2021 Favourite Reads

Guess who’s back with another favourite reads post!?

Yep. Last year I posted a round-up of my favourite reads, and this year I decided to do it again! Could it be the start of a new tradition… Who knows? 😊

Ha! I thought 2020 was a tough year to get through. Sheesh. If I knew how sucky 2021 ended up being, I wouldn’t welcomed it with open arms. Lol.

But like I said last year and every year I’ve been reading… it’s always been my form of sanctuary and escapism. I’m your stereotypical introvert who prefers books to company. Who prefers a cozy night in with a swoon-worthy book and comfort food over late-night partying with outfits that’s all-too binding, uncomfortable shoes, and the stench of sweat in the air. 😅

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This year, I’ve compiled my top 12 favourite reads of the year. Ideally, I wanted one favourite book from every month but… some months had doubly amazing reads, whilst others had mediocre ones not completely worthy of this list.

Even though I had a few reading slumps along the way (nothing new), after compiling my top reads, I realized that the majority of the books were from new-to-me-authors, so despite a few hiccups along the road, this year introduced me to some incredible authors who’ve quickly become auto-buy authors!

So here we go!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• Contemporary Romance •

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📖 Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe

(Small Town, Coming of Age, Sweet New Adult Romance)

📖 Kiss To Remember by Anna B. Doe

(Second-Chance, Sports Romance, Love Triangle, New Adult Romance)

📖 The Hate Love Duet by Lauren Rowe

(Hate-to-Love, Rockstar, New Adult Romance)

— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mention):
📚 The Reed Rivers Trilogy by Lauren Rowe

(Age-Gap Romance, Friends-with-Benefits, Workplace Romance)

— ♥ —
📖 Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Enemies-to-Lovers, Bully Romance, Academia Setting)

📖 Sweet Devil by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Hate-to-Love, Secret Crush, Academia Setting)

📖 Till It Hurts by Cora Brent

(Second-Chance Romance, First Love, Fake Relationship Trope)

📖 Lessons In Sin by Pam Godwin

(Taboo Romance, Forbidden, Secret Romance, Age-Gap, Academia Setting)

•••

• MC Romance •

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— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mentions):
📖 Saint by Nicole James

(MC Romance, Suspense, Marriage of Convenience, Age-Gap Romance)

📖 Climbing The Ranks by Nicole James

(MC Romance, Suspense, Whirlwind Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —

•••

• Mafia Romance •

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📖 With This Ring by Natasha Knight

(Dark Mafia, Suspense, Arranged Marriage, Enemies-to-Lovers)

📖 Kiss Of Death Duet by L.P. Lovell

(Suspense, Enemies-to-Lovers, Forbidden Romance, Russian Assassins/ Italian Mob)

📖 Tears of Salvation by Michelle Heard

(Enemies-to-Lovers, Suspense, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —
*Not Pictured* (Honorable Mention):
📚 The Saints Series by Michelle Heart

(Suspense, Marriage of Convenience, Arranged Marriage, Opposites Attract, Assassins, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

— ♥ —
📖 A Vow Of Lust & Fury by L.P. Lovell

(Dark Romance, Arranged Marriage, Age-Gap Romance, Enemies-to-Lovers) *Trigger Warnings*

•••

• Dark Romance •

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📖 Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde

(Beauty & The Beast Retelling, Suspense, Enemies-to-Lovers, Forbidden Romance, Captor/Captive Romance)

•••

Annnnnd… there you have it! Yes, I snuck in a few books that technically did not make it to my top 12 list but came a very close (hence the mentions)!

Like last year, if you want to see all my reads for the year, check out my Monthly Wrap-Ups. I posted my December one earlier and I wanna say I have reviews up for all the books I read this year… but sadly there’s some still waiting to be written. Sigh. But links are up for those available.

I hope you all had a relaxing Christmas (if you celebrate), and now enjoying the holidays (hopefully you have holidays)! I sincerely wish everyone a safe yet happy New Year’s Eve/ Day! 🎉

Thank you for the support you’ve all given me for my reviews and my book blog in general! I’m in awe of the amazing people I’ve met through this bookish community and the copious amounts of books I’ve discovered over time. I’m truly thankful for the friendships I’ve made. As well as the opportunities I’m fortunate enough to be a part of.

I truly hope 2021 will be a year of nothing but happiness, love, good health, and good fortune for us all!

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

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Till Next Time by Cora Brent

⚠ This review contains a minor teaser!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

I met Colt Malene when I was fourteen years old.

And it seems I’ve never recovered.

He became the headstrong star quarterback in a town that idolized high school football titles.

Meanwhile, I was the coach’s dutiful perfectionist daughter, never daring to step out of line.

We should have stayed far away from each other but we didn’t.

And the volatile fallout was unbearable.

More than a decade has passed and now my father is dying.

He wants to make amends.

He wants to be forgiven for the role he played in Colt’s ruinous downfall and my painful heartbreak.

To give a dying man some peace, Colt and I agree to a plan.

While Colt is here in town, we pretend to date.

We pretend to like each other.

We pretend that the past is buried and forgotten.

But with one reckless, passionate act we carve a new future.

Leading to a fate we never suspected.

In the middle of a storm we never saw coming.

And an ending no one could have predicted…

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“I never meant to fall in love with Colt Malene. I wasn’t supposed to. I’ve done it anyway. Again. I couldn’t help it, then or now.”


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After reading Till It Hurts and loving the strong trio of characters, I knew I needed more. Till Next Time is utter perfection that completely transported me back to their small town of Arcana, and to the trio who’ve reconnected as adults.

This story centred around Colt Malene and his life story. I couldn’t put it down! Cora has executed in telling his story and getting me emotionally invested right from the first few pages. The writing is effortless and vivid. It’s exactly the type of drama-filled contemporary romance I love to read. Fleshed-out, heartbreaking, yet nevertheless, inspiring.

Memories of past events weaved in between the present day not only gave Colt’s and Susanna’s personal stories so much depth and dimension, but it provided insight to their perspective households, families, and their developing relationship through their POVs.

The characters are complex and their lives are more than your average teenage rebellion against their parents. You see how much certain events that took place in their past have impacted and influenced their adulthood in the present.

You can’t help but feel for Colt. He had very little positivity in his life growing up, and it’s saddening to see his parents failed him as his much needed support system.

Susanna has her own issues and it becomes evident as the story progresses how much her life hadn’t ended up as initially planned.

It’s well-paced storytelling and these protagonists’ lives are not only touching to learn about, but they deal with life-long insecurities, along with some very heavy, realistic, and quite relatable issues along the way. I love the realism that Cora has imbedded in their story (along with Till It Hurts), it’s why I easily felt an attachment to these characters, especially Colt. They’re a likable pair of people, genuine characters with strong polar-opposite personalities.

The world-building is extraordinary— from Arcana; the little town that’s gradually wearing out over time, to the different backdrops that holds so many memories for Colt and Susanna, to the diverse range of supporting characters who all played significant roles in shaping them into who they are now and bring about contrasting dynamics.

I loved their journey. The highs and lows. It had the right amount of angst, drama, and suspense to keep you reading with bated breath, but also had moments of lightheartedness to keep it from veering towards an overly depressing atmosphere. Colt and Susanna come full circle by the end of the book that leaves you not only happy sighing with complete contentment but a little bittersweet knowing that with Till It Hurts and now, Till Next Time, all three friends have had their story told and we bid adieu to their world.

This is only my second book of Cora Brent’s but after having back-to-back exceptionally quality storytelling, I’ll be looking into her backlist of books for sure. Till Next Time is a must read along with Till It Hurts. You can definitely read them as standalone books without missing a beat as events and relationships are well explained… but I do highly recommend reading the pair!

Colt’s and Susanna’s story was one big “Sliding Doors” moment full of missed chances and what-ifs? The road to their HEA wasn’t an easy feat, but it’s an epic second-chance romance that was a long time coming and well worth the wait!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Cora Brent and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Till Next Time? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon AU

•••


🏈 Where it all started! Read my review!

booksofthemuggleborn_tillithurts
Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📘 Till It Hurts by Cora Brent


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

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Kiss To Remember by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Some moments define the trajectory of your life.

Grace Shelton has experienced her fair share of loss and trauma, but moving to Blairwood is her chance for a new beginning.

For Trent Remington, going to college is a chance to break free of his overprotective parents and finally play basketball.

Some moments will change it forever.

When Grace collides into Trent by accident, she sees the last person she ever expected to find – the boy that’s been haunting her dreams for the past three years. Trent might belong to another girl, but he can’t seem to get the redhead with the sad eyes out of his mind no matter how hard he tries.

Together, they might risk everything for a chance at love, but will a kiss be enough to make him remember?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

An utterly thought-provoking, emotional, and heart-clenching journey wrapped up in world-building perfection! I couldn’t get enough of it and never wanted it to end. Doe has time and time again written stories within the Blairwood University series that are so real, so worthwhile that they just stay with you long after you’ve finished reading them. Kiss To Remember is without a doubt an epic addition to the series! I’m still reeling! 😱

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I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each book, but Kiss To Remember evoked the same feels in me as when I had read Kiss Me First. There’s just something extra special about these stories, these characters that won me over so easily.

The world-building is vividly exceptional and I think a big reason to that is because of the prologue Kiss Before Midnight. Not only does it introduce Grace and her personal story, but it gives you a sense of time spent with her. There’s a three year span between the prologue and the main story, and you get a deep view of what has happened within that timeframe. Once you start this book, you’re already invested in Grace and understandably sympathising with her frame of mind.

What constantly had me thinking throughout were the “what-ifs”. There’s a truckload of them, and it’s always lingering near the foreground of the story as it develops. I was constantly second-guessing EVERYTHING! 😲🙈

Other than what the prologue provides this is one of those stories where you need to go in blind to get the full reading experience and to ensure you make up your own opinions about the characters and the situations they find themselves in.

I loved the unpredictability of it all! 👏👏👏 It’s the main factor in why I was so immersed in Grace’s and Trent’s story from cover to cover. It also has a beautiful youthful romance— an air of innocence in their developing feelings which at times I found angsty but still charming nevertheless. It’s well-paced, with a gradual build-up, and told from dual POVs. I can’t fault the storytelling as I thought it was well-written and brilliantly executed. It’s a story that I can go back and read over and over again and never tire of.

The supporting cast added extra dimension and provided secondary storylines in the background. If you’ve read the previous books in the series, these characters will be familiar to you and it’s always nice to see what they’ve been up to since their own stories were told. Other than the romance, there are genuine solid friendships present. They provided crucial support systems for both Grace and Trent, and I thought their concerns and overprotectiveness were understandable considering what both these protagonists have and are going through in their lives.

Another thing I’ve come to find about Doe’s writing is she creates characters with a distinctiveness to them, whether it be through their appearance, upbringing, personality traits, and/or even interests. Doe is slowly but surely building up her cast of characters as more books are added into the world yet you can effortlessly distinguish them apart from one another. They all have different backgrounds and each one is as intriguing as the last. Full of contrasts and dynamics.

Grace has quite a history and her character is totally fleshed-out as she develops in this book. She’s a likable, authentic heroine who straight-up just seems like a good-natured human being.

At first Trent seems like an easy-going, athletic hero but there’s more to him than meets the eye. Whilst this book has an overall heartwarming atmosphere to it that’ll have you sighing in happy contentment, the characters are complex, so trust me when I say Trent will have you stumped (but in a good, addictive way)! 😉

I strongly recommend it to fellow romance readers. If you like new adult, college romance reads, this one is perfect to snuggle up under the blankets with. It’s the fourth book in the series but it can be read as a standalone novel. If you’re new to Blairwood University, all the books can be read as standalone novels and, in any order, too, although I recommend reading them in publishing order.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💚

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

•••


Prequel: Kiss Before Midnight

• BLURB •

From the very first moment, Grace Danielle Shelton laid her eyes on Mason LeBlanc, he stole her breath away, but what will happen now that he sees her too?

Kiss Before Midnight is a New York Knights/ Blairwood University crossover short story.

• MINI REVIEW •

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After having recently read Kiss To Forget with Yasmin and Nixon’s story, I was curious about Grace (an old friend of Yasmin’s) and what her deal was. When it was mentioned at the end of the book that there was a little novella about Grace included in the romance anthology Mistletoe Kisses, I knew I had to read it. And well…?

OMG I need more! 🤗 Adorable young love, first dates and sweet kisses. This little snippet was perfection but nowhere near enough. I hope we got a full novel for Grace and Mason soon! Because I need to know what happens to them next.

Edit: It showed the innocence of young love, possibilities, and just an all-around feel-good atmosphere. Unbeknownst to me, this novella was the introduction to what ultimately ended up being a mammoth journey of star-crossed lovers and second chances.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐½

🔔 Read Kiss Before Midnight for FREE! Grab your copy here: Universal Link


•••

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

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Sweeper by Amy Daws

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• 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.

•••

• 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

•••


More reviews for Amy Daws books!

Blindsided by Amy Daws

One Moment Please by Amy Daws

Replay by Amy Daws


•••

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

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Till It Hurts by Cora Brent

⚠ Warning: This review contains minor teasers

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

No one would say that our story is pretty.

But we were in love before we hated each other.

And we were friends long before that.

Growing up, I saw Jace Zielinski every day.

He lived next door. I cheered him on at football games. I gave him advice on girls. He was my brother’s best friend and the three of us were always together.

 I didn’t realize I’d already fallen for Jace until the hot summer night when we kissed for the first time.

Our magical season felt like destiny.

And then came the disaster that tore us all to shreds.

I lost Jace. I lost my brother. In many ways I lost myself.

Ten years later, Jace is untouchable in a world of pro athlete fame and glory.

I never wanted to see him again and I’d definitely never pick him to be my hero.

Not even when I’m broke and terrified and running away from ruin.

But it seems I have no choice.

Somehow we’re both back in the same place where we started.

I have nowhere else to go and Jace refuses to leave.

We’re on this collision course together.

Fated to repeat our own turbulent history.

Both the parts that felt the best.

And the parts that hurt the most.

•••

• MY REVIEW •


“And the truth was, I wanted the boy next door. My brother’s best friend. I wanted him bad.”


Ay. Cora Brent… Why didn’t I discover your books sooner??! 😱😍 Till It Hurts was utterly addictive and I loved reading every page of it! The happy times, the heartbreaking moments, the past, the present… all of it! ❤

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I couldn’t have lucked out any better by having Till It Hurts as my introduction to Cora Brent. This was an exceptional story. I knew right from the first chapter that Tori’s and Jace’s story would be an epic journey and it did not disappoint. I immediately liked Cora’s writing style, I thought it was effortless to follow and kept me engaged. I was instantly invested in getting to know more about these characters who had such a bond that was bound to break at some point, and I needed to know why.

Firstly — this story had quite a range of tropes that all played off of each other well:

  • Brother’s Best Friend
  • Friends to Lovers
  • Love to Hate to Love
  • Second Chance Romance
  • Sports Romance
  • Contemporary
  • New Adult
  • Small Town

I’ve only encountered a handful of the brother’s best friend trope in my romance reads but this was by far the most complex, cleverly written storyline I’ve read. It’s honestly now one of my favourite contemporary romance books. It was very-well paced that it read like I was watching a romantic drama play out in front of me. Just needed my popcorn.

It’s told from dual points of view and switches back and forth from past to present day. I find when stories involve flashbacks to the past, it can either be a little draining to read through (and no longer holds your attention), and/or it disturbs the flow and pacing of the overall story. With Till It Hurts I had neither of those issues. The back and forth was well executed and I found whenever the story went back to their past it only elevated the story in the present. I thought their history was just as intriguing as their present. And I honestly couldn’t favour one friend or relationship over the others. Tori, Colt, and Jace are all equally lovable characters and I quickly felt protective of them all.


“If you’re not willing to push yourself till it hurts then you’re not doing life right.”


Let’s start with Colt. He is Jace’s best friend and Tori’s younger brother. He’s the more thrill-seeking, carefree of the three, and despite being the youngest he’s protective and has such strong presence in their group dynamic. He’s literally the link between Tori and Jace.

Tori, is the oldest but the boys take care of her, just as equally as she cares for them. She’s the more sensible one and makes sure they keep out of trouble. When she loves, she loves whole-heartedly.

Jace, makes three. He’s the boy next door who quickly connected with Colt, and naturally Tori right after (as Tori and Colt were inseparable). He’s easy-going and tends to go with the flow. He’s always thoughtful—even when they were teens.

This trio rivals some of my all time favourite fictional friendships. I love their dynamics, it feels so genuine and down-right relatable seeing how their interact with one another— from their lighthearted ribbing, to their full-blown heart-to-hearts, to even their fiery arguments. As the story progresses and their lives slowly unravel before you, it’s evident how much these three are inseparable. They have such vivid history starting from their childhood, to their teens, to eventually reconnecting as adults and reminiscing. The way Cora has written their story and the way they share their memories, you almost have to remind yourself that this was a work of fiction.

The world-building not only was vast and detailed, but it totally set the entire atmosphere amongst these friends and the story being told. It had an air of drama and suspense, but also wistfulness and a sense of time truly passing by. Even with minor side stories occurring in the background alongside additional secondary characters, the story didn’t stray from its initial premise. If anything, it added more dimension to an already layered storyline.

The character development was steady and constant. Seeing Colt, Tori, and Jace grow and evolve depending on what life threw at them… I found it so engaging I had a hard time putting the book down until I finished.

If Cora hoped the friendship between these three would be believable to her readers, she no doubt succeeded. If she wanted to make her readers feel the strong, loving sibling relationship between Colt and Tori— yep, done! If she wanted readers to effortlessly see the love between Tori and Jace was pure goodness and a once-in-a-lifetime, she fucking well did that too! If she wanted her readers to authentically see the brotherhood that Colt and Jace had, she hit the nail! 👏👏👏

The friendships and relationships between the three were a complex rollercoaster. It made me feel nostalgic for the friendships I had growing up, to my first love, to all the teen drama that at the time felt like world-ending situations.

In the end they have their happily ever after, but I’m not going to lie, it was a rocky road ahead for each of them. They all had their situations, they all had their own paths to take, and they all needed time for wounds to heal.


“People are flawed, Tori. We don’t always do what we should. All we can do is learn and try to be better than we were.”


This was a story full of life, and with it comes love, hate, guilt, frustration, remorse, and a whole array of other emotions. Just like in reality, Colt, Tori, and Jace go through struggles, insecurities, and personal issues. Whilst there was one particular plot point I saw coming a mile away, it no way deterred me from continuing (if anything it made me more curious to see how it would affect the ending). In my opinion, Cora wrote a beautiful and hearty journey for each character that all intricately connected to tell one big story.

And speaking of endings… I’m truly giddy with excitement at the little tidbit that Cora revealed at the end of her book. Whilst I was near finishing reading it, I knew I wasn’t ready for it all to be completely over. If you do end up reading this book, I have no doubts that you would be just as thrilled with the news as I was. Thank you, Cora! 🙌

I should point out the sports element was a backdrop to this small town, contemporary romance story. Whilst it did add a layer to these characters’ story, it wasn’t the main focus (more a starting off point). There’s also some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as loss, violence and addiction (resulting in grief and PTSD). It also contains sexual content, suitable for readers 18+ only.


“You might have to keep pushing till it hurts in order to find your way home. But take heart. Because happily ever afters do exist.”


Till It Hurts will transport you to a small town full of history, to a quaint neighbourhood, and to a trio with a bond that knows no bound. Overall, I couldn’t fault it, and for that, I highly recommend it to my friends and fellow romance readers to pick up too! You won’t be disappointed.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Cora Brent and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙


•••

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

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Kiss To Defy by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

She’s a figure skating prodigy. He’s a guy from the wrong side of tracks.

They belong to two completely different worlds…

After dedicating her entire life to figure skating, Rei Mitchell-Nagasaki is ready for a little bit of normal. And what’s more normal than attending college?

Zane West has had a rough life, but he’s found his way out of Ashton Heights and he isn’t about to lose it all when the demons of his past come knocking at the door.

… that are about to collide on the ice.

Rei has one semester to show her father that she can have it all—a normal life and making it to the Winter Games—but it’s not so easy when there is a broody hockey player standing in her way. Once heated arguments turn into sharing the rink and late-night kisses, neither of them will be able to resist the pull.

Will they manage to defy the odds or was their love doomed from the very beginning?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Another amaaaaazing addition to the totally addictive college romance series; Blairwood University by Anna! 🙌

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Right from the very beginning this story had me engaged with that zinger of an opening scene between Rei and Zane… 🔥 *phew!*

If you adore sports romances, specifically hockey romances — this series is a must read. You can technically read each one as standalone books, but as someone who’s read them all, I can tell you now, you’ll want to read them in release order. The world-building from the first book sets the atmosphere not only within Blairwood, but amongst the friends, and from there it’s an ever-expanding world as you get to know more and more about each character in length through the books that follow.

Anna has kept it consistent with another character-driven story with well-paced storytelling as it delves into two opposite characters who find themselves having more in common than they first realized. The dual points of view was a perfect choice in sharing their story because you get in-depth insights into their relationship and compare where their heads are at on certain situations. Whilst Anna has already introduced some multicultural diversity when she first introduced these friends in the first book— Kiss To Defy is the first amongst them with leading characters who are POC (person/people of colour).

Although, both the hero and heroine are of colour, their different multicultural backgrounds alone wasn’t necessarily the biggest factor that was in the forefront of the story. If anything, it was mentioned more in passing as their overall social standing was more so the main obstacle in their budding relationship.

I connected with Rei fairly easily just from the description of her appearance alone. 😅 As a fellow Asian and a shorty to boot, Rei simply felt like someone I could relate and be friends with in real life. As the story progresses, you quickly discover with her personality she’s quite a likable character as well. She’s a person who’s ambitious yet yearns for some work/life balance by choosing to divide her time from skating with school and making friendships.

What I love about the books in this series is the dynamics amongst the friends, and this one was no different. It gave it a lot more dimension having all these secondary characters have some participation in creating layers within the story no matter how minor. In my opinion, Zane’s and Rei’s story was somewhat more sombre in comparison to all the previous couples that I found the few lighthearted moments throughout were refreshing breaks from the weighty issues that both Zane and Rei were dealing with. There’s just enough lightness and comic relief to keep their story from going too serious.

Please note this story contains some sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It delves into addiction, domestic abuse, and violence. Recommended for readers of age only. 

I do have to point out that whilst I found the majority of the friends in this story very agreeable, I did find one in particular I was not a fan of. I found them to be a little pushy, rude, in-your-face, and at times disrespectful of others’ feelings. I won’t be naming names for a couple of reasons, one being that this is a no spoiler review, and two, this particular character has a book in the works (if sources are correct), so I’m hoping that my annoyance of said character doesn’t go any further than this book and that in my eyes they’ll have some redeeming qualities. 🙏

The entire book was an enjoyable read, but I would’ve preferred more build-up not only in their relationship but in the overall storyline too. Yes, there’s quite a slow burn romance going that kept me on the edge of my seat, but the overall story felt like it lacked a little more oomph that the other books in the series had in spades. I found certain plots started out well enough but fizzled by the end leaving it a little anti-climatic, whilst other plots felt like they came out of nowhere that it left me a little taken aback.

I did however liked seeing no game-playing between Rei and Zane. They both knew they had a bond and it felt very genuine seeing them whenever they were together.

As I said at the very beginning, this is another great addition to the series. I think it’s a must read for those who have come to love the series and invested in seeing each character get their own story. I admit Zane wasn’t on my radar as much as some of the other guys, but after having read Kiss To Defy, I have a newfound respect for him. Despite his difficult upbringing, it’s never discouraged him from wanting a better life for himself and willing to work hard for it. He’s also quite a considerate gentleman— which he proves time and time again with Rei. 😊

What I also enjoyed about this story besides the slow burn romance between the two, is the vivid feature of both Rei’s and Zane’s perspective sports. Especially Rei’s figure skating. Anna has managed to put a lot of detail and sport “lingo” that wasn’t overly done or overbearing to read about. On the contrary, I found it all fascinating and at times felt like I was actually learning a thing or two about each sport. Both Zane’s passion for ice hockey, and Rei’s ambition in her figure skating career were evident and figuratively oozed out of the pages. Right along with the unwavering support they had for one another in achieving their goals.

Their romance was far from easy but it was sweet and, in the end, triumphant. What started out as a misunderstanding between the two ended up being such a solid relationship. They might have had differences, but Rei and Zane are undoubtedly perfect for one another. Anna has written another swoon-worthy couple whom I can look forward to seeing make appearances in future books.

This one in particular had a lot of elements and tropes included. If you like any and all in your romance reads, then I recommend you give this one a try.

  • Opposites Attract
  • Hate to Love
  • Diverse Characters
  • Contemporary Romance
  • College Romance
  • Slow Burn
  • New Adult
  • Sports Romance

I may have had a couple of hang-ups with some plotlines and certain characters in this book, but I can’t deny Anna’s writing style is effortless to follow and gets you invested in fairly early on. I love the consistency in effort and detail Anna puts into each of her books in this series that it’s hard not to want the next one right away.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💜

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

•••


🏈 Read my reviews for the Blairwood University Series!

Prequel: Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe
Book One: Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe
Book Two: Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe

•••

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

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Replay by Amy Daws

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Not all players deserve a second chance… no matter how hot their first chance was. Football club lawyer, Santino Rossi is known in the locker room as the two-month chump. For years he’s been on a mission to find someone he can share his basil plant with and cure him of his former playboy ways.

Tilly Logan is a fiery, Scottish lass who didn’t bat an eye five years ago when a smoldering Italian pulled her into a nightclub bathroom. He was dark, dangerous, and exactly the good time Tilly was looking for—even if he worked for her over-protective brother’s team.

But a lot has changed and when Tilly returns to London five years later only to find herself trapped in an elevator with the smoldering Italian, it isn’t a happy reunion. Especially because her brother blames Santino for her high tailing it back to Scotland in the first place.

Tilly doesn’t want a replay of past mistakes and reconnecting with Santino is playing with fire. But if they keep their relationship a secret, it could be worth the burn.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

This book was a much anticipated read for me as I adore the Harris Brothers series. After having read Blindsided (Freya and Tilly’s older brother Mac’s story), I knew I couldn’t miss out on Tilly’s and Santino’s story… and what an intense story it was!

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A second chance romance storyline that was full of character development, personal growth, and a need for these characters to let go of their pasts in order to move on. Both Tilly and Santino have experienced heartbreak and certain struggles that they needed to work through, and coincidentally, having reunited after five years, they’ve become each others’ support system.

Please note, this book contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers. It contains substance abuse, non-consensual sexual relations and certain experiences that resulted from it. There’s also detailed sexual content suitable for readers 18+ only!

Replay is not to be missed for fans of the Harris Brothers series and sports romance fans in general! Although it can definitely be read as a standalone, I still highly recommend you read the entire series as the world-building is grand and ever-expanding, and a lot of that has to do with the characters themselves. You’ll get a better understanding of everyone’s relationships with one another too.

Tilly’s story was very much in the forefront. Despite her reluctance to discuss details, you still get the gist of what went down and how she’s coping with it. Over time she starts opening up more and more, and a lot of that confidence and courage to do so was Santino’s doing. He’s a constant support for her even before any intimacy came about and I honestly think he can give the rest of the men in this series a run for their money with how charming, protective, and loving he can be! Tilly’s journey of growth and maturity is evident. You’ll see how much she’s changed as a person and the changes she’s made to her lifestyle since her troublesome years.

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Daws has included very real-life situations within this story, and although it’s a work of fiction, the events that occurred and the effects its had on the people involved mirrors reality so well. It’s not hard to get invested in Tilly and Santino’s story. Tilly went from a downward spiral to gradual buildup of positive changes. I may not relate to her situation but I can definitely imagine the pain and darkness she must’ve felt during that period in her life.       

Santino’s insecurities and shifty past on the other hand was something that lingered throughout the story but wasn’t completely revealed until towards the end. By then I had a pretty good idea at what he was hiding, so when he did finally share it with Tilly, it felt a little anti-climactic. I would’ve liked to have seen him open up a lot earlier. In my opinion, his story wasn’t as developed and because of that, I couldn’t fully connect with it as I had with Tilly’s. It felt like once his personal story was out in the open, it was wrapped up quickly despite Santino having had struggles throughout the book with opening up about his past to Tilly.

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But in saying that, despite Santino’s own issues, he was always willing to be there for Tilly. If anything, he almost pushed aside his own problems to ensure Tilly was on track with her new life and that their relationship could stand a chance. Based on his history and his closed off persona, he’s misjudged by his peers especially by Tilly’s older brother Mac, but you’ll see quite early on in this book that there’s more than meets the eye with him.

Also, if you love tall, dark, handsome Italian men, then get ready to see some good ol’ sexy Italian charm out of Santino. Ooh-wee! He can speak in Italian to me any. damn. time. he wants! 🤭😍

They are likable characters. Through their flaws and insecurities they have strength and a willingness to become better people. Their relationship was far from perfect or easy but that’s the beauty of it. It was very much a one step forward, two steps back type of relationship but you get to see them work through it and put the effort in. Tilly and Santino are so relatable (along with the rest of the characters from this series who make an appearance). They have a presence about them that’s so authentic that you almost imagine that they could be a couple of your own friends.

If you’re all caught up with the series, then you will be happy to know that past couples are secondary characters in this book and will definitely catch you up on the latest in their lives. They never fail at making situations crazy fun, hectic, and full of life! There’s also a few new secondary characters that play vital roles in both Tilly and Santino’s lives. But all in all, every single one of these people bring in a different dynamic and such contrast to the group.

It’s told from both Tilly and Santino’s points of view, and I found it to be slower-paced storytelling but as their entire story unravels, the pacing was actually well-suited. Their relationship was tentative and full of drama but it also made their journey all the more worthwhile to see through.

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A truly uplifting second-chance romance, that’ll have you either relating and/or sympathizing with what Tilly and Santino have gone and are still going through in their lives. Their turbulent rollercoaster of emotions are realistically understandable, their slow yet gradual developing relationship read genuine, and it was gripping from start to finish. Daws’ writing style has a nice flow to it. You can count on detailed world-building, mood setting atmosphere, and a storyline that is effortless to follow with protagonists that’ll have you curious right off the bat.

What I enjoyed reading the most about Tilly and Santino’s journey was that they could reminisce about certain good memories from their past together and somehow replicate those moments and feelings now but a hundred times better. I found myself either cheesy-grinning or happy sighing seeing them happy and open to seeing where their attraction will lead to. The banter here and there was also a nice little addition that had me giggling.

✔ Contemporary

✔ Second Chance

✔ Sports Romance

✔ Fiery Scottish Heroine

✔ Mysterious Italian Hero

✔ London Backdrop

Whilst their story had an open-ended happily ever after, I was chuffed to see an extended epilogue. Not only did it conclude the side story that was happening alongside Tilly and Santino’s, it also provided us readers with a more concrete direction to where their relationship was heading next.

Another incredible addition to the world of the Harris brothers! Whilst Tilly and Santino’s story was deep, heartbreaking, and traumatic, there were moments in between that were lighthearted and funny to keep it from being overly depressing and gloomy. If you love a hearty second chance romance and enjoy a bit of sports in your contemporary romance reads, then make sure to add this one to your TBR. *whispers* This book also contains some major jaw-dropping developments set in this world and a sneak peek at Daws next book that you won’t want to miss out on! 😉

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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


•••

Read my review for Mac and Freya’s book!

booksofthemuggleborn_blindsided

📙 Blindsided by Amy Daws

•••


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

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Kiss Me First by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Katherine Adams never thought she’d end up in a small town in Texas, but when things start to go south, it’s the perfect place to escape to.

Emmett Santiago, Bluebonnet’s golden boy, never imagined he’d fall so quickly, but one glance at Kate and he’s a goner.

Moving in with Katherine’s aunt her junior year of high school is the safest choice for her sister, and Katherine plans to do everything she can to make Bluebonnet their home. That most definitely doesn’t include flirting with a certain boy, no matter how charming his smile is.

Katherine might not believe in love, but Emmett is determined to win her over. When the sparks start to fly, who’ll be the one to make the first move?

•••

• MY REVIEW •

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Lé siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh. 😍😍😍

This is just what I needed — a good ol’ wholesome and heart-filled romance story! This may be a prequel in the Blairwood University series and set in Bluebonnet but it gave just as much (if not more) feels as the other books already released. Ugh. I am officially calling Emmett my new favourite hero of this series! As much as I love a bad boy as the next chick, there’s something so special about a young well-mannered, sweet and caring gentleman!

I wholeheartedly believed Emmett whenever he set his mind to something or whenever he made a vow to Kate. He’s a straight-up good guy! There’s just nothing else to say. He’s one of those one in million guys any girl would kill to find… and it just so happens Kate managed to snag him without even trying! Dagnammit! 😄

What I truly love about this series is the groups of characters Doe creates to enhance her stories, and this book was no exception. I don’t think there was a single secondary character who wasn’t a friend or family member of Emmett’s who I didn’t like. They bring such contrast and dynamic to the group and their relationship with not only Emmett but Kate as well. I have to be honest there’s a couple of characters I’m actually hoping would one day get their own book, just so I can see what they’ve gotten up to since the time here. They’re just as developed as the protagonists with side stories of their own that I found just as entertaining to read through.

Whilst Emmett brings in the loyalty, openness, and trusty country boy charm to this story, Kate on the other hand is the new girl and comes off as someone who’s a little guarded and sceptical of trusting people (and rightfully so) — that is until Emmett (along with his best friends) brings her out of her shell and starts getting her to really open up and give Bluebonnet a chance.

There’s nothing to hate about either one of the lead characters. Kate may have her little hang ups but there’s a reason for it, but it no way makes her a disagreeable person. It’s the exact opposite, really, and it’s what makes her human and so relatable.

One thing that constantly popped into my head about this book is it has a lot of heart. I was almost taken aback by how much these characters are willing to go and beyond for those they love. Call it a cliché but this is definitely one of those “love conquers all” type of stories and I was digging it! ❤

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It’s a coming of age, young adult romance that had me teary-eyed practically from start to finish. Doe has successfully gotten me invested in not only Emmett and Kate’s blossoming love story but their own personal stories as well. It evoked such emotion out of me. Ugh. I can’t say enough positive things about this book. I even reread it right after the first time because I was nowhere near ready to close the book (excuse the pun) on Bluebonnet.

Besides the slow-ish burn (but luckily not cruel) romance, you’ll find out the reasons behind Kate and her sister’s move to Bluebonnet. It’s unsuspecting, gave this story more dimension, and keeps you second-guessing the direction in which the story will head. Told from both Emmett and Kate’s points of view, the storytelling is very well-paced and had me hooked with the gradual development of their relationship. With high school drama, family struggles, secret crushes, and new friendships, it honestly gave me such nostalgia. Ahh youth. Hehe.

  • Young Adult Fiction
  • Small Town
  • Sports Romance
  • Contemporary
  • Instant Attraction

There’s so many romance subgenres/ tropes within this storyline yet they all work so well together. Even if you’re not a huge fan of sports (football) in your romance reads, this will still hold your attention. All the relationships in this book whether they were purely platonic or romantic, were believable and in my opinion developed quite organically. It didn’t feel forced or written in to pad the story. There’s hilarious banter, a little fire between our hero/ heroine, and honest to goodness moments throughout that’ll have you happy sighing.

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*singsong voice* Loved it! It’s one of those books you can read over and over again and not get tired of. One of the best small town, teen romances I’ve read in such a long time. I would absolutely recommend not only this book but the rest of the books in this series. Such a great insight to a couple who were not necessarily in the foreground of the Blairwood University series but were always a couple that held my interest because of how easy-going and happy they always seemed within the group. So chuffed we got to see Emmett and Kate’s story. Well deserved and beautifully told!

If you’re looking for a feel good, lighthearted read, you have got to add this one to your reading list. You’ll sure giggle, swoon, tear up, and possibly hold your breath on more than one occasion reading through it. Amazing world-building where you truly feel transported to small town living, a tightknit community, and fresh country air! 😉

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Anna B. Doe for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading Kiss Me First? Grab your copy here: Universal Link

•••


Read my reviews for the books in Blairwood University!

📔 Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe

📔 Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe


•••

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

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2020 Favourite Reads

*pheeeeeew*

We’ve been saying “I can’t wait for 2020 to be over” constantly throughout the year and it’s fiiiiinally here! 🙌 In just a few short hours we can officially say adios to the crap-stick that is 2020 and ring in the New Year!

I’m sure plenty can relate that this year was a tough mudda (more so than usual) to get through. But I hope everyone at least found some goodness in between. Books and reading has always been some form of sanctuary and escapism for me. It’s partly why I can easily prefer reading books to spending time with company. 😅

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Weird thing is with having been at home for the majority of the year, you’d think it’d be easy to knock out book after book but nope! With work, general adulting, life slumps, and the occasional I’m-not-going-to-do-shit-today mood swings, I’ve not read as much as I would have wanted to. 

But in saying that… I did so happen to be fortunate enough to have read some unbelievably soul-shaking stories that completely had me in stitches, and/or ugly crying… which then resulted in either a hangover, rereading, thinking about day and night, and/or all of the above. 

I won’t be including old faves I’ve reread this year. This compilation is strictly all new books I discovered in 2020. And surprisingly (probably to me more than anybody else, really) they’re not all five star reads. But I can’t stress this enough… they are all loved, and ones I would happily recommend to friends (FYI that includes YOU!) 😊

In no particular order (mostly because I’m too lazy to chronologize the shit out of it lol). But I have at least sorted them into sub-genres because I know not all romance readers read all romance, amirite? 😉

So here we go! 

•••

• Contemporary Romance •

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📖 Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe

(Hate to Love, New Adult Romance)

📖 Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

(New Adult, Bully Romance) 

📖 Pretty When She Cries by A. Zavarelli

(New Adult, Hate to Love, Bully Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 One Moment Please by Amy Daws

(One Night Stand, Hate to Love, Adult Romance)

•••

• MC Romance •

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📚 Blood Fury MC series by Jeanne St. James

(Dark MC) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Tempting the Biker by Glenna Maynard

(Dark MC, Age Gap Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📚 Devil Kings MC series by Nicole James

(Dark MC, Opposites Attract) *Trigger Warnings*

📚 The MC Sinners series/ MC Sinners Next Generation series by Bella Jewel

(Dark MC, Second-Chance Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Fury by Marie Jordan

(Second-Chance Romance) 

•••

• Mafia Romance •

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📚 Unholy Union Duet by Natasha Knight

(Arranged Marriage, Hate to Love)

📖 Birdy by Dee Garcia

(Love Triangle, Dark Romance)

📚 Ties That Bind Duet by Natasha Knight & A. Zavarelli

(Forbidden, Dark Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Sweet Temptation by Cora Reilly

(Arranged Marriage, Age Gap Romance)

•••

• Paranormal Romance •

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📖 Branded by Fire by Nalini Singh

(Shifter Romance, Fantasy, Hate to Love)

📖 Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh

(Shifter Romance, Fantasy, Age Gap Romance, Enemies to Lovers)

•••

• Dark Romance •

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📖 The Danger You Know by Lily White

(Stalker Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Guts & Glory: Brick by Jeanne St. James

(Fake Relationship, Military-Type Romance) *Trigger Warnings*

📖 Stealing Cinderella by A. Zavarelli

(Modern Day Fairytale Retelling) *Trigger Warnings*

•••

Aaaaaaand there you have it! 😁 Not sure if this will become a yearly thing for me so this could very well be the one and only. Hehe.

If you want to see all my reads for the year, don’t forget to check out my Monthly Wrap Ups. My December one will be posted shortly so keep an eye out for it! Happy holidays! I sincerely wish everyone a safe but happy New Year’s Eve/ Day! 💙 

Thank you for the support you’ve all given me for my reviews and my book blog in general! I’m in awe of the amazing people I’ve met through this bookish community and the copious amounts of books I’ve discovered over time. I’m truly thankful for the friendships I’ve made. As well as the opportunities I’m fortunate enough to be a part of.

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

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Kiss To Forget by Anna B. Doe

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

KissToForget_Blurb

•••

— MY REVIEW —

This was a much anticipated read for me. I immensely enjoyed the first book in the series, and the way Yasmin and Nixon were first introduced in it gave me such a buzz for their story. They had such electricity between them in the little interaction they had in that book that I could only imagine the level they would reach when it was their turn to be in the forefront.

Kiss To Forget does not disappoint. I was invested and deep within the world of Blairwood University right from the very first chapter. This is only my second book of Doe’s but I feel like I’ve been missing out on all her addictive storylines and effortless writing style.

Omigosh. This book is a gradual build-up of pure excellence. I loved every minute of it. There is such sorrow and heartbreak throughout that it was difficult not to get affected by these characters and their lives. When I think about the emotions I went through reading this book, the one that stands out to me the most is gut-wrenching sadness. I was constantly teary-eyed. I think Doe has scored a touchdown with this one! There’s such layers, world-building, character development, and constant growth within all the relationships. It’s hard to fault when there’s so much depth and substance exhibited.

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Kiss to Forget is now one of my favourite contemporary romances read this year and one I am sure to read over and over again. Yes, I am willing to break out more tears over Nixon and Yasmin!

Steadily paced and told from both their points of view. Nixon and Yasmin may very well be dealing with separate issues in their lives but they work at it together seamlessly. I don’t know how else to say it… it just works! The way they share, listen, and simply provide any kind of support they can is what truly makes their relationship one you can’t help but dreamily sigh over. What started out as an entertaining battle of glares, snarky comments, and heated arguments, gradually turns into a slow realization that they may actually have more in common then they initially thought. It’s a sight to see! 😍 An organically developed relationship formed from understanding and acceptance — to friendship — to blossoming love.

I was instantly enveloped in the world-building that was introduced in the first book — the friendships, the different dynamics, and the overall campus atmosphere. This book just expanded that world into so many more layers and possibilities — not only with the current secondary characters, but with new ones introduced that leaves you just as intrigued. Not only are you excited to read Nixon and Yasmin’s story, but in the back of your mind you’re anticipating the next set of characters to be featured.

But let’s go back to Nixon and Yasmin for a minute here…

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I can’t put into words worthy enough to describe how much chemistry and zing these two have with one another. It didn’t matter if they were throwing hateful words back and forth or if they’re doing a complete 180 and being supportive, no questions asked. Their connection’s just palpable, swoony, and so relatable.

It’ll be tough to top this couple and their relationship off in my books. They physically, emotionally and mentally went through a roller coaster. Whilst there was a shit ton of heartbreak, Doe has wonderfully added enough lightness in between to keep this book from going too dark and depressing.

The dynamic between Nixon and Yasmin is one that goes so well with the enemies to lovers/ hate to love romance trope. It may be a stereotypical story of the popular jock and the overachieving nerd who eventually fall in love, but it damn well works!

But in saying that, these characters are so much more than their status quo. For one thing, Nixon isn’t all about sports, parties and hookups. You’ll see a different side to him here. One that’ll have you falling for him. Hard! But what got to me most was his imperfectness. He has flaws and makes mistakes, but what is so endearing about him is his willingness to try, his reliability, and most importantly his heart. You won’t always agree with his decisions, but you’ll sympathize because you know overall his heart is in the right place.

Yasmin on the other hand comes off as a no-nonsense young woman, who’s ambitious and goal-oriented. She practically has her future all planned out, but what happens when unexpected events get in the way of all those plans? The way Yasmin grows and evolves throughout this journey is just as emotional. You’ll feel for her and her vulnerability.

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It’s amazing how two very different people from different backgrounds, who are dealing with completely different life changing matters, together find peace and common ground.

I can’t tell you guys enough how much this story unexpectedly blew me away. I already found it at such a high level of quality storytelling in the first half of the book, but once things escalated further in the second half, it reached an entirely new level. Everything from the atmosphere, to the relationships, to the build-up of their emotions was intense. You’ll discover relatively early that not everyone comes away from this story unscathed, yet there’s such suspense to see how things will unravel.

Kiss to Forget is new adult contemporary romance, that consists of an uphill journey, complex characters, a spectrum of feels, and one that’ll leave you both exhausted yet soothe at the same time. As Nixon is a college football player, there’s somewhat of a sports (American football) theme in the background but very minimal.

The story mirrors real life situations with certain subject matters that can be triggering for some readers. But it’s also an eye opener to the struggles some people go through in their lives. Beautifully told with all the highs and lows. It may be a work of fiction but I felt like it was portrayed with such realism that you cannot help but connect with these characters and go through their journey right alongside them.

I am all in for the secondary characters too! The support system they’ve created for one another, and the overall vibe of each personality that gives their group such diversity. All I can say is I hope we get a chance to see a lot more of them in the future!

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You will get invested fairly quickly. It’ll break you (even if it’s only a little bit) but it will be well worth it. Have tissues at hand — you’ll need them! I highly recommend this series and especially this book! It can technically be read as standalone but you’ll be doing yourself a favor by reading Kiss To Conquer first to get this world and the characters in all its entirety.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

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

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Read my review for Kiss To Conquer!

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Blairwood University (Book One)

📔 Kiss To Conquer by Anna B. Doe


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Sending out good vibes to you guys! Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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