Sweeper by Amy Daws

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

The cocky footballer next door has some serious balls…

luckily, Daphney Clarke knows how to play.

Zander Williams is the hot new American determined to take European football by storm. His head is so big, it barely fits under his backwards hat. And when he’s recruited to one of the biggest up and coming clubs in London, he’s certain to make his name known.

Managing the building where they live is only one of Daphney’s many jobs. It’s why she has zero patience for the obnoxious American on the other side of the wall who makes the most ungodly noises and likes to answer his door in nothing but a pink tea towel.

Tensions build and after one steamy hallway kiss, neighbor wars quickly shifts into neighbors-with-benefits and that’s a battle they both intend to win.

But Daphney doesn’t know the real reason Zander is in London and now she’s stuck in the middle of a game she didn’t even know she was playing.

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• MY REVIEW •

Wow. I’m having difficulty forming my emotions into words. This was one epic journey for both Zander and Daphney that I, as a reader felt honored to witness! I love the Harris Brothers series and the standalone books that followed set in the same world. They all centered around strong family dynamics, but in terms of family, love, and growth, Sweeper just had a different vibe. 😊

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Amy has written a beautiful, fleshed-out story that dealt with complex family situations and real struggles that one can easily relate to. It could very well have been a story that was entirely set in a melancholic atmosphere, but whether you’re familiar with Amy’s writing or not, you can undoubtedly expect some light-heartedness and uplifting mood-boosting scenes for balance.

The storytelling of this standalone had steady-pacing with gradual development and build-up. It’s multi-faceted, having a couple of secondary storylines developing right alongside Zander’s and Daphney’s quirky growing relationship.

Right from the very beginning, I was invested in not only Zander’s and Daphney’s spark-inducing romance, but Zander’s own personal story. With the internal struggles and second-guessing he constantly goes through in this book, you can’t help but sympathize and if possible dive into his life and be some kind of support system that he so desperately wanted and needed.

This book will have you going from one end of the emotional scale to the other. I went from tearing up from the situation that Zander has found himself in, to smiling like a total loon, to giggling senselessly, to bawling my eyes out. It’s an emotional journey, not only for these characters but for the reader as well. But despite the drama-filled rollercoaster ride, I came away from the book feeling exhaustedly happy, sighing with contentment, and mentally looking back at how far the Harris family have evolved over time.

Besides the personal issues that both Zander and Daphney are working through, there were plenty of fun moments. The flirty banter and the language barrier were probably two of my favourite highlights. I lost count of how many times I nodded my head and laughed my ass off in agreement. It’s a next-door neighbour, friends-with-benefits type deal between these two protagonists, and at first I found their little pact unusual albeit amusing, but as the story progresses, you see a gradual shift from their initial dynamic. I love how their relationship developed because it just felt so authentic. Even though it was a relatively short time frame from when they first met to them hooking up, it didn’t at all feel rushed.

The book also includes an immensely strong cast of supporting characters that all played vital roles in assisting to bring about Zander’s and Daphney’s story. Not only do they help set the mood, but they’re presence immediately has you gripping the pages because you quickly come to realize that they’re an unpredictable bunch! Amy always seems to have such likable personalities in her books and after having read Sweeper, I’m already hoping to see more of the characters featured in this story in the future.

If I had to nitpick, I would’ve liked the sense of a more completed ending. There’s no epilogue and whilst I normally don’t mind, this is a standalone novel and I felt like it concluded with an open-ended finish. Some matters were resolved, certain “chapters” in these characters’ lives have gracefully closed, but where Zander and Daphney are concerned, it almost seemed like the end was really just the beginning for the couple… yet not really, either.

But nevertheless, it’s not at all a big issue (I’m just fussy), as I adored their story so much! It’s definitely a recommended read from me to fellow romance readers.

Two truly lovable, sweet, and funny-as protagonists. They have such chemistry that leaps off the pages and comes off so believable. I swooned. I love the interactions between them. Zander being a professional soccer player and Daphney being an indie singer/songwriter was an interesting contrast. Other than the next-door neighbours with benefits aspect of the storyline, you’ll enjoy seeing the attraction between these two opposites and the moments in which they slowly yet unknowingly start to fall in love.

Perfect balance of romance, comradery, and sports elements. It’s hearty, in-depth, and just really makes you question, “What would you do if you were in Zander’s situation?

Told from dual POVs, this story is more than meets the eye!

P.S. The backdrop will give you such wanderlust. No joke! I’ve always wanted to holiday in London, and this book only reiterated the fact that it’s on my bucket list for a reason! 😍🤗

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Amy Daws for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💚

🔔 Interested in reading Sweeper? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

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More reviews for Amy Daws books!

Blindsided by Amy Daws

One Moment Please by Amy Daws

Replay by Amy Daws


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

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Swoon by Lauren Rowe

⚠ This review contains minor teasers!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Growing up, I knew my older brother’s best friend thought of me as “Logan’s kid sister.” For me, though, our next-door neighbor, Colin, felt like anything but a sibling. Whenever I spied on him through my bedroom window, as he banged away, shirtless, on his drum kit, I felt sensations inside me I’d never felt for my actual brother. But when we moved away and Colin’s band took off like a rocket, I knew my tweener fantasies would never become a reality.⁣

Fast-forward nine years to my brother’s wedding, when I saw Colin again and we shared a secret, drunken kiss that rocked my world. The next morning, Colin blamed the alcohol. Said we should pretend the kiss, and my unfortunate text afterward, never happened. ⁣

Now that I’m heading to LA to work for Colin and crash at his place, though, all bets are off. I’m determined to make Colin swoon for me, the same way I’ve always done for him. Because no matter what he insisted, Colin’s body during our kiss, and the shocking thing he whispered into my ear right afterward, made it clear he doesn’t really think of me as his little sister, any more than I do.

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• MY REVIEW •


“Will I ever find true love in this lifetime? Will someone ever swoon for me the way I swoon for them?”


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Excitement doesn’t even cover my feels when I started this story and immediately fell back into a world I was familiar with. It left me feeling lighthearted and all around happy contentment! 🤗 If you haven’t read any of Lauren Rowe’s books, then I think this is a sweet and giggle-inducing introduction to her writing and the vivid world she has created (and expanded). You’ll meet quite a cast of secondary characters as well, and for those who are familiar with Lauren’s work, then the crossover of these characters from her other books is a fabulous feature to see in the story. For the newbies, this story will surely have you curious about these characters’ stories and have you checking out the backlist of books Lauren has written about them. I know there’s a couple of characters that totally caught my attention in this book that I’m looking forward to reading more about. 😁

It’s well-paced storytelling with dual POVs. The history between Amy and Colin really amped up the dimension and dynamic of their relationship in the present day, and made their flirty romance all the more, as the title perfectly describes it… “swoon” worthy! I love seeing their relationship from each of their perspectives, because whilst they both have similar thoughts and feelings about some subject matters, they certainly have a difference of opinions on others. It was such a contrast, and at times the frustration that leaped off these characters easily transferred onto me, as the reader. It’s emotional, spontaneously unpredictable, with crazy, fun highs and lip-pouting lows, that it was easy to get invested in their story. (And don’t get me started on some of the secondhand embarrassment some of their interactions caused. Hehehe). 🙈

This is a contemporary romance story with a secret crush/ brother’s best friend trope, and what makes this story stand out from other books with similar romance tropes is that Lauren has included her own flair and musical creativity to it. Just like her other books set in the same world of musicians, tours, and stardom, you can look forward to hearing original songs incorporated into the storyline. It’s one of the highlights in my opinion, and totally elevates the atmosphere of those scenes and needless to say adds more realism to these fictional people.

I’ve only read a few of Lauren’s books but they’ve all been well-written with detailed world-building, and Swoon is no different. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Amy’s and Colin’s rollercoaster ride of emotions and see them develop as characters. By all means, their relationship is not perfect and these protagonists are flawed and complex but you can expect a reasonable amount of groveling and effort included that will have you rooting for these characters and satisfied with how roadblocks in their relationship are overcome.


“I’m gonna grand gesture the fuck outta her.”


With secondary plotlines developing simultaneously in the background, this was a multi-layered story. Never a dull moment, and although a lot of things are happening at the same time, it’s effortless to follow. It has an amazing balance of comic relief to the more pensive scenes, yet all are memorable moments. I always find romance stories where characters have entertaining inner dialogues all the more engaging and Swoon had them in spades. And if you fancy intimacy between the hero/ heroine to be descriptive and wordy, hehe yep, you won’t be disappointed with the detail that goes on during Amy’s and Colin’s bedroom romps either. 😜

There are strong friendships and family-oriented presence in this story that I loved seeing. As much as I adored Amy’s and Colin’s cute push-and-pull interactions, I equally found myself looking forward to seeing the dynamics and interactions they have with their friends and families— with an array of personalities and opinions, the relationships just seemed so genuine and relatable.

Overall, I found this to be a sweet, hearty story with gradual progression. The little moments down memory lane demonstrates how far and special Amy’s and Colin’s connection is. It has an entertaining cat and mouse type of romance that kept me engaged. All the characters are truly likable, and although this is predominately a romance story, both Amy and Colin also have their own personal hang-ups and insecurities that they come to realize and work through. It’s a standalone novel and undeniably concludes with a HEA!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Lauren Rowe and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

🔔 Interested in reading Swoon? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

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More reviews for Lauren Rowe books!

Bad Liar  |  Beautiful Liar  |  Beloved Liar

The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

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


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

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Razor’s Edge by Mila Crawford

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Ellison

My parents moved our family to a new town when I sixteen years old. The first person I met was local bad boy, Calvin Montgomery. His father was president of the local MC, but despite his reputation, Calvin had a heart of gold. We were a perfect match until one violent night destroyed the future we’d envisioned together.

Calvin

I lost Ellison and the dream for our future when I locked up for a decade. An act of violence I will never forget. It’s been ten years without her, but a day hasn’t gone by where I haven’t thought about her. But Ellison isn’t the same girl I left behind. They say time heals all wounds, but nothing cuts as deep as your first true love.

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• MY REVIEW •

I was expecting a dark, suspenseful romance story and was surprised to find a sweet contemporary, coming of age story instead between two next-door neighbours. 😊

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“We were on the razor’s edge and that’s where our love lived.”


Mila Crawford is a new-to-me author and this was my introduction to her writing. I can’t make any comparisons, so I don’t know if her writing style in this particular story differentiates with her other books, but this one definitely had a mixture of different romance sub-genres in one. Whilst the overall setting is contemporary, it had elements (albeit more in the background) of both MC romance (Motorcycle Club) and Mafia romance. The majority of the book is also set in a high school/ NA narrative.

It has a steady enough pacing, and whilst it was detailed in certain areas, in my opinion the aspects that required in-depth detail were the parts that actually lacked it. I also found the story to be choppy at times for my liking. For example, it would start out with a gradual development of an event just for it to end abruptly. Next thing you know, time has passed and the next event in their lives takes place. The flow has a start-and-stop feel to it that I was finding it difficult to really settle into the story because it doesn’t quite give you enough time to absorb events before it moves onto another development.

Whilst I thought Calvin’s and Ellison’s adorable meet cute and the sweet developments in their relationship throughout their teen years interesting to see play out, once the story hits the pivotal turn of events and time has fast-forwarded to their adulthood, there was a visible atmosphere shift. It was hard to keep the connection with these protagonists (especially Ellison) as it felt like I was reading a brand new story. The past may have altered both their futures but Ellison’s character development headed in a direction that had me a little taken aback to be honest.

The vibe is almost a separate one from the first 2/3 of the story. I think the main reason as to why their past and present, and the overall story ending up coming together is because one particular secondary character ended up playing a bigger role than expected. Not only was he the link to both Calvin and Ellison in both timelines, but he was the bridge in merging (or should I say re-merging) their lives together again.

The synopsis initially had me intrigued and after having read it I thought it was a nice storyline overall, but I did think there was some repetitiveness. Plot twists and additional plotlines were also either too vague or lacked further development after it was first mentioned, which I’m not going to lie frustrated me because those points could so easily have added extra dimension into the story but unfortunately was never elaborated on and leaves you with unanswered questions.

Despite it all, there’s plenty of heartwarming moments between the two which lightens the overall sombre mood of the book.

Calvin is a unique character with an eclectic range of traits from caring and protective, to cocky and hot-headed. I liked the fact that he knew what he wanted from the very beginning and his mindset never wavered. His loyalty and willingness to break away from a toxic lifestyle had me rooting for him.

Mila created a diverse and complex heroine in Ellison and because of that had me curious in knowing her personal story. What she ended up divulging added realism and relatability within the overall storyline as it raises sensitive subject matters that people don’t necessarily or easily discuss openly but are topics that one may relate to.

This book may be triggering for some readers as it contains matters such as domestic violence/ abuse, kidnapping, sexual assault, attempted suicide, and mental health. It’s intended for readers 18+ only.

Although I have mixed feelings about certain things, I did enjoy reading this book as a whole. The highlights are definitely from their teen years as most of the story development and the growth of their relationship takes place during that time. Calvin and Ellison are both likable characters but I must admit Calvin’s brother Fox won me over right from the very beginning. 😍😍 There’s a range of secondary characters who all added complexity as they played predominant roles in both Calvin’s and Ellison’s lives. I thought Mila brilliantly created characters that evoke strong emotions out of you and you’ll find yourself truly sympathizing for both Calvin’s and Ellison’s personal struggles.

I think Razor’s Edge is a great book for romance readers who are transitioning from reading contemporary to more darker romance stories, as it has a blend of both worlds. It’s heavy on the contemporary setting but also has dark elements in between to give the story a bit of bite. The romance between the protagonists is insta-love but nevertheless sweet, full of heart, and just how you would imagine first loves to be. It’s a story of second chances with underlying lessons in not taking anything for granted and learning from one’s mistakes.

**This book is a standalone in the Underworld Kings author collaboration series. 

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

Thank you Mila Crawford, the entire Underworld Kings team, and Ardent PRose for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜

🔔 Interested in reading Razor’s Edge? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

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💀 More on the Underworld Kings! 👑

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✨ Website: Underworld Kings


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

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Fragile Wings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

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•••

• BLURB •

Broken Beginnings Prequel

I thought the world of him. Then he showed the dark monster lurking beneath.

He says he’ll protect me from anything. He doesn’t know the only thing I need protection from is him.

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• MY REVIEW •

Lucca and Claire’s story was one that I was looking forward to reading ever since snippets of it were shared in Violent Beginnings. I would have happily waited for the release of Broken Beginnings but when J.L and Cassandra shared the news that a prequel to Lucca’s life when he just started working for Julian (Moretti Crime Family) and how he first met Claire was available (and free mind you), I knew I had to jump onto it first before the Broken Beginnings release.

There’s very little to go on about Lucca so far, but after reading this little story, you’ll definitely have a better understanding of the current situation he’s gotten himself into since we last heard of him in Violent Beginnings, his relationship with Claire, and why she’s so important to him.


“Hey, butterfly.”


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“Claire… My name is Claire.”


Honestly, this was both a juicy and cruel teaser to what’s to come in their full-length novel, because there was once full of heart, understanding, and an innocence to their unique bond and friendship, that easily turned into one of heartbreak and shattered rose-coloured glasses.

This may be short but it already provides readers with both protagonists’ points of view. With Claire being a child, still dependent, and with Lucca just starting out his independency, the dynamic between their mindsets and different mentality are evident — especially during the event the changes everything for both of them.   

You feel for Claire. She’s young and fragile in this prequel, and I can only imagine how she’s turned out over the years since. With the drastic and life-altering events that occurred to her, I’m eager to see how she’s coping with life. Lucca’s new to the mob life, still relatively young himself, but he already had a aura of danger and power surrounding him, I can only imagine it growing ten-fold over the years too. But I’m most looking forward to reading Broken Beginnings to see how Lucca will rectify his relationship with Claire.

  • Age Gap    
  • Next Door Neighbours
  • Dark, Mafia Romance
  • Friends to Enemies to Lovers

Great chemistry created (despite their age gap), amazing world-building introduced, and a storyline I’m already blubbing over with anxiousness to continue in Broken Beginnings!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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FragileWings_FreeTeaser

Read Fragile Wings FREE!

📙 Broken Beginnings Prequel

(Limited time only)

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Read my reviews for the previous books set in the Moretti Crime Family world!

Prequel: Stolen Bride by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Book One: Savage Beginnings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Book Two: Violent Beginnings by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

Christmas Novella: Savage Christmas by J.L. Beck & C. Hallman

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

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