Friday, June 26, 2015

"The Gilded Cage" by Lauren Smith

Title: The Gilded Cage
Author: Lauren Smith
Series: Surrender
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Hachette Book Group USA
Print Length: 110K
Format: Paperback and Digital
Print ISBN: 978-1-4555-3277-3
Digital ISBN: 978-1-4555-3278-0

Passion that takes no prisoners, and love that tests the limits of ecstasy . . .

Fenn Lockwood comes alive in the shadows. Though he might have physically survived the kidnapping that stole his childhood, the trauma and pain he lived through have marked him forever. Now the only place where Fenn can be himself is within the walls of his private BDSM world—a place of erotic obsession, where desire isn’t just captured . . . it’s bound.
Hayden Thorne knows that behind Fenn’s hardened exterior is a man worth fighting for. Yet to save him from the past that still haunts him, Hayden will have to abandon every inhibition she’s ever had and venture into Fenn’s intoxicatingly sensual world. Each tantalizing second she spends in Fenn’s searing embrace is more delicious than the last and soon Hayden begins to think that she may never want to leave such torturous bliss…

Find out more at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

All in all, this was a good book which never got "boring". The actions happening during the course of action are presented fluently, so I enjoyed reading this book in two days. 

When you start reading, you get introduced to mainly two different worlds which are connected because of things which happened in the past. This is the most important part of the story as it affects all the characters, especially the main character Fenn, even now in the present. 

When he was kidnapped together with his brother Emery when he was 8, everybody thought he died while actually, he just started living a new life i Colorado. I loved the way how the twin-topic played such an important role. Even when they are apart, there is such a deep connection I have read some books in which this wasn't really used....
But it is someting special which should be definetly not forgotten as it made this book very special. In general I liked the way how all the characters developed during the course of action. 
The only thing I would like to critizise at this point is the fact that sometimes, it was a little bit confusing as the point of view changed too often(in my opinion). 

The book includes a lot of different aspects (BDSM, the Twins-connection, the wealthy family-part, the ranch-guy background,...). 
There was always something new to discover- sometimes in my opinion too much. This is the reason why this book "only" gets 3 stars. It's obvious that Lauren Smith tried to put a lot into the story. It's not like it didn't work out at the end, but in my opinion she should have written more books coping with the single topics instead of putting it all into one book. Mentioning their interes in the BDSM world for example is something which could have been left out as it at the end not really played that big role. Even then, they could have lived a steamy and hot love-life.

One thing I wrote down as well is the fact that it was sometimes too predictable. At some times it was ok, but if you warn the reader two pages ago before exactly this happens to them, there is no "surprise" left.

At the end I just can say that I really want to get to know ore about Hayden. She is the character I liked most as she finally is able to break free. 
I will read the other books of this series for sure.

Excerpt from The Gilded Cage: 

                Hayden Thorne’s heart was still pounding a little hard, her breath a little shallow, and her palms still hurt from scratches she’d received when she’d climbed over the rail to avoid death. Had she really jumped into an arena to challenge an angry bull? A little half-hysterical giggle escaped her as she collapsed onto the small twin bed in her cheap motel room in Walnut Springs, tugging her red dress down her thighs. Her hands still shook from the adrenaline.
                Yeah, she had actually done it.
                She’d saved Fenn Lockwood’s life. The missing boy in the pair of twins kidnapped at age eight, twenty –five years ago. Emery, the younger of the twins, had miraculously escaped, but never spoke of what might have befallen his brother Fenn. The world had assumed his silence meant Fenn was dead. How wrong they’d all been. He’d been here in Colorado all along, living as a rancher. He was alive. A fact that still shocked her and filled her with a sense of wonder and excitement. Bringing Fenn home could do so much—for him, for his family, for his brother. Fenn’s loss had devastated so many people, including her brother, Wes, who was Fenn and Emery’s childhood friend.
                She reached down and tugged off her Jimmy Choo pumps. The black leather was badly scuffed. She’d have to get another pair soon. They were probably ruined by the crowd during the panic following the accident when the stupid bull had thrown Fenn like a sack of potatoes. Why couldn’t he just play polo like his twin? Why did he have to be a bull rider?
                She let the shoes drop to the floor. She still couldn’t relax. She was too keyed up for anything else. What she wanted to do was find Fenn and tell him everything. She had tried to find him after she’d gotten out of the arena with the help of a couple of riders. They had enjoyed leering at her chest before she’d gone to find her heels. They’d even trailed after her, making all sorts of comments that would have made her blush if she hadn’t had other things on her mind.
                Once she’d found her shoes, she’d asked around again for where Fenn had gone after he’d left the arena, and she’d been pointed toward the medical tent. By that point, it had been empty except for a polite middle-aged doctor who was busy packing up his supplies. A couple of giggles, a smile, and she’d earned decent directions to a place called The Broken Spur, a place where Fenn worked.
                She slid her hand into the tiny, almost hidden pocket of her dress and touched the slip of paper she’d scribbled the directions to Fenn’s ranch on. Fenn’s residence at the ranch was not something she had shared with her older brother Wes. He could try to bully her into going home all he liked, or into staying out of the way, but she didn’t care. This was her mission and she wasn’t going to give up without a fight. She wanted everyone back home to take her seriously.
                Being a daughter of one of the richest families on Long Island’s Gold Coast was not the perfect dream most people might think it would be. She was a bargaining tool, a pawn for her parents to gain political power and influence. She was marriage material, nothing more. She wanted to shake her parents up, get them to open their eyes and see that she wasn’t just a frilly dressed ninny, but a woman who could actually change the world. Bringing home the long-lost golden boy might just change their minds about her, and doing so would also make sure the people she cared about were finally safe. It wouldn’t be easy, either. Someone wanted to kill Fenn Lockwood and she would not only bring him home but save his life. Just like she’d done tonight—even though tonight she had not expected Fenn’s potential killer to be a damn bull.

THE GILED CAGE by Lauren Smith is a dark and erotic story about a solitary bullrider who finds out he is the heir to a vast fortune and a family he never knew he had. Readers will be enthralled with the second installment in the Surrender series which is told in the vein of BARED TO YOU by Sylvia Day and SECRETS EXPOSED by Lisa Renee Jones.
Praise for the Surrender series:
"The Gilded Cuff is a dark, sensual tale that teases and tantalizes the senses. It's all about anticipation, seduction, and surrender. You will be every bit as enthralled with the story as Sophie is with Emery."

 - Give Me Books Blog
"From the very first page I was lost to the suspense, romance, thrills and chills of this intriguing story. In fact, I was so engrossed in the dramatic plot that I stayed up all night to finish the story. There was no way that I would be able to sleep without knowing how everything played out." 

- Sizzling Hot
"If you love a great mystery with a giant dose of steam and a beautiful love story, you will swoon over this novel!" 

- The Reading Cafe

Other Books in the Surrender Series
Book 1 is available at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Audible

Book 3 is available for pre-order at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

About Lauren Smith:

Amazon Best-Selling Author Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. 

Connect with Lauren at her 

Jeri's Book Attic, Author Interview 
– Lauren Smith -

1)      What is the first book you read that comes to mind? Why is it so important to you?

a.       Cat’s Cake by Richard Fowler. It’s one of the first books my mother read to me as a child that I really remember being read to. What resonated most with me about the story was that this Chef Cat is baking a cake and a whole cast of characters sneak in to his kitchen to add ingredients they would want into the cake. At the end of the book the cake tastes rather terrible. What I learned from the story is how secondary characters and their desires can affect the path of a story. Even as a young child, I was learning and focusing on what good stories have. In the case of Cat’s Cake, it’s secondary characters.

2)      How much of you and/or your surroundings is a part of your stories? Is the influence based on a conscious decision, or do you periodically recognize yourself in one of your characters and it wasn’t planned?

a.       My stories are mostly fantasy in that the events and people in the stories are entirely from my imagination. Some people write what they know, even personally into a story, but I really prefer to explore new characters and new surroundings. I love the challenge of trying to write about places I’ve never lived and men and women that aren’t like anyone I know. However, I sometimes put a trait or two, or a small detail here and there into a character or story when it fits. An example would be in my story The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall, the hero tells the heroine how he learned to dance and it was how my dad told me he was taught to dance.

3)      What genre is the most intimidating when you think about writing in it? Explain why!

a.       If we’re talking about the Romance Genre, I think the subgenre that most intimidates me is historical romance set in the highlands. I specialize in writing Regency set romances, but anything consider “highlander” romances with men in kilts and running around with swords is incredibly intimidating. I would love to write a story like this, but the research to get the story right would take a lot of time to do and given my day job as an attorney, I can’t afford the time to research it. 

4)      In your opinion, what is the most important feature a book needs to have?

a.       Character. I mean this in two related ways. A book itself should have character in that the book should make you remember it, like a good movie, or a song. You can’t get it out of your head. And one of the best ways a book can do this is to have strong characters like the hero and heroine. A writer should make their characters strong, loveable, human and compelling. If a book has those type of characters, then that is a book which will capture a reader’s heart. 

5)      What is the most difficult part of writing a book, (including the preparations and after-publication-process)?

a.       The most difficult part is probably editing. You’re mentally sort of done with the book and you want to move onto to the next project but you can’t. You have to be willing to work on the book all over and change anything that your editor says you need to.

6)      If you had the chance to influence the questions people ask you in interviews, what question is the most annoying and you would love to never hear again? What question would you really like to answer that you have not been asked yet, and what is your answer to that question?

a.       I think the most irritating question is probably ‘Where did you get the idea for this book?’ I tend to write and I don’t always know where the story comes from, it just hits me. I think that’s probably more annoying to answer because I don’t have an answer and it doesn’t really tell the audience anything about the book when I have no ready answer. I think a question I would love to answer that no one really asks me is “What is your favorite part of the story? Or What were you trying to show through your characters?” I love to talk about what I am thinking as I write and what I’m trying to accomplish. In the case of my book The Gilded Cage, I really sought to focus on two characters, Fenn and Hayden who are both a reverse fish out of the water and a fish out of the water story line. Fenn, an heir to a fortune and a Long Island high society family he didn’t grow up with and doesn’t remember due to a childhood trauma and injury is now a poor bullrider in Colorado, and Hayden who grew up in luxury on Long Island in Fenn’s childhood world of opulence and decadence. There was a lot of wonderful character development I was able to play with while writing these two seemingly different characters who weren’t actually that different come together.

7)      Name three characteristics of your writing style that are important yet different from other authors. 

a.       I write in almost all different subgenres of romance: Contemporary, historical, modern gothic, and paranormal, yet my writing style doesn’t differ all that much. Many writers when they change subgenres, their style changes too much and they lose readers.

b.      My style also tends to be a little more haunting, lyrical and literary than other romances in some ways because I never read romances when I was growing up. My writing influences were very literary and I read a lot of gothic romances and high fantasy novels. 

c.       I also love teasing the readers with hints of fairy tale connections or metaphors. I am obsessed with fairy tales and can’t help but write them into my stories, even in small ways.

8)      What do you want tell your readers at the end of this interview? 

a.       I hope that readers will check out The Gilded Cage, it’s not your average erotic romance. It’s a powerful story about family, dreams, and real love about two people and the friends that help them come together. It’s not just a love story, it’s an emotional and exciting adventure story too.


Visit the following blogs for your chance to win!
6/9/2015      Red Hot + Blue Reads     Review
6/10/2015    The Sassy Bookster Spotlight Post
6/10/2015    Romance Junkies      Spotlight Post
6/10/2015    The Lusty Literate    Spotlight Post
6/11/2015    Lisa's Loves (Books of Course)     Spotlight Post
6/12/2015    Books for Company Guest Post
6/12/2015    Living In Our Own Story      Review
6/14/2015    Books and Warpaint            Review
6/15/2015    Jen's Reading Obsession     Spotlight Post
6/16/2015    PBC     Spotlight Post
6/16/2015    BB's Book Reviews  Spotlight Post
6/16/2015    Kitty's Book Spot!     Guest Post
6/17/2015    Gemma Reads Too Much For It To Be Normal Book Blog           Review
6/17/2015    Happily Ever Chapter   Spotlight Post
6/18/2015    Lush Book Reviews  Spotlight Post
6/19/2015    Monlatable Book Reviews   Review
5/20/2015    Southern Yankee Book Reviews    Review
6/22/2015    Reese's Reviews       Review
6/23/2015    Just Booked   Review
6/23/2015    Mommy's a Book Whore    Review & Guest Post
6/23/2015    Rockin' & Reviewing            Review
6/24/2015    Those Crazy Book Chicks    Spotlight Post
6/25/2015    Oh My Growing TBR            Review
6/25/2015    The Consummate Reader   Review
6/26/2015    t'irla's talk book blog           Review & Guest Post
6/26/2015    Jeri's Book Attic        Author Interview
6/26/2015    Naughty Moms' Story Time            Review
6/29/2015    Spicy, Small Town Romance Served Here            Review

Follow the tour from June 9th – 26th! One grand prize winner will receive a $25 gift card for Amazon or B&N and two runner-ups will receive a signed, print copy of THE GILDED CUFF, book 1 in the Surrender series!

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