5 star rating. I only gave this one a 4 stars, because the story line and the characters were not as developed as I like, (too short). But overall a good one to add to my growing collection. If you like this type of subject matter, I highly recommend "Natural Law".
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and vivid, January 12, 2010
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This review is from: Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards (Paperback)
While I'm a huge fan of the author's vivid prose, I didn't get as emotionally involved in this story as I did viscerally. I normally have little problems with the fact the author is a headhopper, but for some reason, it got in the way for me with this. However, this author's worst is still better than most authors' best, and the sheer glorious eroticism of her prose makes the book more than worth it.
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Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards
Nature of Desire - Holding the Cards by Joey W. Hill (Paperback - July 25, 2008)
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