Review: Tyed by LJ Shen

Reviewed by Joanna

This is the tale of Blaire and Tyler. She’s an unhappy and directionless college student, and he’s the super hot Mixed Martial Arts fighter she is assigned to interview. Except Tyler never gives interviews, and they don’t get off to a good start.

Blaire does not enjoy college. She failed the first year of her communications degree, and even though she’s now closing in on graduation, she spends much of her time zoning out in class and smoking joints with her best friend, Shane.

Her final assignment, vital for her grade, is to write a two-thousand word essay on MMA. A subject Blaire knows nothing about, and when she starts her research, doesn’t like one bit. It’s a revelation to her that women find the violent fighters attractive.

On her first visit to the gym where the two upcoming stars-Tyler and his friend Jesse-train, Blaire is rudely accosted by a man outside the place. Heavily tattooed and covering his lower face with a bandana, the man takes her joint and throws it away. He tells her it’s no smoking there, and then he laughs at her car.

Blaire has a non-identical twin sister who is a supermodel, and the hot-pink car belongs to her. As does the flat Blaire lives in, some of the clothes she wears and the cosmetics she uses. Saying she’s in her sister’s shadow is an understatement.

Blaire doesn’t take well to the rude guy, and gives him lip, despite him being huge and intimidating. Funny how it turns out to be the one man she needs to get time with. Unsurprisingly he says no.

Blaire persists with interviewing other people at the gym, and she even takes a class headed up by Jesse, though tries to leave when Tyler joins in. The interest is flipped, and he’s all kinds of interested in her. Tyler proposes a swap – an interview for a date. Blaire agrees.

Now, Tyler starts off being very mean, aggressive and so so hot. He has Blaire stay behind after class and punch him a few times. Y’know, for technique. Then he cages her against the wall and yeah, that was enjoyable to read.

He changes, once they start dating, and it’s a pretty rapid alteration in him, or in how the author presents him. It turns out behind the brooding and misery, he’s a nice guy. A romantic, just with a filthy mouth and violent job.

Blaire’s bestie, Shane, is not keen on Tyler, for more than one reason. This isn’t a love triangle, but I wanted to slap Blaire for not having honest conversations with the two main men in her life.

Action happens around Tyler’s fights as he goes for the welterweight championship. At the same time Blaire has a relatively easy ride to finishing college, even if finding her direction is a harder challenge. Her sister comes home from modelling around the world and likes to walk around in little clothing. Her grandmother gets married, and they all travel to Las Vegas for the event. Just in time to surprise Ty at his fight which is happening in the same city.

But Shane has gossip to tell Blaire on her new man, and the twist led me to an interesting dilemma. Could you be happy in a relationship with a guy, when he…

Used to sell his body as a prostitute? Tyler did this to pay for access to better fights. I’ve read a story before where the hero used to do porn. That weirded me out more than this did, as in that example there was video evidence for all your friends, family, and future children to find out about. In Ty’s example I thought his actions icky but ultimately forgivable.

The story was good, with some lovely scenes between the couple, though I’d have liked more bonding where they really got to know one another. Their first time of having sex was underwhelming and they leapt into established couplehood, which was on very shaky ground.

The ending was similar, in that I was waiting for something more to happen. But it just stopped with the tension mostly resolved. A couple of loose ends in the story were left, though these were ignorable.

Overall I liked Tyler, enjoyed the sass, the feel of the story, but it ended too easily and I still wanted to slap Blaire, whose perspective it’s told from. I’d have liked a split-perspective, but you can’t have everything.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

by LJ Shen
Release Date: July 1, 2015


  1. This sounded like it would be such an amazing read but it seems like it follows just about every other MMA style relationship. Sucks that the author didn’t add more to the story or at least tie up all the loose ends.

    • I haven’t read all that much MMA, but it can be used as style over substance in terms of the MMC for sure. I think that was why the guy had to have a dark secret, as otherwise there was no real story to conclude on. It wasn’t bad, overall, and I love the author, but just a couple of issues brought the rating down

  2. Even though this book had some problems, it sounds like it was still a solid story!!

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