Dangerous Temptation by Giana Darling

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

He arrives all dressed in black. Diamond cufflinks. A watch on his tanned wrist that cost more than we would ever see in a lifetime of work. He carries a single red rose for my mother.

Months later, Tiernan Morelli lays red roses on my mother’s grave. That same day, he tells me that he is my new guardian.

I should have known from the very start that he had more in common with the thorns than the rose. Now I know the truth: I’m a pawn in his dangerous game of revenge. I was too young and naïve. Now it’s too late to save myself from his clutches.

I belong to him.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

When it comes to Bianca’s and Tiernan’s story, I am officially no longer on the fence! The prologue novella Bad Dream left me emotionally up in the air but after having read Dangerous Temptation, I can without a doubt say, “Okay, Giana, you’ve won me over!” 😄

This book had sex, suspense, intrigue, and corruption all weaved together. The further the story progresses, the more twisted it seems. As they toe the line between right and wrong, good and bad, it not only questions the protagonists’ morals but will have you questioning your own because as much as what is developing between them is all kinds of wrong, it’s also intensely gripping to see play out! 🔥😈

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Dangerous Temptation was an intricately well-written storyline. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time constantly wondering where it was heading and how Bianca’s and Tiernan’s relationship would evolve from what was demonstrated in the prologue.

I was apprehensive at first with the distinct age gap— Bianca being seventeen (aka considered a minor), and a thirty year old Tiernan (who not only is Bianca’s love interest but is also the guardian of both her and her younger brother), but as we steadily get to know more about these protagonists, the lives they’ve lived, and once a particular dynamic settled between them, the issue with their ages gradually faded into the background. Yes, there are times that their ages/ mentality peeks out again and blares the obvious differences, but as this story had a handful of ongoing developments, with secondary storylines, diverse range of characters, and unique relationships you no longer focus on the matter of age gaps as much. Especially since Bianca’s and Tiernan’s relationship is far more complex than meets the eye.

If you love alpha-holes, add Tiernan to your “one to watch” list! *waggles eyebrows* Bianca can be passionate about certain things. Her youthful personality often exhibits a mixture of bratty teenager, rebelliousness, and naivety. But both protagonists will surprise you when you least expect it.

There are quite a few romance tropes at play in this story— billionaire romance, enemies-to-lovers, taboo romance… and a touch of erotica. But they all worked well together in creating quite a sexual build-up between Bianca and Tiernan.

This story provided lots of splendid little surprises throughout that honestly left me smiling, giggling, and/or talking to myself (or rather the book) asking, “Why, oh why!?”

You can easily guess the direction the story is heading, but concentrating on the moments (the here and now, if you will) I love the unpredictability of it all, and since Giana is a relatively new-to-me author, I think Dangerous Temptation is a nice introduction to her writing. The storytelling is vivid and well-paced, and transports you to these characters’ surroundings. I was invested in not only Bianca’s and Tiernan’s tumultuous relationship but those in Tiernan’s inner circle— his eclectic band of brothers won my heart over instantly! I’ve mentioned wanting to know more about Ezra after his introduction in Bad Dream, and I was ecstatic to find that my wish has been granted… and I think I may just love him even more now! ❤😍

I love the diversity of the secondary characters whether they are friend or foe, they elevated the atmosphere and overall world-building of the story. Besides the intense romantic relationship, the dynamic amongst the characters in Tiernan’s circle was my favourite feature in this story. I found it unexpectedly heartwarming and added lightheartedness in between the heated moments. There’s a genuine likability and relatability with these secondary characters, and I love the fact that they played such essential and momentous roles.

The underlying reasons behind the chain of events that occur in this storyline are based on old rivalries, vengeance, and pure hatred, but it also strongly centres around familial bonds and unusual upbringings.

The more I progressed through this book the more it grew on me and the characters lingered in my mind. In a short amount of time, you see quite a transformation in both Bianca’s and Tiernan’s characters that ultimately alters the initial plans. It ended on a nail-biting conclusion that will have you needing the next book immediately. With the introduction of Bianca Belcante and Tiernan Morelli, Dangerous Temptation is a fascinating expansion to the Morellis and Constantines, and an engaging addition to the overall world of the Midnight Dynasty.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you Giana Darling and Candi Kane PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛

🔔 Interested in reading Dangerous Temptation? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon INTL  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Apple Books  |  Kobo  |  Google Play

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🌹 Read my review for the Dark Dream Prologue!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

📒 Prologue Novella: Bad Dream by Giana Darling


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

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Bad Dream by Giana Darling

⚠ This review contains spoilers!

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Bianca is trying to survive in the small Texas town. Her only goal–to keep her younger brother healthy. Everything changes when Tiernan shows up at her mother’s door in a suit and tattoos.

His dark world is all-consuming, but she doesn’t want his money. Or his secrets.

Until her mother dies.

Then she has no choice but to turn to the only person who can help.

** Bad Dream: A Dark Dream Prologue to Giana Darling’s upcoming release Dangerous Temptation set in the Midnight Dynasty.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

*Ding! Ding! Ding!* 🎙 Let’s get ready to ruuuuuuuuuumble! 👊

My, my, my… Bianca and Tiernan both came out swinging! It’s not even the good type of banter. I’m talking all-out hate and spite between these two. So far, I can’t wrap my head around the thought that they’ll eventually become romantically linked— and there’s a few reasons why…

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a) There’s quite an age-gap between these two protagonists. Tiernan is thirty, whilst Bianca is seventeen. Age-gap romances don’t put me off as much as they used to, and I’m sure Tiernan and Bianca won’t hook-up until she’s older (let’s hope), but I’m still a little iffy on the fact that Bianca is still in her teens. 😬

b) And there’s the matter of Bianca’s mum, Aida having dated Tiernan (before her untimely passing, that is). There’s also a particular scene that clearly implies the two having slept together (I’m putting it mildly, here), and well, it’s hard to wipe that little image clean from my mind. Hm.

c) After the death of Bianca’s mother and things become a little clearer on Tiernan’s real motive with her family, he amazingly enough ends up having legal guardianship over Bianca and her younger brother, Brandon. Yeah… that’s not random at all. 

But in saying all that, I have to admit I am weirdly curious to see how this will all play out between them. As of right now, Tiernan is a right prick… and Bianca is a frazzled, naïve teenager who looks to be in way over her head, but this novella planted an air of intrigue and thrill of the unknown that has me eager to jump straight onto Dangerous Temptation (especially with how this prologue concluded).

Is it weird to say that at the moment I’m more interested in knowing more about the secondary characters?? Well, one in particular. 😅 Ezra. Like… woah who is he?! It’s the quiet ones you gotta watch out for— and it’s never been more true with Tiernan’s right hand man. Do we know if he gets his own story? Anybody? Any news?

And on the opposite end of the spectrum is Bianca’s little brother, Brandon. It’s still early days but he seems like an upbeat, likable character. No signs of brattiness, so that’s already points in his favour! 😁

Overall, a nice little introduction to Giana Darling’s world within the Midnight Dynasty. The novella is told solely from Bianca’s POV but I’m hoping once we get to the main duet that, that changes to dual perspectives. If you love dark billionaire, taboo romance books, then check this one out. It’s quite a teaser for what’s to come in the Dark Dream duet. This story is certainly making Lucian and Leo look like small-fry, and only time will tell on how cruel, how cold-hearted, how villainous this Morelli really is in comparison.

Readers and fans of the Midnight Dynasty, dust off your gloves because it looks like we’re having another Morelli/ Constantine fight-off!

*Ding! Ding! Ding!* 🎙 Fighters! Back to your corners! 🥊😈

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

🔔 Interested in reading Bad Dream? Grab your FREE copy here: Amazon  |  Amazon INTL  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  Apple Books  |  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

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

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Lessons In Sin by Pam Godwin

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

There’s no absolution for the things I’ve done.
But I found a way to control my impulses.
I became a priest.

As Father Magnus Falke, I suppress my cravings. As the headteacher of a Catholic boarding school, I’m never tempted by a student.

Until Tinsley Constantine.

The bratty princess challenges my rules and awakens my dark nature. With each punishment I lash upon her, I want more. In my classroom, private rectory, and bent over my altar, I want all of her.

One touch risks everything I stand for. My faith. My redemption. And even my life.

As if that could stop me. I need her pain, and her heart, and she needs my lessons in sin.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

Oh holy book gods, Lessons In Sin was indefinably beautiful in all its forbidden and lustful existence! I thoroughly enjoyed all the books I’d read so far within the Midnight Dynasty but I can’t lie, this book blew all my good sense away!

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Without a doubt, it not only took hold of my attention, but pushed my catholic-raised ways aside and convinced me that this age-gap, totally unbinding romance between just-of-age Tinsley and her much older boarding school headteacher and (off limits) priest was justifiable and despite all odds, is all around meant-to-be.

Genuinely heart-wrenching and soul-crushing, deepest of the deep kind of love — 👏 That is what you can expect to discover from reading this story. It’s a vivid and multifaceted world-building that Pam has created, with impressively well-developed and ever-evolving characters. I’m still in awe of how much emotion this book has evoked out of me. Right from the opening scene with Tinsley’s and Magnus’ first encounter set the atmosphere into intense climates and only expanded from there to suspense, thrill, and giddy excitement. If this was a scene from a movie, you would see little bright sparks fly out of the pages and my face in sheer wonder and delight.

I seriously can’t fault anything about it. Yes, it’s totally sinful, and in reality their situation would absolutely be all kinds of wrong… but that’s the beauty of fictional books, it’s all make believe, and fantasy, and escapism from the daily grind.

In my opinion Lessons In Sin was just that. The perfect escapism!

It had a compelling hero and heroine that oozed out such emotion that I found myself truly invested and saturated in their complexed lives. I loved the contrast and dimension between Tinsley and Magnus. There was definite demonstrations of their age difference throughout with their oh-so entertaining push-and-pull banter that was both perfectly timed and unsuspecting comic relief. But what made their relationship mesh so well was they connected through intelligence and understanding, and all banter aside, maturity levels that exceeded Tinsley’s youth.

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There was plenty of intrigue to effortlessly keep you reading with bated breath. Besides Tinsley and Magnus, there’s a diverse range of secondary characters that all played a role in making this story layered in complexity — from the memorable dynamics of fellow students, to the other priests, to the glimpses of the Constantine tribe.

I’m not going to go into detail about the religious aspects within this story. Please note this is just my opinion, but as an avid reader of dark romance novels (and who happens to be Catholic), I don’t find this story offensive. If I hadn’t already made it obvious, I enjoyed reading this book. Despite its setting and some of the realistic aspects included, at the end of the day it is fictional. The blurb pretty much mentions the forbidden and taboo elements of Magnus being a priest and Tinsley being a student. If after reading the synopsis you take any offence, then you may want to give this one a miss.

It’s a contemporary romance first and foremost but with dark elements. Without spoiling the plot, I will say that Magnus has ghosts that can be haunting to read about (no pun intended). It may not necessarily be triggering content but I don’t want to risk it if you are a reader who has triggers. There is sensitive subject matter that may surprise or catch you off guard. But just know it’s mentioned in passing and not something that actually plays out in the story.

What I realized fairly early on is Tinsley is strong-willed, comfortable in her own skin, and knows what she wants. It’s a big reason as to why I favor her character and in general find her a truly likable young person. She could easily have been the rich, bratty teenager who you’d constantly roll your eyes at, but every emotion and action out of her is calculated and within reason.

I honestly haven’t read a storyline that’s intricate and as well thought-out as this one in a long time. The storytelling was well paced, flowed with ease, and effortless to follow with its first-person dual points of view. There’s constant build-up and plot twists throughout. Not going to lie, there were a couple of instances where I had inklings that proved true but even with those minor predictabilities my excitement levels were still up there in seeing how Tinsley’s and Magnus’ wild journey will wrap-up.

✔ Forbidden

✔ High School

✔ Age-Gap

✔ Taboo

✔ Slow Burn

✔ Angst

I can tell you, this story had tropes I don’t usually go for first in my romance reads, but it proved to be a romance story I didn’t know I needed! All those elements were written in brilliantly that the age difference and taboo of their relationship wasn’t even in the forefront whilst reading it. They had undeniable chemistry and an even more sizzling bond that only escalated as time passed.

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What started out as a bit of diabolical game playing from Tinsley in pushing Magnus’ buttons, and with Magnus ever the strict rule abiding teacher and a man of faith determined to make her fall in line, progressively turned into companionship— to molten desire— to the inevitable forbidden relationship they so desperately wish would never end.

I was either in near tears with chin wobbles or full-on blubbering whilst reading this book. It was hearty, full of depth, and just simply winning. I adored the little friendships, the sibling solidarity, Tinsley’s passion, Magnus’ protectiveness, and all the minor characters—who I shall not name but nevertheless made an impact!

This is my first book of Pam Godwin’s but in no way will it be my last. If her writing style from this one is anything to go by, she has won herself another fan. 😊

Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. I would happily recommend it to fellow romance readers. It’s also a must read for fans who’ve been following the world of the Constantines and the Morellis within the Midnight Dynasty. I admit Tinsley Constantine wasn’t really on my radar as far as Constantine siblings go, but after reading Lessons In Sin she fast became my favourite (sorry Keaton)! An all-consuming love story that honestly rivals some of my all-time favourite classic romance novels. I will be reading this one time and time again.

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Pam Godwin, Dangerous Press, and Valentine PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💙

•••


Midnight Dynasty is a brand new world where enemies and lovers are often one and the same.

Continue with the world of the Midnight Dynasty!

💻 Join the Facebook Group! Midnight Dynasty Reader Lounge

📱 Follow on Instagram! Dangerous Press

🔔 Get the latest news! Newsletter Sign Up

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Read my reviews of books in the Midnight Dynasty!

👑 Cinderella Trilogy by K. Webster

Book One: Stroke Of Midnight by K. Webster
Book Two: Prince Charming by K. Webster
Book Three: The Glass Slipper by K. Webster

🔥 Hellfire Club by Becker Gray

Book One: Wicked Idol by Becker Gray
Book Two: Callous Prince by Becker Gray
Book Three: Brutal Blueblood by Becker Gray

🧡 Hearts Trilogy by M. O’Keefe

Book One: Stolen Hearts by M. O’Keefe
Book Two: Broken Hearts by M. O’Keefe

🌹 Beauty and the Beast Trilogy by Amelia Wilde

Book One: Secret Beast by Amelia Wilde
Book Two: Hidden Beauty by Amelia Wilde

•••

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

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Hate Crush by A. Zavarelli

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•••

— BLURB —

They call him the devil.

When I crash-landed into him on my first day at Loyola Academy, I was sure that couldn’t be true.

He was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen in real life.

Little did I know he was also the cruelest.

I went from starstruck to stunned the moment his cynical eyes cut through me.

I can’t tell you what it was that made him want to punish me. But from that day forward the brooding recluse of a man made it his goal to torment me.

I want to loathe him, and some days, I do.

But good or bad, nobody’s attention has ever tasted so sweet.

What do you do when you have a hate crush on your bully?

Worse yet, what do you do when he’s also your teacher?

•••

— MY REVIEW —

*phewww* There’s a lot to process with this one.

Have you ever gotten that flutter in your stomach when you’re about to step in front of a mass of staring faces to do a speech? You’re anxious-nervous and feel like you need to go to the bathroom and just…release?! (I know. I know. TMI) but seriously.. anyone?

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Because that’s how my tummy decided to act throughout my read of Hate Crush. That uneasy feeling when you’re stomach is in your throat and you’re waiting for that drop. It’s a feeling I always seem to get whenever I read one of A. Zavarelli’s books. In a good way, I promise! It’s become a thing I expect. So when I got a couple chapters in and started to get that tight, on-edge flutter.. first thing that popped into my head was– “Ooh this one’s gonna be good!”

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I can’t say I’ve read a lot of student/ teacher romances but if they’re anything like Stella and Sebastian’s (oops I mean Mr. Carter’s) twisted, rollercoaster of emotions.. then I needs to be reading more of them, pronto!

But I’m deadly serious when I say this is one twisted rollercoaster of a love story. Half the time I felt like I was getting whiplash from the push and pull I was getting from Sebastian.

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My sympathies go out to Stella.

What can I say about Mr. Carter? Hmm. Well. He’s a complicated bastard.

I was confused about his ulterior motive at the beginning. I didn’t understand some of the things he wanted Stella to do (and I certainly couldn’t understand why she was so willing–at least at the beginning to do his bidding when they hardly knew each other), and there were times I just thought he was using Stella for his own benefit without a care in the world. And under normal circumstances I probably would’ve hated the guy and shoot daggers in his direction if I ever saw him.. but this is a work of fiction and for some magical reason (or just a really talented author who knows how to spin words to make us feel the way she wants us to feel, who knows?) I was rooting for him to have his happy ending. 😄

I should know by now (with the amount of villainous, evil, and grey characters I fall for) that with every one of these complicated characters, there’s a story behind their meanness. Sebastian Carter was no different. I found myself wanting to punch him in the face for his smugness and controlling ways – to wanting to punch him in the face for his stupidity when it came to his feelings for Stella.

The dude just needed to make up his mind and stick to it. Sheesh!

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But I couldn’t deny the obvious chemistry going on between those two. It was practically leaping off the pages. I was hooked and invested in their story… despite the drama. And there is lots of DRAMA! I think if they didn’t have their own personal issues going on on top of their secret hookups, this wouldn’t have been as intense of a story as it had been.

I will say that some of the events that occured in Hate Crush was a lot to wrap my head around. I couldn’t fathom half of the things that happened.. and to Stella for that matter!

She’s a teenager–and boy did Ashleigh capture that to a T! Stella is the new kid in school. One who wants to get good grades, but who can also be quite rebellious if she thinks something is unfair *mumbles..* typical teenager.

What I like about Stella is she takes more than a minute to think things through, thinks of consequences to actions, and has a good head on her shoulders despite the environment she’s in and the people she’s had to deal with. She still wants to have fun (and you can’t really blame her for wanting a break from her life).

But in saying that, she’s also an emotional person. And there’s times where she lets her heart rule over her head… which tends to put her in situations that could have been.. I don’t know.. avoidable? I only wish she had more courage and put her foot down in some instances. Not gonna lie–I wanted to shake her at times. Lol. But as far as fictional teenagers go? She’s one I wouldn’t have minded having as a friend in my years growing up. She’s caring and loyal to a fault.

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By halfway through Hate Crush I was a range of emotions myself. And there’s no doubt anyone who reads it will be too. I felt frustrated, annoyed, and sometimes at a loss for words. Then there were times I felt like I was getting heartburn and needing a lie down. Haha. Like I said… a rollercoaster!

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Theirs was in no way a perfect love story but my gosh it was something! There was undeniable sparks.. and surprisingly by the end I found myself forgetting there was even an age gap between them–or that they were initially student and teacher.

Ashleigh does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere right from the get-go. From the circumstances surrounding Stella, to her family dynamics and the lack of proper parentals. And then you get the first impressions of Sebastian. His hard, no-nonsense aura and hidden agenda (which immediately piqued my interest).

Side characters like Stella’s bestie, the jerky “cool” guy and the popular bitchy girls in it for her are great additions to set the high school drama scene.

The further you get along in the book, the more you can’t put it down because there’s just so many things happening that you need to know how it’s all going to end. It flowed at a relatively easy-going pace. You won’t be skimming through the pages with this one. 😉

If you’re not a fan of dark romances, or can’t deal with taboo subjects–then it’s probably best that you give this one a miss. But if you like a bit of edge in your love stories, journeys with bumps, sharp turns and forks in the road, then you can’t pass this one up. I loved it! I thought it was an exceptional standalone set in a high school backdrop. It was like Pretty Little Liars meets Gossip Girls meets A. Zavarelli! It pulls at the heartstrings.

FYI: This may be set in high school but it’s no way a book for young readers. At least one for the underage. It contains explicit sexual scenes, and the mention of drugs. 18+ readers only!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you A. Zavarelli for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💗

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RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 21ST

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Grab Your Copy NOW! FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED!

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Happy reading, guys and wishing you all a fab week ahead! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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