Giana Darling is a USA Today Bestselling Selling Canadian romance writer who specializes in the taboo and angsty side of love and romance. She currently lives in beautiful British Columbia where she spends time riding on the back of her man’s bike, baking pies, and reading snuggled up with her cat Persephone.
She loves to hear from readers so please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions or comments.
I let him break me. Shatter my heart into a million pieces. And I took the coward’s way out. Only the drugs didn’t help. Didn’t make me forget him. I still remember every thing about him. The way his piercing blue eyes looked right through me. The way his perfect lips danced over my skin.
The way he rejected me so cruelly.
And now I can’t escape him. Couldn’t pretend he doesn’t exist even if I tried. Because every single day I wake up to a beautiful reminder of the devastating pain he caused.
My club thinks I’m losing my mind. My sister prays the old me will return. And my best friend…well…I’ve cut ties with him.
I’m on a path of self-destruction and I have no intention of changing direction. Not until I find out the truth. Not until I find the missing girls.
I thought she was one of them. Thought she’d been taken. But she was simply hiding away from me.
I don’t blame her. I was cruel to her. Caused her undeniable pain.
But she’s hiding more than herself. She’s hiding a kid. A kid who has piercing blue eyes exactly like mine.
And after everything I’ve put her through, I need to prove that I’m worth the pain.
• MY REVIEW •
I know this is only the second book in Leslie’s RBMC series but it felt like I’d been waiting for Hunter’s story for—ever! He was the secondary character from Worth The Risk (book one) that I was most eager to read more about, and now that his story is here, I have to admit it’s not at all what I had expected. 🤔
It’s a relatively quick story for a full-length novel and I was able to finish it in one sitting. The storytelling is fast-paced with constant developments coming one after the other. It’s emotion-based, told from dual points of view with both Hunter and Allie being of second mind for the majority of the story. With all the craziness and the push-and-pull within their complicated relationship, you’ll question whether or not they’re truly suited for one another.
The premise is what initially intrigued me but the flow felt a little choppy for my liking, and the development in their relationship didn’t feel as in-depth or come off as authentic as I was hoping to see. They had a one-night stand and prior to their reconnection had spent time apart so I was expecting plenty of character growth and maturity from both protagonists but it seemed like time hadn’t altered their mindset and they’re stuck in this repetitiveness with their feelings, never quite moving forward. I am relieved to say it eventually improves and they do finally get their act together but I’m contemplating if it happened just a smidge too late in the story.
Hunter is not at all how I remembered him from the first book. From that time to the present his character has clearly shifted because he’s become a hard man to love. The only redeemable quality I could see in him within this book is that he eventually saw the light and wanted something more out of life, and knowing Allie had to be a part of it started to make amends. (I would’ve loved to have seen some more groveling from him though).
Allie is a likable character but she doesn’t necessarily make the best choices. She’s the type of heroine that I think readers would either love or loath. Although some readers may find her and what she’s been through relatable. She’s indecisive and uncertain about a lot of things but she also knows what she wants for her future, and I think it’s easy to identify with that.
Similar to the first book I was left with some unanswered questions that I’m guessing will either be left unsettled or will hopefully be addressed later down the track in future books. There are quite a few different plots happening at once and if you haven’t read the first book, you may find it a little difficult to understand the history amongst these characters. Although you can technically read this one as a standalone, I highly recommend you read Worth The Risk first.
For the most part a grey atmosphere but with this being the second book in the series, the world-building is gradually evolving. I do like that there’s a nice amount of both romance and MC elements. It has plenty of suspense and unpredictability. The violence is detailed but not overly graphic, and I thought there was enough lightheartedness brought on by the MC and the friendships to keep things from getting too gritty.
The storyline touches on drug abuse/addiction that some readers may find triggering. Including adult themes such as violence and strong sexual content, be advised this story is intended for readers 18+ only.
Overall, it was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst I was already hooked from the opening scene and invested in seeing their story unfold, it did take a while to grow into liking Hunter’s and Allie’s relationship. But I can’t deny that it was the little moments they had throughout that ultimately kept me engaged. With the addition of the brothers from the MC and their comradery, I thought this was a pretty decent read.
Thank you J.L. Leslie and the RBMC team for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙
🔔 Interested in reading Worth The Pain? Grab your copy here: Universal Link
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!
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:
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!
He’s a notorious crime lord—and he’s on the hunt for her.
Maxheim Skolov is mafia royalty. Worlds above her. Ice-cold and merciless. Driven by duty and dark secrets.
Tess is property. Expected to submit. Imprisoned by ruthless criminals determined to break her for information she can’t afford to give.
Because she’s got a secret that could change everything–and the last thing she wants is to put it in the hands of her enemies.
Except there’s something different about the heir to the Skolvo crime family that awakens long buried instincts within Tess and draws her toward the man inside the beast.
A force more dangerous than anything she’s faced to date.
So, she runs. But she won’t get far.
For mafia prince Maxheim Skolov, hunting down the rebellious, spirited female is a certainty. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her secret.
The real question is what he’ll do with her—and to her—when he catches her.
Savage Prince: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance is the second book in the Ruthless Warlords series. It is a scorching HOT standalone, though it is recommenced to read the series in order for greatest enjoyment.
*Book 1 in the series is Ruthless King: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance.
*Forbidden Flame: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance is a stand-alone novella in the same world.
• MY REVIEW •
Oooh there’s a new Alpha in town! Scooch a smidge would you, Nikolai…? 🤭😍
After reading Ruthless King and Forbidden Flame, I was absolutely itching to read the next book in this series. Savage Prince was full of emotion and heart that I couldn’t help but swoon over Maxheim’s and Tess’s love story.
In Ruthless King, you’ll find the eldest brother and head Alpha, Nikolai whose dominating Alpha-hole personality that could have your head jerking back in shock. In this story you’ll read about the second oldest; Maxheim, who in comparison to Nikolai is sweet, and a more accommodating Alpha to his mate. His personality is almost opposite to his brother who’s always so hard and pushy, whilst Maxheim is definitely more considerate of Tess’s feelings and insecurities. He’s such a genuinely likable character. So, if you’re not a fan of the overly-controlling, arrogant Alpha character type, then I truly think Maxheim will be more to your liking. 😉
I’m new to the Omegaverse world, with this one only having been my third book but I find this romance sub-genre in general fascinating. Aimes has created an expansive and vivid world-building, and it’s only growing more as each member of the Skolov family’s story gets told and their overall family story gets more complex.
These are the main elements you can expect in this book:
Diverse range of Aliens
I’m an avid romance reader, but I admit I’ve never really gravitated much towards sci-fi/ paranormal as much as I would dark or contemporary romance ones, but this series hooked me in so easily with its unsuspecting storylines, interestingly multifaceted characters, and the fascination of a world where its citizens are divided by an archaic hierarchy: Alphas, Betas, and the mystifying Omegas who at first may seem like the ones who are powerless, but you soon discover that there’s more than meets the eye. I was also really curious to see how the additional Mafia elements included would mesh with the sci-fi in this romance.
FYI: It actually works well together. A dark alien mafioso?! Who woulda thunk it?! Well Aimes did! It’s bloody brilliant!
Please note: This book is intended for readers 18+ only. It contains strong sexual content. Although the backdrop is set in a futuristic, galactic world, it also contains realistic sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as human trafficking, violence, physical, sexual and drug abuse, and emotional blackmail. Please take into consideration before starting the book.
A relatively well-paced storytelling that flowed nicely. It’s told in third person point of view which I admit took a little time to get used to as it doesn’t necessarily get told from either one of the leading characters’ perspective but the focus of the story does shift back and forth from either Maxheim’s or Tess’s current situation. You’ll know what I mean once you read it.
If you read Ruthless King first, you’ll get an insight into how Maxheim and his family first discover Tess. The initial premise is what had me wanting to read his story. An Alpha prince and an Omega slave?! Yes please! It’s an opposites attract storyline with a Cinderella-esque vibe to it.
There’s a good amount of character development from both the main characters. As the story develops, you see a gradual change in both Maxheim’s and Tess’s attitude and mentality, especially when it comes to their connection as mates. A lot of the story revolves around figuring how to solve their problems without sacrificing their relationship — there’s a ton of suspense and build-up with plot twists I had not expected at all.
This romance story has plenty of intensity between Maxheim and Tess with a good chunk of hot and heavy scenes. But what made their coupling for me was the amount of time and effort Maxheim put into getting to know Tess and ensuring she felt at home with his family. All the impulsiveness, the flaws and insecurities made their budding relationship all the more believable, especially when you see how much they’ve grown, not just as individuals but as a couple by the end.
Savage Prince is action-packed with a protective alpha hero, a caring heroine that comes into her own, and a story that focuses on the bond of family and values the importance of love and mate-ship. It was swoony. It was steamy as hells. It was downright a captivating read! It keeps you on edge with it’s unpredictability and array of secondary characters whose motives are unclear that you can’t help but form theories.
I also adored the light-hearted comic relief provided by the Skolov brothers all throughout. There’s nothing like brotherly love and banter to break some of the tension! Seeing the various personalities of each Skolov sibling and how they interact with one another was a treat to see. 😄
If you’re looking for a romance read set in a fantasy/ paranormal/ sci-fi backdrop, then you have to try this one. As the author mentions, you can technically read Savage Prince without having reading Ruthless King first but I agree in recommending you read in order. Each love story is separate, but there’s an ongoing story in the background that interconnects each book. Starting the series from the beginning will provide a better reading experience and understanding of their world.
I found Aimes’ writing effortless to follow. With a thrilling opening scene, I was invested in Maxheim, Tess, and the entire story right from the very beginning. Amazing book two in the Ruthless Warlords series. I’m excited to see how this world will expand from here!
Thank you to Alison Aimes and Grey’s Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! ❤
Forbidden. Commanding. Mysterious. Beau Rochester has an entire house full of secrets. And those secrets are putting Jane Mendoza in danger.
She fell in love with the one man she can’t have. She should leave Maine to protect her heart, but the thread refuses to be severed. The brooding Mr. Rochester and his grieving niece are more than her job. They’re her new family.
She races against time to find answers and protect the people she loves. The cliffside grows dark with the misdeeds of the past. Her heart and her sanity fight a battle, but they are both at risk.
Will Mr. Rochester learn to trust Jane? And will that trust destroy her?
• MY REVIEW •
The suspense, the mystery, and the thrill have amped up in book two of The Rochester Trilogy! This is a continuous storyline — Private Property must be read first and with how that book concluded, I was keen to read the next installment in Beau’s and Jane’s highly-charged relationship.
As I mentioned in my review for the first book, this story is a modern retelling of the classic Jane Eyre. I had also mentioned that I hadn’t read that tale so I was going into Skye’s version relatively blind of the plot or how the characters relate to one another. I went into reading this story with an open mind, no issues with comparison to the original tale, and I think most importantly with no spoilers.
I love dark romances and this one had the element of suspense and thrill included. It’s more a romantic thriller than anything. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. The gloomy, depressing air that surrounded the first book effortlessly flowed through to this second one. The backdrop might have altered from the mansion they stayed in for the entirety of the first book to a new location but the sense of dread and danger lingered with Jane and the Rochesters nevertheless.
Just like the first book, it’s well-paced storytelling and still told from dual points of view. I felt the fear and anxiety coming off of these characters. It leapt off the pages and I couldn’t help but feel a little on edge right alongside them.
Little by little you get more and more out of these characters, and the more you can’t help but get invested in seeing where their story will head next. Especially with Jane, having to uproot her life for this job, only to somehow end up trapped in the same uncertainty she was hoping to get out of by taking this job in the first place. Everything is up in the air with so many segments of this story —
✔ Beau’s and Jane’s relationship.
✔ Jane’s employment.
✔ The Rochester mansion.
✔ Paige’s wellbeing.
✔ The town they reside in and the people who seem to know everything and nothing.
✔ Their past, present, and future.
✔ Their sanity. Their sanity. Their sanity.
Nothing is for certain which is one of the main reasons why I found myself so absorbed by Jane, Beau and the mystery surrounding their lives. I’m hooked and totally in it for the long haul! I can’t wait to read Best Kept Secret. Although I found some of the plot twists unsurprising, I am still itching to see how everything will go down…. especially with how this book concluded in quite a tingly cliffhanger just as the first book had.
Besides Beau Rochester’s hard, hot-and-cold demeanor and indecisiveness, especially where Janes is concerned, I still found him to be a likable character. Despite all his wealth and success, he still comes off human with relatable insecurities.
I tend to forget a lot of the time that Jane is only nineteen years old with her maturity level in handling a fragile little girl and all the drama surrounding Beau. She’s lived a tough mudda of a life and it shows in her character.
Easy flowing storytelling with an effortless transition from the ending of book one to the beginning of book two. Strict Confidence also introduces new secondary characters that are just as shady as the ones that were in Private Property that’ll leave your mind reeling with what ifs.
For a reader who has very little clue of how close of a retelling this is to the original tale, or if it’s only inspired by it, I can’t comment on whether or not Skye’s version is a refreshing take. But either way, I did find it engaging from start to finish. If you enjoy reading dark, twisted romance books, I recommend you give this story a go. An age gap, workplace romance story with a side of suspense.
Thank you to Skye Warren and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙
Haley Constantine traded her life for her father’s safety. Now she’s trapped in a castle with the Beast of Bishop’s Landing.
Her own family wants her dead.
The only man who can save her is the one she can’t trust.
Dangerous. Tortured. Furious. Leo Morelli wears a mask of cruelty to cover up a lifetime’s worth of scars. He’s been injured, but that only makes him fight harder. The only thing he cares about more than revenge is the woman he’s come to love.
HIDDEN BEAUTY is the second book in the Beauty and the Beast trilogy from USA Today bestselling author Amelia Wilde.
• MY REVIEW •
“True love doesn’t have boundaries. It isn’t rational or kind. True love is brutal.”
Eeeeep! We’re two thirds of the way, people! The second book in Amelia’s Beauty and the Beast trilogy, and boy has the suspense and the air of doom and gloom amped up a notch! 🙉
This entire story makes me giddy with happiness. I loved the first book Secret Beast, with Haley’s and Leo’s twisted hate-to-love chemistry. It had such an electric shock generating atmosphere. With this book, it made me want to bundle myself up in layers upon layers of blankets, sip hot chocolate, and read it again. There was a veil of melancholy over the entire story that had me really taking a beat to soak up everything that transpired.
It has just the right amount of darkness in the romance, with plenty of dimension, thrill, and excitement. The characters are complex and ever-developing right alongside their blossoming relationship. I adore the initial hate-to-love/ enemies-to-lovers trope between Haley and Leo that gradually built into something a lot more than either of them expected. Seeing them navigate through their feelings — especially since they both come from two warring families and already have pre-conceived notions of each other was a highlight to see.
In this particular part of the story, not only do they try and get a handle over their feelings but they deal with the repercussions brought on by years’ worth of battles, and for Leo personally, the demons from his past that are very much still haunting his life.
“She touches me softly. Like I’m not a monster.”
When I first read the title for this book, I had assumed it was going to focus on Haley (considering Secret Beast seemed self explanatory that it was introducing us to Leo), but after reading it, I realized that Hidden Beauty might actually be a nod towards Leo as well, at least from my perspective.
This had a very different feel in comparison to the first book. It’s a very revealing chunk of the story. It delves into Leo Morelli’s life and I guarantee by the end it’ll have you seeing him in a whole new light. I was already pro Leo, but seeing the amount of effort he has put in for his family throughout his entire life, and the reasoning behind his actions had my heart cracking and double thumping at the same time. Is that even possible?
I also wasn’t expecting to see dynamics between Leo and his family, but surprisingly, it ended up being one of my favourite things to see in this book. I love that he has this hard shell of a façade but it can’t fool his siblings. Those scenes despite the reasoning behind their get-togethers, also brought upon some lighthearted, authentic moments that I truly hope we’ll get to see a lot more of in the future. 😊
It’s a character driven storyline and told from dual points of view. The storytelling itself has great pacing. The majority of the backdrop is set in one location, but not once did it feel restrictive or lacking a change of atmosphere. The secondary characters that are included play a big part in keeping things interesting — that is, whenever Haley and Leo are not fogging up windows together… *fans self*
There is no doubt that you will see some headway in Haley’s and Leo’s relationship. There’s no beating around the bush with these guys the second their walls are down. I was utterly there with my feels seeing their us-against-the-world stance. With a sense of dread in the air right from the get-go, it was gripping from start to finish.
Plot twists. Betrayal. Pain. These are just three of the things you can expect from Hidden Beauty. The rest you’ll have to discover for yourself!
Before I conclude my review I am adding my favourite quote from the book. It’s not a spoiler but for those who haven’t read the book yet will probably be confused (possibly even curious) about it. This line completely caught me off guard and made me laugh…. hard. 🤭🤭 It also made me love Leo more so! #TeamMorelli
“I want the soup. It’s my fucking favorite soup.”
I’m seriously digging these books within the world of the Midnight Dynasty because it gives you different perspectives to both the Constantines and the Morellis depending on whose story is in the foreground. Seeing the villain, an antagonist, or a morally grey character such as Leo through their own eyes is always insightful and a big reason as to why I always prefer them to heroes.
It’s a hearty book that not only discloses true identities and an understanding of the bigger picture, but displays one’s willingness to not lose. Wilde has created such soulful, perfectly imperfect characters who I effortlessly connected with and found genuinely compelling. Families play a vital role in Haley’s and Leo’s story, and they are the definitive reason in how things have played out so far and no doubt will continue to do so. Just like Secret Beast, this one leaves with a frustratingly overwhelming cliffhanger, but also leaves you looking forward to the next installment. I know I can’t wait to read the next book!
(P.S. I also liked that Amelia added a little snippet that was a nod to another character from one of her other book series’. I haven’t read it but it certainly has me wanting to add it to my TBR!) 😉
I recommended Secret Beast to friends and fellow romance readers. Now I’m recommending everyone to continue on with Hidden Beauty! If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, you must! It’s a continuous storyline so you’ll need to start with Secret Beast. It’s the most devious, most scrummy contemporary beauty and the beast retelling I’ve read!
Another book of Amelia’s I loved reading! It’s an exceptional addition to the expanding world of the Midnight Dynasty.
Fairy Tale Inspired
There’s moments here and there that reminisce scenes from Disney’s version that honestly made me smile. So if you’re a Disney fan, love your fairy tales, and also love them on the dark side, then I truly think these books will be for you!
Thank you to Amelia Wilde, Candi Kane PR, and Dangerous Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜
🔔 Interested in reading the Beauty and the Beast Trilogy? Grab your copy here:
The fact that I still ache for a man who shattered me so easily… there is no getting over that.
I should’ve listened to Calum when he said that he was broken.
Some things, once shattered, cannot be made whole again.
Still, all it takes is a look from him and I start to melt.
When he offers me an even sweeter deal, will I be able to say no?
The Dancer is a contemporary billionaire romance from Wall Street Journal Bestseller Vivian Wood. It’s full length and the second of three books in the gritty, raw, passionate Broken Slipper Trilogy.
• MY REVIEW •
Oh my. Blackmail, secret romances, and danger lurking at every corner! This elite world of ballet is vicious and cutthroat! I haven’t read much contemporary romance books that centre around the dance world (more specifically, ballet), and it had me so intrigued.
Make sure to read The Patron first as it’s a continuous storyline and this is book two in the trilogy. This one delves into Kaia’s and Calum’s tumultuous relationship. What started out as a straight forward contract, quickly became a complicated hot mess!
I enjoyed this book overall and there were plenty of things I adored, but I would be lying if I didn’t mention some of the things that irked me whilst reading it. The story is somewhat of a secret/ forbidden romance between Kaia, a ballet student, and her ballet teacher Calum who also happens to be a powerful business mogul and billionaire. The age gap between them isn’t blatantly obvious but what I quickly discovered is Kaia is very much a naïve young lady. There were a handful of situations throughout that I felt could easily have been avoided or resulted quite differently if it weren’t for her ignorance. I found her very frustrating in this book — it’s like the girl never learns! 🙄 Thank goodness that some of my sanity was saved knowing that there were secondary characters that had common sense. Lol.
It focuses a lot on the protagonists, so seeing secondary characters, even for a brief time was a nice change of atmosphere and really helped break some of the story’s attention away from their interactions alone. There are a couple of side stories happening simultaneously in the background that adds an extra level of tension and edge to the overall storyline.
I did find some things a little repetitive (mostly the sexual *cough cough* content). I’m all for some steamy scenes — I mean what romance reader, wouldn’t expect it? But all in moderation. I felt like the bedroom romps were all similar too. I’m not going to lie after the first couple of them, I almost wanted to skim through the rest. 😬
I would’ve really loved to have seen more hearty progression in their relationship. By the time I finished the book it almost felt like they hadn’t made too much headway. And then of course, it concludes on a cliffhanger, and I was left sitting there thinking, “Dammit, I wanna know what happens next!”
Let’s talk the plotline, shall we? My favourite bits to see in the entire book was the slow but gradual development of Kaia’s and Calum’s relationship. I know I just mentioned that there wasn’t much progress in this book in regards to their relationship, but the parts where they were simply conversing had my attention. They have a complex relationship (and I’m using that term loosely because they don’t really have a proper bf/gf relationship per se… and on top of that they’re trying to keep it a secret), but despite the roadblocks they have a buddle of chemistry and zing between them. If you like a damsel in distress heroine, and a confident (almost fringing on arrogant) alpha hero, then this will be right up your alley. Scenes where they’re dancing around (excuse the pun) their feelings for one another were the scenes that had me anxiously sitting up and glued to the pages. It’s a bit of slow burn romance, just so you know. Fair to say I was frustratingly eager to see Kaia and Calum admit their feels already. 😅
I applaud Vivian for creating such characters, who I got invested in despite not always agreeing with their actions or favouring their personality. I like that this storyline wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. There’s always something popping up that keeps these characters on their toes and us readers second-guessing. I, for one didn’t see some of the things that occurred a mile away.
I do have to point out that this book contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. There is a small scene involving sexual assault. It also contains violence and profanity. Readers 18+ only!
I’m excited to get into the next book. I’m itching to see what happens after the cliffhanger that went a completely different direction that I had not anticipated. A great second book that I truly enjoyed reading. It’s contemporary with some slight darkish elements. It’s suspenseful — honestly, anything can happen! It’s romance with a ballet backdrop, along with a diverse range of characters you’ll either love or loathe. A character driven storyline with still plenty of secrets to be revealed and explained further in the next book. It has a fairly well-paced storytelling and it’s told from dual points of view.
Although there were certain aspects of this book I wasn’t completely a fan of, I would still recommend this story to fellow romance readers.
Thank you Vivian Wood and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛
🔔 Interested in reading the Broken Slipper Trilogy? Grab your copy here:
I climbed out of the smoldering crater of my life only to find myself back in the middle of a slow-motion trainwreck. I’m hunted, torn between my past and present, ripped apart by two warring families. My husband is dead, and his killer is the only man who’s ever felt the deep well of emotion I keep hidden from the world.
Vicious and scarred—his rough touch is seared into my skin, but his soft caresses are what break down my walls bit by bit. Until there’s only me left. My soul in his bloody hands, and my broken heart beating just for him. Only him.
My shadowy protector, my phantom lover—kiss me or kill me, I don’t care. As long as you’re the one who does it.
• MY REVIEW •
Woah. One word comes to mind… ANGSTY!!!!
This book was one big, very dramatic, angsty continuance from where Stolen Hearts concluded! I felt like the pacing definitely slowed down since the first book, especially now that Ronan and Poppy are out of their normal environment and trying to figure out a way out of their problems.
Please note, similar to the first book this one also has sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers such as violence, physical abuse, and attempted kidnapping. It also contains detailed sexual content — readers 18+ only!
This part of the story will have you learning more about Ronan. He was such an enigma in the first book, and in this one you will get to see glimpses of his past, how he’s become to be the man he is now, and the reasons behind everything that has happened so far where Poppy is concerned.
Unfortunately, by the end you’ll still be left with tons of questions about Ronan. He’s a complex character who tends to blow hot and cold in a blink of an eye. Now that the level of drama has escalated, his intensity has also increased. You’ll either swoon for him, want to give him a comforting hug, or the complete opposite wanting to throw things at him for being such a frustratingly closed-off man. Gah! 🙈
Poppy and Ronan are in unchartered territory, and are forced to be in each other’s space. They struggle with their growing emotions for one another, and honestly reading through their push-and-pull relationship gave me mixed feels. On one hand I was happy to see some development in their relationship (no matter how complicated it is), yet on the other hand any sort of new development between them was fleeting and I was left reluctantly disappointed.
Although there are plenty of steamy scenes, it still comes off as a bit of a slow-burn romance. There’s a lot of pining involved and, in a way, a twisted unrequited love situation going on between them. To truly understand it all, you’ll have to read this story. 😉
But ugh… If you love angst in your romance reads, then you will absolutely get your fill from this one. I couldn’t help but sympathize Poppy for what she has been through and what she’s still going through in her life. From the very beginning, she’s been portrayed as this meek young woman; a pawn in the world of the Constantines and the Morellis. She’s forced into situations where she has very little to no choice of her own. I admit the overall atmosphere is gloomy and isolating, but I’m relieved to see O’Keefe has included unexpected comic relief here and there. Some of which could be as small as a funny one-liner but it certainly had me perking up and smiling… and most of these light-hearted moments were due to Poppy. So, I’m hoping despite with where things are heading that we get to see her become more resilient and head-strong.
There’s a couple of secondary characters introduced that played such pivotal roles in Ronan’s life. Not only do they add another layer to the already intriguing plotline, but they shine a whole new light to Ronan that makes you just as confused about your feelings towards him as Poppy is. I love a good morally grey character, and Ronan is the epitome of a grey character who keeps you on your toes.
It’s told from dual points of view with inner monologues included from both protagonists. O’Keefe has written their stories quite well that you instantly feel the change of atmosphere whenever it switches back and forth between Poppy’s and Ronan’s points of view, but throughout it all there’s always this shroud of edge and uneasiness hanging over them.
It’s a relatively quick read, but as I mentioned earlier it had a slower pacing, and wasn’t as action-packed as the first book. But it’s still as intriguing and suspenseful as ever, and there’s a monumental mic drop moment within the last few chapters that had me literally sitting up with my jaw dropping! 😲😱 This was one plot twist I hadn’t bargained on. It never even crossed my mind that it could head down this direction. I don’t know if you guys will be ready for it either, but I can guarantee it’s one you won’t want to miss out on!
There’s an array of shady characters all of whom had me side-eyeing. I love the conspiracy and scheming that surrounds Poppy and Ronan, and constantly wondering what will happen next. It’s a continuous storyline so make sure to read Stolen Hearts first. Also, this book ends on a cliffhanger (a cruel one at that), so keep that in mind when starting this series. But overall, the storyline was gripping, continually building-up, full of twists and turns, and will have you on the edge of your seat. I highly recommend it to readers who love contemporary romances that have dark, gritty elements thrown in.
It’s also a must read for those who’ve read other books set in the Midnight Dynasty.
Thank you Molly O’Keefe, Dangerous Press, and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 🧡
🔔 Interested in reading the Hearts Trilogy? Grab your copy here:
I’m obsessed with Laila Fitzgerald. There, I finally admitted it. I’ve tried not to want her. I tried to step aside when my best friend said he wanted her. But it’s proved impossible. She’s too gorgeous and talented, too charismatic and badass, for me not to want her for myself.
Unfortunately, though, karma’s a bitch. In trying to do the right thing by my best friend, I’ve done the wrong thing by myself. I’ve pushed her away every chance I’ve had. Dug way too deep a hole to crawl out of . . . And now, Laila downright hates my guts. And rightly so.
But since we’re stuck together, yet again—and, this time, even more closely—I’ve decided nothing will stop me from getting what I want. This time, I’m going to figure out a way to coax Laila into falling out of hate with me . . .
• MY REVIEW •
👏👏👏 Oh my savage. I loved it! A solid conclusion to The Hate-Love Duet! Just like the first book, I was enamored with Laila and Savage, and seeing the next developments between them.
The first book focused on Laila’s and Savage’s puzzling merry-go-round of emotions for one another whilst navigating through music tours, media interviews, and building connections with other artists. This book focuses on the whirlwind of changes that has occurred in the short amount of time since they first met and toured together. You’ll see the inner workings of the industry, new music ventures, and more drama whilst juggling their personal and public images.
I know it’s still considered early days but who cares?! I’m calling it… This duet is one of my favourite reads of 2021! I honestly wasn’t expecting to fall in love with a rock star romance story as I don’t usually gravitate towards that romance sub-genre. But Rowe has captured my attention with the world she has created and the complex but lovable characters she’s introduced to readers. I highly recommend it! It’s a journey full of highs and lows but throughout it all you’ll get invested in seeing how things will play out. I might’ve gotten annoyed with Laila on a number of occasions throughout reading this book 😅 but Savage was right there to break my annoyance by (eerily) mirroring my exact thoughts… resulting me doing great big “boo-yahs!” 🙌🙌 What’s that saying? Great minds think alike. Lol.
I went through an emotional roller coaster. This book gave me all the feels. I went from giggling to being annoyed, to blubbering (and needing x amount of tissues), to happy sighing.
One thing that was rock solid was my love for Adrian Savage. He’s perfectly imperfect. His flaws and acknowledgement of them is what makes him a redeemable, heart-thumping character. His emotions leaped off the pages and couldn’t help but rub off on you. He’s such an authentic character and despite his high-profile image, his quite relatable. I love the layers and the reasons behind his personality traits. He’s a “tortured artist” with cool rock star status— the more his story developed, the more you realize that behind that image is a troubled man in need of guidance.
My affection for Laila may have wavered here and there whilst reading this book, but I am still Team Laila! There wouldn’t be all the hilarious commentary and banter without her. 😉 She’s the type of character who I can picture being good friends with but can have disagreements at times (but that’s all friendships). She has some great qualities about her I respect. She’s loyal to a fault, she loves wholeheartedly, and when she’s not being overly dramatic, she’s down right bubbly and fun!
But despite my hang-ups with some of Laila’s actions in this book, I can’t deny I adored Savage and her together. Some of my favourite parts were them just hanging out getting to know one another. Their road isn’t an easy one, they go through a lot of insecurities, jealousy, and immaturity which resulted in setbacks in their relationship. But I found it all the more gripping to see how they overcome each concern.
The direction of the story took a turn from the first book and I admit the main plot was something I wasn’t expecting but it was intriguing. This is a work of fiction but if there’s truth to some of the situations that occurred, I actually wouldn’t be all that surprised but it’s refreshing to read about. The details included is what makes this story stand out. So many things were happening but every single one of them was wrapped up beautifully that by the end you’re not left wondering or asking questions. Rowe covered all her bases from Laila’s and Savage’s relationship, to their careers, to their personal issues, to everything! I legit can’t think of anything that I felt was left unfinished.
What I absolutely adored about this book (as well as in the first) is that Rowe went above and beyond in encompassing Laila’s and Savage’s world to the readers. There’s certain unique touches included — I won’t spoil what the extra content is for those wanting to read the duet but I’m not going to lie, it works so well when reading the ebook edition. 😉🤐
An overall vivid and progressive story of two people who started off on the wrong foot and only grew from there. From constant secrets, misunderstandings, and gameplaying, to one of second chances, realization, and a gradual development of a relationship. There’s no denying how much work and growth Laila and Savage go through, not only in their relationship but individually as well.
If you enjoy the following tropes in your romance reads, then I think you’ll enjoy this duet:
Rock star Romance
Hate to Love
It’s an exceptional love story— well-paced, and the dual points of view continued on from the first book. I love the friendships, the camaraderie amongst the characters, and without a doubt the music that accompanied their journey!
Thank you Lauren Rowe and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗
🔔 Interested in reading The Hate Love Duet? Grab your copy here:
My husband hates me. But he’s also the only man who can save me.
Taken by a stranger, Santiago is my only hope. Except that I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. And for as cruel as he can be, the thought he might be gone is unbearable.
But he has nine lives, my monster.
He’s not finished with me yet. And soon I’m back at The Manor. Locked in my room. At his mercy.
I know I am despised.
I know I have become the face of his vengeance.
But there’s something else too. Something between us. It’s a dark and gnarled thing. And it has its claws around my heart.
• MY REVIEW •
Oooh things have just gotten more complicated! I didn’t think situations could get any more fucked up between Ivy and Santiago…. but man, was I wrong!
Things to consider before starting this book:
This is a continuous story. You will have to read Requiem of the Soul first.
This is book two in this trilogy, so yes, like the previous one, this too will end in a cliffhanger.
There are sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers such as, violence, non-consensual sex, domestic abuse, and attempted suicide.
This is dark romance with adult themes — readers 18+ only!
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way let’s continue, shall we?
There’s a lot of complex and damaging situations going on in Reparation of Sin. Just when you think one fire is being put out, there’s another being fanned by a mystery antagonist(s) — whom at this point could be ANYBODY! 🤔
Vengeance, hate, and jealousy is what’s driving these characters to take action. Whilst some parts of the storyline I found fairly predictable, one thing I am absolutely clueless on is who the true villain is. This is a dark, gritty romance that is full of suspicion, ulterior motives, and all around shady characters. It’s already 2/3 of the way through the story and I’m still hesitant of Ivy and Santiago. Eeep.
I’m going to be brutally honest… there are a ton of “facepalm” moments throughout. There are a couple of characters who stuck out like sore thumbs in this book that had me wanting to rip my hair out of frustration. But you know what? I commend the authors and their book for evoking deep emotion out of me. Just as Requiem of the Soul, this one held my attention and I was wholly invested in seeing the next obstacle in Ivy’s and Santiago’s twisted marriage. It picks up right after the conclusion of the first book, and ultimately starts the next plot in the story. The devious characters are in full force, and what’s worst is that it seems no one can be trusted in this world. Lots of little things are happening and they’re all interconnected and relating to Ivy and Santiago.
And throughout it all, you’re witnessing the push and pull in their relationship. The twisted back and forth hate to love to hate mentality with these two has amped up because it’s more than vengeance at stake now. You’ll see Santiago struggle not only with his undeniable feelings for Ivy but with new developments brought on by his family and The Society. His inner monologue ended up being one of my favourite things to see.
Ivy on the other hand is more willing to open herself up to her growing feelings for Santiago but it seems every time she takes a leap, she falls flat on her ass, which I think is a big reason as to why at times she came off pitiful. Not going to lie, I felt disappointed in her decisions throughout this book. I could nitpick certain things that occurred that Ivy could have easily avoided. But funnily enough when I think back on what I’d read, it’s almost as if I just finished watching a turbulent episode of a telenovela. 😅 Hot, cold. Enemies, lovers. Trust, don’t trust. *phew!* There’s so much drama! Even between the sheets.
Things are escalating and they’re escalating like crazy! Both Ivy and Santiago do some very questioning things. I can only hope that they redeem themselves in the next one. I wish I could say this book won’t leave you hanging like the first one did but I’d be lying. The cliffhanger in this one is torturous. If you had any patience, you’d wait for the third book before starting this trilogy. 🤭
Knight and Zavarelli fans, Ivy and Santiago’s story is not to be missed! If you enjoy dark romance reads, I think this storyline will be right up your alley. It has suspense, chemistry between the hero/ heroine, intense dynamics between a range of characters, and a storyline that’ll have you hooked with its twists and turns.
There’s a lot of intrigue surrounding all the characters in this world not just with protagonists, and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface. There are a couple of secondary characters from the first book… *cough* “C” and “J” *cough* whom I was hoping to see more of and I’m giddy to say I got my wish! 🙌🙌 Despite having only a scene or two in this book, they played vital roles… aaaaaaand their personal story was divulged (I would love a full length novel on them but if it never happens, I can happily say I’m content with the appearances they made in this book).
It’s told from dual points of view and although it has slowed down a little in comparison to the first book, I still consider it to be fast-paced, and the world-building is lush! I’m talking quality atmosphere, dimensional storytelling, and complex characters! 👌 It’s definitely elements you would expect from both authors. Looking forward to the next book!
Thank you Natasha Knight, A. Zavarelli and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! ❤