Till Next Time by Cora Brent

⚠ This review contains a minor teaser!

booksofthemuggleborn_tillnexttime
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

I met Colt Malene when I was fourteen years old.

And it seems I’ve never recovered.

He became the headstrong star quarterback in a town that idolized high school football titles.

Meanwhile, I was the coach’s dutiful perfectionist daughter, never daring to step out of line.

We should have stayed far away from each other but we didn’t.

And the volatile fallout was unbearable.

More than a decade has passed and now my father is dying.

He wants to make amends.

He wants to be forgiven for the role he played in Colt’s ruinous downfall and my painful heartbreak.

To give a dying man some peace, Colt and I agree to a plan.

While Colt is here in town, we pretend to date.

We pretend to like each other.

We pretend that the past is buried and forgotten.

But with one reckless, passionate act we carve a new future.

Leading to a fate we never suspected.

In the middle of a storm we never saw coming.

And an ending no one could have predicted…

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“I never meant to fall in love with Colt Malene. I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve done it anyway. Again. I couldn’t help it, then or now.”


TVD_Stefan_ShySmile

After reading Till It Hurts and loving the strong trio of characters, I knew I needed more. Till Next Time is utter perfection that completely transported me back to their small town of Arcana, and to the trio who’ve reconnected as adults.

This story centred around Colt Malene and his life story. I couldn’t put it down! Cora has executed in telling his story and getting me emotionally invested right from the first few pages. The writing is effortless and vivid. It’s exactly the type of drama-filled contemporary romance I love to read. Fleshed-out, heartbreaking, yet nevertheless, inspiring.

Memories of past events weaved in between the present day not only gave Colt’s and Susanna’s personal stories so much depth and dimension, but it provided insight to their perspective households, families, and their developing relationship through their POVs.

The characters are complex and their lives are more than your average teenage rebellion against their parents. You see how much certain events that took place in their past have impacted and influenced their adulthood in the present.

You can’t help but feel for Colt. He had very little positivity in his life growing up, and it’s saddening to see his parents failed him as his much needed support system.

Susanna has her own issues and it becomes evident as the story progresses how much her life hadn’t ended up as initially planned.

It’s well-paced storytelling and these protagonists’ lives are not only touching to learn about, but they deal with life-long insecurities, along with some very heavy, realistic, and quite relatable issues along the way. I love the realism that Cora has imbedded in their story (along with Till It Hurts), it’s why I easily felt an attachment to these characters, especially Colt. They’re a likable pair of people, genuine characters with strong polar-opposite personalities.

The world-building is extraordinary— from Arcana; the little town that’s gradually wearing out over time, to the different backdrops that holds so many memories for Colt and Susanna, to the diverse range of supporting characters who all played significant roles in shaping them into who they are now and bring about contrasting dynamics.

I loved their journey. The highs and lows. It had the right amount of angst, drama, and suspense to keep you reading with bated breath, but also had moments of lightheartedness to keep it from veering towards an overly depressing atmosphere. Colt and Susanna come full circle by the end of the book that leaves you not only happy sighing with complete contentment but a little bittersweet knowing that with Till It Hurts and now, Till Next Time, all three friends have had their story told and we bid adieu to their world.

This is only my second book of Cora Brent’s but after having back-to-back exceptionally quality storytelling, I’ll be looking into her backlist of books for sure. Till Next Time is a must read along with Till It Hurts. You can definitely read them as standalone books without missing a beat as events and relationships are well explained… but I do highly recommend reading the pair!

Colt’s and Susanna’s story was one big “Sliding Doors” moment full of missed chances and what-ifs? The road to their HEA wasn’t an easy feat, but it’s an epic second-chance romance that was a long time coming and well worth the wait!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Cora Brent and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Till Next Time? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU

•••


🏈 Where it all started! Read my review!

booksofthemuggleborn_tillithurts
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📘 Till It Hurts by Cora Brent


•••

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

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By Sin I Rise: Part Two by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• 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?

•••

• 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! 🤦‍♀️🥃🥃

Shots

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

•••


🔥 Read my review for Part One!

booksofthemuggleborn_bysinirise
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📕 By Sin I Rise: Part One by Cora Reilly


•••

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

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Sweet Devil by Becker Gray

⚠ This review contains minor teasers!

booksofthemuggleborn_sweetdevil
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

People like to say the devil made them do it. And they would be right. I can bend anyone to my will. After all, I am the devil of Pembroke Prep. Only one person dares defy me. The one person I’ve ever wanted to be an angel for. But she despises me almost as much as I crave her. Serafina van Doren is the one temptation I can’t indulge, not with the secrets that I keep. But with the clock running out maybe it’s time to tempt her to the dark side.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oh sweet baby devil, this was one hell of a smoking hot, yet torturous love story! When it came to Serafina and Rhys I didn’t know whether to fan my face from all the blush-inducing scenes, or cry frustrated tears from all their taunting moments. 🙈 Either way I thoroughly enjoyed every little bit of their story!


“I smiled a little at the opportunity to have Sera all to myself. No friends, no underlings. Just us. The devil and the queen.”


Their romance was a long time coming since they were first introduced in Wicked Idol. Their intriguing dynamic only build-up suspense as more books in the series followed and it quickly became evident that they had quite an interesting history.

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Like all the books prior, this had a zingy atmosphere that crackled whenever its protagonists were in near vicinity of one another. The banter was exhilarating and the constant one-upmanship between Sera and Rhys was as entertaining as it was jaw-dropping to see. 😈🤭

What I hadn’t expected from this story was the emotional rollercoaster ride that Rhys would take us on with his backstory and how much of his past is influencing his present day life. Have tissues nearby, because I have no doubt you will be as emotionally invested in Rhys and his story as much as I was.

The story progression was well-paced, perhaps a little brisk at times. But there’s never a dull moment as it continuously went from one development to the next, gradually turning Sera’s and Rhys’ fiery teasing into something more in-depth and heartfelt.


“Falling in love is not for the weak or the faint-hearted, because you cannot command your heart to do what you need it to do.”


They’re both outstanding individuals, and what I like about each of them is although this is ultimately a romance story, there’s complexity to these characters and they navigate through very real, very relatable life issues. I connected with Serafina’s struggles as a POC no matter her family’s high social standing. I found Rhys’ past and the impact it has had on his mentality understandable but nevertheless hard to swallow.

It was a relatively short read but it was punchy, multi-layered, and by the end left me feeling a sense of all is right with their world— as it should be. Told from dual POV, not only do we see character growth with these protagonists as they come to grips with their emotions, but it also provided insight to each of their lives outside of Pembroke Prep and into their contrasting family dynamics.

The suspense doesn’t disappoint. The band of supporting characters— the rest of the Hellfire boys and the girls who’ve all stolen their hearts have added extra oomph with their strong friendships and at times light-hearted and witty commentary. I ate up the unpredictability that came with Serafina and Rhys.

Overall, I thought it was a truly beautiful, bittersweet ending to the Hellfire Club. The much-anticipated wait for Serafina’s and Rhys’ story was well worth it. It ended up being the book from the series that evoked the deepest emotional outburst *cough* ugly cry *cough* out of me. I loved it and just like the previous books, this is one I will read again and again whenever I miss these charming Hellfire boys!


“Some things are worth the heartbreak.”


It really is the only set of books that had the right amount of pull in bringing me back to reading high school/ NA fiction again. I would absolutely recommend not just this book but the entire series to friends who love reading romance. With Rhys as the devil in disguise and Serafina as his goddess, their story had strong “love conquers all” vibes that was the perfect closer to the series.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Becker Gray and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading Sweet Devil? Grab your copy here: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

•••


🔥 Read reviews for the Hellfire Club!

booksofthemuggleborn_hellfireclub
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn
Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray
Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray
Book Three: Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray
Book Four: Ruined Sinner by Becker Gray

•••

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

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The Meaning Of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey

booksofthemuggleborn_themeaningofmariahcarey
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

It took me a lifetime to have the courage and the clarity to write my memoir. I want to tell the story of the moments – the ups and downs, the triumphs and traumas, the debacles and the dreams, that contributed to the person I am today. Though there have been countless stories about me throughout my career and very public personal life, it’s been impossible to communicate the complexities and depths of my experience in any single magazine article or a ten-minute television interview. And even then, my words were filtered through someone else’s lens, largely satisfying someone else’s assignment to define me.

This book is composed of my memories, my mishaps, my struggles, my survival and my songs. Unfiltered. I went deep into my childhood and gave the scared little girl inside of me a big voice. I let the abandoned and ambitious adolescent have her say, and the betrayed and triumphant woman I became tell her side.

Writing this memoir was incredibly hard, humbling and healing. My sincere hope is that you are moved to a new understanding, not only about me, but also about the resilience of the human spirit.

Love,
Mariah

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Every once in a while I break out of the fictional bubble to dabble in some non-fic. Well… usually autobiographies and memoirs by public figures who interest me.

And this time around, it’s Mariah Carey, “dahling”! 🙌

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I’ve been a fan of Mariah’s for years. With Christmas around the corner and with her Christmas album on repeat the past week, I picked her book up on a whim. If you’ve been following her career and her life that’s been somewhat shared to the public over the years then you won’t be surprised by the stories she shares in this book (it’s just more detailed than what the media has shared or even portrayed).

I was interested in knowing more about her family, her upbringing, and her first marriage to the music mogul; Tommy Mottola — all of which she does talk about.

She doesn’t sugarcoat her feelings and opinions on these people from her past. It’s obvious when it comes to her family, it’s complicated but she seems to have found acceptance and peace to a point where she’s managed to keep some resemblance of a relationship when it was almost non-existent in the past.

Not going to lie, this was a wordy read. I certainly couldn’t read it in one sitting. I’m a fan of Mariah’s music but reading about her life and her POV on events is best done in doses. 😅 If you’re a fan, you’ll surely like learning more about her personal life and her journey in the music industry.

An interesting insight to both her private and public life. You learn more about her difficult childhood and adolescences knowing that she hardly discussed about her mother or father openly in interviews.

There’s also the attention surrounding her failed marriages. Growing up I remember the controversary surrounding Mariah’s marriage to Tommy and here we get to see her side of things about her life with him in detail. There were already accusations that he was controlling not only with her music but her overall public image. You realize from Mariah’s perspective what their relationship was like behind closed doors.


“Happiness was secondary. Happiness was a fleeting bonus.”


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Then there’s her second marriage to Nick Cannon and the reason behind their breakdown. But also about their children, the struggles, the life altering moments, and the balance she’s found since having them.

The addition of candid photos with friends and family is a nice touch to the paperback edition. Seeing these photos of her looking just as mundane as the rest of us makes her more relatable, like all the glitz and glamour can be set aside when she’s just chilling with her friends and family.

With each song she’s written over the years, it’s been inspired by a moment or event in her life that’s impacted her in a significant way, whether good or bad. She didn’t have the fairy tale upbringing — it was far from it, and there’s no doubt she’s had some struggles and breakdowns in her adulthood that I’m not entirely sure she’s completely gotten over or healed from but she has found her people to lean on.

I don’t think this book made me see her in a different light or in a new perspective per se. Mariah is Mariah and this book is her. She takes you on a journey about her music, songs she written and released, her tours, her achievements and accolades over the years, as well as the people who she’s had the pleasure of meeting and working with, and so forth.

I’ve read a few mixed reviews on this book and I may be biased here because I am a fan but I was not surprised by what she did or did not include in her memoir. Would I have wanted her to elaborate on certain topics she’s touched on? Mm yeah, sure. But lookey here, I came away with more than I knew about her life before I read her book, so it’s all good!

She’s a queen. She’s a diva. But who’s to say that that’s necessarily a bad thing, right? Mariah has been in the biz for decades! Yes, she pens her achievements in this book in detail but hey, why not?! I, for one am not surprised that she included them. It is Mariah Carey, the woman has made some amazing accomplishments in her lifetime… and this is her memoir. 🦋

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Great holiday read for fans of Mariah and those who enjoy reading autobiographies. I recommend you read it whilst listening to her songs, makes it extra festive!

RATING: ♥♥♥¾


•••

Hope you’re all enjoying your day, week, month so far! 😊 Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Unbreak Me by Erin Trejo

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Cheryl was given to my club by another.
I was supposed to break her.
Breaking girls for their Master’s was what I did best.
But I saw more in that girl’s eyes. More in her soul.
Little did I know she would be the one to unbreak me.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

The first thing that comes to mind after reading this book is the potential to be so much more. I hadn’t realized when I first read the blurb that this was a novella. In my opinion if it was a full length novel, the world-building could’ve been a lot more extensive along with developed character growth from the lead characters.

There’s a lot of questions left unanswered for me. Going back to my earlier opinion about it being better off as a full-length novel, I really think it would’ve covered most (if not all) of the questions I had. It was lacking details that could’ve made the entire story more in depth. For example: Cheryl’s backstory could have been gradually built throughout, that by the time her full story is revealed it would be little more believable.

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Same goes for Demon and his backstory. We only skim the surface of his dark past and why he’s particular in his ways that I couldn’t connect with either one of them as much as I would’ve wanted to.

I was initially intrigued by the blurb surrounding these lead characters. I found Cheryl an interesting and likable enough character. Despite having been uprooted from her home and straight into a completely new territory and MC, she kept her cool for the most part and tried to fit in as best she could. I would’ve loved a clearer reason as to why she was given to Demon and his club in the first place. I found there was a discord right from the beginning almost as if I was already in the middle of the storyline and trying to catch up. I don’t know if this is a continuous story from the first book (as I hadn’t read that one), but I’m not going to lie, I was a smidge confused at first.

But in saying all that, there is one particular scene between Demon and Cheryl that surprisingly had me holding my breath in anticipation to see what would happen next. It’s my favourite scene in the entire book and one I admit to having read multiple times since. 😅 It’s moments like that one that make me hope that despite the lack of character development and expansive world-building, that this is not the last we’ll see of Demon and Cheryl. Even if they just make small appearances in future books.

You get bits and pieces revealed about Demon and Cheryl and their need to escape their pasts. At first it all seems relatively casual between them but they soon discover that they have common ground. There’s no denying that they both feel a pull towards one another but unsure of what it could mean or how to proceed.

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Demon was meant to “break” Cheryl. But the more they spend time together, the more plans get thrown out the window. This story may be short and they may have gotten together relatively quickly, but their moments together kept me engaged. I found I liked their conversations more so than their little sex romps. Lol. 🙈

Speaking of which — If you don’t mind BDSM/ Dom-Sub in your romance books, there’s a little bit of it included in this story.

This is the second book from this RBMC chapter by Erin Trejo — I haven’t read the first book but after having read Unbreak Me, I think I may just go back and read the first one and see how this MC started. There’s backstory between a couple of the brothers from the club that I couldn’t help thinking I was missing because I hadn’t read the previous book. I could be wrong but it seems like whilst the Demon and Cheryl’s story itself can be read as a standalone, the books in the series are somewhat interconnected from the MC standpoint.

Overall, an enjoyable MC novella that can easily be read in one sitting. It has a good chunk of romance and MC elements combined. There is some sensitive subject matter included that may trigger some readers, so keep that in mind. For mature 18+ audience only.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

Thank you to Erin Trejo and the entire RBMC team for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

•••



— Unbreak Me by Erin Trejo —

SaveTheDate

Release Date: December 15, 2020

📚 Add to your TBR: Goodreads

📒 Purchase Link: Unbreak Me

🔔 For more information on this book and any others in the Royal Bastards MC:



•••

Happy reading, guys! Catch you in me 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:

HowToLose_DramaDramaDrama

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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Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

KissToForget_Blurb

•••

— MY REVIEW —

This was a much anticipated read for me. I immensely enjoyed the first book in the series, and the way Yasmin and Nixon were first introduced in it gave me such a buzz for their story. They had such electricity between them in the little interaction they had in that book that I could only imagine the level they would reach when it was their turn to be in the forefront.

Kiss To Forget does not disappoint. I was invested and deep within the world of Blairwood University right from the very first chapter. This is only my second book of Doe’s but I feel like I’ve been missing out on all her addictive storylines and effortless writing style.

Omigosh. This book is a gradual build-up of pure excellence. I loved every minute of it. There is such sorrow and heartbreak throughout that it was difficult not to get affected by these characters and their lives. When I think about the emotions I went through reading this book, the one that stands out to me the most is gut-wrenching sadness. I was constantly teary-eyed. I think Doe has scored a touchdown with this one! There’s such layers, world-building, character development, and constant growth within all the relationships. It’s hard to fault when there’s so much depth and substance exhibited.

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Kiss to Forget is now one of my favourite contemporary romances read this year and one I am sure to read over and over again. Yes, I am willing to break out more tears over Nixon and Yasmin!

Steadily paced and told from both their points of view. Nixon and Yasmin may very well be dealing with separate issues in their lives but they work at it together seamlessly. I don’t know how else to say it… it just works! The way they share, listen, and simply provide any kind of support they can is what truly makes their relationship one you can’t help but dreamily sigh over. What started out as an entertaining battle of glares, snarky comments, and heated arguments, gradually turns into a slow realization that they may actually have more in common then they initially thought. It’s a sight to see! 😍 An organically developed relationship formed from understanding and acceptance — to friendship — to blossoming love.

I was instantly enveloped in the world-building that was introduced in the first book — the friendships, the different dynamics, and the overall campus atmosphere. This book just expanded that world into so many more layers and possibilities — not only with the current secondary characters, but with new ones introduced that leaves you just as intrigued. Not only are you excited to read Nixon and Yasmin’s story, but in the back of your mind you’re anticipating the next set of characters to be featured.

But let’s go back to Nixon and Yasmin for a minute here…

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I can’t put into words worthy enough to describe how much chemistry and zing these two have with one another. It didn’t matter if they were throwing hateful words back and forth or if they’re doing a complete 180 and being supportive, no questions asked. Their connection’s just palpable, swoony, and so relatable.

It’ll be tough to top this couple and their relationship off in my books. They physically, emotionally and mentally went through a roller coaster. Whilst there was a shit ton of heartbreak, Doe has wonderfully added enough lightness in between to keep this book from going too dark and depressing.

The dynamic between Nixon and Yasmin is one that goes so well with the enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance trope. It may be a stereotypical story of the popular jock and the overachieving nerd who eventually fall in love, but it damn well works!

But in saying that, these characters are so much more than their status quo. For one thing, Nixon isn’t all about sports, parties and hookups. You’ll see a different side to him here. One that’ll have you falling for him. Hard! But what got to me most was his imperfectness. He has flaws and makes mistakes, but what is so endearing about him is his willingness to try, his reliability, and most importantly his heart. You won’t always agree with his decisions, but you’ll sympathize because you know overall his heart is in the right place.

Yasmin on the other hand comes off as a no-nonsense young woman, who’s ambitious and goal-oriented. She practically has her future all planned out, but what happens when unexpected events get in the way of all those plans? The way Yasmin grows and evolves throughout this journey is just as emotional. You’ll feel for her and her vulnerability.

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It’s amazing how two very different people from different backgrounds, who are dealing with completely different life changing matters, together find peace and common ground.

I can’t tell you guys enough how much this story unexpectedly blew me away. I already found it at such a high level of quality storytelling in the first half of the book, but once things escalated further in the second half, it reached an entirely new level. Everything from the atmosphere, to the relationships, to the build-up of their emotions was intense. You’ll discover relatively early that not everyone comes away from this story unscathed, yet there’s such suspense to see how things will unravel.

Kiss to Forget is new adult contemporary romance, that consists of an uphill journey, complex characters, a spectrum of feels, and one that’ll leave you both exhausted yet soothe at the same time. As Nixon is a college football player, there’s somewhat of a sports (American football) theme in the background but very minimal.

The story mirrors real life situations with certain subject matters that can be triggering for some readers. But it’s also an eye opener to the struggles some people go through in their lives. Beautifully told with all the highs and lows. It may be a work of fiction but I felt like it was portrayed with such realism that you cannot help but connect with these characters and go through their journey right alongside them.

I am all in for the secondary characters too! The support system they’ve created for one another, and the overall vibe of each personality that gives their group such diversity. All I can say is I hope we get a chance to see a lot more of them in the future!

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You will get invested fairly quickly. It’ll break you (even if it’s only a little bit) but it will be well worth it. Have tissues at hand — you’ll need them! I highly recommend this series and especially this book! It can technically be read as standalone but you’ll be doing yourself a favor by reading Kiss To Conquer first to get this world and the characters in all its entirety.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you so much to Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

•••


Read my review for Kiss To Conquer!

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Blairwood University (Book One)

📔 Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe


•••

Sending out good vibes to you guys! Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly

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•••

— BLURB —

Savio Falcone has a few non-negotiable rules when it comes to girls.

They need to be hot as f*ck.

Spread their legs without much prompting.

And leave as soon as the fun is over. Preferably minus any bitching or tears.
With his easy-going bad boy attitude, a last name that rules over Las Vegas and a body to die for, girls have always been at Savio’s disposal.

Unfortunately, the hottest girl in Vegas comes with a price Savio isn’t willing to pay. For Savio to get Gemma he’d need to seal the deal and put a ring on her finger. Settling down is out of the question, no matter how hot a piece of ass waits at the altar.

Gemma Bazzoli has had a crush on Savio from the first moment she came face to face with his arrogant smile, but for him she was always his best friend’s annoying little sister—until her hard-earned curves catch even his attention.

But Savio likes it easy, and Gemma is anything but. When she’s promised to another man, Gemma resigns herself to the fact that the man she’s wanted all her life, doesn’t want her badly enough.

Savio has to decide how much work he’s willing to invest, because bending the rules in his usual style might not be enough to get the girl that haunts his wet dreams.

(Can be read as a standalone)

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Ending 2019 with a fucking bang! Figuratively. (And in Savio’s case–Literally) 😜

“I’ll take you to the candy shop
I’ll let you lick the lollipop
Go ‘head girl don’t you stop
Keep going ’til you hit the spot, whoa”

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Ohhhhhh man.

I knew Twisted Hearts would be a real contender in knocking down Twisted Pride from top spot when Cora started teasing us with her plans. It’s a draw (just soz you know).. But damn! Twisted Hearts exceeded every possible expectation and hope I had for it. I LOVED every minute of it! Reading it was like a “punch in my heart”

When I started it, I was in no way expecting or even prepared for the impact it had on my emotions. I haven’t bawled my eyes out over anything I’ve read in… wait! I don’t even remember the last time I bawled my fucking eyes out.

Take Note: Tissues are a MUST!

This book… ughhh… this book wrecked me. There are things in this book that I was not prepared for. If I think back on it now, I’m still in shock! I ended up being an emotional ugly mess that I kid you not, I woke up the next day with slits for eyes–they were that puffy!

When it came to Savio Falcone, I admit I automatically assumed that his book would have the most humor, the most light-heartedness, the most banter. Whilst it had all that, what leaped off the pages for me was Savio’s sincerity, his loyalty, and a side to him he rarely reveals. Not even to his brothers (unless he lets it). I, for one did not see this side to him coming.

And what I found different and refreshing in comparison to the other books in the series is that Twisted Hearts is set in different stages of Gemma and Savio’s lives, rather than seeing only flashbacks of their pasts in a mostly present day setting. It starts out with them as kids and goes all the way through to their adulthood–so, you’ll see a lot of character growth. The world-building is already set by the previous books, and whilst the mafia side of things is still present, the story centers more around Gemma and Savio’s personal lives; their day to day with friends and family.

I also enjoyed the fact that there was more than one development playing out in this book. As much as I was invested in seeing how things would go down with Gemma and Savio, I became every bit as intrigued with the side characters.. *cough* Diego *cough*..

Why, hello there!? 😉😉

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I think I need to start a list of Made Men (besides the Falcones, Vitiellos and Scuderis) that I need to keep a watchful eye on. First there’s Samuel. Now Diego!

But all fun aside.. I always love the families Cora creates in her gritty, twisted reads. The relationship that Gem and Diego have is amusing, yet endearing. It almost gives me the same sappy feeling whenever I think of Serafina and Samuel. The over-protectiveness and love is so evident that you can’t help but roll your eyes and smirk at the same time.

I love Gemma’s family dynamics. It’s crazy adorable! And I may not be Italian but I could relate to a lot of the things Gemma grew up with because they’re the same in my family. Some things were so relatable I found myself snort-laughing with agreement.

And it wouldn’t be the same without the Falcone clan being there. I always wondered how a family so unconventional, so twisted, so screwy could work so well. Never a dull moment in the Falcone household.

Oh… *whispers* and keep a lookout for a few visitors in this one! *wink wink* I know it’s cruel to tease. But… *evil laugh*

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I sometimes forget with the hardships they’ve gone through in their lives that Fabiano, Leona, Remo, Serafina, Nino and Kiara are all still quite young in age. Whilst their books read as Adult Romance, in my opinion, Twisted Hearts has a more youthful/ NA atmosphere to it. For dark romance, it almost feels like a lighter read in the sense that this story doesn’t have as much of the heaviness that the previous books had where dealing with Mafia related business was in the foreground. Definitely more swoonage!

Despite Savio and Gem being young, the sexual tension between them is alive and kicking! There opposites, so there’s a lot of push and pull between the two. And I’m not gonna lie–it was frustrating at times. LOL. Hair pulling, high blood pressure and chocolate were present whilst I was reading it.

And for someone like myself who loves Mafia romance and anything Boxing/ MMA related, having it combined into one book definitely gets extra giddy points from me! I ate up all the gym training/ fighting/ sweaty abs scenes like a hungry desperado who hadn’t eaten a meal up until now! I only hope we get more of them in the future.

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There’s just so many things about this book I could mention that pulled at my heartstrings… but I won’t! Ohhhh but I want to so badly! Damn spoiler free review! 😜

All I can say is if you love banter–this one has it in spades! Family bonding? Check. Friendships? Yup. Some ass kicking? You know it! Heartbreak? Inevitable.

There is no doubt in my mind that Savio and Gemma’s journey was one that was well worth the wait. The highs and lows will have you pulling an all-nighter because there’s just no way you’d be willing to take a break from reading it.

Twisted Hearts is utter perfection. I couldn’t fault it. (I only wish it was longer. Hehe). Whilst getting a chance to read it early made my Christmas holidays even better, I just know Twisted Hearts will surely start the New Year off in the right direction for those waiting for its release in January!

Not long to go, you guys. YOU GOT THIS!! 😁

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RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

I think I’ve asked this in almost every review I’ve written for a Reilly book: Can someone tell me why Cora likes to tease us so much with all these characters, and possible scenarios and what-ifs?!? Anyone?? Heh.. I feel like everytime I read one of her books I have to keep my eyes peeled for clues and signs of possible pairings and future plot points. And every damn time, I’m left reeling and with dozens of questions. It’s torture. Lol.

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

•••


— Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly —

The Camorra Chronicles (Book Five)

SaveTheDatePre-Order Twisted Hearts NOW: 

Add to your Goodreads TBR: Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly

Vote as January 2020 Most Anticipated Romance: Goodreads Vote

Listen to the Twisted Hearts Playlist: Twisted Hearts Playlist on Spotify

CHECK OUT THIS EXCLUSIVE: Twisted Hearts Excerpt

•••

FlamingoSquadJoin Cora Reilly’s Facebook Group! Cora always post the latest news, teasers, and book covers in that group first! Lots of fun to be had with tons of bonus surprises! 😊

Cora’s Flamingo Squad

Follow Cora Reilly on her Social Media:

Don’t forget to sign up for Cora’s Newsletter! Cora Reilly’s Newsletter

•••


📚 Read my reviews for the series!

(In reading order)

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


•••

Hope you enjoyed my review! Happy reading, and catch you in my next one! Xo

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In Safe Hands Series by S.M. Shade

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Each book in the In Safe Hands Series by S.M. Shade can be read as a standalone.

Side Note: Since I bundled up the entire series into one big blog post, I’m gonna try and keep each review as short as possible! *fingers crossed* Hope you enjoy! 😀

•••

Book One: Landon

Landon_Cover— SYNOPSIS —

Zoe
I’m not interested. I’m not interested in his blue-green ocean colored eyes, his lean muscular body, or that crooked smile that can be so infuriating. I have more important things to worry about, like how to keep myself in college and my sixteen year old brother fed and sheltered. We all know life is hard, some of us just learn that lesson younger than others, but that doesn’t mean I’ll give up. I intend to succeed and make sure my brother has the opportunities he deserves, and no privileged jerk is going to distract me.

Landon
I don’t date. Don’t get me wrong, I’m far from celibate, but my condition makes carrying on any kind of normal relationship impossible. My life revolves around In Safe Hands or ISH, the underground hacker group I work with to track down and take care of predators and sex offenders who beat the system. I’m satisfied with my life until the day I meet the smart mouthed, compassionate, determined woman who opens my eyes to possibilities I never thought existed.

This is book one in a series of standalone novels.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

This started off really well but after I reached the halfway mark it fell a bit in my opinion. But the strong start left me invested to see it all the way through. It’s a good opener to this suspense/crime romance series. After being introduced to the rest of the guys in the series in this one, I’m looking forward to reading their stories and the ladies that steal their hearts! (Not gonna lie–some more than others).

I like the idea that these characters are not perfect. They have difficulties and struggles but live with it the best they can. I love that the romance is not your stereotypical damsel in distress where the knight in shining armor comes and saves her from her horrible life. There’s plot twists! Unexpected circumstances that seem to always wanna try and break them apart, and I found myself glued to see how they’ll get around it.

Although, I unexpected found some events in this book a little far-fetched, somewhat rash or downright confusing (IMHO) — but despite that, the ending still left me with a smile on my face and ready to get cracking onto book two!

Landon and Zoe start off on the wrong foot, which sets the two in constant disagreement, miscommunication and all around confusion about their feelings towards one another. They are both unique individuals and their relationship is definitely one of a kind.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

•••

Book Two: Dare

Dare_Cover— SYNOPSIS —

Ayda
I hear him.
His deep voice and rumbling laugh. The bang of the headboard slamming the wall and fake screams from yet another woman. Derek is a pile of muscle and ink, a bad boy fantasy only a few layers of wood and plaster away. It’s all I expect or want him to be.
Until that irresistible voice begins talking to me.

Dare
I hear her.
The clicking of her fingers on a keyboard, her music or TV playing in the background. Her musical laugh and soft cries of pleasure, accompanied by a low, steady buzz. Ayda is a good girl who keeps to herself, and I have no business pursuing her, but I’m not a man known for doing the right thing.
I’m an ex-con. I’m a criminal.
And I want her.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I didn’t think I would love Dare (aka Derek) as much as I did after reading this book! I was already curious about him when he was first introduced in Landon, and I was probably most excited to read his story the most. All I can say is Dare takes top spot in the swoon department! How can one guy be so perfect?! Brains and brawn?! C’mon now! Not to mention he first came across as the guy who was probably the “toughest” ass from the bunch–considering he was built, inked and the only one from the guys who’d done time. And yeah he was those things… Buuuuuuuut he was also THE MOST sweetest guy too!

Dare and Ayda are neighbors talking through the wall getting to know each other.

Adya: Who’s self conscience about her looks (after a tragic accident) stays at home most days and keeps to herself. She’s always overhearing her next door neighbour “hooking up” with a multitude of women almost every night.

Dare: Who never does relationships (only one nighters), starts getting curious about his neighbour Ayda, after one day having seen her from a distance and hearing her roam around in her apartment.

They start talking through the wall.. until Dare finally wants to meet Ayda in person.

Ugh! I enjoyed every minute of this book and I am loving Ayda and Dare together so much! My favourite pairing hands down. Their meet cute was fucking adorable I couldn’t stop grinning. Ayda’s story is tragic but the way Dare lifts her up, changes her perspective on things, and gets her out of her shell is what makes their romance oh-so dreamy! Double swoonage!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

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Book Three: Justus

Justus_Cover— SYNOPSIS —

Justus
I’m not conceited.
Really, I’m not. It just so happens I have a body a Greek God would be jealous of, and a face that could make an angel weep. Other than that, I’m just your everyday normal guy who happens to take his clothes off for money. Sure, I’ve had to dispose of a few guys for In Safe Hands, the organization I work with that helps track predators and child molesters, but other than that, completely normal.
Women flock to me, screaming and paying for the right to touch me, so why is this woman so stubborn? Sadie Belmont’s curvy body and sharp tongue have haunted me since I met her a year ago. There’s something about her that gets stuck in my head like a bad song, and I’m determined to find out why I want her so badly, and why she can’t stomach the thought.

Sadie
I can’t believe I’m doing this. Of all the men in the world, I’m taking Justus Alexander to my childhood home in Oklahoma to meet my mother. A stripper who has a revolving door of women jumping in and out of his bed. Nine months ago when I lied to my mother and told her I had a steady boyfriend, I didn’t expect it to come to this. She doesn’t have long to live, and her only wish is to know I have a husband before she goes.
I can’t disappoint her, and male escorts cost way more than I can afford, so when Justus volunteered, I took him up on his offer. I know what he wants. After annoying me with constant pick up lines for a year, he sees an opportunity to get me in bed. It’s not going to happen. I just need to get through this week with my sanity intact.

•••

— MY REVIEW — 

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With humor like Justus’ I was surprised his book didn’t quite make it to 4 stars for me. He’s such a hilarious character.. and sweet.. when the moment calls for it (hehe). I couldn’t keep the smile off my face whenever he spoke. Lol. I tell ya.. you’ll never be bored with him around! 😀 😀 😀

Like its predecessors, this one pulls you in at the beginning. But this story just didn’t keep the oomph throughout the book. Don’t get wrong–there were moments were it was sizzlingly hot and I was on the edge of my seat. But there were also moments were it just fizzled.

I do like the pairing in this one as much as I did Dare’s. There’s a lot of banter and chemistry between Sadie and Justus – which I think is the winner here and a big reason as to why I almost rated it 4 stars. I love that they were complete opposites. Justus being an exotic dancer, and Sadie being a physical therapist. I thought their story was nicely paced for the majority of the time but nearing ¾ of the way it became abrupt, things fell into place a little too quickly and conveniently for my liking, and next thing you know it’s the Epilogue.

There was one particular scene I wasn’t a fan of at all. I couldn’t really accept it (and not as quickly as Sadie did) but it’s fine. It didn’t deter me from Justus or them having a relationship. I totally glazed over that part and still found it an enjoyable read 🙂

The things that Justus randomly says is snort-inducing! And he’s definitely a contender for most charming. Dare better watch his back! Haha.

Sadie is a great heroine. It’s hard finding a female lead who wasn’t a whiny, nagging, dumb character once they start dating a man. She’s intelligent, caring and selfless. Both Justus and Sadie balance each other out. They’re personalities are realistic and relatable–which are pluses in my book!

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

•••

Book Four: Tucker

Tucker_Cover— SYNOPSIS —

Tucker
She’s beautiful.
She’s young.
She’s driving me out of my mind.
I’ve always done my best to avoid Leah Bolt. I have enough problems without having to deal with a young woman with a crush. My life has been a disaster since I was court-martialed and dishonorably discharged from the military. After spending a year living on the streets, I’m finally starting to pull things together.
Now, I’m stuck with her, living side by side in my house with my complete opposite. If spending every day with this peppy, optimistic, energetic woman doesn’t kill me, her brother will. Dare is a friend and a member of In Safe Hands, a group that tracks down sexual predators and brings them to justice. He has also done time and is the size of a mountain.
I’ve survived combat, but I may be taken down by a perky blond.

Leah
He’s gorgeous.
He’s older.
He’s a stubborn, broody jerk.
Tucker Long is every woman’s dream…until you talk to him. He may be sexy when he’s out sweating in the sun with sawdust clinging to him as he hammers and saws, but try to hold a conversation and all you get are grunts and nods.
He was the one who wanted a house sitter and just because his plans fell through doesn’t mean I’m changing mine. My future is up in the air while I try to decide who I want to be, and Tucker’s farm is the perfect place for me to do it. He calls me kid, but the way he looks at me doesn’t lie.
I may be ten years younger, but I can still handle him.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Tucker is probably a little more darker, a more depressing, heartbreaking story, but was well written. Up until now, we don’t really know much about Tucker. He was a newbie with the In Safe Hands group. He was first introduced in Dare’s book as a homeless ex-soldier until Dare and the rest of the guys gave him an opportunity to work with them to save innocents. Besides a few comments here and there, he kept to himself and his story was pretty much a secret.

In this book his past slowly unravels, and that’s partly because of Leah — Dare’s younger sister who temporarily moves into the farmhouse Tucker’s been living in. The plan was to house-sit for 6 months whilst Tucker leaves to deal with some personal issues. But his plans change and he no longer needs to leave.. but Leah, being stubborn and really needing a quiet place to stay puts her foot down and insists she stays the 6 months they originally agreed on. Tucker isn’t all that happy about it but relents nevertheless.

This is pretty much where their story starts to bloom. Tucker is a recluse. Complete opposite to the outgoing, bubbly and happy Leah. She slowly gets him out of his shell, gets him to start opening up about his past and in doing so starts to develop deeper feelings for him. But something big from Tucker’s old life stops him from pursuing a relationship with Leah, thinking she deserved better than him.

It’s a twisted and heartbreaking reveal. I should warn you guys, whilst all the books have triggers. I have to add that this one had a detailed recollection. It’s brutal and gut-wrenching. Just keep that in mind. But after having reading Tucker’s story, I have a soft spot for him now. I love that he has Leah. And that Leah has him. They deserve a happily ever after after what they’ve both been through in their lives.

A wonderful love story! Although I know I won’t read the depressing scenes in this book again, I will for sure reread all the scenes where Tucker and Leah danced around one another and their feelings. Hehehe.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥

•••

Book Five (Final): Jeremy

Jeremy_Cover— SYNOPSIS —

Melissa
I escaped.
For the first time in almost four years, I’m free.
My freedom came at a steep cost, leaving me on my own with no family or friends. I have a lot of healing to do, and this beautiful lake house seems like a perfect setting to find myself again.
I can do this.
The only thing I have left is hope.

Jeremy
I ran.
For the first time in my life, I’m alone.
I failed to appreciate what I had until it was too late, and now I can’t bear the grief of my friends while suffering my own. That’s not the only reason I’ve relocated.
Twenty-two people were murdered, including the woman I love.
The only thing I have left is revenge.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Ohh. Another bummer moment for me that this book couldn’t reach 4 stars either. It was a slower paced story which led me to read less chapters at a time–however the interactions between Jeremy and Melissa kept me reading.

Jeremy’s story starts from the conclusion of Tucker’s book. A horrific event occured that’s so relatable to the world’s current affairs. And it’s one that had my shoulders slumping before I could even start this one. It’s a more serious, upsetting story in comparison to the others. I’m just glad the author still managed to add in lighthearted moments, a few laughs here and there, and banter between the guys to keep the spirits up.

This is the last book in the series annnnnnd.. it’s bittersweet. Although Jeremy finally gets his story (and his HEA), I REALLY did wish it was with Frannie.. and not Melissa. 😩

I have nothing against Mel. Let me reiterate that. She’s actually a very likeable character with quite a down to earth personality. But after having read the first four books and seeing the rollercoaster of a relationship Jer and Frannie had throughout.. I was hopeful when it finally came down to his book, they would finally get serious.

Sigh.

Sadly it wasn’t the case. And because of that, partly the depressing start, along with the overall slow pace – it ended up being more underwhelming for me more than anything else.. *shrugs*

Jeremy and Melissa hated each other for a good chunk of the first half of the book. They had the hate-to-love trope down pat. Landon and Zoe have nothing on these guys’ hot and coldness.

Jeremy moved away from the guys to hole himself up in his lakehouse, and drink himself into a stupor after the tragic death of Frannie.

Melissa, after having had her life controlled for years, finally set herself free, and to get a fresh start found herself buying the house next to Jeremy’s. Their first encounter was bad. Second, third and a handful of encounters later were no better. Jeremy’s grieving is making him a jerky asshole. Whilst Melissa just wanted to reach out and make a friend.

But after a mishap and a miscommunication later, it has Jeremy willing himself to get along with Melissa. Eventually, feelings towards one another start developing, but they’re both keeping secrets and hidden agendas–causing them to be hesitant.

The banter was enjoyable to read. The somewhat slow burn romance kept me reading. But what I wasn’t a fan of was the lack of spark between them once they did get together. It almost felt like their relationship was of convenience. They both wanted someone, and were tired of being lonely.

Another book where there was a good buildup in the plot to only be resolved like a press of a button. The ending wrapped up fairly quickly in a cute little package. It left me wanting more, and had me sighing at how fast everything was put into place between Jeremy and Mel.

The overall storyline was alright, and a nice concept. Whilst I enjoyed their story more than Landon and Zoe’s quirky one. I couldn’t feel the swoony love in this book like I had in the previous ones. It’s like they went from hating each other to officially being soulmates. There relationship felt choppy and it just wasn’t gradual enough to make me believe their love was legit within the given timeframe.

But I’ll say this.. If you ever find yourself in an emergency, Jeremy is a good choice for go-to guy! He’ll be there in a jiffy and take care of everything! He definitely has protective instincts and is willing to go above and beyond for family.

I’m glad they found each other after having gone through what they have. But it wasn’t the HEA I would’ve wanted to see. I’m betting others who’ve read his book were quite accepting of this pairing, but I was on board the Jeremy/Frannie train. I shipped them hard! It was tough to grasp that they wouldn’t end up together after all. Ugh.

Oh wells.

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

•••

This was my first dabble at romantic crime/ suspense books, so I have nothing to compare them to, but I thought they was a nice balance of romance, suspense, light and dark throughout each book. What I found worked for this series is the friendship and banter between the guys. Most of the books start out with a love-to-hate storyline–so the romantic development is what hooked me in. If you love them, like I do, then there’s a good chance you’ll find these enjoyable! 😉

Based on the secondary storyline in each book and what the guys do as jobs, all the books have triggers (e.g. sexual abuse, violence and pedophilia). So, please keep that in mind if you’re considering starting the series.

A couple of the books were a little underwhelming in my opinion, so felt like a bit of a rollercoaster ride. But each one left me wanting to continue and read the next story.

I did notice a pattern to the books where the first half really gets you hooked and by the time it hits halfway it slows down. It occasionally drags a little and then you get an ending that’s a little out of the box that you don’t know what to think. But each one had some very fun, enjoyable points. Some more than others *wink wink*

If it wasn’t obvious, Dare and Tucker’s stories were my faves (with Justus coming in third). And as mentioned earlier, each book can be read as standalones–so some things are mentioned in each book to help you grasp each guy’s stories without necessarily having to read their book.

But if you want to see the world-building and the bond the guys have in more depth, then read the entire series in order.

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  • Quick crime romance reads (with a smidge of suspense).
  • Lots of diversity.
  • Adorable humor and banter amongst the group.
  • Some heartbreaking moments in each story, but all have a HEA!

Overall, I enjoyed the series as a whole. I would happily recommend to friends who enjoy a bit of crime and suspense with their romance! 😊

Overall Series Rating: ♥♥♥¾

•••

Happy reading, guys! For those on holiday mode, hope you’re enjoying yourselves. Catch you in my next one! Xo

Coldhearted Boss by R.S. Grey

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•••

— SYNOPSIS —

I’m desperate and destitute when Lockwood Construction rolls into my small town with an offer too good to pass up: high wages to any able-bodied man willing to join their crew.

Say no more. I throw on baggy clothes, tuck my long hair under a baseball hat, and apply for a job. Unfortunately, my half-baked idea of disguising myself as a guy is flawed from the beginning. As Shakira says, these hips don’t lie.

Still, I like to think I might have pulled the whole thing off save for one thing:

I know my boss.

Last month, we met at a bar, and after a fiery first encounter, it seems we’re destined to be sworn enemies.

Ethan Stone is ruthless and arrogant, a man I never would have crossed had I known how much he likes to toy with his prey.

He should just fire me and be done with it. Instead, he decides to make me his personal slave. Oh right, I think they’re calling it personal “assistant” these days.

It’s torture, all of it—his bad attitude, his ruggedly chiseled face, his desire to grind me into dust.

Every one of our friction-filled battles burns hotter than the last.

A girl can only hold out for so long. Soon, I’m bound to go up in flames.

My objective? Survive the heat long enough to send home a paycheck.

My real objective? Stop having X-rated fantasies about my coldhearted boss.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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*Phewww!* 😛 Another enjoyable romcom from R.S Grey! I love a good enemies to lovers/ hate-to-love romance and this one checked a lot of boxes for me.

I would’ve loved to have given this book a full 5 stars but ugh.. I just couldn’t. So, let’s start with the things I nitpicked over whilst reading it…

First off–I wasn’t expecting a sloooooooooooooooow burn romance. I’m talking about the slowest of the slow! The romance was practically 99% non-existent. It left me on the edge of my seat with anticipation. They didn’t get together until the very last few chapters (and lemme tell ya.. those chapters weren’t very long either).

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But it no way put me off reading it (because I was hooked all throughout with their game-playing).. but I was anxiously waiting for them to finally admit their feelings to each other the entire time — so I kinda felt a little frustrated with that.

But man, was I effing relieved when everything was finally out in the open! Haha.

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There were some things I thought were a little abrupt and had me pulling my chin back in surprise, but other than that, it has your usual R.S. Grey humor.. aka lots of funny moments and one-liners that’ll have you giggling!

R.S. Grey was a new-to-me author earlier this year and I’ve read about a half dozen of her books already. I haven’t come across one I didn’t like, and this one was no different.

A friend mentioned when I asked which R.S. Grey book I should read next, and she recommended this one. She said it was a tamer hate-to-love version of Arrogant Devil–which is my #1 fave book of Rachel’s (so far anyways), so Coldhearted Boss was a no brainer for me.

I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet, but I just had to include one of my fave scenes into this review. It’s a scene I’ve read and reread a few times now. And noooo.. it’s not because they were doing the deed (I mean they were.. but that’s not the only reason why I love it so)..

So. Heads up!

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The cold water soothes my overly heated skin and he keeps me against him, carried like a child in his arms. My arms wrap around his neck and I bury my head in the groove just below his chin. His palms drags down my chest, rinsing me off, and I feel like I’m dreaming, barely able to keep my eyes open after a long day and longer night. None of this feels quite real, which is probably why I feel compelled to pour out my soul, letting him hear the truth I’ve been so careful to hide.

“I’m not perfect, Ethan, but I’m not a bad person either. The truth is, I thought you were the most handsome man I’d ever seen before I thought of my harebrained idea. I wanted you, and not as some potential target. You have to know that.”

“I forgive you,” he says, his brows furrowed angrily. “Taylor, of course I forgive you.”

“And you don’t think I took your money, right?” You believe me about that as well?” I ask, knowing this is my chance to clear this up.

“The money was gone when I got my wallet back.”

I go rigid in his arms. “I didn’t take it! I swear to–“

He silences me with a kiss.

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This scene always gets the butterflies a-fluttering. Taylor’s confession followed by Ethan’s reaction.. and that kiss.. had me melting. I was a mix of anxiousness, relief and happy sigh at that very moment. It was perfect! ♥

Ahhhhh. Swooooon!

•••

Now that I’ve read it, I can happily and 100% say I would recommend this book to friends, fam and you folk who love a good, juicy romcom! Such a feel good read! 😀

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RATING: ♥♥♥♥.5/5

•••

Like this review? I have another of R.S. Grey’s book, check it out below. It’s a modern day fairy tale, second chance romance!

 

Thank you reading! Wishing you all a beautiful day. Catch you in my next one! Xo