Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Ties That Bind by Constance Munday

The Basics:

The Ties That Bind by Constance Munday
Xcite Books
Erotic Romance
Published February 19, 2014
Source: Received via third party for honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

I love being asked to review books. Plus I'm still looking for great 'voluptuous' women romance/erotica.


Can a chance encounter untie the secret desires locked within? 

Penny’s your average voluptuous girl next door. Still a virgin, she’s settled for dull accountant Laurence. However, Penny is about to have her Shades of Grey moment. Saved from an accident by enigmatic stranger Nicholas, she yields to temptation and agrees to his daring proposal. Can Nicholas prove to her in the space of the few short weeks before her wedding, that she’s made a mistake? 

Penny’s preconceived notions of sex are challenged, as she now submits to desire and unwittingly falls truly in love with a man who loves her purely for herself. 

But is it too late? Can she sever the ties that bind her to Laurence and is she strong enough to become bound by ties a million times more intriguing? In essence, is Penny brave enough to be the woman she knows she is inside as a game of hearts becomes self-fulfilment on a scale she never imagined possible?

My thoughts:

What stands out most for me about this book is the very high quality of the writing. This book has a fantastic vocabulary, easily heads and above what I would expect. It made my inner English major squee all over the place because it also made Penny seem that much more intelligent. Smart women kick butt.

Also, I loved the bite to Penny's inner voice, though all the doubting (while honest) was frustrating to read. This is a woman in dire need of a confidence boost. There's something very endearing and relatable about Penny. 

I love that despite her lack of experience, she's equipped with some serious knowledge about sex. The availability of erotica, sex manuals and related materials makes it easy for curious, modern women to learn whatever they want to about sex, and I appreciated that Penny had indulged on that front, at the very least. 

The story definitely focuses in on the romance and that was good because dealing with Penny's engagement and the mystery of Nicholas was plenty.

In terms of heat, The Ties that Bind is all about foreplay, and again, this felt highly appropriate given the circumstances. Not only is Penny being slowly seduced, but she's also being seduced away from the idea of Laurence (because let's face it, her heart's not at all in *that* relationship). I imagine it'd be difficult to break a lifetime habit of being reserved and prudish, so I liked that Penny and Nicholas didn't race to the bedroom the first time they met.

There are a few downsides in the book. One is a complete pet peeve of mine and doesn't actually reflect poorly on the book - but the 'inner me' versus 'outer me' thing kind of grates on my nerves, particularly in the BDSM book context. 

Then there's Nicholas Frisk. I found him very nearly unbearably aggressive from the meet-cute onward. Yes, he needed to appeal to Penny's desire for a dominant man to take charge - and certainly she needed a strong push because of her engagement to Laurence. But.... yeah. Yeah. He's not my favourite leading man, but I really can't dislike him when he treats Penny so well.

Bottom line:

I can easily recommend this one - well written erotic romance is a beautiful thing. It's such a great example of how this genre can be written in an intelligent way. 

4 stars
For fans of erotic romance, 50 Shades of Grey

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