Tag: Cara McKenna

Guest Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna

Posted November 2, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Unbound by Cara McKennaReviewer: Tracy
Unbound by Cara McKenna
Published by InterMix
Publication Date: October 15, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.

Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…

Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.

Merry is so exited about her trek across Scotland. It’s her mother’s homeland and since her mother passed recently she’s feels it’s a lovely tribute to her. She’s also excited because she’s just lost 100 pounds and with all of her exercising she feels confident she can do the trek with no issue. She does manage to do it with no problem until about 2 weeks in. She gets extremely sick and ends up seeking help from a man in a small cottage in the middle of nowhere.

The man, Rob, takes care of Merry and though he’s gruff and a bit put out by her appearance he can’t deny her his help. After a couple of days Merry is recovered enough to start getting to know Rob. When that happens she finds almost a completely different person stuck under his gruff exterior. Not only is he a sexy man but he hides a kink that up until then he’d been incredibly ashamed of. He likes being tied up, used, degraded. Merry manages to get Rob to tell her his fantasies and Merry makes them happen – enjoying them thoroughly herself. The pair have a wonderful time together and Merry talks Rob into hiking the rest of the way to Inverness with her.

What Rob didn’t tell Merry was that he’s an alcoholic. Not necessarily a recovering one, either. He just walked away from life and the temptation but never dealt with everything that was the cause. Never dealt with the outcome of his alcoholism. When he reaches Inverness the truth comes out but neither one knows if this something they can deal with – especially Rob.

I have to say this book was not what I had expected when I picked it up. I guess by the title I expected some bdsm but I didn’t expect Rob to be as submissive as he was in the bedroom (because it was really only in the bedroom). I had no problem with the rope, the tying up, the fantasies – any of that, but I definitely couldn’t get into his desire to be demeaned – for degradation. That kind of steps over a line for me but luckily the author kept that to a minimum so it wasn’t so much it made me want to put the book down.

Merry was a great with Rob. I loved that she got him and didn’t think less of him for his sexual kink but was right there with him. She was a very understanding person and I loved that about her. Rob was obviously a harder person to read but I ended up liking him a whole lot as well – even after hearing about his past.

The end of the book did have Rob and Merry telling each other “I love you” but there was no actual HEA and frankly that bugged the crap outta me! I figured after everything that the pair had been through that they deserved it but we were left with what amounted to a “maybe they’ll be together someday” kind of thing and that didn’t work for me at all. Was I glad that they worked out their issues and found love? Absolutely. I wanted decisions to be made, though, and instead it was left up in the air. That was an incredibly unsatisfying ending for me and it definitely brought the rating of this one down significantly. Overall I liked the story and the writing. It was a darker book than I expected but one I enjoyed reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Unbound by Cara McKenna

Posted October 14, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

UnboundAmes’ review of Unbound by Cara McKenna.

She set out to find herself, and discovered the darker side of desire.
Merry’s lost a lot recently—first her mother, then close to a hundred pounds. Feeling adrift, she strikes out in search of perspective. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands was supposed to challenge her new body and refocus her priorities, but when disaster strikes, she’s forced to seek refuge in the remote home of a brooding, handsome stranger…

Rob exiled himself to the Highlands years ago, desperate to escape his own self-destruction. Haunted by regrets, he avoids human contact at all costs…but when Merry turns up injured, he can’t very well run her off. And as he nurses her back to health, Rob can’t resist his guest’s sweet demeanor—or her flirtatious advances. The igniting passion between them rouses a secret appetite Rob has long struggled to keep hidden. But Merry craves nothing more than to help Rob surrender to his desires, and the journey draws the lovers into an entirely different kind of wilderness.

I read and enjoyed After Hours by this author, so I was really looking forward to reading Unbound.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, I was surprised because I was unable to put this book down and read it compulsively in one sitting.

Merry is going to hike in Scotland for three weeks in a mission of self-discovery.  She’s recently lost a lot of weight and she wants to figure out who she is now.  On the outside she’s a skinny girl, but on the inside she’s still fat.  She picks Scotland because her mother was from there and she wants to explore the city her mother grew up in.

Merry’s two weeks into her trip when she falls ill.  She catches crypto from swimming in the lochs and she gets really sick and hits her head on a rock when she falls.  She’d noticed smoke from an isolated cabin before she got sick and she heads in that direction.  The owner of the cabin, Rob, doesn’t like strangers coming to bother him but even he can’t turn away a sick and bleeding woman.

Merry can tell straight off the bat that Rob does not do well with people.  He’s a bit surly and blunt, but he does let her recuperate in his cabin.  And slowly Rob starts to relax in her presence and he isn’t so uneasy with her anymore.

A friendship begins and Merry and Rob eventually give into their mutual attraction.  But what is between them is deeper than plain old lust.  Rob and Merry tell each other things they’ve never told anyone before.  A big secret that Merry flushes out of Rob is a sexual fetish of his.  At first he’s afraid to even show her that part of himself, but eventually he realizes that Merry is safe for him and they indulge each other.  But there is a time limit.  She had a week to hike to Inverness and the more time she spends with Rob, the less time she’s giving herself for the rest of her hike.  And what happens when she goes back to America?

Oh goodness did I love Merry and Rob.  I liked them together and I liked them separately.  Merry is going through some big life changes.  Her mom has passed away and she’s lost a significant amount of weight.  She’s hiking across Scotland, trying out her new body and spending time alone.  I thought this was very brave of her.  To go off on your own, that’s something I can admire.  Her physical intimacy with Rob also brings some new adventures.  She’s not totally comfortable with the new look but she’s quickly shedding inhibitions, which is always fun.

And Rob.  Rob was such an intense character.  He’s living in self-imposed exile from himself, basically.  The way I saw it, he thought by removing himself from temptation that he was dealing with his problem, but in fact he was just removing himself from temptation and not dealing with his problem, at all.  Something that implodes later on in the book.  But the pain that he feels, his exile is a form of self-punishment.  And sweet Merry, adventurous Merry, draws him out of his shell and into the world of the living.  I know I’m not doing any justice to his character, but he was intense.

My reaction to the book was intense.  And when you add sex and Rob’s inclinations into the mix?  Oh wow.  LOL  It was hot.  And I like how Merry took him down roads he’d only imagined and I thought that was hot too.  It was almost like he was a virgin.

I loved almost everything about this book.  My only complaint would be the emails at the beginning.  I didn’t feel like they added anything to the story.  Especially the one friend’s comments.  Meh.  But everything after that was very good.  4.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Intermix.  You can buy it here in e-format.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted August 26, 2013 by Tracy in Features | 1 Comment

How is everyone? What have you been up to lately? Tell me everything!

Things here have been…interesting. My oldest daughter is trying to feel her oats and in the process is making me feel..mental. Ah the joys of having a 15 year old. All I can say on the matter is if you’re the praying sort please put us in your prayers cuz we can use all we can get.

On to what I read this past week:

First up for the week was Freefall by Tess Oliver. This was a book I saw on Goodreads and was interested. The story is about a tattoo artist and his relationship with a girl who already has a boyfriend but the boyfriend is controlling and well, whack. It was an interesting and good book but I definitely had some issues with it. You can read all of my thoughts on the story here in my review. 3.5 out of 5

Next up was The Vampire With the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrelyn Sparks. Dougal is a vampire who was once in love. His love died but when he meets geneticist Leah Chen he believes that she may have the soul of his dead love. He does fall in love with Leah – whether she’s Li Lei or not but he doesn’t believe he’s the best person for her. Leah has a problem believing that vampires can be good people but eventually she does especially when she realizes she’s falling in love with Dougal. I’ll post my review of this one this week so you can read my thoughts on the book. 3 out of 5

To All The Rakes I’ve Loved Before by Anne Barton is a novella that has our heroine Amelia taking a beaten man into her home when her mother’s away. Amelia nurses Stephen back to health and they realize they have feelings for the other. It was a sweet story and though it all happened rather quickly I thought it was well done. 4 out of 5

Unexpected by Maisey Yates is the story of Kelsey who wants a child and finally does something about it by having in vitro. Cole finds out that his sperm was used accidentally and that he’s now going to be a father. Kelsey and Cole try to come to terms with the fact that they will be co-parenting but also with the fact that they find themselves falling in love. It was a cute story that I had more than a few niggles with but it was a decent read. 3 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

Unbound by Cara McKenna has Merry hiking across part of Scotland but falls ill and seeks help from Rob who is a recluse. She brings him out of his shell and they find compatibility sexually with Rob as the submissive. Rob’s got his shame to deal with about his alcoholism and the fact that he never dealt with it – more just ran away from it. It was a decent read that I thought was well written but I personally wasn’t a fan of the sex scenes on a certain level. My biggest issue was the end of the book when they fall in love but we see no solid HEA. Very disappointing. 3.5 out of 5 (read for Book Binge – FYI: releases in October) 

Last for the week was To Sin With A Viking by Michelle Willingham. This story has Styr and his wife Elena heading off to Ireland to start a new life. They have a tumultuous marriage and Styr hopes that this new life will give them what they need to get things on track. They are attacked when they hit land and taken hostage. Styr by Carragh who just wanted to save her brother from certain death at Styr’s hands. After a while she lets him go and agrees to go find her brother, his men and his wife with Styr. Throughout their time together they find themselves falling in love but of course he’s married. I liked the story and I liked the h/h to a point. Unfortunately I don’t normally read books about infidelity. Styr kisses Carragh a couple of times and does touch her sexually in a minor way – but it’s the emotional infidelity that really got me. I just wish that this could have been a story of the two of them without the wife involved – it would have been great. 3 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Ad-Dick-tion Volume 3: 10 Tales of Hot Male Obsessions by Various Authors
Lover at Last by JR Ward

Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: After Hours by Cara McKenna

Posted April 22, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Ames’ review of After Hours by Cara McKenna.

A dangerous infatuation with a rough and ready man…

Erin Coffey has been a nurse for years, but nothing’s prepared her for the physical and emotional demands of her new position. Needing to move closer to her dysfunctional family, she takes a dangerous job at Larkhaven Psychiatric Hospital, where she quickly learns that she needs protection—and she meets the strong, over-confident coworker who’s more than willing to provide it.

Kelly Robak is the type of guy that Erin has sworn she’d never get involved with. She’s seen firsthand, via her mess of a sister, what chaos guys like him can bring into a woman’s life. But she finds herself drawn to him anyway, even when he shows up at her door, not eager to take no for an answer.

What Erin finds even more shocking than Kelly’s indecent proposal is how much she enjoys submitting to his every command. But he can’t play the tough guy indefinitely. If they want to have more than just an affair, both will have to open up and reveal what they truly need.

I saw a lot of positive buzz for this book around blogland and it caught my eye, that cover is hot! And After Hours definitely lived up to the buzz.

Erin Coffey is an LPN who’s only patient so far was her elderly grandmother. Now that her grandmother has passed, Erin needs a job that’s close to her sister and nephew. That job is at Larkhaven, a psychiatric hospital. On her first day, Erin meets Kelly, whom she mistakes as a patient at first. He’s a big bruiser of a man with scars and a buzz cut. But Kelly is an orderly. With his size, he’s able to help the doctors and nurses with the more recalcitrant patients. Erin is intrigued by him but she sees in him the kind of guys her sister and mother would fall for – not good.

But the more Erin gets to know him, the more she wants him. Even thinking he wouldn’t be good for her, she is tempted. And Kelly would tempt anyone. He’s a big guy who tells it like it is but he doesn’t do it in a cruel way. I’m not going to say he’s sensitive, but he has a good grasp on situations, which is a good thing in his line of work. And he wants Erin, and he lets her know it, in explicit terms. At first Erin is turned off by his straightforward attitude, but when he tells her he wants to screw her nine ways to Sunday and do it his way, Erin eventually gives in. She is tired of the burdens she carries (she rescues her sister frequently from a douchebag ex) and she just wants to not worry about things for a while and be selfish. And Kelly gives her that. In a good way.

But Erin isn’t done making assumptions about Kelly, despite everything that goes on between them.

I liked Erin and Kelly’s story. Erin was an interesting character – she was very guarded and a bit cynical. She saw the kind of guys her sister and mother went through and she doesn’t want that. She sees Kelly like that at first but yes, she starts to let him in a little bit and it scares her. I wasn’t annoyed though or felt that she held onto her misconceptions too long.

And Kelly. Whew! He’s that alpha guy who pushes you out of your comfort zone just enough to make things interesting and he’s sexy as hell. I liked his style. He was very upfront about his desires but he wasn’t inflexible. I thought the sex between these two was scorching and it wasn’t gratuitous at all.

If you’re looking for a super hot but sweet romance, I recommend After Hours. 4 out of 5

This book is available from InterMix. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

You can read more from ~ames~ at Bookish Ames.

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Guest Review: Dirty Thirty by Cara McKenna

Posted February 13, 2011 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Kris‘ review of Dirty Thirty by Cara McKenna

Despite his scrappy punk packaging, Evan’s got a submissive streak in him that’s just screaming to be indulged. So on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Evan’s wife Margie arranges for them to ring out his twenties by realizing his darkest fantasy—inviting another man into their bedroom.

Margie’s found the perfect candidate for Evan’s birthday treat. Paul works as a bouncer at their favorite bar, and lucky for Evan and Margie, he’s every bit the sexual Dominant his intimidating body suggests. Evan isn’t a hundred percent sure he’s ready to go to all the places his kinks seem determined to take him, but one thing’s for sure—by the time he wakes on his thirtieth birthday, his fantasy will have become reality.

Wow, this was hot.  It was well written, the main character were pretty fleshed out for the story being so short.  The story is told mainly from Evan perspective but you do have glimpses from Paul’s POV.  It is a straight guy’s one night fantasy played out for him.  There is a little bit of D/s play and there is of course m/m but there is also m/f as well.  His wife stays with them the entire time and is part of the encounter, which I appreciated.  I like that she wanted to be a part of it but I also liked that it was a one time thing and then Paul went home.  I think I have been reading too many menage relationship stories so it was a nice change of pace for me to read an encounter story.

I think the only issue I had with this story was the wife.  She was a good character but she was not as fleshed out for me.  Also I got bugged by her name.  Because i do not know anyone named Margie, I picture an old lady.  Maybe if I had gotten to know her better I would have been okay with it because i would have been able to associate it with her personality more.   As it was I never saw things from Margie’s perspective so i had a harder time getting to know her character.

Overall I really enjoyed this story and do recommend it if you like hot mm stories.

I give this a 4.5 out of 5

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

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