The Saints Series by Michelle Heard

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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Mafia & Bratva Romance. Set in the same world with connecting characters but these books are all STANDALONES and do not have to be read in order. All the books are told from dual POVS. 

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• Book One | Merciless Saints •

BLURB

Alliances are made. Loyalty is owned. Love is taken.

I’ll show everyone I’m a threat, and they will fear me.
For my family. I have to protect them.

The second I hear the name Damien Vetrov I know I’m in trouble.
He’s an arrogant Russian God.
Only, I have zero intention of bowing to him. Ever.
Attractive and lethal. He’s such an intoxicating mixture.

Every second we spend together, the pull between us becomes stronger, and my fear grows.
While my body wants him, my head knows better. He has the power to kill my family.

But when blood is shed, I’m forced to depend on Damien for my life.

Being at his mercy, whether he’ll kill me or protect me, is still up for debate.

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MINI REVIEW

Damien & Winter | An Irish and Russian marriage of convenience/ formed alliances romance.

Their story surprisingly have me bawling my eyes out! A heartbreaking storyline that just kept hitting the feels! I was emotionally drained after reading this book and a lot of it was due to the brutal tragedy that befalls Winter.

It’s action-packed and constantly moving forward. There’s just the right amount of build-up, suspense, and tons of shock value. I certainly wasn’t ready for how this story progressed, but despite the hardships these characters go through, I was instantly invested in not only Winter and Damien but all the secondary characters who were also introduced. The bond and brotherhood smacked me from the get-go. I was in awe of how little it took for me to believe the history, love, and loyalty these characters had with one another, and besides the romance aspect, was a big reason as to why I knew I would love the series! The family dynamics and strong ties will have you swooning just as much as the romance elements.

Winter and Damien had a sizzling push-and-pull chemistry. The writing felt effortless to follow and the emotions that both Winter and Damien displayed felt so genuine. It’s a relatively quick read that can be finished in one sitting. I enjoyed the pacing for the most part as the story came off hearty and full of dimension. I enjoyed the backstories, especially from Winter’s POV as it truly transports you to her life as if you’re experiencing her emotions in those events right along with her.

Right off the bat, the thought of an elite Academy who trains high-end assassins and has dealings with the underworld had me on the edge of my seat hooked! And seeing Winter and Damien start out as students of this Academy who eventually become two of the most dangerous, most powerful players in their Mafia world had me giddy with excitement at not just their budding romance, but the start of an intricate world-building. Although it’s a standalone story, it was amazing introduction to St. Monarch’s Academy and the entire cast of characters who’ll be reappearing in all the books to come.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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• Book Two | Cruel Saints •

BLURB

Alliances are made. Loyalty is owned. Love is taken.

Little did I know my love and freedom would be taken to form a new alliance.

Brutal, possessive, and dangerous, Lucian is feared by all. Including myself.
When his father is assassinated, Lucian takes his rightful place as head of the Cotroni family. They rule the Mafia with an iron fist, and he’s set his sights on my family.
Until now, we’ve been the only threat, but when a new one emerges, my father is forced to arrange a marriage between Lucian and myself.

He might be handsome but he’s not the kind of man who loves. He takes what he wants and right now, it’s my body.
I might belong to him in name, but the question remains – will our union be consummated in blood or love?

WARNING: This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers. There is dark and triggering content between these pages. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.

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MINI REVIEW

Lucian & Elena | A Italian Mafia arranged marriage/ formed alliances romance story

It had my arms flailing and my eyes glued to the pages! I absolutely devoured this book! I loved the opposites attract trope between Lucian and Elena. They were the epitome of a knight in shining armour and the damsel in distress (in a dark Mafia setting). This was a refreshing dark mafia story as Lucian’s family was surprisingly the sweet, loving dynamic that’s not usually the norm in mafia romances. I’ve read countless books from this genre but I don’t think I’ve encountered one where the hero’s family was the one oozing love and happiness, and a genuine bond between father and son.

This story was one of the more grittier storylines and it includes sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, and graphic violence.

Although I don’t have triggers, I’m not going to lie, some of the scenes in this book was tough to get through. Michelle has written these stories with such vividness, that you’re already emotionally invested in these characters and their world right from the beginning, and seeing one suffering is gut-wrenching. Learning their backstories added more dimension and an understanding of these characters’ mindset in the present day.

Perfect balance of light-heartedness and darkness throughout. There’s evident character growth from both protagonists as the story progresses and seeing their bond grow from strength to strength makes this a touching and empowering romance story.

It’s intense with lots of action and suspense. There’s a nice gradual build-up in their romance that makes their relationship go from a marriage of convenience to genuine love and loyalty.

The secondary characters in this book will also steal your heart.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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• Book Three | Ruthless Saints •

BLURB

I move in the shadow of death. I’m the villain. The monster everyone fears.
I’ve been born into a life of depravity and ruthlessness. It’s kill or be killed.

Until her…
The moment she smiles at me, my world changes.
I keep coming back. Watching her brings me stolen moments of peace.

Until I can’t stay away…
She doesn’t know who I am, that she’s flirting with death.
Slowly we fall deeper until she loves the lies I’ve told her.

The danger that follows me, creeps closer and the façade I’ve built comes crashing down around us.

And lovers turn to enemies.
But there’s no going back for me.
I want her. I will have her.
She doesn’t have a choice.

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MINI REVIEW

Carson & Hailey | An opposites attract, mafia/outsider romance story

OMG! Might just be my favourite story (after Alexei’s and Isabella’s)! I was just as immediately intrigued by Hailey as Carson was when she first walked into the room. The opposites attract in this particular story popped with bubbly, happy-go-lucky Hailey and enigmatic, broody, lurks-in-the-shadows Carson. The curiousity gets the better of Carson and seeing him struggle with wanting to know more about Hailey and steering clear of her was a gripping development to see play out throughout.

The inner dialogues by both these protagonists had me giggling at times and gave such comic relief and lightheartedness when you least expect it.

Similar to the first two books, it’s another action-packed, suspenseful quick read. By this third one you get the gist that each of the books within the series contains the build-up in the first half of the story with a somewhat swift conclusion by the end, which I would normally be disappointed with but since these books present character growth, steady romantic development, and an overall detailed storyline, it doesn’t feel like it’s ending abruptly.

Hailey and Carson, in my opinion had one of the more complex and heart-wrenching storylines from all all the couples, and despite the heartbreaking scenes that were tough to see play out, I could not put it down until I finished it. It’s an angsty, dramatic rollercoaster ride that had me ugly-crying for a good chunk of the book.

With Carson being Alexei’s younger brother, they certainly have the talent to turn heads. *waggles eyebrows*

I’m also loving the entire innocent-outsider-enters-the-mafia-world. It’s thought-provoking seeing their dark and gritty world from an outsider’s perspective, and once again I adore the fact that the hero is another protective, caring sweetheart who’s just the right amount of dominating alpha.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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• Book Four | Tears Of Betrayal •

BLURB

My father is the head of the Bratva, but being born out of wedlock, I’ve never been a part of that world.
Until a hit is taken out on me. I’m kidnapped in the dead of night and waking up, it’s to come face to face with Demitri Vetrov.

Dangerous and heartless, Demitri is the most feared man in the world. I’ve heard whispers of what he’s capable of.

I’m thrown into a nightmare where I don’t know who I can trust, and fear for my life is my only constant companion.
I’m forced to be at Demitri’s mercy, I’m just not sure he has any. It also doesn’t help that he’s disarmingly attractive.

Tall, dark, and deadly.

Knowing this, he uses it against me like a weapon, breaking down my walls faster than I can put them up.

There’s a war coming, and I’m right in the middle of it.
The only question is, will Demitri be the one to save me or kill me?

WARNING: This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers. There is dark and triggering content between these pages. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.

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MINI REVIEW

Demitri & Ariana | A captor/captive, forced proximity Bratva romance story.

Ooh okay… I feel like after reading Alexei’s story, there was a lot of anticipation in reading Demitri’s story— just for the fact that he was this quiet but deadly character who was strictly all business.

First thing that comes to mind after reading this book is how much I couldn’t get enough of their inner dialogue—especially Ariana’s as her mindset was so genuinely relatable… and so girly. Lol.

If you love sexual banter, you will enjoy the hell out of this one. The unsuspecting one-liners that come out of Demitri had me snort-laughing, and it’s these moments that break the tension and gloomy atmosphere that overall surrounds the situation that Ariana (and Demitri) find themselves in.

Another storyline with tear-jerking moments (honestly, I don’t think there was single book from this series where I didn’t cry at one point or another).

And after having reading all the books, I realized that each one had strong family presence. These may be a bunch of mafiosos and assassins but trust, loyalty, and family are paramount in their world.

Demitri and Ariana had somewhat of an insta-love romance yet slow-burn at the same time. Best way I can describe their romance is there’s a ton sexual build-up and teasing before their relationship develops deeper.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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• Book Five | Tears Of Salvation •

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

Alexei & Isabella | An enemies-to-lovers, Cartel and Bratva romance story.

At the time I read this book it was also part of the Underworld Kings author-collaboration series. It was my introduction to Michelle Heard and the rest of The Saints. After having read Tears of Salvation I knew I had to go back and start from the beginning of the series. Best. Decision. Ever! ❤

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

📖 Read my full review here: Tears Of Salvation by Michelle Heard

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I have myself another favourite romance series that I will surely read (oh who am I kidding, I already have) over and over again. I love how they are all relatively short reads so whenever I need an all-consuming, passionately hot romance read to perk my mood up or get me out of a reading slump, these will be my go-to books for sure!

One word to describe this series— the characters, the storylines, the romances, all the developments…

OVERALL SERIES RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½


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

With This Ring by Natasha Knight

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

When I rescued Scarlett De La Cruz from her tower it’s not like her prospects were looking so great. You’d think she’d show a little gratitude. Thank me for putting my ring on her finger and marking her as mafia property.

My property.

I’ll keep her safe. And the trade-off isn’t so bad. Most women would jump at the chance to sleep in my bed.

Not Scarlett, though.

My Cartel Princess has a big mouth and an even bigger attitude. But it’s her furious caramel eyes that keep me coming back for more. That and the way her body bends to mine like it already knows it belongs to me.

Scarlett is my enemy. She’s also the one woman I can’t keep my hands off.

But if I don’t keep my head on straight, everything I’ve worked for all these years will have been for nothing.

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• MY REVIEW •

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OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!!

If you’re ever in the mood for a reaaaaally honest to goodness mafia captor/ captive romance, I can without a doubt tell you to check out any one of Natasha Knight’s books! And after having finished reading With This Ring…? I can easily say it’s become one of my faves! 😍😍😍

The minute I started this book, I didn’t put it down. I read the entire thing in one sitting and I have no regrets! Yeah… I probably should’ve taken my time considering this is only part one of the duet but whatevs! 🤷‍♀️ I’ll read again it when it gets closer to the release date of book two; I Take Thee!

I’m no stranger to Knight’s books, having read quite a few in the last year. She has written quite a handful of captor/ captive mafia romances, and she has perfected the balance of a light and dark atmosphere, the romance, and the suspense. I was completely invested and hooked on Cristiano Grigori and Scarlett De La Cruz’s story. I love the mixture of the mafia and the cartel in this one, with an enemies-to-lovers romance between our anti-hero and heroine.

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What starts out as a war between territorial, power-hungry families, turns into a struggle for vengeance. But what’s left of both sides are forced together as bigger unsuspecting threats are on the rise and has taken aim at both the Grigori and the De La Cruz families.

I’m a big fan of Knight’s writing style and she has a way of easily getting you to fall in love with her characters. Cristiano is a scarred hero who is secretly struggling with life, and hates showing any vulnerability. But it’s his sensitive side that makes him all the more human and authentic. He’s not necessarily the most damaged hero I’ve read of Knight’s but he still manages to have an air of intimidation, darkness, and strength to him. And when you discover his story, you can’t help but feel a little protective of the guy (despite the fact that he can kill in a blink of an eye).

Scarlett is broken in her own way and just as tortured as Cristiano. What I like about her is despite what she’s going through, she still has the character in her to be selfless. Her emotions and actions are understandable, and you can’t help but root for her to succeed.

Cristiano and Scarlett are driven, strong-willed characters. Their story is very much family bound. They may be rivals, but they have more in common when it comes to family than they are willing to admit.

There’s a lot of push and pull between these two. It’s hard to pick a side because honestly, you want things to go both Cristiano and Scarlett’s way. The character growth is slow yet gradual, and as their journey progresses they start opening up. Putting aside the sparks between them, it’s the quiet moments where they’re simply learning more about each other that are some of my favourite parts to read through.

As a mafia romance lover, this book ticks every box in my checklist of what I consider an amazing mafia romance book.

  • Storyline with a solid, well-developed plot
  • Vivid, expanding world-building
  • Complex, intriguing characters you can connect with
  • Chemistry between its protagonists
  • Suspense and unpredictability
  • Secondary characters that add another layer
  • Swoon-worthy romance!

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What keeps you engaged in this story is the constant unease of what could happen next between Cristiano and Scarlett. They’re from enemy families — one seeking retribution, whilst the other is just wanting to survive, yet both unaware that they share the want and need for freedom from responsibilities that’s been demanded of them. The build-up is 🔥 in this one, people!

Call me cruel, but seeing them struggle with their feelings, and be in constant denial was entertaining as hell to see! 😈😄 I wanna say theirs is a slow burn romance but to be honest I think it’s because I simply wanted more! Knight is skilled at teasing her readers with just enough raunchiness to the point where the anticipation for a full-blown scene will emotionally kill you. Lol. Sigh.

A well-paced storytelling, told from both Cristiano and Scarlett’s points of view. You’ll see backstories to these two families. It’s very modern Romeo & Juliet set in the underworld. There’s a few vital secondary characters who are just as evasive as our lead characters that you’ll wanna keep an eye on. There’s also a few sub-plots that interconnect with the main that’ll have you itching to uncover. As I mention earlier, it’s suspenseful. It keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end and will have you grumbling when you discover how it concludes. Ugh. 🙈🙉🙊

If you love a forbidden-esque enemies-to-lovers trope with tons of heated banter between your protagonists, I think you’ll thoroughly enjoy this read. It does have some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers but not overly graphic or detailed. I would still advise that with the dark themes included, readers 18+ only!

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Overall, another much loved book from Knight that I am happily recommending to my friends and fellow romance readers. It’s such an intense, emotional story of two broken souls who are left to pick up the pieces and fight on! This is the first book in the To Have and To Hold Duet, and I love it so much that I consider the brutal cliffhanger well-worth the pain!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Natasha Knight and Give Me Books Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


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

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2020 Favourite Reads

*pheeeeeew*

We’ve been saying “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over” constantly throughout the year and it’s fiiiiinally here! 🙌 In just a few short hours we can officially say adios to the crap-stick that is 2020 and ring in the New Year!

I’m sure plenty can relate that this year was a tough mudda (more so than usual) to get through. But I hope everyone at least found some goodness in between. Books and reading has always been some form of sanctuary and escapism for me. It’s partly why I can easily prefer reading books to spending time with company. 😅

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Weird thing is with having been at home for the majority of the year, you’d think it’d be easy to knock out book after book but nope! With work, general adulting, life slumps, and the occasional I’m-not-going-to-do-shit-today mood swings, I’ve not read as much as I would have wanted to. 

But in saying that… I did so happen to be fortunate enough to have read some unbelievably soul-shaking stories that completely had me in stitches, and/or ugly crying… which then resulted in either a hangover, rereading, thinking about day and night, and/or all of the above. 

I won’t be including old faves I’ve reread this year. This compilation is strictly all new books I discovered in 2020. And surprisingly (probably to me more than anybody else, really) they’re not all five star reads. But I can’t stress this enough… they are all loved, and ones I would happily recommend to friends (FYI that includes YOU!) 😊

In no particular order (mostly because I’m too lazy to chronologize the shit out of it lol). But I have at least sorted them into sub-genres because I know not all romance readers read all romance, amirite? 😉

So here we go! 

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• Contemporary Romance •

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📖 Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe

(Hate to Love, New Adult Romance)

📖 Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Bully Romance) 

📖 Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli

(New Adult, Hate to Love, Bully Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 One Moment Please by Amy Daws

(One Night Stand, Hate to Love, Adult Romance)

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• MC Romance •

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📚 Blood Fury MC series by Jeanne St. James

(Dark MC) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Tempting the Biker by Glenna Maynard

(Dark MC, Age Gap Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📚 Devil Kings MC series by Nicole James

(Dark MC, Opposites Attract) *Trigger Warnings*

📚 The MC Sinners series/ MC Sinners Next Generation series by Bella Jewel

(Dark MC, Second-Chance Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Fury by Marie Jordan

(Second-Chance Romance) 

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• Mafia Romance •

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📚 Unholy Union Duet by Natasha Knight

(Arranged Marriage, Hate to Love)

📖 Birdy by Dee Garcia

(Love Triangle, Dark Romance)

📚 Ties That Bind Duet by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

(Forbidden, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

(Arranged Marriage, Age Gap Romance)

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• Paranormal Romance •

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📖 Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

(Shifter Romance, Fantasy, Hate to Love)

📖 Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

(Shifter Romance, Fantasy, Age Gap Romance, Enemies to Lovers)

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• Dark Romance •

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📖 The Danger You Know by Lily White

(Stalker Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Guts & Glory: Brick by Jeanne St. James

(Fake Relationship, Military-Type Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Stealing Cinderella by A. Zavarelli

(Modern Day Fairytale Retelling) *Trigger Warnings*

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Aaaaaaand there you have it! 😁 Not sure if this will become a yearly thing for me so this could very well be the one and only. Hehe.

If you want to see all my reads for the year, don’t forget to check out my Monthly Wrap Ups. My December one will be posted shortly so keep an eye out for it! Happy holidays! I sincerely wish everyone a safe but happy 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 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’m fortunate enough to be a part of.

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

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