Review: Caged (Mastered #4) by Lorelei James


Title:  Caged
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher/Year: Penguin Publishing 7/14/15
Length: 379 pages
Series:  Mastered #4


In order to survive a life of tragedy, Deacon McConnell embraced his roughest edges and learned to fight on the streets. Then a life-changing jujitsu seminar led by Sensei Ronin Black led Deacon to become a professional fighter. With his muscular physique and his body covered in tattoos and scars, the MMA fighter defines mean, both on and off the mat.

But everything changes when innocent Molly Calloway signs up for his kickboxing class. Molly is Deacon’s opposite in every way: She’s kind, sweet, thoughtful, and educated. After a heated argument between them turns into a passionate encounter, Deacon realizes Molly is eager to experience more, and she looks to him to take her to the darker edge of lust….

The last thing either of them expects is how deeply their lives will be thrown upside down by the passion they find together.

My Thoughts

I love this series – i think that we were all sucked into the story between Ronin and Amery that all the supplemental characters were just gravy.  Then as we learned more about Knox and Shiori – well you just knew that there were all the others that we have to get deeper into .

So in this next installment, we see Deacon and Molly trying to sort out what they are and could be to one another.  It’s no surprsie that they’ve been drawn to one another – we saw that throughout the series so far, and because of Deacon’s need to be the best, well, his interest in Molly’s been a bit challenging.  the other piece too is that his past is so dark and troubled that he’s put up all these walls that makes it really hard to get close to someone.

Then we have Molly a girl who’s had a rough start as well, yet she’s come out on top.  I think that what we should hopefully get to see from her is that she’s even tougher and stronger than we expected and that’s exactly what Deacon needs when his secrets are revealed.

The journey that we go on with these 2 is intense.  their passion is very hot and very combustive – they can’t help but touch each other ALL the time and when they are near each other, it’s hot.  Different from what we know of the others in the series, Deacon’s just powerful and Alpha, he’s not necessarily into all the same stuff that Ronin and Knox are into – and that’s a nice change in this series.  I think that while it’s always hot and GREAT to see the bondage and BDSM bits of things, here it’s just pure erotica.

The question that we keep reminding ourselves of throughout this story is whether the secrets that Deacon’s been hiding will come out and when they do, what will that mean for his relationship with Molly.  Will she be willing to gloss over the fact that everything she knew about his may not be the truth and if she’s willing to move past that, what does it mean for her and their life together.  The other thing too is that we know that Deacon’d really ambitious with his fighting career and his relationship with his family is contentious.  Will that be too much for them as well or is it something that they can some how get past. There are interesting twists as well with his family that come up that while i wasn’t expecting it, i’m not surprised.

All in all, a great 4th installment to the series and i’m not quite sure which of our secondary characters will get the next story but i can’t wait to see. it.  I’m putting my money on Maddox but who knows.  So on that note, enjoy your Monday’s everyone and hopefully i’ll get another book read quickly since i’m very far behind pace these days.


Review: Unraveled (Mastered #3) by Lorelei James


Title:  Unraveled
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group 3/3/2015
Length: 372 pages
Series: Mastered #3


In this sizzling continuation of the Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a man will find the domination he’s always craved…

Shiori Hirano and Knox Lofgren are left to run the martial arts program at Black Arts while Ronin Black travels. On the surface, the two highest ranked belts appear to cooperate—but in private, they butt heads constantly, despite the undeniable attraction between them. Soon their power exchanges start to make for a sweltering dynamic in the bedroom…

At first Knox is shocked to be living out his submissive desires, but Shiori sets out to prove that embracing his true sexual nature doesn’t make him a weak man. But even while their sexual relationship grants him a power and fulfillment he finds surprising, there’s no training regimen for the fight that comes with loving a strong woman…

My Thoughts

Oh how i do so LOVE this series.  What we have here is not just an amazing continuation with some of our favorite characters, but we get a roller coaster ride at that.  It’s a lesson of deciding hwo you want to be, if that’s something that you can do around others, and how can you do it to make you happy.

If you’ll all remember, we met and fell in love with Shiori when she came to the US in a sense to get away from her family since she’s been working for their company for so long.  She also wanted to find herself a bit, and in stepping in to help out at the Dojo, she’s able to do a bit of both.  While she’s doing that, she’s still juggling her life that she’s trying to get away from, and enjoying the spark of chemistry that she has with Knox, with whom there’s this perpetual love hate relationship.  I have to say that it’s quite clear that there’s going to be something amazing between them, but what those boundaries are, that’s to be seen.

And then take a step over to the world of Knox.  We’ve gotten to know just a bit about him throughout the other installments in this series, and it’s about time that we get to see him come to the forefront.  It’s been clear throughout that he’s somewhat of a unique character.  He’s got these alpha tendencies yet i think that there’s more to it than that, and thankfully Shiori and some others are able to help him come to see that.  We learn a bit of his back story and about what makes him who he is, along with what really brought him to Black Arts and that makes us love him so much more.

So where the 2 of these guys meet – it’s explosive and in a good way.  We don’t just get to see the romance blossom between them but we continue to see the animosity and fight that they have bring them even closer and that’s something that i feel is so necessary in this story and genre.  It’s what makes it even hotter when we see them decide to take a risk with each other.

What makes this story so much better than i expected is that there’s a power struggle, and that’s something that i feel like we don’t often see.  It’s not so much a topping from the bottom, but a means to an end.  Shiori clearly is the alpha, but Knox is struggling to understand what that means for himself.  The other bit is that everything that they are doing is in secret since they can’t let the others that they work with find out and they especially can’t let Ronin find out – since you know that he’s the over bearing big brother and boss man.

As we go on this journey, we get some amazing scening, and because of their unique dynamic, it’s even hotter.  Lorelei James knows how to write these characters and scenes in a way that makes you really feel the passion come off the pages.  And just when you think that things are getting to a safe place, we get that twist.  Someone runs, someone almost dies and Big Brother comes back into the picture.  If that’s not enough, life will change forever for one of them, and we just have to see how they choose to deal.

So, if you haven’t gotten the point yet, i LOVED that we got such a dynamic third installment and i can’t wait to see who’s next on the list since there are a lot of folks that we can get absorbed into.  on that note – Enjoy!

Review: Schooled (Mastered #2.5) by Lorelei James


Title:  Schooled
Author: Lorelei James
Publisher/Year: Penguin Group USA 12/2/14
Length: 98 pages
Series: Mastered #2.5


When Amery Hardwick first met martial arts master Ronin Black, she wasn’t ready for the primal urges his sensual rope artistry released in her. As it turned out Amery and Ronin were made for each other. But when they head to Japan for a delayed honeymoon and Ronin’s annual training with his sensei, Amery struggles to adapt to the foreign customs as well as running her burgeoning business from afar. But culture shock is the least of her worries when faced with the changes in Ronin—it feels as if she’s married a stranger. Caught between his sensei’s demands and pleasing his wife, Ronin is at war with himself over choosing advancement in his jujitsu training, or staying at home with the woman who owns his heart and soul. As the limits of their relationship are tested once again, Ronin and Amery discover that they both have a lot to learn about each other….and what it takes to build a love that’ll pass all life’s little tests.

My Thoughts

This is a great continuation of a story that we really invested a lot of time with so far.  The romance that blossomed between Amery and Ronin was a rough one – since they come from such different worlds but to see how well they fit together – there’s something great there and seeing how their lives will continue to merge is something that i can’t wait for.

So as the summary said – we are with these 2 as they are on their way to Japan – both for the belated honeymoon as well as for Ronin’s training with his master since he’s been cleared to go back to intense training.  While he’s made it clear what this will entail for Amery while she’s there with him, she’s never really prepared and finds that it’s much harder than expected.

I have to say that it’s one of the more realistic qualities that this author brings to us – knowing that it’s set up to be a challenge for her, yet the challenge takes another shape.  While i think that it could have been taken further – meaning that there was rather quick resolution to it all, at least the struggle was there.

So we’re with this pair for several weeks while they are in Japan and we see that Ronin gains some interesting insight into his master’s mind (care of master’s brother) and at the same time Amery becomes more self aware of what she’s comfortable with in her relationship with Ronin and what that will mean for them in the future.

The curveball of course is that once they get to this shared space, it’s time to meet Grandfather and we know that he’s been set up to be this masterful scary sort of man, and I have a feeling that Amery’s going to have issues with him.  or vice versa.  And that’s where this story takes us.  The proposition that she’s given towards the end is one that i wasn’t necessarily expecting and will be interested to see how it plays out.

We get the heat, passion and romance that Ms. James has brought to us so far and it’s definitely a chemistry that you feel the spark from – just by reading.  There’s clearly a lot of research that’s gone into the subject since i continue to learn more and more about martial arts skill and rope work – and that’s what makes this series even better to read.

So…i guess we’ll have to wait a few more months for book 3 in the series to come out – although i don’t know that it’s focused on these 2 anymore – i feel like it will be on the others that we’ve met on the journey – with a bit of sub-text towards this pair.  Enjoy!

Review: Unwound (Mastered #2) by Lorelei James


Title: Unwound
Author:  Lorelei James
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group USA  3/25/14
Length:  384 Pages
Series: Mastered #2


In this conclusion to the Mastered series by New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James, a man’s need for control is tested by the one woman he’ll risk everything for…

When sensei Ronin Black first encounters Amery Hardwick, the fire in her eyes ignites a sexual spark a thousand times better than the primal rush he used to get from mixed martial arts matches. She accepts his darker edges and admits to him that her desires aren’t as wholesome as he believed. And before long Ronin is grappling with emotions he’s never felt before….

Yet despite demanding Amery bare her body and soul to him, Ronin holds a part of himself back. When she learns Ronin’s secret and walks out, his life begins to unravel.  To regain her trust he must let go of his pride and prove to her that it’s more than passion binding them together.

My Thoughts

I always love when i’m expecting a trilogy and it turns out that it’s just a 2 book series.  Very nice – since it means that i don’t have to wonder how much more pain a couple is going to put themselves through until they get to where they are finally at peace.

In this 2nd and final installment, we come upon this couple while they are still broken up.  If you’ll remember, Amery had left Ronin after she met with his sister unknowingly about the Okada job, and learned about who he really is.  Since he kept that part of him away from, she’s left questioning everything and ends up running home to North Dakota just to get away.

Of course since we know that Ronin is intense,things have to go miserably wrong for him right?  During the weeks that they are apart, he has gotten into fighting as a way to deal with the pain and control a pain that he can….and this leads to some pretty serious beat downs – some of which he actually lets happen, just so he can feel more pain.

It’s 6 weeks after they’ve ‘broken up’ that the final knock out happens that lands him on Amery’s doorstep and brings them back together.  Because the extent of his injuries, Amery is forced to take him to the hospital, and this reingnites a bunch of feelings that she’s been trying to tamp down.  She feels the emotion pull again, and finds herself playing nurse maid since she’s actually the only one that can calm Ronin down.

Where this story takes us in now on a new journey of this couple trying to repair what may be irrevocably broken, while trying to figure out what life can be now as a result of medical limitations.

What we continue to get here though which is different from other BDSM stories is a great education on bondage itself.  I have to admit that all that i knew before about tying was on to a St Andrew’s cross or to a bed or things like that.  In this story though, we know that Ronin is a rope master, and therefore we learn so much more about different knots, ties, suspension holds etc.  it’s passion and heat and very steamy – which is what we need.

There’s also the subplot about why Shiori is staying in Denver when she’s the heir to the Okada fortune as well.  Ronin questions it but never gets an answer and actually is happy to have her around since she’s the next highest belt around and she can help where he can’t physically do it.  It also allows him to repair his family relationships, in a sense…..and we get the nice insight into things in that piece

So the question throughout is what other secrets are lingering and what’s that going to mean for the couple.  I have to say that i was also waiting the entire time for Naomi (Ronin’s psycoh ex) to pop up and when she does, it’s with gusto.  you can’t blame her for how she feels, and i think that i feared for everyone when she finally appeared.

The closure that we get in this story is a nice one, although not a happy ending for everyone.  I think that Ms. James took us on a very nice journey of a couple finding each other and learning how to bend and compromise when that is so far away from the nature of our controlling male lead.  All the while, we get a couple that can’t stay away from each other that leads to some really imaginative scening.  It’s hot, passionate and you can feel the tension rolling off the pages.  Enjoy!

Review: Bound (Mastered#1) by Lorelei James


Title: Bound
Author:  Lorelei James
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group USA  2/4/14
Length:  400 Pages
Series: Mastered #1



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….

My Thoughts

When this story opens, we meet Amery when she’s trying to help her employee Molly recover from trauma.  This turns out to be a great thing for Amery given that she’s from such a sheltered background that she’s never really put herself into a position where she’s challenged all that she believes in.

What we get in this first installment of the series is the journey that Amery goes in in coming out of her shell sexually, while starting a relationship with someone that is completely different than everything that she knows.  Ronin is dark and mysterious and ‘violent’ in a sense and she’s never been around that before.  His violence is controlled though – so it’s one of those things that doesn’t scare Amery at all, and she knows that 1 he would never hurt her and 2 he will always protect her.

What’s nice about this story is that given the nature of what Ronin does, that he’s Master Black or Sensei in the dojo, we know that he needs and craves control.  this is something that will continue to manifest itself in Amery’s life, culmination in a point of no return in a sense.  It’s only at the urging of one of Ronin’s co-workers Knox that she’s even willing to have the conversation of what it is that drives Ronin.

I have to say that while the story centers around the relationship between these 2, we get a nice mix of the balance of life in here as well.  Not only do we have the struggle of Amery’s business and the fact that things aren’t going in the right direction for her, we also have the peppering in of her friends story lines so there’s a good hum to support the bigger plot.

It’s only the last third of the book that we get into the depth of what’s really going on here.  For the first half or so, we are cruising along, seeing how much Ronin can teach Amery and really getting some hot steam and passion between them.  Ms. James does a great job in really being accurate in how she depicts the scenes between them, and i think that it adds to what the reader is able to imagine and engage in.

But like i said, it’s only towards the end that things get juicy.  By this point we know that there are a LOT of secrets being kept and we don’t know what they are and what it will mean to everyone involved.  we also don’t know who knows about these secrets- so that makes it all the more complicated.  i think that where we are left in this story is a great cliff hanger – given that we are just learning some things that i didn’t quite expect, and it drives a wedge in between some folks.

I can’t wait to see where Unbound takes us, given that we’re starting to see the light, and while i know that the journey won’t be an easy one, i can certainly expect that it will be HOT.  knowing that Ronin and Amery can’t keep their hands off each other, it’s ‘bound’ to be something impressive to see their story continue.