For What It's Worth

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Mini Reviews: Unbound by Cara McKenna and Run to You by Charlotte Stein, Cake by Lauren Dane

I’m not a prude, but there aren’t too many erotica novels or writers that really wow me. I tend to get more caught up questioning how part A got into part B with them tied up and twisted like that. And where the heck is the story?? I need to know the characters better and have growth. I’m also not a fan of the uber controlling guy and virgin girl whose life becomes complete after being ordered to have 20 orgasms.

There are always exceptions though and here are a few boundary pushing (for me) erotica titles that I enjoyed.

Source: All books were purchased.


UNBOUND (Intermix) by Cara McKenna

17672182An all-new novel from the author of After Hours.

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. ~ Goodreads | Author | Amazon

My thoughts: I’ve loved everything I’ve ever read by McKenna, starting with her Curio novella series. Her books have hot, explicit sex, but they also have characters that are quite ordinary. They have regular jobs and are relatable, but they’re all looking for a connection. Sure it manifests sexually but McKenna’s books are smart, witty and filled with heart and love.

I have to say that Unbound pushed me way outside my comfort zone at times but I liked the way McKenna explored the submissive/dominance dynamic in a new way. Merry and Rob’s relationship is believable despite the circumstances that bring them together and the sex doesn’t erase all their issues. They both have to learn about forgiveness and self acceptance before committing to anything permanent. And that’s what I love most about her writing. The character growth, how they make mistakes, learn and and become better people because of their love.

Unbound is about more than weird kinks and I highly recommend Cara McKenna’s writing if you want to test out the genre.


RUN TO YOU by Charlotte Stein
Alissa Layton leads a dull and ordinary life, safe in routines, with no plans to escape. But when she meets businessman Janos Kovacs, and is introduced to his kinky lifestyle, Alissa's entire world changes…

She uncovers a hidden world of secret assignations and kinky meetings between like-minded high fliers at an exclusive hotel. But the businessman Alissa spies on seems far too handsome, sexy and worldly for someone like her, and he's into the kind of things she's not sure she can do.

Janos Kovacs has spent so long indulging in emotion-less dalliances that he's forgotten what real passion is. But the more time he spends with Alissa, the less control he has over himself. By the time he's finished teaching how deliciously naughty sex can be, he might be the one learning the lessons. ~ Goodreads |Author | Amazon

My thoughts: This was a really beautiful story where the sex isn't used for titillation but as a very integral part of the story. On the surface it seems like another billionaire, domineering type guy, teaches a young innocent the wicked ways of pleasure but Run to You flips the story around and turns into something quite unexpected. I enjoyed that aspect of it.

That being said the internal monologue of the heroine and her constant use of the word "oh" (131 times) and the phrase "of course" (89 times) started grating on me. Honestly, it fits with her character, she’s a tad dramatic, but oh my God… I can only read the same word so many times.

I think I'm going to give the author another try and see if the repetitive wording was a fluke because otherwise I loved her writing and the deeply flawed but fascinating characters.


CAKE by Lauren Dane

17735858From New York Times bestselling author Lauren Dane comes the latest release from Cosmo Red-Hot Reads from Harlequin.

She won’t be satisfied with just one bite...

Art student-slash-bike messenger Wren Davis pursues what she wants. And what she wants now is Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy.

But Gregori loves women like he loves cake and champagne—intensely, but only for the moment. And after Wren experiences just how scorching sex with Gregori is, she’s determined to show him that just one taste won’t be enough.Wren’s gotten to know the man beneath the body art, too—and it only makes her crave him more.~ Goodreads | Author | Amazon

My thoughts: I’ve heard good things about Dane’s writing and everyone in my Twitter feed was absolutely raving about Cake when it came out so I thought I would give it a shot.

Gregori has the brooding artist thing down. He’s sexy and gun shy after a bad marriage with a crazy ex but in Cake it’s Wren who steals the show IMO. I LOVED her. It was such a pleasure to read about a woman who is confident in her sexuality. She asked for what she wanted, was willing to give Gregori the space he needed but demanded respect and fairness in the relationship. She also had her own life, friends and career. This shouldn’t be such a great – rare discovery but it was and I’m hoping to find more female characters that follow suit.

Yes, the had the requisite hot sex but they also formed a wonderful friendship that was lovely to watch unfold.

This definitely won’t be my last book by Dane.

Note: These books all have explicit, smoking hot sex. I know not everyone likes that so just a heads up since that’s not what I typically review.


  1. Look at all the hotness you've read! *fans self* I have Unbound on my Kindle (such a hot cover) and am looking forward to it. Love Lauren Dane -- that woman can crank out books, holy cow.

    1. I know! lol

      What books written by Dane would you recommend?

  2. YAYYYYY! I am so glad you loved Unbound, Karen. It made me truly think, and the writing is brilliant. I've only read one of Dane's books, Drawn Together, and I love her writing too. I have a book of Stein's up for review soon, and can't wait to see what I think.
    Great reviews!

  3. *fans self* Oh a trio of hotness. :)

    I do want to try a book by McKenna and Dane. They have been on my must try list for a while now. I do think I will definitely add those books to the wishlist.

  4. I rarely read erotica and am usually disappointed as well. Thanks for the recommendations should I decide to give it another go.