The Embrace by Vivian Wood

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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• BLURB •

Ballet took my sweat, blood, and tears.

Life almost stole Calum from me.

We barely make it through that trial only to face a final test.

As we try to brace ourselves and weather the brewing storm, we are both rocked by huge secrets.

Calum struggles with the ghost of his past.

I weigh a life-altering decision with the potential to change everything.

We could be so perfect together…

If our secrets don’t drag us under the murky waters.

Don’t fall for your customers. 

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• MY REVIEW •

I can’t believe we’ve finally reached the third and final book in the Broken Slipper Trilogy! This story started out strong with its intrigue, secrecy, and budding lust-fuelled romance between Calum and Kaia. The initial premise is what sold me in wanting to read this billionaire, age gap romance…  

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But by the second book, it gradually turned into a complicated and overwhelming storyline of problem after problem that only escalated as the story progressed into this final one. Ooo-wee! Calum and Kaia had a lot to deal with in order to keep their relationship going.

To be honest this book was a bit of mixed bag for my liking. The Dancer (book two) left in such a cliffhanger that I was reeling to start this one in order to see the outcome. Unfortunately, that outcome left me a little underwhelmed. For a life or death matter, it didn’t come off as something Calum or Kaia took seriously. I like Vivian’s writing style to have wanted to read this trilogy but I feel like this particular book was rushed, despite the fact that a lot of things still occurred before it ended. 

The same problems kept popping up and it was never truly resolved. I felt like Calum and Kaia were sweeping these serious matters under the rug until it bit them in their asses, and by then I lost interest in seeing them fix it because it all felt too repetitive. A few of the issues they encountered in the first two books that seemed like the biggest threats to their relationship were now an afterthought and somewhat brushed off in this book with anticlimactic solutions.

The storyline felt choppy and had a disjointed flow. With the introduction of new characters and relationships, the new developments/ additions into the storyline didn’t feel organic. Whilst I was still invested in seeing Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship through to the end, the side stories that were simultaneously happening in the background didn’t hold my interest as much and ultimately felt like filler in order to put some dimension into the story.   

Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship exhibited a lot of repetitive issues that should’ve been resolved a lot earlier. There’s no doubt that they had chemistry and plenty of raunchy romance, but there were also plenty of cracks. I would’ve loved to have seen a gradual development in their relationship full of in-depth discussions about where they would like their relationship to head towards and to work through their differences long before they were forced into doing so.    

That wasn’t the only relationship in this story that was tumultuous. I was left frustrated with a lot of the actions (or lack thereof) from Calum and his brother Lucas concerning a certain pivotal matter in their lives. I had trouble agreeing with either one of them but for completely different reasons. Calum buried his feelings unless he felt backed into a corner and then it was like, “let it rip!”

For Lucas, I was baffled with his overall mindset after discovering what Calum had been through. How can a brother overlook a horrific, traumatic event all because it didn’t happen to him?! Ugh, I will never understand. Sigh. 😩

Kaia’s toxic family disputes were equally stressing to the point where I was done with all that drama long before anything was done about it. Even after having had time to process this book, I still can’t quite figure out Kaia’s decisions regarding her family. To each their own, I guess… *shrug*

But it wasn’t all unfortunate.

I liked Kaia’s friendship with her bestie Ella. It may have been a little rocky here and there but they stuck it out and their bond’s stronger than ever. Even though the new addition of characters and relationships were introduced (albeit a little sudden), the inkling of possible future stories had me perking up with interest. And no matter how crazy Calum’s and Kaia’s relationship had been throughout, and even though I didn’t completely agree with how things went down, the final scene with their happily ever after was sweet to witness. Things may not have gone according to plan and situations had to be altered, it was satisfying to see Calum and Kaia be able to move on and begin the next chapter in their lives. 

Not going to lie, besides one main plot point that was predictable fairly early on, the conclusion wasn’t quite what I was expecting. But overall, it’s a decent wrap-up to the trilogy. It’s a slow, steady-paced storytelling and told from dual points of view so you get a good idea of each protagonists’ present mindset.

This was my first contemporary romance where a huge chunk of the storyline revolved around the world of ballet, and it was amazing to see elements of it from beginning to end. This may not have been my favourite out of the three books but I would still recommend this trilogy as a whole to fellow romance readers.

If you enjoy the following elements in your romance, this trilogy might be right up your alley:

  • Billionaire Romance
  • Age Gap
  • Secret/ Forbidden Romance
  • Contemporary
  • Suspense
  • Dance Backdrop
  • Drama/ Angst

This is a continuous storyline and each book must be read in order. Also note, this story contains sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as child abuse, rape, attempted murder, violence, harassment, and domestic abuse. It also broaches certain topics such as body image, PTSD, and one’s own personal choices. It contains mature sexual themes suitable for readers 18+ only!   

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐¾

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

🔔 Interested in reading the Broken Slipper Trilogy? Grab your copy here:

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🩰 Read my reviews for the Broken Slipper Trilogy!

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Book One: The Patron by Vivian Wood

Book Two: The Dancer by Vivian Wood


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

The Patron by Vivian Wood

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Original post from IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

• BLURB •

Ballet takes everything from you. All your sweat, all your tears, all your dedication, all your time. There are no drunken nights, no drugs, no boyfriends, no distractions whatsoever.

But everyone has a dirty little secret…

Working as a stripper at Club Ecstasy at night is my dark indiscretion.

Sexy, mysterious billionaire Calum shows up as a patron at my club. He’s drawn to my provocative innocence, not realizing that I am also a ballerina in his dance company. When I dance for him, he feels something stir in his cold, dead heart.

After Calum finds out my little deception, he should turn me in. After all, ballet requires sacrifice.

But to my surprise, he makes me an offer I can’t refuse.

And now I am staring into his dark blue eyes as I dance for him privately. Trying desperately to remember rule number one of being an exotic dancer.

Don’t fall for your customers.

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• MY REVIEW •


🎵 “Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well
Live fast, die young
Bad girls do it well.”


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Ballet dancer by day, stripper by night!? Yeah, I knew I had to read this one! 😄 I’m fan of dance movies and tv shows, but I must admit I haven’t read much books that centers around this world. I was hooked on the premise, not only because Kaia is a ballet dancer — which stereotypically is a world of prestige and exclusivity to be in, but because outside of it, she’s living a completely different life that could put her dreams of being a prima ballerina at risk. It instantly makes you curious as to why she would jeopardize a life-changing opportunity?

The Patron immediately pulls you into a troubling world of secrecy, indulgence, and greed. Kaia is an easily likable heroine who has struggles that a lot of us can relate to. You’ll soon discover that things are not what they seem in Kaia’s life, and they go to a whole new level of drama when she meets Calum.

Unlike Kaia, I have a love/ hate relationship with the hero. If you like reading about complex, broken assholes who you can’t completely hate for their behavior and actions, then you might just enjoy meeting Calum. 😜 He comes off as arrogant jerk, a secretive and no-nonsense type of guy, but as the story develops, he starts giving away his backstory and the reasons behind his attitude. Are you going to completely love his actions? Well, no. But is it based off of good intentions? Yes. So you can see the dilemma I had whilst reading this book. Do I like the guy or do I hate him? Ugh.   

Kaia and Calum are put into certain situations that they’re forced to deal with, and you can’t help but sympathize. They’re both dealing with personal issues that seems to be getting the best of them. But whenever they meet, time seems to stop and there’s a certain amount of escapism from their gritty reality… and it’s those scenes where you really can’t help but hunker down and keep reading. Kaia and Calum have such zingy chemistry with moments of both the sweet and swoony, and of the hot and heavy smutty variety! 😍

I love the gradual build-up of their secret hookups and the constant suspense to see if they’ll get caught in the act. I really couldn’t get enough of it. This was such an intriguing story. Not only was I completely invested in seeing how Kaia and Calum’s relationship would develop, but by the end of the book I was literally left with my mouth agape (picture a goldfish making bubbles)! This is the first book in the Broken Slipper Trilogy, and yes, it does end on a cliffhanger—and a painful one to boot! 😧

Please note that this book contains sensitive matters that may be triggering for some readers such as violence, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and attempted human trafficking. It’s not overly detailed or graphic but definitely for readers 18+ only!

But I highly recommend it to fellow romance readers! This is an adult (darkish) contemporary romance. It has a few romance tropes within such as, billionaire romance, taboo romance, and secret romance. So if any of those takes your fancy, make sure you add this one to your reading list. There’s a great balance of interchanging atmospheres between the preen and proper ballet world and the down and dirty raunchiness of nightclubs and private lap dances.

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Definitely a little different from other contemporary romances I’ve read recently, but I think the dance backdrop is what makes it so. Full of drama, powerplays, and unpredictability. It’s well-paced storytelling and told from dual points of view. You get an introduction to both Kaia and Calum’s present lives but also snippets of their backstories that not only elevates this entire story but provides these main characters with dimension. There’s a relatively diverse group of secondary characters included—some of which have already made their personalities and motives loud and clear, whilst others I feel are still hanging back. I guess I’ll have to see in the next books how much of a role they play.  

Like I said earlier it’s full of drama and there are characters and plotlines in this book that will elicit some strong emotions out of you. I won’t spoil it for you folks, but I will say that it’s been a while since I’ve encountered an antagonist in a contemporary romance who I’ve wanted to choke so badly. I’ll leave it at that. Lol. 😜😂

It’s an attention-grabbing start to the trilogy. It’s freaking hot, intense, and will have you staying up late reading it! I’m already anxiously waiting to see what happens next!           

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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

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🩰 Broken Slipper Trilogy

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Pre-order the entire trilogy now!

📒 Book One: The Patron
📒 Book Two: The Dancer
📒 Book Three: The Embrace

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Hope you enjoyed my review! Happy reading guys and catch you in my next one! Xo

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