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

Blog_Sign_Off

Ruined Sinner by Becker Gray

booksofthemuggleborn_ruinedsinner
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

It’s no secret that Aurora Lincoln-Ward hates Phineas Yates, but what most people don’t know is the reason. Last summer, Phineas broke Aurora’s heart in the worst way, and she promised herself then and there that she would never fall prey to the sinner of Pembroke Prep again.

But now sin is in the air, and the Hellfire Club’s number one sinner has his sights set on her…

•••

• MY REVIEW •

I am utterly obsessed with these Hellfire Club boys! I’m sorry, I meant men. Hellfire men. With each book I end up falling for that particular swoony hero, and in Ruined Sinner, with Phin… Sigh. I ended up swooning for him the most. But for all the reasons I hadn’t expected. He deserves hugs and all the love and credit in the world!

Who would’ve thought Hellfire Club’s very own smooth-talking charmer is the one with the biggest heart?! *clutches chest* 😍

PPL_HappySigh

Phin’s and Aurora’s heated romance was a gradual burning build-up as you progressed through the books in the series. The fiery snippets of their hate towards each other made Ruined Sinner the most anticipated story from all the books in my eyes. By the time I had this little book in my hands, I was raring to see what had happened in their past that altered Phin’s and Aurora’s feelings for one another.

It’s fast-paced storytelling— to be honest I actually think the stories are getting shorter and shorter with each book… or maybe I’m just reading through them faster and faster now..?

But as I said, it’s fast-paced, and told from dual points of view. The story provides the much-anticipated backstory between Phin and Aurora, but after the initial build-up from the previous books the backstory ended up lacking the depth and reasoning I had somewhat imagined. I was expecting some deep, heartbreaking event the rivals the hate going on between the two now but it ended being more of a question mark moment. Like, really?! 🤔

If I looked at it from a younger person’s perspective and took into consideration that these characters are young adults, then yes, I can accept the reasoning behind their rivalry, and sympathize that at that age everything is emotionally magnified. But as a reader who’s well past her teen years, I did find their past history a little… underwhelming and melodramatic.

However, I was surprised by the turn of events. This story certainly kept me intrigued and wanting more. I loved that each Hellfire boy so far has managed to stun me with their character and reasons behind their attitude and standing. When it comes to the ladies in this social circle, I’m all for their positivity, badassery, and hilarious revenge plotting. There’s a strong display of diversity amongst these girls not just in appearance but in personality traits. What sets Aurora apart is her own backstory which causes the biggest transformation amongst her friends.

From all the book in the series, this one had some edginess to it. It broaches certain topics that many in our society have gone through and still suffer from the trauma. The issues set part of the atmosphere in a gloomy state, but it also adds dimension and relatability to this otherwise young love story.

Please note, there are certain sensitive subject matters included that may be triggering for some readers such as violence, substance abuse (alcohol), stalking, and sexual abuse. This story contains non-consensual situations.

With the heavy topics included, I was hoping to see a deeper level of development in the storyline. I felt like they were touched on but didn’t completely go in-depth. Whilst I liked some of the decisions and steps made by the characters, I also thought a lot more could’ve been said or done.

But in saying that, I have to emphasize that I still loved reading this story. I might’ve had a few hang-ups with the storyline but it will most definitely be a book (along with the rest of the series) I’d read again and again. Right from the very first book; Wicked Idol, I was immediately hooked by Becker Gray’s easy-going writing style, and I’m happy to say by this fourth book, it’s still very much engaging, consistent writing.

I adore the world-building created and all the characters within. It transports you to their glitzy world. As a reader who has outgrown the high school setting in her romance reads, the elite preppy school that is Pembroke Prep effortlessly took hold of my attention and made itself my exception. 😊

Ruined Sinner was wildly unexpected but brilliant just the same. I loved the role reversal in certain situations that took place. I haven’t encountered it a lot in my romance reads so it was refreshing to see from a different perspective.

If you enjoy hate-to-love and fake relationship tropes, add this one to your TBR. Both protagonists have fierce personalities and neither one of them are hard-wired to back down. Putting aside the sensitive topics, there is plenty of lightness throughout. The diverse friendships are one of the main reasons as to why I’m addicted to reading this series. The different bonds and dynamics seem so genuine and truly lovable that it’s not hard to get invested in these characters.

There’s plenty of romantic development, and as the story progresses, you gradually see character growth from both protagonists. Phin and Aurora are more out there and risqué when it comes to their relationship. They’re dramatic yet angsty, and their romance is without a doubt frenzied. There were aspects in the story I wished had a little more oomph, and I’m not going to lie, there were situations between Phin and Aurora that needed a certain level of groveling and lacked thereof, but it is what it is. Their journey is messy and complicated but eventually seeing Phin and Aurora right where they’re meant to be had me happy sighing by the end.

A relatively quick read— I finished it in one sitting. It’s punchy, with a smidge of suspense, snort-inducing one-liners, and at one point I was even smacked with a strong wave of misty-eyed emotion. 🙈😅 Another swoon-worthy addition to the Hellfire Club. Phineas Yates is one of kind, and in my honest to goodness opinion Ruined Sinner is a must-try read for contemporary romance fans.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Becker Gray, Dangerous Press, and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading Ruined Sinner: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Nook  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

•••


🔥 Read my reviews for the Hellfire Club!

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray

Book Three: Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray


•••

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

Blog_Sign_Off

The Date Arrangement by A. Zavarelli

booksofthemuggleborn_australiaanthology
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Australia

A romance anthology with over THIRTY original, never-before-seen stories from bestselling and award-winning authors. Each piece was written for this anthology to benefit firefighters and wildlife in Australia. AUSTRALIA is only available for a limited time, so one-click your copy before it’s gone.

AUTHORS INCLUDE: Penny Reid, Meredith Wild, Carly Phillips, Sierra Simone, Emma Scott, Susan Stoker, Kennedy Ryan, Willow Aster, Skye Warren, Kylie Scott, Aleatha Romig, Willow Winters, AL Jackson, Julia Kent, Rebecca Yarros, Nana Malone, Giana Darling, Emma Hart, Chelle Bliss, Noelle Adams, A. Zavarelli, Jenika Snow, Dylan Allen, Kayti McGee, Robin Covington, Mary Catherine Gebhard, Melanie Moreland, Parker S. Huntington, Nana Malone, Jewel E. Ann, Annabel Joseph, Celia Aaron, Michelle Heard, Brighton Walsh, Tamsen Parker, Pam Godwin, Kayti McGee

All royalties from this project will be donated to relief funds in Australia, with 50% going to a firefighter charity and 50% going to a wildlife charity. We aren’t affiliated or endorsed by these charities. We are simply authors who want to support an important cause.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

This review is for The Date Arrangement by A. Zavarelli only!

First off, as an Aussie, I want to say how incredibly kind-hearted and thoughtful these amazing group of authors are for thinking of Australia during the bushfire crisis that occurred the past summer, and for generously donating the proceeds from this anthology to charities.

I may be a little late in reading this anthology (as it’s been sitting in my kindle since last year), I figured one year late and with Australia Day here, it’s no better time to crack it open.

This review is for one of my all time favourite romance authors: A. Zavarelli. Her story The Date Arrangement was the one I wanted to read the most out of the collection… hence this review now.

Let’s get down to the most important detail, shall we? Did I like it?

Yes. Yes I did! 😁

ChrisHemsworth_Smile

I’ve read a few of Zavarelli’s novellas and short stories in the past and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed with this one. She has a knack for getting you to feel and connect with her characters in such a short time frame.

This story was no different. It’s technically insta-love romance but Zavarelli effortlessly writes it in a way where you get some world-building, character backstory, and a budding relationship between our hero/ heroine before they hook up.

The Date Arrangement is about Daxon, an Aussie bloke who runs his family’s successful winery. Willow is hired to be Daxon’s date for an event at his estate celebrating his winery. She’s an American actress backpacking across Australia, and whilst this isn’t in her usual job description, she figures why not? She could use the money. It’s just one date. Nothing to it, right? Only, when she turns up to the event to meet Daxton, things are not exactly what they seem.

They’re both apprehensive at first but as they start conversing, they realize there’s a sense of comfort between them. I appreciate the fact that before they took a chance at anything romantic, they got to know each other a little first. It gives this novella some substance. It’s a big reason as to why I enjoy Zavarelli’s short stories as I do her full-length novels. It’s never fluff and you find yourself easily connecting with said characters and investing in their developing relationship.

They’re both instantly attracted to one another but there’s also a subtle but obvious click between the two when they’re talking. The chemistry only gets zingier from there. Both Dax and Willow give you an insight to their upbringing and their lives now. Their conversation felt very organic and realistic.. and if I may say so, had pretty good first date vibes!

It solely focuses on our lead characters, but there’s a few secondary characters that give this story some dimension. The addition of Dax’s grandfather displays his family upbringing, and his two best mates add the Aussie vibe into the mix.


“I’m Dave. This is Bazza. We’re Daxo’s mates.”


😂😂😂

ChrisHemsworth_GoodOne

Zavarelli did a relatively good job at getting her Aussie slang down pat. I even snort-laughed at the nicknames of her characters. It couldn’t get more Australian with a name like Bazza! LOL.

It’s a cute character-driven romance. A little predictable in the end but who cares? Although, I would’ve loved another paragraph or two just so the ending didn’t feel as rushed as the rest of the story. But overall, it’s a great in-between read and I was left in a happy sigh!

Zavarelli’s contemporary romances are just as gripping as her dark romances, and if you’re a fan, this one is not to be missed!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

🔔 Interested in reading the Australia anthology? Grab the paperback here: Amazon


•••

A safe and peaceful Australia Day to my fellow Aussies.

Happy reading to all, and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

Blog_Sign_Off

The Patriot by Jennifer Millikin

booksofthemuggleborn_thepatriot
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

I’m a soldier.
A cattle rancher.
A Hayden.

My family’s legacy is spread out in front of me, just waiting for me to seize it. If it weren’t for one outdated rule, I’d be the owner of the Hayden Cattle Company and my aging father could retire.

When Dakota Wright shows up to buy and develop twenty acres of Hayden land, I see more than a pretty mouth and strawberry blonde hair. I see a way around the decree keeping me from getting what I want.

And, as luck would have it, Dakota has a big problem of her own. We strike two deals: one for the land, and a second that’ll make both our problems a distant memory.

It isn’t too long before I realize I’m in over my head. I’ve convinced myself the ends should justify the means, but everything begins to fall apart when my birthright is no longer all that I’m after.

I never thought there’d be anything I could love more than my ranch and my country.
I was wrong.

Turns out, I want it all.
Including her.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

BradPitt_Cowboy

I’m giddy with enthusiasm… why? Because I’m pretty sure this new-to-me author just caught my attention with The Patriot!

When I initially signed for an advanced copy I assumed (based on the blurb) that it’s a simple contemporary romance set out in the countryside. You know the usual… the cowboy and the city girl meet, fall in love and the rest is history. 🤷‍♀️

Whilst that short summary may be somewhat true, it doesn’t even skim the surface. This story offered so much more than what I had bargained for. The world-building alongside the character development that organically grew throughout is what made this book a phenomenal read in my books. The picture Millikin paints is so vivid and in-depth that I couldn’t help but find myself immensely invested in both Wes and Dakota’s lives.

When they’re first introduced, it seems like they don’t have a care in the world. An initial attraction pulls them towards each other and they have one magical night.

Fast forward to the present day, and that carefree night together seems like a million lightyears away. That is until they unexpectedly see each other again and old feelings and memories come flooding back.

I was hooked from the moment they made contact. Lol. I can’t put into words how much Millikin’s writing was all-consuming, addictive, and realistic. It’s a work of fiction that readers can easily connect with because the troubles that both Wes and Dakota struggle with are relatable and effects so much of our population.

Despite their personal issues, I love that they find solace in one other. They may not necessarily be willing to help themselves per se, but it doesn’t stop them from wanting or even trying to help lift some of the burden the other has on their shoulders. You cannot dislike either one of these protagonists. They’re going through hardships, they’re stubborn, secretive, and even closed off at times (especially Wes), but it’s evident that their good people and their hearts are in the right place.

Such a wholesome, heartwarming love story — and one that’s ingrained with strong family bonds and values. In this day and age (and maybe it’s also a generational thing), I find it almost a dying breed to see people who have still have strong morals and beliefs that have been passed on and taught from their parents and grandparents.

Wes is a pure gentleman. Almost an old soul (but maybe it’s due to the fact that he’s already lived such a life in his thirty-plus years). There’s no bullshitting with him. He’s determined, loyal, protective, and what I found most appealing despite his struggles, is he’s still the type of guy who know will have your back.

Dakota is a lighter personality. She’s dealing with her own issues but for the most part, she’s friendly and understanding, and full of potential she doesn’t know she has. She can be bubbly (but not in the ditzy sort of way), and her internal dialogue is a hoot! 🤭

They work so well together. A balance I found so endearing. If you enjoy reading slow burn romances and/or a fake relationships trope, then I highly recommend you give this book a go. I can tell you now, Millikin’s Hayden Family series is definitely one I’m looking forward to continuing.

There are secondary characters in here that are just as intriguing. The Hayden family are seen as enigmatic royalties in their town. Each sibling having strong personalities of their own. As much as I enjoyed Wes and Dakota’s growing relationship, I don’t think it would’ve been the same feels without either one of their families as supporting characters in their journey (not to mention their banter would surely be missed). 😜

This is my first book of Millikin’s so I don’t have any of her previous books to compare it with, but I found her writing style effortless to follow. It’s well-paced storytelling that constantly kept me engaged. There’s a nice break of light in between the darkness so it doesn’t have that overall heavy emotional feeling.

Wes struggles with mental and emotional scarring that I thought was handled with a lot of care and sensitivity. His story brought awareness to these issues and the struggles men and women can go through when they’ve been in similar situations.

Both Wes and Dakota internally struggle with guilt that they’ve been carrying around with them, and through their journey they gradually share and open themselves to finding happiness again. Aw sigh. It’s a truly heartwarming story of love and healing, with strong family ties and friendships. I couldn’t put it down, and finishing it only made me eager to read the next books in the series.

  • Small Town Setting: ✔
  • Cowboys: ✔
  • Slow Burn Romance: ✔
  • Fake Relationship: ✔

It’s books like this one that make me want to read more contemporary romances. Loved it, and I would happily recommend it to any romance reader looking for a good ol’ fashion happily ever after!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Jennifer Millikin and The Next Step PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading The Patriot? Grab your copy here: ​Universal Link


•••

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

Blog_Sign_Off