Welcome to The Bookish Babe's stop on the Bound Blog Tour. My stop includes a review and giveaway.
Series: The Mastered Series #1
Genre: Erotic Romance
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: 2/4/14
Rating: 3 stars
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES
In the new Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a woman’s desire to shatter her inhibitions leaves her unprepared for where that erotic journey will take her .
Former small-town girl Amery Hardwick is living her dream as a graphic designer in Denver, Colorado. She’s focused on building her business, which leaves little time for dating—not that she needs a romantic entanglement to fulfill her. When her friend signs up for a self-defense class as part of her recovery after an attack, Amery joins her for support. That’s where she meets him.
Ronin Black, owner of the dojo, is so drawn to Amery that he takes over her training—in public and in private. The enigmatic Ronin pushes Amery’s boundaries from the start, and with each new tryst, Amery becomes addicted to the pleasure and to him. But when Amery senses Ronin is hiding something, she questions her total trust in him, despite the undeniable thrill of his possession .
First Impression .... I have heard great things about James's books. I'm curious to see how this super-intense Ronin pushes Amery's boundaries.
The Story... Bound is a fairly straight-forward erotic romance. When Amery enrolls into a self-defense class to support her friend, she immediately gains the interest of the owner, Master Ronin Black. Black immediately pursues Amery, and the two begin a casual, yet intense relationship. Ronin requires Amery's trust and secrets, yet doesn't give the same of himself. He also introduces Amery to the art and pleasure of shibari, pushing her to her very limits. Eventually, Ronin's secrets begin to weigh on Amery, leaving her to question whether she wants a relationship with a man who will not completely open up.
The Characters ... Amery and Ronin were both interesting characters. Amery has trust issues, as well as issues with modesty and sexuality. Being raised in a strict, religious family, her issues are valid and very deeply rooted. I think a lot of women can identify with those feelings, and I liked seeing this portrayed in a very realistic manner. Amery continually pushes herself to open up, and to embrace her more powerful side. Many novels come with a try-anything-with-no-problem heroine, so it's nice to have one who wants more, but has to mentally power through.
As for Ronin...I think I was supposed to find him powerful, sexy, and mysterious, but instead found him bossy, powerful and frustrating. This may be partially due to my "meh" response to all things pertaining to martial arts. (I credit this to Karate Kid and Elvis Presley. It's a long story.) It's just really not my thing. Ronin was sexy enough, but incredibly frustrating, making him not particularly appealing as a romantic hero. I did admire his dedication to his lifestyle and the practice of shibari. I've read a few books that have featured the practice, but Bound had the most in-depth look at it.
I also think my lack of enthusiasm for Ronin is due to the Big Secret Factor. Ronin has one, and guys, he isn't going to willingly share anything.
The Heat... Fit in well with the story, though not without some issues on my part. Here's the thing: Ronin is supposed to be this master of sensuality, and hard to resist. He wasn't either of those things for me. It just seemed like he was pushing Amery into an unfamiliar and potentially frightening path. What I mean by frightening is, he just sprang things on her, like bondage and wax play, to name a couple. He even left her alone in a room, frightened. Another big no-no, in the BDSM world, or so I've heard, is the lack of information on his part. I never felt like there was a point he talked the issues through with Amery, created a set of expectations, and let her know that she was ultimately in control, with her safe word.
Could I Put Bound Down? I could. I didn't struggle to finish Bound, by any stretch, but it was not impossible to put down. I will say that the story does end on an emotional cliffhanger, so that does compel me to read book two.
In the End... While I wasn't blown away, I did like Bound. I think those looking for a story with an mysterious leading man and the quietly fierce heroine who loves him might enjoy Bound it. And having said all of this, I've heard Unwound is very good.
"Your skin is like a drug." He planted kisses to the top button on her shirt. He released her hair and ran his hands down the sides of her face and her neck. His fingers circled her wrists and he brushed his mouth across her ear. "Beautiful girl, I'd better get you home before I come up with one hundred more reasons why I shouldn't take you home."
The Mastered Series
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