Protective by K.E. Osborn

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

I always felt different.

Like I never quite fit.

The moment I found the club, it felt like home, even though it was 1600 miles from Jersey.

As the joint SAA for the Houston Defiance MC, my job is to be protective. Keep my brothers at the club safe—be the first line of defense against those who seek to do us harm.

But what happens when those who defend suddenly need protection?

She upholds the law—the club lives by their own.

Never a good mix.

The pull to her is volcanic, seismic, earth shattering.

But there’s darkness surrounding her.

An evil lurking in the shadows.

With an already high enemy count, more mount up every day.

But maybe we can’t see the danger rumbling just below the surface.

When it erupts, all hope might be lost.

When all else fails, will Defiance rise through the ash?

From USA Today Bestselling Author K E Osborn comes the highly anticipated fifth book in the Houston Defiance MC Series.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Osborn has created another couple in the Houston Defiance MC who sizzles with chemistry. Their romance was angsty with a whole lot of slow-burn build-up that I was instantly anxious to see play out!

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This is the fifth book in the series and I am just as hooked in the Houston Defiance MC as I was when I read the first book. Texas’ and Fin’s relationship was a gradual build-up long before their story was told in Protective.

It’s a sweet, somewhat of a friends-to-lovers story with Texas surprisingly being the biggest sweetheart from all the guys from the MC. I loved that he had the image of an all out brawny alpha, yet had the biggest heart. 😍 It was refreshing to see an alpha type hero who wasn’t pushy. And Fin stayed true to how she’s been portrayed in the previous books—determined, independent, with a fierce attitude!

The first half of the book was well-paced as Texas’ and Fin’s budding relationship gradually heated up, but the story quickly takes on a faster pace in the second half as situations start to amp up around them. Whilst I felt like there was an organic progression in Texas’ and Fin’s relationship, there was an overload of events that transpired in the book that, in my opinion, made the overall story busy. A lot of things happen in this book, some of which flowed naturally with the current situation that Texas, Fin and the MC found themselves in, but others just seemed like they came out of nowhere.

The first half of the book totally hooked me in and I was loving the little banters and moments between Texas and Fin. But putting aside their romance, I felt like the storyline split into different directions along the way leaving the second half of the book underwhelming. Situation after situation popped up only for it to be just as quickly resolved that I was having difficulty connecting with all. It lost the flow along with some of the swooniness from Texas’ and Fin’s relationship as it felt like they were put on the back burner whilst the MC dealt with said issues.

This story however, broaches on one particular topic, that in all honestly I never realized existed, and I admire Osborn for putting some light to a matter that may not be familiar to other readers either. The characters in this series all have their demons, tragic pasts, and issues they deal with on the daily. With Texas, you see the struggles he’s been dealing with for most of his life and how it affects him as a person.

What I like about Texas and Fin as a couple is there’s a sweet balance in their dynamic. They’re complete opposites, yet they connected with each other effortlessly and it didn’t come off stilted. The support, love, care, and admiration they have for one another is evident, long before anything romantic happened. So, when the time came when they decided to take a chance on their relationship, it felt believable.

Besides the romance in the forefront, like the previous books in this series, the addition of the secondary characters heightened the world-building and overall experience of the story. The comradery, family-like dynamic within the MC is one of my highlights. There’s a genuine brotherhood amongst these fictional characters that truly made me feel emotionally invested in them all.

(One secondary character in particular stood out and if it wasn’t for his added comic relief and all around cheery personality, I don’t think this story would be the same). 🙌

Whilst you can technically read each book as standalone, there are lingering storylines in the background that interconnect these books. I would recommend you start from the beginning of the series to really grasp the entirety of their world, although Osborn does a thorough job of giving you the gist of each couple so you’re up to scratch with everyone’s stories so far without having reading any of the previous books beforehand.

There’s equal parts romance to the MC elements. If you enjoy the angst of slow burn romances, then you’re in for a treat with Texas and Fin as they keep you on tenterhooks. If you haven’t read any of Osborn’s MC books, I should point out there can be some dark elements. Her stories (at least within this series) contain matters that may be triggering for some readers. Please note, Protective includes triggers such as graphic violence, displays of intimidation resulting in death threats and stalking, and domestic abuse (displaying the emotional and mental affects it has to those who’ve experienced it). It contains strong mature themes and sexual content intended for readers 18+ only.

Protective is a rollercoaster ride with a lot of twists and turns. It’s unpredictable and at times can be eccentric. Some plotlines I found realistic, whilst at other times a little out there. What I did find consistent and comforting where the relationships (and what I always look forward to seeing from each book in this series). For the most part, the atmosphere of the story was grim and edgy, but Osborn included some well placed light-hearted moments to break up some of the tension. You’re on the edge of your seat from the get-go, and whilst the second half wasn’t what I had expected in terms of plot lines, I still found the overall experience of reading this book enjoyable.

If you’ve read the previous books in the series, then this one is not to be missed, especially since Texas and Fin seemed like a long time coming. It’s suspenseful, action-packed, and like the others, will keep you reading until the end!

And speaking on the ending…. *eep!* 🙊

Osborn’s writing is so favourable! From the books I’ve read so far of hers, not a single one has failed in keeping me intrigued. I’m down for her characters, the stories she comes up with, and the developments. They’re complex and yes, they can be gritty at times, but she has striking characters who are relatable, and her stories are hearty romantic suspense that keeps you guessing. I love that whilst their great swoon-worthy escapism, there’s always substance in her romance stories.

All the books in the Houston Defiance are must reads, and Protective is a great addition to this ever-expanding MC. I’m looking forward to reading the next one!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to K.E. Osborn and The Next Step PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

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

•••


Read my reviews for The Houston Defiance MC

HoustonDefianceMC_4Covers

Book One: Explosive by K.E. Osborn

Book Two: Addictive by K.E. Osborn

Book Three: Fugitive by K.E. Osborn

Book Four: Impulsive by K.E. Osborn


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

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Heart-On by Bella Jewel

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ramona knows pain and she wears it behind a perfectly made-up mask of laughter, sass and a personality that makes most men weak at the knees.

Emphasis on most men.

Because there happens to be one man her charm doesn’t work on…Adan.

Member of the gorgeous biker club who took over the garage next to her best friend Eve’s café. Oh, and there’s one more tiny little thing…he’s now her patient.

After suffering burns in a fire, Adan lost the ability to use not one, but both of his hands. Enter Ramona. Registered nurse on her first job since completing her degree. And of course she’s put with the gorgeous, grumpy, rough biker who wants nothing more than for her to leave him the hell alone.

But, alas, she simply cannot.

Stuck together, there is nothing Ramona can do…except her job.

The problem is Adan is making her job very difficult. Not only does he live like he’s running a brothel, but the man refuses to do anything she asks him. He’s irritated and barely speaks, and when he does speak, it’s usually to insult her.

Not going down without a fight, Ramona does everything she can to keep her spirits high, including tormenting the poor man at every chance she gets. She’ll get him to laugh before her time with him is over.

Adan will like her.

And she will complete this job with a glowing review.

Not matter the cost.
No matter the game.

He’ll get a Heart-On for her…and she’ll make damned sure of it.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Ooo Wee! This was a such an improvement from the first book! So, so much more gripping and hits you in the feels! 😍 I can’t help but think Bella has gone through the reviews for Biker Schmiker and made some tweaks to ensure Heart-On would be better perceived. And boy, just like that, she has made this series loads more exciting now!

OohLala

The lightheartedness is still very much present. The contemporary romance aspect is still more prominent than the MC element but it’s still a swoon-worthy MC romance story! Just like in the previous book, this one had plenty of entertaining banter between the protagonists. You get a snippet of their chemistry in Biker Schmiker but by the start of this book, that chemistry has turned electric due to Ramona’s and Adan’s forced proximity.

First off — the premise was intriguing as hell. After Adan gets caught up in a freak accident involving arson resulting in his hands being badly burnt and now in need of constant medical care, in comes Ramona, a newly licensed nurse, and her first job? Yep, being Adan’s personal home care nurse! *mic drop*

The heated exchange from these two were on a level a smidge more entertaining to see than Eve and Riggs (not going lie). They butt heads, are constantly challenging one another and throughout it all they battle the sexual tension between them.

Similarly to Riggs in Biker Schmiker, Adan is a bit of womanizer. He’s not a complete manwhore but he’s definitely indecisive when it comes to who he wants. There’s a bit of love triangle going on here. Some angst. Some drama. And, most certainly some racy scenes!

Please note: It contains violence and sexual content suitable for readers 18+ only!

This book also contains cheating. If you have issues with this matter in your romance stories, then you might want to give this one a miss.

Whilst I enjoyed Ramona’s and Adan’s story a lot, there were some questionable decisions made and situations that had my eyebrows raising and my jaw dropping with disbelief. But don’t get me wrong, it’s all to do with the fact that I got so invested in their story. It was a rollercoaster ride that had me on the edge of my seat eager to see what would happen next because I can tell ya… bomb after bomb just kept on dropping! 😱

Another relatively quick read. I wished it was longer, but on the other hand I like the fact the Bella is consistent in keeping each book in this series a certain length. They’re short but action-packed, full of suspense, and the romantic elements will have you hooked. There’s also a secondary story or two happening simultaneously that adds dimension to Ramona’s and Adan’s story and enhances the world-building.

The rest of the MC members are back to add more fun to this already light, romcom-ish story, and you get to see appearances from Eve and Riggs from the first book too! This may only be the second book in the series but I already adore the friendships and the extra oomph they bring into each story.

I love that with each new couple we get to know a bit about more about their backstory and see their character growth further. Ramona is an in-your-face, independent, and fiery heroine. She’s loud, proud, and confident. Adan is man who’s not only a badass biker, but who knows his strengths. He’s cocky and arrogant at times but in a easy-going funny way that makes you giggle. His inability to read women—or should I say Ramona was a hilarious bonus to see!

They have a quirky hate/love relationship going on there, but somewhat of a caring friendship has formed too where they got to know each other on a deeper level. I thought their emotions were relatable and realistic, and the frustration and second-guessing from Ramona was totally spot-on for the situation she found herself in with Adan.

Ugh. Such a fun read that I will undoubtedly reread over an over whenever I’m in need of a mood-booster! I highly recommend this book, and whilst it can be read as a standalone I would still recommend you start with the first one as the characters are linked and some of the context included do lead up to the next story in the series. You’ll also have a better understanding of how the characters interconnect and the level of their relationships.

If you enjoy hate-to-love romances that have an element of game-playing between the protagonists, then give this one try. The MC element is there but it’s more contemporary romance. It’s well paced, and like the first book, told solely from the heroine’s point of view. Whilst I would’ve liked to have Adan’s as well, in comparison to the first book, the hero’s POV wasn’t as strongly needed in this one. It’s character driven as the majority of the story revolves around Ramona’s feelings and perspective.

It had so many elements I so truly hoped to find in my romance books:

  • Hate-to-love/ Enemies-to-lovers
  • Romantic Comedy
  • MC Romance
  • Suspense
  • Interesting world-building
  • Gripping storyline
  • Lovable characters

The world-building has expanded a smidge more by introducing Ramona into these bikers world. And with Ramona and Eve already being friends, a nice little girl club has formed as a strong counterpart to the club. Overall, it left me wanting more and excited to read the next book with the next swoon-worthy couple to be! Another amazing read from Bella Jewel!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

•••


🧁 Read my review for the Turf Wars!

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📷 @booksofthemuggleborn

Book One: Biker Schmiker by Bella Jewel


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

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Biker Schmiker by Bella Jewel

⚠ This review contains minor spoilers

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📷 @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Evelina has worked hard to get where she is in life. At the young age of twenty-five she became the proud owner of the town’s most infamous café, Wildflowers. Not only does this café make the best cakes in town, but it hosts the most successful open mic nights, bringing singers from far and wide to own the stage and take their dreams to the next level.

Coming from an Italian background, Evelina has a large family, a bubbly personality and the kind of drive that makes her café the best of the best. She prides herself in her witty personality, bubbly demeanor and strength to take her dreams by the horns. She is unstoppable and determined.

That is, of course, until a biker club moves into the empty garage she shares a parking lot with. For years, that garage has been empty and Evelina has had the space entirely to herself. Now, there are cars, motorbikes, parties, half naked women, alcohol and a President that is rude, gorgeous and refusing to keep the noise down.

Her café is going to struggle if she doesn’t do something right away.

The problem is, they are refusing to move.

Evelina is going to have to dig deep and find any way she can to get them to leave…even if things have to get messy.

She’s worked too hard.

This is her lot. This is her town.

That gorgeous biker and his club are going to find themselves in the midst of a war…a turf war.

And Evelina plans to win.

*Contains Adult Content*

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Ooh. Okay. I think this might be the first MC romance book of Bella Jewel’s that I’ve read where it was definitely a lot more lighthearted, less MC and more contemporary romance.

HowToLose_DramaDramaDrama

When I first discovered Bella Jewel’s books, she quickly became an auto-buy author for me. Her dark MC romances have been some of my all time favourite reads. I’ve read enough to know what I can expect from her stories…

So it came as a bit of shock that this particular new MC series was a lot more lighthearted, more comic relief added, and certainly felt more contemporary in theme. The MC elements were evident but it wasn’t the complete focus. Biker Schmiker is character driven with 100% full of fiery banter between the hero and heroine.

I admit I have mixed feelings about this story and there was some getting used to in comparison to Bella’s other books. I felt like it was a little choppy— it alternated between a serious situation to lightheartedness, and then back again all throughout that it felt like a stop-start journey. Whilst the banter was entertaining and at times raunchy, the storyline was a little confusing and a bit much. So many plot points were in this one that it felt like one thing after another popped up for Eve and Riggs to deal with.

The story had amazing potential, especially with how Riggs and his club were first introduced into the small town Eve resides in. The chemistry between Eve and Riggs was zingy and kept me invested in seeing where the story would head to next (coz for the love of the book gods it was fucking unpredictable)! 😅

What confused me about this story was some of the crazy plotlines that seemed a little unbelievable. Not to mention some of the characters’ reactions were somewhat far-fetched (specifically the protagonists) in regards to said situations. It fringed on over-the-top madness. But I got to hand it to Bella for giving “crazy” a good crack! 😜

It was well-paced storytelling, action-packed, and full of dramatics. It’s told solely from Eve’s POV, but I really would’ve liked to have seen Riggs’ perspective as well, just so we can get an in-depth insight to his feelings too— especially considering he did some pretty shady things that I was surprised Eve would want anything more to do with him. But in saying that, there’s a good amount of character and relationship development that I grew to like Eve and Riggs more and more as I progressed through their story.

Both the leads are down to earth, relatable characters. Putting aside their cruel plotting to destroy one another, it’s clear they are caring, decent people. The overall atmosphere is modern and lighthearted. If you enjoy heated enemies-to-lovers/ hate-to-love romance stories with MC elements, then give this one a go. There’s plenty of game-playing that’ll have you turning those pages whilst grinning!

But I must point out that Riggs and Eve’s relationship was a bit of rollercoaster with tons of push and pull. For a good chunk of the story, their relationship was on-again-off-again unsteady, in which Riggs hooks up with other women. This type of trope is not a hard-no for me personally but I know it can be a bit of a no-no for other readers when it comes to their romance reads, and it’s why I included this bit of spoiler as a warning for those considering to read this book.

Please also note that it contains sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers. It contains violence, assault, and strong sexual content. Readers 18+ only.   

In my honest opinion, it’s a rocky start to a new series but it did hold my attention. Besides the constant sexual frustration coming off of Eve and Riggs that was all-out giddy to witness, the secondary characters were equally entertaining additions in keeping the story and their world appealing.

The friendships felt genuine and downright fun to see. There was plenty of comic relief within, but the banter, jokes, and little chats amongst the friends were some of the highlights.

The overall execution fell a little short for me, but it had a budding world-building and enough likable elements that by the end of the book I was looking forward to reading the next one. It’s a relatively short but sweet read. Bella’s effortless writing style and talent for creating quirky and engaging characters was delivered in this one no matter how complicated the storyline was.

As I mentioned earlier, tons of potential. I’m looking forward to seeing where Bella takes this series and how she plans to expand their world. An overall lively and playful MC-lite romance story between two fierce, strong-willed people!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐

•••


Want more Bella Jewel?

Read my review for her Iron Fury MC series!

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📚 Iron Fury MC Series by Bella Jewel


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

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

•••

— BLURB —

A hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.)

1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

2) A person’s undoing

3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton has always been certain that the nice girl can get the corner office. She’s charming and accommodating and prides herself on being loved by everyone at Bexley & Gamin. Everyone except for coldly efficient, impeccably attired, physically intimidating Joshua Templeman. And the feeling is mutual. Trapped in a shared office together forty (ok, fifty or sixty) hours a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. There’s the Staring Game. The Mirror Game. The HR Game. Lucy can’t let Joshua beat her at anything-especially when a huge new promotion goes up for the taking. If Lucy wins this game, she’ll be Joshua’s boss. If she loses, she’ll resign. So why is she suddenly having steamy dreams about Joshua, and dressing for work like she’s got a hot date?

After a perfectly innocent elevator ride ends with an earth shattering kiss, Lucy starts to wonder whether she’s got Joshua Templeman all wrong. Maybe Lucy Hutton doesn’t hate Joshua Templeman. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’ve divided my review into different parts — My impressions on Lucy, Joshua and my overall thoughts on the storyline.

So here we go!

LUCY HUTTON: Ahhhh Lucy. Well… She’s definitely a quirky, one of a kind character. Loved her from the get go just for the fact that she’s sass in a teeny tiny body. It was like “Yesss! Another fictional shorty!” 😀 I instantly connect with characters who are short because whenever it’s mentioned or whenever jokes are made, I instantly relate. Lol! Whenever Lucy mentions her height, or her short legs, or having to wear heels just to get a bit of height had me nodding like a bobblehead in agreement! I know #shortpeopleproblems all too well haha.

She’s so relatable when it comes to relationships too (both with her parents and with guys). I feel like if there was one fictional character that is my spirit animal, it’s Lucy! It’s like I was reading about my life whenever Luce talked about work, her colleagues and that one particular person you dread having to deal with. The one that makes your working day a drainer. Uuck!

Off topic here, but I did work with a colleague once who was the biggest arse. But reading about Luce and Josh’s daily “hating game” reminded me of that time. Except in my situation there was definitely no love lost. Lol. 😅

Question: Who has an annoying colleague you can’t help but think hilariously mean thoughts about — like wishing they would trip over or have something embarrassing happen to them because they’re straight up rude, or smug, or just plain douchey towards you? Anybody??

Anyways, for those who’ve read the book — then you’ll know why I included smurfs into my photo (hehe). But seriously, who doesn’t love a character who has some nerdiness in them!? Although I couldn’t completely agree with her fashion choices, Lucy does have such a hilarious personality, with the most random of thoughts – some of which I still can’t believe she had the guts to say out loud… to Josh no less! There were moments of me blurting “Ahhh! shut up! shut up!” followed by a facepalm! LOL. 🙈

My favourite Lucy Hutton quote:


“Maybe he’ll murder me down there. I’ll end up dead in a Dumpster. The investigators will see my fishnets and heavy eye makeup and assume I’m a hooker. They’ll follow all the wrong leads. Meanwhile, Joshua will be calmly bleaching all my DNA off his shoes and making himself a sandwich.”


and here’s another delightful little comment…


“I want to know what’s going on in your brain. I want to juice your head like a lemon.”


Hehehe.

Lucy is a nice change from female leads I usually read about who ooze cocky confidence and ass-kicking abilities (not that I don’t love them too. If you’ve seen most of my book reviews, those characters are usually leads in some of my most fave of books!)

JOSHUA TEMPLEMAN: And what can I say about Josh? Except when a male colleague is described the way he was (by Lucy) in this book, you can’t reaaally believe that she ‘hates’ having daily banter sessions with the guy. He’s total eye-candy!

Josh may sound jerk-y and rude but I just found his comments and his observations about Luce down right hilarious! His remarks about her height.. her all too niceness towards people.. her choices in attire — I tell ya, all bloody entertaining to read! 😁😁

Maybe I’ve watched wayyyy too many romcoms in my lifetime but his serious, unemotional, mean ‘persona’ – I wasn’t buying it! Uh-uh no way! You just know he’s 100% the sweet, thoughtful, caring guy deep down… (who obviously has personal issues and that’s why he has that facade) but still.

My favourite Joshua Templeman quote:


“I love you, Lucy Hutton. So much, you have no idea. Please be my best friend.”


and then there’s also this:


“When I’m your boss, I’m implementing a corporate support uniform policy. No more of your weird little retro costumes. I’ve already got it circled in the Corporate Wear catalog. A gray shift dress.” He pauses for effect. “Polyester. It’s supposed to be knee length, so it should reach your ankles.” 


See what I mean?! How can you not laugh? As a fellow shorty-mcshorty pants, if someone said that to me ok yes, I would’ve rolled my eyes but then I would’ve cracked up two seconds later because I would’ve been picturing it!

And finally..

PLOT: What is it about contemporary reads that you can pretty much figure out in the first chapter whether you’re gonna like the book or not?! Why can’t it be that easy with fantasy fiction?

This was an enjoyable read. No doubt. Love the characters. Love the dynamics. Love the slow development between the two and getting to know about their lives. But if I had to nitpick I did predict the ending. I guessed it 2/3 of the way through how it would end for Lucy and Josh, and yup… I hit the nail on the head! I did feel a little “meh” about it. But then again it’s not rocket science.. There were obvious signs as to how this was all gonna go down anyways. So no biggie (remember, just nitpicking).

If you guys scrolled right through my review and onto my overall rating, then you guys can pretty much guess that I loved the plot of this one. Contemporary, office romance and best bit… the protagonists’ totally hate each other at the beginning which only means… they really secretly love each other! 😜

I love reading books with love/hate relationships and this is one of the best I’ve read so far. You can’t help but laugh out loud when reading this book and the cringy-ness of some of the things that comes out of Lucy. There were several moments when I wanted to hide behind a pillow for her. Like I said it’s an enjoyable read for anyone who loves romcoms, chick-lit and all round light-hearted good fun.

Sometimes a very well written standalone read can be just as gripping as reading a book series. This will definitely become one of my fave holiday rereads or traveling companion.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

•••


Love Office Romance Books?

📘 Read my review for The Carrero Effect!

The Carrero Effect by L.T. Marshall


•••

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

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