Private Property by Skye Warren

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

When I signed up for the nanny agency, I didn’t expect a remote mansion on a windswept isle. Or a brooding billionaire who resents his new role.

His brother’s death means he’s now in charge of a moody seven year old girl. She’s lashing out at the world, but I can handle her. I have to. I need the money to finish my college degree.

As long as I can avoid the boss who alternately mocks me and coaxes me to reveal my darkest secrets.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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Hmm. 🤔🤔🤔 This is a tough review to put down into words that makes relative sense. But here it goes…

First things first— did I like it? Yes. Yes I did. At the time of reading Private Property, I hadn’t realized that it was a modern retelling of the Brontë classic; Jane Eyre. As I hadn’t read that story either, looking back I’m glad I went into reading this one with no expectations and with an open mind. I can’t help thinking if I somewhat knew the storyline (based off of the classic) I probably wouldn’t have been in suspense and kept on my toes as much whilst reading it.

Another thing I should point out is I haven’t read much workplace romance stories that specifically revolve around a nanny and her boss. Add in the age-gap between Jane and Mr. Rochester here (and yes, for those who’ve read Jane Eyre, after googling, I realized that Warren has kept the initial character names for her story), and it felt like a story I wouldn’t normally go for. But there was something so intriguing about the blurb that had me wanting to. And after reading it, I’m glad I did!

When it comes to the world of romance books, Warren has been around for some time. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone in the indie, dark romance world who hasn’t heard of Warren or read any one of her books. Whilst I haven’t read all of hers, the ones I have read have always left me feeling sucked into the world she has created and really invested in the characters. Private Property is no different…. especially with how the book concluded. This is only the first book in the trilogy but it has already dropped a jaw-dropping bomb that I am anticipating the next book.

It’s well-paced storytelling that had an air of mystery and doom from start to finish that leaves you never really feeling at ease because you know something is bound to happen to rock Jane’s world and put another twist to this dark romance. The first half of the book is told solely from Jane’s POV so I felt like you really get a sense of her hardships and why she’s come to be at the mansion working as a full-time nanny.

Trigger Warning: This story contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers such as abuse, sexual assault, and drug use. Please keep in mind before starting this book.

Once you reach the halfway mark of the story, you finally get some insight from Mr. Rochester — although frustratingly limited insight. I wish I could say that by the end of the book you have full understanding of him and his family, but sadly no can-do. 😅 Whilst I was totally mesmerized by the unusual yet erotic interactions between him and Jane, if someone were to ask me to tell them more about Mr. Rochester, I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. By the end he was still as enigmatic and surrounded by uncertainty as when Jane first encountered him at the beginning.

Warren toes the romance boundaries within this story by stirring up a little bit of adventure and erotic excitement in the young and innocent Jane. The world-building is well created and the continuous cold and gloomy atmosphere almost transports you to the stormy cliffside backdrop the story takes place in. The beginnings of character developments is evident as the plot thickens and you get glimpses into both their pasts.

Overall, this book has good bones— a dark romance with a chunks of thrill and suspense. There’s a lot of secrecy surrounding these leading characters and the circumstances that brought Jane to the Rochester family in the first place. It honestly leaves you wanting more.

It’s an interesting story that peaks at your curiosity. If you’re an avid fan of Skye Warren, then you won’t want to miss this. If you’re a fan of dark romance reads and/or modern retellings of historical romances, add this to your TBR and give it a go.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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


•••

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

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The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

BOOK ONE: Bad Liar

• BLURB •

Swallowing lies has never felt so good.

Reed freaking Rivers. I wouldn’t trust a word out of the arrogant music mogul’s mouth if his gold-plated tongue were notarized. The Man with the Midas Touch would say anything to get me into his bed, and I know it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want him to succeed.

Indeed, the moment I laid eyes on Reed while he was speaking at an on-campus event I’d crashed, my body physically ached to feel his golden fingers—and tongue—all over me. Unfortunately, though, I can’t give into my powerful craving to jump Reed’s cocky bones. Not until I’ve figured out my best strategy with him . . .

The truth is Reed has something I desperately want. Something my heart desires even more than my body craves one night of delicious fun with the yummiest man alive. Reed assumes he’s running this game of seduction. He thinks he’s a thirty-four-year-old big cat on the prowl, and I’m nothing but a blushing twenty-one-year old field mouse with stars in my eyes.

Yeah . . . no.

As Reed is about to find out, he’s not the only cat on the hunt in this game of cat-and-mouse . . . .

•••

• MINI REVIEW •

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Ooh okay. This was an interesting introduction to Reed, Georgina, and their wild, whirlwind relationship. Right from the very beginning, you see an instant attraction with these two when they spot each other from across the room. Based on the blurb, I expected Reed to be this cocky manwhore type hero, but what I hadn’t expected was Georgina to be just as bold, and confident about herself. It’s an age-gap romance that certainly grabbed hold of my attention early on with their witty banter, extreme sexual flirty chemistry, and the fact that I was completely on my toes not knowing what I could expect next. One minute they’re getting to know each other on a serious level, next they’re flirting up a storm, and then in a blink of a eye, they’re spitting fire at each other and the level of intensity around them them amps up.

Relatively well-paced storytelling told from dual points of view. You get a gradual scope of Reed’s life— starting from the bottom and all that… as well as Georgina’s aspirations, and how she’s come to be in the present day (wanting to meet Reed Rivers, music mogul).

I very much enjoyed the premise, and I think Rowe has executed giving her readers an introduction to Reed, Georgina and their lives in such a vivid way. By the end of this book I was already basking right alongside Georgina in the glorious world Reed has made for himself. Before Rowe, I hadn’t read much contemporary romance with a backdrop in music/ rock star atmosphere (it was just a sub-genre that never appealed to me), but this was effortless to follow and get invested in. It’s an obvious age-gap romance (but written in a quirky way), with a cinderella-esque trope included.

•••

BOOK TWO: Beautiful Liar

• BLURB •

The more beautiful the lie, the more painful the truth…

I’ve finally got feisty Georgina right where I want her. In my bed. In my swimming pool. Strapped into the kinky swing hanging in my home gym. And through it all, Georgina’s clearly becoming more and more physically addicted to me. A junkie in constant need of her next fix. Exactly according to plan.

But, to my shock, I’m beginning to think she’s not the only addict here. Any more than she’s the only liar. In fact, as crazy as it sounds, this fiery, relentless woman has been breaking down my walls. Burrowing underneath my skin and slithering her way into my bloodstream.

Indeed, when it comes to the indomitable force of nature that is Georgina Ricci, the gorgeous woman can have anything her heart desires… Well, anything, that is, besides the truth.

•••

• MINI REVIEW •

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Ooh-wee! This book is my favourite of the three. It had the hearty chunk of the storyline with Reed’s and Georgina’s relationship becoming more than sexual attraction and a summer “hookup”. There was so much drama and so much feels that this book legit had me glued to the pages and wrapped up in seeing how their relationship would play out. A roller coaster storyline, full of suspense and plot twists I had not seen coming. It resulted in some jaw-dropping moments and an ugly cry from me! I kid you not! 🙈

The first book introduces you to Reed, Georgina, and scratches the surface of their lives. This book further shares that by getting to know their families, friends, and in Reed’s case the artists he’s signed onto his music label. The world-building expanded so much from the first book. You’re really in the heart of Reed’s world now. What I liked is that you get to see it through both Reed’s eyes (where it’s become a norm to have the extravagant lifestyle and have the means to attain what you desire), and in Georgina’s (in awe, living the dream, and in some ways, through rose-coloured glasses). There’s a cool dynamic between the two of them that was entertaining to see. The fiery banter hasn’t wavered in this book, if anything it’s heightened the more their relationship grew. You learn a lot more of Reed’s difficult childhood, and how he started his business. But there’s also secrets surrounding him that Georgina is bound to uncover and you’re just as curious to see revealed. This book concluded on a heartbreaking cliffhanger.

•••

BOOK THREE: Beloved Liar

• BLURB •

Secrets have now been revealed . . . lies uncovered . . . and stubborn walls broken down. Reed always says everyone’s got a price . . . It’s been his mantra for as long as he’s had money in the bank. And now, he’s desperately trying to figure out Georgina’s before it’s too late.

The scorching-hot love story of Reed and Georgina began as a simple game of cat and mouse, a game of seduction between a music mogul and a young, aspiring journalist. In the beginning, both sides considered themselves the hunter. Both sides thought they were running the game. But what unfolded between them was an unexpected bond neither of them saw coming. A once-in-a-lifetime soul connection. Unfortunately, though, betrayals and lies have come between them now, leaving two hearts on the brink of total decimation . . .

Will the truth finally set Reed and Georgina free to find the happiness they both so desperately desire . . . or have they lost their chance at love forever?

• MINI REVIEW •

SOA_Jax_Fairytale

I felt like this one was slower-paced storytelling in comparison to the first two books, only because Reed and Georgina have finally resolved their differences and have an understanding of one another’s personalities. Once the secrets were revealed the ball started rolling from there. Things started falling into place not only with their relationship but with careers once the secrets were exposed, right along with any lingering issues from their past were resolved. My only concern whilst reading this book is that at times it felt like things were coming together too easily that it become somewhat predictable..?

Although I must admit this part of the storyline took a direction I didn’t think it would become a focal point for the majority of the book. It almost become more of an investigative plotline resulting in their romance taking a bit of a back burner for a chunk of it. It still had a few swoon-worthy moments but mostly towards the end where Reed and Georgina finally have their relationship down pat. I was happy to see the secondary characters once again added dimension and really gave the world-building some contrast. I also liked the fact that this story was an introduction to the other characters’ stories. I, for one, am I’m eager to move onto certain characters’ books next.

This book was a sweet ending to the trilogy. Yes, when you look back at where their relationship began, things did progress relatively quickly (especially considering Reed wasn’t one for a committed relationship before Georgina), but it still worked. It didn’t feel rushed or “insta-love” with how much had happened in the short span between them. The epilogue also provided longevity in their coupling to make their whirlwind romance authentic. Nothing was left unanswered (which I appreciate), and you’re left knowing that Reed and Georgina are living HEA!

•••

I have quickly become obsessed with this world Rowe has created. The behind the scenes look at the music business, the artists, their lives in and out of it, and all the drama that’s wrapped around it all. Ugh. Amazing! I read these books after having read my first books of Rowe’s; The Hate-Love Duet, and I knew halfway through that I wanted to read the other characters’ stories especially Reed’s.

This story was vivid, multi-faceted, absorbingly intriguing that I couldn’t put it down until I was finished with the entire trilogy. It’s a contemporary romance story full of heart and such depth. The character developments were phenomenal to see the further I progressed through the books, and the rocky relationship between Reed and Georgina was truly addictive to see play out. I laughed throughout, gasped at times, and even shockingly cried during one heartbreaking scene. A highly recommend read!

OVERALL RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

•••


Read more of my reviews for Lauren Rowe’s books!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

🎸 The Hate-Love Duet

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

Book Two: Falling Into Love With You by Lauren Rowe


•••

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

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Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

They call him the ice king.

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

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

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

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

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

•••

• MY REVIEW •

BBATB_SwooningBimbettes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

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

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

•••


🔥 Read my reviews for the Hellfire Club series!

HellfireClub_Book1&2Covers

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray


•••

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

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Hidden Beauty by Amelia Wilde

⚠ Warning: This review contains minor teasers

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Haley Constantine traded her life for her father’s safety. Now she’s trapped in a castle with the Beast of Bishop’s Landing.
 
Her own family wants her dead.
 
The only man who can save her is the one she can’t trust.
 
Dangerous. Tortured. Furious. Leo Morelli wears a mask of cruelty to cover up a lifetime’s worth of scars. He’s been injured, but that only makes him fight harder. The only thing he cares about more than revenge is the woman he’s come to love.
 
HIDDEN BEAUTY is the second book in the Beauty and the Beast trilogy from USA Today bestselling author Amelia Wilde.

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“True love doesn’t have boundaries. It isn’t rational or kind. True love is brutal.”


Eeeeep! We’re two thirds of the way, people! The second book in Amelia’s Beauty and the Beast trilogy, and boy has the suspense and the air of doom and gloom amped up a notch! 🙉

This entire story makes me giddy with happiness. I loved the first book Secret Beast, with Haley’s and Leo’s twisted hate-to-love chemistry. It had such an electric shock generating atmosphere. With this book, it made me want to bundle myself up in layers upon layers of blankets, sip hot chocolate, and read it again. There was a veil of melancholy over the entire story that had me really taking a beat to soak up everything that transpired.    

It has just the right amount of darkness in the romance, with plenty of dimension, thrill, and excitement. The characters are complex and ever-developing right alongside their blossoming relationship. I adore the initial hate-to-love/ enemies-to-lovers trope between Haley and Leo that gradually built into something a lot more than either of them expected. Seeing them navigate through their feelings — especially since they both come from two warring families and already have pre-conceived notions of each other was a highlight to see. 

In this particular part of the story, not only do they try and get a handle over their feelings but they deal with the repercussions brought on by years’ worth of battles, and for Leo personally, the demons from his past that are very much still haunting his life.   


“She touches me softly. Like I’m not a monster.”


When I first read the title for this book, I had assumed it was going to focus on Haley (considering Secret Beast seemed self explanatory that it was introducing us to Leo), but after reading it, I realized that Hidden Beauty might actually be a nod towards Leo as well, at least from my perspective. 

This had a very different feel in comparison to the first book. It’s a very revealing chunk of the story. It delves into Leo Morelli’s life and I guarantee by the end it’ll have you seeing him in a whole new light. I was already pro Leo, but seeing the amount of effort he has put in for his family throughout his entire life, and the reasoning behind his actions had my heart cracking and double thumping at the same time. Is that even possible?    

I also wasn’t expecting to see dynamics between Leo and his family, but surprisingly, it ended up being one of my favourite things to see in this book. I love that he has this hard shell of a façade but it can’t fool his siblings. Those scenes despite the reasoning behind their get-togethers, also brought upon some lighthearted, authentic moments that I truly hope we’ll get to see a lot more of in the future. 😊       

It’s a character driven storyline and told from dual points of view. The storytelling itself has great pacing. The majority of the backdrop is set in one location, but not once did it feel restrictive or lacking a change of atmosphere. The secondary characters that are included play a big part in keeping things interesting — that is, whenever Haley and Leo are not fogging up windows together… *fans self*   

There is no doubt that you will see some headway in Haley’s and Leo’s relationship. There’s no beating around the bush with these guys the second their walls are down. I was utterly there with my feels seeing their us-against-the-world stance. With a sense of dread in the air right from the get-go, it was gripping from start to finish. 

Plot twists. Betrayal. Pain. These are just three of the things you can expect from Hidden Beauty. The rest you’ll have to discover for yourself!

Before I conclude my review I am adding my favourite quote from the book. It’s not a spoiler but for those who haven’t read the book yet will probably be confused (possibly even curious) about it. This line completely caught me off guard and made me laugh…. hard. 🤭🤭 It also made me love Leo more so! #TeamMorelli   


“I want the soup. It’s my fucking favorite soup.”


I’m seriously digging these books within the world of the Midnight Dynasty because it gives you different perspectives to both the Constantines and the Morellis depending on whose story is in the foreground. Seeing the villain, an antagonist, or a morally grey character such as Leo through their own eyes is always insightful and a big reason as to why I always prefer them to heroes.

It’s a hearty book that not only discloses true identities and an understanding of the bigger picture, but displays one’s willingness to not lose. Wilde has created such soulful, perfectly imperfect characters who I effortlessly connected with and found genuinely compelling. Families play a vital role in Haley’s and Leo’s story, and they are the definitive reason in how things have played out so far and no doubt will continue to do so. Just like Secret Beast, this one leaves with a frustratingly overwhelming cliffhanger, but also leaves you looking forward to the next installment. I know I can’t wait to read the next book!  

(P.S. I also liked that Amelia added a little snippet that was a nod to another character from one of her other book series’. I haven’t read it but it certainly has me wanting to add it to my TBR!) 😉

I recommended Secret Beast to friends and fellow romance readers. Now I’m recommending everyone to continue on with Hidden Beauty! If you haven’t started this trilogy yet, you must! It’s a continuous storyline so you’ll need to start with Secret Beast. It’s the most devious, most scrummy contemporary beauty and the beast retelling I’ve read! 

Another book of Amelia’s I loved reading! It’s an exceptional addition to the expanding world of the Midnight Dynasty.

  • Contemporary
  • Dark Romance
  • Fairy Tale Inspired
  • Hate-to-Love   
  • Forbidden Romance

There’s moments here and there that reminisce scenes from Disney’s version that honestly made me smile. So if you’re a Disney fan, love your fairy tales, and also love them on the dark side, then I truly think these books will be for you!  

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to 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 review for the first book in the trilogy!

booksofthemuggleborn_secretbeast
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📔 Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde


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

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Resurrection Of The Heart by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Santiago finally has what he wants. His baby is growing inside me.

I’ve rewritten her destiny, binding her to me for good.

Things are changing for us. I see beyond the monster he shows the world. See the scars he hides beneath the ink.

Love is a weakness men like me can’t afford. I’ve decided to keep her, but I’ll never forfeit my revenge.

His final betrayal proves his vengeance means more to him than our love.

I will have my pound of flesh, no matter the cost.

I made a mistake trusting him. I forgot how much he likes my tears.

When I am through, I’ll have what I thought I always needed.

I’ll run from him. I’ll have to.

I’ll bring her back when she runs. I’ll always bring her back. She belongs with me.

But it’s too late when I realize he’s not the only monster in my world. And that mistake will cost us both dearly.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

What a finish to The Society Trilogy! *phew!* It’s been one hell of a roller coaster ride full of drama, suspense, and a spectrum of emotions reading these books. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down until I finished. It’s a book I easily read in one sitting. I was enthralled. There were so many things still left unanswered in the storyline that I was eager to see how it’ll go down. Not only did I get to see it unfold, new and unsuspecting situations occurred on top of it all that had me completely blindsided. Gosh, this book definitely went out with a bang!

Resurrection of the Heart delves right back into where Reparation of Sin concluded. As I’ve mentioned in my reviews for the first two books, this is a continuous story. You will have to have read the first two books in this trilogy before reading this one. And you do NOT want to miss out this one. Trust me!

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Oh my. To think the first two books were action-packed enough, this one is equally as much. Ugh, and angsty! So frickin’ angsty! Without giving spoilers away, here’s what you can expect from this book:

  • Family drama (annnnnnd a whole lot of it!)
  • Plot twists 🤐
  • Steamy adult content *waggles eyebrows*
  • Swoon-worthy Santiago moments 🤗🥰
  • Vengeance fulfilled *dum dum duuuum*

Told from first person, multiple points of view (but mostly from both our protagonists), you will undoubtedly see how far both Ivy and Santiago have come since their first interactions. Now that I’ve read this third and final book in the trilogy, I can look back at the growth of their complicated relationship. It’s complex that constantly grows hot and cold but throughout it all you see the dynamics between them changing.

Santiago is your typical morally grey character who instantly had appeal from being a hard, mysterious, broody alpha. But the minute he meets the one woman that changes things in his life, he becomes this overprotective bear willing to change for her because she’s his exception.

Ivy on the other hand I found very naïve at times, dare I say, maybe dense but her loyalty to loved ones never wavered. In comparison to Santiago her youth definitely shows and I’m not going to lie, you may feel frustrated with her on more than one occasion. 😅

Call this a pleasure read, if you will, but it’s nowhere near fluff. I can’t tell you how many times I got teary-eyed reading some of the scenes that played out. It may be a work of fiction but it was weighty, had a lot of oomph, and I was utterly invested in seeing their story through.

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I adored reading every bit of Resurrection of the Heart. The entire trilogy is a must read in my opinion. Knight and Zavarelli know how to write those deviously bad (in a good way) dark romances that pushes the boundaries but doesn’t go completely overboard shocking that’ll have you closing the books midway and never turning back. The gripping pace was kept up from book one all the way to book three. Ivy and Santiago may have had a twisted relationship with problem after problem popping up, but their sizzling chemistry was constant. Seeing their relationship gradually develop throughout each book and eventually seeing how it culminated by this third one was cherry! Ivy was more open to her feelings for Santiago (despite how they first started), but I felt like we were scrounging for scraps when it came to Santiago’s feelings for Ivy in the first two books. He was in pure denial. But in this one, it was like a dam breaking, and it was… ugh *chef’s kiss* ❤

Be prepared for some sweet, “aww” moments… in between all the hectic craziness.

Just like in the first two parts of this storyline, I found this one just as well-balanced. In my opinion the plot didn’t stray away from its original premise. Sure there were things happening in the background with the secondary characters but it still came back around to the overall main storyline with Santiago and Ivy. It’s one of the reasons why I was thoroughly absorbed because it had layers. Not only are you reading about the protagonists, you’re also getting to see snippets of the secondary characters’ lives as well. You’ll never be bored with this one.

One thing I do have to point out though (and this is just my opinion) — From the very beginning, the story revolved around needing revenge, an eye for an eye sort of deal, and it sort of set the atmosphere that loomed over Ivy and Santiago. And whilst it was one of the reasons as to why I thought this story was gripping and suspenseful, I did find once it was all unveiled in this book, it ended up feeling a little bit anti-climactic (and again, this is just from my POV). I don’t know if it’s because I already had my suspicions who the ultimate antagonist would be, or if the punishment didn’t necessarily live up to what I was expecting (maybe I’ve read one too many dark romances and have an evil streak), either way I was a little bummed to see the one part I was expecting some bloodshed actually lacked in it.

But overall, it was truly an enjoyable enemies to lovers/ hate to love dark romance. It’s one of those dark romances that leaves you happy sighing with contentment. It’s what you would expect a dark romance story would be — a strong plotline, atmosphere that sets the entire mood, character growth, and an overall world-building that sucks you in with its detail and dimension. It’s a story that has elements you can connect with.

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Resurrection of the Heart not only concluded Ivy and Santiago’s story in a strong and satisfying way, but it also leaves you with lingering afterthoughts of the entire IVI world they are living in.

If you’ve read the first two books, or even Natasha Knight’s To Have and To Hold duet, then the allusive IVI would’ve made you a little curious. This secret society is a fantasy world in itself that seems to have endless power and possibilities. Ivy and Santiago’s story may have already been told, but there is no doubt that this isn’t the last we’ll see of The Society. And I for one, am totally down for it! 🙌

I have always found both Knight’s and Zavarelli’s writing styles to be such effortless reads with their suspenseful build-ups and intriguing characters, so reading a collaborated story was a no brainer! Highly recommended!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Natasha, Ashleigh, and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading The Society Trilogy? Grab your copy here:

•••


💀🌹 Read my reviews for The Society Trilogy!

Book One: Requiem Of The Soul by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

Book Two: Reparation Of Sin by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli


•••

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

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Birdy by Dee Garcia

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

Come to the United States, they said.

Freedom and endless opportunities for all, they said.

So we did—made the ninety-mile trek overseas from Havana to Key West.

What they didn’t tell us was how hard these supposed opportunities would be to obtain when you’re an illegal alien. A fact that forced both my brother and I onto a dark path in an effort to help our family.

The difference between Tommy and I?

He didn’t get caught.

Now, I’m paying the price, rotting away at the hands of the judicial system, facing possible deportation after serving my time. Can’t get worse, right?

Wrong.

Enter Andrés Bala—the new C.O. at the Annex who fits the tall, dark, and handsome
stereotype to the T. It’s clear the man wants me and I don’t understand why.

I’m a criminal, he strives for justice, and after a sneaky, whirlwind affair, he vows to wait for me.

What he doesn’t understand?

I’m la Jefa, and once I’m freed from my cage, I’m coming back for one thing and one thing only… Retribution.

The Upper Echelon may belong to the illusive, faceless Arcángel, but he seems to have
forgotten I’m not a pendeja.

He can run, he can hide, but his blood will be mine—even if it gets me locked up for life
after it’s all said and done.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Ooh boy. This was one wild ride! And all I can say now is… I needs me the second book, asap!! 🙏🙏🙏 This, chicos and chicas is how world-building, character growth, build-up and overall story development is done! *mic drop*🎤

Right off the bat, it read like I was reading a script for a brand spanking new, completely bad-ass mafia drama show. I kid you not — the way Dee Garcia has written this story I could instantly picture it like it was happening right in front of me.

Hey, TV execs, where you at?

This is my first book ever from Dee Garcia, but I am kicking myself for not having read any of her books previous to this one. But hey… if you’re like me who hasn’t read anything of hers, then Birdy is not a bad place to start! 😉

I’ve read a handful of five star rated books this year, but there’s something so uniquely quintessential about this one that’s making it stand out just a smidge more from the rest.

Maybe, like I said earlier that it read like it was made for screen and it’s so visually appealing.

Maybe it’s because Birdy (aka Benni) is someone I effortlessly related with instantly in the sense of family dynamics, that strong family bond and upbringing. Oh and then there’s her attitude to boot!

Or maybe the fact that it oozes such strong culture due to Birdy’s Cuban heritage, and the Spanish that organically flows out midst thoughts and conversations throughout the entire book. I’m not Cuban. I’m Filipina, who has.. who knows how much Spanish in her blood (probably 0.001%) but nevertheless grew up with a similar background and dynamics, and seeing how Birdy was with her family was just something that I could totally relate with.

Whatever the reason, all I know is I connected, I was hooked, and I was 100% invested in her story.

“My mama didn’t raise no pendeja, and if they think I’m going to be an easy target as fresh meat, they’re in for one hell of a rude awakening. I’ll run that fucking block like I ran those goddamn streets.

La Jefa bows to no one.”

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Birdy is probably one of the most fiercest female fictional characters I’ve ever encountered in a contemporary setting, albeit dark, but still very much present day setting. She first comes onto the scene seemingly confident, sure of herself and stubborn as hell. But as the story develops you see a lot more of her vulnerability and emotion that she tries so hard to hide from others in order to protect herself. There’s such a likability about her despite the things she does in this book that clearly goes against one’s good moral compass.

Call me just a little evil, but I love characters who go through struggles, grow from their experiences and come through to the other side having some kind of progression in their lives and their character. But I also love those characters who have certain traits that never change no matter what they’ve gone through in their lives. In Birdy’s case, it was her sass. She was sassy before everything went down, and she stayed hella sassy all throughout her years in prison.

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That sass also added some lightheartedness into an otherwise dank and bleary atmosphere that most of Birdy’s story dwells in. Add in some colourful secondary characters with attitudes and unique personalities of their own and you can call this a telenovela meets Prisonbreak: Bitch Edition. And I’m saying this all from love! 😜 The ladies that’s imprisoned along with Birdy are craaaay (not doubt about that) but just as easily relatable, just as lovable, and just as resilient. They all have their stories and they’re trying to survive each day in that concrete box.

If you like a bit of girl power in your reads, then you have it in spades with this one.

This book is told from multiple POVs, in a first person narrative. No matter which point of view you’re reading, you’ll not only see the story line develop further, but you get snippets into these protagonists’ inner workings. But the peculiar thing? As much as you read about these characters thoughts at the present time, you don’t actually get their motive in its entirety. Both Ángel and Andrés play prominent roles in Birdy’s life yet anything outside concerning Birdy is a mystery. I only hope that that will all change in the next book.

Now you’re probably wondering… You have Birdy. Then there’s Ángel. And then there’s Andrés. Are we sniffing a love triangle here??

Well, you’d be sniffing right! And like any good, juicy love triangle… there’s always one you’re gonna like a little more than the other. Problem in this case? Both Ángel and Andrés are just too damn addictive that depending on who’s POV you’re reading at the time, you’ll be swooning over that character. Ay! It’s tough. 😅 I tell ya, Birdy is one lucky chicky (excuse the pun).

Besides the crazy inmates with Birdy, Dee Garcia has also written her two leading men with such different auras, that there’s no way you’d be confusing one with the other. They’re written in almost as if they’re black and white. Good vs Evil. Angel vs Devil. You get my gist. They’re opposites. And the only thing they have in common is their want for Birdy.

You see the constant struggle Birdy goes through having fallen for these two and the consequences of it all. And having to juggle that with the problems she’s left behind before she went into imprisonment.

“I don’t trust him, either. 

Not with my heart.

He has a piece of it already, and I didn’t even give it to him willingly. He took it like he takes everything else.” 

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I’m not big on love triangles in my romance reads. So why did I read this one? Because I completely missed the (very obvious) flashing neon sign mentioning of two different male leads when I read the blurb! 🤦‍♀️ I was too preoccupied with Birdy being La Jefa and getting caught to link her to two different men. LOL. But after having read this book, I’m not at all regretting having to read through a love triangle. The story, in opinion was so well executed that if I did find fault (which I didn’t), I still wouldn’t have rated it lower.

There was so much happening in this book, yet it was consistent in its plot development. The story gradually evolved, with a constant buildup and edge of your seat moments. The world Dee Garcia has created is full and rich with detail and ambiance. I can’t pinpoint just one highlight in this book because there were just so many good aspects.

  • Her friendships with the ladies in prison. It’s strong and loyal, and everything you wish to have in any friend.
  • Her family. I don’t want to say any spoilers but just know I teared up in one particular scene. Not gonna lie, at the time I was reading it I was a little miffed with Dee having wrote that scene in, but now I’ve had time to let it all sink in and just accept it. *mumbles* But why, Dee?! 🙈
  • Then, there’s of course the swooniness.. *waggles eyebrows* So much fangirling, and squealing. This, chicas… is what will keep you reading all night. The romance. The desperation for contact. The feels.

Ugh.

I can on hope and pray this level of superior story telling continues well into the second book!

“We were risking too much for stolen moments that were never supposed to be.”

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If you enjoy story lines that are on the heavy side of family, full of angst, suspense, some unpredictability, with romance dripped in drama, then you gotta get on board with Birdy. It doesn’t disappoint. This is full adult romance, sexual content and all! It is one part of a duet… so it does end on a cliffhanger. Although a fairly well-concluded ending where you’re not left with your hands in the air, screaming “Why, Dios, why!?” But it will leave you sighing — so bear that in mind!

Oh and I can’t forget… if you have a fondness for love triangles, and possibly getting second lead syndrome,  then that’s another reason to read this one!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you to Dee Garcia and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read and review an advance copy! 💛

Interested in reading Birdy? Grab your copy here: Universal Link  |  Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Amazon CA

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—ABOUT THE AUTHOR —


Dee Garcia

Self-published dark romance author Dee Garcia was born and raised in Miami, Florida.

A voracious fan of romance novels and long time lover of the written word, her mission is to craft unique, compelling, and deliciously dark stories that will give her readers a thrilling escape from the monotony of everyday reality. With fierce, headstrong heroines and sinful, possessive Alpha males weaved into her rousing tales, Dee hopes to leave her mark on the Indie world, one decadent plot twist at a time.

Follow her on her social media!

🔔 Get the latest news! Newsletter Sign Up


•••

Thank you for reading, guys! Hope you liked it 😊 Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Bound By The Past by Cora Reilly

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— BLURB —

Dante

My life’s a tale of betrayal.

I killed so many because they betrayed our cause, because they betrayed the Outfit.

A hypocrite. A liar. A murderer.

That’s what I am.

Five times I betrayed the Outfit. With my blood I made a vow to our cause, swore my life to it, promised to put the Outfit first. Above all else.

Five times I chose a woman over the good of the Outfit. I betrayed my father. My vow. My men.

You reap what you sow.

Would my betrayal destroy everything I swore to protect?

Valentina

On our wedding day I made a vow to stand by Dante’s side.

In good and in bad times.

To love him through it all.

Growing up in the mafia, I knew the challenges in our life would be numerous. I never expected them to tear at the very base of our family, of our existence.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Dammit! 👏👏👏 Well played, Cora. Well played.

You’ve officially gotten me… or should I say you’ve finally gotten me to like Dante! 😋

When I first read Bound by Duty back in 2016, Dante Cavallaro wasn’t my favourite protagonist. But don’t get me wrong.. I didn’t hate the guy, to me he was just… meh, okay. From my perspective, he definitely lived up to the Iceman image. When other fans swooned over him I always (silently, mind you–didn’t need my head getting bitten off) thought “hmm…was I missing something?” or “What did they see in him that I sure as hell couldn’t??” — things like that.

Now fast forward to 2020, and I fiiiiiiiiinally see it! *cue the harp*

Before I move along with my review I’m adding Cora’s disclaimer first. With the release coming soon, I want to make sure you guys are up to date and that when you read on, my review will (kinda, sorta) make sense to you. I’ll try to keep the rambling to a minimum. 😉


This book isn’t a standalone. You should read (at least) Bound by Duty before starting Bound by the Past. It is, however, recommended that you read Bound by Honor, Bound by Duty, Bound by Hatred, Bound by Temptation and Bound by Love, as well as Twisted Loyalties and Twisted Pride in advance because this book entails spoilers for all of the aforementioned books. 


Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that out the way…

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Let’s start with the reason as to why I am now pro Dante, shall we?

Carla.

Carla made me like Dante. I’m pretty sure she was the missing link that I needed in order to see Dante in a whole different light. I could be completely wrong, but I can’t help think Cora included Dante’s life pre-Valentina especially for us skeptical readers (I can’t be the only one who wasn’t as big a fan of Dante) to better understand his demeanor both publicly and privately.

Similar to Bound by Love where it was from Luca’s point of view, Bound by the Past is from Dante’s — at least for the first part, then it becomes dual POVs between himself and Val. The story is also told from different years of Dante’s life starting from when he was a teenager.

But that first part where it was only Dante’s POV was where he won me over. Just. Like. That! This book (and I’m saying this because it’s how I personally felt) redeemed him in my eyes. The Iceman thawed a little, and the second he started opening up, I started to really invest in his life.

This book is not only much anticipated but in my opinion necessary, especially for readers, like myself who were on the fence about Dante. I guarantee, you will come away from reading it at least understanding him better and his reasoning behind everything that occurred.

His backstory was easily one of the highlights for me. I’m not gonna lie — I teared up 10% into the book. I wasn’t expecting it but Cora’s known to keep you on your toes, so I rolled with the punches. Getting to know more about his life, his family dynamics and his marriage with Carla before everything that happened in Bound by Duty and onward made his world-building and Cora’s entire mafia world even more detailed than it already was.

I seriously didn’t think I would learn anything new about Dante that’ll have me turn on my axis but after reading this one… *phew* I feel like I need to be laying down, stare at my ceiling and just contemplate life.

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The Iceman may just have the biggest heart of all!

If anything, he’s more human than the other Capos. And seeing that certainly had it’s pros and cons. I can picture it now, BBTP will have so many readers’ minds ticking. The results from his actions both past and present is bound to have people questioning, second-guessing, debating, and perhaps even have cause for concern at what it would mean for the future.

So much character growth since Bound by Duty. Dante has portrayed such a cool, calm demeanor not only within the world he’s in but to the reader reading his story. Yet there was so much going on behind the scenes in his life, at least half the things that were revealed in this book I never would’ve expected! It’s heartbreaking.

Without a doubt, Bound by the Past is about sacrifices, betrayal, and secrets. No matter how much of the mob business was kept away from their personal lives and vice a versa, they both eventually bled into one another. Whether you’re a fan of Dante or not, it’ll be hard not to feel bad for the guy in this one. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place one too many times and you can’t help but feel helpless right along with him.

Thank goodness for the all the sweet sentimental moments in between. Like Cora’s previous books, there was a nice balance of light and shade within each of her scenes. And if all fails — the saucy scenes in this one were turned up a notch! 🔥


“It was strange to think that one of the happiest moments of my life followed so closely after an act of war. Maybe it was a reminder that I needed to focus on the good in my life, even if evil would always be my closest companion.”


Then there’s the array of secondary characters that either have been introduced or developed further, which added layers upon layers of side stories and endless possibilities.

Hey, Flamingo Squad! Remember all those times Cora asked questions and had polls on what we would like to see in her future books? If you don’t. No worries because that’s all about to come flooding back whilst reading BBTP. If I could share spoilers right here, right now, you would be seeing a relatively long list! But since I can’t, I’ll just say this — those who are wondering about certain characters, certain couplings, certain stories, you’re queries may just be answered in this book! I know a couple of mine were….but oh man… I was still surprised by a some!

(P.S. Join the Facebook group if you haven’t already → Cora’s Flamingo Squad)

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Another exciting highlight I have to mention are certain introductions Cora has included in this book and directions she’s hinted at for future books. I’ve never been one to complain about the lack of, or seek diversity in my reads. If it’s there — great! If not, no biggie. And considering Cora writes mafia romances, there’s only so many cultures and ethnic diversity that can be included. I’m not going to mention the ethnicity of the character that was introduced in this series, but I want to thank Cora for broadening her world to include it. I feel like her fictional world has just expanded tenfold with the additions and various plots she’s incorporated into her original story arc.

Bound by the Past is probably one of my favourable books she’s written in the sense that it was clever writing, and her chosen format was easy to follow. Cora has managed to bind the Born in Blood and the Camorra Chronicles stories and timelines together seamlessly.

Whichever book (whether it’s from BiB or the Camorra Chronicles), Cora has managed to make me see their side of the story and feel for those characters. It’s remarkable how seeing both sides of a story can easily sway your judgment. Just when you think you prefer one territory over another.. Sigh. It’s honestly a losing battle.

  • I saw a different side to Dante in this book.
  • I saw more from crazy-psycho Remo (which BTW I could’ve lived without lol).
  • There’s characters in here that may be minor now but will eventually play bigger roles that I can’t wait to see in the future.. *ahem ahem* Samuel. Danilo. Orazio. Oh my. I could go on but I… eeeeep… I can’t! 😭🙈
  • And there’s so much insight to Dante’s family — and I don’t just mean with Val and their children. I’m talking about the Miones too! SO MUCH! SO SO MUCH!!

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As this is considered the last book in the BIB series with an anthology and a series of standalone books set in the same world in the works, this story ties everything that’s happened from past to present fairly well. There’s highs and lows. Things I agreed with and some things not so much. But I’ve been in this situation before and knowing Cora, she’ll be able to easily persuade me later on. I mean, she is Queen. Her word is law. 😉😉

An overall satisfying conclusion to Dante’s story. It’s a must read. For fans of her series and for mafia romance lovers alike. Nothing but contentment here!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you so much to Cora Reilly (and Emily Alice) for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Bound By The Past? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble

•••


MusicButtonCora’s playlist for Bound By The Past!

L I S T E N  N O W

🎧 BOUND BY THE PAST PLAYLIST


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

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The Dirty Bargain by Lylah James & Cora Reilly

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•••

— BLURB —

T A L I A

The Bratva is bad news, especially for someone like me, a girl raised in the Italian mafia. But I’ll have to play games with the devil and face the most impossible decision of my life to get the one thing I desire more: revenge.

To pay back the people who hurt me, I need the help of the Bratva’s best assassin: KILLER.

He’s terrifying. Cruel. Brutal. A savage. Everything I’m forbidden to have. Everything I should have stayed away from.

Wishes come with a price.

How much am I willing to pay for revenge if Killer asks for everything?

K I L L E R

Fight. Kill. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Born to be a slave but I fought my way out with blood and countless of deaths on my hand.

When the little, innocent princess – a princess who doesn’t belong in my world, comes to me for help… Talia Barese doesn’t realize she had just met her worst nightmare.

My name always comes with a caution sign. They say I’m a monster. They are right… Too bad Talia didn’t paid attention to the warnings. She should have. Now, there’s nowhere for her to run.

Shh… Be Careful what you wish for, Little One.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’m gonna say it straight out — this novella will most likely be a must read for avid fans of Cora Reilly’s mafia books because Talia was a minor character in her Born In Blood series (specifically from Bound by Vengeance). If you’re curious to see what became of her since then, then this book is not to be missed… but other than that, you could probably skip this novella and not have missed a beat with the series.

Not entirely sure if Killer was created for this novella or if he was already part of Lylah James’ mafia world but I tell ya, if he has already made appearances in hers, then I’ll have to check out her books! 😊

Talia leaves her family and her Italian Mafia-protected life in hopes of persuading Killer (yep, that’s his name); a hired gun for the Russian mafia to act vengeance on her behalf on the man who almost ruined her life when she was younger. Now, I have to mention if you haven’t read Bound by Vengeance, then I highly recommend that you do — not only because it’s fucking fantabulous, but also because you’ll get the insight into what happened with Talia during that time. But in case you haven’t or.. *whispers* you don’t want to.. she does briefly mention what happened to her in this novella.

Killer is the Bratva’s assassin, and he never does a job for free. Everything comes at a price, and when Talia approaches him in all her timid, scared, innocent way, it peaks his interest. When she finally admits the reason as to why she was in search of him, he knows he can use it to his advantage to bend her to his will.

Her virginity as payment. That was the deal.

Their first encounter had my attention right off the bat. The chemistry was already visible despite them not haven’t spoken to each other yet. Killer’s big, bad dangerous aura was definitely leaping off the pages and the way he was introduced was giving me such Remo/ Growl vibes (in case you don’t know — they’re a couple of Cora’s characters from her books).

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When it comes to novellas, I’m always a little iffy about how the author is going to execute a well thought-out story that includes world-building and character development in such a short span. Whilst I would’ve liked further details in some of the scenes in this novella, or at least a couple more chapters, Lylah and Cora did an overall good job of telling Talia and Killer’s story.

I did however thought whilst I was reading this that I could easily point out which parts were written by each author. I would’ve liked it to have been a little more cohesive but it’s not such a big deal when it comes to the grand scheme of things.

Was there any character growth? Ehhhh. Not really. Everything happens in a very short amount of time. The only semblance of growth and/ or development was the feelings of curiosity they have towards each other — subtle for the most part, but still present. (There’s more lust and heat exuding from them than anything deeper).

There’s also no secondary characters in this novella, other than a name mentioned here and there. It’s strictly protagonists only!

Was there any growth in the story or world-building? Honestly, once the deal was agreed upon, Killer moved in pretty quickly in getting his payment from Talia. Actually, the entire story revolved around getting payment from her than the actual deed of killing the target (not that I’m complaining in the least. Uh-uh!) 😉

Other than the sizzling scenes, there are some very sweet moments from Killer. I admit he seemed a little more brute-like than what I’m used to from Cora’s Made Men so seeing any kind of tenderness or thoughtfulness from him was a nice added layer to his character. Also — there was a little twist in this story that I did not see coming, or I should’ve but just didn’t put the pieces together fast enough. Either way, it enhanced the plot and gave it a much needed oomph.

There was one thing I probably shouldn’t have been so irked about reading (but I was, and I still can’t let it go 😜) that’s a tidbit in the epilogue. I’m going to be vague here to avoid spoilers.. There was something that happened that was necessary but the follow through was something I can’t say I was overly a fan of. The epilogue as a whole felt a little rushed.. (this would be the part where they could’ve extended it a little with a couple more paragraphs).

But overall, an okay little novella. As I said in the beginning, if you decide to skip it, or can’t access the novella, you won’t be missing any key details that’s crucial to the overall series.. at least not anytime soon.

(Whilst this did not effect my overall rating, I have to point out that a little more editing would’ve gone a long way. There were times I had to reread lines to figure out what was being said. I don’t usually mention issues with books that have grammatical errors in my reviews but in this instance it did effect my reading experience). Sigh. 🤷‍♀️

RATING: ♥♥♥½

•••

Side Note: This romance novella was exclusive to the Queens of Darkness and Sin Facebook Group (no longer available). But if you want access to future exclusives and latest news from various dark romance authors, I highly recommend to join the group! 👍


💻 Join the Facebook Group!

Queens of Darkness and Sin


•••

Wishing you guys well! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Inspired by Jessica Florence

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Call it pure desperation, or maybe we’d agree it was the lack of sleep that had me signing six weeks of my life away to be bossed around by a life coach. Either way, I was trying to get my life together, and Logan Woodland was going to help.

I thought he’d make me eat healthier, drink more water, and do yoga. What I wasn’t expecting, was to be forced to see myself as I was and how far I’d fallen.

But then his program worked.

He’d shown me a life filled with passion and desire. A life where I was stronger and could be the woman I’d never known existed inside me.

I did have a six-week life-changing experience, but now, I wanted more than I’d signed on for.

Him.

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• MY REVIEW •

I found it to be a slower paced read up until about the halfway mark, which by then things started progressing faster and I could finally get into the groove of Mia and Logan’s relationship. So if you can handle a slower pace for half a book, then you’re right for this one. Think of it as a rollercoaster ride – you start off slowly rolling higher and higher to reach the top and once it starts dipping back down over the other side you know it’s going to be one hell of a fast-paced ride. Inspired was just that!

I admit I didn’t get an immediate connection with Mia and Logan. I didn’t see a spark between them so it was a little difficult to believe in the beginning when they both had similar thoughts on how attractive the other was. I just couldn’t believe it.. at first.

Like I said the first half of the story is slow and it concentrated a lot on Mia wanting to improve with her life and Logan coaching her through changes. The romance didn’t kick in until later and despite it being a contemporary romance (and not gonna lie a big reason why I was eager to read this) – to me this was more so a story to inspire. After having finished it the first thing that came to mind was that it was uplifting. Inspired was such an uplifting read.

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I found that Mia’s self-discovery and journey to emotional and mental healing, and the things that Logan taught her throughout the book is what I connected with the most. As someone who’s been going through depressive states throughout my adult life, the things mentioned and said really resonated with me, and will most likely stay with me from this day forth.

Here are some of my fave quotes from the book that I found profound, powerful and made me truly think about my own life.


“People really didn’t need another human to make themselves happy. Happiness came from within.”


“The simple act of continuing when you feel like giving up is the bravest thing anyone can do.”


“But forgiveness can’t be rushed. It comes when you realize that you don’t need that pain anymore. You’ll forgive (him), and it’ll be like you shed a dead part of yourself off. Wounds don’t heal until you stop touching them. Same goes for mental wounds.”


Now let’s talk about Mia and Logan’s second chance at love.

Boy oh boy, I was waiting for something to finally happen and when it did it felt like an unexpected punch in the face. LOL. They went from being strictly professional, to starting to get comfortable around each other.. then BAM! 0 to 100 hot and heavy! 😄

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I think I actually burst out in a snort-laugh at how shocked I was that after their first kiss (which I thought was totally inappropriate btw.. considering he was suppose to be her life coach) how quickly it escalated to them getting each other off.

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Don’t get me wrong – is was HOT kiss scene and it was at that moment where I was finally sinking into the story… I didn’t think their relationship would jump to that so quickly, but I suppose with nothing happening in the first half of the book, it had to happen sometime, huh? I immediately thought it was insta-lust/ insta-lust but as I kept reading, I enjoyed how their relationship progressed. Yes, it developed in a short amount of time but I (fiiiinally) felt that spark between them as the story went on.

Their relationship felt realistic and relatable and just so down to earth. I thought the events (both good and bad) that occured and the situations that resulted from them, and how they were eventually resolved felt convincing and organic. I think that’s why I didn’t come away from reading Inspired thinking “aww what a great second chance romance” (even though it was!) — I mostly came away thinking “what an encouraging love story”.

If I could say a couple of things I wasn’t feeling as much, it would have to be Mia’s “sometimes” weirdness. I cringed at some of the things she said – thank goodness it was only to herself but I had serious second-hand embarrassment for the girl. Logan had cheesy moments too but by then I was rolling my eyes. But hey, all in good fun. At least Mia knew she was weird. Hehe. I’m just glad it didn’t last more than a few chapters.

I would’ve liked more character development and more details into each protagonists’ back stories besides what was mentioned in conversation. I think it would’ve set the atmosphere a little better by seeing detailed events of their past so you can see the reasoning on how they got to be the way they are in the present.

I do however love the supporting characters. Mia’s family and friend Jay. And ughhh… Logan having Tate, Callum and awesome mama bear Tink. Their involvement made this book all the more enjoyable. The little jokes and teasing. The love and support. I loved it all! Bromance at its best! (Am I crazy in kinda wanting Tate and Callum to have their own love stories too?)

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Before I wrap up this mish-mashed review. I have to mention the one moment in this book that totally and utterly took me by surprise that I’m thankful I wasn’t eating or drinking anything at the time or I would’ve 100% choked..

The scene where Mia and Logan were doing yoga with the instructor. That moment with Mia and her… umm… embarrassing mishap… oh gosh! Had me in tears!

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Read the book to find out what it was. It’s a total unexpected crack up! And I can tell ya… I can relate! 😜

I’m currently in one of my darker days where it feels like grey clouds are constantly over my head, so reading Inspired couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I recommend this to anyone who’s had or having days like this where you don’t feel like getting out of bed. This book is a great reminder we are not alone and will hopefully lift up your spirits.. at least for a little while.  Jessica, thank you for sharing this story and for using some of your own experiences as inspiration for it.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you to Jessica Florence for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜

🔔 Interested in reading Inspired? Grab your copy here: Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Kobo  |  Barnes & Noble


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

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The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

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— BLURB —

A prequel to the Throne of Glass series. Contains all five novellas.

Celaena Sardothien is Adarlan’s most feared assassin. As part of the Assassin’s Guild, her allegiance is to her master, Arobynn Hamel, yet Celaena listens to no one and trusts only her fellow killer-for-hire, Sam. In these action-packed novellas – together in one edition for the first time – Celaena embarks on five daring missions. They take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, where she fights to liberate slaves and seeks to avenge the tyrannous. But she is acting against Arobynn’s orders and could suffer an unimaginable punishment for such treachery. Will Celaena ever be truly free? Explore the dark underworld of this kick-ass heroine to find out.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Before I get on with my review. I have to admit that I read this book back in May but with life getting in the way of fangirling and book blogs, my blog took a backseat the whole of June (hence my lack of recent blogs) but I’m hoping to slowly but surely catch up on my book reviews. Phew! Please bare with me! 💜

I loved this book! I loved reading about where and how Celaena started as an assassin.

Sarah J Maas advised to read this one after Heir of Fire and before Queen of Shadows, so if you read the first three books like I did, you would know Sam (her first and in my opinion true love) had died. So you would think coming into this book you wouldn’t necessarily develop a deep connection with Sam because you would’ve already fallen for Chaol or even Dorian for Celaena. You’ve had three books worth to get a feel for a character and to fall for them but let me tell you, this book…omg this book..totally changed everything. It was such an insight to Celaena’s past and you finally get to see the man Celaena is still hurting over.

I thought when I first read Throne of Glass that I wouldn’t fall in love any other character for Celaena than Chaol himself (then of course that changed with Rowan coming into the picture later on). But after getting a glimpse of Sam here and there throughout the first 3 books, I was really curious to read more about him and why he impacted Celaena’s life so much.

If I didn’t say it before, I’ll say it again. I wish Sam didn’t have to die.

I WISH SAM DID NOT HAVE TO DIE! I would have loved to see more of what could have been between Celaena and him. And see him as character develop more into a man. I was seriously reading the book knowing ok..he’s going to die.. but question is when? You think I would’ve already prepared myself, right?

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Wrong!

It was a weird experience reading it. You could see it coming but then again you couldn’t. Does that make sense? I don’t know how else to say it. I was in panic mode the whole time I was reading it (hoping even),that he would survive! Or at least not die the way he did! 😢

Ohhhh how I loved these novellas. There’s 5 in total but I loved  The Assassin and the Pirate Lord and The Assassin and the Underworld the most.

Besides getting to know the beautiful Sam, you also get the pleasure of knowing how cruel and vindictive Arobynn really is. If you thought he was already a shitty piece of crap from the way Celaena talks about him in TOG, then you’re about to get to know him first hand! Enjoy!

All kidding aside, I really recommend that you guys don’t skip this book. It really does give you insight to why Celaena became the way she did and it really shows how far she’s come from since. And I’ll give you a little hint – Some of the things you read from this book may just come back around in the series (and you wouldn’t want to be lost when you do read on, would you?) 😉

It’s actually one of my favourite books from the series. I would’ve given it full ratings if it weren’t for some of stories being a little slow paced for my liking. I kid you not, if I wasn’t so picky about tiny things like that this would be 5/5 in my opinion. So don’t even take my rating seriously. Lol.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

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📚 Read my reviews for the series!

(In reading order)

Book One: Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Book Two: Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Book Three: Heir Of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

Book Four: Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Book Five: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas


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Thank you stopping by! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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