Five years after my world shattered, leaving me a scarred and broken man.
By then, the girl I knew was gone. In her place stood a woman. One who looked like an angel. An impossible, beautiful angel.
I killed for her. Soaked my hands in the blood of those who hurt her and rescued her from hell.
But hell has a way of following you. Becoming a part of you. Maybe the only part you recognize.
I had every intention of bringing her home. Setting her free.
I swear I did.
But the men who stole her all those years ago weren’t done with her yet. They’d stop at nothing to get her back. And I’d kill any man who tried to take her from me.
She calls me her avenging angel.
But I know the truth.
I’m no angel.
Because even as I tell myself I’m protecting her I know one thing for sure.
I am a monster, too. No better than them.
Because just like them, I’ll never let her go.
Author’s note: Stolen is Dante Grigori’s story and although a standalone, would be better enjoyed after reading With This Ring and I Thee Take.
• MY REVIEW •
“I like the kill. But I won’t hurt her. Ever. And whether she likes it or not, I’m hers now. Her protector. Her monster.”
Mara, the little girl who went missing all those years ago, along with Dante’s life since the tragedy with his family are two stories interconnected that I was intrigued to know about since the To Have and To Hold duet.
This is a standalone story with a relatively steady-to-slow pacing. It can be wordy at times and filled with details but I found the shorter chapters kept the story rolling along. If you haven’t read the duet, you may find it a little difficult to understand or connect some of the events that happened prior to this story, and unfortunately it only skims through the details in this book. Whilst you can still read this one without having read the duet first, in my opinion you’ll be missing out on the backstory between Mara and Dante, and the history between their families.
There is a blend of worlds and within it particular characters who play significant roles in both Mara’s and Dante’s stories. Knight has written in some great anti-heroes, straight-up villains, and lighthearted characters. The combination of worlds colliding along with these secondary characters provided a contrast of group dynamics and dimension to the overall storyline.
This might sound a little strange but I found the struggles that both Mara and Dante faced throughout and their difficulties moving forward the most interesting to see. Mara especially, has been forced into a particular hellish world for most of her life and it’s clear from day one that not only has it taken a physical toll on her body, but worst, she’s been mentally brutalized. Her mindset is a jumbled mess and seeing Dante (who is broken in his own right) make an effort to get her adjusted and to overwrite her current mentality had me sympathizing them both. There’s a strong sense of unfairness surrounding these two and a saddening realization that their lives could’ve been so different. I don’t think either one of them would’ve survived if it hadn’t been for their strong-willed determination.
It’s a story of second chances, complexed, tortured souls, and a war that’s bigger than either of them could have ever imagined.
With the enormity of the situation surrounding Mara, I was expecting tons of suspense and build-up, so I was surprised to discover that the atmosphere stayed pretty much one level from beginning to end. The premise had piqued my interest, and I was curious by Mara’s character development and Dante’s evolution from the man he was to the “monster” he is now, but I found a lot of the plot twists were predictable losing grittiness and a slight edge. 🤔
The connection between Mara and Dante is evident despite their age-gap and being apart from each other for so long. But I did however wonder at one point when their relationship started to develop romantically if Mara’s feelings didn’t stem from some type of hero-worship. Having suddenly be rescued by Dante from the constant torment— is she of sound mind having romantic feelings for him? Same goes for Dante. With what Mara has been through, is his romantic pursuit of her justifiable? It’s a thought-provoking story and certainly has you questioning some of their behaviour. I’m glad to see Knight has considered this and included her characters to have similar doubts, but it also helped reiterate that Mara and Dante are truly connected on a deeper level. What it lacked in suspense, made up for in the complexity of the characters, their development, and the drive behind their set goals. In plenty of ways I found the characters, their emotions, thought-process, and actions fairly understandable and relatable at times.
Told from first person, dual points of view, this is a dark mafia-themed romance. It contains sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers such as kidnapping, human trafficking, graphic violence and abuse. It also broaches on psychological trauma and effects of captivity. This book is intended for audiences 18+ only.
Overall, I liked reading their story and there was a sense of contentment finally knowing what had happened to Mara since her disappearance, and knowing that despite all she has suffered she gets her HEA with Dante.
Knight has created quite a world-building with tons of potential to expand. She’s introduced characters and as mentioned earlier interconnected worlds, one being from The Society Trilogy, making the crossover seem effortless. I found the setting intricate and with certain secondary characters standing out a little more than others, you can’t help but wonder if there’s more to their story than what is mentioned in this one (and if it will ever be told).
If you’ve read any of Knight’s dark romance books in the past then what you’ll have a pretty good idea of what features you can expect from this book— effortless, easy-to-follow writing, multifaceted characters that instantly have you intrigued, and a great balance of dark elements and romance.
Thank you Natasha Knight and Give Me Books PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! ❤
I have the rich family – you know the one. Parents dripping in gold, the perfect sister, and the loyal brother.
As far as they’re concerned, I’m the accident they wish they had done something about.
Always causing trouble.
That’s fine by me, I’m happy to be anything other than what they expect.
Until, that is, my father needs my help.
Well, okay, I practically force his hand, but it’s my chance to prove I’m good for something.
He needs information on a local biker club.
He wants me to go in. To play them. To get what he needs.
A club full of hot bikers? A girl isn’t going to say no.
I take on the challenge.
Go in there and destroy their little club.
Sounds like a god damned blast to me.
They won’t know what hit them.
Or perhaps, I won’t know what hit me…
I guess we’ll find out.
• MY REVIEW •
Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a fucking winner! 👏👏👏 This series seriously gets better and better with each new book! Tartlet is officially my new favourite (sorry Pop! Goes The Biker). I have been anticipating Remy’s story since day dot and Bella delivered the goods! This story did not disappoint. I was hooked from the very first page and could not put it down once I started! Not only did Remy lived up to his hot, charming biker ass but the storyline was on point too!
This is a hidden agenda, friends-with-benefits romance that totally had me entertained and constantly giggling to myself. The introduction of Gabby and her cool, blasé attitude had me immediately perking up with interest of her character. She treads a fine line between smugness and confidence but she knows her strengths and weaknesses and adamant about her likes and dislikes that I found her to be such a refreshing addition to the ever-growing cast of characters in this series. I also love the fact that she’s a badass mechanic who gives the boys a run for their money!
In previous books Remy was constantly one of my favourite side characters, with his sweet, chilled demeanor that I admit I was a tad nervous coming into this story knowing I may or may not like who he ended up with. I should’ve put more faith in Bella because not only has she exceeded my expectations for the heroine who’d land Remy but the storyline itself was gripping.
It’s an MC-lite romantic comedy that had a bit of suspense, a whole ton of witty banter, sexual chemistry, and I’m talking lots of dirty deeds. *waggles eyebrows* 🔥🙈
It’s told from Gabby’s first person, singular point of view. Whilst I’d normally prefer dual perspectives and would’ve loved to have had Remy’s POV too, I discovered fairly early on that Gabby’s view was more than enough to tell their story without it feeling completely one-sided.
I thought the storytelling had a nice flow to it. It was well-paced, well-written, detailed, and full of dimension. The addition of the secondary characters from previous and upcoming books added extra oomph, expanded the world-building, and provided a genuine and relatable group dynamic alongside the romance.
The friendships in this particular book were all awesome that I truly hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of them. Each bond was unique that you really get a sense of depth in each relationship.
There were a few unexpected plot twists I totally did not have an inkling of, so that was an interesting little surprise. Remy’s and Gabby’s story is romance heavy but it wasn’t just pure lust and hookups, as the story progresses and the plot complicatedly thickens, you see a gradual more meaningful development in their relationship.
I found Gabby’s personal story relatable and she touches on certain family struggles that I think a lot of people (me included) can relate to. From all the heroines in this series so far, she’s been the one I connected with the most, not only because of her personality, but also because of her outlook when it came to certain things.
Other than the group dynamic, Remy and Gabby compliment each other so well that by the end it was ultimately what made them my favourite couple. They just click so well that their romance is the stuff of good rom-com movies!
If you’re looking for a quick, lighthearted mood-booster of a romance, you have got to hit this one up. You can technically read this one without having read the previous books in the series but I wouldn’t recommend it. There’s an underlying storyline that continues in each book, and plus you’d have a better understanding of the backstories of each couple if you read them in order. Good news is, they’re all relatively quick reads that you can easily finish in one sitting.
There were a couple of things that were left somewhat unsettled but in all honesty I didn’t even notice until after I finished reading and let it sunk in. It’s nothing major and unless Bella comes back to it in future books, it’s left up in the air. Nevertheless, the story was hot. It was steamy. It was hilarious to boot! There is some darkish content within and although the book cover is somewhat explicit, it’s still for the most part a contemporary rom-com story. As I mentioned earlier, it’s light on the MC element — so if you’re thinking of dipping your toes in MC romance, I think this is a great series to start off with as it’s nowhere near as dark as far as MC romances go, yet you still get a sense of the brotherhood, their MC lifestyle, and how these bikers love their women.
Bella Jewel’s writing is always so effortless to follow. You get easily attracted to her storylines and invested in her characters. I loved reading Tartlet, the protagonists are truly lovable characters that’ll make you smile with their crazy antics. I’ll no doubt be rereading it in the near future until the next book in the series comes out!
Thank you Bella Jewel and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜
Holy is his road name, but there is nothing saintly about him.
What started as a simple assignment became an obsession.
Hazel’s my Prez’s niece. He tasked me with tracking her down. Falling for her was never part of the plan. I’m not taking no for an answer. She will be mine. If I have to kidnap her to prove my point I will. She belongs to me.
I’ve always been on my own. Nowhere to call home. No family to call my own. I don’t answer to anyone. Especially not a bossy biker who claims my family ordered him to find me.
Refusing him was mistake number one. Number two was attempting to seduce my way out of the situation.
I’ve been taken by the biker, but I don’t know if I want him to let me go.
Taken By The Biker is book 6 of the Charleston, WV chapter of Royal Bastards MC. This book can be read as a standalone though for best enjoyment, the series should be read in order.
The Biker’s Kiss
Lady & The Biker
Tempting The Biker
Keeping The Biker
The Biker’s Lucky Charm
Taken By The Biker
• MY REVIEW •
After reading Glenna’s dedication at the very beginning of this book, I knew I’d gotten a teasing heads-up on what Holy’s and Hazel’s story would entail. 😳🤭 I had read the previous books in this series and already had an idea but finally reading their story from their points of view was an eye-opening and gripping experience!
I’m not a huge fan of BDSM in my romance reads, but their story caught my attention right from the get-go that I realized fairly early on that the BDSM elements not only heightened Holy’s unique character but his bond with Hazel as well. And I admit, it does give an edgier dynamic and contrast to the MC having a couple who’s a little more on the wild side. 😜
To cut to the chase, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s another amazing addition to Glenna’s RBMC Charleston Chapter series. Both Hazel and Holy are such likable characters and their history made their relationship all the more genuine to see redevelop. They had quite a tragic past that clearly left lasting effects on both their lives and their mentality. But their strong bond was endearing to see that it wasn’t hard to get completely invested in seeing their journey play out.
It’s suspenseful with such grittiness, but it’s such a hearty storyline. Well-placed lightheartedness and banter throughout kept the overall atmosphere from going too dark but make no mistake this story is heartbreaking, soul-crushing, and at times just downright unfair.
Please note there are sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers, such as violence, sexual harassment, child abuse, domestic abuse, drug abuse, and sexual assault. This book is intended for readers 18+ only.
I’ve always found Glenna’s writing to be consistent and effortless to follow. Whilst the books in this series can technically be read as standalone, I would still recommend you read it in publishing order because the world-building gradually expands with each book, and by this one, you can see how well the brotherhood (and sisterhood) have come since the first book.
There’s a great balance of MC elements and romance. As the story develops, you can see how much both Holy and Hazel open up and take a chance on each other. It’s fast-paced storytelling and things were constantly happening. There were a couple situations where I didn’t completely agree with either Holy’s or Hazel’s decisions, and although this is their second chance, putting aside the romantic aspect of their relationship, in my opinion their reconnection wasn’t as in-depth as I was hoping/ expecting (considering their history). With the pacing, I also felt like the ending was rushed through. Normally I would be more bothered if a story had ended abruptly, but after having read the previous books in this series, I can look past it knowing this won’t be the last we’ll hear of Holy’s and Hazel’s relationship, and that they’re bound to make appearances in future books.
Putting aside their kinky sexual preferences, they’re both relatable characters with realistic insecurities, struggles, and dreams for the future. Holy may have eccentric tastes in the bedroom, but he’s also a caring and loyal person, and a great brother to the rest of the MC. Hazel’s life hasn’t improved much since they were kids and despite it all, she’s never given up hoping for a better life for herself. Glenna created characters who are survivors and fighters, and I was totally convinced.
Overall, it was a satisfying MC romance read. It had all the elements I hoped to see from this romance genre. There’s chemistry between the protagonists, a steady storyline with some plot twists, and after the rollercoaster these two have gone through, a well-deserved HEA. The addition of secondary characters and storylines really amped up the tense atmosphere and added more dimension to the story. I was initially a little hesitant going into this because of the BDSM but I hadn’t expected coming away from it with a new favourite couple from the series! 😊
I highly recommend not only this book but this series as a whole. You get easily absorbed in their world and each story is as unique as the characters in them. Top-notch storytelling!
Thank you Glenna Maynard and the RBMC team for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙
Maddox – Mad Dog – White hates everything the name Vitiello stands for, after he witnessed his father and his men getting butchered by the Capo of the Italian mob in their territory.
Raised by his uncle, the president of the Tartarus MC, Maddox is destined to follow in his footsteps. Now their chapter is on the rise again, but for their ultimate triumph they need to destroy the Vitiello empire. And what better way to do it than to steal the spoilt Vitiello princess and break her piece by piece until her father begs for mercy.
Known as the spoilt princess of New York, Marcella Vitiello grew up in a golden cage. If your father is the most feared man in New York, people gift you with reverence.
Destined to marry the boyfriend approved by her father, Marcella is sick of being treated like an untouchable porcelain doll.
She resents the life forced upon her by her family until everything she took for granted is ripped from her. Where she’s now, her name doesn’t bring awe, only pain and humiliation.
If you’ve grown up in a high castle, the fall is all the deeper.
Sins of the fathers have a way of catching up…who’s going to bleed for them?
** This book is part one of Maddox’s and Marcella’s story.
• MY REVIEW •
Five chapters in…
Me: “Growl? Where’s Growl? Someone get me Growl!”
(He would’ve ended it all, right there and then!)
😜 I’m just joshing. But I’ve never been one to mince words or sugarcoat my thoughts in my reviews no matter how much I adore an author or the fictional world they’ve brought to readers, and I’m not about to start now. Please remember this is my honest opinion and experience from reading this book. If you find mine are different from yours, please be respectful and don’t take offence. Not everyone’s opinions are going to be the same. ✌❤
I’m in the minority here by saying Marcella Vitiello was one heroine a was never eager to read about. From her brief appearances in past books when she was a child, utterly spoiled and bratty constantly had me eye-rolling. So when it was announced that the first book in Cora’s next gen series would begin with Marcella’s story, well, you can just imagine my thrill.
But when it was known that it would be a mafia meets MC (Motorcycle Club) story, it did have me perking up with interest. Mafia romance and MC romance are like my bread and butter as far as romance genres go. Add in the anti-hero biker, who’s also an enemy to the mob? Finally, FINALLY I was intrigued as fuck! 😅
So now that I’ve finished reading part one, what did I think of it??
With its well-paced storytelling, and multiple points of view, it was gradually winning me over… until it all came to a staggering halt. 🙈 Whilst there were plenty of things I did enjoy about this book, I’m not going to lie, there were also plenty of things that rubbed me the wrong way too.
It can be considered new adult, but make no mistake it’s dark themed romance. Before I get to the nitty gritty of my review, I must mention that this story does contain sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as graphic/ gruesome violence, kidnapping, attempted rape, and animal cruelty. Definitely for mature readers 18+ only. Please keep in mind before you start it.
Before this book, there was very little detail about Maddox, his family, and the Tartarus MC other than what we’ve seen mentioned by Luca Vitiello. There’s a gripping little backstory included that, in my opinion set the atmosphere for the rest of the book and a full understanding of Maddox’s mindset.
It’s character driven and a lot of the situations that transpired were emotion-based. There’s no doubt that there’s a strong attraction between Maddox and Marcella but as the story progressed I felt there wasn’t enough genuine development between them. They’re both put in difficult positions and it constantly tested their relationship. Some big events go down and the actions of these protagonists was ultimately what resulted in my overall conflicted feelings of this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first half. I was completely absorbed and lusting after the little moments between the two. But looking at the bigger picture, their relationship’s choppy. They go through the motions but I didn’t see any real substance out of it. And if I had to make comparisons with other couples from this world, their relationship is lacklustre. The romance was alright but it was hard to believe the depth of their love with the timeframe they had together. It wasn’t insta-love but it wasn’t exactly a gradual romantic development either.
I wish I could say after reading this story that Marcella eventually grew on me. There was a moment or two I sympathized for her, but it was tough to like her as I didn’t agree with a lot of her actions. She’s a difficult character to get to know or connect with because she’s constantly projecting an image and created a standard for herself that I didn’t even think was wholly necessary. Aria and Luca have always been one of my favourite couples but I question how they ended up with a daughter like Marcella? 🤔😌
Maddox is one of the main highlights of this book. I love the complexity of his story and his character, and I was easily invested in seeing how his story would progress. I often wondered what some of the negative effects the Mafia may have had on people outside of their world and Maddox is a perfect example of the blowback. Sigh. I’m just going to say it— he deserves better.
There’s quite a few secondary characters included that helped elevate the world-building. The different dynamics added dimension and was interesting to see the contrast between Maddox’s and Marcella’s respective worlds. The initial premise was mafia meets MC, and whilst there was strong mafia presence, I had hoped to see more elements from the MC side. There’s not a lot of light-heartedness as it’s a pretty gritty storyline, but appearances from certain characters provided calming moments to break up some of the tension and seriousness of the situation.
All in all, it’s not what I had expected or how I envisioned the story would play out but nevertheless I was still gripped from start to finish. Although this is only part one, and Maddox’s and Marcella’s story is unfinished, this book doesn’t completely end on a cliffhanger (if that makes sense). Let’s just say if the story happened to have ended here, I would’ve been content with the open-ended conclusion.
Buuuuut in saying that… since I have mixed feelings about this first part of the story, I am curious to see how it will all conclude in the second part. I’m hoping to see build-up, some in-depth development, and more maturity out of the characters.
Cora’s writing as always is easy to follow. The intrigue around her characters and their story is instantaneous that it’s hard to put down and By Sin I Rise was no different. It was refreshing to see some new faces introduced and expand from what is already an existing and vivid world-building.
It may not have ended up being one of my favourites from Cora’s mafia books, but I still think it has positive aspects and a lot of potential. It’s an intriguing introduction to the Sins of the Fathers, and it’s cool (and some getting used to) seeing the original characters I fell hard for in the Born In Blood Mafia Chronicles somewhat pass the torch to their children. I am officially ancient. 💀
Fans of Cora’s and of her mafia world will want to read this one. Romance readers who are still relatively new to this world, I recommend you read Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles first before starting this one. I don’t have any triggers but I must admit there were certain scenes from this book that I wasn’t prepared for and totally bawled my eyes over.
You can expect some plot twists, suspense, and if like me, a good hearty cry. If you like dark mafia romances with a forced proximity, captor/captive romance trope, give this one a try.
Thank you Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛
Mason Hill wants one thing: revenge. When Charlotte Van Kempt walks into his office, all innocence and desperation, he knows the perfect way to get it. He makes a dark bargain. She’ll give him her body to save her family. Little does she know he plans to ruin both.
• MY REVIEW •
After having recently read the prologue, I could not get started on Net Worth fast enough… and it soooo did not disappoint in regards to storyline, character chemistry, and overall flow.
This book gave me twisted Cinderella meets Party of Five meets Fifty Shades vibes. Unusual mix, I know. But once you read it, you’ll hopefully know what I mean. 😅
When Mason’s family was first introduced in the prologue, I didn’t have a strong connection to any of them, but Net Worth gave me a better understanding to their situation and seeing their family dynamic, my impression of them have now somewhat altered. Mason’s siblings all have distinct personalities and all seem to have their own coping mechanisms for dealing with the tragedy that’s surrounded their family— so I’m eager to see how each of their character develops as this story continues.
The introduction of Charlotte in The Proposition, she was instantly the type of heroine I could back due to her sweet disposition, yet determined attitude despite her current standing. Whilst I thought she did lose some of her spunkiness since the prologue, she’s still a likable character. I admit I didn’t agree with all of her decisions and actions throughout this book, but when it comes to Charlotte it’s not hard to look past it and carry-on reading. She’s the light-hearted element within (other than her awesome-sauce of a bestie Elise), that balanced out the sombre atmosphere that usually followed Mason around.
You’ll either love or loathe Mason Hill, or in my case, interchange from loving to loathing and back again all throughout. Seeing the different sides of him whether he’s with his family or with Charlotte was one of the big reasons I ended up emotionally invested.
What immediately struck me in this story was the genuine intrigue and attraction between Mason and Charlotte. There interactions were weirdly addictive to see play out. I honestly didn’t know what to expect each time they were together. I especially wasn’t expecting the slow burn romance despite the fact that almost every interaction had some sort of sexual encounter. I don’t know how Amelia has managed to put some very raunchy exchange, yet still leaves you hanging for more. But she’s done it! 🙈
It’s told from first person, dual points of view, well-paced storytelling, and can be read in one sitting. As the POVs interchange back and forth chapter by chapter, reading from each of their own perspectives, you can see the differences between them and their lives, especially when it came down to the dynamics of their households.
There are quite a few tropes in this story, so if you enjoy any or all of the following in your romance reads, I really recommend you read this one.
Enemies to Lovers
As a romance reader who usually passes up books that include BDSM (just my preference), I was second-guessing whether or not that this particular feature would dampen my reading experience as I hadn’t expected it. But I can honestly say that the minor (and some might say tame) BDSM included didn’t deter me from finishing, and most importantly, from enjoying the book overall.
Amelia Wilde has a unique way of writing her characters and their monologues. If you’ve read enough of her books, you can easily identify her work. If you enjoyed her writing style in the past, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy reading this one just as much. 😊 I’ve always found her writing easy to follow. The setting and world-building are already so vivid and very much present by the first chapter, along with the intrigue of getting to know more about the protagonists.
Net Worth is one seductive start to the Wealth Trilogy. The deal that ultimately started the steamy yet swoon-worthy relationship between Mason and Charlotte had me on the edge of my seat the entire time and desperately needing more of their story. With an air of danger, secrecy, and provocation, there’s tons of build-up and suspense to this billionaire romance. It won’t be for everyone but if you enjoy edgy contemporary romance reads with a side of smut, then give this one a try. It has good bones, with tons of potential. The characters are all promising and definitely add an extra oomph to this meaty, multi-faceted storyline.
Please note, as it is part of a trilogy and a continuous storyline, this book does end on a cliffhanger.
Thank you Amelia Wilde and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! ❤
I knew Jenna was in over her head when she came to me looking for work.
Then she made the deadly mistake of stealing ten large from my chapter of the Royal Bastards and running.
I covered it. It was going to me and me alone, that she was going to pay back.
— MY REVIEW —
Ooh yep, such a satisfyingly smashing read! 😍 So good that I ended up reading it in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down.
M. Merin is a new-to-me author and this is my first book of hers… but it sure as hell won’t be the last. The blurb sums up a huge chunk of the plotline but it’s vague. So I was pretty much going into this story relatively blind.
I hadn’t expected to get sucked into their story instantly from their first encounter. Declan and Jenna sizzle! 🔥🔥 There’s a pretty big age gap between them but it’s hardly noticeable. Declan may be getting on in years but he’s still hunky and exudes that manly alpha-ness — plus he’s President of a badass MC!
Jenna is anything but selfish. Despite the horrible position she’s found herself in, it hasn’t killed her spirit and fiery will. She has a lot of guts to have done half the things she has (including her “job interview” with Declan).
But let’s be real… Jenna walking into Declan’s office in need of work was the best thing that could’ve happened to her! Same goes for Declan. 😄
They had instant chemistry and it definitely leaped off the pages. It’s a big reason as to why I was immediately hooked on their story from the get go. There was so much intrigue surrounding Jenna and the reason behind why she was in desperate need of a job.
But when she suddenly takes off, (just when things were heating up, mind you) — I was right there with Declan wanting to catch up to her so they could get back to business. 🤭😅
When Jenna’s personal story is revealed, and Declan realizes that there’s a lot more to her than her lasting first impression on him, it really catapults deep feelings and a vision of a possible future Declan never thought he could have or even wanted. Now, with Jenna it seems like he could have it all.
Ugh. An effortless read. Awesome storyline with some suspense added to really get this story pumping with adrenaline. There are some sensitive subject matter included that may trigger some readers, so keep that in mind before starting it. But to readers who’ve read MC romances before, the content included won’t come as shock.
Big thumbs up for the secondary characters (which are mostly other MC brothers). This book can technically be read as standalone but these club members clearly have history and there’s backstories there. I, for one loved reading this book, so I’m keen to read any previous ones to expand my experience of the world-building Merin has created with this Royal Bastards MC: Flagstaff Chapter.
The storytelling is fairly fast-moving, but not at all rushed in regards to the story itself. There’s a good balance of MC and romance, character history to get you up to scratch with how the characters came to be where they are in the present, and there’s good gradual development in our hero/heroine’s relationship. A little bit of banter and lighthearted humor added into the mix and this was one hell of an MC romance!
Declan caught me off guard with a couple things which if you don’t take these MC romances too seriously (which you really shouldn’t), you’ll find yourself rolling your eyes and laughing it off. Hehe.
My only issue is the ending was left open. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. From what I gather from the ending (and not at all uncommon with MC romance series’), is that they’ll probably make appearances in future books and therefore we get to see updates from them then, but if Declan and Jenna’s relationship had been summed up a little more I would’ve been so much more content… especially considering some new developments were introduced towards the end.
Nevertheless, I would absolutely recommend this to anyone looking for a new MC romance read. It’s quick and effortless, but it packs a punch! A great addition to the Royal Bastards MC! With an absorbing story line, likable characters, and giddy-inducing moments, you won’t regret adding this to your TBR! 😉
Thank you to M. Merin and the Royal Bastards MC team for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛
Warning: Teasers included in review! Read at own risk!
— BLURB —
Sofia knows how it feels to be the consolation prize.
And definitely not an ice princess.
Her sister is–was all those things. Perfection. Until she wasn’t. Until she ran off to be with the enemy and left her fiance behind.
Now Sofia is given to Danilo in her sister’s stead, knowing she’ll never be more than second best. Yet, she can’t stop longing for the love of the man she’s been crushing on even when he was still her sister’s.
Danilo is a man who’s used to get what he wants.
The sought-after ice princess.
Until another man steals his bride-to-be. Danilo knows that for a man in his position losing his woman can lead to a loss of face.
Thirst for revenge.
A dangerous combination–one Danilo can’t leave behind, not even when a girl just as precious takes her sister’s place to placate him. Yet, she’s got one flaw: she’s not her sister.
Unable to forget what he’s lost, Danilo might lose what he’s been given.
— MY REVIEW —
Wow. So many emotions and thoughts swirling around in my head right now. But the first thing that pops into my head when I think of Fragile Longing?
👏 Slow 👏 Ass 👏 Romance!
I wasn’t expecting it. And to be honest, I wasn’t prepared.
Anyone who loves some snail pace romance, then you’re going to enjoy the little nibbles Sofia and Danilo throw your way. 😜
Fragile Longing was an unexpected story that focused a lot on Sofia. Whilst this book can be read as standalone, I really recommend you read Twisted Pride to get the full backstory of Sofia’s relationship with her family and how she came to be Danilo’s fiancée.
If you wanna see the consequences of Mafia life and how actions of these Made Men affect those around them deemed innocent, this story is a surprising prime example of it.
You really see Sofia’s character development from child to adolescent to young adult. I always look forward to these kinds of character developments because you can see how much they’ve grown from beginning to end.
With Sofia, however, there’s constant struggles, jealousy and a lot of insecurities. Some of which were very relatable especially at her young age. I admit at the beginning I had similar thoughts and fears where Danilo was concerned (I was practically mirroring her frustration), but Sofia’s constant back and forth, questioning every little detail eventually got a little tiresome and repetitive at times. I don’t want to say it but… she might have, kinda, sorta, became obsessive.
“The copy. Not the original. Always the copy.”
But in saying that, if I was her age and in her position I probably would be doing other people’s heads in too with my erratic behaviour. Lol.
She’s one of the more complex and unsettled characters I’ve come across in one of Cora’s books set in this world. As strange as this is going to sound, I found it refreshing to see the heroine be the more troubled protagonist this time around as suppose to the hero (but that’s not to say Danilo didn’t have a few issues of his own either).
Seeing Sofia navigate through her many emotions was both entertaining and at times cringy. 🤦♀️ Eeep. Secondhand embarrassment right here! Hehe.
Sofia may not be my most favourite heroine of Cora’s but she certainly brings some realism and relatable issues on bored that a lot of us can relate to. Danilo and Sofia’s story was one that came off as one of the most realistic in the sense of how their relationship developed gradually and organically over time. I appreciated that they didn’t take any shortcuts, which made their relationship and their feelings all the more believable.
To some, Danilo may not be in the same calibre as the Remos and Lucas of this world, but I wouldn’t write him off. Danilo is one I would swoon over just as much. And if I’m gonna be real here… *whispers* I can’t help think Serafina would’ve been lucky in love and life regardless. Sigh.
Danilo is most definitely of the swoon variety! A statement I stand true for the sole reason that he has made me tear up on more than one occasion with his unknowingly heart-stopping actions. 🤔 Actions do speak louder than words.
“I wonder which Danilo was the real deal. Which was his true self? The restrained gentleman or the ruthless predator?”
Fragile Longing is a story of growth, acceptance, and of trust. Family plays a vital role in Sofia and Danilo’s story. They’re both scarred, unable to let go, and it shows in their mannerisms.
Other than their complicated yet addictive developing relationship, the secondary characters in this book had me clenching my kindle with anticipation to see more of them in future books. I always, ALWAYS love that there’s other stories developing in the background concerning secondary characters that’ll have you constantly intrigued. Most often than not, I come away with more questions than answers by the time I finish the book.
I feel like every time I read one of Cora’s books that’s set in this Mafia world, I’m constantly on the lookout for clues and hints in every other sentence I read for upcoming storylines and couplings. Ugh. 🙈🙈 I’m sure I can’t be the only one who does this.
So what questions did I come away with from Fragile Longing that I desperately need answers to?
Well let’s just say…
There’s stories I’m thirsting after… *cough* Sam *cough* 🤐 and one that I was initially in no rush to read but after having read Fragile Longing, I now need! *cough* a certain ice queen *cough* 🤐🤐
Fragile Longing is much anticipated but worth the wait! After reading Twisted Pride, I instantly wondered what would become of Danilo. I’m so glad his story has written.
It’s a rollercoaster. It’s crazy madness. And you’ll be completely invested in seeing Danilo and Sofia make it work!
For those like me who find slow burn romances cruel, I promise that it won’t last forever. In fact once they get past the waiting game, it’s full steam ahead! 😉 *waggles brows*
“You haunt my nights and days, and no matter what I do, I can’t get you out of my head.”
Other than the interesting stories happening on the sidelines that had my attention, the epilogue of Fragile Longing is life! ❤ Just when I was completely content with how things were wrapping up, more things popped up. It’s the epilogue that keeps on giving!
A relatively slow paced storytelling, told from dual POVs. Whilst there’s some lighthearted, humorous moments here and there to break any tension, in my opinion it’s a more serious storyline overall. But it certainly needed to be told and Sofia and Danilo needed the closure. They may be living in a Mafia world set with rules and order, but their romance was unconventional and I’m all smiles that they got a well-deserved happily ever after!
Thank you to Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 🌼
Hiya! This post is a little different from my usual reviews and teasers but wanted to just stop by with a quick mention that it’s #AustralianReadingHour today! 😊
It’s an awesome annual campaign that encourages Aussies of all ages to take at least an hour of the day to read! How cool is that?!
I caught onto it about two years ago. It was all due to Bookstagram and the great community there that I was made aware of it in the first place. Although I love reading daily, I enjoy participating and helping share awareness of this campaign!
Any fellow Aussies who want to join in, please do! Post anything book related or like me, your current read and use the hashtag #AustralianReadingHour
And make sure to spend an hour READING! 📖📖📖
This year with the pandemic and lockdowns currently in place, a new hashtag has been added to the campaign #AustraliaReadsAtHome to really get Aussies to use some of their time to read whilst at home.
Hope everyone is staying safe and keeping healthy. Happy reading and as always, catch you guys in my next one! Xo
I’m currently reading Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly! So far, so good! 😍
📎 Blogger’s Note: This is a revised review! I had initially only intended on reading the first three original books from the Benedetti Brothers, but being a Natasha Knight fan, 🤭 I needed to catch up on her backlist of books and decided finishing the Benedetti Brothers series was a good place to start.
The series consists of five books in total. Each book in the series can be read as standalone. The first three books in the series are on the Benedetti brothers (the following two books are just set in the same world).
Book One | SALVATORE
• BLURB •
It all started with a contract signed by him, then by me, while our families watched. While my father sat silent, a man defeated, giving his daughter to the Benedetti monsters.
I obeyed. I played my part. I signed my name and gave away my life. I became their living, breathing trophy, a constant symbol of their power over us.
That was five years ago.
Then came the time for him to claim me. For Salvatore Benedetti to own me.
I had vowed vengeance. I had learned hate. And yet, nothing could have prepared me for the man who now ruled my life.
I expected a monster, one I would destroy. But nothing is ever black or white. No one is either good or evil. For all his darkness, I saw his light. For all his evil, I saw his good. As much as he made me hate him, a searing passion burned inside me.
I was his, and he was mine.
My very own monster.
I owned the DeMarco Mafia Princess. She belonged to me now. We had won, and they had lost. And what better way to teach a lesson than to take from them that which is most precious? Most beloved?
I was the boy who would be king. Next in line to rule the Benedetti Family. Lucia DeMarco was the spoils of war. Mine to do with as I pleased.
It was my duty to break her. To make her life a living hell. My soul was dark, I was hell bound. And there was no way out, not for either of us. Because the Benedetti family never lost, and in our wake, we left destruction. It’s how it had always been. How I believed it would always be.
• MINI REVIEW •
Dark, mafia romance ✔
Enemies to lovers ✔
Arranged Marriage ✔
With lots of banter, intimidation and lust! 🤤
This is a great start to the series. It immediately gets you intrigued with Lucia being forced into a secluded life with Salvatore. There’s history between these two characters and their mafia families. What starts out as hatred, slowly but surely turns into lust, then eventually love. It’s a Romeo and Juliet type romance along with their two warring families.
I always enjoy some banter in my hate-to-love romance books — and this was a good one! There’s a nice little build-up. Lucia and Salvatore can deny their attraction for each other all they want but it doesn’t mean it’s not evident.
But there blossoming romance comes with issues. Not to mention Salvatore’s own personal conflicts with his family and the pressure of being the next one up to head the Benedetti family and all that comes with being in the mafia.
This book is full of drama. With a few swoon-worthy moments here and there.
Book Two | DOMINIC
• BLURB •
He’s the last born son of the mafia king. The one with nothing to lose.
I’m the daughter of a foot soldier and the sister of a snitch.
Monsters have been part of my life for as long as I can remember, but none as dangerous as Dominic Benedetti. None as cruel. None as broken.
I have no illusions about what he is. I have no desire to save his soul. And I can’t care about his bleeding heart.
But love isn’t always beautiful or kind.
It can be a twisted, ugly bitch.
I’d always known this was the kind I’d find. The only kind that could touch me.
Because some of us, we belong in the dark.
And Dominic and I belong in the dark.
• MINI REVIEW •
This is a captive/ captor romance. Contains sensitive content that may trigger some readers (e.g. kidnapping, violence, trafficking).
But ahh… Who doesn’t love the bad boy from the bunch?! 😜
I knew from Salvatore’s story that I had to read Dominic’s book. He’s the black sheep of the family. He’s the youngest, who was never considered to rule so he causes trouble where he can, whenever he can. When everything crumbles around him, he leaves it all behind… but what happens when he can no longer escape his past?
Dominic is the bad boy with the attitude and he knows it. He doesn’t pretend to be anything else. His story is one of acceptance, growth, and healing.
The developing relationship between Dominic and Gia not only saves both their haunted lives but it changes them. Despite the fucked up way that they meet, in the end there’s no doubt that they are well suited for one another. I loved seeing Dominic’s character growth, from when you’re introduced to him back in Salvatore’s book all the way to this one. You can’t help but not hate him (even with everything that’s happened).
Besides the romance, his story had a good chunk of family dynamics. Reading this book made me understand and see his family in a new light… including Dominic himself *whispers* …and I had already loved him when he was being anasshole. 🤭
And who says bad boys can’t be romantic as hell?!
Book Three | SERGIO
• BLURB •
I’m the first-born son of the mafia king. The favorite. Destined to rule, I’m a dangerous man, a ruthless one. But in my world, you have to be.
Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.
Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.
I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.
I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.
No matter what.
• MINI REVIEW •
⚠ This review contains spoilers!
Aw, this was bitter fucking sweet! Ended the trilogy of the Benedetti brothers with possibly the best brother and book from them all!
This is a somewhat opposites attract romance. Such a contrast between Natalie being this innocent young woman, and Sergio being the next in line in the Benedetti family to be the Mafia king, yet the attraction is fire! 🔥
“Wrong place, wrong time, sweetheart.”
Going into this book knowing that Sergio Benedetti wouldn’t be surviving the end, I mentally prepared myself. What I hadn’t counted on was that Sergio would become my absolute favourite brother. Dammit!
The more I read, the more I dreaded getting closer to finishing the book because Sergio stole my heart from the second he appeared… and knowing that I would have to read and experience his demise was gut-wrenching.
Yes, I cried. 💔
I’m so glad Natasha decided to write his story. It’s definitely worth the read. I love that Sergio and Natalie’s love was fierce. They knew their time together would be limited and they didn’t bullshit around. Sergio knew what he wanted, and damn well got it!
Not only has the book wrecked me, but it’s also made me wonder how Sergio (and Natalie) would’ve lived out their lives had they had the opportunity to. After now having read all three books, I have no doubt that Sergio would’ve been the best man to rule. Personality-wise, I thought he was the most balanced out of the brothers. Considering he was in the business of death, danger and darkness, he still had the most heart.
Thoroughly enjoyed reading every bit of Sergio and Natalie’s short but sweet romance. Beautifully told.
BOOK FOUR | KILLIAN
• BLURB •
The Beast had Belle.
Killian Black has me.
How I got here doesn’t matter, even though he says it does. Says it was my choice. He doesn’t get it, though. It wasn’t ever a choice for me.
And now, he’s changing the rules.
The agreement was one month. For thirty days, I’d be his. He’s no longer satisfied with my body alone, though. He wants my soul, too. Wants every part of me. And even though I can pretend I’m safe when I lie beneath him, this man does something to me. Something wicked.
A thing that will break me.
Cilla made the choice. She offered the deal. I just took her up on it. So what if I changed the rules half-way in? I’m not apologizing for it.
See, Cilla and me, we’re the same. She’s dark. As dark as me. Something happened to her. Something bad. It damaged her.
But it’s not a hero she seeks. It’s an avenging angel. A dark knight. That, I can do. I’ll slay her dragons, but it’ll cost her, because in return, I want everything. And I’ll take it.
Author’s Note: Captive Beauty is a standalone romance. Think Beauty and the Beast, but twisted and dark in the best, dirtiest ways.
• MINI REVIEW •
Backed into a corner, desperate, and willing to sacrifice herself for her brother, Cilla does just that and is immediately swept up in the dark and gritty world Killian has trapped her into for the foreseeable future.
Knight has written a few books with a Beauty and the Beast theme to it, and every single one had been a dark and twisted take on the classic tale that completely sucked me in. Killian’s and Cilla’s story was one full of secrets and lingering darkness, and as they navigate through their emotions you see a slow but obvious development between them that is deeper than their initial physical attraction.
Very much a broken-damsel-in-distress with an avenging-antihero plotline. Killian is nowhere near saintly but he’s willing to go to hell and back for Cilla. You’re constantly in suspense as the story unfolds and although you know fairly early on that there’s something big looming over these characters, you’re still never quite prepared once it’s revealed.
It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted. There may be some endearing moments but this story is gut-wrenching, at times truly disturbing, and all-around set in a blanket of hopelessness.
⚠ Please note, it contains matters that may be triggering for some readers. It contains child abuse, rape, attempted suicide, violence, along with emotional, physical, and mental trauma. Please read responsibly. Intended for readers 18+ only.
BOOK FIVE | GIOVANNI
• BLURB •
I’m the right-hand man of the mafia king.
She’s a girl with a past she’s desperate to hide.
But I need something from her.
And I know she won’t help me. Not willingly.
She’ll need some persuading.
Lucky for her, I can do that.
Something about this girl makes me curious, though, and it’s more than the scars that line her back. She’s on the edge of something. Something bad. She’s like a perfect, beautiful doll coming apart at the seams. And the last string is about to snap.
She thinks I’ll hurt her. Break her.
But thing is, she’s already broken. And she and I, we’re two peas in a pod. She’s my match, the perfect opponent. She’ll fight me to the finish, but I’ll win. I always do.
Because I’m a man used to getting what I want. And what I want is her.
Author’s Note: Giovanni is a STANDALONE dark mafia romance set in the Benedetti Brothers Mafia World. It’s an emotionally gripping enemies-to-lovers romance with a hard-earned HEA.
• MINI REVIEW •
⚠ Starting off with a trigger warning. From all the books in the series, Giovanni is the most dark, with triggering content. It’s intended for readers 18+ only. It contains graphic violence, rape, torture, emotional, physical, and mental trauma. Please read responsibly.
For a dark romance story with a possessive, slightly crazy alphahole of a hero… Giovanni’s actions were surprisingly understandable. 🙊😅 He quickly becomes intrigued by Emilia and her secretive backstory and made him just as quickly protective of her.
Like the previous books in the series, there’s an enemies-to-lovers/ hate-to-love romance trope between the protagonists… and just like the previous books, the chemistry between these protagonists are just saucy!
Emilia has one of the most tragic pasts from all the heroines and I’m not going to lie, there were moments that were a little tough to read through. If you have any triggers, I don’t recommend this book, as it can get very graphic. Giovanni is the perfect morally grey character to keep Emilia afloat when she was slowly drowning and in complete denial of her life.
There are some questionable actions taken between these two characters that did have me “hmm-ing” and slightly grimacing, but in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t take away my overall enjoyment of reading their story, especially knowing that it would conclude on a HEA.
Emilia and Giovanni took a chance on one another and their journey was an intense, heartbreaking story, but what I ended up loving the most was how much effort Giovanni had taken to ensure Emilia’s safety, even before their relationship developed. Have tissues handy… just in case.
As mentioned earlier, each book can be read as standalone and technically in any order. But I recommend you still read them in publishing order despite the fact that Salvatore’s book contains the biggest spoiler for Sergio’s story.
All are relatively quick reads (each can easily be read in one sitting), and all told from dual points of view.
Besides the continuous family issues in each book, the only other similarity is with the heroes possessiveness over their heroine. They’re all mafia romances but each story and couple have a little something different from the last. These men are “alphaholes”, but you’re bound to love one, two or all! 😉
These books are gritty. There’s sensitive subject matters that may be triggering for some readers. The characters experience a range of cruelty, brutality, and violence that can be graphic to read.
I recommend the series to readers who are already familiar with dark mafia romance/ romantic suspense books. They’re truly addictive and immediately hook you in. Great world-building with a dark atmosphere, amazing storytelling, and edge-of-your-seat romances!
OVERALL RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾
Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo
Monsters don’t often look like monsters on the outside.
Forced to marry a man I should hate, I’m now bound to Damian.
I sometimes wonder what he sees when he looks at me. Deer in headlights, I guess.
What I see is clear.
A man with too much experience.
The day he took me he told me I belong to him. On our wedding night he proved I did. And I believe him when he says he’ll keep me safe because he won’t let anyone touch what’s his.
But I can’t forget what he is. Can’t forget the things he’s done.
And no matter what, I can’t let myself fall in love with him.
— MY REVIEW —
What a beautiful, yet bittersweet conclusion to the Unholy Union duet!
Unholy Union set the bar, started the gripping story and Unholy Intent kept it going with the twists and turns and constant intrigue.
If you want to read about a dysfunctional, corrupted and totally revenge-fueled family… then add this one to your list. Apart from the spark-inducing romance going on between Damian and Cristina, there’s a lot of family drama whirling around.
There’s so much questions where these characters are concerned. I only wish that all my questions were answered though before the book ended. There was a few things I thought would come back around as it was mentioned somewhat in the first book, but unfortunately it was never brought up again. Some things were also left open or wrapped up too abruptly that would’ve been nice to see elaborated on, but all in all it was still an ending that’ll have you in a happy sigh! 😊
If you’ve read any of Knight’s other dark/ mafia romances then you’ll be familiar with her love of story lines involving enemies-to-lovers, contracts, and seeing ruthless, conniving heroes come apart, develop into possessive as hell alphas who will to go through hell and back to protect the women they’ve claimed as theirs.
The Unholy Union duet (especially within Unholy Intent) is a modern day Romeo and Juliet with warring families, forbidden love, and navigating through the protagonists’ inescapable fates.
I don’t want to make anyone anxious but I did tear up in several parts of this book. There was some things that were revealed that I hadn’t expected and completely took me by surprise. Other than the chemistry that Knight has brilliantly created between Damian and Cristina, I was utterly and completely absorbed by Damian, his family and there intense family dynamics. Just when you think you’ve seen the most villainous one of the bunch, one surprises the hell out you and blows the rest out of the water! The funny thing is… you cannot not hate them. These characters are flawed and damaged but you can’t help but sympathize over their struggles and their broken lives.
On one hand, I almost wished some of these secondary characters would get their own books but on the other, I don’t think I would handle reading their story. 🙈😅
The world-building, the story development and the character growth were all exceptional. The pacing was set in Unholy Union and I’m glad to see it didn’t falter at all in this book. It’s action-packed and filled with so much suspense. It’s edge of your seat exciting! You’ll be questioning decisions made, actions taken… or in some cases not taken. 🤦♀️ You’ll be second-guessing if things could’ve turned out differently and forming your own interpretations of certain things that happens and for what reason.
Damian and Cristina’s love story was a hot mess (lol) but damn was it addicting to see develop. I want to say when it came to their sexual attraction, it was leaped off the pages effortlessly, but when it came to their feelings and admitting them out loud… it was a bit of a slow burn.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Unholy Intent and this duet as whole. It has definitely become one of my fave reads from Natasha Knight! A dark romance that hits the mark!
Thank you to Natasha Knight and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 🌹