By Sin I Rise: Part Two by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

By Sin I Rise Part 2 (Marcella & Maddox)

A fatal bond that was never meant to be.

Marcella gave Maddox the impossible choice, and he chose her.

Still, she wonders if Maddox is ready to commit to a relationship, or if he’s scared of losing the uninhibited freedom his biker lifestyle offered him.

All his life Maddox knew who his enemies were, but suddenly he’s at a loss whom to trust. Will he ever find a place in Marcella’s life and family, or will old companions give him a new home and purpose?

Can enemies ever truly become lovers if the odds are against them?

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• MY REVIEW •


“Marcella is the queen I didn’t know I needed in my life. There’s no one I’d like to be led around by the balls by.”


*singsong voice* Everybody! Take a shot every time Marcella is remotely mentioned as being a “Queen.” LOL 🙄🥃

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Hmm. I have a lot of strong thoughts and emotions swirling in my head right now that I’m trying to unjumble and put into words. I’ve been reading Cora’s books consistently for a few years now and I found fairly early on that her writing is white-hot and all-consuming. With detailed world-building that practically transports you to her characters’ world, and the characters themselves stand-out effortlessly from a crowd. It’s a big reason as to why she’s easily an auto-buy author of mine. 

So, I really had trouble digesting that this book was written by the one and only Cora Reilly. When you have a much-loved OG series, it can be difficult to top or re-create the same likability in a spin-off or next generation series. The first book in this two-part story had potential, unfortunately I just think this conclusion missed the mark. It didn’t have the same vibe as the previous books set in this world. Other than the appearances from OG characters like Luca, Matteo, and Growl, it almost didn’t feel like a mafia-based backdrop, let alone one that had MC elements. 😐

The story is character-driven and focuses solely on Maddox and Marcella trying to navigate through their emotions about their relationship whilst figuring out how the Famiglia will accept Maddox into their fold—and for that reason, I found the book relatively repetitive.

I know I’m going to be in the minority here, and that’s fine. Not everyone is going to like the same books, or even the same characters— and I think that’s ultimately the reasoning behind this book being a miss for me. The characters. As I mentioned in my review for Part One, I am not a Marcella fan. As a child when her personality started to peek through, I knew when she would be of age, that either her “princess” personality would only grow tenfold, or Cora would revamp her character and show plenty of growth and maturity.

I found the preconceived notions the characters had of her in this book spot-on. She’s a spoilt, bratty princess who keeps insisting she can “rule” because she’s a Vitiello. Nope. Sorry. It’s one thing to say it, but it’s another to follow through and for people to believe it.

I couldn’t connect with either Marcella or Maddox, and I had trouble getting invested in their story. Their romance doesn’t seem genuine, and it was painful to easily see Maddox proclaim his “love” only for it to not be openly reciprocated by Marcella. The majority of the time it felt like Maddox was putting all the effort into their drama-filled “relationship”. It was not an equal partnership. Not even close. I almost pitied Maddox for being the one who constantly sacrificed a piece of himself whilst all Marcella did was take, take, take.


“Marcella makes the rules and I’ll follow her, if necessary, to the gates of Hades.”


*singsong voice* Everybody! Take a shot every time Maddox is willing to do anything and everything for Marcella! 🤦‍♀️🥃🥃

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Is Marcella Vitiello really worth all this trouble? Ehhhhh. Not really.

They’re a pair of characters who I felt would’ve been fine and may have even done well all on their own. Their coupling lacked believability, visible connection, or even intensity that the past couples from this world had displayed time and time again.

The pace of the storytelling lagged, and lacked any in-depth development. In all honesty, the only positive aspects I found in this book is the fact that we get to see OG characters; more specifically Growl. 😍😍 I always hoped for another book for him just because I wanted to see how his life had turned out after he moved to New York and started working for Luca. (I know Growl and Cara have a novella in the Bound by Blood Anthology, but it wasn’t enough for me lol). This book actually shows a good number of snippets into what he’s been up to after all these years. All the parts that included Growl were by far my favourite scenes! I actually loved the contrast he brings in. There’s a cool dynamic between Growl and the Vitiello brothers.

I’m not crossing this entire series off, because that seems premature. I knew going into the Sins of the Fathers series that Marcella’s story would’ve been the book I probably would have liked the least. So now that hers is officially done, I am eager to see the next next-gen character in line. After reading this book, I have my eyes set on Amo’s story. He’s the only Vitiello offspring who I saw real potential in bringing back some of the old Mafioso flare that Luca Vitiello first ignited in Bound by Honor. He already has the vibe going for him, so I have my fingers crossed that his story ends up being an epic one!

I strongly recommend reading Cora’s Born In Blood series first before diving into Maddox’s and Marcella’s story, especially if you’re new to her books. This is not her strongest work, and it doesn’t provide enough world-building on its own. Reading the original series that started it all will not only give you the backstory behind the Vitiello family, but it explains the history behind the war between the New York Famiglia and Maddox’s MC (motorcycle club).

This may not have been my cup of tea but I have no doubt other readers will like it. Especially if they’re already a fan of Marcella. It’s light on both the Mafia and MC elements. It has more of a NA contemporary atmosphere to it.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐

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

🔔 Interested in reading By Sin I Rise: Part Two? Grab your copy here: Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Amazon CA  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Apple Books

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🔥 Read my review for Part One!

booksofthemuggleborn_bysinirise
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📕 By Sin I Rise: Part One by Cora Reilly


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

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By Sin I Rise: Part One by Cora Reilly

booksofthemuggleborn_bysinirise
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Maddox – Mad Dog – White hates everything the name Vitiello stands for, after he witnessed his father and his men getting butchered by the Capo of the Italian mob in their territory.

Raised by his uncle, the president of the Tartarus MC, Maddox is destined to follow in his footsteps. Now their chapter is on the rise again, but for their ultimate triumph they need to destroy the Vitiello empire. And what better way to do it than to steal the spoilt Vitiello princess and break her piece by piece until her father begs for mercy.

Known as the spoilt princess of New York, Marcella Vitiello grew up in a golden cage. If your father is the most feared man in New York, people gift you with reverence.

Destined to marry the boyfriend approved by her father, Marcella is sick of being treated like an untouchable porcelain doll.

She resents the life forced upon her by her family until everything she took for granted is ripped from her. Where she’s now, her name doesn’t bring awe, only pain and humiliation.

If you’ve grown up in a high castle, the fall is all the deeper.

Sins of the fathers have a way of catching up…who’s going to bleed for them?

** This book is part one of Maddox’s and Marcella’s story. 

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• MY REVIEW •

Five chapters in… 

Me: “Growl? Where’s Growl? Someone get me Growl!”

(He would’ve ended it all, right there and then!)

😜 I’m just joshing. But I’ve never been one to mince words or sugarcoat my thoughts in my reviews no matter how much I adore an author or the fictional world they’ve brought to readers, and I’m not about to start now. Please remember this is my honest opinion and experience from reading this book. If you find mine are different from yours, please be respectful and don’t take offence. Not everyone’s opinions are going to be the same. ✌❤

I’m in the minority here by saying Marcella Vitiello was one heroine a was never eager to read about. From her brief appearances in past books when she was a child, utterly spoiled and bratty constantly had me eye-rolling. So when it was announced that the first book in Cora’s next gen series would begin with Marcella’s story, well, you can just imagine my thrill.

But when it was known that it would be a mafia meets MC (Motorcycle Club) story, it did have me perking up with interest. Mafia romance and MC romance are like my bread and butter as far as romance genres go. Add in the anti-hero biker, who’s also an enemy to the mob? Finally, FINALLY I was intrigued as fuck! 😅

So now that I’ve finished reading part one, what did I think of it??

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With its well-paced storytelling, and multiple points of view, it was gradually winning me over… until it all came to a staggering halt. 🙈 Whilst there were plenty of things I did enjoy about this book, I’m not going to lie, there were also plenty of things that rubbed me the wrong way too.

It can be considered new adult, but make no mistake it’s dark themed romance. Before I get to the nitty gritty of my review, I must mention that this story does contain sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as graphic/ gruesome violence, kidnapping, attempted rape, and animal cruelty. Definitely for mature readers 18+ only. Please keep in mind before you start it.

Before this book, there was very little detail about Maddox, his family, and the Tartarus MC other than what we’ve seen mentioned by Luca Vitiello. There’s a gripping little backstory included that, in my opinion set the atmosphere for the rest of the book and a full understanding of Maddox’s mindset.

It’s character driven and a lot of the situations that transpired were emotion-based. There’s no doubt that there’s a strong attraction between Maddox and Marcella but as the story progressed I felt there wasn’t enough genuine development between them. They’re both put in difficult positions and it constantly tested their relationship. Some big events go down and the actions of these protagonists was ultimately what resulted in my overall conflicted feelings of this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first half. I was completely absorbed and lusting after the little moments between the two. But looking at the bigger picture, their relationship’s choppy. They go through the motions but I didn’t see any real substance out of it. And if I had to make comparisons with other couples from this world, their relationship is lacklustre. The romance was alright but it was hard to believe the depth of their love with the timeframe they had together. It wasn’t insta-love but it wasn’t exactly a gradual romantic development either.

I wish I could say after reading this story that Marcella eventually grew on me. There was a moment or two I sympathized for her, but it was tough to like her as I didn’t agree with a lot of her actions. She’s a difficult character to get to know or connect with because she’s constantly projecting an image and created a standard for herself that I didn’t even think was wholly necessary. Aria and Luca have always been one of my favourite couples but I question how they ended up with a daughter like Marcella? 🤔😌

Maddox is one of the main highlights of this book. I love the complexity of his story and his character, and I was easily invested in seeing how his story would progress. I often wondered what some of the negative effects the Mafia may have had on people outside of their world and Maddox is a perfect example of the blowback. Sigh. I’m just going to say it— he deserves better. 

There’s quite a few secondary characters included that helped elevate the world-building. The different dynamics added dimension and was interesting to see the contrast between Maddox’s and Marcella’s respective worlds. The initial premise was mafia meets MC, and whilst there was strong mafia presence, I had hoped to see more elements from the MC side. There’s not a lot of light-heartedness as it’s a pretty gritty storyline, but appearances from certain characters provided calming moments to break up some of the tension and seriousness of the situation.

All in all, it’s not what I had expected or how I envisioned the story would play out but nevertheless I was still gripped from start to finish. Although this is only part one, and Maddox’s and Marcella’s story is unfinished, this book doesn’t completely end on a cliffhanger (if that makes sense). Let’s just say if the story happened to have ended here, I would’ve been content with the open-ended conclusion.

Buuuuut in saying that… since I have mixed feelings about this first part of the story, I am curious to see how it will all conclude in the second part. I’m hoping to see build-up, some in-depth development, and more maturity out of the characters.

Cora’s writing as always is easy to follow. The intrigue around her characters and their story is instantaneous that it’s hard to put down and By Sin I Rise was no different. It was refreshing to see some new faces introduced and expand from what is already an existing and vivid world-building.

It may not have ended up being one of my favourites from Cora’s mafia books, but I still think it has positive aspects and a lot of potential. It’s an intriguing introduction to the Sins of the Fathers, and it’s cool (and some getting used to) seeing the original characters I fell hard for in the Born In Blood Mafia Chronicles somewhat pass the torch to their children. I am officially ancient. 💀

Fans of Cora’s and of her mafia world will want to read this one. Romance readers who are still relatively new to this world, I recommend you read Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles first before starting this one. I don’t have any triggers but I must admit there were certain scenes from this book that I wasn’t prepared for and totally bawled my eyes over.

You can expect some plot twists, suspense, and if like me, a good hearty cry. If you like dark mafia romances with a forced proximity, captor/captive romance trope, give this one a try.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

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

🔔 Interested in reading By Sin I Rise? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble

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

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Not Meant To Be Broken by Cora Reilly

⚠ Warning: This review contains spoilers!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Some things aren’t meant to be broken, and therefore can’t be mended – ever. I was one of those things. Whatever had been shattered in the incident would never be whole again.

Amber struggles with the memories of a cruel attack that destroyed her life years ago. Realizing that she’s close to ending it all – something she promised her family to never try again – she moves in with her brother Brian and his friend Zachary to start a new life, and maybe even college. But how can she possibly live a normal life, when even a hug from her brother sends her into a panic attack? While Brian pulls back, Zach seems determined to make her feel relaxed in his presence, and soon her longing to be near him is stronger than her fear. But how can someone like Zach, someone who can have any girl, want someone like her? Someone broken.

When Zach spots Amber for the very first time, he can’t believe she is the same girl his friend Brian described as broken. Suddenly, Zach wants to give up his womanizing ways and help Amber live again – show her that closeness can be something wonderful.

But her brother Brian isn’t the only one who’s worried about the bond that’s growing between Amber and Zach. Even Zach knows that there’s more at stake than the fury of a scorned woman. Amber isn’t like all the girls Zach discarded after a night together – if he messes up, that could break her for good. But Zach can’t stay away from Amber.
Can Zach help her heal? Or will he be the one to push her over the edge?

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• MY REVIEW •

Please note: This book contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It contains graphic sexual assault, violence, attempted suicide, and mental/ psychological abuse. Take into consideration before starting this story. 

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I’ve been a massive fan of Cora’s for years and whilst I had initially discovered her through her mafia series Born in Blood, I knew I wanted to go through her backlist of books when I had the chance. Not Meant To Be Broken was one of her most earliest stories and not mafia related at all. I had previously read reviews on this book and I admit it was partly the reason as to why I hadn’t read it sooner (and partly because for a while there I was strictly an adult, dark romance mood reader). 🤷‍♀️😅

After having read it, I have mixed feelings about the story… mostly the direction it headed and the overall flow. I loved the initial premise. I thought it was intriguing having a main character who had suffered from a brutal, totally heinous experience and is now living a debilitating and limiting life. I’ve read a couple of contemporary romance books that centred around young heroines who were rape victims. Their stories were personal, life-changing journeys of overcoming their demons and having the strength to move on and live their lives.

Whilst Amber’s story has the same structure, I found the vividness of Amber’s attack and the situations connecting to that event truly heart-wrenching. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of Cora’s earlier books, but one thing that she’s always managed to do with her writing style is capture readers’ attention. Right off the bat, you know there is something unusual about Amber, and as her story gradually unfolds, the more I was drawn to her as a person and wanting to see how her character would develop.


“Could I even feel safe in someone’s arms? Could I feel safe in Zach’s arms?”


There’s an unease in the atmosphere that plays well in making you feel not only for Amber and her circumstances, but those closest to her who have been just as affected. It feels overall realistic and quite relatable. It’s a tragedy; a work of fiction that hits so much with reality because it’s a situation that’s constantly happening in our society.

I felt for Amber’s struggle to interact with her brother and father the way she used to in the past. I also felt both Brian’s and their father’s frustration and heartbreak over not being able to help her the way they had hoped to. There’s a lot of guilt surrounding this family that you can’t help but sympathize their situation. But looking back, this entire storyline could easily have been depressing and all-out gloomy but Cora has managed to include some lighthearted and warming elements to keep it going too angsty.

I loved Amber’s cat, his presence alone always made me smile whilst reading this book, and I surprisingly adored Amber’s unexpected but very sweet friendship with Reagan. I hadn’t expected Reagan to have such a role that she did, but I quickly grew to love their girly time! To be real, she was the only constant goodness from all the secondary characters… *whispers* and the only one with good sense. 🤦‍♀️

Hmm. Is it weird to say that I actually preferred the hero, Zach when he was strictly being friendly and a hospitable roommate more so than when romantic feelings started blossoming between them? 

There was something so endearing about Amber’s and Zach’s first introduction. I liked the dynamic he brought in by being the outsider who saw Amber in a different light in comparison to her family. What started swaying my opinion of him was his own personal issues outside of Amber and her circumstances. He’s described as a total man-whore who never even considered having a relationship with anyone, and whilst I always enjoy seeing a sexy hero eventually change his bachelor ways once “the one” comes a-knocking, for some reason I can’t quite pinpoint, I wasn’t completely sold on Zach. His behaviour gave me whiplash — one minute he’s the ever-so sweet and thoughtful guy, then the next he’s totally insensitive and such a…. ugh guy! 😒


“Maybe Zach was a mistake, but he was a mistake I wanted to make. It would be my choice.”


Unfortunately, the majority of the cast of characters in this story are of the male variant, and with the exception of Amber’s adorably broody cat and Amber’s father, the rest of the male population included are your stereotypical college douchebag boys — Yup. That’s including both Zach and Amber’s brother Brian! So in saying that, expect tons of eye-rolling drama that I, for one thought was both unnecessary and all around pesky to read through.

Honestly, more than half of the drama within this storyline was brought on by either Zach or Brian. If there wasn’t so much drama, this story would’ve been a lot shorter than it already was. Sigh.

I do however liked seeing the milestones and breakthroughs that Amber accomplishes. However, it would’ve felt a little more believable if they hadn’t come about all too quickly. She’s been in a reclusive, broken state for years, has extreme anxiety and not one for any physical contact… Yet she moves in with her brother and Zach, starts opening up, starts feeling more confident, which forms a romantic (and very much a physical) relationship with Zach all in a span of a couple months?! That’s quite a feat, am I right? 🤔

Whilst there were plenty of elements within that I thoroughly enjoyed, I can’t lie there were also parts that I wasn’t liking as much (hence my mixed feelings).

Amber’s and Zach’s relationship was somewhat of a slow burn at first. I thought their relationship was steadily developing, but halfway through I felt a shift in the pacing of the story. More issues started popping up at once and it felt like since it was nearing the end, it resulted in an abrupt wrap-up. Although the story was told from dual points of view, I truly think even a few more chapters would’ve done the trick in putting some depth to Zach’s life rather than a few scenes were you see him struggle and ultimately brush off his issues with his parents. Not to mention his parents’ relationship is totally fucked up! 

The first half was gripping and set the world-building but in my opinion, the second half was a bit anticlimactic. I think if Cora was to ever go back and revamp this story, an epilogue is definitely in order. The ending completely left me with so much unanswered questions and the overall storyline just felt incomplete.

Not just with Zach and Amber but with the side stories and secondary characters as well. For example, Amber’s brother Brian had a seriously unhealthy relationship with his girlfriend. What happened to them? I can’t possibly (and sorta refuse to) accept that they’re still together. Then, there’s of course Zach’s own personal story and his own demons. They weren’t exactly sorted by the end. And one of the things I desperately was curious about was Amber’s self “therapy” sessions. It was never mentioned if she continued on with it, and if not, it seems a little sad knowing the girl she was having these chats with no longer has Amber as her support system.

Ugh. Questions. Questions. Questions. I could go on. I would’ve rated it higher if it had a proper ending.

It might not sound like it but despite all my hang-ups and issues with this story, I did overall enjoy reading it. There’s a bit of suspense included, and like all of Cora’s books it was easy to follow. I liked seeing Amber’s growth and the friendship she’s made. Even with Zach’s inconsistency, I respected the fact that he truly cared for Amber, a gentleman in regards to her feelings and ensuring her empowerment. And I can’t deny, despite all the drama surrounding Amber, she had people who were willing to go above and beyond to assist her, to make her as comfortable as possible, and to know that she is loved.


“Sometimes you’ve gotta fall before you fly.”


This was an ugly-cry type of new adult romance story. It had some great elements, an interesting plotline, and a complex heroine. Even though the storyline was centred around a tragedy, I found the realism of the characters’ emotions authentic that I couldn’t help but get invested in their lives.

If you’re a fan of Cora’s and like me, wanting to check out her non mafia related books, then give this one a go. You might find it refreshing to read one of her contemporary romance books! 😉

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

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Read more reviews for Cora Reilly’s books! 

🩸 Born In Blood Mafia Chronicles

Luca Vitiello by Cora Reilly
Bound By The Past by Cora Reilly
Bound By Blood Anthology by Cora Reilly

🔥 The Camorra Chronicles

Twisted Loyalties by Cora Reilly
Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly
Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly
Twisted Bonds by Cora Reilly
Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly
Twisted Cravings by Cora Reilly

📚 Standalone Romance/ Novellas

Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
The Dirty Bargain by Lylah James & Cora Reilly
King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly
Forbidden Delights by Cora Reilly
Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly

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

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Twisted Cravings by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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• MY REVIEW •

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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

•••


Read my reviews for The Camorra Chronicles!

booksofthemuggleborn_camorrachronicles

📕 Book One: Twisted Loyalties by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Two: Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Three: Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Four: Twisted Bonds by Cora Reilly

📕 Book Five: Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly


•••

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

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Bound By Blood Anthology by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

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

This anthology contains stories for the following couples:

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

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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

Warning: Lots of cussing ahead! And minor teasing!

Okay. Here we go. First up?

*drumroll*

📖 1: Luca & Aria

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

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

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

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

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Next up? Fresh meat!

📖 2: Mauro & Stella

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

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

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

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

😳 Here’s something to look forward to:

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

📖 3: Matteo & Gianna

*exhales…*

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

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

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

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

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

📖 4: Romero & Liliana

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

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

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

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And finally… the feels!

📖 5: Growl & Cara

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

And now? 

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

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

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

💘 Something not to be missed:

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

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

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


•••

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

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Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly

Warning: Teasers included in review! Read at own risk!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Sofia knows how it feels to be the consolation prize.

Too young.

Not blond.

And definitely not an ice princess.

Her sister is–was all those things. Perfection. Until she wasn’t. Until she ran off to be with the enemy and left her fiance behind.

Now Sofia is given to Danilo in her sister’s stead, knowing she’ll never be more than second best. Yet, she can’t stop longing for the love of the man she’s been crushing on even when he was still her sister’s.

***

Danilo is a man who’s used to get what he wants.

Power.

Respect.

The sought-after ice princess.

Until another man steals his bride-to-be. Danilo knows that for a man in his position losing his woman can lead to a loss of face.

Wounded pride.

Thirst for revenge.

A dangerous combination–one Danilo can’t leave behind, not even when a girl just as precious takes her sister’s place to placate him. Yet, she’s got one flaw: she’s not her sister.

Unable to forget what he’s lost, Danilo might lose what he’s been given.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Wow. So many emotions and thoughts swirling around in my head right now. But the first thing that pops into my head when I think of Fragile Longing?

TheOriginals_DavinaKol_UpClose

👏 Slow 👏 Ass 👏 Romance!

I wasn’t expecting it. And to be honest, I wasn’t prepared.

Anyone who loves some snail pace romance, then you’re going to enjoy the little nibbles Sofia and Danilo throw your way. 😜

Fragile Longing was an unexpected story that focused a lot on Sofia. Whilst this book can be read as standalone, I really recommend you read Twisted Pride to get the full backstory of Sofia’s relationship with her family and how she came to be Danilo’s fiancée.

If you wanna see the consequences of Mafia life and how actions of these Made Men affect those around them deemed innocent, this story is a surprising prime example of it.

You really see Sofia’s character development from child to adolescent to young adult. I always look forward to these kinds of character developments because you can see how much they’ve grown from beginning to end.

With Sofia, however, there’s constant struggles, jealousy and a lot of insecurities. Some of which were very relatable especially at her young age. I admit at the beginning I had similar thoughts and fears where Danilo was concerned (I was practically mirroring her frustration), but Sofia’s constant back and forth, questioning every little detail eventually got a little tiresome and repetitive at times. I don’t want to say it but… she might have, kinda, sorta, became obsessive.

A little.


“The copy. Not the original. Always the copy.”


TheOriginals_Davina_Snarky

But in saying that,  if I was her age and in her position I probably would be doing other people’s heads in too with my erratic behaviour. Lol.

She’s one of the more complex and unsettled characters I’ve come across in one of Cora’s books set in this world. As strange as this is going to sound, I found it refreshing to see the heroine be the more troubled protagonist this time around as suppose to the hero (but that’s not to say Danilo didn’t have a few issues of his own either).

Seeing Sofia navigate through her many emotions was both entertaining and at times cringy. 🤦‍♀️ Eeep. Secondhand embarrassment right here! Hehe.

Sofia may not be my most favourite heroine of Cora’s but she certainly brings some realism and relatable issues on bored that a lot of us can relate to. Danilo and Sofia’s story was one that came off as one of the most realistic in the sense of how their relationship developed gradually and organically over time. I appreciated that they didn’t take any shortcuts, which made their relationship and their feelings all the more believable.

To some, Danilo may not be in the same calibre as the Remos and Lucas of this world, but I wouldn’t write him off. Danilo is one I would swoon over just as much. And if I’m gonna be real here… *whispers* I can’t help think Serafina would’ve been lucky in love and life regardless. Sigh.

Danilo is most definitely of the swoon variety! A statement I stand true for the sole reason that he has made me tear up on more than one occasion with his unknowingly heart-stopping actions. 🤔 Actions do speak louder than words.   


“I wonder which Danilo was the real deal. Which was his true self? The restrained gentleman or the ruthless predator?”


Fragile Longing is a story of growth, acceptance, and of trust. Family plays a vital role in Sofia and Danilo’s story. They’re both scarred, unable to let go, and it shows in their mannerisms.

Other than their complicated yet addictive developing relationship, the secondary characters in this book had me clenching my kindle with anticipation to see more of them in future books. I always, ALWAYS love that there’s other stories developing in the background concerning secondary characters that’ll have you constantly intrigued. Most often than not, I come away with more questions than answers by the time I finish the book.

I feel like every time I read one of Cora’s books that’s set in this Mafia world, I’m constantly on the lookout for clues and hints in every other sentence I read for upcoming storylines and couplings. Ugh. 🙈🙈 I’m sure I can’t be the only one who does this.

So what questions did I come away with from Fragile Longing that I desperately need answers to?

Well let’s just say…

There’s stories I’m thirsting after… *cough* Sam *cough* 🤐 and one that I was initially in no rush to read but after having read Fragile Longing, I now need! *cough* a certain ice queen *cough* 🤐🤐

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Fragile Longing is much anticipated but worth the wait! After reading Twisted Pride, I instantly wondered what would become of Danilo. I’m so glad his story has written.

It’s a rollercoaster. It’s crazy madness. And you’ll be completely invested in seeing Danilo and Sofia make it work!

For those like me who find slow burn romances cruel, I promise that it won’t last forever. In fact once they get past the waiting game, it’s full steam ahead! 😉 *waggles brows*


“You haunt my nights and days, and no matter what I do, I can’t get you out of my head.”


Other than the interesting stories happening on the sidelines that had my attention, the epilogue of Fragile Longing is life! ❤ Just when I was completely content with how things were wrapping up, more things popped up. It’s the epilogue that keeps on giving!

A relatively slow paced storytelling, told from dual POVs. Whilst there’s some lighthearted, humorous moments here and there to break any tension, in my opinion it’s a more serious storyline overall. But it certainly needed to be told and Sofia and Danilo needed the closure. They may be living in a Mafia world set with rules and order, but their romance was unconventional and I’m all smiles that they got a well-deserved happily ever after!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

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

🔔 Interested in reading Fragile Longing? Grab your copy here: Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books

(Live release on Amazon and will go directly into #KindleUnlimited)


•••

Another brilliant book read and reviewed! Hope you enjoyed. Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Australian Reading Hour

Hiya! This post is a little different from my usual reviews and teasers but wanted to just stop by with a quick mention that it’s #AustralianReadingHour today! 😊

It’s an awesome annual campaign that encourages Aussies of all ages to take at least an hour of the day to read! How cool is that?! 

I caught onto it about two years ago. It was all due to Bookstagram and the great community there that I was made aware of it in the first place. Although I love reading daily, I enjoy participating and helping share awareness of this campaign! 

Any fellow Aussies who want to join in, please do! Post anything book related or like me, your current read and use the hashtag #AustralianReadingHour

And make sure to spend an hour READING! 📖📖📖 

This year with the pandemic and lockdowns currently in place, a new hashtag has been added to the campaign #AustraliaReadsAtHome to really get Aussies to use some of their time to read whilst at home. 

Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping healthy. Happy reading and as always, catch you guys in my next one! Xo

•••

I’m currently reading Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly! So far, so good! 😍

(Keep a lookout for my review coming soon!) 

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

 


What are you currently reading?


 

Forbidden Delights by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

LoveInLockdown_Teaser3

F o r b i d d e n  D e l i g h t s  by Cora Reilly
A Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles Short Story

Stella is a forbidden fruit Mauro isn’t allowed to taste.
Not only because she isn’t promised to him, but also because she’s his step-sister.
She used to be his annoying shadow, the little girl he needed to protect and babysit. Now she’s all grown-up and he can’t stop noticing. Being locked into a panic room with her might be the ultimate test for his self-control…

Mauro has always been Stella’s protector and ally, until she starts to see him as more. Afraid of his reaction, she hides her attraction. But can she keep doing so when they’re trapped in a small room all alone?

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I love my mafia romances. And more specifically I love Cora Reilly’s mafia romances. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read her novella that was included in the Love in Lockdown romance anthology. 😊

But let me ask you this…

Have you ever felt a little creeped out or iffy about romances that centers around step or foster siblings — thinking it’s a little too close to incest despite the fact that they’re technically not blood related… but still, you know… weird?

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Haha. No? Just me then? 😅 It’s why I usually steer clear of any romance reads with this trope. I’ve read some pretty disturbing ones in the past and it’s a big reason as to why it’ll never be one of the tropes I look for.

So, reading the blurb for Forbidden Delights, I had my doubts. But you know what? I really shouldn’t have doubted Cora or her writing talents because any concerns I had about a step-sibling romance went right out the window. What I saw between Mauro and Stella is yes, a familial affection from having grown up together but it also goes deeper than that. It also displayed blossoming young love between two people who truly care about one other. No weird factor present! Yay!

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“The mafia world was built on rules. Rules never to be broken.”

“One of those rules was not to desire a girl that wasn’t promised to you…”


This a forbidden/ secret romance set in a dark mafia world, but their story is full of warmth and lightness. As much as I love a good, gritty mafia romance, having the mafia side of things be in the backdrop to their increasing closeness was refreshing. Sometimes you just need a love story with less drama. 😉 I enjoyed reading their points of view and seeing Stella and Mauro try and navigate through their feelings. It’s adorable seeing their thoughts mirror each other but in fear of their relationship changing for the worse or their feelings not being reciprocated, they keep it to themselves.

*whispers* The bed scenes are a highlight. I could not stop giggling! 🤭🤭

So little time to tell their story, yet it packed a punch full of chemistry, heart and hope! Being trapped alone certainly gave this story suspense.

How much are they willing to risk?

How far will they go?

Will they get caught? *dum dum duuuum!*

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“You look as if you got a jail sentence. Is it really so bad to stay with me?”


I can’t say anything bad about either one of these characters because they’re both likable. Stella’s a teenager, and whilst she’s been shied away from the mafia side of their family, she has a maturity about her and knows the seriousness of the business. (Although seeing her crushing on Mauro is totally teen-like… and quite understandable). 😜 Mauro’s character screams thoughtful and protective from beginning to end. I swooned over the fact that he always considered Stella and her feelings first. Ladies, he’s a gentleman. *fans self*

This was a relatively short story (even for a novella) but Cora has managed to add in world-building — even if you’re not familiar with her Mafia world, it’s described in this novella well enough for you to get a gist of the importance of both Stella’s step-father and Mauro’s positions in the business and the dangers of being involved in it. You also get a good sense of her family dynamics and the type of relationship she has with her mother.

I like the idea of Mauro and Stella against the world (or in this case, against their family and “the rules”). Their bond is evident and relatable. They share lighthearted banter here and there, but mostly reminiscing over sweet memories of their childhood. They have a very close relationship, developing from brother and sister to something more… but thank fuck it didn’t come off as disturbing or nauseating. Lol.

Ugh. This was too good to pass up. But too short of a story! 😭 I only hope this isn’t the last time we hear of Mauro and Stella. And I hope that if we do see them in future books that they get the ultimate happily ever after! 🙏

Highly recommended for Cora Reilly fans that want more of her mafia world. Don’t sit on this one if you already have a copy of Love in Lockdown, but have yet to read any of it.

Side note: While Forbidden Delights is part of Cora Reilly’s mafia world, it doesn’t affect or directly connect to any of the storylines with her Born In Blood series. This can be read on it’s own.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

•••


L o v e  I n  L o c k d o w n  — ( C h a r i t y  A n t h o l o g y )

Lock•down

A state of isolation, close proximity, or confinement.

Join fourteen bestselling authors as they distract YOU from lockdown with this collection of all-new short and steamy stories.

There’s no escaping… love is catching.

Pre-order this upcoming charity anthology and help raise much needed funds for families struggling on hard times due to the coronavirus.

***

Each author has rustled up a new steamy story especially for this anthology to raise as much money as possible. All the profits will be split between two charities, one in US and one in UK, who are working hard to provide families with food during these challenging times.

LoveInLockdown_Cover

📕 Grab your copy here!

Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

100% of profits going to UK and US Foodbank charities!


•••

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

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Dark Fairy Tales Anthology

 Check out my reviews for each of the fairy tales included in this collection. Happy reading!  The book is now available, if you’re interested in reading it yourself. 

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

In a castle adorned with gems, coated in gold, and dusted with luxury, the youngest of the Constantine Family will be introduced to the elite of New York. But the party isn’t all glamor. Villains lurk in dark corners, evil deals are struck, and starcrossed loves are born.

FAIRY TALES INCLUDED:

The Ugly Duckling by CJ Roberts
Beauty and the Beast by Willow Winters
Cinderella by Aleatha Romig
Little Red Riding Hood by Karina Halle
Jack & the Beanstalk by Marley Valentine
Snow White by T.M. Frazier
Rumplestiltskin by Celia Aaron
King Midas by Skye Warren
King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly
Princess and the Pea by Sierra Simone
Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

Attend the ball, wear a red cloak, lose your shoe, spin straw to gold, or fall prey to a witch. In these fairytale retellings from bestselling authors, you will find a prince, but you might choose your happily ever after with the beast.

DARK FAIRY TALES is a limited-time anthology of modern fairy tales containing all NEW novellas. Download your copy and tell a book-loving friend, because it won’t last long.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

This was one hell of a romance anthology (and it couldn’t have come at a better time with lock down still very much in place here in Australia)! Some of these authors are new-to-me, as well as some of the tales included, but they made such an impact in making me want to check out other books written! I only wish these stories were longer. I’ve had to settle for rereading them! 😅

King Midas by Skye Warren

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

🎵 “I’ve got the Midas touch. Everything I touch turns to gold…”

And boy, did Raoul Midas certainly do that! A rich, successful, and powerful man paying for an escort, but finds himself enamored by the young, beautiful, and innocent Anita. This romance trope has been done plenty of times, and I’ve read a handful of them in the past, but this one had me curious from the get-go what with Raoul’s affliction at being touched. Yet, if Raoul was to let anyone break this barrier he puts up, Anita would be the one. Loved the intrigue, their instant connection, and their little chats! 🥰

Rumpelstiltskin by Celia Aaron

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

One of the old time classics. I don’t think there’s a lot of people in the literary world who wouldn’t have heard of, or read this tale of shifty dealings with the one and only Rumpelstiltskin — or in this case, the name is Clark. To be honest, I haven’t read any retellings of it (it had never been one of my faves growing up), but this was such a good one to start off with, and if anyone was every looking for dark, swoony versions of it, I wouldn’t hesitate to mention this novella! 😍 It’s modern, very well written, and oh-so gripping!

The Princess and the Pea by Sierra Simone

RATING: ♥♥½

Meh. I think I stumbled into the middle of the story because I was lost for a good chunk of the first half. It reads like you’re familiar with the characters already and their situation from the get-go, but I felt like I was trying to play catch-up. This is a Dom/Sub, second chance romance with some BDSM. There are plenty of romance readers who enjoy this type of romance, it’s just never been a preference of mine. So for that reason, I couldn’t connect as much as I would’ve liked with this story.

The Little Red Riding Hood by Karina Halle

RATING: ♥♥♥½

👩‍🦰“My what big teeth you have.” 

Seduction, mystery and murder, oh my! Starts off with so much intrigue already, until it slowly unveils the truth and you realize that this is definitely a dark and bloody tale. An enjoyable novella, that manages to create world-building and development between Red and Wolf within a good story line in a short span.

The Ugly Duckling by CJ Roberts

RATING: ♥♥½

As much as I would’ve wanted to like this story, I just couldn’t connect with it as much as the others. It’s detailed and somewhat wordy, and for a novella it surprisingly dragged a little for my liking. It did have elements from the original classic, e.g. being a little bit different from the rest and finally having the courage to stand up for yourself, but other than that this was a whole new story. Contains F/F romance. There’s sensitive subject matter within that may trigger some readers.

Beauty and the Beast by Willow Winters

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

“It’s a tale as old as time, isn’t it?”

I’ve read quite a few Beauty and the Beast inspired stories and retellings, and I still can’t get enough of them. This was a deliciously, dark and sensual version. It kept a lot of the elements we all know so well from the classic but wonderfully written in a modern setting. So much spark and heat between Calum and Annabelle that I could not turn the pages fast enough to see how things would unravel between them. Such world-building and build-up between the hero/heroine from start to finish.

Jack & the Beanstalk by Marley Valentine

RATING: ♥♥♥

Damn. This was one of those fan-your-face type of romance read. 🙈 I honestly couldn’t picture a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling as an adult M/M romance (or any romance for that matter), yet lookey here! And this one’s full of betrayal, revenge, and unrelenting love. If you’re a fan of enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance tropes, like I do, you’ll enjoy this one.

King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

A tale I was not at all familiar with. Now? I am obsessed with the tale! Or maybe it’s just Cora’s version of it, who knows?! 😄 Arranged marriage. Hate-to-love romance trope. Some mystery. With very hot and heavy scenes between Jean and Peyton. This story had me wanting more!

📔 Read my full review: King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly

The Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

One of my fave tales growing up. This is a must read. I thoroughly adored Knight’s take on it. I couldn’t get enough of the anticipation and build-up, and chemistry between Salvatore and Lucia.  Knight’s dark mafia spin was a refreshing take, with the prince in this version being the villain. Enemies-to-lovers at it’s best! 😍😍

📔 Read my full review: The Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

Cinderella by Aleatha Romig

RATING: ♥♥♥

I thought this was an interesting take on one of my all time favourite fairy tales. Whilst it does have the main elements of the classic — like the shoes, the ball and evil stepsisters, it also has a lot of new elements that really make the story Romig’s own. She’s incorporated her book series (which I’m not familiar with) into this novella. It’s special-ops/ military type romance. If you like reading from that romance sub-genre, you’ll like this one.

Snow White by T.M. Frazier

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

Oooh. This was a deviously grimy read, and I didn’t expect anything less from Frazier. I’ve read quite a few dark versions of Snow White and this was probably one of the more twisted of the lot. It’s icky…yet not? 😅 All I can say, is if you’ve read quite a lot of dark romance books, and/ or familiar with Frazier’s style of romance, then the things that with these characters is nothing new to the world. Either way, I loved the intensity between Chase and Neve.

If you love dark versions of fairy tales, a modern retelling, and/ or stories inspired by them, then I think you’ll enjoy this anthology. There’s amazing romance authors included and their take on these classic tales are addictive that you won’t be able to put it down.

Whilst I’ve always been a fan of fairy tales, I admit some of these classics were unfamiliar to me, but after having read these ones, it’s completely made me fall in love with them. I highly recommend it.

Perfect to read in one sitting, or a couple at a time between your other reads.

OVERALL RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you Skye Warren and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

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

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King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly

This is a mini review for Cora Reilly’s retelling of King Thrushbeard that is included in the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology that’s releasing August 18! Happy reading! 😊

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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— BLURB —

In a castle adorned with gems, coated in gold, and dusted with luxury, the youngest of the Constantine Family will be introduced to the elite of New York. But the party isn’t all glamor. Villains lurk in dark corners, evil deals are struck, and starcrossed loves are born.

FAIRY TALES INCLUDED:

The Ugly Duckling by CJ Roberts
Beauty and the Beast by Willow Winters
Cinderella by Aleatha Romig
Little Red Riding Hood by Karina Halle
Jack & the Beanstalk by Marley Valentine
Snow White by T.M. Frazier
Rumplestiltskin by Celia Aaron
King Midas by Skye Warren
King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly
Princess and the Pea by Sierra Simone
Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

Attend the ball, wear a red cloak, lose your shoe, spin straw to gold, or fall prey to a witch. In these fairytale retellings from bestselling authors, you will find a prince, but you might choose your happily ever after with the beast.

DARK FAIRY TALES is a limited-time anthology of modern fairy tales containing all NEW novellas. Download your copy and tell a book-loving friend, because it won’t last long.

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— MY REVIEW —

Beard or no beard, I’ll have me one Peyton Chanler, please! 🤤😍

Novella that packs a punch! I have a love/ hate relationship with this novella. I loved every bit of it. Downside? It was too friggin’ short! 😭 Now I want (and possibly NEED) Cora to go back into this story and write a full-length novel. But then again, I liked that it went straight to the point — no slow burn romance here, nah-uh.

Short but sweet sultry! 🔥 I don’t know how Cora manages to introduce world-building, give a little backstory of the characters’ lives, have a strong, consistent storyline, and on top of that, ensure chemistry between our hero/ heroine… all within a short amount of time.

There’s intrigue and mystery.

Game playing.

A little hate to love romance trope.

Oh, and let’s not forget an arranged marriage.

And what fairy tale wouldn’t be complete and utterly magical without a lavish scene at a ball?! (FYI this particular scene is 100% explicit content. No underage readers allowed!)

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This anthology is a collection of retellings. Whilst I’m a fan of fairy tales, retellings and stories inspired by classic tales, King Thrushbeard was one I was actually unfamiliar with. After having read this novella, I googled the original tale. #sorrynotsorry

If you’re like me who doesn’t know King Thrushbeard, this modern retelling will have you wanting to read more (and wondering how you could’ve missed this fairy tale until now).

And, if you’ve read the original tale or familiar with it, I think this retelling will surely leave you satisfied. It’s beautifully written and visually captivating. It doesn’t stray too much away from the original tale (at least from what I’ve read on Google). With our heroine being prideful, and our hero wanting to teach her a little lesson. This novella, our heroine is one fire-y, opinionated redhead, and our hero Peyton although older, is no less ripped and rugged of a man sure of himself.

I haven’t read a lot of books (at least these days) were it’s told solely from only one of the protagonists. In this case, it’s all from Jean’s point of view. Although I would’ve loved to have had Peyton’s perspective as well (because who am I kidding? I need more Peyton), his thoughts and feelings were still very loud and clear where Jean was concerned.

My only critique is the ending concluded a little too abruptly for my liking (even with how promptly paced this story already was).

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If you enjoy reading about arrogant alphas, who adorns scruff, dimples, and who likes to constantly smirk — then King Thrushbeard (and this entire anthology) needs to be added to your TBR.

RATING: ♥♥½

Thank you to Cora and Emily for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of King Thrushbeard! 💗

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Read my reviews for the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology!

📔 Dark Fairy Tales Anthology

📔 The Swan Princess by Natasha Knight


•••

Catch you in my next one, guys! Hope you’re all staying healthy, safe and keeping positive! Xo

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