Tag: Tara Sue Me

Five Books Everyone Should Read: Tara Sue Me

Posted April 12, 2015 by Rowena in Features | 0 Comments

Five Books Everyone Should Read is a new feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.

5 Books Project

Rowena: Please welcome the author that brought us The Submissive Series, Tara Sue Me to Book Binge. She is sharing the five books that she thinks everyone should read. Check it out.

Five Books Everyone Should Read
by Tara Sue Me

I’ve never been able to answer the question, “What’s your favorite book?” My mind goes into a spin. Pick one? Really? Do you know how many books I’ve read in my life? (For the record, I don’t either, but I chalk that up to a bad memory and poor math skills.)

I thought it’d be easy to pick five, but I soon found it wasn’t. Especially since they were the five books everyone should read. I thought about picking something like War and Peace or The Odyssey, just because they sound smart, but I decided not to. I knew if I did, people who knew me would go, “Pfft, she didn’t read those. Please.”

So I went the honest route:

1) Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
They say you never forget your first and Charlotte’s Web was the first book I remember reading. I suppose you could go as far to say it was this book that started my love of reading. Which is funny when I think about it because it breaks my DO NOT READ IF rule #1 (main character death). But I love this book even as an adult for its universal truths on friendship, love, and sacrifice.

2) Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
If Charlotte’s Web led to my love of books, Where the Sidewalk Ends birthed my love of poetry. I don’t think I’ll ever grow tired of reading Silverstein’s quirky off-beat poems. I think his work speaks to a universal audience because we’re all quirky and off-beat in our own way.

3) Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
I have to be honest and admit, I didn’t read this until someone gave it to my son. But I was stuck by its honest, straightforward message, and how Seuss used humor to convey important life lessons. Because really, don’t we all hate The Waiting Place?

4) The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
This book is heartbreaking to me. A young girl, full of hopes and dreams, living in such a horrible period of time and tragic circumstances. And to die with all those hopes and dreams unfulfilled shows the horrific things humans do to one another. But this book touches me because it reminds me, everyone’s important and everyone has a story, you just have to listen.

5) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Come on, you knew I had to put a romance in here somewhere! But Redeeming Love isn’t your typical romance. It’s more serious than sexy and more thoughtful than teasing. But the emotion is there and the passion is there and it shows the power of unconditional love in a story that will live in your heart long after you close the book.

American Author Tara Sue Me in Los AngelesAbout the Author: Tara Sue Me is the New York Times bestselling author of the Submissive series. She lives in the southeastern United States with her family, two dogs, and a cat. Visit her online at www.tarasueme.com, www.facebook.com/TaraSueMeBooks or www.twitter.com/tarasueme.

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Guest Review: The Training by Tara Sue Me

Posted March 5, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

The Training Judith’s review of The Training (The Submissive Trilogy #3) by Tara Sue Me

Now, in the enticing conclusion to Tara Sue Me’s Submissive Trilogy, the submissive and her dominant explore just how long they can make the pleasure last…

It started with a hidden desire.

Millionaire CEO Nathaniel West has always played by his own strict set of rules, ones he expects everyone to follow—especially the women he’s dominated in his bedroom. But his newest lover is breaking down all his boundaries and rewriting his rule book.

Abby King never imagined that she would capture the heart of Nathaniel West, one of New York City’s most eligible bachelors—and its most desirable dominant. What began as a weekend arrangement of pleasure has become a passionate romance with a man who knows every inch of her body and her soul – yet remains an enigmatic lover. Though he is tender and caring, his painful past remains a wall between them.

Abby knows the only way to truly earn his trust is to submit to him fully and let go of all of her lingering inhibitions. Because to lead Nathaniel on a path to greater intimacy, she must first let him deeper into her world than anyone has ever gone before.

This third book in a BDSM trilogy about Nathaniel West and his sub Abby King takes up right where the second book ends.  I suppose a reader could begin with the third part of the story, but I don’t think that will allow the reader to grasp the full significance of much of the action in this third novel.

All the way through the relationship between this Dom and his sub, there has been that sense of fear and insecurity that has plagued Nathaniel.  He has been well trained but now he has encountered a woman he has desired long before she ever knew he was alive, a secret he has been reluctant to share with Abby and one that has become a metaphor for Nathaniel’s unwillingness to open himself up fully to a woman he wants in his life more than he has ever wanted anything.  Even as his insecurity and subsequent behavior drove Abby away, now Nathaniel must learn himself in a new way even as he is re-learning how to relate to a woman who has come far more fully into an understanding of herself.

I think this book has, by far, explored the way in which the lifestyle of BDSM is for many a critical tool for self-discovery.  It is a fertile field for those who would abuse the power exchange and there is no denying that there are those who have deep and dark needs that are extreme.  But even there can be found Doms who are caring and careful even as they explore “edge play” and its more extreme forms of erotic pain.  For Abby, being with Nathaniel is the fulfillment of a dream, a goal she has long held close to her heart.  But throughout their time together, Abby has learned what it means to be a sub who holds, in the final analysis, the true power in the relationships and at a critical time–during a time explore in Book Two–she was not afraid to use that power to stop Nathaniel in his tracks.  They are now back together, but the playing field, so to speak, has changed and while Nathaniel is still very much the Dom, Abby’s understanding of who she is as a person and as a powerful woman and as a sub has changed dramatically.  Thus, Nathaniel’s response to her has changed as well.

This will probably not be a favorite among readers who are not interested in the BDSM lifestyle as lived in a 24/7 format.  But as has become known by many of us, BDSM is never the same;  every relationship is as different as the people involved in that relationship.  The boundaries are different, the hard limits are different, the needs and personalities are different.   This story has been well written and while I am not qualified to judge the validity or the authenticity of the BDSM content, it seems to me that it squares with the writings of a number of authors who have been judged to be “right on” and who write knowledgeably about the lifestyle.  I do know that this book has been written with a good sense of literary flow, keeping the story moving forward, keeping the characters balanced between their external actions and conversations with their internal monologue.  There is great emotion here and I think a careful reader will perceive that both these individuals are taking tentative steps in restoring their relationship, regaining trust with one another, re-establishing the limits and boundaries which will guide their interaction.

This has not always been an easy trilogy to read.  The writer has been adept at crafting her characters so that readers feel that they are not only observing the progress of the story but are privy to the inner thinking and feeling of these two people.  Some of the group activities in this book will probably bother some readers.  But, after all, this is a book that seeks to “tell it like it is” and involves couples who are loving toward one another but who are not afraid to share their love with others.

I found this book to be quite compelling and recommend it for those who are open to the various facets of the BDSM lifestyle.  I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

Guest Review: The Dominant by Tara Sue Me

Posted October 13, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

15777279Judith’s review of The Dominant (The Submissive Trilogy #2) by Tara Sue Me

Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.  As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.

Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.

But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down.

Having read The Submissive,  book one in this trilogy, it only stands to reason that I would want to follow through and read book two.  Yes, make no mistake, this is overtly another BDSM novel but it is far more than just a journal of dominance and submission.  Just as book one was a character study of Abigail King, so this is a character study of Nathaniel West, a man whose life is ruled by unbreakable rules, one who never deviates from his routines or makes exceptions to his way of doing things.  Yet when he meet up with Ms King, change is in the offing.

This is about a man whose inner securities are held at bay with his hard limits.  He has one way of ruling his business empire and he had another for ruling his private life.  Yet within this man lies the realities of who he really is.  Just like most of us he has his secrets, he deals with his own deep seeded insecurites, and has found that the D/s relationship gives him the means for holding those inner questions at bay.  Yet his emotions are far less manageable.  They seem to have a life of their own, and it is that inner battle between rules and logic verses emotion that lives at the crux of Nathaniel West’s life.  And it is Abigail King who will be the catalyst for bringing all of his struggles to the fore.

This is a compelling look at two people who are seeking to meet their deepest needs and desires and who have truly found their “One” in each other.  Yet their own inner doubts and questions that pose the greatest barrier to each of them finding their own personal Nirvana.

I found this book to be one that went beyond the usual BDSM book with lots of sexual interaction, to be sure, but all of it overlaid with the greater emotional struggle and the interplay of these two people whose regard for one another was causing so  much difficulty.  It is an emotional roller coaster and there were several occasions when I felt the hurt and disappointment that leaped off the pages of this book.  There was joy and celebration, but when one’s own inner conflict is so continuous, the joy and celebration cave in quickly.  There were several times when I wasn’t sure these two were going to make it to the HEA.    But even though there is no cliff hanger ending, Nate and Abby’s story will continue in the coming third book of the trilogy.  I, for one, can’t wait.

I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This title is available from NAL.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: The Dominant by Tara Sue Me

Posted August 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

15777279Whitley’s review of The Dominant (The Submissive Trilogy #2) by Tara Sue Me

Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.

As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.

Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.

But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down…

This was billed to me as a sequel, but it’s just an alternate POV of the very story that was covered in The Submissive.  The same time period, the same scenes, the same dialogue, the same everything.  It was a completely unnecessary addition to the series, because The Submissive did not leave any holes that needed to be filled.  Everything was neatly wrapped up and explained in the end, so this companion novel didn’t even serve the function of wrapping up loose ends.

That said, I enjoyed this story a lot more from Nathanial’s perspective than I did from Abigail’s.  Nathaniel had a much more engaging character arc and much more dramatic problems.  His issues were ones that had to be overcome, as opposed to Abby, who didn’t struggle with anything at all.  Nathaniel’s thoughts were sweet and deliciously angsty.  Over the top emotionality, but in such a fun way.  It made the book a lot more readable than the previous offering.

It took a nose-dive on the BDSM front.  I said in my review of The Submissive that I thought it’s greatest boon was that the negotiations happened off-page and therefore we were free to assume that they were both open and thoroughly satisfactory.  Unfortunately, Nathaniel fills us in on a lot of that process, and finding out exactly how unsatisfactory those negotiations were detracted a lot from any enjoyment to be had in the sex scenes.

A lot of what we hear from Nathaniel on the subject of BDSM simply doesn’t jive.  His greatest hangup throughout the novel stems from a basic misunderstanding of how BDSM works, when he assumes from the get-go that a submissive would not want an affectionate relationship.  He takes it as basic fact.  There’s points in the novel where he devoutly wishes for a way to openly talk to Abigail, without realizing that he can openly talk to Abigail, there’s nothing stopping him.  Although these issues get addressed, it’s just so bizarre to see them brought up this way in the first place from a character that supposedly is well-informed with ten years experience.  Nathaniel comes off, not as an experienced Dom who is part of an established community, but instead as an isolated play boy who’s getting all his information from a couple of porn sites.  He’s got a laundry list of facts that are right, but he acts like the scene itself is all he knows about, and he’s consistently surprised by what many would consider normal to the relationship part of BDSM.

He even has very narrow attitudes towards the practice, going so far as to assume that it’s a set lifestyle that can’t be altered or tweaked.  He gets upset at the idea of punishing Abigail without even a hint of recognition of the fact that he doesn’t have to.  There’s no rulebook to BDSM.  He could make up non-physical punishments or just ignore that aspect entirely, but instead he forces both of them through an act they don’t like because he believes it to be required. He comes off as very new and very uninformed, which would be fine if we were reading the story of a new Dom and his sub, but he’s supposed to be the expert here.

Overall, it was an improvement on the character front, but a downgrade on the BDSM.  It shared in all the pacing and consent problems of the first book, but it provided a much more entertaining bang for your buck.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

This title is available from NAL.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Guest Review: The Submissive by Tara Sue Me

Posted August 3, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

17407233Whitley’s review of The Submissive (The Submissive Trilogy #1) by Tara Sue Me

Abby King has a secret fantasy.

New York knows Nathaniel West as the brilliant and handsome CEO of West Industries, but Abby knows he’s more: a sexy and skilled dominant who is looking for a new submissive. Yearning to experience a world of pleasure beyond her simple life as a librarian, Abby offers herself to Nathaniel, to fulfill her most hidden desires.

After only one weekend with the Master, Abby knows she needs more, and fully submits to Nathaniel’s terms. But despite the pleasure he takes in Abby’s willing spirit, the Nathaniel hidden behind the rules remains cold and distant.

As Abby falls deeper into his tantalizing world of power and passion, she fears that Nathaniel’s heart may be beyond her reach—and that her own might be beyond saving…

In The Submissive, the cover summary tells you exactly what to expect.  Abby King becomes infatuated with a rich businessman named Nathaniel West, and when she pursues him, he offers her only kinky sex in return.  As they boink their way through every available flat surface in sight, Abby learns about her untapped unorthodox desires, and Nathaniel develops emotions that he doesn’t know how to deal with.  If all that sounds oddly familiar, it should.

This book, like many others these days in the post-Fifty Shades of Grey world, started out as Twilight fanfiction.  This book actually inspired FSOG, so it came first.  The similarities between the two works are obvious, both in the set-up, the various relations of each of the characters, and the progression of the story.  It’s almost impossible for me to read this book after reading FSOG and not compare the two.

This book circumvents a lot of the problems many people had with FSOG by being vague.  Where the other book failed by attempting to show the negotiation process and bungling it terribly, The Submissive allows that all to happen off-page, before the story even starts, so one can assume that all parties were properly informed and all issues properly discussed.  Abby shows up in the book already knowing about the kinky proclivities of her beaux, already curious about them, and already eager for them.  In many respects, it’s a well done form of fantasy: a man who knows all your desires instinctively, who can circumvent awkward and difficult conversations by just knowing what you want before you even know it yourself.  Bad news if something like that happens in real life, but a nice escapist fantasy now and then.  It was set up just vague enough to work.

That’s not to say it was without problems, however, and the problems were doozies.  Such as when Nathanial completely ignores Abby’s “soft” limits and treating them as mere suggestions that he can dismiss.  The fact that he admittedly uses safeword blackmail, telling her that using her safeword will put a halt to the relationship entirely and not just the scene.  The treatment of safewords in this book in general is pretty sketchy, such as when Nathanial claims he’s never had a sub use one before, as if having that happen would count as some sort of personal failing on his part.  (Word to the wise: leg cramps exist, safewords aren’t just used for when you decide you don’t like BDSM anymore, and any Dom that views safewords as a personal failing is not a Dom you want to play with.)  Also, also, they weren’t roleplaying; there’s never a point in any of their scenes where “no” or “hold up a tick, these shackles are cutting off my circulation” would be taken at anything other than face-value.  It’s like the whole safeword issue was stuck in for drama’s sake, not because of any of the reasons people actually use safewords.

The biggest red flag, for me, came when they were renegotiating their relationship and discussing how often Abby would wear her collar.

“if I want to have sex on a [non-collar day] and you’re not in the mood, I want you to feel free to say so.”

Implying that she can’t say so on their weekend, scene-having days?  Not what I would call Safe, Sane, and Consensual.

On the whole, the BDSM was presented…better than average, but still a fantasy more than realistic and not without its red flags.

On every other level, however, the book failed pretty hard.  The first sex scene came on page 15.  15!  It’s like having your partner ask if you want a sexy evening together, and as soon as you say yes, he’s trying to pork through your pants.  I did not have enough time in this book to get teased, titillated, seduced, or even interested.  Then the sex scenes simply didn’t stop coming.  I didn’t have a chance to get to know anyone involved, because they were too busy boinking on every available surface, leaving little page time for any relationships to be set up.  Now, I like sex.  I like reading about sex.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have picked up an erotica.  But if I just wanted to experience flat, soulless, nearly nameless characters bumping uglies over and over, I can easily find that visual on the internet.  I expect my written porn to get me a bit more emotionally invested.

The ‘romance’ aspect of the book failed pretty hard as well.  I didn’t get the feeling that Nathanial was ‘damaged’ or ‘broken’ or anything of the sort, because he was too blunt and robotic to display any personality at all.  I didn’t understand how Abby was supposed to be ‘breaking down his walls’ because she didn’t do anything around him except spread her legs, and they barely had any conversations at all until the end.  After the complication and subsequent turning point, things did a complete 180.  Nathanial didn’t just realize his issues and promise to be better; he turned into a different character.  It was like a switch was flipped, and suddenly they were in a (mostly) healthy relationship.  A pretty cute one, at that.  Still, it was disappointing to not get to see some actual drama in this story.

Rating: 2 out of 5


This title is available from NAL Books. You can buy it here or here in e-format.