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On a Book Bender

A steamy story that ultimately misfires.

Tied & Bound by K.M. Liss

Tied & Bound by K.M. Liss

Genre:  Romance, Erotica
Format: E-book
Read: July 14-15, 2014
K.M. Liss | @KatrinaMiaLiss | Facebook
Tied & Bound on Goodreads 



Talented chef and entrepreneur, Chloe Redmond, is recovering from disappointment and betrayal in love. Seeking a new life, she leaves London for the Cotswolds, a place of charm, beauty and hopefully a place for healing. Romance is not on her mind, but then she meets him.

Tall, dark, mysterious and very sexy, Max. He is unimaginably hot, and possibly hers. Suddenly, she’s caught up in a whirlwind relationship, but things are not what they seem. She knows he has secrets, things he won’t tell her. But, can they survive or could another man rival Max for her affections. Could Martyn, a cocky, gorgeous, womanizing man-whore, be the one to provide love long term for Chloe?

Life and love can be confusing and overwhelming, but sometimes waiting can be worth the pain. Sometimes waiting can bring healing, love, happiness.

18+ for sexual content and language

–from Goodreads

My Thoughts

Every genre has its fans and followers, as well as dabblers and detractors. Erotica has been a growing genre for several years, perhaps more so recently thanks to a shot of scintillation thanks to so-called “mommy porn.” (Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m looking at you!) As a reader and a blogger, I am an advocate for books, whatever gets your reading! That said, I don’t read erotic fiction as much or as often as I read other genres. But, if a book is intriguing and has a captivating story, I’m willing to read and, hopefully, enjoy. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy K.M. Liss’s Tied & Bound. Not because of any failure or missed mark by the author; just because it simply wasn’t my cup of tea.

Tied & Bound is the story of Chloe Redmond. After walking in on her boyfriend and her best friend having sex, Chloe retreats to the Cotswolds from London. She starts a catering company and sets about mending her broken heart and re-building her life. Sort of. It’s while setting up for a catering event when she meets Max, the kept man of an eccentric older artist. Chloe is immediately and strongly in lust with the good-looking guy. Soon (too soon in my opinion) Max and Chloe fall into a frenzied sexual affair. It’s intense and possessive and, to me, largely unbelievable.

I think that is the crux of my trouble with the story. The sex seemed contrived and gratuitous. (Though, admittedly, the scenes are sizzling!) I’m not a prude; I don’t oppose sex in stories. I simply prefer when a story establishes an emotional connection that fuels a physical connection. To men, that connection was missing in Tied & Bound.

Chloe’s story is about discovering and rediscovering herself. But the story felt forced down a purely physical path, leaving Chloe behind while a caricature of Chloe Redmond experience a sexual spring awakening.

This review is purely the opinion of this reader. I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Girl with Book Lungs


It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.


Even better than the first book.

Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson

Tempting Fate by Alissa Johnson (Providence, #2)

Genre: historical romance
Format: ebook from library
Read: 5/29/2014
Alissa Johnson | @alissajohnson2
Tempting Fate on Goodreads


Providence Series Order

1. As Luck Would Have It
2. Tempting Fate
3. McAlistair’s Fortune
4. Destined to Last


Whittaker Cole, Earl of Thurston, is every debutante’s dream come true. Handsome, rich, and a prime catch on the Marriage Mart, Whit is also reputed to be one of the most unflappable gentlemen in all England. Nothing ever puts him in a temper. Until… 

He comes within twenty feet of Miss Mirabelle Browning and loses all control. The women in his household believe divine providence sent Mira to live on the estate adjoining theirs. After the hellion breaks his nose, Whit decides that the divine has nothing to do with it. Until… 

He kisses her. After all, it was either that, or wring her neck. But when sparks fly, he’s forced to admit that there might be something to this destiny thing after all. If he can just convince Mirabelle to give fate—and love—a chance.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on Tempting Fate

I’m rather glad I went in order here—from book 1 to book 2—because there’s setup between Whit and Mirabelle that I would’ve missed. And that would have made their romance a little less sweet than it really is.

Is there anything better than a haters-to-lovers story? Not that Whit and Mira ever really hated each other, but they didn’t really like each other, either. And that’s likely what I loved so much about this one. (Also, Whit was less overbearing than Alex from book 1.)

It was rather adorable watching both of them realize that all those sparks they’d created over the years were not because they couldn’t get along. And oh, the antics of matchmakers.

Tempting Fate has a bit of a setup for book 3 (just like book 1 had for book 2), but having read it already, it didn’t do much for me. And I’m not sure it really adds much to their book, come to think of it, but… I enjoyed this book. And seeing Sophie and Alex from book 1 was nice.

Rather liking this entire series. If only I could get my hands on the final book…


Very hard to describe this book.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Genre: suspense, YA
Format: hardcover from library
Read: 6/15/2014 — 6/16/2014
E. Lockhart | Blog | @elockhart
We Were Liars on Goodreads



A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on We Were Liars

This is one of those rare cases where my enjoyment scale doesn’t really cut it here. I didn’t enjoy this book. It was intriguing. I had to know what Cady was heading toward. But enjoyment doesn’t quite cover it. It’s not a book I enjoyed, but it is a page turner.

We Were Liars plays on your sympathies. I knew going into the book that Cady was an unreliable narrator, but man. There’s unreliable, and then there’s unreliable. Cady is the latter. It makes sorting through everything that much more difficult.

And the ending is… an ending. Make of that what you will. It’s hard to talk about this book without messing with the suspense aspect (which is well done, mind you).

If you like a little mind-fuckery in your stories, We Were Liars is going to work for you. I still have no idea if it did for me.


Mmm. Werewolves. Love these feral beasts!

The Wolf Within (Purgatory #1) by Cynthia Eden

Genre: Paranormal romance
Cynthia Eden | @cynthiaeden | Facebook
Amazon – Kindle
Add The Wolf Within on Goodreads

Book order

1. The Wolf Within
2. Marked by the Vampire
3. Charming the Beast


FBI Special Agent Duncan McGuire spends his days–and his nights–tracking real-life monsters. Most humans aren’t aware of the vampires and werewolves that walk among them. They don’t realize the danger that they face, but Duncan knows about the horror that waits in the darkness. He hunts the monsters, and he protects the innocent. Duncan just never expects to become a monster. But after a brutal werewolf attack, Duncan begins to change…and soon he will be one of the very beasts that he has hunted.

Dr. Holly Young is supposed to help Duncan during his transition. It’s her job to keep him sane so that Duncan can continue working with the FBI’s Para Unit. But as Duncan’s beast grows stronger, the passion that she and Duncan have held carefully in check pushes to the surface. The desire that is raging between them could be a very dangerous thing…because Holly isn’t exactly human, not any longer.

As the monsters circle in, determined to take out all of the agents working at the Para Unit, Holly and Duncan will have to use their own supernatural strengths in order to survive. But as they give up more of their humanity and embrace the beasts within them both, they realize that the passion between them isn’t safe, it isn’t controllable, and their dark need may just be an obsession that could destroy them both.

Thoughts The Wolf Within

Good gravy, I like werewolves. At the top of my “werewolves are awesome” list are the ones who fight against the desire to hurt others just because they’re stronger and faster than those around them. GUESS WHAT? Duncan is totally one of those protectors. His desire to keep Holly safe is driven in part by his wild attraction to her, but he’s also a genuinely  good man at heart and he does everything he can to use his strength for good– including allowing himself to be locked up.

Things I liked: Holly and Duncan. Duncan has some issues (most of them revolving around his new werewolf status), but Holly has a few secrets of her own. As things begin to be revealed, we see that secrets, lies and half-truths have been piling up for a long time around these two. Not by their choice, either.

By the by, Pate, the commander of the Para Unit, has some seriously jacked up ideas and he’s WAY dedicated to his job. While I can understand he’s trying to protect innocents from a very serious threat, the path he chooses to take makes him a hard man to like. That said, given the backstabbing, frontstabbing, and otherwise cutthroat goings on, I do understand why he didn’t feel he could trust people. BUT STILL. There’s a line, man, and you keep crossing it.

What were we talking about again? Secrets. Lies. Family dynamics that are seriously screwy. Oh, and hot sex. ALL FUN TO READ ABOUT. *thumbs up* all around.

Kelly Loves Books... and you!


It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Big thanks for Kelly for this one.

An eccentric Dallas millionaire who collects medieval artifacts hires a modern-day Seer to locate an ancient chalice rumored to be the Holy Grail. Little does Brianna Frazier know she’s in a deadly race with Balor, the revengeful, l fallen-from-grace god of the Celts who wants the Grail’s power to destroy civilization. Only an immortal knight from King Arthur’s court can save her—but Troy Sutton doesn’t remember who he really is or how he landed in the 21st century.
-from Goodreads


I borrowed the next book immediately.

As Luck Would Have It by Alissa Johnson

As Luck Would Have It by Alissa Johnson (Providence, #1)

Genre: historical romance
Format: paperback from library
Read: 5/28/2014
Alissa Johnson | @alissajohnson2
As Luck Would Have It on Goodreads


Providence Series Order

1. As Luck Would Have It
2. Tempting Fate
3. McAlistair’s Fortune
4. Destined to Last


After years of wild adventures overseas, Miss Sophie Everton is in no hurry to return home to the boring strictures of the ton. But she’s determined to reclaim her family’s fortune–even if she has to become a spy for the Prince Regent to do it. 

Before she can get her first assignment, she lands right in the lap of the dark and dashing Duke of Rockeforte. She’s faced hungry tigers that didn’t look nearly as predatory. Somehow the blasted man manages to foil her at every turn–and make her pulse thrum with something more than just the thrill of danger.

Both are caught in a daring dance of espionage and desire. But to make a true love match, they’ll have to learn to trust in each other…and, of course, a little bit of luck.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on As Luck Would Have It

I snagged McAlistair’s Fortune, book three in the series, from the library first, but when I was finished, I requested As Luck Would Have It. And when I finished that book, well, I went and borrowed the second book.

A bit of historomance crack, this series.

Coming into the first book of the series already being familiar with the characters perhaps put me at an advantage, at least as far as knowing what goes on and who’s up to what. Not there’s much set up required…

I do have to admit that this was a total escape read, and under different circumstances, I likely would have found Alex overbearing and far too possessive. But I ignored it and cheered Sophie on every time she slipped through his fingers.

Though I wasn’t much of a fan of the luck arc (especially as it played out in the end), I do have to admit that Sophie and Alex were fun, and I liked finishing the book knowing that, based on my experience reading book three, Sophie’s still giving Alex a run for his money.

Definitely a fun historical romance you can escape into, while leaving you just a little breathless.


Ended the way it needed to.

Ignite Me by Tarereh Mafi

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me, #1)

Genre: dystopian, YA
Format: hardcover
Read: 7/9/2014
Tahereh Mafi | Blog | @taherehmafi | Facebook
Ignite Me on Goodreads


Book Order

1. Shatter Me
1.5. Destroy Me
2. Unravel Me
2.5. Fracture Me
3. Ignite Me


With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.
-from Goodreads

Thoughts on Ignite Me

I waited a long time to read Ignite Me, and in some ways I’m glad I did. The time—and what I’ve learned about story telling—gave me greater perspective. I would have loved Ignite Me regardless, but I have new respect for Tahereh Mafi and her evil story telling genius.

See, Unravel Me made me do something I’ve never done before: switch allegiances with the love interest.  Even so, I wasn’t as excited about Unravel Me as I was about Shatter Me (which was a 10). I wasn’t sure what to expect with Ignite Me. I’ve been disappointed with series endings before. *looks pointedly at Divergent*

But I picked Ignite Me up in the midst of an extremely strong historical romance bender—you need breaks sometimes, right?—and blew right through the book. No, seriously. I read it, cover to cover, in about four hours. I couldn’t put it down.

And standing at the end now, I see why all the books, even the novellas, were written the way they were. I GET IT. IT IS GLORIOUS.

Juliette finally realizes who she’s meant to be. Shit goes down. Kenji is absolutely hilarious, and I want to put him in my pocket and take him everywhere with me. The love triangle is resolved. It’s everything it needed to be.

I’m a deliriously happy reader right now.


A dark and dysfunctional love story.

Why She Left Us by David Dennis

Genre:  Contemporary
Format:  PDF provided by the author for an honest review
Read: June 14-16, 2014
Why She Left Us on Goodreads





It was the summer of 1985, and she was young and inexperienced, but longing to love and to be loved in return, when he entered her life.

At the same time, while she was desperately seeking the love and approval of a mother who never wanted her in the first place, events totally beyond her control claimed her as their victim, leaving those she left behind unable to cope with the enormity of her absence. 

“WHY SHE LEFT US” is written as a series of diary entries, the events seen through the eyes of several different people. 

But at its center is a love story chronicling a romance that transforms the lives of two people who, for too brief a period of time, experienced the greatest happiness they had ever known.


My Thoughts

The summer of 1985 proves to be the disastrous undoing of a whole family in David Dennis’ Why She Left Us. The book is written in a series of diary or journal entries authored by five main characters – three sisters, their aunt, and the boy loved by one of the sisters.

The characters each date their journal entries and, if you aren’t paying attention to the dates, it’s very easy to get very confused right from the start! Each of the narrators tells the story in his or her own voice with his or her own biases and slants. The only “true narrator” seems to be eldest sister Betsy, whose entries are in chronological order, while the others are at a date after The Event.

It’s a little tricky to write about the main plot of the book because, trying to unfold just what happened and how each of the characters are involved is one of the strengths of Why She Left Us. The unfolding mystery of The Event that all of the narrators are referring to – and that Betsy is building up to – is probably what I liked best about the book; it kept me turning the pages to find out just what, exactly, happened and who did what when.

I say that Betsy seems to be the only “true” narrator because her voice and perspective, to me, were the most honest. Good or bad, self-deprecating or full of praise, she kind of simply laid out the events of the day as they happened. The other characters, with perhaps the exception of Aunt Lucille, tell such pieces of the story that are heavily marred by their personalities that it’s hard to trust the information they provide.

David Dennis gives each narrator a distinct voice, which is quite the accomplishment. Many authors struggle to utilize such distinctness in the varied voices of their narrators. And the story is quite heartbreaking . . . and yet, it’s also disturbingly dysfunctional. At times the voice of Betsy seems too odd and out of place to maintain belief, but I liked Betsy. I rooted for her and was rather sad when The Event came to the climax.

Why She Left Us is an interesting read. A puzzle and a romance of sorts, with a moral reminiscent of “It’s a Wonderful Life.”


Girl with Book Lungs


It’s that time again — Tuesday! — which means I attempt to brighten your day with half-naked men. Read on at your own risk.  Top Off Tuesdays was started by FeliciaChristi and me.  It is where we (and you!) share the book covers that make us swoon.  Head over to Felicia’s blog to share your Top Off Tuesday link or to see what everyone has posted.

Poor Bronto. With that name, I’d probably want revenge too.

Barbarian Lust, Book Two

Momma warned Ivy to stay away from the bloodthirsty Barbarians but only a Barbarian can show her true love. Bronto’s compassion, affection and gentle touch overpower his fierce nature. She places her heart and future in his hands as he introduces her to a life of passion while protecting her from the deadly creatures overrunning her planet.

Aliens. Mutants. Dinosaurs. What the hell kind of planet has the government sent Bronto to? He tolerates the creatures lurking around every corner but not the alien abduction of Ivy. He’s just begun to introduce her to the ways of lust when she’s taken to be used for their brutal experiments. Bronto never believed he could fall for one of Helixis’ “primitive” humans. But now he can’t imagine life without Ivy. He’s determined to save her and destroy the invasive species before they leave her to rot in their lab.

Inside Scoop:  Some Barbarians live up to the name. Contains brief nongraphic scenes and descriptions of rape.

A Romantica® sci-fi erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

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