Kingdom Fall by A. Zavarelli

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

 

•••

• BLURB •

I was a nanny in need of a job.
He was darkness personified.
I had little to call my own.
He was filthy rich, powerful, and dangerous.
The assignment was simple, and my goal was too.
Take care of his son. Keep my head down. When he least expects it, destroy him.
It should have been easy. I thought it would be until I looked into his stark blue eyes.
Kissing the enemy is a bad idea, but so is falling in love with him.
He doesn’t know my crumbling foundation is built on lies.
When he discovers the truth, I’ll find out if he’s as brutal as I believe.
I came here to steal his life.
I didn’t count on him stealing my heart.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oh my… I was taken for one, all-out journey of epic proportions with Kingdom Fall! All I could think of whilst reading this book was that it was visually appealing and truly felt like a literary cinematic experience! 😮😍

It had all the makings of what I adore (and hope for) in my dark romance reads. I love the immediate mystery surrounding Natalia and her motives for wanting the nanny position with Alessio. Right from their very first interaction, I was instantly sitting up and drawn to Natalia and wanting to know her personal story. You will discover that she’s quite a unique character— I, for one have never encountered a heroine with her background.

Alessio was a surprising anti-hero. His dangerous, broody, tortured self had a different vibe from your usual dark alpha-type heroes. His savageness is rarely on display so you tend to fall for his unfeeling, almost calm demeanor. But when he slips up, oh man, is it explosive! 🔥

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This can easily be read in one sitting, but in no way does the storytelling feel hurried, on the contrary, the pacing is steady and brought on a gradual, intense build-up. You might even say there are nail-biting moments throughout and constant unpredictability. It’s one of the main reasons as to why I couldn’t put this book down until I finished it.

The constant push and pull between Natalia and Alessio that honestly gave me mental and emotional whiplash was another reason. 😅 The hot and heavy exchange between these protagonists in a story that is heavily surrounded in secrecy almost seemed like constant teasing and a game of second-guessing, not just for the characters, but for us readers as well. With the never-ending angst, not only will you quickly get in invested in seeing Natalia’s and Alessio’s relationship develop from professional to personal, but you’ll feel emotionally wrecked before the book even concludes.

I haven’t read a lot of romance stories with a single dad/ nanny romance trope, especially in a dark romance setting, so I found this one to be a nice change of pace from the dark, mafia type romance books I usually read. Whilst there are strong dark themes included, a lot of the story does centre around Alessio’s personal life outside of the violence. The dynamics amongst his close friends and family were such contrasts to see throughout and, in a way, kept the atmosphere from constantly turning overly gritty for too long.

In saying that, please note there are subject matters that some readers may find triggering. It contains graphic violence, torture, kidnapping, and brutal sexual assault. It’s not for the faint-hearted. Intended for readers 18+ only.   

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Ashleigh has written a suspenseful and though-provoking storyline that is so intricate and complex that I was almost taken aback by how meaty it was for a relatively quick standalone novel. I thought it was effortless writing to follow despite the multiple storylines happening simultaneously. It’s told from dual POVs, so you really get an insight into both Natalia’s and Alessio’s true feelings and opinions of each other and of certain situations.

There are a diverse range of secondary characters that equally grab your attention, and will undoubtedly have you eager to know their full story. Whether these characters are friend or foe, I thought they were all well-developed and written in so well to heighten the intensity of the story as it unfolds.

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Cruel intentions, raunchy romance, endearing friendships, and at times heartbreaking realization. I loved it all. I loved seeing Natalia’s and Alessio’s character growth and in turn, seeing their relationship develop no matter how rocky their journey was. The family dynamics within were undoubtedly screwy and twisted, yet a focal point in making this one exciting and all-encompassing thrill ride.

If you like dark romance/ romantic suspense reads, I highly recommend this one! Although it’s a standalone book, it does mention a certain exclusive community that was first introduced in Zavarelli’s The Society Trilogy. If you want to more about this world and the history behind the families within (which Alessio is a part of), I recommend reading the trilogy too. It doesn’t have to be read prior to Kingdom of Fall.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Ashleigh Zavarelli for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading Kingdom Fall? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

•••


👑💀 More from the Underworld Kings!

UnderworldKings_SeriesBanner

Razor’s Edge by Mila Crawford

Tears Of Salvation by Michelle Heard

Marriage & Malice by Trisha Wolfe


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Tears Of Salvation by Michelle Heard

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

ISABELLA

I was the party crasher.
He was the Devil.

Three months ago, I suffered a moment of insanity and had a one-night stand without even knowing who the man was.
It was hot and unforgettable.
I tried to forget him, but there are moments I swear I can still smell his aftershave.

Little did I know he’s the head of the Bratva.
Alexei Koslov.
My family’s worst enemy.

There’s a thin line between love and hate,
and I’m straddling it.

ALEXEI

There’s an even thinner line between the truth and a lie.

As the head of the Bratva and the best assassin,
I’m the devil everyone fears.

I get more than I bargained for when I come face to face with Isabella Terrero.
Instead of the Princess of Terror, she might just be the embodiment of the goddess of mischief and chaos.

For her, I broke all my rules.
For her, I burned down the world.

STANDALONE: A complete standalone novel in the Underworld Kings series.
WARNING: This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers. There is dark and triggering content between these pages. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

They say good things come to those who wait…

I’ve been wanting to read books by Michelle Heard for some time now but timing was always off. But you know what? Not only was Tears of Salvation THE BEST introduction to new-to-me author Michelle Heard but this may just be THE BEST introduction to the world of the St. Monarch’s Academy! 😍😍❤

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I love my dark mafia romances and this story had the perfect balance of action, suspense, and romance within such a well written and vivid storytelling. Michelle Heard, where have you been all my life?!

The cast of characters whether they played a major or minor role were unique and stood out in their own right that I had no issues differentiating them from one another. These characters are also one of the main reasons as to why I am eager to read the other books in the St. Monarch’s Academy (even though this one in particular is also part of the Underworld Kings author-collaboration series).

From the opening scene, Isabella’s and Alexei’s story had my full attention. The immediate sexual chemistry between them leaped of the pages setting the tone for the rest of the story. With all the intensity, it was easy to keep invested. The fast pacing, the constant build-up of suspense, and the dual points of view all added to making the entirety of this story exquisitely and deliciously addictive!

Whilst there’s some sensitive subject matter within, the overall atmosphere is not overly brutal or gritty. I thought it had the right amount of lightness and darkness throughout. There’s also some lighthearted banter amongst the brotherhood which was unexpectedly awe-inspiring and a display of friendships that seemed so genuine. Seeing the familial bonds and deep affection was just as gripping as the romantic aspects of the story.

An enemies-to-lovers with a twist that I did not see coming. I love that Michelle has written a story where anything and everything can happen that you feel like you have to constantly be on your toes so you don’t miss out on anything.

It’s a refreshing take on mafia romance. One feature being the fact that these characters despite their differences and alliances all trained in this exclusive, specialized school. I have never wanted to go to a fictional school more since I first read about Hogwarts in Harry Potter during my teen years. I can without a doubt say St. Monarch’s Academy is up there with the school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. If I was offered a place, I’d be there in a heartbeat! 😄

If you love any of the following, you have to add Tears of Salvation to your TBR, stat!

  • Dark Romance
  • Russian Mafia Romance
  • Romantic Suspense
  • Enemies-to-Lovers
  • Assassins
  • Comradery
  • Kickass Heroines
  • Overprotective Alphas

The world-building in this book is exceptional, clearly showing both Isabella’s and Alexei’s worlds that eventually fuse together as they discover that they may have more in common than they initially realized.

Isabella is such a likable character with the perfect amount of heart and badassery in one. I’ve read plenty of dark romance books where a strong, independent heroine is present, but Isabella is in a class of her own. There’s a believability in her determination and strength, in her actions, and even in her presence when she’s around people that makes her favourable, not just as a heroine but as character in general.

Alexei is a total swoon-worthy alpha of a hero, not only does he walk the walk but what I ended up loving about him most is his fierce loyalty and protectiveness over his loved ones. He’s a feared and ruthless leader but those who follow and serve him know his greatness and his heart.

Overall, I really could not fault this book. Yes, I would’ve preferred some parts of the story to have played out a little longer than they had, but those are just minor hang-ups for me. I loved reading every page of it and wish it hadn’t ended. There was an effortless flow from beginning to end, with plenty of dimension as the story develops. You’ll get to see gradual character growth from both Isabella and Alexei as they navigate through their intricate relationship. They are an exceptional match. Equal pairing that I couldn’t get enough of!

I was never bored. I didn’t once feel the need to skim through pages. I enjoyed seeing the multi-layered storylines that all weaved together— from the romance, to their own personal vendettas, to all the secondary characters and their stories that added to the entire world-building.

Please note it does contain matters that may be triggering for some readers such as, human trafficking, child abuse, kidnapping, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Take into consideration before starting. Whilst this may ultimately be a dark, mafia romance, it’s no fluff read. The backstory covers real dark societal issues. As I delved further into the story I connected more and more with the characters, sympathising with the realism in what they’ve experienced and witnessed in their lives.

A highly recommend book that can easily be read in one sitting. It’s one that had me thinking about long after I finished reading it. From this book alone, I can already tell that Michelle’s writing style is one I’ll constantly enjoy reading.

If mafia romances are your go-to romance books, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this one. It had all the elements of a hearty story— memorable characters, substantial character growth, a fleshed-out storyline, complex world-building, and enough scenes with shock value. Tears of Salvation had all that and then some! *singsong voice* Loveeeed it! Now one of my all time favourite mafia romances read to date!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Michelle Heard, the entire Underworld Kings team, and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 🧡

•••


💀 More on the Underworld Kings 👑

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Website: Underworld Kings


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Stolen: Dante’s Vow by Natasha Knight

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Five years.

That’s how long it took me to find her.

Five years after my world shattered, leaving me a scarred and broken man.

By then, the girl I knew was gone. In her place stood a woman. One who looked like an angel. An impossible, beautiful angel.

I killed for her. Soaked my hands in the blood of those who hurt her and rescued her from hell.

But hell has a way of following you. Becoming a part of you. Maybe the only part you recognize.

I had every intention of bringing her home. Setting her free.

I swear I did.

But the men who stole her all those years ago weren’t done with her yet. They’d stop at nothing to get her back. And I’d kill any man who tried to take her from me.

She calls me her avenging angel.

But I know the truth.

I’m no angel.

Because even as I tell myself I’m protecting her I know one thing for sure.

I am a monster, too. No better than them.

Because just like them, I’ll never let her go.

Author’s note: Stolen is Dante Grigori’s story and although a standalone, would be better enjoyed after reading With This Ring and I Thee Take.

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“I like the kill. But I won’t hurt her. Ever. And whether she likes it or not, I’m hers now. Her protector. Her monster.”


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Mara, the little girl who went missing all those years ago, along with Dante’s life since the tragedy with his family are two stories interconnected that I was intrigued to know about since the To Have and To Hold duet.

This is a standalone story with a relatively steady-to-slow pacing. It can be wordy at times and filled with details but I found the shorter chapters kept the story rolling along. If you haven’t read the duet, you may find it a little difficult to understand or connect some of the events that happened prior to this story, and unfortunately it only skims through the details in this book. Whilst you can still read this one without having read the duet first, in my opinion you’ll be missing out on the backstory between Mara and Dante, and the history between their families.

There is a blend of worlds and within it particular characters who play significant roles in both Mara’s and Dante’s stories. Knight has written in some great anti-heroes, straight-up villains, and lighthearted characters. The combination of worlds colliding along with these secondary characters provided a contrast of group dynamics and dimension to the overall storyline.

This might sound a little strange but I found the struggles that both Mara and Dante faced throughout and their difficulties moving forward the most interesting to see. Mara especially, has been forced into a particular hellish world for most of her life and it’s clear from day one that not only has it taken a physical toll on her body, but worst, she’s been mentally brutalized. Her mindset is a jumbled mess and seeing Dante (who is broken in his own right) make an effort to get her adjusted and to overwrite her current mentality had me sympathizing them both. There’s a strong sense of unfairness surrounding these two and a saddening realization that their lives could’ve been so different. I don’t think either one of them would’ve survived if it hadn’t been for their strong-willed determination.

It’s a story of second chances, complexed, tortured souls, and a war that’s bigger than either of them could have ever imagined.

With the enormity of the situation surrounding Mara, I was expecting tons of suspense and build-up, so I was surprised to discover that the atmosphere stayed pretty much one level from beginning to end. The premise had piqued my interest, and I was curious by Mara’s character development and Dante’s evolution from the man he was to the “monster” he is now, but I found a lot of the plot twists were predictable losing grittiness and a slight edge. 🤔

The connection between Mara and Dante is evident despite their age-gap and being apart from each other for so long. But I did however wonder at one point when their relationship started to develop romantically if Mara’s feelings didn’t stem from some type of hero-worship. Having suddenly be rescued by Dante from the constant torment— is she of sound mind having romantic feelings for him? Same goes for Dante. With what Mara has been through, is his romantic pursuit of her justifiable? It’s a thought-provoking story and certainly has you questioning some of their behaviour. I’m glad to see Knight has considered this and included her characters to have similar doubts, but it also helped reiterate that Mara and Dante are truly connected on a deeper level. What it lacked in suspense, made up for in the complexity of the characters, their development, and the drive behind their set goals. In plenty of ways I found the characters, their emotions, thought-process, and actions fairly understandable and relatable at times.

Told from first person, dual points of view, this is a dark mafia-themed romance. It contains sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers such as kidnapping, human trafficking, graphic violence and abuse. It also broaches on psychological trauma and effects of captivity. This book is intended for audiences 18+ only.

Overall, I liked reading their story and there was a sense of contentment finally knowing what had happened to Mara since her disappearance, and knowing that despite all she has suffered she gets her HEA with Dante.

Knight has created quite a world-building with tons of potential to expand. She’s introduced characters and as mentioned earlier interconnected worlds, one being from The Society Trilogy, making the crossover seem effortless. I found the setting intricate and with certain secondary characters standing out a little more than others, you can’t help but wonder if there’s more to their story than what is mentioned in this one (and if it will ever be told).

If you’ve read any of Knight’s dark romance books in the past then what you’ll have a pretty good idea of what features you can expect from this book— effortless, easy-to-follow writing, multifaceted characters that instantly have you intrigued, and a great balance of dark elements and romance.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Natasha Knight and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Dante’s Vow? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books  |  Google Play

•••


💍 Read reviews for the To Have and To Hold Duet!

Book One: With This Ring by Natasha Knight

Book Two: I Thee Take by Natasha Knight


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Twisted Cravings by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Mafia meets illegal street racing in this action-packed standalone in the Camorra Chronicles!

As the youngest brother of the notorious Falcone clan, Adamo grew up surrounded by blood and violence. Drugs soon became his way of coping.

Becoming a Made Man like his brothers was his destiny but never his passion. When he becomes the organizer of his family’s successful illegal street races and one of their thrill-seeking drivers, he finally asserts his own path in the harsh mafia world.

His purpose isn’t the only thing Adamo discovers on the fuel-soaked roads he calls home…

​Dinara Mikhailov is the only female race driver and hard to ignore. Not only because of her flaming red hair and ruthless driving style, but also because the Bratva princess is allowed to drive in enemy territory.

Soon Adamo and she find themselves entangled in a passionate game that goes beyond the race track. Yet, both haunted by events in the past, their dark cravings put everything on the line.

As what they crave the most, comes with a brutal price.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

My my. Adamo’s quite a bad influence… 🙈🙉🙊

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I wanna say it’s what I was anticipating… but it wasn’t. Well… not completely. I was of two minds during and after reading it.

Whilst I was giddy with the initial premise of the book — I mean c’mon, mafia meets illegal racing?? Umm. Yes please! It wasn’t what I had expected. Yes, there’s the mafia side of things and elements of the illegal car racing but it felt more or less a means of bringing in the Bratva more so into what was initially the Italian mafia world, as suppose to having the majority of the storyline center around Adamo and that race world he found solace in. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as intrigued by the Russian mob as much as the next fan of this world, but I just would’ve loved a lot more of that racing scene… and in detail.

It started strong with an opening scene to Adamo’s world since we last heard of him in the previous books and to be honest I was wondering if I was going to see him as all grown, broody and oh so swoon-worthy… orrrrrr if I was still going to picture him as an adolescent, still reckless, and still finding his place in the Camorra.

I’m going to be in the minority here but I definitely did not see him like I do Remo, Nino or Fabiano… or even Savio. 😅 Despite now being a young man, I just couldn’t believe it… ugh… he just wasn’t believable enough to be all grown up and a full-fledged Made Man in my books. He didn’t completely come off as a Mafioso. Put aside the Camorra and his family, you would think he was just a wealthy guy with connections, who runs illegal car races and who happens to be a nifty driver. The darkness the supposedly surrounds him wasn’t obvious. I didn’t feel it, it didn’t leap off the pages, and I wasn’t convinced whenever it was demonstrated. Which wasn’t as much as I thought it would have been considering the brutal events of his past.

I really wanted his story and his struggles to be delved into a lot more than what was provided. There was just something missing that didn’t give his story the oomph I was hoping for.

But! In saying that…. do I love Adamo? Yes. No doubt. He may not be as gritty and yeah okay… not as hardy as his older brothers but he certainly had remarkable qualities that I was happy to see a Falcone brother possess. Traits in which I did find myself grinning at seeing whenever Adamo effortlessly displayed it. (And I’m not talking about his talents with his hands, mouth or dick).

In some ways I think Adamo’s personality is one of my faves from the Falcone brothers. He seems to have a lot of the traits I loved from all of his brothers within himself. And in general I loved seeing the contrast of relationships Adamo had with each one of them. Not to mention his relationships with the extended Falcone clan.

Now—What can I say about Dinara Mikhailov? She’s spunky, I’ll give her that. If you know me or have read any of my past reviews concerning heroines in Mafia worlds, that I would absolutely pick a chick who’s independent, can stand up for herself, kicks ass, and doesn’t back down easily over a meek, damsel in distress type any day… (Ooh wait now that I think about it… there is one exception though). *waggles brows*

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Dinara caught my attention right after she stole Adamo’s. 🤭 Her style alone is winning! *chef’s kiss* Add in her determination and how she holds attention, and next thing you know, you’re hooked and invested in seeing her story unravel.

As someone who’s read quite a few DARK reads, what you discover about Dinara in this book can so easily be tough to get through. I don’t know what level of darkness Cora had intended for Dinara’s story (and I can’t speak for others) but in my opinion her story wasn’t difficult to read. There was a sense of detachment—I don’t know if it was me and I couldn’t quite connect with it, or if it was Dinara herself and how she came across whenever her past was brought to light. Either way, it didn’t come across as dark as some of Cora’s previous mafia books.

Individually, both Dinara and Adamo are likable leading characters. For two people who knows nothing else but the mob life, they both have such softer personalities in comparison to the other couples. There’s an evenness in their relationship that was somehow calming to see. There was no sense of dominance with either one of these two, making it seem like they’re on equal footing with one another. But of course, things are never all that simple. Adamo and Dinara prefer to keep their turmoil to themselves, hence why they seem less blaring, and why they have a pull towards one another. Twisted Cravings is definitely a bang-on title for their story. They feed each others’ cravings that they can’t find anywhere else or weren’t being provided for by the people who were closest to them. As much as I perked up every time they danced around each other and their feelings, the further their relationship developed, the more I questioned: How healthy is their relationship? 🤔

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Dinara and Adamo are similar in so many ways having similar vices and coping mechanisms to get them through and connecting that way. Their relationship is a seesaw of emotions where it could go very bad, very quickly with just the smallest trigger. You can’t help but be on edge seeing how things will go down between them.

This book had some new elements that were thrown into what I consider staples of Cora’s in her Mafia world, and I was digging it! It was both refreshing at times and at other times unsurprising yet simply comforting. I always love seeing how Cora will expand her already vivid world building, and one thing that never fails to get me hooked for more are the secondary characters that make appearances or ones she introduces that seem to hold my attention as much (if not more) than the characters in the foreground. This book was no different. It was also interesting to see how certain dynamics and environments have altered over time.

🤐 If I could, I would shout it from the rooftops who I was swooning over in this book, what scenes had me ooh-ing and ahh-ing, and the eye-catching tidbits I noticed here and there where the Falcones are concerned. All in good time. All in good time.

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Twisted Cravings is as much Dinara’s story as it is Adamo’s and told from both their points of view. It’s a slower-paced story, in comparison to the previous books in the series, and despite the sensitive subject matter and trigger warnings this book contains, it’s nowhere as gritty either. With Adamo and Dinara being young, this had a lighter, more NA vibe to it… although the smuttiness is very much present.

I wanna say it’s a pretty straight forward storyline. The first part gripped me, it slowed down in the middle, but by the final third of the book it picked back up and finished strong! There wasn’t much plot twists, but there were a couple of moments that had me taken aback. Look forward to some lighthearted banter, some Falcone charm, and vodka! 🙌

As much I thought I would come away from reading this book loving all the romance. I actually ended up loving the family interactions more. There’s such strong family bonds in this one that I couldn’t get enough. In a cruel world like theirs it was so satisfying to see somewhat of a normal familial relationship included.

Overall, a great addition to the Camorra Chronicles. Adamo’s story has been very much anticipated and in terms of seeing him finally have his happily ever after, it certainly doesn’t disappoint! This book can easily be a bit too topsy-turvy, but when it did reach those highs, those moments were completely epic! This book has such heart. And there were parts that had me sitting up in attention and daydreaming of the future and what’s to come!

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I don’t think I need to say this but I will anyways—It’s a must read for any fan of Cora’s and the Camorra Chronicles. If this was to be the absolute final book in the series, I can happily sigh with contentment that all my Falcone babes found their haven.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Twisted Cravings? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

•••


Read my reviews for The Camorra Chronicles!

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📕 Book One: Twisted Loyalties by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Two: Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Three: Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Four: Twisted Bonds by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Five: Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly


•••

Hope you enjoyed! Happy reading, guys. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Kiss Of Death Duet by L.P. Lovell

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Una

I’m an assassin of the Bratva, raised and trained to be strong, to be a cold killer. But even I have a weakness, and Nero Verdi will regret using it against me. He’s my enemy, so why do I get such a thrill when his fingers wrap around my throat? Why am I addicted to the brutality of his touch?

Nero

They call her The Kiss of Death, and I have the one thing she wants above all else. She’s nothing more than a weapon, a ploy for power, and yet I find myself wanting to dance with death, to possess her. I crave the kiss of her blade just as much as her lips. And that might just get me killed.

A game of power. An obsession that would see the world burn at their feet. A bloodied king. A broken queen.

Kill me or kiss me?

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“Bacio della morte”

Kiss of death. It’s what the Italians call me.


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Fuck yes! 🙌🙌

L.P. Lovell as blown me away with the Kiss of Death duet! By far one of my favourite mafia romance stories to date! This is also my first book of Lovell’s and honestly, with how high a quality storytelling this one was… I will be sure to checkout out her backlist of books!

Kiss of Death was originally released as two separate books, but Lovell’s releasing this duet as one and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it (especially after reading the blurb). Did you guys read the blurb?! The heroine is a fucking Bratva Assassin!! Like c’mon, hot sauce!! 🔥

I’m always reading at least one mafia book a month and this one had all the makings of an addictive read that you would without a doubt come back to time and time again.

  • A strong plotline you can easily get invested in
  • Well-developed characters
  • Vital backstory
  • Detailed world-building
  • Build-up and suspense
  • Plot twists and constant unpredictability
  • Chemistry between the hero/ heroine
  • Secondary characters that elevate an already exceptional story

So! If any of what I listed above appeals to your dark, romantic heart, then I think you’ll be happy with Una and Nero’s story. But I should mention whilst I was provided an ARC, as I mentioned earlier that the Kiss of Death duet has already been released as two separate books. Book one is Kill Me, and book two is Kiss Me. For the first time ever, Lovell has combined the two books into one (pictured above is the brand, spanking cover for it)! Buuuuuut… If you can’t wait for this release, go grab those books now! 😉


I’m the Capo of New York.

A beautiful woman with a homicidal streak has always been my weakness.


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Ok. Let’s get down and dirty and start off with Nero Verdi…

I tell ya, I’ve read countless stories of Made Men and they’ve all been described as powerful, intimidating, not-to-be-fucked-with mobsters… but I have to say Nero is one of a few that I actually think fitted the bill. He exudes confidence and strength and not once did I not believe that when he sets his mind to something that he wouldn’t succeed. Because he bloody well does! 🩸🩸

Nero may not necessarily have a moral compass, but what’s better than a twisted, bastard of a mobster who plays by his own rules to ensure he gets what and wants and rules all?

The only thing that confused me about Nero was his position in the Italian Mafia. On a couple of occasions he goes back and forth from being Capo and Underboss with him being Underboss for most of the story. Hmm. I’ve read quite a few mafia romances over the years, so correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Capo higher ranking than an Underboss? Because if that’s the case, why is Nero demoting himself to Underboss??? I just had to mention because it was niggling at me the entire time I was reading this book. 🤔

But I suppose either way, Nero rules and he has his soldiers to order around. Hehe.

Now. Did I mention how much I think the secondary characters in here not only made quite an impression on me, but they did a superb job in really elevating this world? 👏👏👏 There’s quite a span of secondary characters included and not once did it feel overwhelming or unnecessary seeing them. I’m not going to lie, some characters stood out more than others, and it wasn’t hard to get invested in them just as much as I did Nero and Una. Whether they are heroes, villains, or gray characters — you’ll get your fill here!


What will it be, Morte? Kill me or kiss me?


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I can’t rave about this duet more! One of the best mafia romances I’ve read. It’s absolutely filled with this dark, gripping world that’s so vivid and detailed, which effortlessly teleports you into each scene; each moment. The storytelling is slower-paced but in a good way where there’s a gradual build-up to each scene giving you a picture of the situation. Told from both Nero and Una’s points of view, it couldn’t have been more intense seeing things from both their perspectives (especially when concerns the other). Their lives are supposed to be worlds apart yet they have the same type of darkness surrounding that that ultimately keeps them connected to one another.

Their story gives an entirely new dimension to the enemies-to-lovers/ forbidden romance tropes. There’s this satisfying balance between Una and Nero where they’re both each others’ strength and weakness. Dark, mafia romances is kind of my bread and butter in the romance book department and what makes me love this one so much is the fact the Una stands out from the rest of the heroines you usually would encounter in these gritty stories. She literally kicks ass! She knows how to defend herself, she’s street smart, and she oozes (rightly so) confidence in her capabilities. What I adore the most is she’s not a damsel in distress. In a male dominated world, she’s favored and feared. It’s honestly refreshing to see a heroine who is empowering, and who is powered by her emotions despite being conditioned to lose all emotions and all things considered weaknesses such as love and family from her life.

Ugh. I strongly recommend, if you haven’t already, to grab this book and start reading! In my opinion, it has one of the best dark fictional worlds I’ve read, and one I will absolutely go back and visit!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you L.P Lovell and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Kiss of Death? Grab your copy here: Amazon US |  Amazon UK |  Amazon CA |  Amazon AU


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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I Thee Take by Natasha Knight

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Scarlett

Cristiano is my enemy. He’s also the only man with whom I’ve ever felt safe. Protected.

But I have to remember that he married me with one purpose in mind. Revenge. I would be the
bridge to his real enemies.

I can’t let myself forget that he isn’t the hero of this story. His hands are covered in blood. I saw that
with my own eyes.

Cristiano

I thought I knew Scarlett’s past, but I didn’t know anything.

I thought I knew the worst of monsters, but I hadn’t seen anything yet.

Sometimes you have to lie to yourself to survive.

Sometimes it’s those closest to you who will bury their knives in your back.

Too many times it’s the innocents who pay for your mistakes. For your refusal to see.

I can’t let Scarlett pay for mine.

But I may be too late to stop it.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

👏👏👏 Natasha Knight has done it again! Another mafia romance I’ll be adding to my list of faves! This story had the right balance of elements to ensure it captures your attention. What an amazing conclusion to what was an incredible smack-in-your face beginning!

  • A strong continuous storyline
  • Character development
  • Drama and suspense
  • A gritty world

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What I find I can’t seem to get enough of from Knight’s mafia romances is the strong family bonds she includes in her stories (specifically the brotherly love). In this case with Cristiano and Dante. These characters have been hardened by their horrific past and consumed by anger and vengeance, yet as strong as their hatred is of their enemies, it’s evident these brothers are still capable of love. It’s crazy swoony to see their protectiveness and their ride-or-die mentality for one another! Seriously… 🔥    

I Thee Take is a much slower pacing in comparison to With This Ring. Whilst that one had a lot of build-up between Scarlett and Cristiano and seeing the beginnings of their relationship, this book focuses on what brought them together in the first place. Both their pasts have come back to haunt them and as secrets slowly unravel and the bigger picture sets in, they realize they need each other more than ever to survive it all.

Our hero and heroine both have hard outer shells with soft centers, and they both seem to only show that vulnerability to each other. Their chemistry was sizzling from the start and I’m glad to see it hasn’t wavered in this book. Their relationship is one that only grows stronger the more they’re together.     

The storytelling may have slowed down in pace but it’s jam-packed full of action! The fight kicks up a level in this book and as it did I’m not gonna lie, I started to get more and more anxious at what the outcome could be. Lol. 😅🙈 

A rollercoaster ride of emotions. And I’m blaming the characters! Not only our protagonists but all the secondary characters that brilliantly played their roles in getting me emotionally invested. Knight has cleverly kept her characters’ cards close to their chest until that perfect “mic drop” moment. Yeah, some you could pick out of a lineup easily enough from the start but then there’s the ones that make you second guess things. 🤔😈

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Not only had I become invested in seeing Scarlett and Cristiano together, I quickly became attached to Dante (Cristiano’s brother) and Cerebus — that loveable fluffball!

There were also these moments in the book that had me fist pumping the air with such satisfaction that if people knew what that was about, they’ll probably think I’m all out psychotic. Haha. If you love some good old fashioned violence (think Taken and John Wick), then it’s another reason as to why this is a must read. 

The world-building is very cloak-and-dagger. It’s a gritty, hell on earth underworld they live in and the further the story develops, the more you feel transported into it right alongside these characters. If Knight hadn’t included some light-hearted moments throughout, this book could easily have been a much darker story.

Right amount of sin.

Right amount of raunchiness.       

This duet as a whole is one gripping, edge-of-your-seat story, and the only reason why I’m not rating this book as high as the first one is because I saw where this second half of the story was heading. If you’re new to Natasha Knight’s mafia romances, then I have no doubt that you would rate it a four and half (or even five stars), but I’ve read most of Knight’s mafia books… she has certain tells and a lot of her books have common elements, and this one was no different. So once they started cropping up, I knew where the story was heading from there on out. Don’t get me wrong I honestly don’t mind seeing the same types of plotlines in Knight’s books — hey, I wouldn’t be reading any more of her work if I didn’t, right? But it did take some of the surprise out of it.

But in saying that… there was one little thing Knight included in the end that did have me perking up with anticipation. I won’t spoil it for you guys, but if you’ve already heard the early buzz then you know what has me all giddy! *skips merrily* 😍😍 

OohLala

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Scarlett and Cristiano’s story to bits. I couldn’t put it down and I was constantly on edge right alongside Scarlett and Cristiano as bombshell after bombshell dropped all around them. A thrilling mafia romance that’ll have you questioning anything and everything, narrowing your eyes at certain characters, clenching your fists when the situation calls for it, and more importantly… salivating at the angsty moments between Scarlett and Cristiano! Eeep.

A highly recommended dark read for my fellow mafia romance lovers. Just be aware before starting this duet that it contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as human trafficking, relatively graphic sexual assault and violence. Also remember that this is part two of a duet and you must read With This Ring first in order to read this one.         

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Natasha Knight and Give Me Books Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading I Thee Take? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books  |  Google Play

•••


Read my review for the first book in the duet!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📕 With This Ring by Natasha Knight


•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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With This Ring by Natasha Knight

booksofthemuggleborn_withthisring
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

When I rescued Scarlett De La Cruz from her tower it’s not like her prospects were looking so great. You’d think she’d show a little gratitude. Thank me for putting my ring on her finger and marking her as mafia property.

My property.

I’ll keep her safe. And the trade-off isn’t so bad. Most women would jump at the chance to sleep in my bed.

Not Scarlett, though.

My Cartel Princess has a big mouth and an even bigger attitude. But it’s her furious caramel eyes that keep me coming back for more. That and the way her body bends to mine like it already knows it belongs to me.

Scarlett is my enemy. She’s also the one woman I can’t keep my hands off.

But if I don’t keep my head on straight, everything I’ve worked for all these years will have been for nothing.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!

If you’re ever in the mood for a reaaaaally honest to goodness mafia captor/ captive romance, I can without a doubt tell you to check out any one of Natasha Knight’s books! And after having finished reading With This Ring…? I can easily say it’s become one of my faves! 😍😍😍

The minute I started this book, I didn’t put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting and I have no regrets! Yeah… I probably should’ve taken my time considering this is only part one of the duet but whatevs! 🤷‍♀️ I’ll read again it when it gets closer to the release date of book two; I Take Thee!

I’m no stranger to Knight’s books, having read quite a few in the last year. She has written quite a handful of captor/ captive mafia romances, and she has perfected the balance of a light and dark atmosphere, the romance, and the suspense. I was completely invested and hooked on Cristiano Grigori and Scarlett De La Cruz’s story. I love the mixture of the mafia and the cartel in this one, with an enemies-to-lovers romance between our anti-hero and heroine.

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What starts out as a war between territorial, power-hungry families, turns into a struggle for vengeance. But what’s left of both sides are forced together as bigger unsuspecting threats are on the rise and has taken aim at both the Grigori and the De La Cruz families.

I’m a big fan of Knight’s writing style and she has a way of easily getting you to fall in love with her characters. Cristiano is a scarred hero who is secretly struggling with life, and hates showing any vulnerability. But it’s his sensitive side that makes him all the more human and authentic. He’s not necessarily the most damaged hero I’ve read of Knight’s but he still manages to have an air of intimidation, darkness, and strength to him. And when you discover his story, you can’t help but feel a little protective of the guy (despite the fact that he can kill in a blink of an eye).

Scarlett is broken in her own way and just as tortured as Cristiano. What I like about her is despite what she’s going through, she still has the character in her to be selfless. Her emotions and actions are understandable, and you can’t help but root for her to succeed.

Cristiano and Scarlett are driven, strong-willed characters. Their story is very much family bound. They may be rivals, but they have more in common when it comes to family than they are willing to admit.

There’s a lot of push and pull between these two. It’s hard to pick a side because honestly, you want things to go both Cristiano and Scarlett’s way. The character growth is slow yet gradual, and as their journey progresses they start opening up. Putting aside the sparks between them, it’s the quiet moments where they’re simply learning more about each other that are some of my favourite parts to read through.

As a mafia romance lover, this book ticks every box in my checklist of what I consider an amazing mafia romance book.

  • Storyline with a solid, well-developed plot
  • Vivid, expanding world-building
  • Complex, intriguing characters you can connect with
  • Chemistry between its protagonists
  • Suspense and unpredictability
  • Secondary characters that add another layer
  • Swoon-worthy romance!

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What keeps you engaged in this story is the constant unease of what could happen next between Cristiano and Scarlett. They’re from enemy families — one seeking retribution, whilst the other is just wanting to survive, yet both unaware that they share the want and need for freedom from responsibilities that’s been demanded of them. The build-up is 🔥 in this one, people!

Call me cruel, but seeing them struggle with their feelings, and be in constant denial was entertaining as hell to see! 😈😄 I wanna say theirs is a slow burn romance but to be honest I think it’s because I simply wanted more! Knight is skilled at teasing her readers with just enough raunchiness to the point where the anticipation for a full-blown scene will emotionally kill you. Lol. Sigh.

A well-paced storytelling, told from both Cristiano and Scarlett’s points of view. You’ll see backstories to these two families. It’s very modern Romeo & Juliet set in the underworld. There’s a few vital secondary characters who are just as evasive as our lead characters that you’ll wanna keep an eye on. There’s also a few sub-plots that interconnect with the main that’ll have you itching to uncover. As I mention earlier, it’s suspenseful. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end and will have you grumbling when you discover how it concludes. Ugh. 🙈🙉🙊

If you love a forbidden-esque enemies-to-lovers trope with tons of heated banter between your protagonists, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy this read. It does have some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers but not overly graphic or detailed. I would still advise that with the dark themes included, readers 18+ only!

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Overall, another much loved book from Knight that I am happily recommending to my friends and fellow romance readers. It’s such an intense, emotional story of two broken souls who are left to pick up the pieces and fight on! This is the first book in the To Have and To Hold Duet, and I love it so much that I consider the brutal cliffhanger well-worth the pain!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Natasha Knight and Give Me Books Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


•••

Happy reading, guys! Hope you enjoyed. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Bound By Blood Anthology by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Born in Blood
Sworn in Blood…
…isn’t only the motto the Famiglia lives by.
Bleeding for love is something every couple in this book has experienced. Through hardships their love morphs into something even more beautiful and resilient. A love each of them is willing to fight for.

This anthology contains stories for the following couples:

Aria & Luca
Romero & Liliana
Growl & Cara
Mauro & Stella
Matteo & Gianna

•••

— MY REVIEW —

First off — I am so fucking ecstatic that we get more updates from OG couples from the mafia world that started it all, Born In Blood! 

Warning: Lots of cussing ahead! And minor teasing!

Okay. Here we go. First up?

*drumroll*

📖 1: Luca & Aria

What can I say about these two other than I love them, and seeing even a snippet of their lives whether it be past, present or future always leaves me with a buzz of happiness. Their short story pulls at the heartstrings — not only with how much they’ve come a long ways in their relationship since they first met, but with how much their world has evolved. It’s also a nice breather from the gritty, mafia side because this story is focus more so on their private life together.

Luca was my first love from this world, and I honestly don’t think I could ever tire of reading about him.

I’d like to see one person come away from reading this little novella without a smile on their face. C’mon. Prove me wrong! You’ll smile, you’ll giggle, you’ll flail your arms, and you’ll sigh with happy contentment! 

😜 Not a surprise but I know a lot of readers are looking forward to this:

Britney_OhBabyBaby

Next up? Fresh meat!

📖 2: Mauro & Stella

Ahhhh. Mauro and Stella. Two new characters that I didn’t realize I needed until I read their story. Now I am in desperate need of a full length novel! *Looking at you book gods. Make it happen.

Who loves a step-sibling romance trope in their reads? I’m not embarrassed to admit it’s a trope I can easily be iffy about just because of the whole cringe factor that can be displayed if the story or characters are written in a weird incest sort of way. Uuck. But Forbidden Delights had none of that whatsoever!

Gripping, edge of seat chemistry. The build-up of sexual frustration was both adorable as fuck and intense. Add Mauro to your book boyfriend list? ✔✔✔   

Since I had already read this novella when it was initially released in the romance anthology; Love In Lockdown, I’ve already written and posted my full review. To read my thoughts on Mauro and Stella, you can find it here: Forbidden Delights by Cora Reilly

😳 Here’s something to look forward to:

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Things are heating up. Next one up is the couple that is “made for hell.” 🔥

📖 3: Matteo & Gianna

*exhales…*

Okay. This one is a little tougher to review. Whilst I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading their novella, I did have mixed feelings about the developments. I wouldn’t be surprised to see their novella divide a lot of the readers who love Matteo and Gianna. When it comes to Gianna, you either love her or hate her. Just so you know, I’m on #TeamLoveGianna (I definitely prefer her more than Aria), and whilst their situation was all kinds of WTF?, her decisions are understandable, her feelings are relatable, and I, for one have always accepted her… opinionated attitude and all! 

In saying that, Matteo has and always will be my adorable shark-grinned cinnamon roll! Seeing him wrack over his emotions just about gave me chest pains. The guy just has so much heart! This may be a novella but it packs a punch and gave a much needed update to the next chapter in their lives. Not only has this story showed how much Matteo and Gianna have gone through in their relationship, but it reminded me of how much time has passed, of how old I am, and how long it’s been since Bound By Hatred! 😅 But phew… What a journey! Have tissues at hand.

(Oh, and I knew there was a very good reason as to why I love Luca and Matteo’s brotherhood!) *sigh* 🤗        

🙈 What you’re getting yourself into with this one:

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Up ahead: Sugar and spice, and all things nice!

📖 4: Romero & Liliana

I don’t know why Romero and Liliana are underrated. I loved Bound By Temptation to bits and Romero is such a refreshing change from the arrogant, alpha type Made Men who enjoy the blood and grittiness. If you’re in need a true gentleman, who’s caring, protective and adorably romantic — Romero will not disappoint. And neither does this story. It was just straight up sweet! 

Besides their intial book, for the most part Romero and Liliana haven’t been in the forefront, and this short story pretty much sums up their quiet life. They’re practically living the dream with having found a balance between the Mafia world and their own little heaven outside of it. It’s cool to see that there’s at least one couple in this world that doesn’t have too much drama going on around them constantly. Such an effortless coupling.    

But not to worry, Romero will still bring out the raaaaawr!

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And finally… the feels!

📖 5: Growl & Cara

I’m gonna admit it right here, right now — this couple’s story was the one I was anticipating reading the most! Why? Well, as much as I have a lot of love for Matteo, at least we got snippets of him in previous books. But with Ryan? The most we got was a name drop here and there. 

And now? 

Fuuuuuuuuuck! This story completely punched me in the gut. I felt like the rug was ripped right out from under me and it resulted in me bawling my eyes out! Ugh. As much as this story shattered my heart, it’s still probably my favourite one from this collection. I didn’t think I could love Growl anymore than I already do but he wormed his way in deeper into my heart! 

Tissues! Where are the bloody fucking TISSUES!!!!? 😭😭

Their story was full of sorrow, but one of family, peace and healing too. Even if we don’t get another full length novel from Ryan and Cara, I think this novella will leave fellow Growl fans satisfied with the open-ended conclusion. When one door closes, another opens.

💘 Something not to be missed:

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🖐 Fantastic stories! A great compilation from couples I so lusted after from the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles. Great seeing little snippets of what-ifs and possible teasers for future book storylines. A must read, and must have for all Reilly fans! 

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you to Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💕


•••

Happy reading, guys! Thank you so much for stopping by and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Violent Beginnings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

The deal was sealed the moment she stepped onto that stage.

It was like seeing a ghost. Sunshine blonde hair, pale skin, and azure eyes that held a thousand secrets.

I didn’t know what caused her to end up on that auction block.

And I didn’t care either.

All I knew was that I had to have her…no matter the cost.

One-million dollars later and she became just that.

Mine to break.

Mine to use.

Mine to keep.

But we all have secrets and when I discover hers no one will be able to save her from me.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Oooh. Second book in The Moretti Crime Family is a hiiiiiit!! 👊 If you love your dark romance reads with a little juicy mafia captive/captor romance trope, then you gotta add this one to your TBR!

This book had intrigue and suspense dripping out of it right from the get-go when Markus sees, bids, and successfully wins Fallon at a flesh auction. 

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But is one million dollars worth reliving your pain-filled haunted past? Yes. Annnnnd no. 

Markus may be seeing a ghost right in front of him in the form of Fallon but what he didn’t factor into his plans is her stubborn attitude, deceitful stories and constant emotional roller coaster.

What are my thoughts on Fallon? Ehh… She’s not my favourite heroine. I can’t say I would know how I’d act or feel if I was ever put into the same position as her, but I do know that I wouldn’t risk pushing a person who can kill in .05 seconds flat past their limit time and time again. 🙄😒

I hoped to have liked Fallon a lot more. She has some great qualities to her character but her relentless mindset was hard to overlook, and I just wasn’t a fan of it. Even with Markus’ willingness to try where Fallon’s concerned, she constantly makes rash decisions against better judgment, consequences be damned! Ugh. Not cool, chicky. Not cool. 🙅‍♀️

Thank the book gods my love for Markus was more than enough to outweigh the issues I had with Fallon. It’s a big reason as to why I enjoyed reading it overall. Clearly, I’ve gone into the deep end when it comes to dark/ mafia romances because despite the fact that Markus is danger personified, who lacks any sort of emotion that would make him the warm, fuzzy type, I still found him to be credible, alluring and protective— for a ruthless, coldblooded killer… that is. 

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Thank goodness for his experience and expertise when it comes to this dark, cruel world or else who knows what would’ve become of Fallon.

I found this book slower paced in its storytelling and in my opinion could’ve been a few chapters shorter and still would’ve kept the twists and turns and intrigue. It didn’t necessarily drag but I felt like when it came to Fallon and Markus’ constant disagreements and miscommunication it did get a little repetitive. 

Although told from first person, dual POVs, Markus’ inner dialogue was an absolute highlight to see throughout the book. For someone whose norm is to be discreet, hard, and emotionless, seeing an internal battle over his feelings towards Fallon, having him slowly open up and be a little more heart-warming towards her… well… it’s a swoony sight to see. 

Didn’t hurt that despite the whole captive/ captor situation they’ve got going, there’s definite sparks between them. Whether they’re bantering, or in a full-blown comfort sesh, their chemistry is undeniable. *waggles eyebrows*

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There’s little expansion to the world-building from what was already existing from the first book, other than when Markus mentions his job in the mafia, how dangerous that world is and how it’s not to be messed with it’s not exactly in the forefront. It’s a character driven story, with the mafia world merely in the background to cast an overall gloomy atmosphere.

Despite Fallon lacking a little for me as a heroine, I did find the story itself filled with an edge of dread that keeps you hooked. They’re both keeping things to themselves, with Markus surprisingly being the more open one — which I think is why he had a gradual character development in comparison to Fallon. Markus (as they say) is like an onion… with the layers. You can’t help but be curious and to see him unravel. And if I’m going to be honest, I couldn’t help but chuckle at some of the things he did (and considered to do) to ensure things were kept in order. Lol. 🙈🤭

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A story with a few surprises here and there. I would’ve loved to have some more intensity and edge of your seat moments before everything was revealed but I could not dislike the ending either.

The majority of the story focuses solely on our protagonists. Any side characters that make appearances play minor roles or are cut short for certain reasons. Nevertheless, it was enough to provide some dimension and give us readers different dynamics depending on who they interacted with (besides one another).   

All in all, mafia romance lovers will enjoy this book. I sure did! 😊 It’s a great addition to the series and follow up to Savage Beginnings. I’m already anxious to read the next book! Eeep.

The Moretti Crime Family is a series of standalones, but the guys’ backstories are somewhat interconnected that I would recommend you to read Savage Beginnings first. Previous characters make appearances in this one and you’ll have a better understanding of where they stand with one another.

As far as dark romances go, Violent Beginnings is on the milder side, but I can assure you it’s still gritty. There’s serious subject matter included in this storyline that may trigger some readers such as graphic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking. So please keep that in mind, when considering this book.  

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to J.L. Beck, Cassandra Hallman, and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

•••


SavageBeginnings_Cover

Read my review for Savage Beginnings!

📓 Savage Beginnings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

•••

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Read my review for Savage Christmas (The Moretti Crime Family — Christmas Novella)

📓 Goodreads Review 


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Benedetti Brothers by Natasha Knight

After having read some of Natasha Knight’s newer releases, I was curious about her backlist. Decided the Benedetti Brothers series was a good place to start with.

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

The series consists of five books in total. Each book in the series can be read as standalone. The first three books in the series are on the Benedetti Brothers (the two books following are just set in the same world).

This review is for the first three books! 😊


📙 Book One: SALVATORE


BLURB

Lucia

It all started with a contract signed by him, then by me, while our families watched. While my father sat silent, a man defeated, giving his daughter to the Benedetti monsters.

I obeyed. I played my part. I signed my name and gave away my life. I became their living, breathing trophy, a constant symbol of their power over us.

That was five years ago.

Then came the time for him to claim me. For Salvatore Benedetti to own me.
I had vowed vengeance. I had learned hate. And yet, nothing could have prepared me for the man who now ruled my life.

I expected a monster, one I would destroy. But nothing is ever black or white. No one is either good or evil. For all his darkness, I saw his light. For all his evil, I saw his good. As much as he made me hate him, a searing passion burned inside me.

I was his, and he was mine.

My very own monster.

Salvatore

I owned the DeMarco Mafia Princess. She belonged to me now. We had won, and they had lost. And what better way to teach a lesson than to take from them that which is most precious? Most beloved?

I was the boy who would be king. Next in line to rule the Benedetti Family. Lucia DeMarco was the spoils of war. Mine to do with as I pleased.

It was my duty to break her. To make her life a living hell. My soul was dark, I was hell bound. And there was no way out, not for either of us. Because the Benedetti family never lost, and in our wake, we left destruction. It’s how it had always been. How I believed it would always be.

Until Lucia.

REVIEW:

Dark, mafia romance. ✔ Enemies to lovers. ✔ Arranged Marriage. ✔

With lots of banter, intimidation and lust! 🤤

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This is a great start to the series. It immediately gets you intrigued with Lucia being forced into a secluded life with Salvatore. There’s history between these two characters and their mafia families. What starts out as hatred, slowly but surely turns into lust, then eventually love. It’s a Romeo and Juliet type romance along with their two warring families.

I always enjoy some banter in my hate-to-love romance books — and this was a good one! There’s a nice little build-up. Lucia and Salvatore can deny their attraction for each other all they want but it doesn’t mean it’s not evident.

But there blossoming romance comes with issues. Not to mention Salvatore’s own personal conflicts with his family and the pressure of being the next one up to head the Benedetti family and all that comes with being in the mafia.

This book is full of drama. With a few swoon-worthy moments here and there.

RATING: ♥♥♥½


📓 Book Two: DOMINIC


BLURB

He’s the last born son of the mafia king. The one with nothing to lose.
I’m the daughter of a foot soldier and the sister of a snitch.

Monsters have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, but none as dangerous as Dominic Benedetti. None as cruel. None as broken.

I have no illusions about what he is. I have no desire to save his soul. And I can’t care about his bleeding heart.

But love isn’t always beautiful or kind.
It can be a twisted, ugly bitch.

I’d always known this was the kind I’d find. The only kind that could touch me.

Because some of us, we belong in the dark.
And Dominic and I belong in the dark.

REVIEW:

This is a captive/ captor romance. Contains sensitive content that may trigger some readers (e.g. kidnapping, violence, trafficking).

But ahh… Who doesn’t love the bad boy from the bunch?! 😜

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I knew from Salvatore’s story that I had to read Dominic’s book. He’s the black sheep of the family. He’s the youngest, who was never considered to rule so he causes trouble where he can, whenever he can. When everything crumbles around him, he leaves it all behind… but what happens when he can no longer escape his past?

Dominic is the bad boy with the attitude and he knows it. He doesn’t pretend to be anything else. His story is one of acceptance, growth, and healing.

The developing relationship between Dominic and Gia not only saves both their haunted lives but it changes them. Despite the fucked up way that they meet, in the end there’s no doubt that they are well suited for one another. I loved seeing Dominic’s character growth, from when you’re introduced to him back in Salvatore’s book all the way to this one. You can’t help but not hate him (even with everything that’s happened).

Besides the romance, his story had a good chunk of family dynamics. Reading this book made me understand and see his family in a new light… including Dominic himself *whispers* …and I had already loved him when he was being an asshole. 🤭

And who says bad boys can’t be romantic as hell?!

RATING: ♥♥♥½


📕 Book Three: SERGIO


BLURB

I’m the first-born son of the mafia king. The favorite. Destined to rule, I’m a dangerous man, a ruthless one. But in my world, you have to be.

Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.

Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.

I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.

I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.

She’s mine.
Forever.
No matter what.

REVIEW:

⚠ WARNING: If you have yet to read Salvatore, please be aware this review for Sergio contains spoilers! 

Aw, this was bitter fucking sweet! Ended the trilogy of the Benedetti brothers with possibly the best brother and book from them all!

This is a somewhat opposites attract romance. Such a contrast between Natalie being this innocent young woman, and Sergio being the next in line in the Benedetti family to be the Mafia king, yet the attraction is fire! 🔥

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“Wrong place, wrong time, sweetheart.”


Going into this book knowing that Sergio Benedetti wouldn’t be surviving the end, I mentally prepared myself. What I hadn’t counted on was that Sergio would become my absolute favourite brother. Dammit!

The more I read, the more I dreaded getting closer to finishing the book because Sergio stole my heart from the second he appeared… and knowing that I would have to read and experience his demise was gut-wrenching.

Yes, I cried. 💔

I’m so glad Natasha decided to write his story. It’s definitely worth the read. I love that Sergio and Natalie’s love was fierce. They knew their time together would be limited and they didn’t bullshit around. Sergio knew what he wanted, and damn well got it!

Not only has the book wrecked me, but it’s also made me wonder how Sergio (and Natalie) would’ve lived out their lives had they had the opportunity to. After now having read all three books, I have no doubt that Sergio would’ve been the best man to rule. Personality-wise, I thought he was the most balanced out of the brothers. Considering he was in the business of death, danger and darkness, he still had the most heart.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of Sergio and Natalie’s short but sweet romance. Beautifully told.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥


•••

OVERALL RATING: ♥♥♥½

As mentioned earlier, each book can be read as standalone and technically in any order. But I recommend you still read them in publishing order despite the fact that Salvatore’s book contains the biggest spoiler for Sergio’s story.

Relatively quick reads. All told from dual points of view.

Besides the continuous family issues in each book, the only other similarity is with the brothers’ possessiveness over their heroine. They’re all mafia romances but each story and couple have a little something different from the last. These boys are alpha, but you’re bound to love one, two or all three of them! 😉

•••

Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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