The Embrace by Vivian Wood

booksofthemuggleborn_theembrace
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ballet took my sweat, blood, and tears.

Life almost stole Calum from me.

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

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

Calum struggles with the ghost of his past.

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

We could be so perfect together…

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

Don’t fall for your customers. 

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But it wasn’t all unfortunate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

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

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

•••


🩰 Read my reviews for the Broken Slipper Trilogy!

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Book One: The Patron by Vivian Wood

Book Two: The Dancer by Vivian Wood


•••

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

Till It Hurts by Cora Brent

⚠ Warning: This review contains minor teasers

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

No one would say that our story is pretty.

But we were in love before we hated each other.

And we were friends long before that.

Growing up, I saw Jace Zielinski every day.

He lived next door. I cheered him on at football games. I gave him advice on girls. He was my brother’s best friend and the three of us were always together.

 I didn’t realize I’d already fallen for Jace until the hot summer night when we kissed for the first time.

Our magical season felt like destiny.

And then came the disaster that tore us all to shreds.

I lost Jace. I lost my brother. In many ways I lost myself.

Ten years later, Jace is untouchable in a world of pro athlete fame and glory.

I never wanted to see him again and I’d definitely never pick him to be my hero.

Not even when I’m broke and terrified and running away from ruin.

But it seems I have no choice.

Somehow we’re both back in the same place where we started.

I have nowhere else to go and Jace refuses to leave.

We’re on this collision course together.

Fated to repeat our own turbulent history.

Both the parts that felt the best.

And the parts that hurt the most.

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“And the truth was, I wanted the boy next door. My brother’s best friend. I wanted him bad.”


Ay. Cora Brent… Why didn’t I discover your books sooner??! 😱😍 Till It Hurts was utterly addictive and I loved reading every page of it! The happy times, the heartbreaking moments, the past, the present… all of it! ❤

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I couldn’t have lucked out any better by having Till It Hurts as my introduction to Cora Brent. This was an exceptional story. I knew right from the first chapter that Tori’s and Jace’s story would be an epic journey and it did not disappoint. I immediately liked Cora’s writing style, I thought it was effortless to follow and kept me engaged. I was instantly invested in getting to know more about these characters who had such a bond that was bound to break at some point, and I needed to know why.

Firstly — this story had quite a range of tropes that all played off of each other well:

  • Brother’s Best Friend
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Love to Hate to Love
  • Second Chance Romance
  • Sports Romance
  • Contemporary
  • New Adult
  • Small Town

I’ve only encountered a handful of the brother’s best friend trope in my romance reads but this was by far the most complex, cleverly written storyline I’ve read. It’s honestly now one of my favourite contemporary romance books. It was very-well paced that it read like I was watching a romantic drama play out in front of me. Just needed my popcorn.

It’s told from dual points of view and switches back and forth from past to present day. I find when stories involve flashbacks to the past, it can either be a little draining to read through (and no longer holds your attention), and/or it disturbs the flow and pacing of the overall story. With Till It Hurts I had neither of those issues. The back and forth was well executed and I found whenever the story went back to their past it only elevated the story in the present. I thought their history was just as intriguing as their present. And I honestly couldn’t favour one friend or relationship over the others. Tori, Colt, and Jace are all equally lovable characters and I quickly felt protective of them all.


“If you’re not willing to push yourself till it hurts then you’re not doing life right.”


Let’s start with Colt. He is Jace’s best friend and Tori’s younger brother. He’s the more thrill-seeking, carefree of the three, and despite being the youngest he’s protective and has such strong presence in their group dynamic. He’s literally the link between Tori and Jace.

Tori, is the oldest but the boys take care of her, just as equally as she cares for them. She’s the more sensible one and makes sure they keep out of trouble. When she loves, she loves whole-heartedly.

Jace, makes three. He’s the boy next door who quickly connected with Colt, and naturally Tori right after (as Tori and Colt were inseparable). He’s easy-going and tends to go with the flow. He’s always thoughtful—even when they were teens.

This trio rivals some of my all time favourite fictional friendships. I love their dynamics, it feels so genuine and down-right relatable seeing how their interact with one another— from their lighthearted ribbing, to their full-blown heart-to-hearts, to even their fiery arguments. As the story progresses and their lives slowly unravel before you, it’s evident how much these three are inseparable. They have such vivid history starting from their childhood, to their teens, to eventually reconnecting as adults and reminiscing. The way Cora has written their story and the way they share their memories, you almost have to remind yourself that this was a work of fiction.

The world-building not only was vast and detailed, but it totally set the entire atmosphere amongst these friends and the story being told. It had an air of drama and suspense, but also wistfulness and a sense of time truly passing by. Even with minor side stories occurring in the background alongside additional secondary characters, the story didn’t stray from its initial premise. If anything, it added more dimension to an already layered storyline.

The character development was steady and constant. Seeing Colt, Tori, and Jace grow and evolve depending on what life threw at them… I found it so engaging I had a hard time putting the book down until I finished.

If Cora hoped the friendship between these three would be believable to her readers, she no doubt succeeded. If she wanted to make her readers feel the strong, loving sibling relationship between Colt and Tori— yep, done! If she wanted readers to effortlessly see the love between Tori and Jace was pure goodness and a once-in-a-lifetime, she fucking well did that too! If she wanted her readers to authentically see the brotherhood that Colt and Jace had, she hit the nail! 👏👏👏

The friendships and relationships between the three were a complex rollercoaster. It made me feel nostalgic for the friendships I had growing up, to my first love, to all the teen drama that at the time felt like world-ending situations.

In the end they have their happily ever after, but I’m not going to lie, it was a rocky road ahead for each of them. They all had their situations, they all had their own paths to take, and they all needed time for wounds to heal.


“People are flawed, Tori. We don’t always do what we should. All we can do is learn and try to be better than we were.”


This was a story full of life, and with it comes love, hate, guilt, frustration, remorse, and a whole array of other emotions. Just like in reality, Colt, Tori, and Jace go through struggles, insecurities, and personal issues. Whilst there was one particular plot point I saw coming a mile away, it no way deterred me from continuing (if anything it made me more curious to see how it would affect the ending). In my opinion, Cora wrote a beautiful and hearty journey for each character that all intricately connected to tell one big story.

And speaking of endings… I’m truly giddy with excitement at the little tidbit that Cora revealed at the end of her book. Whilst I was near finishing reading it, I knew I wasn’t ready for it all to be completely over. If you do end up reading this book, I have no doubts that you would be just as thrilled with the news as I was. Thank you, Cora! 🙌

I should point out the sports element was a backdrop to this small town, contemporary romance story. Whilst it did add a layer to these characters’ story, it wasn’t the main focus (more a starting off point). There’s also some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as loss, violence and addiction (resulting in grief and PTSD). It also contains sexual content, suitable for readers 18+ only.


“You might have to keep pushing till it hurts in order to find your way home. But take heart. Because happily ever afters do exist.”


Till It Hurts will transport you to a small town full of history, to a quaint neighbourhood, and to a trio with a bond that knows no bound. Overall, I couldn’t fault it, and for that, I highly recommend it to my friends and fellow romance readers to pick up too! You won’t be disappointed.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Cora Brent and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙


•••

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

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Bulletproof by Xavier Neal

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

The assignment is simple.

Don’t let the client die.

Don’t let her get kidnapped.

Don’t sleep with her.

It’s the last part that unexpectedly complicates things for me after I’m introduced to the most beautiful and brilliant woman I could’ve ever envisioned.

And it only gets worse when we have to stash ourselves away in a small town where our calculated cover is to be a recently engaged couple.

My new mission is now significantly harder.

Don’t let her hate what’s for dinner.

Don’t let anyone else make her laugh more than I do.

And, most importantly, don’t let myself actually fall for someone again.

After all, my job isn’t to love my boss’s sister.

It’s to stop an unidentified threat from taking her – or die trying.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Ok… this was an interesting read. One, I honestly had a bit of trouble rating as I had mixed feelings all throughout.

But I’m going to try my damnedest to put thoughts into words! So here we go…

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I was hooked on the initial premise of the book. I’ve read countless romantic suspense books and was looking forward to be gripped and kept on my toes. So… how did the suspense aspect fare in this story? I’ll say it was alright. It had just enough to keep things interestingly flowing.

In regards to the romance part… there was some definite chemistry and zing between Blake and Bronx. Little bits of banter and cute moments here and there between the two. Unfortunately I found there was very little to balance out Blake’s wordy dialogue — which honestly made it difficult for any kind of relationship between Blake and Bronx to organically develop.

If Sheldon Cooper and Hermione Granger had a love-child, it would be Blake! 😜

As much as I am a fan of both those characters in their own rights, they each have particular traits that can be exhausting to be around especially if it’s always present (and in Blake’s case it was always present). The constant random fact sharing, with the I’m-right-you’re-wrong mentality, and an aura of intellectual superiority — take those traits and add endless amounts of pop culture references used in every other sentence and it’s Blake in a nutshell. She’s a constant know-how machine. Whilst I like the idea of a brainy heroine, I wasn’t as fond of her personality and I found it difficult to connect or be invested in getting to know her story fully.

Blake’s lengthy dialogue made the entire book overly wordy that at times I considered skimming through some of her parts just to get the story moving along. Ironically, the book length itself isn’t long but with plenty of dialogue, it certainly seemed longer. Also, in relation, this story was slow-paced for the majority of the time, although there are moments were the pace picks up a little here and there.

I do however found Blake’s quirky relationship with her brother Brandon intriguing. They’re complete opposites and can certainly debate about a range of topics until their both blue in the face yet I found their interactions both endearing and entertaining. They may have differences but it’s clear they have a strong, loving bond.

Bronx is a likable enough character. He certainly seems more relatable than Blake. But I couldn’t help but feel a little apprehension towards the guy. He was very adamant at the beginning that he’s strictly professional and nothing sways his work ethics, yet the minute he literally sees Blake all of that went out the window. Are you or are you not one of the best of the best bodyguards out there?! You’re employed by some secret government agency. You’re one of the elite. Yet, out of nowhere, you can’t think straight (and go from 0 to 100 on the horny scale) because you’re most recent client is a looker?! Hmm. 🤔 Not exactly ideal, but yeah okay this is fictional… *shrugs*

Bronx did give this story more relatability due to his humble beginnings and occasionally mentioning his family and upbringing throughout the book. I do like that he made Blake somewhat down-to-earth and personable. He definitely balances out her strong personality with his own. The scenes where they’re not in any immediate danger and just relaxing in each other’s company was probably the main highlight for me. As I mentioned earlier the banter between the two kept their exchange lighthearted and entertaining to read through.

Overall, I thought this story had great potential and the plot had some interesting aspects. I liked the idea of a client/ bodyguard romance that’s somewhat forbidden/secretive. The action sequences were detailed, fast-paced scenes, and at times unpredictable. Blake and Bronx’s romance was insta-love, steamy, and adorable to see develop as they navigate through the dangers surrounding them whilst at the same time getting to know each other in more depth.

In my opinion, romance readers who love an opposites attract, romantic suspense, and stories similar to the movie; Bodyguard with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner will enjoy this one!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Xavier Neal and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading Bulletproof? Grab your copy here:  Amazon

•••


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

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Fallen Rose by Amelia Wilde

⚠ This review contains minor teasers

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Leo Morelli has lost everything.

His safety. His sanity. But worse than that, the woman he loves. He will destroy Bishop’s Landing to get her back, even if it means becoming the monster she fears.

The entire city will feel his wrath.

Haley Constantine loves her beast, but she can’t walk away from her family. They need her now more than ever. It will take more than violence to face these enemies. It will take sacrifice.

Can she give up the man she loves to save him?

Fallen Rose is the third book in the Beauty and the Beast Trilogy. Reading order:
Book One: Secret Beast
Book Two: Hidden Beauty
Book Three: Fallen Rose 

•••

• MY REVIEW •

*phew!* Lots to process about this third book in the Beauty and the Beast trilogy. But what stood out the most for me, was how much Leo Morelli has evolved from Secret Beast… to Hidden Beauty… to finally, Fallen Rose.


“The jumble of feelings I have for Leo rises—the love and the hate, the frustration and the fear. He’s everything good and hopeful in a dark world…”


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Sheesh! When did the “villain” become the hero? And when did the supposed “lesser of two evils” become the evil incarnate?! I’m looking at YOU Caroline Constantine. 😤 If you’ve read the first two books of this story, then you will know Leo’s history with the Constantines— specifically speaking with the she-devil herself, Caroline.

Now, I’ve never in all the books I’ve read from the world of the Midnight Dynasty have taken a liking to Caroline. Ever. She may be more ruthless in some authors’ stories more than others, and some even depicted her with some semblance of a beating heart, but in no way did that sway me from knowing that that woman needs to be six feet under. I’ve added her in with the likes of Professor Umbridge (from Harry Potter), Maeve (from Throne of Glass), and Amarantha (from ACOTAR) as villainous characters that even a reader who loves villains would sneer at!

And if anyone had the right to hate her, stare daggers at her, and plot her demise, it would be Leo Morelli.

Fallen Rose has not only enraged me with bloodlust (Go! #TeamLeoMorelli), but it has mentally and emotionally drained me. 😅 Whilst I initially thought it was slow-going for the first couple of chapters, I quickly realized it was to ease me into what was a cacophony of epic frustration! Lol. I was seeing red. Bloody red everywhere! Don’t get me wrong… it had nothing to do with Wilde’s writing (if anything it was multifaceted, wonderfully written, and easy to follow), but all to do with the injustice I felt for Leo!


“I love you.” The words are so small. My love for her so great.”


I may not have found it as addictively thrilling as Secret Beast, but Fallen Rose is just as dramatic of a roller coaster ride. Although Leo and Haley do get their HEA, I can’t help but feel like it’s left me a little unsatisfied with how it all came about. Maybe because right from the very beginning I’ve been so invested in Leo Morelli, and knowing his past only cemented my love for the gritty fictional character that I was hoping (and somewhat expecting) a mic drop moment or two from the Beast of Bishop’s Landing. But what I discovered was a man who so desperately needed help but as I mentally looked around, there wasn’t one damn person powerful enough, or willing enough to stand with him. And those who did, just didn’t have the firepower needed for the war he was facing.

There was so many things I hadn’t expected. Some of which I felt were left unfinished. But, I can only hope with how things concluded, that perhaps I’ll see some kind of retribution resolution in the future? 🙏

I will say this— I utterly loved how Wilde had cleverly connected characters from her others books into this one. The crossover felt effortless and I was truly amazed at how their stories meshed so well with Leo’s. It was like a light bulb moment reading those scenes. I found myself saying “OMG, that makes so much sense”, or “OMG, yes! That’s brilliant!” — Not only was it cool that Wilde has managed to sneak in familiar characters from her other series into this one, but the fact that there’s common ground amongst these characters that connect them. Sigh. Probably my favourite scenes to read! ❤

Besides Leo’s and Haley’s story, I have to mention this book is pivotal for readers who are knee-deep in the world of the Midnight Dynasty. It definitely gives massive indications as to what you can expect from future books. Whilst it had me excited with anticipation, not going to lie, it also made me think, “Fuuuuuuck… that’s a lot of new characters! *cough* siblings *cough* 🙊

Leo’s character development was sublime in this book. If you enjoyed him when he was wholly cruel, I think you’ll enjoy his softer side just as much. It was almost heart-wrenching to witness how much he’s opened up with his feelings in this book since meeting Haley. Before this trilogy, we only got snippets (mostly from a Constantine’s POV) of the Morellis. So, it was such a refreshing sight to see the Morellis through their own eyes.

Not only has Wilde given each Morelli who made an appearance (whether in a major or minor capacity) such depth, but she’s managed to take the Constantines that were already brought to life by other authors into her own story and kept their image consistent to how they were portrayed in their stories, making this entire interconnected world all the more seamless.

Wilde has a way of bringing her characters to life through their relatability and the realism of their emotions. I didn’t necessarily agree or like all the characters’ actions in this book, but I understood that they had a role to play in this storyline — whether they were an ally or an enemy, they added dimension to the story and kept up the suspense.

I liked the complexity of the characters, the dynamics between them all, and the fact that although this was initially a Beauty and the Beast retelling, Wilde has executed taking the backbone of the tale and weaving in her own style. The storyline still had the essence but reads as an entirely new love story.


“For a beast, you really wear your heart on your sleeve.”


I only wish the book had an epilogue, even if Wilde decides to continue Leo’s and Haley’s story or provide updates/appearances in future books, in my opinion, the ending of this trilogy would’ve felt a little more wrapped up if one was included.

But overall, I thought the story progressed well, with nicely-paced storytelling, told majority from dual points of view. Although I must admit, Leo’s POV was a highlight in comparison to Haley’s as I didn’t see as much development as I would’ve liked from her. I do however like that she was a constant steady force in Leo’s life.

He has been through horrifying trauma that has altered his life physically, emotionally and psychologically. You will see how much it has affected not only his nature but his relationships with the people closest to him. This book definitely focused a lot more on the constant struggles with his demons and his overall character growth.

It’s an enemies-to-lovers romance story with angst and heartbreak, but also one full of love and hope. Putting aside the sweet HEA for Leo and Haley, the ending also provided a sense of peace for Leo, which ultimately left me in happy contentment.

Please note, books must be read in order as this is a continuous storyline. It also contains some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as child abuse, violence, kidnapping, and attempted rape. It also contains strong sexual content, suitable for readers 18+ only!

If you like dark romances, complex characters, and the whole good vs evil type storylines, I highly recommend this trilogy, especially if you love Beauty and the Beast retellings.

 RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Amelia Wilde, Candi Kane PR, and Dangerous Press for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

🔔 Interested in reading the Beauty and the Beast Trilogy? Grab your copy here:

•••


🌹 Read my reviews for the Beauty and the Beast Trilogy!

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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Kiss To Defy by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

She’s a figure skating prodigy. He’s a guy from the wrong side of tracks.

They belong to two completely different worlds…

After dedicating her entire life to figure skating, Rei Mitchell-Nagasaki is ready for a little bit of normal. And what’s more normal than attending college?

Zane West has had a rough life, but he’s found his way out of Ashton Heights and he isn’t about to lose it all when the demons of his past come knocking at the door.

… that are about to collide on the ice.

Rei has one semester to show her father that she can have it all—a normal life and making it to the Winter Games—but it’s not so easy when there is a broody hockey player standing in her way. Once heated arguments turn into sharing the rink and late-night kisses, neither of them will be able to resist the pull.

Will they manage to defy the odds or was their love doomed from the very beginning?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Another amaaaaazing addition to the totally addictive college romance series; Blairwood University by Anna! 🙌

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Right from the very beginning this story had me engaged with that zinger of an opening scene between Rei and Zane… 🔥 *phew!*

If you adore sports romances, specifically hockey romances — this series is a must read. You can technically read each one as standalone books, but as someone who’s read them all, I can tell you now, you’ll want to read them in release order. The world-building from the first book sets the atmosphere not only within Blairwood, but amongst the friends, and from there it’s an ever-expanding world as you get to know more and more about each character in length through the books that follow.

Anna has kept it consistent with another character-driven story with well-paced storytelling as it delves into two opposite characters who find themselves having more in common than they first realized. The dual points of view was a perfect choice in sharing their story because you get in-depth insights into their relationship and compare where their heads are at on certain situations. Whilst Anna has already introduced some multicultural diversity when she first introduced these friends in the first book— Kiss To Defy is the first amongst them with leading characters who are POC (person/people of colour).

Although, both the hero and heroine are of colour, their different multicultural backgrounds alone wasn’t necessarily the biggest factor that was in the forefront of the story. If anything, it was mentioned more in passing as their overall social standing was more so the main obstacle in their budding relationship.

I connected with Rei fairly easily just from the description of her appearance alone. 😅 As a fellow Asian and a shorty to boot, Rei simply felt like someone I could relate and be friends with in real life. As the story progresses, you quickly discover with her personality she’s quite a likable character as well. She’s a person who’s ambitious yet yearns for some work/life balance by choosing to divide her time from skating with school and making friendships.

What I love about the books in this series is the dynamics amongst the friends, and this one was no different. It gave it a lot more dimension having all these secondary characters have some participation in creating layers within the story no matter how minor. In my opinion, Zane’s and Rei’s story was somewhat more sombre in comparison to all the previous couples that I found the few lighthearted moments throughout were refreshing breaks from the weighty issues that both Zane and Rei were dealing with. There’s just enough lightness and comic relief to keep their story from going too serious.

Please note this story contains some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It delves into addiction, domestic abuse, and violence. Recommended for readers of age only. 

I do have to point out that whilst I found the majority of the friends in this story very agreeable, I did find one in particular I was not a fan of. I found them to be a little pushy, rude, in-your-face, and at times disrespectful of others’ feelings. I won’t be naming names for a couple of reasons, one being that this is a no spoiler review, and two, this particular character has a book in the works (if sources are correct), so I’m hoping that my annoyance of said character doesn’t go any further than this book and that in my eyes they’ll have some redeeming qualities. 🙏

The entire book was an enjoyable read, but I would’ve preferred more build-up not only in their relationship but in the overall storyline too. Yes, there’s quite a slow burn romance going that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the overall story felt like it lacked a little more oomph that the other books in the series had in spades. I found certain plots started out well enough but fizzled by the end leaving it a little anti-climatic, whilst other plots felt like they came out of nowhere that it left me a little taken aback.

I did however liked seeing no game-playing between Rei and Zane. They both knew they had a bond and it felt very genuine seeing them whenever they were together.

As I said at the very beginning, this is another great addition to the series. I think it’s a must read for those who have come to love the series and invested in seeing each character get their own story. I admit Zane wasn’t on my radar as much as some of the other guys, but after having read Kiss To Defy, I have a newfound respect for him. Despite his difficult upbringing, it’s never discouraged him from wanting a better life for himself and willing to work hard for it. He’s also quite a considerate gentleman— which he proves time and time again with Rei. 😊

What I also enjoyed about this story besides the slow burn romance between the two, is the vivid feature of both Rei’s and Zane’s perspective sports. Especially Rei’s figure skating. Anna has managed to put a lot of detail and sport “lingo” that wasn’t overly done or overbearing to read about. On the contrary, I found it all fascinating and at times felt like I was actually learning a thing or two about each sport. Both Zane’s passion for ice hockey, and Rei’s ambition in her figure skating career were evident and figuratively oozed out of the pages. Right along with the unwavering support they had for one another in achieving their goals.

Their romance was far from easy but it was sweet and, in the end, triumphant. What started out as a misunderstanding between the two ended up being such a solid relationship. They might have had differences, but Rei and Zane are undoubtedly perfect for one another. Anna has written another swoon-worthy couple whom I can look forward to seeing make appearances in future books.

This one in particular had a lot of elements and tropes included. If you like any and all in your romance reads, then I recommend you give this one a try.

  • Opposites Attract
  • Hate to Love
  • Diverse Characters
  • Contemporary Romance
  • College Romance
  • Slow Burn
  • New Adult
  • Sports Romance

I may have had a couple of hang-ups with some plotlines and certain characters in this book, but I can’t deny Anna’s writing style is effortless to follow and gets you invested in fairly early on. I love the consistency in effort and detail Anna puts into each of her books in this series that it’s hard not to want the next one right away.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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

•••


🏈 Read my reviews for the 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

•••

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

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Ghost by A. Zavarelli

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•••

— BLURB —

Talia.
I have always been a bird. Caged by one prison or another when the only thing I ever wanted was to fly away.
Sold. Beaten. Starved. Drugged.
Nothing scares me anymore.
Until him.
He makes the numbness go away.
He is hazardous to me. It has nothing to do with his mafia lifestyle, and everything to do with what he offers.
A gilded prison.
A retreat from everything that I once knew. The reality I have no desire to return to.
He thinks he’s caged me, but soon…
I’m going to fly.

Alexei.
I live by a code. The Vory code.
In this mafiya world, there are traditions.
Expectations.
She does not care for these things. She does not care about anything.
She thinks she has me fooled with her haunted eyes.
What she can’t know is that I see her better than most.
She wants to fly.
But I’m going to clip her wings.
And make her my wife.

**This is a DARK mafia romance. A full-length standalone novel with HEA and no cheating.**

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Oooh. What to say about Ghost… 🤔

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Third book in the Boston Underworld series and it felt so different from the first two. This one focuses on the Irish mob’s Russian ally Alexei. And before this book I had never read any mafia romances that centered around the Russian mob.

If they’re anything as disturbingly haunting, heart-palpitating action packed full of torture and heartbreak like Ghost was, then damn… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to handle it.

Ghost was difficult to get through in the sense that these characters are completely, and utterly broken, that there’s nothing but darkness surrounding them. Reading through their constant struggle was all-encompassing. It grips you and sucks you in. I was enamored, and felt like I was going through it right along with them. The first time around reading this book, I felt like I was in a depressive state all throughout. I could only read a few chapters at a time before I needed a breather. It was THAT heartbreaking and all out grim! This time around, it was a little easier to swallow (as I already knew what was coming), but it still conjured up a tightness in my chest with how much Talia and Alexei can easily consume my attention.

The storytelling is without a doubt spellbinding. I thought Crow and Reaper were cleverly written, but I realize, even though Ghost was a different vibe from those two, was in it’s own way just as compulsive. Despite my breathers, I could not NOT finish it. I needed to know that Talia and Alexei would survive, that they would save each other. That the screwed-up, fucked-up things I was reading would slowly but surely dissipate like a puff of smoke and beyond it would be their happily ever after.

I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. This was one hell of a roller coaster ride, with so many loopy-d-loops, that I seriously thought for a minute there that my poor heart wouldn’t be able to take it anymore. The amount of cruelty that Talia endures in this entire story (both in her past and present) is both unbelievable and shocking. I swear at times even I was done with it all for her. She has a quiet, steely strength. She’s all twisty and a little screwy in the head, but my gosh, she was one addictive heroine (no pun intended).


“I don’t have anything to offer him. Except for my broken thoughts and demented soul, stitched together by my frequent bouts of insanity.”


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Alexei was just as complex a character as Talia. He has his own demons that he keeps to himself, and it was one of the many reasons I was intrigued by him. He has an agenda, a reason why he wants and needs Talia right from the second he saw her. It’s partly why this book was attention-grabbing. You NEED to know what happens between them and all the secrets surrounding them. And with danger and shifty characters lurking everywhere, this mafia romance was full of suspense.


“Yesterday, she smiled. And today, she wants to die all over again. Because of me.”


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I always love Zavarelli’s added secondary characters because despite the fact that they’re not necessarily in the forefront of the story, they do play vital roles, they leave an impression, and give the world-building more layers with their presence. Unchanged: I always love Zavarelli’s added secondary characters because despite the fact that they’re not necessarily in the forefront of the story, they do play vital roles, they leave an impression, and give the world-building more layers with their presence.

There are a handful of secondary characters in Ghost that have their own mystery about them that’ll have you second-guessing whether or not they can be trusted. The addition of Alexei’s *cough* dysfunctional *cough* family, and close allies from his brotherhood really places you in his world and the world of the Vory (aka the Russian Mafia).

Right off the bat, I was drawn to Nikolai and Franco. I mean, who would complain at seeing more eye-candy, am I right??! 😉😍 I only wished that they both got their own books… *sigh*

There are a lot of relationships and ties in this book that adds another element to Alexei and his life. You get to delve into the dynamics and see the development unravel. I thought Zavarelli could effortlessly create amazing grey characters and anti-heroes, but her antagonists and villainous characters are just as impressive. They’re so cruel with such evil intent that it’ll honestly have you growling at the book. 😅

I’m usually cool with just a good, swoony love story, but if it also involves some deviousness, secrecy and some unpredictability (especially if it gets in the way of our hero/ heroine getting together), then I say it’s a success and more! I love substance in my fiction. I love if the story keeps me engaged from start to finish. I even love it if it leaves me with the biggest book hangover — because that’ll mean that it effected me both emotionally and mentally.

Besides the expanding world-building by focusing on the Russian mafia in this book and putting the Irish in the background, there’s constant growth with both our hero/heroine. It’s gradual, and at times they may go back a step or two in their progress, but you can bet it’s there nonetheless. By the end, you’ll realize how much these guys have grown, as individuals and as a couple, and how much stronger and more content they are with their lives.

This is a bittersweet romance. One where you have to go experience all the darkness and pain first before seeing all the sweet, caring moments. I cried countless times but it also left me feeling lighter by the end of it.


“I will always see you, Solnyshko,” he tells me. Always.”


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I didn’t always agree with either Talia or Alexei at times, but they certainly kept me hooked. And for someone who doesn’t know much about Russian culture or the language, I thought the little Russian endearments, and sayings was an extra element I adored seeing in their interactions.

I’ll confess, I probably won’t be rereading this one as much as Crow, but when I do decide to reread, it’ll still have the same effect on me as it did the first (and second) time. I’ll still be anxious, or swooning, or crying over the same scenes!

With dark romances, there’s bound to be some sensitive content, possible trigger warnings included. Ghost, has it all. Explicit content. Severe sexual and substance abuse, violence, along with profanity. Definitely only for readers of age, and for those who are not triggered by any of the subjects mentioned above! 🙏

But I 100% guarantee you won’t be disappointed if you do take a chance on the series. Ghost is book three in the Boston Underworld series, and although each book centers around different couples, the characters and their backstories are still intermittent, so I recommend you read from the beginning.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

•••


Read my reviews for Boston Underworld series!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

Book One: 📘 Crow by A. Zavarelli

Book Two: 📘 Reaper by A. Zavarelli


Read more of my reviews on A. Zavarelli books!

Confess by A. Zavarelli

Sin City Salvation (Book One) — Dark, romantic suspense.

Convict by A. Zavarelli

Sin City Salvation (Book Two) — Dark, romantic suspense. Mild MC romance.

Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli

Standalone, contemporary romance. Age gap. School setting.

Mine by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

Ties That Bind Duet (Book One) — Mafia romance. Dark, suspense romance.

His by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

Ties That Bind Duet (Book Two) — Mafia romance. Dark, suspense romance.

Stealing Cinderella by A. Zavarelli

Modern, standalone romance. Dark fairy tale retelling.


•••

Catch you in my next one! Stay safe and keep positive! Xo

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Savage Beginnings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

It started with a single look, my obsession, my desire and need to possess the sweet, and incredibly naive Elena Romero.

Like a thief I came in the dead of night and stole her away from her protected castle and placed her in a gilded cage made of gold.

The arrangement had been made. Her father knew I was coming, knew I had intended to make him pay.

His empire was crumbling. He had no money, nothing of value to me, nothing except… her.

Which is why he agreed.

His precious, virgin daughter in return for a debt paid.

He thought I would break her, kill her, he had no idea what I had really planned.

She would become my wife.
She would bear my children.
She would bend to my will.

And I would go to any lengths to keep her by my side.

*This is a dark mafia romance that contains mature themes, graphic violence, and sexual content.*

•••

— MY REVIEW —

So many emotions running through my mind thinking about what I had read. After having read the prequel Stolen Bride first, I was pumped to get onto the main book. I was lured into the mystery surrounding Julian and being in the same boat as Elena at not knowing what exactly was happening.

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This was one roller coaster of a read! *phew* 🎢

It started off with a bang! Julian walks in, then walks out not even 10 mins later with his new bride-to-be in tow.. Who I might add did not have a single clue of what was happening. Poor girl.

Immediately, I was eating it up! I love a good mafia romance filled with secret agendas and motives — and Julian had it in spades. Told from dual perspectives, but even that doesn’t really help you with what the secret is. Why Julian has truly taken Elena.

It’s a relatively nice pacing, at least for the first half of the book but to be honest, I thought it started to drag a little by the second half. At times it felt like the story wasn’t progressing any further and was stuck in a loop of constant mistrust and apprehension when it came to Elena and Julian’s relationship.

Once they start divulging their feelings and open up to one another, there was almost always something popping up that kind of makes them second-guess everything that’s happened. Hence the roller coaster. They have so much hurdles to jump over, but to be honest their issues could have very well been resolved a lot earlier it wasn’t for the uncertainty between them.

Elena made a sweet first impression as the young, innocent girl who cares deeply but after a while, it got a little boring. You figure, once it all sinks in that she’s being held captive by a dangerous man and being forced to marry that she would be a little more wary and alert. Unfortunately as the book furthered along, Elena stayed just as naive and gullible as ever. Didn’t even want to see what was right in front of her.

I wish she had more character development. I would’ve liked to have seen her mature a little more and pluck up some courage to stand up for herself once in a while.

Julian was a little more of a developed character. He went from someone who strictly had a goal (which is to mete out revenge), to someone who eventually grew some conscience over Elena’s feelings.

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Julian isn’t the biggest, baddest Mafioso I’ve read about. Maybe my preferences have gotten darker and darker over the years when it comes to mafia romance, but I felt this one was just too tamed. Yes, there’s violence. Yes, there’s definitely some war brewing between enemies. But there wasn’t enough build-up, and by the time I reached the end, it was all very anti-climactic.

There was a lot of loose ends with this book that bothered me, and I can’t help thinking if the authors had initially stuck with their original plan of having a duet instead of one full-length novel, the entire world-building as a whole and character development would’ve been more in depth.

I was curious about the secondary characters introduced in this book, specifically Markus and Lucca, the closest men working for Julian. But they were literally only present in the book at the beginning and at the end, which was a pity because I saw some real potential for further world-building by having more people in play within the story. Both Markus and Lucca clearly have their own stories, so I couldn’t help think are there plans for books of their own? Will it become a series or is Savage Beginnings still a standalone? There are also other characters mentioned that seem to already have backstories — Once again, are these characters from past books and are just making appearances? Questions. Questions. Questions.

But unfortunately, their history with Julian is only brushed upon, and I was left wondering what their deal was, and how they all came about to know one another. 🤔

The secondary characters are fairly minor in this story line. Strictly centering around Julian and Elena, and seeing their progression from captor/ captive to man and wife. Not going to lie, there’s instant chemistry and spark between the pair. It’s one of the main reasons I was drawn to the book. But after having some time to let it all sink in, I’m also questioning whether the relationship was truly love or a case of Stockholm Syndrome? Although there is some obvious attraction between them, by the end I still wasn’t completely sold on their loving relationship. Like I mentioned earlier, maybe if this was duet, I would’ve seen their relationship grow at a more realistic pace. There was very little development in getting to know each other on a deeper level. Julian’s bossiness and dominance was consistent from start to finish despite considering giving Elena more freedom, yet it never came about. Not really.

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I easily give the first half of the book a solid four stars. I’ve had to lower my overall rating a smidge in the end due to some repetitiveness in the story, the anti-climactic ending, and the stories involving Julian’s men that were left open. I still found the overall plot gripping. If you like semi-dark mafia romances, with hostage/ captive story lines, then this is an absolute must. Both Julian and Elena are remarkably decent people who happen to be living in a grisly world with its own set of rules. A good book for readers wanting to dip their toe in mafia romance but not quite ready for full-out grittiness and brutality that usually comes into play with this genre.

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

Thank you to J.L. Beck, C. Hallman and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

•••



Read Stolen Bride the prequel to Savage Beginnings!

🎁 Grab your copy below!

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU

•••

Read my review for Stolen Bride!

📔 Stolen Bride by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman



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Savage Beginnings by J.L. Beck and C. Hallman

Release Date: July 17, 2020

Add to your TBR: Goodreads

📒 Grab your copy NOW!

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU


•••

See the teasers for Savage Beginnings!

SavageBeginnings_Cover

Savage Beginnings Teaser

Savage Beginnings Teaser 2

•••


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

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Dirty Deals by Nicole James

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Rusty—
I’m the president of the Devil Kings Atlanta MC. With a fractious club to rebuild and a revolving door on my bedroom, the last thing I need is 5’4” of sex-on-a-stick trouble.
When a mysterious beauty shows up with her playmate’s body, dark soulful eyes and a bagful of cash, I’m willing to make an exception.
I don’t fully trust her, but she needs my help.

Ashlynn—
Things are finally good. I’m one of the best high-roller hostesses on the strip. But I’ve lived in Las Vegas two years and have yet to unpack my bags. Why? Because shit always goes sideways.
I should have known this time would be no different.
When I’m asked to hostess a private poker game at a mega exclusive hotel penthouse, I end up in the proverbial wrong place at the wrong time.
I’m the sole witness to a double murder and I’m suddenly on the run again, but this time I’m running for my life.
I get as far as Atlanta before my Porsche blows a tire.
That’s when he shows up. Dangerous. Drop-dead gorgeous. Scary badass biker. One I can’t take my eyes off. Maybe this town is as good as any to lay low.
When trouble tracks me down, I want to run again. But he has other plans.
He’ll protect me—for a price.
My willing body in his big bed—all night, every night.
That’s the dirty deal he offers.
Dare I accept?

Where the President of the Devil Kings is involved, there are no rules.
But I’ll stand toe-to-toe with him and make it out of this bargain with my heart intact. Because in the end, running is what I do best.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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I can’t get enough of Nicole James’ MC romances! And this one was just as enjoyable, just as swoon-worthy, and just as thrilling to see unfold! 😍😍

My only downside to this book? It was too friggin’ short! Nowhere near as long or as organically developed as it’s predecessor, Dirty Deeds. Ugh. I have loved and been intrigued by Rusty since the good ol’ Evil Dead MC days where he was introduced in Shades’ book as Skylar’s ex-boyfriend.

After having read Dirty Deeds, not only did it cement a new love for these Devil Kings members (and spin-off series), but it reiterated how much I wanted Rusty’s story.

I want to say that Rusty has been consistent in his personality and traits since he was first introduced in Evil Dead, all the way up to this book — HIS book. He always stood out to me as a character, whom despite being in a big bad MC, had morals, gentlemanly manners, and just good all around decency. I am so glad, he hasn’t strayed away from that. Dirty Deals, just made me love him even more and knowing that he’ll finally have his own HEA!

Okay! — Let’s talk storylines before we move onto my thoughts on our heroine, Ashlynn (aka Hot Rod), shall we?

The blurb pretty much sums up the plot to a T. Ashlynn blew a tire out and the lucky girl that she is, happen to have had Rusty riding past, pulled over to help her out, and the rest is history! 😉 You might say, their attraction to one another was instant. So, you can imagine me already scooting over, hand under my chin, grin on my face, and my full undivided attention in place!

With Reno’s book; Dirty Deals, the majority of the story revolved around their MC. In this instance, Rusty’s story revolved around Ashlynn and ensuring her safety. It still has a nice MC backdrop with members dropping by now and then, and having some of the scenes play out in their clubhouse, but make no mistake, Ashlynn and Rusty’s growing relationship, and her troubles are very much in the forefront.

It’s a little different from Nicole James’ previous MC romances in the sense that it’s MC-lite and more romance. Rusty, isn’t as gritty or troubled as some of the other MC characters Nicole has written in the past. Yes, he’s alpha. But he’s also patient and willing to take things slowly when it comes to someone he truly cares about.

I would’ve loved it even more if the story was little longer, so that it didn’t feel like things were progressing too fast. Their relationship, although sweet and steaming hot… it also felt like they skipped a few milestones between getting to know each other to not being able to live without one another. It still works, but in my opinion it only does because it’s an MC romance. If you’ve read from this genre before then you know, the guys usually move a little faster in claiming who they want. If this was more of a contemporary romance, then I consider their relationship leaned more towards insta-love.

Don’t get me wrong, this was an enjoyable read that had me hooked from start to finish. I would definitely reread it again, and I’m not gonna lie the cover is now one of faves out all of James’ book covers! I just wanted MORE! ✊ More Rusty! ✊ More Rusty! ✊ More Rusty!


“I get we just met, and maybe you don’t trust me. I get that, babe. But if you need help, all you gotta do is ask. Understand?”


Ashlynn is an independent, well established career woman. It’s always refreshing to see a heroine in an MC romance to be so self-reliant. Yes, she’s a damsel in distress when it comes to the trouble she falls into, and yes, Rusty is more than willing to help her out. But I love that she’s financially set, and that she actually likes to work.

She’s got some personal issues and quirks, but she’s not naive, immature, or a pushover (which I always favor in my heroines!)

She knows she’s in a fucked up situation, but I respect her for wanting to make sure the people she cares about doesn’t get sucked into it with her. She thinks about consequences and actually uses her brain to piece things together.

  • Likable, smart heroine? ✔
  • Stunner of a anti-hero? ✔

This can be read as a standalone as each book centers around a different MC member. I still highly recommend you read Dirty Deeds so you get the entire backstory of the club, how Rusty became the President, and to get to know the relationships between the secondary characters (aka the rest of the MC members). If you really want to see what the Devils Kings MC were like in the past, how much they’ve evolved, and get an even bigger impression of Rusty — then read Shades from the Evil Dead MC series.

You don’t get a lot of world-building in this book. It’s more of a continuous from the first one, with very little expansion since — but as I said earlier, this one is less MC, more romance.

And whilst Rusty and Ashlynn’s relationship came together relatively quickly, there are some very memorable moments where they do try to get to know each other more. Their feelings for one another is actually one of the more solid things in this book.


“I just want you safe. I can be a dick, I know. Get used to it.”


A highlight is always the brotherhood and friendship that James’ always manages to include in her books. This was no different. There’s banter, but there’s also some deep camaraderie between the men. (Another reason why I think Nicole James’ is at the top of the game when it comes to MC romances).

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Somewhat short, but a worthwhile read. I’ve come to really love this spin-off series and look forward to the next installment. Effortless storytelling that’s full of life and love. Make sure to leave room in your book boyfriend list for Rusty’s name, because I guarantee after you read Dirty Deals, he’ll be all over it!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

•••


Read my review for Dirty Deeds — first book in the Devil Kings MC!

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📕 Dirty Deeds by Nicole James



Read my review for the Evil Dead MC — the series that started it all!

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📚 Evil Dead MC Series by Nicole James


•••

Hope you guys are doing well! Happy reading, catch you in my next one. Xo

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Chaos by Hilary Storm

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•••

— BLURB —

I’ve given up my entire life for my father’s club. He and I agreed on a compromise years ago and I haven’t looked back since. When things get messy… I’m the one they call to come in and clean it up. They call me Chaos for a reason.

We have a motto we stand by as the Kings of Carnage… Brothers before all others. No exceptions.

Until her.

She crashes into my dark world like an explosion to the heart and as I watch her naked body hang in an empty room, I have to decide whether to save her from the darkness or become her worst nightmare.

The club expects one thing… but I want another. The only question is, how bad do I want it?

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Please Note: Review includes some spoilers. Read at own risk!

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Sigh. Could easily have been 4 stars if the second half of the book didn’t feel so rushed.

I have a like/dislike relationship with this book. Ugh.

The first half was gripping and set the scene brilliantly — there was a buildup forming and early development between the hero/heroine. But when a tragic situation forces their relationship to go from 0-100 within a couple of chapters, it opened a floodgate. From that moment onward things progressed too fast for my liking with little to no real realistic growth to their relationship since they were first introduced.

With a lot of MC romances, there’s a high probability that storylines would contain sensitive subject matters that may trigger some readers. Fair warning — Chaos contains some very serious content. Sexual abuse, kidnapping, violence and human trafficking.

Cambri went through a horrific ordeal. Whilst these types of content can be difficult to read about, I liked the idea that the author is putting some light to certain dark situations that’s usually not openly discussed, despite the fact that these traumatic and disturbing events do happen anytime, anywhere.

But what I found a little disbelieving about’s Cambri situation is she didn’t show any real side effects to the trauma she underwent. She didn’t go to a hospital to be checked out, and there was no mention of possible therapy (even though I’m guessing she probably went but was just not included..?)

She literally went from being kidnapped, manhandled, drugged, placed in a situation where sex was her only option at staying alive (not to mention she was a virgin prior to all this). Yet, right after she was saved by Chaos, she ends up hooking up with him and couldn’t get enough of him. Hmm. I don’t know — it’s one thing to have an attraction and a strong pull, but to be effing the guy (and vice a versa) when some serious shit just went down I kid you not, just before it?! Umm. Yeah, no. Wasn’t feeling it.

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I was initially hooked on the concept. I’ve read countless of MC romances and this started out as a unique storyline. I wish it was longer and more thought-out. It would’ve given it a chance to really develop, build the club and the members up more. I think it would also have given our hero/heroine a chance to have further character growth and give their relationship a chance to grow organically rather than one minute they’re being introduced to one another, then the next their already naked and intimate.

The epilogue, as sweet as it was professing their love for another and calling each other the one, in my opinion would’ve been more believable IF their relationship was given more time to evolve. As a result I wasn’t connecting or finding it as convincing as it should’ve been especially from Chaos’ POV (being a biker who wasn’t initially looking for an ol’ lady) that they are each other’s end game.

I know this is part of an MC series where each book is written by a different MC romance author (and this is a new-to-me author) however it would’ve been nice to see full length novels for each one. This was a little longer than a novella but nowhere near long enough to be full-length. It’s a nice enough start to the King of Carnage MC but I think a big downside is it was too short to show any real progression, character growth, or world-building.

Pros:

  • Chemistry between the protagonists. 🔥🔥
  • The bond and friendship between the MC members.
  • Quick, easy romance read (if you’re looking for a read you can finish in one sitting).
  • Nice balance of romance and MC elements within the book.

Cons:

  • Lacked steady progression of the storyline and between the characters’ development.
  • The ending wrapped up a little too abruptly.
  • Quick, easy romance read (would’ve liked a few more chapters to really get their relationship further growth and for the introduction of the MC to have more of an impression).
  • Key details left out that could’ve made the story a little more in depth and doesn’t the leave the reader asking questions).

Despite my negatives, would I still recommend it?

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As much as there were things I wasn’t a fan of in this book, in the end it’s fiction. It’s also a genre of romance I enjoy reading, and Chaos wasn’t still an overall enjoyable read in my books! It hooked me enough to want to read the rest of the series despite the fact the other books are written by other MC romance authors. As far as introductions to an MC series goes — it’s not bad. It held my interest, and there’s some great introductions to the rest of the MC brothers.

If you’re looking for a quick MC romance read, then this book could appeal to you. 😊 Chaos, although an MC member, has a good moral compass, cares about family, is quite loyal, protective, and all things considered — a gentleman. Cambri is young, a little naive, yet not at all immature in her mindset. She’s sweet, and even with the differences between her and Chaos, there’s obvious spark and they balance each other out.

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

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Chaos is the first book in the Kings of Carnage MC. Five books written by five different MC romance authors. See below the participating authors and their book in the series:

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Chaos (Kings of Carnage MC #1) by Hilary Storm

Bash (Kings of Carnage MC #2) by Sapphire Knight

Jinx (Kings of Carnage MC #3) by Chelsea Camaron

North (Kings of Carnage MC #4) by M.N. Forgy

Sly (Kings of Carnage MC #5) by Nicole James

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If you’re still in lockdown (like me), hope you’re keeping your spirits up. Stay safe, guys. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Convict by A. Zavarelli

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•••

— BLURB —

From the shadows, I’ve tracked her every move.

I was just supposed to watch her. But now, I can’t stop.

She’s my obsession. My addiction. My poison.

Watching her isn’t enough.

The savage in me won’t be satisfied until I take her and make her mine.

One taste and I’m hooked. Too bad for her… I’m never letting her go.

**

Stalked. Hunted. Captured.

He took me from my life and locked me away in his compound.

The ex-con. The big bad biker. Inked, bearded, and inhumanely sized.
And yet, every time he looks at me, I melt.

This broken beast hides demons behind those brutal eyes. I hate him… and I crave him.

His touch, his words, his lips.

When my enemies come for me, he vows to protect me as long as I do what he says. I’ll be secure in this prison he created for me.

But who will protect me from him?

•••

— MY REVIEW —

BIRDIE AND ACE’S BOOK WAS EVERYTHING I WANTED AND HOPED FOR COME TRUE!!

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I don’t know if it’s because I was still reeling from reading Confess a couple days earlier resulting in an unexpected emotional breakdown.. but I started Convict with my eyes already burning and ready to shed more tears.

As much I loved reading Gypsy and Lucian’s story, I knew almost immediately that when Birdie and Ace were introduced in Confess and had their first encounter that getting my hands on their story would have me acting like a total savage!

Exhibit A:

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So, before I dive into my review I just want to first say a big thank you to Ashleigh Zavarelli and to the ladies @ happilyeverinstatours for the amazing opportunity at being one of the earlier readers to snag a copy of Convict! Xo

**This is a spoiler free review so please read on!**

Okay. Let’s start off with my thoughts on the characters. Starting with the man of the moment – Ace. I was already quite drawn to him when I found out he was a bikie part of an MC. I love my MC romances with alpha bikers and women who completely give them a run for their money. When I first read that he was all built, bearded, leathered-up and inked I was like “ding, ding, ding.. we have a winner, folks!” 😜

And Birdie.. oh bless her. When I think of Birdie the first thing that always pops into my head is that that girl needs a big ol’ bear hug, stat! Even with her tantrums and facades towards other people, deep down she’s caring, vulnerable, and girly.. but who’s in obvious need of a strong, steady support system.

Similar to Confess with secrets and mysteries surrounding the protagonists’ lives, Convict was just as much a storyline that needed to be unravelled due to Birdie and Ace having pasts that they both can’t seem to escape from.

What I enjoyed about Convict (and Confess alike) is that the story’s written so that the further you read on you start to get an idea of what their pasts were like, and what each lead character had gone through. It makes you have assumptions yet it keeps you intrigued to see how it all unfolds and whether or not you were right in thinking about certain things in a particular way. It’s beautifully executed, nicely paced, and in my opinion a little more gripping than Confess. Ashleigh does a brilliant job of not revealing too much away too early on.

As I said earlier Ace is a biker, and although he’s part of an MC that play somewhat of a role in this story, it’s not your conventional club where you see them fending for their turf against other clubs or anything of that sort. Although they’re not in the foreground whenever one of Ace’s brothers is around you do see that strong brotherhood and that MC life mentality within Ace. If you like reading romance books that have MCs in it like I do – then you may like this one a little more! 😉

Whilst it didn’t have the big shock factor for me like I had experienced with Confess… Birdie and Ace are such likeable characters (FYI I definitely ended up liking Birdie a lot more than Gypsy) with intriguing, complicated lives that I found that unexpected scenes or plot twists weren’t needed to keep me hooked. In fact I ended up finishing this one a lot faster lol. What can I say? I just couldn’t put it down!

Exhibit B:

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And although I had a little issue with the big age gap between Lucian and Gypsy in Confess, funnily enough the age difference didn’t bother me with Birdie and Ace. Maybe because their one wasn’t as bad, or maybe because Ace wasn’t as old as Lucian.. Who knows? But their relationship felt like it developed more organically and in the end.. just inevitable. They fit so well together even with all the road bumps they were forced to go through and the complexity of their situation.

They’ll make you swoon…

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They’ll make you hold your breath…

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They’ll make you gasp…

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They’ll make you melt…

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I’ve never read a dark romance as suspenseful and apprehensive as this series had been.. and I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do now whilst I wait for Ashleigh’s next book. Birdie and Ace are officially up there along with my other fave couples Mack and Lachlan (Crow), Sasha and Ronan (Reaper), and Scarlet and Rory (Saint) from Zavarelli’s other books.

Another irresistible book from A. Zavarelli that’s a surefire hit! And definitely NOT to be missed! Ashleigh has the Midas touch when it comes to creating characters who are raw, gritty and broken but who persevere nonetheless. Read it and you’ll know what I mean!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you to A. Zavarelli for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜

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— Convict by A. Zavarelli —

Sin City Salvation (Book Two)

SaveTheDateRelease Date: July 22!

Birdie and Ace are first introduced in Confess and although it’s not necessary to read it prior to Convict – I still highly recommend that you do. It’ll provide you with a fuller understanding of the world they live in, the situations they’re at, and how they came to be together in Convict.

Please Note: This book is graphic and contains dark themes and touches on serious and very sensitive subjects such as: child abuse, rape, violence, traumas and death. It also contains steamy scenes. Readers of age only!


Read my review for the first book in the series!

📓 Confess by A. Zavarelli


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Thank you for stopping by and reading my review! Hope you enjoyed it. Catch you in my next one! Xo

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