Dayton by Stevie J. Cole & L.P. Lovell

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn




Zepp Hunt wasn’t the king of Dayton high school. He was the top of the food chain. And I was next in line to be dragged into the lion’s den. At least that’s what he thought…

Good girls wanted to tame him. Bad girls want to be tainted by him. Everyone bowed down to him. And me?

I hated Zeppelin Hunt with every fiber of my being.

Which was why I stayed away from the arrogant bad boy with tattoos and a rap sheet.

Until I couldn’t.

Until we traded favors, and I owed him three months of my life. I never thought I would end up in his bed, and when I did, I had to remind myself that he hated me as much as I hated him.

Until I didn’t.

Zepp Hunt was no prince, and I absolutely refused to be his damsel in distress…


Genre/ Tropes: Hate-To-Love, Close Proximity, Instant Attraction, Secret Crush

TW: Attempted Sexual Assault, Drug Use, Domestic Violence, Child Abuse, Violence 

I went into this book with the assumption it was just another hate-to-love teen romance. Little did I know it was the start of a new obsession! 😍 Dayton is the type of harsh reality I only ever see in either films and tv, or on the news— rundown neighbourhoods, seedy environments, high crime rated streets, and those who unfortunately live in the thick of it.

Yes, it’s angsty and tragic, but rightfully so. Yet, I found it thoroughly engaging and at times unpredictable. This book sets up the world-building and overall gritty tone of the book, and the rest of the series for that matter. It’s contemporary with a handful of dark elements included. The cast of characters introduced immediately had me curious to know more. Zepp and Monroe couldn’t have been a more perfectly suited pairing. The zingy pull-and-push relationship brewing between them was gripping to say the least. The constant game-playing and sexual banter was highly entertaining, but there was also a nice counterbalance of sincerity, understanding, and protectiveness in between.

You see a gradual progression in their character growth as the two unexpectedly form an undeniable bond. I was intrigued by the premise, and I’m happy to say the storytelling was well-executed. I didn’t even mind the slow burn romance. My only hang-up is the ending was a little on the abrupt side and wasn’t as in-depth in details as the rest of the book. But it’s still a gripping read and an excellent start to the series.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐




He was the reprobate king of Dayton high. I was the bitter princess cast out of my kingdom. And we were at war.

It started off with a lie, and a one-night stand gone terribly wrong. Although I knew nothing good would come from my encounter with Bellamy West, the small town’s gorgeous bad boy, I didn’t expect him to throw jet fuel onto the already flaming wreckage of my life. Then step back with a sexy smirk on his face to watch me burn.
And burn I did…

He got me fired.
I got him arrested.
We were enemies until we weren’t. Until one touch went too far, and I found myself craving each dirty word. Every filthy promise.
Bellamy West was no good, and I wanted to be bad.

Screw falling for Prince Charming, I wrote my love story with the villain.
And for that, I paid..


Genre/ Tropes: Opposite Sides Of The Tracks, One Night Stand, Close Proximity, Forbidden Romance

TW: Drug Use, Violence, Bullying

This next book was a little more on the light-hearted, playful side. There’s still some saddening developments but for the most part Bellamy and Drew have this highly amusing, super adorable relationship. It’s an opposite sides of the tracks love affair that had me giggling all throughout. 🤭 They’re another likable pair of characters, with Drew being a cute and confident heroine with bratty tendencies, and Bellamy surprisingly being one of the sweeter, more adult, more thoughtful heroes from the series, and it has a lot to do with his backstory.

The distinct differences between Bellamy and Drew doesn’t hold them back from pursuing one another—and when it looks like all things are stacked against them, they always manage to find a way around it. If charming, protective, loyal heroes tickle your fancy, I think you’ll find Bellamy quite the sweetheart.😉 He went from a secondary character to the main man of Dayton in this book and he filled the role with his own swoon-worthy finesse.

A great addition that essentially left me happy sighing, but it’s another story in the series with another abrupt ending— this one slightly more hasty than the last in resolving issues before it concluded. Although there was an epilogue, I was left wondering about certain matters. I wish this story was longer, but nevertheless still a worthwhile read!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐




To everyone in Dayton, Hendrix Hunt was the tattooed bad boy, the bully, the player. Guys hated and feared him. Girls wanted to tame him. And I just wished I could forget him.

Two years ago, Hendrix was my world. Then the taint of Dayton ruined everything, breaking us both with secrets and lies. I destroyed him and now he wants to destroy me…

They say love is patient, that love is kind, but when love is broken it becomes filled with jealousy and revenge.

Hendrix Hunt was no Romeo. But unfortunately, just like Juliet, I was in love with my enemy.


Genre/ Tropes: Friends-To-Lovers, Second Chance Romance, Love–Hate–Love, Close Proximity

TW: Sexual Assault, Child Abuse, Drug Use, Abortion, Violence  

I’ve read countless romance books with “alpha-holes” and “man-whoring” leading men… but after having read these books, Hendrix takes top spot, hands down! Lol. In saying that, never in a million years could I have predicted (after all he has said and done in the past two books) that Hendrix and his story would end up becoming my favourite! 🤯😄

I was wholly captivated by Hendrix and Lola’s relationship and their entire backstory right from the opening scene. Hendrix has a distinct image he presents to everyone but this book gave amazing insight to another side of him that ultimately made me see him in a different (and absolutely lovable) light.

It’s well-paced storytelling, and jam-packed full of developments between Lola and Hendrix. Their history is well-developed alongside a deep sense of genuineness to their relationship that was effortlessly convincing. There’s air of tension and angst throughout that really drives home the heartbreak that both these leading characters are constantly experiencing. I love the amount of heart and emotion their story possessed— it’s one of the main reasons as to why I became so invested in seeing their HEA.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½


I’m not even the slightest bit embarrassed to admit I got hooked on this series relatively quickly. I wasn’t even halfway through No Prince before I knew I needed to grab the other books in the series. Each book’s storyline has some repetitive formulas but I didn’t mind it one bit. There’s still differences within each of the couples and their developments that made each story their own.

Although it’s set in a high school backdrop, these books are most certainly NA romance with a ton of raunchy sexual content for targeted audiences 18+ only. The world-building is one I haven’t come across in a lot of contemporary romance reads and immediately had me curious. The struggle is real with what these cast of characters go through and I was invested in each and every one of their lives from beginning to end.

I’ve been an avid fan of Lovell’s mafia romances and wanted to check out the rest of her backlist of books. Not only has the Dayton series introduced me to Lovell’s style of contemporary romance writing, but it also introduced new-to-me author Stevie J. Cole.

I’m late to the Dayton series party, and I’m not sure if No Romeo is officially the last book, but I do hope Wolf gets one of his very own. Although Hendrix is a loud, very memorable, one of kind character, Wolf was the very first Dayton “bad boy” introduced in No Prince (besides Zepp) that caught my eye.

Once I started this series I could not NOT binge-read them back to back. Safe to say they’ve become an addiction! 😁 They all have crude but laugh-out-loud humour, swoon-worthy romantic elements, and strong, genuine friendships that made them massive page-turners. There’s a real sense of survival, desperation, and a struggle with poverty with these characters that added another layer to each of their narratives. These books won’t be for everyone, but I highly recommend you give them a try. It’s an interconnected series but each is a standalone novel.



Want More High School Angst?

🎒 Black Mountain Academy

Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli
Mr. Heartbreaker by Jordan Marie
Hate Me by A. Jade


🔥 Hellfire Club


Wicked Idol by Becker Gray
Callous Prince by Becker Gray
Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray
Ruined Sinner by Becker Gray
Sweet Devil by Becker Gray


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


The Choice by A. Jade

⚠ This review contain minor teasers!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



He was the mysterious dark knight always swooping in to save me when I needed it most.

I was the troubled girl with scars and a bleeding heart.

He was the gifted guitarist destined for big things.

I was the small-town girl battling her demons.

He was my earth….always keeping me grounded.

And I was his sky…always just out of his reach.

Our love was everything I wished for.

Until I destroyed it.

I never thought I’d see Memphis Payne again after I broke his heart, but the stars had other plans.

Because here he is…needing me to clean up his mess this time.

Only problem is…

Doing so will break both our hearts.

They say only the strongest love can survive an apocalypse.

That if two people are meant to be, they’ll find their way back to each other.

I hope they’re right.



“The people you trust are the ones who hurt you the most.”


Jade has written another fleshed-out, thought-provoking story that will undoubtedly stay with me. The follow-up story to The Words centres around Memphis, Skylar, and Josh, as we delve into each of their backstories in this first book from the Star-Crossed Lovers Duet.

The strongest and most drawn-out emotion that The Choice surprisingly evoked out of me was utter frustration. But trust me, that’s a good thing—I was wholly absorbed. This trio of characters each played a role in adding complexity and dimension to the storyline that not only grabbed my attention, but had me invested in seeing how their warped relationships would unfold.

Memphis is Memphis, and for me, his character has never wavered. I immediately took a liking to him in The Words, and after reading this book, it only reiterated how easily he drew me in. As much as I adored Skylar in The Words, I wasn’t her biggest fan in this book, but I’m not worried as I know her character growth will develop further, and I, for one am looking forward to seeing it in the second half of this duet. Although Josh played a minor role in The Words, his character left quite an impression that was magnified tenfold in this one. Nothing could have prepared me for what this book entailed.

  • New Adult romance
  • Rock star romance
  • Next-door neighbours
  • Love triangle
  • Star-crossed lovers
  • Small-town romance

The storytelling is very character-driven and had me completely on edge. It’s twisted, erratic, and emotionally-charged through and through. While I would happily recommend it to fellow romance readers, it’s not for the faint-hearted. There are sensitive subject matters within that some readers may find triggering or disturbing to read about. Please note it’s graphic and contains domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, drug and substance abuse. These characters are traumatized, troubled, and the experiences they’ve had to endure resulted in psychological scarring and PTSD. It’s intended for readers 18+ only.

This is an interconnected standalone. You don’t have to read The Words beforehand but I highly advise you do read it before The Consequence. This half of the duet is their history. The Words takes you to their present (only their story is secondary), but The Consequence will pick up where The Words ended, and where their story will in evidently conclude.

These characters have been put into some pretty dicey situations that no one should have to bear. I wish I could say I completely understood or sympathise with all of their actions and life-altering choices but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. Whilst some decisions were understandably made out of sheer desperation, other choices were fairly questionable. Like I said earlier, it’s thought-provoking and there’s a lot to absorb. It broaches on one’s moral compass, motivations, and ultimately questions one’s character. And I thoroughly enjoyed every minute getting to divulge into these characters’ innermost psyche.

“It’s wrong. It’s reckless. It’s perfect.”

I couldn’t have said it better than the quote above. I love Jade’s writing. It’s effortless to follow, pushes against the boundaries, and swallows you whole from the very beginning. It has a way of transporting you into the world that’s been so intricately created, and the world-building here is phenomenal. The overall atmosphere envelops you. Although I couldn’t relate to some of their experiences, I found Memphis and Skylar to be genuine, relatable characters I easily connected with—especially Memphis with his personality type.

The alternating POVs between Memphis and Skylar is what sets their small-town, young love story apart from other small-town romances I’ve read in the past. Their internal monologue, along with their heart-palpitating interactions is everything! I was left reeling at the events that took place, and by the time this book concluded, I was left just a smidge heartbroken.

The Choice is a contemporary star-crossed lovers romance story that packs one helluva punch! I’ll be twiddling my thumbs until I can get my hands on The Consequence because the ending in this book had my jaw dropping. I’m so glad Jade decided to return to this world and expanded it. It’s beautiful, soulful, and makes you wish only good things for these characters. This is definitely one of my favourite reads of year.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Ashley Jade and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advance copy! 💜

🔔 Interested in reading The Choice? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon INTL


🎶 Introduction to Sharp Objects!

Meet the lead singer: Phoenix Walker
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn
🎤 Phoenix & Lennon’s Story
The Words by A. Jade


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


2022 Favourite Reads

Yep, I’m doing another round-up of my favourite reads,. This will be my third year posting and it’s looking like it’ll be a yearly tradition. Wooo!

I had another rollercoaster year. I remember the first few months of 2022 wishing the year would roll by quick, and now that it’s finally time to ring in the new year, I have such a bittersweet feeling because the last two-to-three months elevated the year.

I say this every year because it really is true in my life… reading has and always will be my form of sanctuary and escapism from the daily grind. I’m your stereotypical introvert who prefers books to company. The older I get the more I’ve preferred a cosy night in with a swoon-worthy book, a favourite movie playing in the background, and tons of comfort food, and I don’t really see my preferences changing back to my younger years when I spent over an hour getting ready to go out and dance the night away (although on a rare occasion I might brush off the party dress and put on a friendly smile hehe).

Now! 👏 Are you ready to see the books I ended up loving the most from all the 100+ books I read this year? Even I surprised myself when I went back to compilate this list. 😲


Here is my compilation of favourite reads of 2022. Ooh man, it was hard! Like last year, I ideally wanted to pluck out one favourite book from each month but damn it was hard! Some months had multiple stellar reads, so I tried had to do a little bit of finessing… *cough* cheating *cough* 😜😁

But I will say this, I have a bunch of different authors in this list, some are new-to-me authors that have quickly been added to my auto-buy authors list. So if you’re wondering if I’d recommend any… HELL YES!

(FYI: organised by romance sub-genre)

So here we go!


Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn


• Contemporary Romance •


📖 The Words by A. Jade

(Hate-To-Love, Second-Chances, Standalone, Rockstar Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Last On The List by Amy Daws

(Nanny/ Single Dad, Opposites Attract, Grumpy-Sunshine, Standalone in an Interconnected Series)

📖 Hating The Player by Rebecca Jenshak

(Hate-to-Love, Second Chances, Next-Door Neighbours, College Sports Romance, Standalone in an Interconnected Series)

📖 Shattered And Salvaged Duet by Anna B. Doe
Kiss To Shatter & Kiss To Salvage

(Brother’s Best Friend, Secret Romance, College Sports Romance, New Adult Romance, Standalone in an Interconnected Series) *Trigger Warnings*

Honorary Mention:
📖 Kiss To Belong by Anna B. Doe

(Best Friends-to-Lovers, Secret Crush, Close Proximity, Surprise Pregnancy, College Romance) *Trigger Warnings*


• MC Romance •


📖 Keeping The Throne by Nicole James

(MC Romance, Whirlwind Romance, Age-Gap Romance, Standalone in an Interconnected Series) *Trigger Warnings*


• Mafia Romance •


📖 Sinners Series by Michelle Heard
Taken By A Sinner (pictured)
Owned By A Sinner
Stolen By A Sinner
Chosen By A Sinner
Captured By A Sinner

(Dark Mafia, Suspense, Arranged Marriage, Enemies-to-Lovers, Hate-To-Love, Age-Gap, Standalones in an Interconnected Series) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Sins Of The Orchid by Eva Winners

(Age-Gap, Forbidden Romance, Best Friend’s Brother, Suspense, Standalone, Italian Mafia) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 By Fate I Conquer by Cora Reilly

(Enemies-to-Lovers, Close Proximity, Forbidden Romance, Secret Romance, Suspense, Dark Romance, Standalone in an Interconnected Series) *Trigger Warnings*


• Dark Romance •


📖 The Devil’s Pawn Duet by Natasha Knight
Devil’s Pawn & Devil’s Redemption

(Dark, Beauty & The Beast Inspired, Suspense, Enemies-to-Lovers, Arranged Marriage, Close Proximity) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 The Rite Trilogy by A. Zavarelli & Natasha Knight
His Rule (pictured)
Her Rebellion
Their Reign

(Dark, Hate-to-Love, Forbidden Romance, Secret Romance, Brother’s Best Friend, Captor/Captive Romance) *Trigger Warnings*


• Dystopian/ Paranormal Romance •


📖 Deceitful by C. Reilly

(Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Crime Thriller, Superhuman Abilities, Suspense, Small Town, New Adult Romance, Interconnected Series) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Cruelest Oblivion Duet by M.A. Heard
Cruelest Oblivion & Sweetest Awareness

(Dystopian Romance, Survival of the Fittest, Suspense, Close Proximity, New Adult Romance) *Trigger Warnings*


There you have it! 😊 As you can see I’ve added a handful of books not pictured, but they were either part of a series or duet and needed mentioning.

And as usual, if you want to see ALL my reads for the year, check out my Monthly Wrap-Ups with links to my reviews. Just note, I’m lazy lol, and I don’t have reviews up for all them but hopefully my star ratings will be enough.

Check out my December wrap-up that I just posted earlier too! It was my biggest month of reads— hey, what did I tell ya? This year really has ended on a positive.

I hope you’re all enjoying the Christmas/ End of year holidays! My thoughts go out to those who are working over this crazy, hectic time— don’t overwork and make sure you take time for yourself. Hope everyone is staying safe and wishing a beautiful New Year’s Eve/ Day! 😘🎉

Thank you for the support you’ve all given me for my reviews and my book blog in general! I’m in awe of the amazing people I’ve met through this complex bookish community, and the copious amounts of books I’ve discovered over time. I’m truly thankful for the friendships I’ve made, as well as the opportunities I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of.

Fingers crossed 2023 will be a year of happy bliss, love, good health, and good fortune for us all!

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


Kiss To Salvage by Anna B. Doe

⚠ This review contain minor teasers!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



Prescott Wentworth is my brother’s best friend and teammate.

We hate each other.

But we also can’t keep our hands off each other.

The day I met the star wide receiver, he was acting like a grumpy ass, and I was so over big, bulky men messing with my life. He was gorgeous, with wide shoulders, a chiseled jaw hidden behind a week’s worth of scruff, and the meanest glare I’ve seen in my life. So what if he was injured during a game? At least he’s alive, not that he appreciates it.

Now it’s a new school year, but some things never change.

Like the sizzling tension between Prescott and me every time we’re in the same room. But the more we fight, the more I want to shut him up. With my mouth.

Then he sees me on a date with someone else, and something in him snaps.

The deal is simple: it’s just sex, and nobody can ever find out. Especially not my brother.

But then the demons from my past come back to haunt me. The darker they become, the more I need Prescott. And I’m beginning to feel like he needs me too.

NOTE: Kiss To Salvage is book two in Shattered & Salvaged Duet. You need to read Kiss To Shatter in order to understand this book. Shattered & Salvaged Duet contains dark and mature themes appropriate for readers 18+. For the full list of trigger warnings please visit



“You make me want to be better. Only you.”


I don’t know how else to describe reading Jade and Prescott’s story other than its therapeutic. It puts you through the wringer but by the end it leaves you feeling emotionally lighter. If there’s one story that fits the meaning of “emotional rollercoaster” to a T, then it’s this one without a doubt. I went from crying, to smiling, and back again with each chapter I’d read. All the push-and-pull and all the ups and downs between them definitely took an emotional, mental, and even physical toll on me, but man, was it worth it.

Doe stepped it up and killed it with this one. It’s another epic addition to the Blairwood University series that I will go back to over and over again. I can’t fault the writing— it’s well-written, well-developed, and totally encompasses you in its world-building. The premise caught my curiosity, the narrative sucked me in, and the characters took hold off me until it was time to part ways.

Not only has Doe written something thought-provoking, inspiring, and truly heartfelt, but she’s brought to life characters who’ve managed to make those who read it a part of their journey. I came away from this book feeling as if Jade and Prescott were real people who I knew and absolutely cared for.

I found this duet to be one of the rare exceptions where both books had solid storytelling from start to finish. It’s rich, vivid, with constantly evolving characters. The dual POVs gave so much insight into both Jade’s and Prescott’s mentality, their emotional state, and most importantly showed how far and how deep they’ve grown as individuals.

It’s well-paced, with tons of twists and turns that had me in suspense for the entirety of the time. I wish I could experience reading their story for the first time again. Jade and Prescott are a pair of all-consuming characters that deserved (and rightly received) my undivided attention. Their stories are full of genuine, relatable experiences, some of which I could completely relate to and sympathise with. These characters are flawed but there’s nothing about them I didn’t love.

“You were there when it mattered. When I was at my lowest, you were there, and you helped me cling to reality. Cling to life.”

This is one of Doe’s best work and reading it, it’s evident how much time and effort, heart and soul she’s put in ensuring Jade and Prescott’s story was a worthy one. And it is. From the grittiness to the fragility, I was blown away by the multitude of layers it contained and how well-balanced all the elements were within. Whilst the intense romance is undoubtedly an element I was gripped by, the entire cast of secondary characters came a close second in elevating Jade and Prescott’s world. The contrast and group dynamics in itself was a powerful presence and helped cast the atmosphere.

One of my favourite reads of the year. It’s the type of contemporary romance read that I effortlessly got invested in. It may fall under the New Adult umbrella but make no mistake these college students are well beyond their years. The friendships are goals just as much as the romantic relationships. It can be read as a standalone but this series is interconnected through its characters, and I highly recommend reading them all. Whilst each book has some form of angst, drama, and personal struggles, this story in particular deals with another level of heaviness and heartbreak. It contains sensitive subject matters that may be triggering or disturbing for some readers to deal with. Please proceed with caution.

As it is a continuous storyline, Kiss To Shatter needs to be read first before starting this one. But all in all, I recommend the hell out of this duet. It’s a reading experience that has surprisingly taught me a lot about self-worth, love, and sacrifice. If you’re in need of a good cry and in the mood to hunker down with a hearty romance story, then add this one to your immediate TBR. It delivers. If I could rate it higher, I would.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advance copy! 💗

🔔 Interested in reading the Shattered and Salvaged Duet? Grab the books here:

Book One | Kiss To Shatter: Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Amazon CA
Book Two | Kiss To Salvage: Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Amazon CA


📷 Shattered & Salvaged Duet! 🏈

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn
Book One: Kiss To Shatter by Anna B. Doe


🏈🏒 Blairwood University Series🏀

Prequel: Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe
Book One: Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe
Book Two: Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe
Book Three: Kiss To Defy by Anna B. Doe
Book Four: Kiss To Remember by Anna B. Doe
Book Five: Kiss To Belong by Anna B. Doe


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


Kiss To Belong by Anna B. Doe

⚠ This review contains a minor teaser!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



𝐇𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐯𝐞𝐝 𝐡𝐞𝐫 𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐞 𝐥𝐢𝐟𝐞.

New Year has kicked off on a rough start for Alyssa Martinez. Pregnant, homeless, and alone, she has to figure out how to start over before her baby arrives.

Maddox Anderson has always been a brainiac. If only confessing to his best friend he has been in love with her his whole life would be as easy as coding.

𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐥𝐰𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐬𝐚𝐰 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐚𝐬 𝐚 𝐟𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐧𝐝.

When Maddox finds out what’s going on with Alyssa, he demands that she move in with him. When sharing a bed turns into late-night snuggles, and movie nights end up with Alyssa straddling his lap, something will have to give.

But can Maddox prove to her they belong together when Alyssa is convinced that he deserves somebody better than her?



  1. Don’t judge a book by its cover!
  2. Who says nerds can’t be hot!?
  3. Find and and secure oneself a Maddox Anderson!

Doe has done it again with Kiss To Belong! The consistent perfection of books in the Blairwood University series is driving me nuts! This was amazing, in-depth storytelling with genuine characters and broaches on relatable real-life issues.

Like all the pairings who’ve come before them, Maddox and Alyssa are quite a couple.

  • Childhood friends ✔
  • One-sided secret crush ✔
  • Complete opposites ✔
  • Heroine pregnant with another guy’s baby ✔

A best-friends-to-lovers romance trope that had me utterly intrigued to see play out. If you love the cruel angst of a slow-burn romance, Kiss To Belong might be for you. With a contemporary college setting, the drama that these characters find themselves in will kick you right in the feels and have you emotionally invested in seeing them simply catch a break.

A lot of the time their journey was an uphill battle, with Maddox a pillar of strength, love, and support. Although I couldn’t help but find Alyssa frustrating at times, I could also sympathize with her vulnerability and indecisiveness. With all the things that she goes through in this book, I can only imagine how I would’ve handled things if I was in her shoes.

Despite Maddox and Alyssa going through some rough unchartered territory, there was still a beautiful lightness to balance out the gloomy atmosphere. The friendships included brought about a strong support system, light-heartedness, and at times comic relief. If you’re up-to-date with the series, then this eclectic group of characters will not only supply you with their usual band of witty banter, but their appearances will give you insight into their lives since their own books. 🤗

I thought it was a solid story, that’s very well-paced. Doe has a way of creating engaging characters that parallels friends and family we all seem to have in our lives, in one form or another. It was these characters that immediately caught my attention and made this book all the more authentic. The unpredictably and the gradual transformation of Maddox’s and Alyssa’s relationship is what kept me glued to the pages. And just when I thought I was going to reach the end unscathed, there was one last momentous event that had me bawling my eyes out! Yeah… I didn’t stand a chance! 🙈😅

“Things might be changing, but there’s always going to be one constant in my life. Maddox.”


What makes this hero a little different from those in the previous books of Blairwood University, is Maddox is no athlete. Preferring video games and being a homebody to playing sports and partying. Whilst all the books in the series, including this one is told from dual points of view, this is the first in the series where it felt like the majority of the storytelling was from the hero’s perspective as opposed to the heroine’s. You get a lot more of Maddox’s side of the story because he’s the one who’s been keeping his feelings a secret for so long.

Aly’s and Maddox’s story was one emotional rollercoaster that had me anxiously gripping the edge of my seat. A lifetime’s worth of memories, constant companionship and bonding— their friendship is full of layers that can only have been developed from spending years together, and as the story progresses, you see how it genuinely shows.

With how mature these protagonists are and the responsibilities they take on, you tend to forget at times that they’re just in the beginnings of their adulthood, with Alyssa being twenty-one and Maddox nineteen. Friendship and romance go hand in hand beautifully in this story and it honest-to-goodness left me happy sighing.

This is one of the most touching, heartfelt, and all-around soul-stirring book series’ I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Kiss To Belong is the fifth book, and I’m honestly hoping there’s plenty more to follow. Doe’s writing is insightful and always seems to touch on subjects that a lot of readers can effortlessly connect with. I highly recommend this book and the entire series. There isn’t a single one I haven’t enjoyed reading. It’s a series of standalones but it’s best to read in publishing order to get the full experience as all the characters make appearances in each other’s books.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading Kiss To Belong? Grab your copy here: Universal Link


🏈 More from Blairwood University!

Blairwood University Prequel: Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe
Book One: Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe
Book Two: Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe
Book Three: Kiss To Defy by Anna B. Doe
Book Four: Kiss To Remember by Anna B. Doe


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


Deceitful by C. Reilly

⚠ This review contain minor teasers!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, a young woman with special powers might be the only person able to stop him. As part of a secret branch of the FBI, Tessa is sent on a mission to impersonate Madison, a local teen and the last victim of the brutal attacker, to find the killer before he strikes again.

As if absorbing the DNA of someone else and pretending to be them wasn’t hard enough, Alec, the guy she’s been in love with for years, is joining her on the dangerous mission. Tessa knows she can’t let her feelings for him get in the way, especially as her crush seems hopeless. Not only is Alec her self-defence teacher but he’s also taken. If only the attraction between them would stop complicating everything!

Will Tessa find the killer before another person falls victim to him? Or will she lose herself in a life she’s always longed for but never had?



For those who are only familiar with Cora Reilly’s work through her mafia romance books need to know that she’s an author who’s dabbled in other romance genres— dark, contemporary, sports romance… and now her latest? Supernatural fiction meets Crime Thriller. I can tell you after having read Deceitful, it went straight to my list of all-time fave Reilly books, and I am itching with anticipation to read the next book! 😍

“She is the perfect spy—the ultimate weapon.”


It took a little settling into but when I got into the groove, it was complete and utter smooth sailing with the storyline and getting to know these characters. Their special abilities and the purpose they’ve been given could easily have been overwhelming to learn about that you start to lose interest or focus, but Cora eases you into this new world she has created.

It’s effortless to follow, from the introductions of all the characters, to their backstories, to the relationships they have with one another. The storyline had a nice flow that keeps you in suspense from start to finish. There were three outstanding elements that stood out for me that ultimately made this a winning read:

  • The strong friendships that provided such contrast and dynamic to the cast of characters.
  • The excruciating love Tessa had for Alec, the bond they shared, and the rollercoaster of emotions they took me on.
  • And finally, the plot’s constant unpredictability throughout the book. As a crime enthusiast (both true and fictional), it was a real treat feeling like you’re working this case right alongside Tessa. Being suspicious of anybody and everybody, but never quite figuring out who the culprit is before the big reveal. I was on tenterhooks and it was such a buzz! 😄

I couldn’t help but think that it gave me such X-Men vibes with these characters having their own unique abilities— Tessa in the forefront with her ability to shapeshift into anyone she touches. They’ve formed somewhat of a diverse substitute family unit, and seeing their interactions were just as fascinating as seeing them use their abilities.

Cora has introduced world-building that honestly has so many possibilities and potential for growth. It already has great bones with Deceitful setting the tone, not just what we can look forward to seeing from Tessa, but from the rest of the superhuman operatives under the FBI’s secret branch.

I initially would’ve liked dual POVs but I quickly discovered that Tessa as the sole narrator was more than enough as this is her story to tell, her experiences, her journey. Whilst I fell in love with a few other characters in this book, it’s hard to overlook Tessa. Her inexperience and lack of emotional control made her such a raw, genuine, and relatable character. You may not agree with all her decisions and actions, but with her history, you can’t quite hate her for them either.

But I’m not going to lie… I’m excited to see more of the secondary characters introduced. There’s already a couple of characters that caught my eye that I’m eager to see more of in future books. There were a few things that I felt needed to be elaborated on, but with how this book ended, I’m hoping to eventually get in-depth details later.

I should point out that it does contain graphic violence that may be triggering for some readers. Although the majority of the story takes place in a high school backdrop, it’s new adult fiction with mature content.

Overall, a relatively quick but punchy read! As I mentioned earlier, it’s become one of my favourite books Cora has written. I undoubtedly recommend it to readers who are fans of murder-mystery/ crime fiction with supernatural themes. There’s certainly romance, and despite Cora mentioning it being on the light side, I beg to differ. I thought there was just the right amount of romance weaved throughout that not only had me swooning, but it also had me craving to see more. It’s somewhat of a slow-burn but trust me when I say, there’s plenty of heat to keep the romance side of things nice and toasty! 😉

“He might keep me safe from the killer, but who the hell would protect me from my feelings for him?”


With how this book concluded, I’m actually hoping to see if another romantic bond forms. *whispers* Let’s just say this particular pairing is giving me vibes similar to Kiara/Remo but whilst theirs will never happen… I can only hope this one has a fighting chance… (For those who’ve read the book, I’m talking about a certain “brother”) *cough cough* 🤞🙏 I can’t be the only one who saw potential!

This is a high quality debut for Cora into the supernatural/ crime fiction genre! Action-packed. Thrilling. Complex. It’s a must read! You won’t be disappointed. I’m already counting the days until Renegade!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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


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


The Words by A. Jade

⚠ This review contains minor teasers!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



He was the talented bad boy everyone wanted.

I was the irrelevant geek everyone hated.

He was the sun…drawing all of us in.

I was a black hole…taking up space.

He was destined to be a star.

I was destined to remain an insignificant no one.

Until he made me believe I was special…

And then he destroyed me.

I never thought I’d see Phoenix Walker again after he broke my heart, but fate had other plans.

One tour. Eight weeks. Forty shows.

Countless opportunities to make him pay.

The world thought he was a God…

But I knew the truth.



“There’s no one in the world like Phoenix Walker.”


It’s official… I am a groupie! 😍🤭 I loved the hell of out of this book. Love, love, love! And for that reason alone, The Words has been added to my list of all-time favourite romance reads!

Lennon and Phoenix had their hooks in me and was never going to let me walk away from their intense rollercoaster of a relationship (not that I wanted to, anyways). The ups and downs, the swooniness and suspense. I knew the minute I started their story that I was in for one mammoth of a reading experience, and I was right! Ashley Jade did not disappoint in delivering such a multi-dimensional, emotionally investing storyline alongside a winning cast of characters!

My gosh. I’m still reeling.

I’m going to say it now, if you enjoy rock star romance books, you have got to add this one to your TBR. If you’re new to the romance sub-genre, this is the book to get you hooked! Besides the strong musical backdrop, it had an amazing balance of romance, friendship, and family written-in that made Lennon’s and Phoenix’s stories immensely in-depth and full of heart.

It has a handful of elements, some of which I don’t necessarily openly look for in my books, but when they’re unexpectedly included, it certainly has me perking up. If you like any of the elements below in your romance reads, it’s a good reason to give this one a try:

  • Rock star romance
  • Second-chance romance
  • Opposite sides of the tracks
  • Friends-to-Lovers
  • Hate-to-Love
  • A bad boy hero
  • A curvy, nerdy heroine
  • New Adult

Fair warning, I found this to be one emotional read that constantly had me either in near tears or downright already bawling my eyes out. And what got me with these snot-inducing moments was the unpredictability of certain scenes that totally causes your heart to skip a couple beats.

Ashley Jade certainly knows how to write! Both Lennon’s and Phoenix’s individual life stories will just about give you chest pains with how realistic and relatable their situations are. They’re two opposites that somehow have plenty in common— which they gradually discover the more time they spend together. I thought the pacing was *chef’s kiss* perfect as it felt like you’re getting to know these two intriguing protagonists right along with them in real time. Having dual POVs made their story all the more fleshed-out as we experience events through both their eyes, and see reasonings behind their actions.

The Words is more than a simple love story. It’s heart-wrenching and thought-provoking. It touches on so many real-life topics, some of which I must say are sensitive subject matters. Please note this book may be triggering for some readers. It contains domestic abuse, child abuse, substance abuse, and violence. It also broaches on bullying and the psychological effects it has on one’s own health. It also contains mature sexual content intended for readers 18+ only.

Ashley Jade as put a lot of detail in her characters and their world that it was effortless to get invested in them. I found myself so wrapped up in their lives that the majority of the time I was mirroring their emotions. Whether they were giddy with excitement, dying from embarrassment, or seething with rage.

This book was unputdownable! The world-building was unbelievably vivid, and I adored the character development. Lennon’s and Phoenix’s story spans four years starting from their final year of high school. It’s within their final weeks of school where their lives alter and ends up catapulting Lennon and Phoenix in an angsty and complex second chance of a lifetime.

“Lennon Michael is my biggest craving and my biggest regret.”

Their story could easily have been overly heavy and depressing, but Ashley Jade has brilliantly added some much needed comic relief throughout to break up some of the tension and distress these characters go through. The supporting characters are quite a cast, all with huge personalities of their own. You’re bound to fall for at least one of them… if not more. 😉

I’m not going to lie, there were a few minor things that played out within the storyline that I wasn’t a big fan of. I won’t go into detail as this is one story I highly recommend you to experience for yourself, but when it came time to rate this book I realized in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t change the fact that as a whole I enjoyed reading it and legit did not want it to end.

(P.S. That sneaky peek was all too cruel, Ashley. It was barely a teaser. I needs more!) 🤤😭

I should also mention, whilst this is a standalone novel, the ending of this book is not your conventional HEA where everything is wrapped-up and there’s no need for second-guessing. In my opinion, it was more of an open-ended HEA. This book was only the beginning of Lennon’s and Phoenix’s story; an introduction of sorts to their new life. It’s not the type of ending I’m normally accustomed to with standalone novels, but their story is unlike anything I’ve read before, and the ending of this book was fitting, especially after everything that happened between them.

These characters are flawed, slightly broken, with insecurities that you may or may not relate to, but nevertheless sympathize with. You get to witness such growth, maturity, and over time, acceptance. It’s an utterly soul-stealing journey, one that I am so happy to have not missed out on. It’s a must read!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Ashley Jade and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advance copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading The Words? Grab your copy here: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Kobo


Want more Rock Star Romance reads?

I recommend…

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

🎙🎸 The Hate/ Love Duet

Book One: Falling Out Of Hate With You by Lauren Rowe
Book Two: Falling Into Love With You by Lauren Rowe


Want more books by Ashley Jade?

I recommend…

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

Standalone NA/ Highschool Romance

📖 Hate Me by A. Jade


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


Till Next Time by Cora Brent

⚠ This review contains a minor teaser!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



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…



“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.”


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!

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📘 Till It Hurts by Cora Brent


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


Sweeper by Amy Daws

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



The cocky footballer next door has some serious balls…

luckily, Daphney Clarke knows how to play.

Zander Williams is the hot new American determined to take European football by storm. His head is so big, it barely fits under his backwards hat. And when he’s recruited to one of the biggest up and coming clubs in London, he’s certain to make his name known.

Managing the building where they live is only one of Daphney’s many jobs. It’s why she has zero patience for the obnoxious American on the other side of the wall who makes the most ungodly noises and likes to answer his door in nothing but a pink tea towel.

Tensions build and after one steamy hallway kiss, neighbor wars quickly shifts into neighbors-with-benefits and that’s a battle they both intend to win.

But Daphney doesn’t know the real reason Zander is in London and now she’s stuck in the middle of a game she didn’t even know she was playing.



Wow. I’m having difficulty forming my emotions into words. This was one epic journey for both Zander and Daphney that I, as a reader felt honored to witness! I love the Harris Brothers series and the standalone books that followed set in the same world. They all centered around strong family dynamics, but in terms of family, love, and growth, Sweeper just had a different vibe. 😊


Amy has written a beautiful, fleshed-out story that dealt with complex family situations and real struggles that one can easily relate to. It could very well have been a story that was entirely set in a melancholic atmosphere, but whether you’re familiar with Amy’s writing or not, you can undoubtedly expect some light-heartedness and uplifting mood-boosting scenes for balance.

The storytelling of this standalone had steady-pacing with gradual development and build-up. It’s multi-faceted, having a couple of secondary storylines developing right alongside Zander’s and Daphney’s quirky growing relationship.

Right from the very beginning, I was invested in not only Zander’s and Daphney’s spark-inducing romance, but Zander’s own personal story. With the internal struggles and second-guessing he constantly goes through in this book, you can’t help but sympathize and if possible dive into his life and be some kind of support system that he so desperately wanted and needed.

This book will have you going from one end of the emotional scale to the other. I went from tearing up from the situation that Zander has found himself in, to smiling like a total loon, to giggling senselessly, to bawling my eyes out. It’s an emotional journey, not only for these characters but for the reader as well. But despite the drama-filled rollercoaster ride, I came away from the book feeling exhaustedly happy, sighing with contentment, and mentally looking back at how far the Harris family have evolved over time.

Besides the personal issues that both Zander and Daphney are working through, there were plenty of fun moments. The flirty banter and the language barrier were probably two of my favourite highlights. I lost count of how many times I nodded my head and laughed my ass off in agreement. It’s a next-door neighbour, friends-with-benefits type deal between these two protagonists, and at first I found their little pact unusual albeit amusing, but as the story progresses, you see a gradual shift from their initial dynamic. I love how their relationship developed because it just felt so authentic. Even though it was a relatively short time frame from when they first met to them hooking up, it didn’t at all feel rushed.

The book also includes an immensely strong cast of supporting characters that all played vital roles in assisting to bring about Zander’s and Daphney’s story. Not only do they help set the mood, but they’re presence immediately has you gripping the pages because you quickly come to realize that they’re an unpredictable bunch! Amy always seems to have such likable personalities in her books and after having read Sweeper, I’m already hoping to see more of the characters featured in this story in the future.

If I had to nitpick, I would’ve liked the sense of a more completed ending. There’s no epilogue and whilst I normally don’t mind, this is a standalone novel and I felt like it concluded with an open-ended finish. Some matters were resolved, certain “chapters” in these characters’ lives have gracefully closed, but where Zander and Daphney are concerned, it almost seemed like the end was really just the beginning for the couple… yet not really, either.

But nevertheless, it’s not at all a big issue (I’m just fussy), as I adored their story so much! It’s definitely a recommended read from me to fellow romance readers.

Two truly lovable, sweet, and funny-as protagonists. They have such chemistry that leaps off the pages and comes off so believable. I swooned. I love the interactions between them. Zander being a professional soccer player and Daphney being an indie singer/songwriter was an interesting contrast. Other than the next-door neighbours with benefits aspect of the storyline, you’ll enjoy seeing the attraction between these two opposites and the moments in which they slowly yet unknowingly start to fall in love.

Perfect balance of romance, comradery, and sports elements. It’s hearty, in-depth, and just really makes you question, “What would you do if you were in Zander’s situation?

Told from dual POVs, this story is more than meets the eye!

P.S. The backdrop will give you such wanderlust. No joke! I’ve always wanted to holiday in London, and this book only reiterated the fact that it’s on my bucket list for a reason! 😍🤗

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Amy Daws for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💚

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


More reviews for Amy Daws books!

Blindsided by Amy Daws

One Moment Please by Amy Daws

Replay by Amy Daws


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


Protective by K.E. Osborn

Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn



I always felt different.

Like I never quite fit.

The moment I found the club, it felt like home, even though it was 1600 miles from Jersey.

As the joint SAA for the Houston Defiance MC, my job is to be protective. Keep my brothers at the club safe—be the first line of defense against those who seek to do us harm.

But what happens when those who defend suddenly need protection?

She upholds the law—the club lives by their own.

Never a good mix.

The pull to her is volcanic, seismic, earth shattering.

But there’s darkness surrounding her.

An evil lurking in the shadows.

With an already high enemy count, more mount up every day.

But maybe we can’t see the danger rumbling just below the surface.

When it erupts, all hope might be lost.

When all else fails, will Defiance rise through the ash?

From USA Today Bestselling Author K E Osborn comes the highly anticipated fifth book in the Houston Defiance MC Series.



Osborn has created another couple in the Houston Defiance MC who sizzles with chemistry. Their romance was angsty with a whole lot of slow-burn build-up that I was instantly anxious to see play out!


This is the fifth book in the series and I am just as hooked in the Houston Defiance MC as I was when I read the first book. Texas’ and Fin’s relationship was a gradual build-up long before their story was told in Protective.

It’s a sweet, somewhat of a friends-to-lovers story with Texas surprisingly being the biggest sweetheart from all the guys from the MC. I loved that he had the image of an all out brawny alpha, yet had the biggest heart. 😍 It was refreshing to see an alpha type hero who wasn’t pushy. And Fin stayed true to how she’s been portrayed in the previous books—determined, independent, with a fierce attitude!

The first half of the book was well-paced as Texas’ and Fin’s budding relationship gradually heated up, but the story quickly takes on a faster pace in the second half as situations start to amp up around them. Whilst I felt like there was an organic progression in Texas’ and Fin’s relationship, there was an overload of events that transpired in the book that, in my opinion, made the overall story busy. A lot of things happen in this book, some of which flowed naturally with the current situation that Texas, Fin and the MC found themselves in, but others just seemed like they came out of nowhere.

The first half of the book totally hooked me in and I was loving the little banters and moments between Texas and Fin. But putting aside their romance, I felt like the storyline split into different directions along the way leaving the second half of the book underwhelming. Situation after situation popped up only for it to be just as quickly resolved that I was having difficulty connecting with all. It lost the flow along with some of the swooniness from Texas’ and Fin’s relationship as it felt like they were put on the back burner whilst the MC dealt with said issues.

This story however, broaches on one particular topic, that in all honestly I never realized existed, and I admire Osborn for putting some light to a matter that may not be familiar to other readers either. The characters in this series all have their demons, tragic pasts, and issues they deal with on the daily. With Texas, you see the struggles he’s been dealing with for most of his life and how it affects him as a person.

What I like about Texas and Fin as a couple is there’s a sweet balance in their dynamic. They’re complete opposites, yet they connected with each other effortlessly and it didn’t come off stilted. The support, love, care, and admiration they have for one another is evident, long before anything romantic happened. So, when the time came when they decided to take a chance on their relationship, it felt believable.

Besides the romance in the forefront, like the previous books in this series, the addition of the secondary characters heightened the world-building and overall experience of the story. The comradery, family-like dynamic within the MC is one of my highlights. There’s a genuine brotherhood amongst these fictional characters that truly made me feel emotionally invested in them all.

(One secondary character in particular stood out and if it wasn’t for his added comic relief and all around cheery personality, I don’t think this story would be the same). 🙌

Whilst you can technically read each book as standalone, there are lingering storylines in the background that interconnect these books. I would recommend you start from the beginning of the series to really grasp the entirety of their world, although Osborn does a thorough job of giving you the gist of each couple so you’re up to scratch with everyone’s stories so far without having reading any of the previous books beforehand.

There’s equal parts romance to the MC elements. If you enjoy the angst of slow burn romances, then you’re in for a treat with Texas and Fin as they keep you on tenterhooks. If you haven’t read any of Osborn’s MC books, I should point out there can be some dark elements. Her stories (at least within this series) contain matters that may be triggering for some readers. Please note, Protective includes triggers such as graphic violence, displays of intimidation resulting in death threats and stalking, and domestic abuse (displaying the emotional and mental affects it has to those who’ve experienced it). It contains strong mature themes and sexual content intended for readers 18+ only.

Protective is a rollercoaster ride with a lot of twists and turns. It’s unpredictable and at times can be eccentric. Some plotlines I found realistic, whilst at other times a little out there. What I did find consistent and comforting where the relationships (and what I always look forward to seeing from each book in this series). For the most part, the atmosphere of the story was grim and edgy, but Osborn included some well placed light-hearted moments to break up some of the tension. You’re on the edge of your seat from the get-go, and whilst the second half wasn’t what I had expected in terms of plot lines, I still found the overall experience of reading this book enjoyable.

If you’ve read the previous books in the series, then this one is not to be missed, especially since Texas and Fin seemed like a long time coming. It’s suspenseful, action-packed, and like the others, will keep you reading until the end!

And speaking on the ending…. *eep!* 🙊

Osborn’s writing is so favourable! From the books I’ve read so far of hers, not a single one has failed in keeping me intrigued. I’m down for her characters, the stories she comes up with, and the developments. They’re complex and yes, they can be gritty at times, but she has striking characters who are relatable, and her stories are hearty romantic suspense that keeps you guessing. I love that whilst their great swoon-worthy escapism, there’s always substance in her romance stories.

All the books in the Houston Defiance are must reads, and Protective is a great addition to this ever-expanding MC. I’m looking forward to reading the next one!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to K.E. Osborn and The Next Step PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

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


Read my reviews for The Houston Defiance MC


Book One: Explosive by K.E. Osborn

Book Two: Addictive by K.E. Osborn

Book Three: Fugitive by K.E. Osborn

Book Four: Impulsive by K.E. Osborn


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