Bound By The Past by Cora Reilly

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•••

— BLURB —

Dante

My life’s a tale of betrayal.

I killed so many because they betrayed our cause, because they betrayed the Outfit.

A hypocrite. A liar. A murderer.

That’s what I am.

Five times I betrayed the Outfit. With my blood I made a vow to our cause, swore my life to it, promised to put the Outfit first. Above all else.

Five times I chose a woman over the good of the Outfit. I betrayed my father. My vow. My men.

You reap what you sow.

Would my betrayal destroy everything I swore to protect?

Valentina

On our wedding day I made a vow to stand by Dante’s side.

In good and in bad times.

To love him through it all.

Growing up in the mafia, I knew the challenges in our life would be numerous. I never expected them to tear at the very base of our family, of our existence.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Marlon_Eyeroll

Dammit! 👏👏👏 Well played, Cora. Well played.

You’ve officially gotten me… or should I say you’ve finally gotten me to like Dante! 😋

When I first read Bound by Duty back in 2016, Dante Cavallaro wasn’t my favourite protagonist. But don’t get me wrong.. I didn’t hate the guy, to me he was just… meh, okay. From my perspective, he definitely lived up to the Iceman image. When other fans swooned over him I always (silently, mind you–didn’t need my head getting bitten off) thought “hmm…was I missing something?” or “What did they see in him that I sure as hell couldn’t??” — things like that.

Now fast forward to 2020, and I fiiiiiiiiinally see it! *cue the harp*

Before I move along with my review I’m adding Cora’s disclaimer first. With the release coming soon, I want to make sure you guys are up to date and that when you read on, my review will (kinda, sorta) make sense to you. I’ll try to keep the rambling to a minimum. 😉


This book isn’t a standalone. You should read (at least) Bound by Duty before starting Bound by the Past. It is, however, recommended that you read Bound by Honor, Bound by Duty, Bound by Hatred, Bound by Temptation and Bound by Love, as well as Twisted Loyalties and Twisted Pride in advance because this book entails spoilers for all of the aforementioned books. 


Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that out the way…

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Let’s start with the reason as to why I am now pro Dante, shall we?

Carla.

Carla made me like Dante. I’m pretty sure she was the missing link that I needed in order to see Dante in a whole different light. I could be completely wrong, but I can’t help think Cora included Dante’s life pre-Valentina especially for us skeptical readers (I can’t be the only one who wasn’t as big a fan of Dante) to better understand his demeanor both publicly and privately.

Similar to Bound by Love where it was from Luca’s point of view, Bound by the Past is from Dante’s — at least for the first part, then it becomes dual POVs between himself and Val. The story is also told from different years of Dante’s life starting from when he was a teenager.

But that first part where it was only Dante’s POV was where he won me over. Just. Like. That! This book (and I’m saying this because it’s how I personally felt) redeemed him in my eyes. The Iceman thawed a little, and the second he started opening up, I started to really invest in his life.

This book is not only much anticipated but in my opinion necessary, especially for readers, like myself who were on the fence about Dante. I guarantee, you will come away from reading it at least understanding him better and his reasoning behind everything that occurred.

His backstory was easily one of the highlights for me. I’m not gonna lie — I teared up 10% into the book. I wasn’t expecting it but Cora’s known to keep you on your toes, so I rolled with the punches. Getting to know more about his life, his family dynamics and his marriage with Carla before everything that happened in Bound by Duty and onward made his world-building and Cora’s entire mafia world even more detailed than it already was.

I seriously didn’t think I would learn anything new about Dante that’ll have me turn on my axis but after reading this one… *phew* I feel like I need to be laying down, stare at my ceiling and just contemplate life.

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The Iceman may just have the biggest heart of all!

If anything, he’s more human than the other Capos. And seeing that certainly had it’s pros and cons. I can picture it now, BBTP will have so many readers’ minds ticking. The results from his actions both past and present is bound to have people questioning, second-guessing, debating, and perhaps even have cause for concern at what it would mean for the future.

So much character growth since Bound by Duty. Dante has portrayed such a cool, calm demeanor not only within the world he’s in but to the reader reading his story. Yet there was so much going on behind the scenes in his life, at least half the things that were revealed in this book I never would’ve expected! It’s heartbreaking.

Without a doubt, Bound by the Past is about sacrifices, betrayal, and secrets. No matter how much of the mob business was kept away from their personal lives and vice a versa, they both eventually bled into one another. Whether you’re a fan of Dante or not, it’ll be hard not to feel bad for the guy in this one. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place one too many times and you can’t help but feel helpless right along with him.

Thank goodness for the all the sweet sentimental moments in between. Like Cora’s previous books, there was a nice balance of light and shade within each of her scenes. And if all fails — the saucy scenes in this one were turned up a notch! 🔥


“It was strange to think that one of the happiest moments of my life followed so closely after an act of war. Maybe it was a reminder that I needed to focus on the good in my life, even if evil would always be my closest companion.”


Then there’s the array of secondary characters that either have been introduced or developed further, which added layers upon layers of side stories and endless possibilities.

Hey, Flamingo Squad! Remember all those times Cora asked questions and had polls on what we would like to see in her future books? If you don’t. No worries because that’s all about to come flooding back whilst reading BBTP. If I could share spoilers right here, right now, you would be seeing a relatively long list! But since I can’t, I’ll just say this — those who are wondering about certain characters, certain couplings, certain stories, you’re queries may just be answered in this book! I know a couple of mine were….but oh man… I was still surprised by a some!

(P.S. Join the Facebook group if you haven’t already → Cora’s Flamingo Squad)

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Another exciting highlight I have to mention are certain introductions Cora has included in this book and directions she’s hinted at for future books. I’ve never been one to complain about the lack of, or seek diversity in my reads. If it’s there — great! If not, no biggie. And considering Cora writes mafia romances, there’s only so many cultures and ethnic diversity that can be included. I’m not going to mention the ethnicity of the character that was introduced in this series, but I want to thank Cora for broadening her world to include it. I feel like her fictional world has just expanded tenfold with the additions and various plots she’s incorporated into her original story arc.

Bound by the Past is probably one of my favourable books she’s written in the sense that it was clever writing, and her chosen format was easy to follow. Cora has managed to bind the Born in Blood and the Camorra Chronicles stories and timelines together seamlessly.

Whichever book (whether it’s from BiB or the Camorra Chronicles), Cora has managed to make me see their side of the story and feel for those characters. It’s remarkable how seeing both sides of a story can easily sway your judgment. Just when you think you prefer one territory over another.. Sigh. It’s honestly a losing battle.

  • I saw a different side to Dante in this book.
  • I saw more from crazy-psycho Remo (which BTW I could’ve lived without lol).
  • There’s characters in here that may be minor now but will eventually play bigger roles that I can’t wait to see in the future.. *ahem ahem* Samuel. Danilo. Orazio. Oh my. I could go on but I… eeeeep… I can’t! 😭🙈
  • And there’s so much insight to Dante’s family — and I don’t just mean with Val and their children. I’m talking about the Miones too! SO MUCH! SO SO MUCH!!

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As this is considered the last book in the BIB series with an anthology and a series of standalone books set in the same world in the works, this story ties everything that’s happened from past to present fairly well. There’s highs and lows. Things I agreed with and some things not so much. But I’ve been in this situation before and knowing Cora, she’ll be able to easily persuade me later on. I mean, she is Queen. Her word is law. 😉😉

An overall satisfying conclusion to Dante’s story. It’s a must read. For fans of her series and for mafia romance lovers alike. Nothing but contentment here!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you so much to Cora Reilly (and Emily Alice) for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Bound By The Past? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble

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MusicButtonCora’s playlist for Bound By The Past!

L I S T E N  N O W

🎧 BOUND BY THE PAST PLAYLIST


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

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Love The One You Hate by R.S. Grey

LovetheOneYouHate_Cover

•••

— BLURB —

Nicholas Hunt is the man I hate.

For good reason.

His opinion of me is tainted by prejudice even before my arrival at his grandmother’s estate, and my first impression of him is just as abysmal.

His arrogance and icy demeanor make it clear that he’s the type of man who’s best handled at a distance.

Fortunately, space shouldn’t be an issue inside this Gilded Age mansion and its lush gardens. If I stick with the servants and he keeps to his sailboat and vintage Porsche, we should hardly cross paths at all. Unfortunately, at Rosethorn, I find that all roads eventually lead to Nicholas Hunt.

Sparks fly as we spar at the dinner table. Fighting words are flung in the shadows of the palatial halls.

We hang suspended in our hatred of one another, painfully oblivious to the heat and tension that build with every moment we’re left alone. We’re liable to kill one another, I think…right up until my eyes land on his lips and a new feeling grips hold of me: lust.

What’s worse?

He knows it.

They say you should keep your enemies close, but when Nicholas tightens his grip on my waist and draws me near, I’m not sure if it’s out of loathing or love.

One thing’s for sure—I intend to find out.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’m always up and raring to go when Grey has a new release. Her books always has a way of lightening your mood and is a great escape from the daily grind (even if it’s only for a few hours).

Love The One You Hate is a standalone contemporary romance that has a Cinderella/ Pretty Woman/ Pretty in Pink rolled into one story line.

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You’re introduced to Maren who pretty much has the worst luck in the world. She’s barely scraping by in the financial department, on the verge of getting fired from her job at an aged care home, and basically has no family to lean on.

But just when she thinks her life is just one big black sucky hole, luck finally throws her a bone in the form of Cornelia Buchanan. Or as I’d like to call her “the fairy godmother”.

Cornelia is pretty much the fairy godmother everyone wishes they had! Kind, thoughtful, giving… and did I mention boatload rich??! Whilst visiting a friend at the home, she sees Maren having a bad day at work and an idea forms out of thin air — Hire Maren to be her personal carer of sorts. Great idea, right?

Enters Nicholas Hunt. Well traveled, classy, a lawyer to boot, and oh yes.. Cornelia’s cold, takes-no-shit, serious grandson. And one look at Maren.. and all he can think is she’s there to take advantage of his grandmother and take her for everything she’s got. Why else would she be there, right?

“It’s like he hated me upon sight. Is that a thing? People drone on about love at first sight, but what about the opposite? Can someone lay eyes on a stranger one time and decide on a whim to hate them forever after?” — Maren    

Whilst I adored the concept of this storyline (who wouldn’t love a Cinderella-esque story where the poor girl, finds love and happiness with a man who can offer her the world?!).. it did feel a little choppy for my liking. There’s quite a few little sub-plots happening within this story but they all fizzled out. I would’ve liked to have seen one or two of those side stories lead somewhere. It almost felt like they were added on as fillers..? A lot of things were left unfinished or quickly settled. Not to mention the epilogue confused me. There was quite a lot of change that I, for one did not see coming at all as there were no hints of it prior. Sigh.

You want unpredictability in your reads? You’ll get it from this one. Hehe.

But there are a handful of positive features in this book. Like Cornelia and Maren’s blooming bond. They have a nice friendship that’s consistent and probably the only stable relationship throughout. I enjoyed reading their time spent together.

Then you have Maren and Nicholas, who are from two different words. She’s considered an outsider, not from the same class, and before coming to stay and work for Cornelia she was pretty much a loner. Nicholas and his family are well known. He’s hanged out with the same circle of people all his life. So saying their relationship is complicated is an understatement, but I couldn’t deny every time they were in the same room, the zing was strong!

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Nicholas was wary, judgmental and a little cold at first but was quick to accept he prejudged Maren and was willing to admit he made a mistake. Maren on the other hand came off as a little rude and standoffish towards Nicholas — which I must say I was a little taken aback considering he is Cornelia’s grandson. You would think she would try to befriend him or at least be civilized, but sadly that wasn’t the case at all. There’s a lot of game playing involved and I found that there was very little about her I did like (besides being a great companion to Cornelia) 😞

In all honestly, whilst there were a lot of parts I enjoyed reading from this book, but it’s not one of my faves from Grey. It fell a little short with little to no real character growth from either protagonists. Whilst there was obvious chemistry between the two, I wouldn’t even call what they had a proper relationship (and based on how it was going, certainly one I didn’t see lasting).

“If you and I hadn’t gotten off to such a rocky start, I think I would have found you very handsome.” — Maren

But Grey is a pro at creating witty banter between her characters and she always knows how to lighten the mood with a little humor. I’m happy to say it’s no different with this one! I may not be a fan of Maren, but there was some secondary characters that I did find appealing and gave this fictional world a little more depth in the sense that you get the gist that Maren is brought into a world of exclusivity and social standing.

All in all, a fairly well-paced story. A nice familial bond with Cornelia really being the link between Nicholas and Maren. A couple of entertaining secondary characters that never fail to make me smile. And a few saucy scenes between our leads. Romance readers who enjoy an enemies to lovers/ hate to love trope will certainly have no problems settling in with this one on a comfy couch! 😉

If you’re an avid fan of R.S. Grey and her books, then you’ll want to add this one to your collection. It’s a modern take on…

PrettyWoman_Cinderella

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

Thank you to R.S. Grey for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 🧡

•••


— Love The One You Hate by R.S. Grey —

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Release Date: May 7, 2020

Add to your TBR: Goodreads

Grab your copy below!

 


— About The Author —


Author_R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughter, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga!

Follow R.S. Grey on her Social Media

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•••

If you’re interested in reading my reviews for previous books by R.S Grey — check out the ones below!

Hope you’re all well, friends! Keep safe, and I’ll catch you in my next one! Xo

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His by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

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• BLURB •

I’ve been in hiding for four years. On the run from the man in whose bed I once slept.

I saw something I shouldn’t have seen.

Took something I shouldn’t have taken.

And he’s just found me.

But it’s not just my safety I have to worry about. I have a little boy. His little boy. The secret baby of a Russian mobster.

He told me in no uncertain terms that I’m his. That we would be a family.

But his uncle still wants me dead and I know the man whose been hunting me is the only one who can keep us safe.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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What an amazing conclusion to an unbelievably gruelling journey Lev and Kat had gone through! *phew!*

‘His’ kicks off right from the ending of ‘Mine’ (with that cliffhanger) and boy, was I already on high alert and on the edge of my seat wondering what the hell happened?!

In ‘Mine’, Lev and Kat were in a battle of trust, loyalty and survival. You’ll see in this one how far they’ve come and gone through in their relationship since. The dynamics have changed drastically between them from a push and pull to Lev having Kat put a lot of her faith in his hands to ensure not only her safety but of their child; Josh. Whilst that sounds like quite a domineering move on Lev’s part, it’s actually more over-protectiveness than anything else. With Lev’s dark unsettling past, he’s determined for history not to repeat itself… and it shows in his actions and drive to keep his family safe from the dangers of the mafia world he’s betrayed.

“You belong to me. I will take care of you. There’s nothing you can say or do that will make me let go of you.”

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I loved Lev in this book just because of how much his grown since he was first introduced to us in ‘Mine’. He went from a man who rarely showed his true emotions to one who exuded them at any chance he got. The guy has no shame in sharing his thoughts or feelings now that Kat and Josh are with him, and he’ll be damned if anyone fight him on it! He’s a character who has just the right amount of alpha, gentlemaness and family man side to him. Yes, he can be bossy, forward and yeah.. a little intimidating but it’s all in the Lev package (and if you can believe it, he is like this for good reason).

Just like Lev, Kat had quite a character development — bigger in fact. Having a child, being on the run and all the stress and pressure of keeping it together really showed in how much Kat has grown as a person. I almost forgot that she’s still quite young with the amount of troubling events she’s gone through in life. I guess it’s true what they say about having children.. (especially when you’ve barely reached adulthood) it’ll force you to grow up fast — at least in Kat’s case anyways. 

It’s hard not to sympathize with her. She was thrusted into Lev’s dangerous world and for the majority of the time, she had no real control or choice of actions. I’ve read quite a few dark reads and romances with characters who’ve survived ordeals and still keeps fighting — This duology (and Kat) is now included in that list. Katerina is one tough mudda! She goes through a lot in this story, and the strength she has is one of the reasons why she’s not your stereotypical heroine who backs down once a man steps into the picture. She hasn’t lost her opinions and despite knowing the likely outcome, she’s still prepared to take risks. Now.. I wasn’t a fan of all the risks she took but appreciated the fact that she wasn’t a weak ass heroine.

“He doesn’t expect me to be armed and dangerous. But I am.”

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‘Mine’ set a very well paced story which continued effortlessly into ‘His’. If anything this half of the story was a lot more intense, more action-packed, and filled with more uncertainty that it was hard to put down. The further you read on, the level of build-up intensifies to the point where you know a bomb is about to drop (despite the fact that you don’t know which particular one it might be because there’s so many directions the storyline could go). There is some predictability but there’s plot twists in the book that’ll have you overlooking that minor detail. I felt some things were a little anticlimactic or could’ve gone into more detail (but I think that’s more to do with the fact that I’m constantly reading dark, grimy romance books that I’m expecting long, drawn out scenes now. I’m twisted, I know lol) 🤭

But overall ‘His’ left me feeling happy and full of contentment. Other than one particular character from Mine who I thought might’ve been forgotten in this book but did make a last minute appearance.. (not going to lie my heart sang a little and wished there was more of him) 😊 it still wrapped up beautifully. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome and ending to this mafia romance. No questions were left unanswered (at least not for me). You have one happy reader right here!

As I said in my review for Mine, if you’re a fan of Zavarelli’s Boston Underworld series, then this duet is not to be missed. It gives you similar suspenseful vibes in this one as you would’ve had reading about the Mafiosos in that series.

I’ll be real — there are some gritty scenes that may be a little graphic but I promise you it’s bearable for those who tend to be a little squeamish or not a fan of detailed violence. Knight and Zavarelli does a great job of keeping you on edge throughout the entire story with a few unexpected twists and turns that’ll have you gasping!

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Sad it’s come to an end but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The ending left me finally being able to breath easy and it was a deserving one for our beloved protagonists. Lev is now another fictional book boyfriend to add to the ever growing list! 😉 Knight and Zavarelli make quite a collab. Do I recommend this book? Uhhh.. hell yes!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you so much to A. Zavarelli, Natasha Knight & Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to be part of the blitz and for the advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading His? Grab your copy here: Amazon (Universal)  |  Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo

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Read my (spoiler free) review for Ties That Bind: Book One!

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📖 Mine by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli


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Hope you’re all doing well, guys! Happy reading. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Stealing Cinderella by A. Zavarelli

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Every royal has their dirty little secret. His was… me.

It should have been simple.

Go to the ball, meet the prince, and secure his patronage for my favorite charity.

But beneath the mask, the brooding beast of a man was not at all who I expected.

He was dark and intense and eerily quiet.

When I left, I could still feel the ghost of his touch branded into my skin.

He haunted my dreams, but I never expected to see him again.

Then he came for me.

And he took me.

And I learned that his darkness was a void I never could have conceived.

He’s the crown prince of Norway.

And, now, I’m his captive.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’m always up for a good fairy tale retelling (the darker the better) and this one did not disappoint! I love that Zavarelli used the Cinderella fairy tale to start her story off but you’ll come to find fairly early on that it turns into a completely new story on it’s own.

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I was getting a mixture of Ever After and Cinderella (live action), and Cenerentola (Italian version of Cinderella) vibes in this one, which I was loving BTW.

⚠ But before I go any further, I can’t stress enough that this is a full-blown adult adaptation of Cinderella. Definitely not for any reader under 18+ years of age. There’s some serious subjects matters included in the plot that may trigger some readers — violence, physical and sexual abuse, suicide and drugs. This book also contains minor BDSM.

I tend to steer clear of books that contain any sort of BDSM (just not my type of reads) but if you’re familiar with Zavarelli then you know she already has a couple of books with very minor amounts of it. So, in my case I already had a sense of what to expect when scenarios started going towards that direction. Zavarelli’s is minimal, it doesn’t cross the line to the heavy, bold, detailed BDSM like some other books.

So, if you’re a similar reader to me in regards to this type of content, then I’d like to assure you it doesn’t take anything away from the characters or the storyline. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s minor and it’s only one element of the story, not the centre of it 🙂

Now–regarding the storyline.. I thought it flowed really well. Zavarelli did a fantastic job of setting the scene and atmosphere of the book. I was already on the edge of my seat from the second Ella and Thorsen first set eyes on each other due to the fact the she’s already given us a good idea of what the leads’ personalities and attitudes are like from the start.

“There was something different about her, but I couldn’t figure out what it was. She smelled like sunshine and wildflowers. Freedom.”

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“When I looked into her eyes, I found myself getting lost there.”

There’s a case of mistaken identity and a smidge of hate to love romance in this one (which I always thought was one of the more juicier romance tropes) 😉 Cinderella is my favourite fairy tale ever since I was little. Now as an adult, fairy tales are still something I love to read (and watch), only difference is that the grittier versions are now my preference. This one ticked a lot of the boxes!

Ella and Thorsen are opposites who find common ground the further their relationship develops. Thorsen was already intrigued by her and despite his rude first impression towards Ella, she can’t deny her attraction to him either.

Stealing Cinderella is definitely one unique story. You still get the evil stepmother and sisters (oh boy, do you ever), the Prince (although you’ll never confuse this one with the Disney version), and that big, momentous ball scene! 👠

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But don’t get too comfortable because once midnight hits, this Cinderella takes on an unexpected turn you won’t see coming at all. There’s secrecy, betrayal, a lot of shocking moments and all-around heartbreak. I couldn’t stop the tears with this one. But then again should I even be surprised by that outcome when it comes to Zavarelli’s books? Uhhhhh no.

You’ll see some new secondary characters in this one that I think was a refreshing addition, taking this fairy tale to another level. The Prince here is not your typical charming royalty. You may even hate the jerk before you love him. He’s broken, and it shows! This rendition equally tells of the Prince’s story as much as Cinderella (or in this case, Ella’s) — with alternating POVs.

If I had to make a critique, I would’ve liked more details for certain things mentioned or discussed in the book. It didn’t delve deep enough, so any attempt at connecting with those scenes lacked a little for my liking. But overall, still a well-thoughtout story.

As warned at the beginning, this book delves into certain sensitive subjects that may trigger some readers. As the characters stories start unraveling bit by bit, you start to piece together their secrets.. not going to lie–it’s a difficult pill to swallow. But once you wrap you head around it, you cannot not know what happens next. It’s haunting, disturbing… and yes, sickening but it makes this story so much more than a simple fairy tale romance. The characters are well-developed, showing you how they’ve come to be the way they are now in this present time.

There’s a nice balance of light and dark within the storyline, which in my opinion is what makes Stealing Cinderella heart-breaking. There’s so much viciousness in it that when you get a little bit of goodness come through in some parts, you can’t help but release a breath you didn’t even realize you were holding onto.

“… You have to promise me that you’ll keep fighting. Even on your darkest days. Promise me…”           

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Putting the romance aside, this book also focuses a lot on family, the different dynamics, and the effects of how you treat others. The secondary characters really do play a big role in both Ella and Thorsen’s lives. You’ll see they hold a lot of power and influence. It shows how much a good support system can help one overcome a lot of hard and difficulties times.

Despite the darkness, Stealing Cinderella is also full of love, hope and healing.

And finally– set in modern day Europe, the backdrop will have you in wanderlust! 😍 I completely recommend this read! If enjoy dark romance, this is for you. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, this is for you. It’s a standalone and includes a HEA!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to A. Zavarelli, Candi Kane PR and Enticing Journey Book Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


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Hope you guys are all well. Happy reading! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Evil Dead MC Series by Nicole James

The Evil Dead MC is a dark gritty, yet swoony romance series that centers around members of a motorcycle club. Each can be read as standalones but I recommend reading them in order because the world-building gets more in-depth the further you read on, and characters tend to make appearances in each others books– and you wouldn’t want to miss any interesting developments in their lives, trust me! 😉

⚠ But I should mention that these books do contain subjects that may trigger some readers. Whilst it’s not overly detailed or graphic — profanity, violence, physical and sexual abuse, and kidnapping is present. Readers 18+ only!

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•••


— OUTLAW —


When outlaw biker, Cole Austin sees a young woman handcuffed and being dragged across the yard of the Dead Souls Motorcycle Club’s remote clubhouse, he’s stunned by the realization of just how dark his world has become. This scene is even more than his twisted soul can stomach.

Compelled to intercede and save her, he has no idea his whole world is about to change. He believes he’s doing the right thing until a secret she’s hiding makes him question if saving her may be the biggest mistake of his life.

The two strike a deal, a deal they may both come to regret. Can his soul be saved? Is there anything he won’t do for her? Are there some things he just can’t? And are there some things she can never forgive?

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

This book was crazy good (and where my addiction with MC romances started). So much drama and intrigue that I couldn’t put it down. An unexpected chance meeting that ends up turning into so much more. Seeing a rough and rugged biker, with a closed off heart start to unravel over someone who was so not part of his world had me not only swooning but on the edge of my seat anxious to see how everything would go down with them two. Such a roller coaster ride, and an unbelievably amazing start to the series (and introduction to all the brothers of the MC!) P.S. I may or may not have cried once or twice reading it.. 🙈    

•••


— CRASH —


When outlaw biker Tyler “Crash” Shaw volunteers his services to his club brother, Cole Austin, VP of the Evil Dead MC, he suddenly finds himself a rich girl’s bodyguard and babysitter. Well, it’s a bitch of a job, but maybe he can have a little fun with it. He thinks he’ll get a kick out of teaching the pampered stuck-up girl a lesson or two on how the other half lives. She can cook and clean for him in exchange for his help. No free ride for her. He intends to teach her that money can’t buy her way through life.

The world saw a classy pulled-together wealthy lady. All he saw was a spoiled little rich girl. A troublemaker, that’s all she was to him. Until she revealed the shattered girl inside that tried so hard to hide her weaknesses and fears with a façade of arrogance, attitude, and sass.

He’d tear down those walls she tried so hard to build, if only she’d let him.
Could the love of a man so wrong for her be the only one to save her?
And in his darkest hour, would her love be enough to save him?
From the MC’s California charter in San Jose, to the casinos and brothels of Reno, to brother charters in the Deep South, this story will take you on a ride of highs and lows that lead ultimately to redemption.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My fave book from the entire series hands down! This series is already onto book 10 and not a single one of them have knocked Crash off top spot! 😊 This book had it all for me — A hate to love romance trope, a protective badass of an alpha male – who can turn into a sweet gentleman like *clicks fingers* that! And a helluva lot of banter that’ll have you giggling all throughout! 😍😍 A lot of twists and turns with this one, that you won’t know what’s happening until it smacks you in the face! The steamy scenes in this book were just that–STEAMY! Crash is completely book boyfriend goals!   

•••


— SHADES —


Shades hadn’t seen Skylar in years, and now here she was, the love of his life, riding back into his life on the back of a brother’s bike.

For years after Shades had lost Skylar, he’d tried satisfying the emptiness of losing her with booze, pussy and the club. He’d turned his frustration at having to give her up into a determination to climb the ranks of the club, but he hadn’t counted on the fact that the pull he’d felt toward Skylar had only laid dormant in him all these years. Or that all it would take to reignite it was just one look at her. And he sure as hell hadn’t counted on her showing up on the back of a brother’s bike.

When Skylar finally comes back into his life, will his desire for earning that VP patch stand in the way of any future he could have with her?

And when a rival MC shows up looking for Skylar, things go from complicated to damn near impossible.

Does Skylar come with more baggage than Shades is willing to sign up for?

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A second chance romance like no other. These two have a complicated past that comes plunging back when they finally cross paths with each other again after so many years. I loved that Shades was a completely different person when he was with Skylar in comparison to when he’s with his MC brothers. Like the previous two books, the protagonists’ attraction for each other oozes off the page. Their relationship has some serious issues that they have to work through, but it’s part of the appeal of their story. I love the character growth in Shades, and the come-full-circle of their coupling.     

•••


— WOLF —


The Evil Dead Motorcycle Club gave Wolf his nickname. They said it was because women stood about as much chance with him as Little Red Riding Hood stood against The Big Bad Wolf. And maybe that was true.

For Wolf, when it comes to his club, he’s all about loyalty. He loves his brothers, he loves the freedom of the road, and he loves his independence. When it comes to women, Wolf is all about the chase. He likes the hunt, he likes the challenge, and he loves women. And for the hot-as-hell badass biker, they’ve always come too easily. But they never fully satisfy him.

That is, until he met Crystal.

Buried under that hard-edged sexy-as-sin tomboy with the smartass mouth that can put any brother in the MC in his place, is a feminine side she only reveals when pushed. And Wolf is just the man to push. Problem is she’s the only woman to ever push back. Which only makes him more determined to have her.

Life in the Evil Dead MC isn’t easy, and neither is loving one of them. It’s a life that can leave a man scarred and bloody. And sometimes the fallout is far reaching and takes more than a man is willing to give.

It can be just as risky for any woman brave enough to love one of them.

The scars of life run deep, for both of them.

Sometimes life doesn’t give you a fairytale, sometimes you have to make your own.

And sometimes it takes a spitfire to tame a hell-raiser.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ever since Wolf and Crystal were first introduced in the previous books, I had been curious about them and wanting to see what their deal was. What I got from them in this book was so much more than what I imagined. Theirs was probably one of the more heartbreaking stories. What started out as friends with benefits (and denying their true feelings) turns into one fucking complicated mess that had me wondering if they would ever be able to work through it all. The things Skylar went through in this book is both relatable and realistic to a lot of women. I love the evolution of them as individuals and as a couple. Their story is told in both the past and present times of their lives, which really provides you with how much history is between Wolf and Skylar. Nicole James added some perfectly timed light-heartedness to break up the tension and seriousness in some scenes, and the support of the brotherhood was especially great in this one. It’s a beautiful love story. Little Tip: tissues are a must-have when reading it!     

•••


— GHOST —


Ghost has been living his life under one rule…never fall in love, never get too close, never get tied down to just one woman. Focusing solely on his club, he is able to remain unattached and free…. until a girl from his past is dropped in his lap. She was a line he swore he’d never cross. And now, in order to obtain an alliance his club needs, he’s forced to use her in ways he’d never imagined.

She needs his protection, and she’s the one woman he can’t refuse.

When Ghost finds himself unable to keep his distance from her, will he be able to push his feelings aside and use her as a pawn for the attainment of his club’s goals? Or will he put the club and their lives at risk to follow his heart?

When lies and secrets come between them, can they overcome everything to find their own piece of heaven?

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

My least fave from the series (just wasn’t feeling it). This was an (ex) step-siblings turned lovers romance. They reconnect after Jessie tracks him down in need of his help. 
I was a fan of Ghost in Shades’ book, with my first impression of him being he was pretty-laid back, funny, and sweet as hell. Unfortunately those traits were lacking in his own book, and in my opinion didn’t do his character complete justice. Sure he was protective but he was also tough, arrogant, and domineering needing to have everything his way.. yet he kept changing his bloody mind! 🙄
Whilst Jessie gave in too easily. I’d say she’s your stereotypical damsel in distress. And she certainly needed Ghost’s help with her dilemma. Still a decent read. I became invested in these guys so I could not NOT read this one!

•••


— RED DOG —


** This is a NOVELLA **

The boys of the Evil Dead MC are out on business—the shady kind that happens in the dark of night miles from nowhere—when Red Dog gets a call from one of his club brothers. Seems Red Dog’s ol’ lady has picked tonight to take off and go drinking fifty miles from home.

The fact that she waits until he’s six hours away—doing an arms deal on the California-Oregon border—to pull this stunt, doesn’t amuse him.

Just wait until he gets his hands on her.

Only problem is—that may be easier said than done.

What ensues is a game of hide-and-seek with the boys all helping their MC brother track down his ol’ lady.

Along the way, Red Dog remembers why he fell in love with his little China Doll in the first place.

And he’ll be damned if he’s going to let anything or anyone keep them apart again, not even her.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Ahhhh okay.. *flails arms* Red Dog is my second fave Evil Dead brother! 🤭😍 I wish his story wasn’t a novella because it was just so, so good. Red Dog is actually the only member who was introduced in the series already having an ol’ lady. This novella is pretty much how he met Mary and some of the difficult times they’ve gone/ going through in their lives. I love the chase in this one. The grovelling was my fave part of the entire book. That may sound mean but Red Dog is this big bad biker yet really he’s all sweetness! Not only was it entertaining to see (thanks to the brotherly banter), it was also the part that always gets me choked up. No matter how many times I reread his novella, I still get teary-eyed seeing the red-headed viking share his feelings with Mary. Ughhh LOVE!  I also have to mention that I love the little bit of diversity in this one — with Mary being half Asian. As I’ve come to understand, there’s not a lot of diversity in MCs, so this was a really nice addition 💘 Highly recommend. If you start this series, do not skip out on this novella.   

•••


— BLOOD —


A tale of revenge, loyalty and debts owed.

He’s the Enforcer for the New Orleans Chapter of the Evil Dead MC.
She’s a nurse, kidnapped and thrust into a situation out of her control.

Chained to a bed, his wounds on fire, his mind foggy with fever, Blood is losing all hope of ever making it out of the stifling New Orleans row house. Until the door opens and an angel of mercy is thrust inside.

Nurse Catherine ‘Cat’ Randall stared at the man on the bed. He’s dark and dangerous and everything she hates—just another filthy biker. Only he isn’t. He’s nothing like the others. And she’s his only hope of escape. Can she risk helping him? Can she trust a man who wears an MC patch? How can he be her savior when he wears the face of her deepest fear?

Blood owes the pretty nurse a debt—one he’s determined to repay, even if it clashes with his duty to his club. He made her a promise. But time is running out. To keep that promise and repay the debt he owes, he may have to sacrifice it all—everything that ever meant a damn to him.

Fighting treachery, betrayal, and dirty deals, there are a hundred ways it could all go wrong, but Blood is determined to have Cat for his own. She’s fast becoming his weakness. As the smoldering passion between them flares to life, burning hot and intense, no one is going to stop him. He wants it all, and he’ll settle for nothing less.

This is an emotional story filled with twists and turns, tragedy and humor that only the Evil Dead MC can deliver. Hang on for a ride you won’t forget.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Not gonna lie, whilst I did like this book overall.. I also found it a little busy. A lot of different things happened in this book (some of which started a chain of events that you’ll see in following books). 
Blood was one of the brothers I totally fawned over when he was introduced — another character I could not wait to read more about, and whilst I did like him in this one, Cat and his story didn’t completely win me over. Cat, who I initially liked at the beginning slowly became someone I wasn’t really enjoying reading about. The chemistry between them wasn’t as palpable as I thought it would be (considering what I’ve seen of Blood in Shades’ book) 🤷‍♀️ Yeah… the scenes where it was just the two of them had me all smiles, but there were parts of this story that dragged a little long for me.
One nice change of pace about this one though is the backdrop. It’s set in New Orleans and the culture and people detailed out in this book I consider a highlight. Blood, himself was another. I would reread this book just for him.. because he is dreamy. Hehe.    

•••


— UNDERTAKER —


When Undertaker saved an innocent young girl from the clutches of a rival MC, he never expected she’d form an attachment to him, refusing to leave the safety of his clubhouse. But the President of the Evil Dead MC has a club to run. What he doesn’t have is the time or the experience to help Holly get past the traumatic experience she’s been through. Counseling is what she needs, and he’ll see she gets it.

The last thing Undertaker expects to see when that therapist walks through his clubhouse doors is a face from his past. They’d met years ago when he’d been ordered into counseling as part of his parole. Eleven years locked in a cell does things to a man, but back then Undertaker hadn’t had time to deal with all his demons. He had a motorcycle club he needed to get back to, and an untimely death in the ranks had him stepping up to fill the spot of President and fulfill his destiny—one that didn’t include the fresh-out-of-college psychology intern who’d been put in charge of his case. She’d known nothing of his problems. How could she? Besides, he’d scared her to death.

Now, a dozen years later, fate was coming around again, throwing them back together. But Allison Carter wasn’t that naïve girl anymore; she was all woman now.
And the President of the Evil Dead’s New Orleans Chapter was about to make her his.
Only problem was he had to let one sweet girl down easy before he could pursue her hot-as-sin therapist. It won’t be so simple when trouble from his past threatens everything.

When an ex-con biker sets his sights on you, do you run?
No?
Not even when he comes with more trouble than you can handle?

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A older man/ younger woman second chance romance that pulls at the heartstrings. I enjoyed every second of this book. Not only are the characters a little older than the previous ones, the maturity in their relationship is also evident. There was no gaming playing — just two people who had a short encounter in the past coincidentally meet again after so many years and start getting to know one another. The gradual growth of their relationship is one of the most realistic in this series in regards to pacing, and by the end the love between these two felt rock solid. Another satisfying romance story that’ll leave you with a contented smile on your face. 

•••


— JOKER —


Holly—
She’s a twenty-year-old girl working towards getting over her traumatic past, and moving forward with her life. That means leaving the safety she’s found at the Evil Dead MC’s clubhouse, and returning to school and an apartment on campus.

Last thing she wants is her new biker bodyguard to think she’s a scared little child. So she bluffs her way through situations, pretending to be tough and fearless, when in reality she’s the complete opposite.

Holly can’t stand Joker—but tell that to her traitorous body.
Why did he have to be so good looking?
Why did he have to be the one to make her feel again?
And why did he have to be the one man she can’t have?

JOKER—
He has no idea what he’s done to earn the crap job of being this little brat’s new shadow, but he’s not about to let the president of his MC down. Joker was given one stipulation, she’s off limits. Holly may be a brat, but she’s also beautiful—and keeping his hands off her may be the death of him.

Joker isn’t about to stand for Holly’s bratty behavior. And he’s definitely not going to take any disrespect from her. For every stunt she pulls, he’s right there to drag her out of trouble and rein her in.

She was just a brat, until he saw her vulnerable side.
She was just a tough little smartass, until he saw the fear she hid.
She was just a job, until she wasn’t.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A hate to love romance between two young leads. There’s a lot of fun and games, and banter in this storyline but the serious subjects within is what makes this book have depth in their budding relationship. Joker and Holly went from tolerating one another to truly needing each other. 
Holly may have been bratty and immature at the beginning, but there’s reasoning behind that and the fact the Joker took the time and effort to help her work through it and move on really showed that he was more than just a club member doing what he was told.
A sweet story, and despite their young love, it had intensity, vulnerability, and passion that matches the rest of the romances in this series. 

•••


— HAMMER —


A badass biker and the sexy little sprite that wants nothing to do with him. They’re opposites in every way that matters-except one-they can’t keep their eyes off each other.

Hammer watches Tink strut past him without so much as a glance. His eyes moving over her hot little body-a body that’s been driving him crazy and keeping him awake at night.

She’s the one chick he’s been infatuated with for months, but she won’t give him the time of day. Hammer just doesn’t get it. After all, he’s a big, muscular man who turns female heads wherever he goes. Tattoos cover the skin of his sculpted body, and that combined with being a patched member of the Evil Dead MC does it for most women who are into bad boys. Not Tink, though.

Unfortunately for Hammer, the one woman he wants more than any other seems to be immune to him. Well, he’s had about enough of her snubbing him like he doesn’t even exist. He’s going after what he wants, and what he wants more than anything is that hot little girl with the short white-blonde hair. The one so petite, the guys in the club nicknamed her Tinker Bell. Yes, that sexy little sprite is going to be his.

Tink is totally aware of Hammer’s eyes on her as she walks past. Warmth floods her body, like it does every time she’s near him and he looks at her that way-like he’s undressing her with his eyes and imagining all the sordid things he’d like to do to her. Things she lies awake at night imagining as well. But Tink isn’t willing to risk her heart; not for a man who could hurt her like he could, a man who has already been with her sister. Raven always gets what she wants, and that’s usually anything she thinks Tink might want. Tink learned long ago not to even try to compete with her sister. It’s pointless. So, she’s carved out a life for herself surrounded by the men of this MC and the women who have become her best friends. It’s a world she thought her sister would never be interested in, and one where she’ll never have to compete with her.

Apparently, she’d thought wrong.

What happens when a badass biker wants the one woman he can’t have? How far will he go to have her?

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

After reading the blurb for Hammer’s story, I instantly thought it sounded adorable… and guess what? It was! I’m obsessed with the fact that Hammer has always had a thing for Tink but she’s always just kind of avoided him like a plague. Lol. This book was his opportunity to finally try and get closer to Tink. There’s a lot of miscommunication and trust issues with these two, but this story was also light-hearted and endearing. I love that they are complete opposites — Hammer is a tatted-up biker, built like a tank, and can pretty much have any woman (except for Tink, that is). Tink is this teeny tiny pixie-like woman who happens to work behind the bar at their clubhouse and has seen what these brothers are like when women are around. 
Like all the previous books in the series, there are always underlying issues and hurdles each couple goes through. Hammer is no different. Besides Tink trying to fight off her attraction for Hammer, they both have family issues they need to deal with. Hammer’s personal story is the standout for me though. Another amazing addition to the series, and at this point, these books have become guilty pleasure reads! 😅

•••


📚 The Evil Dead MC books are available on Amazon

Nicole James Books

Shots

I’m #currentlyreading Nicole James newest release — Dirty Deeds, first book in her new series Devil Kings MC (if you’ve read the Evil Dead MC series then you’ll know that Devil Kings are a rival MC).

I wanted to post this short review/ rating of each book in the original series that way you guys have a reference you can go back to when I have my review up for Dirty Deeds.

In the meantime.. Hope you’re all keeping safe and healthy. Happy reading, and I’ll catch up with you guys soon! Xo

P.S. If you’re a fan of MC romances and would recommend some, please do! Always looking for more to add to my TBR! 😃


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

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The Allure Of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey

AllureOfDeanHarper_Cover

•••

— BLURB —

From: LilyNBlack@Gmail.com
To: JosephineKeller@VogueMagazine.com
Subject: You’re a flippin’ idiot

Good morning my dear, naive friend, I hope you’re enjoying a breakfast of regret and sorrow

Why?

Because you sent me to work for Dean Harper, aka a control freak in a tailor-made suit. Sure he owns the trendiest restaurants in NYC, but c’mon Jo, his ego makes Kanye West look like the Dalai Lama.

He’s the type of guy that only hears the word “no” when it’s followed by “don’t stop.”

Working for Dean Harper would be like selling my soul to the devil… and before you say anything, I don’t care if the devil has punch-you-in-the-gut brown eyes and an ass to match. My soul isn’t for sale.

Regretfully yours, Lily

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Ahhhhh I love me some Dean!! 😍

I’m going to say it right here, right now.. one of my top five fave R.S. Grey books ever read! It had everything I wanted in a contemporary romance. Enemies to lovers, lots of banter, sparks between the hero/ heroine, some grovelling and of course — a HEA!

AllureOfJulianLefray_Cover

The Allure of Dean Harper is the second book in the Allure duet. The first book being The Allure of Julian Lefray, and whilst this book is technically a standalone (like the majority of Grey’s books are), I recommend you read Julian Lefray first because that’s where you’re first introduced to them. Whilst they don’t officially meet each other until this book, Dean is Julian’s best friend, and Lily’s best friend is Jo (who is Julian’s love interest.. you getting the gist of how these two will meet?) 🤭

I’ve read Dean Harper numerous times already. This review may be.. umm.. a smidge late (okay, okay.. a lot late), but my feelings towards this book have not changed since my first read of it. If anything, I love it more each time I pick it up.

If you’re a fan of enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance tropes, and haven’t read this one yet? Then I urge you to do so.. *nudge nudge* Not only is it one of my fave books of Grey’s, it’s also one of my all time fave books with that oh-so clichéd (but still the best) romance trope. The amount of witty banter, and frustration coming from both these characters had me laughing nonstop. The chemistry between Lily and Dean is palpitating whether they’re bickering about the most random of things, to full-blown arguing, or completely succumbing to their desire and hooking up! You can’t help but feel emotional right alongside them.


“There’s a fine line between persistence and annoyance.” — Dean


Enzo_Caroline_Annoyed


“Is that the same line that falls between being a control freak and just being an asshole?” — Lily


Grey’s books are quintessential mood boosters! You may get teary-eyed in some scenes but I guarantee by the time you finish one, you’ll have a smile on your face. Her characters are always quirky, with a unique sense of humor that’s so relatable. The storylines are light-hearted yet realistic enough that one is bound to identify with certain situations, actions or issues a character is going through. That’s a big part in why I’m constantly a fan of her books.

(P.S. Any book that explicitly has mentions of food in the storyline, is another thumbs up in my opinion!) — Make sure to grab yourself a snack whilst reading this one. You’ll get hungry, trust me!

The Allure of Dean Harper is entertaining as hell, fairly well-paced (you won’t be bored for one second), and the backdrop for this romcom sets the scene perfectly. The characters’ personalities are amazingly developed — practically spilling out of the pages! Dean oozes the charm, confidence and experience. Lily may be young and stubborn, but she’s also a go-getter, passionate and thoughtful.

I must also mention the supporting characters. I almost always adore the side characters in Grey’s books, and this one was no different. Grey has a knack for writing them so likeable that I tend to wish they had bigger roles. Lol. They bring perfectly timed comic relief, either by breaking the tension or putting the leads in an extended state of embarrassment. Whichever way they come.. it’s another thing to look forward to! 😊

The journey that Dean and Lily go through is not the easiest. If you put the fun and jokes aside there’s a lot of denial, fear and miscommunication that they both have to work through and face in order to move forward.

It may be a quick read, but it packs a punch!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

🔔 Interested in reading The Allure Of Dean Harper? Grab your copy here: Amazon (US)  |  Amazon (UK)

•••


Check out more of my reviews for R.S. Grey’s books!

📘 His Royal Highness by R.S. Grey

📘 Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey

📘 Doctor Dearest by R.S. Grey


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

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