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

•••


—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!

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•••

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

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Deranged by Monica Corwin

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•••

— BLURB —

Since I was old enough to understand I knew I was worthless. A girl child when my powerful politician of a mother prayed for a boy. Someone to mold in her image. I stayed out of her way, until I couldn’t, and she made me regret every stumble, every misstep, every breath.

Like clockwork, she paid off doctors to drag me into a mental hospital at her most crucial career moments. I rotted behind cinderblock walls for six months at a time. It became my life…until I met him.

Ash. A one night stand in the back seat of his car turns into my only solace while locked away. He pretends I’m just another patient, until I force him to see me…the woman…Kory…someone who needs him more than anyone else.

My mother is a monster. I’m nothing more than a pawn. But Ash…he’s my salvation.

Hades and Persephone like you’ve never seen them. This is magic, this is menace, this is myth…with a dark twist.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’m always up for reading a retelling or stories inspired by classic tales. This one is based off Hades and Persephone. A Greek mythology. Whilst I’ve always been fascinated by mythologies (mostly Greek and Roman), this particular tale was one I wasn’t familiar with but was excited to dive into after having read the blurb! 😄

Set in a modern day backdrop. Kory (Persephone) and Ash (Hades) randomly meet at a bar, flirt and end up hooking up at the back seat of Hades’ car. Despite Hades’ desire to meet with Kory again, Kory knows it’s impossible with the life she’s forced to live and leaves it as a one-night stand.

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Kory is placed into mental hospitals months at a time by her controlling and powerful mother. She’s practically been in and out of a mental hospitals all her life. But the difference this time around going in? Ash, the random hookup who she didn’t think she would ever see again, ends up being the new doctor assigned to care for her.

Once the surprise of seeing each other again settles down and realization sets in that they must now try to keep a strict professional relationship from here on out, Ash can’t seem to ignore (just like his ever growing feelings for Kory) his curiosity. Questions start popping up. For one thing: Why is she constantly being admitted? Especially when she’s never been diagnosed with anything that requires her to be kept within a hospital for long periods of time. The more time he spends with Kory during their therapy sessions, the more he needs to seek the truth about her.

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“Seeing you here, in this place, in charge of this place, taints the memory of my freedom. The memory I needed to keep me sane through the next six months.”

The concept of this story initially had me hooked but after having read the entire book, I did however think it fell a little flat and could use some tweaking. The chemistry between Kory and Hades was a definite upside, and their scenes were probably the only highlight for me, but I would’ve loved to have seen some character growth. Their relationship lacked development since their first encounter (considering the lengths they both go to, to keep the other out of trouble). There’s no doubt that they care for each other, but I wasn’t completely convinced that their love was any deeper by the end of it.

Another concern I had was the lack of world-building. This was based on Greek mythology between Hades and Persephone. If you’re not familiar with their backstory or with other characters from Greek mythology, then you might have difficulty following this retelling. Although I’m familiar with the characters and know some Greek myths, as I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t familiar with Hades and Persephone’s story at all. The author mostly stuck with the original Greek names for the secondary characters, but I still felt a little lost whenever they conversed. It’s obvious they have some type of relationship, but to what extent? 🤷‍♀️ I couldn’t tell you.

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The secondary characters were intriguing with a lot of potential but they were introduced into the story like I, as the reader already knew who they were and what their connection was to the protagonists. You get tidbits here and there but not nearly enough to see of their importance. For example, Ash has a couple of Fraternity brothers he gets in contact with for help but the way they talk to each other shows there’s deep history and some animosity there, but it doesn’t get divulged so you’re left with unanswered questions about their past.

However, discovering a protagonist who’s a bit of bookworm is always a plus in my opinion! I liked the idea of Kory being such a lover of books. It certainly gave her character some personality in a world where everything seemed so bleak. The way she describes how her books make her feel is so relatable and how they’ve become a sort of solace for her whilst being locked away and alone is one of the things I could identify with.

The story is fairly fast-paced with short chapters. However there was no build-up and no real details, leaving the story feeling rushed. It read more like a short story than a full-length one (I was able to finish it in one sitting). I’m not sure if the author had planned to write a series with a continuous plot (for some reason I thought this would be a series of standalones), but the way this book concluded it seems like it might be the former. Which I’m now hoping because there’s so much more things I’d like to see from these characters.

I would’ve loved to have seen some more oomph and suspense. Kory’s mother had the right elements to be such a villainous character but it seemed like she held her full power back. Ash also discovers the truth relatively quickly without too much work, which left it a little underwhelming. Although the second he finds out the truth, all medical/ professional rules get thrown out the window between Ash and Kory (I’m not complaining about that.. because the parts where they were together were the best bits!) 😅

I don’t usually mention any spelling or grammatical errors in my reviews especially when ARCs are concerned because they’re still technically in the editing phase — and these errors don’t usually affect my rating, I unfortunately couldn’t ignore the amount of editing this book requires. I found issues every second line and it reached a point where I was either rereading it over again, or I was questioning what the author was trying to say. In this case it affected my ability to really soak up and connect with the story, which was an unfortunate downer. I only hope it’ll all be revised by the time it’s released.

But overall, a nice enough romance story inspired by one of the Greek myths. The chemistry between Kory and Ash will certainly keep you intrigued to see how everything will turn out for them in the end. I think with a little more character growth, world-building and some backstory between the characters, this story could be the start of a potentially amazing series. Although I didn’t love Deranged, I don’t regret reading it either. There were parts that had my full attention, and I’m not gonna lie — all the sneaking around and secret rendezvous scenes were… 😍

“Everything about her screamed chaos. Sexy, smart, beautiful fucking chaos. I wouldn’t know peace, but I’d know her. Was the risk worth it?”

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Not bad. If you’re big on Greek mythology and enjoy a retelling, then I think this book would be right up your alley. If you’re a fan of the story of Hades and Persephone, then again I think this book is for you. Give it a go. Who knows, maybe you’ll love it more! 😉

RATING: ♥♥♥/5

Thank you to Monica Corwin and to Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 🤍

🔔 Interested in reading Deranged? Grab your copy here: Universal Link  |  Amazon  |  Apple Books  |  Nook  |  Kobo

•••


— ABOUT THE AUTHOR —


— Monica Corwin —

Monica Corwin is a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author. She is an outspoken writer attempting to make romance accessible to everyone, no matter their preferences. As a Northern Ohioian, Monica enjoys snow drifts, three seasons of weather, and a dislike of Michigan football. Monica owns more books about King Arthur than should be strictly necessary. Also typewriters…lots and lots of typewriters.

You can reach Monica by emailing her at monica@monicacorwin.com or monicacorwin@outlook.com

Follow Monica Corwin on social media!

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•••

Thank you for reading! As always, 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

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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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Love The One You Hate by R.S. Grey

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•••

— BLURB —

Nicholas Hunt is the man I hate.

For good reason.

His opinion of me is tainted by prejudice even before my arrival at his grandmother’s estate, and my first impression of him is just as abysmal.

His arrogance and icy demeanor make it clear that he’s the type of man who’s best handled at a distance.

Fortunately, space shouldn’t be an issue inside this Gilded Age mansion and its lush gardens. If I stick with the servants and he keeps to his sailboat and vintage Porsche, we should hardly cross paths at all. Unfortunately, at Rosethorn, I find that all roads eventually lead to Nicholas Hunt.

Sparks fly as we spar at the dinner table. Fighting words are flung in the shadows of the palatial halls.

We hang suspended in our hatred of one another, painfully oblivious to the heat and tension that build with every moment we’re left alone. We’re liable to kill one another, I think…right up until my eyes land on his lips and a new feeling grips hold of me: lust.

What’s worse?

He knows it.

They say you should keep your enemies close, but when Nicholas tightens his grip on my waist and draws me near, I’m not sure if it’s out of loathing or love.

One thing’s for sure—I intend to find out.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

I’m always up and raring to go when Grey has a new release. Her books always has a way of lightening your mood and is a great escape from the daily grind (even if it’s only for a few hours).

Love The One You Hate is a standalone contemporary romance that has a Cinderella/ Pretty Woman/ Pretty in Pink rolled into one story line.

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You’re introduced to Maren who pretty much has the worst luck in the world. She’s barely scraping by in the financial department, on the verge of getting fired from her job at an aged care home, and basically has no family to lean on.

But just when she thinks her life is just one big black sucky hole, luck finally throws her a bone in the form of Cornelia Buchanan. Or as I’d like to call her “the fairy godmother”.

Cornelia is pretty much the fairy godmother everyone wishes they had! Kind, thoughtful, giving… and did I mention boatload rich??! Whilst visiting a friend at the home, she sees Maren having a bad day at work and an idea forms out of thin air — Hire Maren to be her personal carer of sorts. Great idea, right?

Enters Nicholas Hunt. Well traveled, classy, a lawyer to boot, and oh yes.. Cornelia’s cold, takes-no-shit, serious grandson. And one look at Maren.. and all he can think is she’s there to take advantage of his grandmother and take her for everything she’s got. Why else would she be there, right?

“It’s like he hated me upon sight. Is that a thing? People drone on about love at first sight, but what about the opposite? Can someone lay eyes on a stranger one time and decide on a whim to hate them forever after?” — Maren    

Whilst I adored the concept of this storyline (who wouldn’t love a Cinderella-esque story where the poor girl, finds love and happiness with a man who can offer her the world?!).. it did feel a little choppy for my liking. There’s quite a few little sub-plots happening within this story but they all fizzled out. I would’ve liked to have seen one or two of those side stories lead somewhere. It almost felt like they were added on as fillers..? A lot of things were left unfinished or quickly settled. Not to mention the epilogue confused me. There was quite a lot of change that I, for one did not see coming at all as there were no hints of it prior. Sigh.

You want unpredictability in your reads? You’ll get it from this one. Hehe.

But there are a handful of positive features in this book. Like Cornelia and Maren’s blooming bond. They have a nice friendship that’s consistent and probably the only stable relationship throughout. I enjoyed reading their time spent together.

Then you have Maren and Nicholas, who are from two different words. She’s considered an outsider, not from the same class, and before coming to stay and work for Cornelia she was pretty much a loner. Nicholas and his family are well known. He’s hanged out with the same circle of people all his life. So saying their relationship is complicated is an understatement, but I couldn’t deny every time they were in the same room, the zing was strong!

PrettyWoman_RedDress

Nicholas was wary, judgmental and a little cold at first but was quick to accept he prejudged Maren and was willing to admit he made a mistake. Maren on the other hand came off as a little rude and standoffish towards Nicholas — which I must say I was a little taken aback considering he is Cornelia’s grandson. You would think she would try to befriend him or at least be civilized, but sadly that wasn’t the case at all. There’s a lot of game playing involved and I found that there was very little about her I did like (besides being a great companion to Cornelia) 😞

In all honestly, whilst there were a lot of parts I enjoyed reading from this book, but it’s not one of my faves from Grey. It fell a little short with little to no real character growth from either protagonists. Whilst there was obvious chemistry between the two, I wouldn’t even call what they had a proper relationship (and based on how it was going, certainly one I didn’t see lasting).

“If you and I hadn’t gotten off to such a rocky start, I think I would have found you very handsome.” — Maren

But Grey is a pro at creating witty banter between her characters and she always knows how to lighten the mood with a little humor. I’m happy to say it’s no different with this one! I may not be a fan of Maren, but there was some secondary characters that I did find appealing and gave this fictional world a little more depth in the sense that you get the gist that Maren is brought into a world of exclusivity and social standing.

All in all, a fairly well-paced story. A nice familial bond with Cornelia really being the link between Nicholas and Maren. A couple of entertaining secondary characters that never fail to make me smile. And a few saucy scenes between our leads. Romance readers who enjoy an enemies to lovers/ hate to love trope will certainly have no problems settling in with this one on a comfy couch! 😉

If you’re an avid fan of R.S. Grey and her books, then you’ll want to add this one to your collection. It’s a modern take on…

PrettyWoman_Cinderella

RATING: ♥♥♥¾

Thank you to R.S. Grey for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy! 🧡

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— Love The One You Hate by R.S. Grey —

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Release Date: May 7, 2020

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— About The Author —


Author_R.S. Grey

R.S. Grey is the USA Today bestselling author of over twenty novels. She lives in Texas with her husband and daughter, and can be found reading, binge-watching reality TV, or practicing yoga!

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If you’re interested in reading my reviews for previous books by R.S Grey — check out the ones below!

Hope you’re all well, friends! Keep safe, and I’ll catch you in my next one! Xo

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