I’ll Be Your Wolf by Darcy Rose

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

As a lone wolf, I’ve been out on my own for a long time.
I keep my distance from humans and stay hidden in the woods, making sure I never get too close.

Until the day I find her lying on the forest floor, beaten, broken, alone.
I never expected my mate to be a human, or so beautiful. Everything about her makes me want to mark her and claim her as mine. But I can’t, I won’t. Not yet.

Things get worse when she tries to escape, and the wolf in me breaks free, revealing the beast beneath. My mate can run, but she can never hide.

This is a short and steamy novella including dark elements. Story ends in a HEA.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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As the blurb mentions, this was a short dark romance story. What it doesn’t mention is it contains serious subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as kidnapping, sexual abuse (including non-consensual sex), and violence.

I have not read anything by Darcy Rose before. It was the blurb (along with the pretty cover) that had me intrigued with wanting to read this story. But I’m not going to lie, after having read it, there were a lot things I hadn’t expected from the storyline that ultimately made me rate this book the way I did.

Both the main characters; Emma and Cole were likable on some level but a lot of their mindset and reasoning behind their actions didn’t quite make sense or was just off-putting for my taste. I get that this is a fated mates romance but Cole’s human mentality wavered on several occasions throughout that had me cringing. Same went for Emma. There were moments when I thought her feelings were relatable and authentic for the ordeal she’s been forced into but then out of nowhere her actions would contradict it and she’d be okay with what was happening. 🤔

I’ve read plenty of romance novellas but despite their short length still managed to create world-building, set a gripping atmosphere, a flowing storyline, and gradual character growth. Unfortunately I’ll Be Your Wolf fell a little short in my opinion in all those elements. It had a good start, getting you a little curious about Emma and her life— even Emma’s and Cole’s first encounter was interesting… but it quickly headed in a direction I just wasn’t feeling.

I don’t mind captor/ captive romance storylines. I can believe the heroine when she starts developing feelings for her captor without it seeming like a case of Stockholm Syndrome. I think it has a lot to do with how well the author has developed her characters and their journey. In this case, it was difficult to believe any in-depth feelings between Emma and Cole because there wasn’t enough development in their relationship. It didn’t come off genuine despite them being mates.

The overall storytelling was choppy that I had a hard time really sinking into the story and connecting with it all. I do still like the overall premise of it— the push and pull of being in a situation where you’re stuck with a stranger that you never would’ve guessed to be your destined mate. It’s told from dual POVs so I at least was able to get an insight to both Emma’s and Cole’s (along with his wolf’s) thoughts about the situation they both found themselves in with one another.

Emma’s personal story is shared relatively early but I thought Cole’s was delved into a little late, so by the end it all seemed to wrap-up a little too abruptly. Putting the storyline aside there is a lot of lust and steamy scenes, and plenty of chasing. If you’re not too fussed with story development and enjoy an occasional bit of smut/ erotica, then this dark little shifter novella might be right up your alley.

You get a good chunk of the wolf shifter elements in this novella, there’s no lacking in Cole shifting from human to wolf and back again, even seeing how Cole and his wolf co-exist. There were a couple of attention-grabbing moments between Emma and Cole that kept me reading to see where their twisted affair would lead to.

Overall, I thought it was an okay read. Some pros and cons. I do enjoy shifter/ fated-mates type romance stories, but I just wasn’t fond of how this particular story played out (especially with all the non-consensual acts included). Not a bad read, it just didn’t end up being my cup of tea. And it hasn’t put me off from possibly reading any more of Darcy Rose’s work in the future! 🙂

A story you can definitely read in one sitting. If you’re a fan of dark shifter romances and have no issues with triggering content, you might like this one.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank to Darcy Rose and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading I’ll Be You Wolf? Grab your copy here: Amazon


•••

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

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•••

Read my reviews of books in the Midnight Dynasty!

👑 Cinderella Trilogy by K. Webster

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

🔥 Hellfire Club by Becker Gray

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

🧡 Hearts Trilogy by M. O’Keefe

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

🌹 Beauty and the Beast Trilogy by Amelia Wilde

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

•••

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

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Savage Prince by Alison Aimes

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

He’s a notorious crime lord—and he’s on the hunt for her.

Maxheim Skolov is mafia royalty. Worlds above her. Ice-cold and merciless. Driven by duty and dark secrets.

Tess is property. Expected to submit. Imprisoned by ruthless criminals determined to break her for information she can’t afford to give.

Because she’s got a secret that could change everything–and the last thing she wants is to put it in the hands of her enemies.

Except there’s something different about the heir to the Skolvo crime family that awakens long buried instincts within Tess and draws her toward the man inside the beast.

A force more dangerous than anything she’s faced to date.

So, she runs. But she won’t get far.

For mafia prince Maxheim Skolov, hunting down the rebellious, spirited female is a certainty. He’ll do whatever it takes to possess her secret.

The real question is what he’ll do with her—and to her—when he catches her.

***

Savage Prince: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance is the second book in the Ruthless Warlords series. It is a scorching HOT standalone, though it is recommenced to read the series in order for greatest enjoyment.

*Book 1 in the series is Ruthless King: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance. 

*Forbidden Flame: A Dark Mafia Omegaverse Fated-Mates Romance is a stand-alone novella in the same world.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oooh there’s a new Alpha in town! Scooch a smidge would you, Nikolai…? 🤭😍

After reading Ruthless King and Forbidden Flame, I was absolutely itching to read the next book in this series. Savage Prince was full of emotion and heart that I couldn’t help but swoon over Maxheim’s and Tess’s love story.

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In Ruthless King, you’ll find the eldest brother and head Alpha, Nikolai whose dominating Alpha-hole personality that could have your head jerking back in shock. In this story you’ll read about the second oldest; Maxheim, who in comparison to Nikolai is sweet, and a more accommodating Alpha to his mate. His personality is almost opposite to his brother who’s always so hard and pushy, whilst Maxheim is definitely more considerate of Tess’s feelings and insecurities. He’s such a genuinely likable character. So, if you’re not a fan of the overly-controlling, arrogant Alpha character type, then I truly think Maxheim will be more to your liking. 😉

I’m new to the Omegaverse world, with this one only having been my third book but I find this romance sub-genre in general fascinating. Aimes has created an expansive and vivid world-building, and it’s only growing more as each member of the Skolov family’s story gets told and their overall family story gets more complex.

These are the main elements you can expect in this book:

  • Science-Fiction
  • Romantic Fantasy
  • Paranormal
  • Diverse range of Aliens
  • Supernatural Abilities
  • Intergalactic Mafia

I’m an avid romance reader, but I admit I’ve never really gravitated much towards sci-fi/ paranormal as much as I would dark or contemporary romance ones, but this series hooked me in so easily with its unsuspecting storylines, interestingly multifaceted characters, and the fascination of a world where its citizens are divided by an archaic hierarchy: Alphas, Betas, and the mystifying Omegas who at first may seem like the ones who are powerless, but you soon discover that there’s more than meets the eye. I was also really curious to see how the additional Mafia elements included would mesh with the sci-fi in this romance.

FYI: It actually works well together. A dark alien mafioso?! Who woulda thunk it?! Well Aimes did! It’s bloody brilliant!

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Please note: This book is intended for readers 18+ only. It contains strong sexual content. Although the backdrop is set in a futuristic, galactic world, it also contains realistic sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as human trafficking, violence,  physical, sexual and drug abuse, and emotional blackmail. Please take into consideration before starting the book. 

A relatively well-paced storytelling that flowed nicely. It’s told in third person point of view which I admit took a little time to get used to as it doesn’t necessarily get told from either one of the leading characters’ perspective but the focus of the story does shift back and forth from either Maxheim’s or Tess’s current situation. You’ll know what I mean once you read it. 

If you read Ruthless King first, you’ll get an insight into how Maxheim and his family first discover Tess. The initial premise is what had me wanting to read his story. An Alpha prince and an Omega slave?! Yes please! It’s an opposites attract storyline with a Cinderella-esque vibe to it.

There’s a good amount of character development from both the main characters. As the story develops, you see a gradual change in both Maxheim’s and Tess’s attitude and mentality, especially when it comes to their connection as mates. A lot of the story revolves around figuring how to solve their problems without sacrificing their relationship — there’s a ton of suspense and build-up with plot twists I had not expected at all.

This romance story has plenty of intensity between Maxheim and Tess with a good chunk of hot and heavy scenes. But what made their coupling for me was the amount of time and effort Maxheim put into getting to know Tess and ensuring she felt at home with his family. All the impulsiveness, the flaws and insecurities made their budding relationship all the more believable, especially when you see how much they’ve grown, not just as individuals but as a couple by the end.

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Savage Prince is action-packed with a protective alpha hero, a caring heroine that comes into her own, and a story that focuses on the bond of family and values the importance of love and mate-ship. It was swoony. It was steamy as hells. It was downright a captivating read! It keeps you on edge with it’s unpredictability and array of secondary characters whose motives are unclear that you can’t help but form theories.

I also adored the light-hearted comic relief provided by the Skolov brothers all throughout. There’s nothing like brotherly love and banter to break some of the tension! Seeing the various personalities of each Skolov sibling and how they interact with one another was a treat to see. 😄

If you’re looking for a romance read set in a fantasy/ paranormal/ sci-fi backdrop, then you have to try this one. As the author mentions, you can technically read Savage Prince without having reading Ruthless King first but I agree in recommending you read in order. Each love story is separate, but there’s an ongoing story in the background that interconnects each book. Starting the series from the beginning will provide a better reading experience and understanding of their world.

I found Aimes’ writing effortless to follow. With a thrilling opening scene, I was invested in Maxheim, Tess, and the entire story right from the very beginning. Amazing book two in the Ruthless Warlords series. I’m excited to see how this world will expand from here!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Alison Aimes and Grey’s Promotions for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Savage Prince? Grab your copy here: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Nook  |  Kobo


•••

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

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Strict Confidence by Skye Warren

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Forbidden. Commanding. Mysterious. Beau Rochester has an entire house full of secrets. And those secrets are putting Jane Mendoza in danger.

She fell in love with the one man she can’t have. She should leave Maine to protect her heart, but the thread refuses to be severed. The brooding Mr. Rochester and his grieving niece are more than her job. They’re her new family.

She races against time to find answers and protect the people she loves. The cliffside grows dark with the misdeeds of the past. Her heart and her sanity fight a battle, but they are both at risk.

Will Mr. Rochester learn to trust Jane? And will that trust destroy her?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

The suspense, the mystery, and the thrill have amped up in book two of The Rochester Trilogy! This is a continuous storyline — Private Property must be read first and with how that book concluded, I was keen to read the next installment in Beau’s and Jane’s highly-charged relationship.

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 As I mentioned in my review for the first book, this story is a modern retelling of the classic Jane Eyre. I had also mentioned that I hadn’t read that tale so I was going into Skye’s version relatively blind of the plot or how the characters relate to one another. I went into reading this story with an open mind, no issues with comparison to the original tale, and I think most importantly with no spoilers.

I love dark romances and this one had the element of suspense and thrill included. It’s more a romantic thriller than anything. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time. The gloomy, depressing air that surrounded the first book effortlessly flowed through to this second one. The backdrop might have altered from the mansion they stayed in for the entirety of the first book to a new location but the sense of dread and danger lingered with Jane and the Rochesters nevertheless.

Just like the first book, it’s well-paced storytelling and still told from dual points of view. I felt the fear and anxiety coming off of these characters. It leapt off the pages and I couldn’t help but feel a little on edge right alongside them.

Little by little you get more and more out of these characters, and the more you can’t help but get invested in seeing where their story will head next. Especially with Jane, having to uproot her life for this job, only to somehow end up trapped in the same uncertainty she was hoping to get out of by taking this job in the first place. Everything is up in the air with so many segments of this story —

✔ Beau’s and Jane’s relationship.

✔ Jane’s employment.

✔ The Rochester mansion.

✔ Paige’s wellbeing.

✔ The town they reside in and the people who seem to know everything and nothing.

✔ Their past, present, and future.

✔ Their sanity. Their sanity. Their sanity.

Nothing is for certain which is one of the main reasons why I found myself so absorbed by Jane, Beau and the mystery surrounding their lives. I’m hooked and totally in it for the long haul! I can’t wait to read Best Kept Secret. Although I found some of the plot twists unsurprising, I am still itching to see how everything will go down…. especially with how this book concluded in quite a tingly cliffhanger just as the first book had.

Besides Beau Rochester’s hard, hot-and-cold demeanor and indecisiveness, especially where Janes is concerned, I still found him to be a likable character. Despite all his wealth and success, he still comes off human with relatable insecurities.

I tend to forget a lot of the time that Jane is only nineteen years old with her maturity level in handling a fragile little girl and all the drama surrounding Beau. She’s lived a tough mudda of a life and it shows in her character.

Easy flowing storytelling with an effortless transition from the ending of book one to the beginning of book two. Strict Confidence also introduces new secondary characters that are just as shady as the ones that were in Private Property that’ll leave your mind reeling with what ifs.

For a reader who has very little clue of how close of a retelling this is to the original tale, or if it’s only inspired by it, I can’t comment on whether or not Skye’s version is a refreshing take. But either way, I did find it engaging from start to finish. If you enjoy reading dark, twisted romance books, I recommend you give this story a go. An age gap, workplace romance story with a side of suspense.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Skye Warren and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

🔔 Interested in reading Strict Confidence? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books  |  Google Play

•••


🗝 Read my review for The Rochester Trilogy!

booksofthemuggleborn_privateproperty
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

Book One: Private Property by Skye Warren


•••

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

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Saint by Nicole James

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Kami—

I’m no longer the little girl he once knew, one who believed in fairy tales.
And he’s no longer the white knight I believed him to be.
How can he be when he shows up on a black Harley wearing leather and biker boots?
I didn’t want this, but the decision is out of my control.
Now I’m his.

I have to remember this is only temporary.
I can’t let the way his predatory gaze sets fire to my body fool me.
Because I’m just a debt he’s paying, and I can’t risk my heart by letting myself believe it can ever be more.

Not with a man like him.
He’s dangerous, and only focused on one thing—securing his place with the baddest MC in town.

He’s no longer the boy I remember when I was nine years old—the one who helped me when I got stuck in a tree. The one who climbed up, wrapped an arm around me and hauled me down to safety, calling me short cake.
He was my savior then—a childish crush—but we’re no longer children.

Now he’s a stranger.

Now he’s my husband.

Saint—

I took her with me because I had no choice.
If I owe a debt, I pay it.

I owed her mother a favor, but I never expected the repayment to include marrying her seventeen-year-old daughter. When she begs me to take Kami with me to protect her, do I have a choice?

Besides, it’s only temporary. Just until she turns eighteen.

Only 90 days to go.

I can resist her that long, right?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

👏👏👏 Nicole James has done it again! Saint is a phenomenal read — one that I will reread over and over again!

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The main thing that stood out the most was the world-building in this story and the further you delve in, the more you get invested in Saint’s and Kami’s story. Not just with the unique situation they both signed on for, but also with their own personal lives. They were heading in completely different directions and all of a sudden they’re thrust into a marriage of convenience. Saint has wanted nothing more than to be a full-fledged member of the Kings of Carnage MC. Having to balance out his duties and loyalties to the club and ensuring Kami is taken care of and protected was what kept me engaged throughout.

Once I started this book it was unputdownable! The storytelling is well-paced and told from dual points of view. I loved witnessing their developing relationship from the instant connection they had to each another. In spite of their situation and the fact that they hadn’t seen each other since they were kids, it didn’t deter from the sense of comfort and familiarity between them, even in the beginning when they first reunite.

I’ve always found James’ writing style to be effortless to follow with her charming (and at times entertaining) characters and hearty plotlines. I just know I’m gonna hunker down and enjoy what’s ahead of me. It’s hard not to get addicted to this book because James has created truly relatable and down to earth characters with a gripping storyline. There’s also a great balance of light and shade within adding comic relief in-between the gritty moments. The atmosphere flowed well from goodness to darkness and back again with ease.

Saint and Kami have a slow burn romance that kept me both in suspense and excitement to see develop. I absolutely adore Kami and relieved to see that although she’s still a teenager, she’s mature and has a sweet nature about her that meshes well with Saint’s personality. He’s got the protective gentlemanly vibes down pat with just the right amount of alpha. To be honest, this entire story gave me such Dirty Deeds vibes, but I think that has a lot to do with the fact that both stories have amazing world-building with a strong and constant structure to its storyline. They both have young, innocent heroines that you can’t hate, and who’ve managed to worm their way into the hearts of these hot-as-sin bikers!

I’m not going to lie when I first discovered how young Kami was, I was a smidge anxious to see how the romance element with Saint would come into play, what level of it I could expect, and how soon? But as I mentioned earlier it’s a slow burn, and whilst I was itching to see them finally reach the romantic stage of their relationship, I adored seeing them get reacquainted first. In my opinion, with Kami being young and Saint only a few years older, the steadiness of their relationship was fitting. It felt substantial and all the more authentic, especially when it came down to their emotions.

Both Kami and Saint grew up in close-knit relationships with their parents, and whilst somewhat of the storyline revolved around Kami’s, I was kind of expecting to see more of those familial moments with Saint’s also — especially considering what they’d ventured into is something his parents have strong values and beliefs over. But nevertheless, I found the conclusion to be a sweet HEA and in my mind, Saint’s family are just as happy as Kami’s with how things played out. 😉

Besides the romance element, there’s a generous amount of the MC side of the story where you get to see Saint’s role in the MC and how much of it consumes his life. As well as meet the rest of the members/ prospects of the club. In comparison to James’ other MC stories, I found this one leaned more towards the lighthearted side of MC romances. There’s some suspense and a few plot twists to keep you on your toes, but I absolutely went nuts for the unexpected but swoon-inducing crossover James has cleverly included into the plot.

This book is part of the Kings of Carnage MC: Prospects series and can be read as a standalone story. It has all the elements I always find winning in MC romances:

  • Lovable characters
  • Vivid world-building
  • Strong storyline
  • Suspense and unpredictability
  • Equal amounts of MC and romance elements
  • Banter and lighthearted humour

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I undoubtedly loved it! It’s now one of my fave MC romances of James’ and I highly recommend it to fellow MC romance readers. I found the story of an MC prospect a refreshing alternative from reading one who’s already a member. James provides a cool and detailed description of what is expected of a prospect, and how much trust, commitment, and loyalty it takes to make it as a member in the club. By the end you’ll not only swoon over the romance, but you’ll feel like you have some know-how of the world of motorcycle clubs. It’s a must read!

“Kings forever, forever Kings.”

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Nicole James for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

•••


Read more of my reviews for Nicole James’ books!

Evil Dead MC Series by Nicole James
Dirty Deeds by Nicole James
Dirty Deals by Nicole James
Dirty Desires by Nicole James
Brothers Ink Tattoo by Nicole James
Club Princess by Nicole James
Wicked by Nicole James
The Biker’s Second Chance by Nicole James

•••

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

Not Meant To Be Broken by Cora Reilly

⚠ Warning: This review contains spoilers!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Some things aren’t meant to be broken, and therefore can’t be mended – ever. I was one of those things. Whatever had been shattered in the incident would never be whole again.

Amber struggles with the memories of a cruel attack that destroyed her life years ago. Realizing that she’s close to ending it all – something she promised her family to never try again – she moves in with her brother Brian and his friend Zachary to start a new life, and maybe even college. But how can she possibly live a normal life, when even a hug from her brother sends her into a panic attack? While Brian pulls back, Zach seems determined to make her feel relaxed in his presence, and soon her longing to be near him is stronger than her fear. But how can someone like Zach, someone who can have any girl, want someone like her? Someone broken.

When Zach spots Amber for the very first time, he can’t believe she is the same girl his friend Brian described as broken. Suddenly, Zach wants to give up his womanizing ways and help Amber live again – show her that closeness can be something wonderful.

But her brother Brian isn’t the only one who’s worried about the bond that’s growing between Amber and Zach. Even Zach knows that there’s more at stake than the fury of a scorned woman. Amber isn’t like all the girls Zach discarded after a night together – if he messes up, that could break her for good. But Zach can’t stay away from Amber.
Can Zach help her heal? Or will he be the one to push her over the edge?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Please note: This book contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It contains graphic sexual assault, violence, attempted suicide, and mental/ psychological abuse. Take into consideration before starting this story. 

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I’ve been a massive fan of Cora’s for years and whilst I had initially discovered her through her mafia series Born in Blood, I knew I wanted to go through her backlist of books when I had the chance. Not Meant To Be Broken was one of her most earliest stories and not mafia related at all. I had previously read reviews on this book and I admit it was partly the reason as to why I hadn’t read it sooner (and partly because for a while there I was strictly an adult, dark romance mood reader). 🤷‍♀️😅

After having read it, I have mixed feelings about the story… mostly the direction it headed and the overall flow. I loved the initial premise. I thought it was intriguing having a main character who had suffered from a brutal, totally heinous experience and is now living a debilitating and limiting life. I’ve read a couple of contemporary romance books that centred around young heroines who were rape victims. Their stories were personal, life-changing journeys of overcoming their demons and having the strength to move on and live their lives.

Whilst Amber’s story has the same structure, I found the vividness of Amber’s attack and the situations connecting to that event truly heart-wrenching. As I mentioned earlier, this is one of Cora’s earlier books, but one thing that she’s always managed to do with her writing style is capture readers’ attention. Right off the bat, you know there is something unusual about Amber, and as her story gradually unfolds, the more I was drawn to her as a person and wanting to see how her character would develop.


“Could I even feel safe in someone’s arms? Could I feel safe in Zach’s arms?”


There’s an unease in the atmosphere that plays well in making you feel not only for Amber and her circumstances, but those closest to her who have been just as affected. It feels overall realistic and quite relatable. It’s a tragedy; a work of fiction that hits so much with reality because it’s a situation that’s constantly happening in our society.

I felt for Amber’s struggle to interact with her brother and father the way she used to in the past. I also felt both Brian’s and their father’s frustration and heartbreak over not being able to help her the way they had hoped to. There’s a lot of guilt surrounding this family that you can’t help but sympathize their situation. But looking back, this entire storyline could easily have been depressing and all-out gloomy but Cora has managed to include some lighthearted and warming elements to keep it going too angsty.

I loved Amber’s cat, his presence alone always made me smile whilst reading this book, and I surprisingly adored Amber’s unexpected but very sweet friendship with Reagan. I hadn’t expected Reagan to have such a role that she did, but I quickly grew to love their girly time! To be real, she was the only constant goodness from all the secondary characters… *whispers* and the only one with good sense. 🤦‍♀️

Hmm. Is it weird to say that I actually preferred the hero, Zach when he was strictly being friendly and a hospitable roommate more so than when romantic feelings started blossoming between them? 

There was something so endearing about Amber’s and Zach’s first introduction. I liked the dynamic he brought in by being the outsider who saw Amber in a different light in comparison to her family. What started swaying my opinion of him was his own personal issues outside of Amber and her circumstances. He’s described as a total man-whore who never even considered having a relationship with anyone, and whilst I always enjoy seeing a sexy hero eventually change his bachelor ways once “the one” comes a-knocking, for some reason I can’t quite pinpoint, I wasn’t completely sold on Zach. His behaviour gave me whiplash — one minute he’s the ever-so sweet and thoughtful guy, then the next he’s totally insensitive and such a…. ugh guy! 😒


“Maybe Zach was a mistake, but he was a mistake I wanted to make. It would be my choice.”


Unfortunately, the majority of the cast of characters in this story are of the male variant, and with the exception of Amber’s adorably broody cat and Amber’s father, the rest of the male population included are your stereotypical college douchebag boys — Yup. That’s including both Zach and Amber’s brother Brian! So in saying that, expect tons of eye-rolling drama that I, for one thought was both unnecessary and all around pesky to read through.

Honestly, more than half of the drama within this storyline was brought on by either Zach or Brian. If there wasn’t so much drama, this story would’ve been a lot shorter than it already was. Sigh.

I do however liked seeing the milestones and breakthroughs that Amber accomplishes. However, it would’ve felt a little more believable if they hadn’t come about all too quickly. She’s been in a reclusive, broken state for years, has extreme anxiety and not one for any physical contact… Yet she moves in with her brother and Zach, starts opening up, starts feeling more confident, which forms a romantic (and very much a physical) relationship with Zach all in a span of a couple months?! That’s quite a feat, am I right? 🤔

Whilst there were plenty of elements within that I thoroughly enjoyed, I can’t lie there were also parts that I wasn’t liking as much (hence my mixed feelings).

Amber’s and Zach’s relationship was somewhat of a slow burn at first. I thought their relationship was steadily developing, but halfway through I felt a shift in the pacing of the story. More issues started popping up at once and it felt like since it was nearing the end, it resulted in an abrupt wrap-up. Although the story was told from dual points of view, I truly think even a few more chapters would’ve done the trick in putting some depth to Zach’s life rather than a few scenes were you see him struggle and ultimately brush off his issues with his parents. Not to mention his parents’ relationship is totally fucked up! 

The first half was gripping and set the world-building but in my opinion, the second half was a bit anticlimactic. I think if Cora was to ever go back and revamp this story, an epilogue is definitely in order. The ending completely left me with so much unanswered questions and the overall storyline just felt incomplete.

Not just with Zach and Amber but with the side stories and secondary characters as well. For example, Amber’s brother Brian had a seriously unhealthy relationship with his girlfriend. What happened to them? I can’t possibly (and sorta refuse to) accept that they’re still together. Then, there’s of course Zach’s own personal story and his own demons. They weren’t exactly sorted by the end. And one of the things I desperately was curious about was Amber’s self “therapy” sessions. It was never mentioned if she continued on with it, and if not, it seems a little sad knowing the girl she was having these chats with no longer has Amber as her support system.

Ugh. Questions. Questions. Questions. I could go on. I would’ve rated it higher if it had a proper ending.

It might not sound like it but despite all my hang-ups and issues with this story, I did overall enjoy reading it. There’s a bit of suspense included, and like all of Cora’s books it was easy to follow. I liked seeing Amber’s growth and the friendship she’s made. Even with Zach’s inconsistency, I respected the fact that he truly cared for Amber, a gentleman in regards to her feelings and ensuring her empowerment. And I can’t deny, despite all the drama surrounding Amber, she had people who were willing to go above and beyond to assist her, to make her as comfortable as possible, and to know that she is loved.


“Sometimes you’ve gotta fall before you fly.”


This was an ugly-cry type of new adult romance story. It had some great elements, an interesting plotline, and a complex heroine. Even though the storyline was centred around a tragedy, I found the realism of the characters’ emotions authentic that I couldn’t help but get invested in their lives.

If you’re a fan of Cora’s and like me, wanting to check out her non mafia related books, then give this one a go. You might find it refreshing to read one of her contemporary romance books! 😉

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

•••


Read more reviews for Cora Reilly’s books! 

🩸 Born In Blood Mafia Chronicles

Luca Vitiello by Cora Reilly
Bound By The Past by Cora Reilly
Bound By Blood Anthology by Cora Reilly

🔥 The Camorra Chronicles

Twisted Loyalties by Cora Reilly
Twisted Emotions by Cora Reilly
Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly
Twisted Bonds by Cora Reilly
Twisted Hearts by Cora Reilly
Twisted Cravings by Cora Reilly

📚 Standalone Romance/ Novellas

Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly
The Dirty Bargain by Lylah James & Cora Reilly
King Thrushbeard by Cora Reilly
Forbidden Delights by Cora Reilly
Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly

•••

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

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The Dare by Elle Kennedy

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•••

— BLURB —

College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Okay…

First off — I was not expecting to score an early copy of The Dare. I had a plan of rereading the first three books in Briar U before the release of this one so all the characters were fresh in my mind. But now, after having read this… my new game plan is to go back to the previous books because I am nowhere near ready to say goodbye to this amazing world that Elle has created.

If you’re unaware Briar U is a spin-off series to Elle’s original NA sports romance series; Off-Campus. If you read my reviews for those books (I’ll put the links at the bottom of this review)… I was 100% a Dean Di Laurentis fan! Solid. Like, nothing was going to sway me away from him. As far as I was concerned Dean was… King. Bae. Swoon worthy. Book BF Goals! Whatevs.

But in struts (yep…struts) Conor Fucking Edwards and practically squeezes himself into the throne right alongside Dean.

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I love Elle’s heroes in both her sports romance series’ because whilst they’re popular and seem to have the image of well-put together people, they’re nowhere near perfection that the rest of the student body seem to think. They have their own insecurities just like anybody else. They’re not your stereotypical arrogant jocks that think they’re better than everyone else. They’re also not all about the sports either. They’re witty, intelligent (they actually take their education seriously), have manners, standards, and are truly loyal individuals.

Conor is all those things and more. You couldn’t ask for a better friend and boyfriend!

“He’d rather make people around him feel good about themselves, even when it provides no personal gain for himself.”

You’ll see a lot of insecurities in this book. Just like the previous books in the series, you get to see these characters’ backstories prior to Briar University and hockey. You’ll see what hang ups they have about themselves and their family dynamics in comparison to their relationships with their friends.

Conor has a shady past that haunts him. But despite lingering issues, he manages to keep a very easy-going, level headed attitude for the most part — which I have to say in my opinion plays a essential role in some situations of this book.

Conor and Taylor are a perfect match. They balance each other out and whenever one of them is down, the other knows just how to pick them back up. The way they support one another when they don’t have the strength or courage to do it for themselves is one of the uplifting aspects of this book. Put aside all the fun and games, and blossoming romance between these two and you’ll see the strong friendship they’ve formed (even if it started from an unusual situation).

You’ll discover with this series (along with the Off-Campus series) is that all these leading characters have different, yet quite realistic situations that they’re dealing with that’s relatable no matter your age.

Taylor struggles with a lot of personal issues that she deals with all throughout the book. It’s insecurities that a lot of people can connect with on one level or another. Body image, self-doubt, low self-esteem, and a lack of confidence in one’s self worth are serious matters, and they are all present in Taylor’s personal story. Not to mention the fact that Taylor is a young woman who’s still navigating through life at school. But she’s also caring, thoughtful, humble and just so darn adorable.

Elle is not afraid of tackling difficult subject matters in her books, and The Dare is a great example of the awareness she puts out there, by having her characters really open up about these topics — and in turn as a reader (who may or may not know much about certain issues) learns more and becomes mindful of it.

But I should warn, besides the sensitive matters that these characters face, there’s also some sexual harassment and breach of consent within that may trigger some readers. Nothing graphic, but it is present.

Elle did an amazing job of discussing these matters with care, leaving not only her characters with power and choices to do something about it (which I know is not always the case in reality), but in this particular instance it left me feeling satisfied with how things concluded.

It’s well-paced with great expansion to an already ongoing world-building, and told from dual POVs. There’s a lovely balance of light and shade within their story. It’s never too heavy that it leaves one feeling drained, but it’s not a fluffy love story either. It’s current, full of substance with deep content and obvious character growth from both Taylor and Conor as individuals and as a couple.

One thing that stood out to me was the positive support system both these leads had. Other than the swoony romance, I’ve always loved the friendships that Elle has introduced in her books. This one did not disappoint. Their friends play significant roles in their lives.

With Taylor, she has a kickass bestie who not only is a firecracker but would easily throw down for Taylor in a heartbeat. She’s also not afraid to give Taylor a wake-up call whenever needed.

With Conor, it’s his teammates/ roommates who’ve become his close friends and have his back in any situation (despite their unrelenting but hilarious banter). They were the perfectly timed comic relief.

Theirs was a rollercoaster of a relationship with a lot of push and pull, a lot of second-guessing, and doubt that will have you going through a range of emotions from frustrated and anxious to hopeful and optimistic.

“Worst case, I get a good friend out of the deal. Best case, I screw her brains out. Win-win either way.”

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😂😂 Oh Conor… *shakes head*

And whilst hockey is undeniably present in this book, it was however hockey-light in comparison to the other books in the series. There’s a good chunk of it in the first half but as Taylor and Conor’s relationship develops further, hockey eventually takes a back seat.

The friendships here is by far the strongest highlight in my opinion with the secondary characters — but mostly between Taylor and Conor themselves. Some of my fave parts were them just getting to know one another, or casually chatting about random things. It was effortless, and lighthearted, and organic — and no doubt the introduction scene where their stories kicks off is a part of the book I’ve must’ve read numerous times by now because it’s THE funniest thing I have read in a long time. I’m talking snort-laughing and tears-in-my-eyes kinda funny!

This book will leave you with a smile on your face and feeling just a little bit lighter. If this was the final book (and I’m talking about Elle never going back into this fictional world again), then I say it ended beautifully.

“Listen up, everybody! It’s time to play Dare or Dare.”

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If you’re game, then I highly recommend you get onto this one immediately! The message and life lessons are insightful and uplifting. And you will love Conor Edwards. He’s a beautiful human being (albeit fictional, but meh.. still beautiful nevertheless).

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you so much to Elle Kennedy for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 💗

•••


— The Dare by Elle Kennedy —

Briar U (Book Four)

SaveTheDateRelease Date: June 16, 2020

Add to your TBR: Goodreads

📔 Grab your copy here:


•••

If you’re interested in any of my other reviews for Elle’s books, check out my reviews below for her Off-Campus series! 📚

The Deal by Elle Kennedy
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy
The Score by Elle Kennedy
The Goal by Elle Kennedy

•••



Start the Briar U series now!

The Chase is currently FREE on Amazon

Amazon  ¦  Apple  ¦  Kobo  ¦  Nook  ¦  Google



•••

If you’re an avid romance reader, and you enjoy reading sports romances, then you gotta check out both of Elle Kennedy’s NA college series’. You won’t be disappointed. I guarantee it. 😊 Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

The past tore them apart.

After a terrible accident took everything from Callie Stewart, enrolling at Blairwood University is supposed to be a chance at a new beginning.

Living his best life, Hayden Watson, star wide receiver for the Blairwood Ravens, is heading straight for the NFL draft and nothing is going to stand in his way.

The present brings them together.

Their paths were never supposed to cross, but when they do, all those old demons and feelings come rushing back. Hayden thinks he knows all about Callie’s life before Blairwood and he’s not ready to let go of the past, much less forgive her for what she has done three years ago.

One thing’s for sure… it’s going to take more than a kiss to conquer their broken past.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Any expectations I had about this book prior to reading it was thrown out the window because this story was far more than it seemed. Based on the blurb I was expecting just a stereotypical storyline of two people who started off on the wrong foot, hated each other ever since, until certain circumstances push them together where they eventually develop romantic feelings.

Boy, was I wrong! Ha. 🙈

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This story was so much more. So much! Callie and Hayden have such a deep history with one another where one thing just led to another. It snowballed from there to where you see them in the present after having ran into each other for the first time in years and having their past just come flooding back.

One thing that the blurb doesn’t hint at is that Kiss To Conquer centers around a sensitive subject. Callie was involved in a traumatic event that not only kicks off her introduction but something that is always in the forefront as this story develops along. It can be a difficult matter to add into any romance novel and not have it feel too heavy and depressing, but in my honest opinion Callie (and Hayden’s story) was written in such a clever way where you don’t get the full impact of her trauma in one go — Anna has kept it to a minimum, gradually revealing more and more of her past so as the reader starts getting an idea of what Callie has gone through so when the time comes when she does eventually share her entire past, it’s not a complete surprise.

It didn’t stop the tears though. Uh-uh.

This book will cause a flood! 😭😭 I kid you not. I hadn’t expected to cry as much as I did but it just wouldn’t stop. I was relatively prepared for the moment when Callie and Hayden’s pasts would come out but I hadn’t considered the emotion these characters would ooze out of the pages. I haven’t in a long time felt such sympathy for fictional characters. The hurt and pain that exuded from them was so realistic and so relatable that you can’t help but mourn right alongside them.

“I can pretend all I want that I’ve changed. But the sad truth is, some things? They always stay the same.”

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However. Whilst I can say all these positive things now that I’ve read the entire book, and have had time to let it all sink in, I must admit whilst I was reading it, my first impressions of these characters were a little more on the annoyed side. I couldn’t understand why Callie and Hayden were acting immaturely towards one another when they could’ve just avoided confrontation by keeping silent or leaving the room. I felt like they went out of their way to be snarky with one another, and whenever their friends would question it, they merely brushed it off as if it wasn’t a big deal.

As a reader who usually can’t stand characters who constantly bicker, I’m glad I didn’t give up on this story because Callie and Hayden evolved over time, learned to listen, accept, and understand the other’s struggles. It’s slow paced, and their relationship was definitely a slow burn but it was well worth the wait. Their hesitancy to reconnect, along with the mystery of their past provided the storyline with enough build-up and curiosity to keep you engaged and seeing on how things will unravel.

A factor I wasn’t expecting but was happy to discover quite early on is that Callie isn’t your stereotypical stunner of a female protagonist. She has scars (physically, emotionally and mentally), and right off the bat I knew she would be a character so many people can relate to, one way or another. She carries a heavy burden throughout this book and it’s utterly heartbreaking.

As for Hayden… When you think jock, you can’t help but automatically assume that he’ll be an asshole who thinks he’s god’s gift to women. Okay yes, he was that stereotype at the beginning, but his POV also shows a completely different side to him. Dare I say his true side…?

These characters have layers. They have progression. They transform and mature.

Add that to a modern day backdrop and secondary characters that are just as much personable and intriguing, and this world that Anna has created is one full of substance and sentiment. There was a nice amount of “sports” within this sports romance… 😄 and not just in the background.

Told from both Callie and Hayden’s POVs, you’ll see there’s a lot of sorrow and heartbreak in this story. But was well balanced with the addition of friendship. Anna has created and included a diverse group of people to not only provide support for our main protagonists, but also add lightheartedness, and easy-going humor. Each one of these characters — from Hayden’s best friends and teammates, to Callie’s roommate and classmates have their own voices and strong personalities, which I look forward to seeing more of as this series expands.

“I’d rather battle the demons that haunt us with kisses than words.”

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A truly enjoyable read. There was some tears, giggles, and an overall feeling of content. These characters are great examples of imperfection, learning from mistakes and the strength to move on with life and making the most of your time. Anna was able to write about a difficult subject and put a lot of care and effort into making it quite relatable. I love Callie’s growth and the steps she takes to work through her struggles. I love that she’s a working progress. I love that Hayden is such a strong support system, and an overall gentleman. I love that you can look back from beginning to end and clearly see character growth. Not going to lie there were times I felt frustrated with their actions and there were small things I didn’t necessarily agree with, but in the end, just like their friends, I couldn’t help but root for Callie and Hayden to find their happiness!

A highly recommend read for any NA/ adult reader who’s looking for a bit of angst in their contemporary romance books, and who enjoys a bit of hate-to-love!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 💗

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


•••

Thank you for reading 😊 Make sure to check out my Contemporary section of my Book Reviews if you’d like to read more sports romance reviews. Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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My Best Friend’s Brother by Alexis Winter

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•••

— BLURB —

It’s no secret I’ve always had a crush on Damon Strickland.

My best friend’s older brother and the center of every single one of my fantasies.
He’s a walking, talking temptation.
That cocky grin and those broad, athletic shoulders.
You know what they say about a man with big hands right?
Growing up, we always tormented one another.
I was the nagging, annoying little girl he hated.
And he was the man-whoring, douchebag I couldn’t seem to get over.
Now as adults he actually came through and helped me land a job at my dream company.
How the hell am I supposed to focus when all I can think about is tearing that tight suit from his tempting body!
What’s even worse?

He forgot to mention he’s my boss.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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This was unexpectedly such an enjoyable, funny read that I couldn’t put down. I took a chance after seeing it as a freebie on Amazon and wanted to read something quick and light in between reads, and it did not disappoint whatsoever! 🙌

If anything, it exceeded expectations. It’s a relatively shorter story than what I would consider a full length novel but it packed a punch full of world-building and backstory between the two main protagonists that sets up their present relationship.

It had a great developing story that was consistent and engaging. A lot of surprisingly LOL moments that had me giggling like a school girl and grinning like a loon!

My Best Friend’s Brother is a hate-to-love romance between two childhood neighbors/ friends. It’s about missed chances, secret crushes, and all around good-humored banter. Jazz’s secret crush on Damon was one that started from childhood, developed deeper into their teens, and going just as strong now that they’re adults.  

I love a good banter, do you? These two bantered like stereotypical teenagers who easily made the other embarrassed. It was cute. It hits the feels. It was definitely nostalgic of my teen years 😅

Was there some predictability detected in the storyline? Meh yeah. But honestly, I didn’t care because Damon and Jazz’s love story was probably one of the sweeter stories I’ve read in a while. There was enough light and shade in their relationship that you wouldn’t be so quick to judge it as just another instant hookup despite the length of the book being on the shorter side.

This was an effortless read that kept me captivated. Very relatable subject — I mean who hasn’t had a crush (let alone a secret one) at least once in their lives?! The characters are realistic in their feelings, insecurities, and reactions to certain moments. I know I snort-laughed a time or two whilst reading this, nodding my head and relating. 

“I’ve been in love with you since I was five years old, and you tormented me. I had to watch you march in girl after girl.” 

I think if you weren’t similar to Jazz, then you knew someone who was. LOL. The person who had the biggest crush on someone. Yet no matter what you said or did, it just seemed like you were not their type. 

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One main highlight in my opinion was whenever they re-encountered a moment in their past because it shows both their perspectives on it. It’s also evident how much they were always around each other growing up. Jazz may have been Maddie’s best friend, and  even with Damon being a few years older, it never stopped all three of them from hanging out with one another.

From first impressions, Damon seemed like the popular, good looking, confident man that Jazz has always seen him as. The guy who only seems to see her as his sister’s annoying friend and nothing more. But as time goes by that’s not necessarily the case.

Damon’s take on certain events is the most intriguing in comparison to Jazz’s, only because from her POV, she openly shared her romantic feelings for him. Whilst with Damon, he’s a little hesitant, gradually opening his feelings throughout time. 

Their story is told from both POVs, and it couldn’t have been executed more brilliantly. You know that quote “There are two sides to every story”? — Their life story is a perfect example of it.

“Did I tease you? Yes! Did I pick on you a little? Damn right, I did. But I only did those things because I liked you and didn’t know what to do about it.

Anytime you’ve needed me, where have I been?

I’ve been right here, by your side. Even if you didn’t know it. Even if you didn’t want me to.”  

Other than Damon and Jazz’s throwback into their childhood. Another positive I found in this book is the main secondary character, Maddie (who is Damon’s sister, and Jazz’s best friend). She’s just as likable, hilarious, and added depth to Damon and Jazz’s history as it goes back and forth from past to present. She made such an impact that I’m look forward to reading about her story in the next book of this series!

If I had to make an itty-bitty critique however, it would be that it was too short (I would’ve loved a few more chapters). There were a few things that were mentioned but it never went into any further detail. And despite that cover being all half-naked gloriousness… it didn’t really match Damon’s description. I don’t remember reading Damon having any tattoos let alone a entire chest piece… 🤔 If I was judging based on the cover, I would think that there was a bad boy in this story — FYI there so was not! Damon is a complete gentleman!

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A nice, lighthearted read that would for sure take your mind off day to day stresses and adulting for at least a few hours. It’s pretty straight forward. There’s no real jaw dropping twists but still leaves you with satisfaction. And I can’t forget the great friendships in this one. Alexis Winter is also a new-to-me author, but after having read this, I’ll be sure to look into more of her work.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

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My Best Friend’s Brother by Alexis Winter is FREE on Amazon!

(For a limited time only)

📘 My Best Friend’s Brother Link

Disclaimer: At the time that this review was posted, the book was FREE. Keep in mind depending on when you read this, it may or may not still be the case.



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

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Luca Vitiello by Cora Reilly

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• BLURB •

I was born a monster. Cruelty ran in my veins like poison. It ran in the veins of every Vitiello man, passed on from father to son, an endless spiral of monstrosity.

A born monster shaped into an even worse monster by my father’s blade and fists and harsh words.

I was raised to become Capo, to rule without mercy, to dish out brutality without a second thought.

Raised to break others.

When Aria was given to me in marriage, everyone waited with baited breath to see how fast I’d break her like my father broke his women. How I’d crush her innocence and kindness with the force of my cruelty.
Breaking her would have taken little effort. It came naturally to me.
I was gladly the monster everyone feared.

Until her.

– Bound By Honor in Luca’s POV (and a few scenes from his childhood & teenage years).
– Can be read without reading the other books in the series.

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• MY REVIEW •

**This is a spoiler free review!**

I discovered Cora and Bound by Honor at the beginning of 2018 and just a little over a year later with the upcoming release of Luca Vitiello, it almost feels like it’s come full circle.

Luca was my first mafioso love from this series and getting to see what he thinks about, his true feelings, and opinions was like getting to snoop in on your crush’s deep dark secrets or what not.. (and I’m all for it!) 😜

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What I loved about this book was every question I had from Bound by Honor concerning Luca was answered in this one. Buuuut… I have to say as much as Cora is sooo good at trying to give us ALL the answers to our questions.. whilst reading Luca’s POV – the more questions that were answered, the more just popped up in its place… *SIGH* Now I’m hungry for Matteo’s and Romero’s POVs (at least for certain scenes). LOL.

When I read Bound by Honor Aria’s feelings towards Luca were evident. It was obvious that the longer they were together the deeper her feelings were for him. With Luca, I always had an inkling that his love for Aria was there long before she got shot, but what I love about seeing it from his POV, is you get to see precisely when it started to bloom into something other than a marriage of convenience for him. And I tell ya… it’s a lot earlier than I thought! A lot, a lot! Which I kinda dig because it makes you think: “Oh wait! Who really loved who first…?” Was it really Aria?? Hm.

How much does Luca love and care for Aria? What were his first impressions of her, and his thoughts during their wedding? Is he really as cold-hearted and brutal as he seems? His thoughts on his father, his relatives, Nina and Grace.. as well as Matteo, Cesare, Romero and the rest of his men. These are just some of the things you’ll get to find out in detail!

You get to see the brutal truth of what it takes to be a Made Man. The sacrifices. The responsibilities. The pain. The hardships…

But what excited me most about this book is getting to read the scenes from Luca’s childhood and teen years. I was curious to learn more about Luca and Matteo growing up and the added scenes from those times were probably my favourite parts to read! Luca and Matteo have always had a strong brotherly bond and it stems from their scarred childhood, after having lost their mother and enduring life with a father – who not only is Capo but someone who enjoys being a ruthless, violent and viciously vindictive asshat… not only to his men but to his own children and women alike.

Luca (and Matteo) with their father:

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Also.. Luca (and Matteo) with their father:

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Anyways. Ooh. Any Romero fans?

I don’t know how it’s possible but I ❤ Romero even more in this one! And I have no doubt you guys will too. 😄 I love the person that he is. I love his beliefs. I love his loyalty. And I love that he is like a brother from another mother to Luca.

Now. I wanted to add in a particular quote that made my heart sing when I read it, but I wasn’t 100% sure I could without it being spoiler-ish. So I’ll just say that there’s a particular scene where Luca really contemplates the value of having Romero by his side. Guys, Luca might not ever admit it but I’ll say it… He has a friend for life in Romero! (Matteo too!) *GROUP HUGGGG!!*

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(P.S. Look at Dean’s face. I can totally picture Luca making the same facial if Romero or Matteo ever hugged him. Hahaha!)

Finally – If you were wanting to see more of Luca’s bloody side. Then you got it! With it only being from his POV, you get to see him work in all his Made Man glory!

Cue: Blood splatter! 😛

I can’t get enough of Cora’s Mafiosos! Bound by Honor from Luca’s perspective is an amazing addition to the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, and a perfect book for rabid fans (like moi) who need regular doses of Luca! Nobody writes Mafia books like Cora. A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Cora Reilly for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


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

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