2021 Favourite Reads

Guess who’s back with another favourite reads post!?

Yep. Last year I posted a round-up of my favourite reads, and this year I decided to do it again! Could it be the start of a new tradition… Who knows? 😊

Ha! I thought 2020 was a tough year to get through. Sheesh. If I knew how sucky 2021 ended up being, I wouldn’t welcomed it with open arms. Lol.

But like I said last year and every year I’ve been reading… it’s always been my form of sanctuary and escapism. I’m your stereotypical introvert who prefers books to company. Who prefers a cozy night in with a swoon-worthy book and comfort food over late-night partying with outfits that’s all-too binding, uncomfortable shoes, and the stench of sweat in the air. 😅

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This year, I’ve compiled my top 12 favourite reads of the year. Ideally, I wanted one favourite book from every month but… some months had doubly amazing reads, whilst others had mediocre ones not completely worthy of this list.

Even though I had a few reading slumps along the way (nothing new), after compiling my top reads, I realized that the majority of the books were from new-to-me-authors, so despite a few hiccups along the road, this year introduced me to some incredible authors who’ve quickly become auto-buy authors!

So here we go!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• Contemporary Romance •

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📖 Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe

(Small Town, Coming of Age, Sweet New Adult Romance)

📖 Kiss To Remember by Anna B. Doe

(Second-Chance, Sports Romance, Love Triangle, New Adult Romance)

📖 The Hate Love Duet by Lauren Rowe

(Hate-to-Love, Rockstar, New Adult Romance)

— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mention):
📚 The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

(Age-Gap Romance, Friends-with-Benefits, Workplace Romance)

— ♥ —
📖 Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Enemies-to-Lovers, Bully Romance, Academia Setting)

📖 Sweet Devil by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Hate-to-Love, Secret Crush, Academia Setting)

📖 Till It Hurts by Cora Brent

(Second-Chance Romance, First Love, Fake Relationship Trope)

📖 Lessons In Sin by Pam Godwin

(Taboo Romance, Forbidden, Secret Romance, Age-Gap, Academia Setting)

•••

• MC Romance •

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— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mentions):
📖 Saint by Nicole James

(MC Romance, Suspense, Marriage of Convenience, Age-Gap Romance)

📖 Climbing The Ranks by Nicole James

(MC Romance, Suspense, Whirlwind Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —

•••

• Mafia Romance •

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📖 With This Ring by Natasha Knight

(Dark Mafia, Suspense, Arranged Marriage, Enemies-to-Lovers)

📖 Kiss Of Death Duet by L.P. Lovell

(Suspense, Enemies-to-Lovers, Forbidden Romance, Russian Assassins/ Italian Mob)

📖 Tears of Salvation by Michelle Heard

(Enemies-to-Lovers, Suspense, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mention):
📚 The Saints Series by Michelle Heart

(Suspense, Marriage of Convenience, Arranged Marriage, Opposites Attract, Assassins, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —
📖 A Vow Of Lust & Fury by L.P. Lovell

(Dark Romance, Arranged Marriage, Age-Gap Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers) *Trigger Warnings*

•••

• Dark Romance •

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📖 Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde

(Beauty & The Beast Retelling, Suspense, Enemies-to-Lovers, Forbidden Romance, Captor/Captive Romance)

•••

Annnnnd… there you have it! Yes, I snuck in a few books that technically did not make it to my top 12 list but came a very close (hence the mentions)!

Like last year, if you want to see all my reads for the year, check out my Monthly Wrap-Ups. I posted my December one earlier and I wanna say I have reviews up for all the books I read this year… but sadly there’s some still waiting to be written. Sigh. But links are up for those available.

I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas (if you celebrate), and now enjoying the holidays (hopefully you have holidays)! I sincerely wish everyone a safe yet 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.

I truly hope 2021 will be a year of nothing but happiness, love, good health, and good fortune for us all!

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

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Sweet Devil by Becker Gray

⚠ This review contains minor teasers!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

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

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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


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


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


“Some things are worth the heartbreak.”


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

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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

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

•••


🔥 Read reviews for the Hellfire Club!

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

•••

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

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Ruined Sinner by Becker Gray

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

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

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

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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

•••


🔥 Read my reviews for the Hellfire Club!

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray

Book Three: Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray


•••

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

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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!

💻 Join the Facebook Group! Midnight Dynasty Reader Lounge

📱 Follow on Instagram! Dangerous Press

🔔 Get the latest news! Newsletter Sign Up

•••

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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Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

They call him the ice king.

Owen Montgomery is arrogant and unfeeling–with cold, haughty manners and a British accent sharper than any knife. I’ve been secretly in love with him for years, knowing there’s no way he could ever notice me, the scholarship girl. The poor girl. Until that night in Ibiza…until that night we taste each other’s kiss for the first time, and I learn what hot hungers the ice king keeps hidden from public view.

It’s also the night when I discover that after three years of sharing classes and even friends, Owen still has no idea who I am. None at all.

Pride stung, I vow to focus only on myself and my future in publishing. But little do I know that I’ve awakened an obsession in Owen that will soon outgrow the halls of Pembroke Prep and spill over into the real world.

Owen wants me, and he’ll stop at nothing to have me. And soon I find myself with an impossible choice. Do I pick the future I always wanted for myself?

Or do I choose the blueblood whose kisses are as brutal as his love?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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Eeep. An opposite-sides-of-the-tracks, new adult romance that utterly had me melting into my bed whilst reading it! Owen and Tanith took me on an emotional journey of epic proportions. These two came from two different worlds that was slowly but surely melding together. It started with an instant attraction, that quickly turned into a mutual addiction of one another, that gradually became a relationship that would change both their lives. Despite their sizzling chemistry there’s a stark realization that they’re from completely different social standing and on different wavelengths when it came to the bigger picture.

I was totally enamoured by their story. I’m a fan of opposites attract and hate-to-love romance tropes, but adding those elements into a premise where the hero comes from money and has it a little easier, whilst the heroine worked her ass off to make her dreams come true… it’s pure swoon-worthy entertainment! 😍

Owen Montgomery proves not all bad boys get the attention. You can be the responsible one and still win over the girl!

I didn’t see this one coming, and it still hasn’t sunken in yet… but I am 99.99% sure that Brutal Blueblood is my new favourite book from the Hellfire Club! And yes, Owen has officially nudged both Keaton and Lennox off their top spots as favourite Hellfire boy! I guess only time will tell if Owen can keep the throne from the remaining Hellfire boys still left to share their story: Phineas and Rhys. Eeep.

I’m gonna be honest, and I don’t even know if I’m in the minority here, but when these Hellfire boys were first introduced in Wicked Idol, and we got to know more about their personalities and relationships in the following book Callous Prince, Owen was the one guy who didn’t instantly grab my attention as much as the others. The guys each have their own strong, unique personality and can be very vocal about their opinions, especially when the girls are involved, whilst Owen kinda just stands to the side and watches the drama unfold amongst his friends. So naturally, now that his story’s here, I was keyed up to know more about this “ice king”.

Ironic, really. Owen hadn’t a clue who Tanith was, and here I was about to start Brutal Blueblood wondering who the hell is Owen Montgomery?! 😅

Well, I can tell you now that Becker Gray has created a completely different Hellfire boy in Owen from Keaton and Lennox. What sets the entire atmosphere of this book differently from the first two is the fact that Owen is described as the responsible one, who tends to keeps out of trouble, and as far as the “manwhorism” goes, he’s discreet in comparison to his friends. The first two books were based heavily on hate-to-love romances, whilst Owen’s and Tanith’s relationship was one that organically grew from an instant attraction. Their story was hot and heavy, yet had plenty of development throughout.

Owen is not the only one that is set apart from his friends — Whilst everyone around her comes from wealth, Tanith is a scholarship student, doesn’t come from money at all, and from amongst her friends, she’s more introverted and her interests differs preferring solitude and reading to big parties and getting drunk. She has strong opinions and principles that’s constantly being challenged by Owen’s.

Their journey was rocky, with constant misunderstandings, and the further I got into the story the more I found their relationship and their emotions quite relatable. There isn’t a lot of lighthearted banter between them to break the ice during their disagreements which resulted in their reactions coming off authentic that you can’t help but feel for them both.

As I mentioned earlier, Brutal Blueblood is my new favourite from the series. Whilst each one had me invested, there was just something so refreshing about Owen’s and Tanith’s story that made theirs standout just a smidge more in my eyes. I love the steady character growth from Owen, and seeing his commitment to his unexpected relationship with Tanith so seriously and going as far as willing to improve himself and change his mindset just squeezed my swooning heart. There’s a comforting balance to their relationship that made me so invested in seeing them work through their hurdles and have their happily ever after.

Add in their friends and their drama (and an occasional wise word of two amongst them), and this book was gripping on so many levels. From Owen’s and Tanith’s budding relationship, to the quirky friendships, to the ongoing intriguing side stories happening in the background. I also found in this particular story, the presence of Owen’s family gave you a deeper insight to Owen’s life, the dynamics amongst them, and ultimately helped exhibit how much growth his character had from start to finish.

There is one particular scene between Owen and Tanith with a certain *cough* email *cough* that I would’ve wanted cleared up. It was a pivotal moment not only for their budding relationship but it was also a time when Owen begun to open up. I’m not sure if Becker Gray completely forgot about it or they felt it was no longer needed as Owen and Tanith found their way to each other anyways, but damn my curious little heart I wanted to know! 🥺

But nevertheless, I am addicted to the Hellfire Club, with each boy attracting you to them in their own unique way. You can technically read each one as a standalone if you wanted to, but it just wouldn’t be the same experience. Relatively quick reads, you won’t have a problem reading any one of these books in one sitting.

I adore the coupling, keen for all the drama, and the friendships in this series are both hearty and oh-so irresistible!

Brutal Blueblood (along with the rest of the series) is such an effortless read, with its well-paced storytelling, told from dual points of view (with additional cute inner monologues from our MCs), and an eclectic cast of secondary characters to add more dimension to this already dreamy world-building of elite social standing and all that comes with it: money, power, and connections.

I enjoyed it, and highly recommend to fellow romance readers. Even if you’re not a fan of mature YA/ NA romance, I think you’ll still enjoy this one as it doesn’t read as your stereotypical teen romance. These characters, whilst on the cusp of adulthood, are already dealing with mature situations, making solid plans for their future… and with the level of sexual content included, it’s certainly for readers 18+ only. 🙈

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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

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

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🔥 Read my reviews for the Hellfire Club series!

HellfireClub_Book1&2Covers

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray


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

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Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

⚠ This review contains some teasers. Read at own risk!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

The new girl doesn’t belong here. So why can’t I stop thinking about her?

Iris Briggs a goodie two-shoes with a headmaster father who aims to ruin my school year before it’s even begun. She gets under my skin. With her demure skirts and braided hair, Iris flits around the periphery until she runs right into me, hot coffee soaking me as she looks up at me with wide, innocent eyes. We start off scalding.

In the library, we reach lava levels.

And then in the city? We go nuclear.

She’s a good girl, but I’m a Constantine. My duty is to my family. At least, it was until I started unbraiding the good girl and realizing there’s more to life than duty.

•••

— MY REVIEW —


“Follow me into the woods said the Big Bad Wolf to Red Riding Hood.”


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Hehehehe… I am just a little bit in lust with this book! 😍😍😍

Just when I think I’m free and clear off books set in high school, I’m dragged back in with a fantastic read!

  • Preppy students.
  • Snob-induced cliques that’ll eat you alive.
  • Jocks = Jerks.
  • The innocent, pretty, yet sassy heroine.
  • The arrogant, stubborn king of the school hero.  
  • Drama. Angst. Intrigue.

This is a high school romance full of juicy chemistry, sexual tension, enemies to lovers, and banter all rolled into one. This is Gossip Girls meets Cruel Intentions with a smidge of Gilmore Girls in my books! 🤗

(But FYI: In regards to the content, this is definitely more New Adult than Young Adult in audience rating. It’s raunchy and detailed. Suitable for 18+ readers).    

It was such vivid storytelling. I was swept up in the world of Pembroke Academy and the silver-spooned students right from the first chapter. Keaton Constantine might just be my favourite Constantine sibling so far, and Becker Gray (pen name) may just be the new (to me) authors to look out for! Wicked Idol is the first book in their Hellfire Club series and it kicked off with a bang!

I can only imagine the next books to come and which stories are next to be told. I’m giddy with anticipation and excitement just thinking about how this series and it’s world will expand. Eeep.

There’s just something special about this book that has me reading it over and over again (especially some parts more than others). I think it’s their entire dialogue… yeah I think that’s it! Right from the beginning you already get that sense of electricity in the air between Keaton and Iris. Their first impressions of each other may not have been ideal especially when teen social standing and public awareness is concerned… but sheesh was it crackling?! 🔥


“We’ve been real with each other from the start. We’re not going to stop now.”


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Witty repartee is an all time favourite element of mine in romance reads and seeing Keaton and Iris battle it out had me in absolute hoots and giggles. I love that despite Iris’ earlier misstep with Keaton and the Hellfire Club, she bounced back like a brand, spanking new tennis ball and is hitting aces towards Keaton! 👊

Keaton is first introduced as the guy who seems to be Mr. Popularity. The King of the school, leader of his clique, and has all the young ladies swooning about. He has the arrogance of a guy who has the power and backing of his well known family (and rightly so), yet as you progress throughout the book and specifically from his POVs, you start seeing a different side to him.

I love the gradual character development of our hero/ heroine. They have a nice balance between them whenever they’re together that it displays the effects they have on one another. It’s a stereotypical love story of the popular, jerky jock and the pretty, but quiet nerd but told in a modern, Gen-Z, glam-ridden way. There’s an air of coolness and poise in the student population that even the geeks and nerds in this school are above average. 


“Would it be so terrible? To fall in love with him? It would if he didn’t love me back. Because that—it would break me.”


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Amazing continuation to the Constantine clan. I’m loving the author collaboration for the storytelling of this family. As for Wicked Idol, it was an attention grabbing start to the Hellfire Club series. Would I recommend this book? Uhh… hells yes!

A well-paced and wonderfully executed storytelling told from both Iris and Keaton’s POVs. My only critique is that I would’ve loved more of a introduction to Pembroke Academy and the different cliques prior to Iris and Keaton’s official meeting. It just seemed like Keaton already had an impression of her beforehand. But this is my own personal opinion. The world-building is amazing, and I feel like there so much possibility of expansion the further the series progresses. 

There’s some very relatable subject matter touched on this storyline. Other than navigating through their feelings for one another, there’s also the typical relatable matter plenty of students deal with on the daily, such as workload, graduation, balancing school and personal life, and on top of things the stress from family expectations. 

This may sound very Disney but this story is also about taking risks and following your dreams. To never settle. 

An intense atmosphere is evident from the start. There’s an obvious divide in the students depending on their social, family, and popularity standing. I found the secondary characters were just as enigmatic and full of personality as our protagonists. Besides the interactions between Keaton and Iris, the friends are definitely something else to look out for! This book was just full of layers from the blossoming relationship, to the quirky friendships, to the complex family dynamics.

It’s gripping from start to finish.    

Even if you’re like me, who thought you had outgrew YA/ high school romance books… this will suck you back in! Just the right balance of high school drama, lighthearted banter, and young love in all its intensity. A roller coaster ride you’ll want to go on again and again… (at least until the sequel comes!) 😜  

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

🔔 Interested in reading Wicked Idol? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon Universal Link  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

•••


Read my review for the next book in the Hellfire Club!

booksofthemuggleborn_callousprince
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📘 Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray


•••

Happy days, my friends! Stay safe. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Mr. Heartbreaker by Jordan Marie

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Everybody envies Big Mike Huntington.

He prowls the halls of Black Mountain Academy like he owns them.

But since he’s from one of the wealthiest families in Black Mountain, he can.

He’s famous—or infamous, and not for his baseball skills like his brother—currently the Major League’s media darling.

On campus, Big Mike is notorious for the giant bat he swings—the one between his legs, not on the field.

And every girl swears Big Mike definitely lives up to the hype.

Mike owns it, embracing his reputation.

Until Violet Raines.

New girl in school, pure as driven snow, and she hates his guts from moment one.

Mike wants Miss Purity under him, begging for mercy he’ll never give.

When Violet refuses to play ball?

It’s time for Big Mike to get creative and steal a home run.

He zeros in on the new girl.

Now, there’s nowhere for her to hide.

No sassy words to save her.

No denying her hot, longing glances.

Big Mike gets what he wants.

And Violet Raines?

She’s already his.

•••

—  MY REVIEW —

Firstly — Can I just say how much I’m loving the books from Black Mountain Academy!? 😍

Now — Let’s talk about Mr. Heartbreaker aka Big Mike Huntington…

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Wowza! Was I hooked from start to finish! Jordan Marie has another amazing book under her belt! I’ve only read her dark MC romances so reading a romance book set in high school was a refreshing change of pace from the darkness, yet just as equally gripping. I loved reading every minute of Mike and Violet’s story. What an engaging story full of growth, acceptance and heart.

A relatively well paced storytelling and told from dual POVs, this story delves into both Mike and Violet’s reality of survival whilst maintaining a cool façade amongst their peers at Black Mountain Academy. Despite their own personal issues and hangups, they both discover from their difficult and hollow lives that as long as they have one another, they can pull through any roadblock that gets in their way.

Looks can be deceiving in their world. Mike and Violet navigate through constant drama, family baggage and everything that comes with planning a future after high school.

Great world-building with evident character growth from both our hero/ heroine. Violet is one tough, independent young woman who you’ll want in your corner. I adore the fact that she knows who she is and what she wants out of life.

Mike is a charmer and has pretty much been living a front all his life. You won’t always agree with his actions but having Violet by his side slowly displays his full potential of being a better, more put together person. Seeing his determination and willingness to try for Violet is what will have you rooting for him… (because, trust me when I say, Violet is a survivor. She’ll do just fine on her own). 😉


“You need a girl who will keep you humble, Mikey. It appears that girl is going to be me.”


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Their relationship started off with such snap, crackle and pop! 🧨 The push and pull in their relationship and constant banter is entertaining as hell to see and the lightheartedness of it all is a nice contrast to the sombre side of their story.

There’s also a few memorable secondary characters that not only adds an extra layer to this story but is also another highlight to look forward to. They play important roles in both Violet and Mike’s lives and shows how much of an impact a support system can be to any person whether they want it or not.

It’s a relatable storyline, and almost gives me such nostalgia of my high school years. I think it’s safe to say that everyone has dealt with some kind of high school drama in their lifetime — Violet and Mike’s albeit fictional, has touched some very realistic subject matters.

Whilst I can definitely see myself reading this book again, my only critique with it is that it did lose some of it’s oomph halfway way through the book once Violet and Mike’s relationship were on more solid ground. I was giddy seeing their relationship develop, but it also felt like it reached it’s peak a little too early resulting in a slight dip during the second half. Most of their serious issues were dealt with early on, and any other problems that followed after seemed a little underwhelming.

I wasn’t expecting the same level of darkness that Jordan has put into her previous books but I was sort of expecting a little more grit in Mike and Violet’s story somewhere down the line before it wrapped up.

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But nevertheless, I still enjoyed it! 😊 It’s a sweet love story with an ending that’ll have you smiling. I don’t read much high school romance books these days, but I find the only exception has been what I’ve read from the Black Mountain Academy.

Jordan Marie is one of my favourite dark romance authors. There isn’t a book of hers I’ve read that I didn’t end up falling in love with. Mr. Heartbreaker is no different and I would happily recommend it to romance readers.

Violet and Mike are such likable characters and their story is a must read. But I have to mention that whilst it is set in a high school backdrop, it does contains adult themes and, in my opinion, better suited for a NA/ Adult audience.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to Jordan Marie and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


•••

Hope you’re all well and enjoying the week! Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli

booksofthemuggleborn_prettywhenshecries
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Your first kiss is supposed to be sweet. Ours was baptized in fire.

I was the new girl trying to find her place.

Landon was the brooding neighbor I tutored over the summer.

I didn’t know he was a legend at Black Mountain Academy.

I didn’t know they worshipped him like a religion.

But I fell for him before I knew those things.

To me, he was just the tortured soul who drew me in like a magnet.

And then he did something so unspeakable, so unforgivable, it shattered me.

I ran away then because I was weak, but I’ve shed my tears.

He stole my heart and my dignity, and I’m here to take it back.

The only problem is… he’s not giving it up without a fight.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Okay. So… I may just be a little bit obsessed with this book 😅 I’ve been waiting for a new book from Zavarelli in what feels like years (even though it’s not), and Pretty When She Cries completely and utterly filled that craving! This is why I adore Zavarelli’s books, because they are totally intense, all out soul-consuming works of fiction that has you thinking about for days on end after having read them!

I honestly thought I outgrew high school romances in my reads, but it turns out they just have to be as dark and twisted as this one for me to enjoy them again! 😜 Lol. I don’t think I’ve read a deep, juicy, rub-your-hands-together-and-plot-revenge style romance in all the years I’ve read romance books.

It has become one of my favourite reads of 2020 and it’s going straight to my list of all time favourite books! It has all the elements I love in a story —

  • Gripping storyline from start to finish.
  • Complex characters who’ll have your mind reeling.
  • Unpredictability and suspense.
  • World-building that’s constantly expanding.
  • Evident character and relationship growth.
  • A mixture of genres that work well together. In this case, there’s romance, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of crime and thriller, and a smidge of action.

Zavarelli has a way of writing such vivid, detailed stories with unique plots and characters that are three-dimensional.

Landon, right off the bat had an air of mystery about him because he rarely shared feelings and thoughts with anyone. With Kail, although a little shy and less extroverted than some of her peers, had a confidence about her. She knew who she was.

So when all hell breaks loose, you can’t help but see how things will unravel from there and see the ramifications of that certain event. I was invested the minute they first met. Like our hero/ heroine, I was just as intrigued by them as they were with each other. There’s an instant chemistry that had me perking up with interest. They are from completely different backgrounds and upbringings, yet whenever they were around each other, they clicked!

Be warned though, have tissues nearby. I must’ve gotten teary-eyed countless times throughout reading this. The emotions this story evoked in me is why I would (and have) recommended this book to my friends already, and any reader who likes reading romance fiction.

My heart broke for them both for almost the entirety of the book. They go through a roller coaster of life events that is jaw-dropping and almost hard to wrap your head around. The drama is strong with this one!

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The unpredictability in this story is what’s really going to get you turning the pages. Just when you think you know what’s about to happen next or know a person’s motive — Baam! You don’t!

For a standalone romance, it packs a punch! Yes, there’s a lot of things happening but they were written out so well that everything included was for good reason. It’s an effortless read with constant buildup. P.S. I like that there was some diversity included. I’m not the type of reader who constantly needs or expects it but when it’s included and it’s done well, it’s definitely a plus.

Landon will have you wanting to just give him a big bear hug and never wanting to let go! And Kail will have you pounding your fist to your chest in solidarity, yelling “I got ya back, girl!”

And in the midst of all the chaos, banter, revenge, and what-the-fuck moments, you’ll still be rooting for things to work out between them. Their relationship may be a constant push and pull but I guarantee their one-on-one scenes are… phew… intensely hot! 🔥🔥🔥

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Pretty When She Cries kept me on the edge of my seat and reading until the sun rised. It touches base with relatable subjects (especially during your adolescence) such as diversity, social standing, body image, not to mention peer pressure and bullying. Whilst this is a work of fiction, it really delves into the harsh reality of the issues teenagers may go through during their years in school and the lasting effects and scarring it could leave on them.

Reading it, reminded me so much of what high school was like and just how much teens go through that parents may not even be aware of.

What I love about the characters in this book is that there was a great contrast of personalities. You have the obvious villainous, cruel characters that really rile you up, but then there’s also the characters that bring so much positivity and light. Kail has a great support system, and although she didn’t necessarily feel like they could help her in the way that she wants or needs, and didn’t want to burden them with her issues, they’re there and they’re constant, nevertheless.

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Although this is Landon and Kailani’s story overall, in my opinion the secondary characters made just as much of an impact and played vital roles. I adore the bonds and friendships, especially the unlikely ones.      

And can I just say, this entire story reads like it’s made for the screen! 😍    

A very well thought-out storyline with suspense and intrigue. Zavarelli has brilliantly created an atmosphere of curiosity around Landon the second Kailani talks about him. Their story is told from dual points of view and the fact that it’s in first person, us readers are really riding out their experiences and feelings right along with them — the good, the bad, and the oh-so ugly!

It’s an upcoming release that is well worth the wait. I highly recommend you add this one to your TBR asap because this one’s end game, people! 🏈

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to A. Zavarelli and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Pretty When She Cries? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU


•••

Hope you enjoyed my review! As always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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