Dark Reign by Amelia Wilde

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Wealthy. Reclusive. Dangerous. Emerson LeBlanc doesn’t enter society much. He only ventures out in pursuit of new art for his collection. It starts with a haunting painting.

Then he meets the artist…

Innocent Daphne Morelli is more exquisite than anything he’s ever seen. He becomes obsessed with her. It doesn’t matter that she’s a living, breathing person with her own hopes and dreams.

​​​​​​​She’ll be the perfect addition to his collection.

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• MY REVIEW •

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That’s what any rational young woman would be saying if this was any other story… or better yet, if this was reality. Lol. But this is the world of the Midnight Dynasty where anything and everything is possible— and where crazy, obsessed stalkers are swooned upon. 😜 If you like dark contemporary reads with a stalker romance trope, oh man, is this the book for you!

I was initially intrigued by the premise, but to be honest after having read it, it wasn’t what I was expecting. Daphne Moretti was a secondary character in Wilde’s Beauty and the Beast trilogy that centred around Daphne’s closest older brother Leo. Her minor appearances made quite an impact that I wanted to know her story. I have no doubt that a lot of romance readers will enjoy this book and be enamoured with Daphne and Emerson, but I found that it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I had difficulties connecting with these protagonists, and where the story was heading.

I had always found Daphne to be a likable, cheery character, but I think it has a lot to do with how she is around her family. The interactions she has with her siblings in this book were my favourite parts by far. Despite the Morellis gritty and brutal upbringing, the bond amongst the siblings (well, most of them) came off so genuine, and there was just something so lovable about their family dynamic even though behind closed doors their family is a lot more complex.

This is the first book in The Collector trilogy and it’s an ongoing storyline. It concludes on a cliffhanger. But long before it ended I was already questioning not only these characters’ thought process, but the situations they put themselves in. Daphne found herself in plenty of situations that I couldn’t help but think could easily have been avoided, or ended up with a different outcome. 🤔 I think it’s one of the main factors as to why I just couldn’t settle into this story as much as I would’ve liked to.

Daphne is an innocent and naïve young woman— who prefers not to draw any attention to herself, yet she’s constantly putting herself in strange and risky situations only to second-guess her decisions.

Ideally, I would’ve wanted to say that by the end of the book I had a fairly good insight into who Emerson is but alas, he’s still a bit of mystery. It’s clear Daphne has attracted his attention, but when it comes to anything else in his life, it’s all so vague. You’re given snippets into the dynamics of his family but just enough to keep you curious.

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Whilst there are a couple of intense moments between Daphne and Emerson and a bond over their love for art, I found the romance side of things a little underwhelming and was hoping to see more of a deeper connection. But in saying that, this is just the beginning of their story, and hopefully further character growth and a more solid development in their relationship will present itself.

It has the beginnings of an interesting world-building, especially with Daphne so immersed in the art scene. It’s a refreshing change from her family’s usual dealings in the corporate world.

Overall, I thought it was a decent story, albeit not completely my taste, but I can see its appeal to romance readers. Especially to those who have been following the books in the Midnight Dynasty, and bonus, who enjoy stalker romances. It’s a relatively short book with steady pacing. It’s told from dual POV and you can just see the differences in Daphne’s and Emerson’s personalities throughout. It’s almost eerie how well Wilde has written Emerson with this obsessive, legit stalkerish vibe from the very first page up until the very last one. He’s definitely different from the other antiheroes introduced in this world. It’s too early to tell, but at this point, his interest in Daphne is most undoubtedly infatuation more so than anything on a deeper romantic level.

The atmosphere is more thriller than romantic. There’s an uneasiness in place that I think elevated Emerson’s character and motives towards Daphne and made Daphne all the more the vulnerable heroine. It’s a stalker romance that emphasizes on STALKER!

Don’t let my personal opinions put you off from giving it a try. Read the blurb and if you’re intrigued by it, start the book. Emerson may not be my type of antihero, but he might just very well be yours. 😉

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐½

Thank you Amelia Wilde and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

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

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More Midnight Dynasty reviews!

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🥿 Cinderella Trilogy | Book One:

Stroke Of Midnight by K. Webster

🖤 Hearts Trilogy | Book One:

Stolen Hearts by M. O’Keefe

🌹 Beauty and the Beast Trilogy | Book One:

Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde

🔥 Hellfire Club | Book One:

Wicked Idol by Becker Gray

Standalone Taboo Romance:

Lessons In Sin by Pam Godwin

🕊 Dark Dream Duet | Book One:

Dangerous Temptation by Giana Darling

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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! 

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• 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)

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• 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) 

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• 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)

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• 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)

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• 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*

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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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