Stroke Of Midnight by K. Webster

booksofthemuggleborn_strokeofmidnight
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Money can buy anything. And anyone. As the head of the Constantine family, I’m used to people bowing to my will. Cruel, rigid, unyielding—I’m all those things. When I discover the one woman who doesn’t wither under my gaze, but instead smiles right back at me, I’m intrigued.

Ash Elliott needs cash, and I make her trade in crudeness and degradation for it. I crave her tears, her moans. I pay for each one. And every time, she comes back for more. When she challenges me with an offer of her own, I have to decide if I’m willing to give her far more than cold hard cash.

But love can have deadly consequences when it comes from a Constantine. At the stroke of midnight, that choice may be lost for both of us.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

PrettyWoman_Cinderella

What’s better than a fairytale inspired story or retelling? A dark fairytale story or retelling! The fact that Stroke of Midnight is a Cinderella story, just had me even more excited to read it! 😊

But I hadn’t encountered a lot of things when I started this book. The blurb certainly tells you a loose outline, but soon discovered it was so much more that what I was expecting. I think this book will be eaten up by romance readers who love some kinky BDSM in their reads. 

I’m an avid romance reader but I have to admit romance books that contain BDSM are usually ones I steer clear of because they’re not my type of story. But I would never discredit these books, authors who write them, or the readers who enjoy them. To each their own.

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I have to point out that there’s also a relatively sizable age gap between our protagonists. It’s a trope I’m slowly reading a lot more of these days but even then I tend to be picky about which ones I read. I find that if the age difference isn’t as noticeable when the characters converse, then it’s not going to be an issue. With Stroke of Midnight, the age difference is practically one of the focal points in the story. If it’s not mentioned by the characters themselves, it’s displayed in the way they behave towards one another. It’s a bit of a hit and miss for me because it was either funny to witness or at times a cringy reminder. 🙈

For someone like me who’s just venturing towards this romance trope, I was taken aback in the beginning, but the further I read on, it became the norm with Winston and Ash that I eventually shrugged it off and accepted it. Although I may have huffed at the fact that being in your thirties is considered “old”. But I suppose when the heroine is still a teenager then yeah… I can see why it may seem old in comparison. Lol. 🤦‍♀️😂

If you like the following themes in your romance books, then you’ll be sure to enjoy this one!

  • Age gap
  • Erotica/ BDSM
  • Office Romance
  • Dark fairy tale retelling
  • The whole sugar daddy kink!

In saying all that — I did surprisingly find this book entertaining to read. I was hooked on the aspect of the whole Pretty Woman, make-me-an-offer bit, which I think is initially what kept me engaged… that, and the fact that I enjoyed seeing Winston and Ash’s nonstop bantering. It kept me chuckling and turning the pages! 


“He’s a villain who looks the part of a golden prince.”


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I’m not going to lie, I had trouble deciding what to rate it. I have a love/ hate relationship with this book. As I mentioned earlier, this is not my usual type of romance read. I know there’s a massive fanbase for this romance trope. Based on some similar ones I have come across (and DNFed) in the past, this one managed to have a lightness added to an otherwise dark romance.     

But before I go further, I have to mention it contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It contains violence, sexual harassment and assault. So please keep that in mind when deciding to start this novel.

Another issue I have to bring up is that it ends on a cliffhanger. It’s not a deal breaker for me, but I know plenty of readers who have issues with it considering it’s not mentioned at all in the blurb (which would’ve been nice). Unless you specifically check on Goodreads, you won’t know that it’s not a standalone until you’re already well into reading it. Sigh.

K. Webster is a new-to-me author, so I had no idea what her writing style would be like. Despite the romance tropes in this book, I did get invested in seeing how things would pan out for Winston and Ash (especially with how things concluded), so I’m looking forward to the next book!

It’s a relatively well-paced storytelling and told from both their POVs. A definite modern, twisted take on the classic fairy tale.

A handful of shifty secondary characters to look forward to. The villainous stepmother and her disturbingly cruel spawns is just the start of it. But there’s also some cool characters included to keep the scale from tipping entirely to the evil side. Hehe.

Winston and Ash, as weird as their relationship is, do have zingy chemistry. Their conversations more than anything is what I enjoyed reading the most. For the majority of the time I wasn’t a fan of Ash’s immature personality and naivety, but it does display a dynamic between Winston and herself… and she is a stereotypical teenager so… 🤷‍♀️

*whispers* I would’ve rated this book a little higher if Ash’s actions didn’t bother me as much. Her heart is in a good place and she has clear opinions but her decisions don’t necessarily reflect that. 

Successful, powerful Winston has the world at his feet, but I also questioned his decisions when it came to Ash’s welfare. He just didn’t make a big enough impact on me as the guy you don’t want to mess with. Know what I mean? 

I can only hope the sequel we’ll get to really see his full potential as a Constantine, and see a lot more growth from Ash. There’s so much potential and possibilities with their story. 

I’m a sucker for fairy tale stories where the hero is so affected by the heroine that he gradually changes from the cold-hearted man into one full of love and emotion. Winston and Ash have that potential of a love story.

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In my honest opinion Stroke of Midnight would be an absolute smash for readers who like these specific types of romance stories. I can totally see its appeal. It’s not my usual preference but I did end up liking it for the most part and I would recommend it to readers looking into this romance sub-genre.  A nice quick read you can finish in one sitting too! 😊

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

Thank you to K. Webster and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙


•••

Happy reading, guys! As always, catch you in my next one! 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. 

booksofthemuggleborn_darkfairytales3
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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The Swan Princess by Natasha Knight

This is a mini review for Natasha Knight’s retelling of The Swan Princess that is included in the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology that’s releasing August 18! Happy reading! 😊

booksofthemuggleborn_darkfairytales2
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 —

Why, why, why had I not discovered Natasha Knight sooner??! Like, two years sooner?! 🙈 I’m kicking myself that I could’ve been reading her amazing Mafia romance books and drooling over her hot mafioso men for years! And now she has this amazing, swoon-worthy retelling?! 🤤😍

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I loved the tale of The Swan Princess growing up… *whispers* I even like the 90’s animated movie… “Odette!!!” 🦢

So I was immediately drawn to this one when I first saw which fairy tales would be included in the anthology. And man, it did not disappoint! It only made me want more… LOTS MORE! of the mysterious masked man who exuded power and danger, and the innocent young woman who wanted to escape her life for the night.

Intrigue, magic and secrets are what fills the air of this once in a lifetime masquerade ball. There’s no time to lose. This novella will have your eyes popping, and your mouth open, tongue lolled out because the heat goes from 0 to 100 in a matter of seconds! 🔥🔥

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Sparks were immediate the moment our (anti) hero and heroine first interacted. I loved reading every minute of it. The Swan Princess in a Mafia setting? Umm, brilliant!

Although this was a novella (and a fairly quick one at that), the conclusion didn’t leave me with an unsatisfied feeling like I dreaded it would. On the contrary, it made me want to check out more of Natasha Knight’s books asap!

*hint hint* These characters may be old friends to you if you’re familiar with Natasha Knight’s books… 😉

Not only has Knight managed to create a refreshing and modern spin on this classic tale, but she’s managed to provide some world-building, a backstory between our two main protagonists, and keep the suspense and intrigue constant from start to finish. If you love a good enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance, it’s right here!

Although this book has an unbelievable bevy of romance authors and retellings, this story is definitely one of my faves. A must read! Especially for fans of dark/ mafia romances!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

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

•••


Read my reviews for the Dark Fairy Tales Anthology!

📔 Dark Fairy Tales Anthology

📔 King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly


•••

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! 😊

booksofthemuggleborn_darkfairytales1
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 —

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! 💗

•••


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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