The Embrace by Vivian Wood

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ballet took my sweat, blood, and tears.

Life almost stole Calum from me.

We barely make it through that trial only to face a final test.

As we try to brace ourselves and weather the brewing storm, we are both rocked by huge secrets.

Calum struggles with the ghost of his past.

I weigh a life-altering decision with the potential to change everything.

We could be so perfect together…

If our secrets don’t drag us under the murky waters.

Don’t fall for your customers. 

•••

• MY REVIEW •

I can’t believe we’ve finally reached the third and final book in the Broken Slipper Trilogy! This story started out strong with its intrigue, secrecy, and budding lust-fuelled romance between Calum and Kaia. The initial premise is what sold me in wanting to read this billionaire, age gap romance…  

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But by the second book, it gradually turned into a complicated and overwhelming storyline of problem after problem that only escalated as the story progressed into this final one. Ooo-wee! Calum and Kaia had a lot to deal with in order to keep their relationship going.

To be honest this book was a bit of mixed bag for my liking. The Dancer (book two) left in such a cliffhanger that I was reeling to start this one in order to see the outcome. Unfortunately, that outcome left me a little underwhelmed. For a life or death matter, it didn’t come off as something Calum or Kaia took seriously. I like Vivian’s writing style to have wanted to read this trilogy but I feel like this particular book was rushed, despite the fact that a lot of things still occurred before it ended. 

The same problems kept popping up and it was never truly resolved. I felt like Calum and Kaia were sweeping these serious matters under the rug until it bit them in their asses, and by then I lost interest in seeing them fix it because it all felt too repetitive. A few of the issues they encountered in the first two books that seemed like the biggest threats to their relationship were now an afterthought and somewhat brushed off in this book with anticlimactic solutions.

The storyline felt choppy and had a disjointed flow. With the introduction of new characters and relationships, the new developments/ additions into the storyline didn’t feel organic. Whilst I was still invested in seeing Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship through to the end, the side stories that were simultaneously happening in the background didn’t hold my interest as much and ultimately felt like filler in order to put some dimension into the story.   

Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship exhibited a lot of repetitive issues that should’ve been resolved a lot earlier. There’s no doubt that they had chemistry and plenty of raunchy romance, but there were also plenty of cracks. I would’ve loved to have seen a gradual development in their relationship full of in-depth discussions about where they would like their relationship to head towards and to work through their differences long before they were forced into doing so.    

That wasn’t the only relationship in this story that was tumultuous. I was left frustrated with a lot of the actions (or lack thereof) from Calum and his brother Lucas concerning a certain pivotal matter in their lives. I had trouble agreeing with either one of them but for completely different reasons. Calum buried his feelings unless he felt backed into a corner and then it was like, “let it rip!”

For Lucas, I was baffled with his overall mindset after discovering what Calum had been through. How can a brother overlook a horrific, traumatic event all because it didn’t happen to him?! Ugh, I will never understand. Sigh. 😩

Kaia’s toxic family disputes were equally stressing to the point where I was done with all that drama long before anything was done about it. Even after having had time to process this book, I still can’t quite figure out Kaia’s decisions regarding her family. To each their own, I guess… *shrug*

But it wasn’t all unfortunate.

I liked Kaia’s friendship with her bestie Ella. It may have been a little rocky here and there but they stuck it out and their bond’s stronger than ever. Even though the new addition of characters and relationships were introduced (albeit a little sudden), the inkling of possible future stories had me perking up with interest. And no matter how crazy Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship had been throughout, and even though I didn’t completely agree with how things went down, the final scene with their happily ever after was sweet to witness. Things may not have gone according to plan and situations had to be altered, it was satisfying to see Calum and Kaia be able to move on and begin the next chapter in their lives. 

Not going to lie, besides one main plot point that was predictable fairly early on, the conclusion wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But overall, it’s a decent wrap-up to the trilogy. It’s a slow, steady-paced storytelling and told from dual points of view so you get a good idea of each protagonists’ present mindset.

This was my first contemporary romance where a huge chunk of the storyline revolved around the world of ballet, and it was amazing to see elements of it from beginning to end. This may not have been my favourite out of the three books but I would still recommend this trilogy as a whole to fellow romance readers.

If you enjoy the following elements in your romance, this trilogy might be right up your alley:

  • Billionaire Romance
  • Age Gap
  • Secret/ Forbidden Romance
  • Contemporary
  • Suspense
  • Dance Backdrop
  • Drama/ Angst

This is a continuous storyline and each book must be read in order. Also note, this story contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as child abuse, rape, attempted murder, violence, harassment, and domestic abuse. It also broaches certain topics such as body image, PTSD, and one’s own personal choices. It contains mature sexual themes suitable for readers 18+ only!   

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

Thank you Vivian Wood and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading the Broken Slipper Trilogy? Grab your copy here:

•••


🩰 Read my reviews for the Broken Slipper Trilogy!

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Book One: The Patron by Vivian Wood

Book Two: The Dancer by Vivian Wood


•••

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

Lessons In Sin by Pam Godwin

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

There’s no absolution for the things I’ve done.
But I found a way to control my impulses.
I became a priest.

As Father Magnus Falke, I suppress my cravings. As the headteacher of a Catholic boarding school, I’m never tempted by a student.

Until Tinsley Constantine.

The bratty princess challenges my rules and awakens my dark nature. With each punishment I lash upon her, I want more. In my classroom, private rectory, and bent over my altar, I want all of her.

One touch risks everything I stand for. My faith. My redemption. And even my life.

As if that could stop me. I need her pain, and her heart, and she needs my lessons in sin.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oh holy book gods, Lessons In Sin was indefinably beautiful in all its forbidden and lustful existence! I thoroughly enjoyed all the books I’d read so far within the Midnight Dynasty but I can’t lie, this book blew all my good sense away!

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Without a doubt, it not only took hold of my attention, but pushed my catholic-raised ways aside and convinced me that this age-gap, totally unbinding romance between just-of-age Tinsley and her much older boarding school headteacher and (off limits) priest was justifiable and despite all odds, is all around meant-to-be.

Genuinely heart-wrenching and soul-crushing, deepest of the deep kind of love — 👏 That is what you can expect to discover from reading this story. It’s a vivid and multifaceted world-building that Pam has created, with impressively well-developed and ever-evolving characters. I’m still in awe of how much emotion this book has evoked out of me. Right from the opening scene with Tinsley’s and Magnus’ first encounter set the atmosphere into intense climates and only expanded from there to suspense, thrill, and giddy excitement. If this was a scene from a movie, you would see little bright sparks fly out of the pages and my face in sheer wonder and delight.

I seriously can’t fault anything about it. Yes, it’s totally sinful, and in reality their situation would absolutely be all kinds of wrong… but that’s the beauty of fictional books, it’s all make believe, and fantasy, and escapism from the daily grind.

In my opinion Lessons In Sin was just that. The perfect escapism!

It had a compelling hero and heroine that oozed out such emotion that I found myself truly invested and saturated in their complexed lives. I loved the contrast and dimension between Tinsley and Magnus. There was definite demonstrations of their age difference throughout with their oh-so entertaining push-and-pull banter that was both perfectly timed and unsuspecting comic relief. But what made their relationship mesh so well was they connected through intelligence and understanding, and all banter aside, maturity levels that exceeded Tinsley’s youth.

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There was plenty of intrigue to effortlessly keep you reading with bated breath. Besides Tinsley and Magnus, there’s a diverse range of secondary characters that all played a role in making this story layered in complexity — from the memorable dynamics of fellow students, to the other priests, to the glimpses of the Constantine tribe.

I’m not going to go into detail about the religious aspects within this story. Please note this is just my opinion, but as an avid reader of dark romance novels (and who happens to be Catholic), I don’t find this story offensive. If I hadn’t already made it obvious, I enjoyed reading this book. Despite its setting and some of the realistic aspects included, at the end of the day it is fictional. The blurb pretty much mentions the forbidden and taboo elements of Magnus being a priest and Tinsley being a student. If after reading the synopsis you take any offence, then you may want to give this one a miss.

It’s a contemporary romance first and foremost but with dark elements. Without spoiling the plot, I will say that Magnus has ghosts that can be haunting to read about (no pun intended). It may not necessarily be triggering content but I don’t want to risk it if you are a reader who has triggers. There is sensitive subject matter that may surprise or catch you off guard. But just know it’s mentioned in passing and not something that actually plays out in the story.

What I realized fairly early on is Tinsley is strong-willed, comfortable in her own skin, and knows what she wants. It’s a big reason as to why I favor her character and in general find her a truly likable young person. She could easily have been the rich, bratty teenager who you’d constantly roll your eyes at, but every emotion and action out of her is calculated and within reason.

I honestly haven’t read a storyline that’s intricate and as well thought-out as this one in a long time. The storytelling was well paced, flowed with ease, and effortless to follow with its first-person dual points of view. There’s constant build-up and plot twists throughout. Not going to lie, there were a couple of instances where I had inklings that proved true but even with those minor predictabilities my excitement levels were still up there in seeing how Tinsley’s and Magnus’ wild journey will wrap-up.

✔ Forbidden

✔ High School

✔ Age-Gap

✔ Taboo

✔ Slow Burn

✔ Angst

I can tell you, this story had tropes I don’t usually go for first in my romance reads, but it proved to be a romance story I didn’t know I needed! All those elements were written in brilliantly that the age difference and taboo of their relationship wasn’t even in the forefront whilst reading it. They had undeniable chemistry and an even more sizzling bond that only escalated as time passed.

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What started out as a bit of diabolical game playing from Tinsley in pushing Magnus’ buttons, and with Magnus ever the strict rule abiding teacher and a man of faith determined to make her fall in line, progressively turned into companionship— to molten desire— to the inevitable forbidden relationship they so desperately wish would never end.

I was either in near tears with chin wobbles or full-on blubbering whilst reading this book. It was hearty, full of depth, and just simply winning. I adored the little friendships, the sibling solidarity, Tinsley’s passion, Magnus’ protectiveness, and all the minor characters—who I shall not name but nevertheless made an impact!

This is my first book of Pam Godwin’s but in no way will it be my last. If her writing style from this one is anything to go by, she has won herself another fan. 😊

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. I would happily recommend it to fellow romance readers. It’s also a must read for fans who’ve been following the world of the Constantines and the Morellis within the Midnight Dynasty. I admit Tinsley Constantine wasn’t really on my radar as far as Constantine siblings go, but after reading Lessons In Sin she fast became my favourite (sorry Keaton)! An all-consuming love story that honestly rivals some of my all-time favourite classic romance novels. I will be reading this one time and time again.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Pam Godwin, Dangerous Press, and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

•••


Midnight Dynasty is a brand new world where enemies and lovers are often one and the same.

Continue with the world of the Midnight Dynasty!

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•••

Read my reviews of books in the Midnight Dynasty!

👑 Cinderella Trilogy by K. Webster

Book One: Stroke Of Midnight by K. Webster
Book Two: Prince Charming by K. Webster
Book Three: The Glass Slipper by K. Webster

🔥 Hellfire Club by Becker Gray

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray
Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray
Book Three: Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

🧡 Hearts Trilogy by M. O’Keefe

Book One: Stolen Hearts by M. O’Keefe
Book Two: Broken Hearts by M. O’Keefe

🌹 Beauty and the Beast Trilogy by Amelia Wilde

Book One: Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde
Book Two: Hidden Beauty by Amelia Wilde

•••

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

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The Dancer by Vivian Wood

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ballet takes everything from you.

I’m no longer a professional ballerina.

No longer a kept woman.

No longer a virgin.

The fact that I still ache for a man who shattered me so easily… there is no getting over that.

I should’ve listened to Calum when he said that he was broken.

Some things, once shattered, cannot be made whole again.

Still, all it takes is a look from him and I start to melt.

When he offers me an even sweeter deal, will I be able to say no?

The Dancer is a contemporary billionaire romance from Wall Street Journal Bestseller Vivian Wood. It’s full length and the second of three books in the gritty, raw, passionate Broken Slipper Trilogy.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oh my. Blackmail, secret romances, and danger lurking at every corner! This elite world of ballet is vicious and cutthroat! I haven’t read much contemporary romance books that centre around the dance world (more specifically, ballet), and it had me so intrigued.

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Make sure to read The Patron first as it’s a continuous storyline and this is book two in the trilogy. This one delves into Kaia’s and Calum’s tumultuous relationship. What started out as a straight forward contract, quickly became a complicated hot mess! 

I enjoyed this book overall and there were plenty of things I adored, but I would be lying if I didn’t mention some of the things that irked me whilst reading it. The story is somewhat of a secret/ forbidden romance between Kaia, a ballet student, and her ballet teacher Calum who also happens to be a powerful business mogul and billionaire. The age gap between them isn’t blatantly obvious but what I quickly discovered is Kaia is very much a naïve young lady. There were a handful of situations throughout that I felt could easily have been avoided or resulted quite differently if it weren’t for her ignorance. I found her very frustrating in this book — it’s like the girl never learns! 🙄 Thank goodness that some of my sanity was saved knowing that there were secondary characters that had common sense. Lol.

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It focuses a lot on the protagonists, so seeing secondary characters, even for a brief time was a nice change of atmosphere and really helped break some of the story’s attention away from their interactions alone. There are a couple of side stories happening simultaneously in the background that adds an extra level of tension and edge to the overall storyline.     

I did find some things a little repetitive (mostly the sexual *cough cough* content). I’m all for some steamy scenes — I mean what romance reader, wouldn’t expect it? But all in moderation. I felt like the bedroom romps were all similar too. I’m not going to lie after the first couple of them, I almost wanted to skim through the rest. 😬

I would’ve really loved to have seen more hearty progression in their relationship. By the time I finished the book it almost felt like they hadn’t made too much headway. And then of course, it concludes on a cliffhanger, and I was left sitting there thinking, “Dammit, I wanna know what happens next!”    

Let’s talk the plotline, shall we? My favourite bits to see in the entire book was the slow but gradual development of Kaia’s and Calum’s relationship. I know I just mentioned that there wasn’t much progress in this book in regards to their relationship, but the parts where they were simply conversing had my attention. They have a complex relationship (and I’m using that term loosely because they don’t really have a proper bf/gf relationship per se… and on top of that they’re trying to keep it a secret), but despite the roadblocks they have a buddle of chemistry and zing between them. If you like a damsel in distress heroine, and a confident (almost fringing on arrogant) alpha hero, then this will be right up your alley. Scenes where they’re dancing around (excuse the pun) their feelings for one another were the scenes that had me anxiously sitting up and glued to the pages. It’s a bit of slow burn romance, just so you know. Fair to say I was frustratingly eager to see Kaia and Calum admit their feels already. 😅    

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I applaud Vivian for creating such characters, who I got invested in despite not always agreeing with their actions or favouring their personality. I like that this storyline wasn’t all sunshine and lollipops. There’s always something popping up that keeps these characters on their toes and us readers second-guessing. I, for one didn’t see some of the things that occurred a mile away. 

I do have to point out that this book contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. There is a small scene involving sexual assault. It also contains violence and profanity. Readers 18+ only!        

I’m excited to get into the next book. I’m itching to see what happens after the cliffhanger that went a completely different direction that I had not anticipated. A great second book that I truly enjoyed reading. It’s contemporary with some slight darkish elements. It’s suspenseful — honestly, anything can happen! It’s romance with a ballet backdrop, along with a diverse range of characters you’ll either love or loathe. A character driven storyline with still plenty of secrets to be revealed and explained further in the next book. It has a fairly well-paced storytelling and it’s told from dual points of view.         

Although there were certain aspects of this book I wasn’t completely a fan of, I would still recommend this story to fellow romance readers.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Vivian Wood and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading the Broken Slipper Trilogy? Grab your copy here:

•••


🩰 Read my review for the first book in the trilogy!

booksofthemuggleborn_thepatron
Original post from IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📙 The Patron by Vivian Wood


•••

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

 

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The Patron by Vivian Wood

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Original post from IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ballet takes everything from you. All your sweat, all your tears, all your dedication, all your time. There are no drunken nights, no drugs, no boyfriends, no distractions whatsoever.

But everyone has a dirty little secret…

Working as a stripper at Club Ecstasy at night is my dark indiscretion.

Sexy, mysterious billionaire Calum shows up as a patron at my club. He’s drawn to my provocative innocence, not realizing that I am also a ballerina in his dance company. When I dance for him, he feels something stir in his cold, dead heart.

After Calum finds out my little deception, he should turn me in. After all, ballet requires sacrifice.

But to my surprise, he makes me an offer I can’t refuse.

And now I am staring into his dark blue eyes as I dance for him privately. Trying desperately to remember rule number one of being an exotic dancer.

Don’t fall for your customers.

•••

• MY REVIEW •


🎵 “Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well.”


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Ballet dancer by day, stripper by night!? Yeah, I knew I had to read this one! 😄 I’m fan of dance movies and tv shows, but I must admit I haven’t read much books that centers around this world. I was hooked on the premise, not only because Kaia is a ballet dancer — which stereotypically is a world of prestige and exclusivity to be in, but because outside of it, she’s living a completely different life that could put her dreams of being a prima ballerina at risk. It instantly makes you curious as to why she would jeopardize a life-changing opportunity?

The Patron immediately pulls you into a troubling world of secrecy, indulgence, and greed. Kaia is an easily likable heroine who has struggles that a lot of us can relate to. You’ll soon discover that things are not what they seem in Kaia’s life, and they go to a whole new level of drama when she meets Calum.

Unlike Kaia, I have a love/ hate relationship with the hero. If you like reading about complex, broken assholes who you can’t completely hate for their behavior and actions, then you might just enjoy meeting Calum. 😜 He comes off as arrogant jerk, a secretive and no-nonsense type of guy, but as the story develops, he starts giving away his backstory and the reasons behind his attitude. Are you going to completely love his actions? Well, no. But is it based off of good intentions? Yes. So you can see the dilemma I had whilst reading this book. Do I like the guy or do I hate him? Ugh.   

Kaia and Calum are put into certain situations that they’re forced to deal with, and you can’t help but sympathize. They’re both dealing with personal issues that seems to be getting the best of them. But whenever they meet, time seems to stop and there’s a certain amount of escapism from their gritty reality… and it’s those scenes where you really can’t help but hunker down and keep reading. Kaia and Calum have such zingy chemistry with moments of both the sweet and swoony, and of the hot and heavy smutty variety! 😍

I love the gradual build-up of their secret hookups and the constant suspense to see if they’ll get caught in the act. I really couldn’t get enough of it. This was such an intriguing story. Not only was I completely invested in seeing how Kaia and Calum’s relationship would develop, but by the end of the book I was literally left with my mouth agape (picture a goldfish making bubbles)! This is the first book in the Broken Slipper Trilogy, and yes, it does end on a cliffhanger—and a painful one to boot! 😧

Please note that this book contains sensitive matters that may be triggering for some readers such as violence, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and attempted human trafficking. It’s not overly detailed or graphic but definitely for readers 18+ only!

But I highly recommend it to fellow romance readers! This is an adult (darkish) contemporary romance. It has a few romance tropes within such as, billionaire romance, taboo romance, and secret romance. So if any of those takes your fancy, make sure you add this one to your reading list. There’s a great balance of interchanging atmospheres between the preen and proper ballet world and the down and dirty raunchiness of nightclubs and private lap dances.

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Definitely a little different from other contemporary romances I’ve read recently, but I think the dance backdrop is what makes it so. Full of drama, powerplays, and unpredictability. It’s well-paced storytelling and told from dual points of view. You get an introduction to both Kaia and Calum’s present lives but also snippets of their backstories that not only elevates this entire story but provides these main characters with dimension. There’s a relatively diverse group of secondary characters included—some of which have already made their personalities and motives loud and clear, whilst others I feel are still hanging back. I guess I’ll have to see in the next books how much of a role they play.  

Like I said earlier it’s full of drama and there are characters and plotlines in this book that will elicit some strong emotions out of you. I won’t spoil it for you folks, but I will say that it’s been a while since I’ve encountered an antagonist in a contemporary romance who I’ve wanted to choke so badly. I’ll leave it at that. Lol. 😜😂

It’s an attention-grabbing start to the trilogy. It’s freaking hot, intense, and will have you staying up late reading it! I’m already anxiously waiting to see what happens next!           

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Vivian Wood and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

•••


🩰 Broken Slipper Trilogy

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Pre-order the entire trilogy now!

📒 Book One: The Patron
📒 Book Two: The Dancer
📒 Book Three: The Embrace

•••

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

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