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Posted October 29, 2013
This a good book in the great writing style of all McKenna's books. The characters are not your typical alpha male/hero meets submissive and innocent girl: he is almost the anti-hero, she is strong but in the process of overcoming her insecurities. Yet you get to care for these characters as the story progresses and keep hoping for their recovery and happily ever after. As in other books by this author, she addresses sexuality in all its shapes and forms head on, and is not shy to develop characters affected by social stigmas and longing for self and social acceptance. As you can imagine, some scenes are emotionally charged yet always tasteful and never disturbing. I did not give it 5 stars because there was too much isolation of the characters and that made some parts drag a bit. I would like to see a little bit more action and less tortured souls. But it is still a terrific read.
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Posted October 16, 2013
Since Wiling Victim I've been a fan of Cara McKenna and I wanted to love this book but it was more of a meh for me.
Rob is a recluse living in the middle of nowhere Scotland.
Merry is hiking through Scotland trying to find herself.
During Merry's journey she lands on Rob's doorstep and together they help each other in ways that they didn't even know they needed.
Lets start with the things I loved
1) Loved Rob's storyline and how he dealt with his personal struggles and demons
2) Loved the idea of Merry and how she became a strong individual and how Rob brought that out in her
What I didn't love was all the inner dialogue it felt like this book went on forever and ever which for me didn't add to the story but it took away from the story.
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Posted January 30, 2014
Posted December 21, 2013
I read this book a while ago but waited a bit for it to seep in a bit before reviewing.
McKenna has a powerful voice and a compelling way with words and characters. The issues in this romance are jagged for both character really and very human.
This books looks into what happens when a man is a sub in a culture that doesn't think men should be that way. He has addiction issues and self hatred.
Merry is a mess herself. She has formally fat issues but is overall accepting.
The character driven nature of this love story and the romance work for me. However, the plotting doesn't. I ended up reading it all out of jumbled up orders because certain things went too slow and other parts too fast and you could see the blow up coming like a freight train.
I also wish this book had been a Happily Ever After rather than a Happily for Now and likely in the future.
I understand and value genre pushing but for me when I have this much angst and reversing of tropes in a Romance then I really need the steady heartbeat of a clear and glorious Happily Ever After. It is one reason I can allow my self to be put through the emotionial ringer with whole heartedness.
To be fair, it is a well done ending where the reader things their happiness is possible. However, I want to see it, feel it, and live it.
Great writing, great characters, pacing needs work.
Posted December 4, 2013
Posted November 1, 2013
What's not to love about a HOT recluse living in the Highlands of Scotland? And I'm being totally serious when I say that. I was tempted by this tale immediately when I saw that 1) The setting was Scotland. 2) The word desire was used more than once in the description. Also, my BFF read it and said it was a hot read. So...my curiosity was peaked and I was pleased to find that I thoroughly enjoyed this steamy tale.
I felt like the story was largely based around Rob and his past, but I'm going to start with Merry because, I really liked her and her story was relatable. Merry is on a mission. She's recently made some pretty significant life changes. She's lost a huge amount of weight and is looking to continue to enhance her life. Her mother was from Scotland and Merry had always wanted to go there. Since her mother's passing, Merry has made it a goal to head to Scotland and hike from Glasgow to Inverness. If you're not familiar with Scotland, that's a looong hike. I was impressed by Merry's determination. Along the way, she has a bit of a stumble and needs help. She finds a little cottage, where she meets Rob. Rob is a bit rough around the edges but, Merry can tell there is something a bit different about him. Merry's gentle and kind demeanor helps to open some of the doors that Rob has long since closed.
Rob sought refuge in the hills of Scotland after suffering through a downward spiral. He was once a very successful club owner, but the lifestyle was tough on Rob. He became consumed by it and the result was devastating. He lost his wife, his brother, and felt the only solution was to escape. Rob was a very complex character. Not only does he struggle with certain personal demons, but he's always felt a bit different than others. He has particular sexual tastes that he can't really explain. He's never been able to explore his needs freely either. But when Merry comes along, he finds a true partner. They have a connection that goes beyond sexual. Merry is accepting of Rob, which in turn allows him to be more open with her. Rob's road to finding solace wasn't easy. Ultimately, Rob had to find himself in order to be all-in with Merry. I was so happy to see him conquer his personal demons. His journey was realistic and I was happy to see that it actually took time. Because...that's how real life works.
Overall, I really enjoyed Unbound. While I loved the sexy scenes, this book was more about personal journey's to me. And I like that in my Erotic novels. Sometimes, I just want the sex, but I appreciate it when there's more to the story and that's what I got with Unbound. I will definitely be reading more of McKenna's books. She's made a fan out of me!
~"I think lots of us spend our twenties trying on persona's," she offered.
Rob's brows rose, and he met her eyes squarely.
"I know I got myself jammed in a rut, trying to be everybody's best friend," she said. "Trying to make everyone happy. By the time I was thirty I was like, Jesus. If I'd charged these people for all the therapy I doled out, I'd be a millionaire by now."-Loc 751
~"I felt broken. I had everything I thought a person needed to feel satisfied or fulfilled or secure or whatever, but I didn't feel any of those things. I felt...Well, yes. I felt empty. Like some part was missing, some mechanism that converts success into contentment."-Loc 1054
Posted November 1, 2013
I have not read any of Cara McKenna's books and was glad I picked this one up. The story is awesome!. It really kept me involved. I have her marked now as a favorite of mine. Love her writing style!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 21, 2013
~Reviewed by ANN & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
In my last interview with Charlotte Stein, she mentioned being excitement about Cara McKenna’s newest book. Now after having read UNBOUND, I can totally understand where Charlotte was coming from. Fans of Stein will LOVE UNBOUND. McKenna pens such a beautifully erotic storyline for two lost characters trying to find their way through life.
After the loss of her mother and losing 100 pounds, Merry has decided to take a three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands. This is where she falls ill and stumbles upon Rob’s secluded home hidden in the Highlands. At first, it’s a little awkward. Rob is a total stranger to Merry yet there is something intriguing and undeniable that makes her want to stay.
There is a slow build in the first half of the book. However, I find that it is necessary for both characters. Merry is overcoming her losses and is in a way trying to find her true self. Rob, on the other hand, is the opposite. He is hiding from the world, hoping to go on by without being noticed. He tries to deny himself the privilege to being with other people because he thinks himself to be a bad man. As you read, you will get more of his backstory and I think it definitely makes up for the slower start. Merry and Rob must learn to trust each other before they have any grounds on which to grow their relationship from.
Once there, readers are in for a BIG TREAT. I know why Stein was rejoicing about this book. Rob Rush has to be one of the most intriguing heroes I’ve read. I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but the title does give readers some idea of what his kink is. I found him fascinating, although I’m not sure how his character will be received by others readers. I do know that there are some people who will find this book so erotically charged that it will be a highlight for them as much as it has been for me.
As the story progresses, McKenna delves even deeper into her characters, wrenching out more emotion and passion in this pair. I became entranced by every word and found myself falling more and more in love with these characters.
For some of the hottest sex scenes you will read, UNBOUND has everything I want in a romance. Unexpectedly charming characters with a heady dose of kink makes this story one of my favorites this year.
*ARC provided by publisher
Posted October 21, 2013
Posted October 19, 2013
This is the 3rd book from this author that I have read. She is definitely on my list of authors to follow; I enjoy her writing.
This was a really good book.... poignant and HAWT. The hero is a complex character, but I found him to be very likeable (pretty heavy subject matter that I thought the author handled very well). I even got a little teary eyed at the end... definately a good read.
Posted October 15, 2013
First things first...Why the hell is this my first Cara McKenna book? Seriously. Approximately halfway through Unbound, I started pushing it on my friends. As soon as I finished, I emailed my book group, telling them they must read it ASAP. Then, one of them emailed me back, gently reminding me that she's been telling me to read McKenna for months. So then I felt like an idiot. But now all is well, because I have seen the error of my ways.
As you may have inferred from the opening paragraph, I loved Unbound. But not only did I love it on a squealy, fan-girl level, I also loved and appreciated it on a much deeper, profound level. This was a beautifully written and constructed story that appealed to me on all levels.
Besides the author's name recognition, the hint at a hero with a penchant for the taboo is what drew me in. But what exactly are Rob Rush's "issues"? The blurb is ambiguous, and I love that. I wanted to know, no, I was dying to know what it was that had sent Rob into exile. What could have possibly driven a man to become a recluse, shun society. I was hoping the reason would be something really juicy, but also meaningful. There's nothing worse than thinking you're digging into a character with heavy, heavy issues, then learning it was superficial. That is not the case in Unbound. McKenna did a brilliant job of creating a deep and complex hero who is also exceedingly alluring. In the opening chapters, it seems we're being led to a conclusion in regards to Rob's pleasure. But in a move that makes me want to jump up to cheer and praise McKenna to anyone who will listen, we soon learn that all is not what it seems. What gets Rob twisted into knots sexually, is out of the "norm", even in kink. It was definitely unexpected, in the most excellent way, but also...really, really hot.
Going with Rob on the emotional and physical journey is Merry. As much as I felt endeared to him, I also became attached to Merry. She is on an emotional and physical journey of her own, to discover more about and pay tribute to her deceased mother in her homeland of Scotland. Merry has recently shed one hundred pounds, and is coming to terms with her new life, the feelings and issues that come with literally transforming into a new person. As much as I initially liked her, when Merry and Rob's paths cross, she became even more heroic in my eyes. Her strength of character, her unflinching acceptance and appreciation for Rob made her into a heroine that should be admired. She was thoughtful, yet prodding, bringing this man who'd left society, back. Her inquisitive nature gently broke down Rob's walls, and helped create a new man. One who can accept, even embrace, himself.
Unbound, from the beginning to end, is an exceeding thoughtful, intense, and brilliant story. I would even say that it is by far one of my favorite erotic romances, and definitely would make my Favorites of 2013 List (if I made one). Cara McKenna not only pulled me in with a sexually charged and emotionally intense story, but she also won me with her gorgeous prose. The Scottish Highlands, a cabin hidden in the woods, two people forming an intense physical and emotional bond that will transform both....have rarely been so enchanting.
Posted October 15, 2013
Our Review, by LITERAL ADDICTION's Associate Reviewer - Shawnie:
*eARC received from the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Unbound is a slow paced, life altering novel about finding one's self and embracing it, no matter the emotional strain. Acceptance at its
finest... with just a "rope" of kink.
Merry has lived in a shell that was entirely self made, but now after dropping a hundred pounds, she has decided to live and live big.
Things aren't nearly as good as it use to be though, her best friend is not at all supportive, and Merry hasn't really accepted her new self.
With all that, plus the death of her mother, she decides to take a trip. A three-week hike through the Scottish Highlands to get to know the
new her, and to also see the place where her mother grew up. Of course, nothing goes as planned...
After about two weeks hiking and roughing it (relatively speaking), Merry catches a virus of some sort that leaves her in pain, weak and
dizzy. With a small stroke of luck, she remembers the cottage she'd seen during a hike, and starts out for it. Maybe not the smartest thing,
but she's determined, and a little bit desperate.
Rob is a self made recluse, and is perfectly fine with that. He lives a simple life with simple rules, and nobody bothers him. He's not the
most gentle man, nor the nicest (even on good days), but when Merry knocks and screams at his door bloodied and sick, he can't bring
himself to leave her to her fate. He can, however, hope that she gets better in the next 24 hours so she can get on with her business and
stop bothering him.
This story starts with a woman who doesn't know who she is anymore, and a man who is an antisocial, lonely recluse. These tortured
souls throw caution to the wind, and decide to trust in one another, because what's a few secrets of the heart - and of the flesh - between
strangers who will never see one another again?
Soon these two find themselves in an all out tail spin of acceptance and indulgence; opening doors to each other that neither thought
was possible. Through kink and open mindedness, they grow to care for one another, and watch as each grows into the person they
were meant to be.
Unbound is a book that drowns you in emotions, and the emotions are ones that you feel like a physical blow; emotions that leave you
weak and sometimes unable to cope. I had to repeatedly get up to wash my face and gather myself in order to finish this book. I am
probably out of tears at this point. It was worth it though. This books makes you take a step back and look at your own life. It makes you
question everything. The best lesson learned from the book is this: Happiness is around several corners, but we have to have the
courage and determination to go after it.
Posted November 6, 2013
No text was provided for this review.
Posted November 27, 2013
No text was provided for this review.