arc · contemporary · review · romance

Hearts and Thorns by Ella Fields

Hearts and Thorns (Magnolia Cove #3)
by Ella Fields

Rating: ★★★★
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Jackson Thorn was my best friend and worst enemy, but that didn’t stop me from wanting him.

From first words to high school halls, our childhood years braided a bond that wove in a direction neither of us could predict or outgrow.

Forbidden became a word we ignored.
It wasn’t that we didn’t care.
It was that we cared too much.


We had it all planned out.
We thought we could make it.
We thought we’d been careful.
But all we managed to do was prolong the inevitable.
Our destruction.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

When childhood innocence transforms into forbidden romance, Ella Fields delivers a bittersweet narrative that touches on more than falling in love with someone you shouldn’t—it’s about family, heartache and forgiveness. Hearts and Thorns, evocative in deliverance and angst-ridden in content, traverses the tumultuous waves of first loves and second chances that will leave your heart tattered and bruised, but the true authentic qualities and the overall deliverance ensures this heart-rending narrative will resonate with readers.

We weren’t an itch we could scratch. We were fire that would never extinguish, and we’d burn anything in our path to keep getting what we wanted.

Destruction was inevitable for Willa and Jackson. Pure, childhood innocence turned into a forbidden connection—an intoxication and exhilaration, albeit dishonest and secretive as they deceived family and friends. It didn’t diminish or minimise their romance though, it only made it more worthwhile because, despite the unavoidable heartache, true love overcomes adversities. Willa and Jackson’s chemistry rendered my emotions exhausted but soaring as they were allowed a second chance to rekindle a distinct bond difficult to dismantle.

“We’ll never be perfect, Jackson.” “I know,” he said. “I know, but there’s no one else I’d rather be imperfect with.”

Hearts and Thorns is raw, full of endless heartache, though full with beloved life experiences of falling unconditionally and irrevocably in love; of bittersweet first loves and second chances in romance; of traversing the treacherous waves unfairly hurled at us, but returning with renewed strength and feeling indestructible. Hearts and Thorns is wonderfully enthralling and without fail, it realistically demonstrates that love isn’t easy—sometimes it is bittersweet, complex beyond recognition, full of heart-aching emotions and frayed around the edges, but tender moments and irreplaceable memories await.

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Gypsy King by Devney Perry

Gypsy King (Tin Gypsy #1)
by Devney Perry

Rating: ★★★★
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The former Tin Gypsy motorcycle club has everyone in Clifton Forge, Montana convinced they’ve locked their clubhouse doors and ripped off their patches. Everyone but Bryce Ryan. There’s more happening at the club’s garage than muscle car restorations and Harley rebuilds. Her instincts are screaming there’s a story—one she’s going to tell.

As the new owner of the small town’s newspaper, Bryce is hungry for more than birth announcements and obituaries. When a woman is brutally killed and all signs point to the Tin Gypsies, Bryce is determined to expose the club and their leader, Kingston “Dash” Slater, as murderers.

Bryce bests Dash match after match, disappointed her rugged and handsome opponent turns out to be an underwhelming adversary. Secrets are exposed. Truths defeat lies. Bryce is poised to win this battle in a landslide.

Then Dash breaks all the rules and tips the scales.

One kiss, and she’s fighting to save more than just her story. She’s fighting to save her heart from the Gypsy King.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

In Gypsy King, Devney Perry introduces us to Clifton Forge, Montana—a town that is small, but thrives with secret histories and untold stories centered on its dismantled motorcycle club, Tin Gypsy. Intertwined with an undeniably thrilling mystery and intense, suspense-filled atmosphere, this author created a near flawless enemies to lovers romance that held my undivided attention.

We’d rid the world of evil men, even though we’d been devils in our own right.

Former MC President, Kingston “Dash” Slater is charming and protective—a dangerous, irresistible combination that will send your heart soaring and incite stomach-induced fluttering butterflies. Once unaffected by misconduct and lawlessness, Dash’s traded in criminal behaviour and now manages a humble, honest mechanic shop.

Passionate and resolute, Bryce Ryan is determined to create a headline that will enrapture her audience and escalate her career status. Bryce’s adamant attitude to succeed combined with a considerable strength and formidable stance creates a fierce, but stubborn contender. However, underneath her persistence lies a fast witted and loving woman with soft understanding.

We’d only shared a single kiss, but he was right. Given the sparks that crackled when we were in the same room, we’d be incredible together. The chemistry, mixed with our mutual dislike of one other, would ignite like fireworks. We’d probably set the sheets on fire.

Dash and Bryce have a connection constructed with indescribable, heated chemistry and fortified by an inevitable transition into reliance when they focus on unravelling a murder. I love the zeal; the fervent hate to love and slow burn romance they cultivated and allowed to flourish into something profound.

I have minor issues with this series’ introduction—the rushed romance; Dash’s unrealistic personality change; and the unresolved murder conclusion. Gypsy King isn’t that dark and the motorcycle feature is limited, but this author’s writing is flawless and her ability to weave a narrative deserves to be recognised.

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Half Truths by Claire Contreras

Half Truths
by Claire Contreras

Rating: ★★★★★
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You’ve heard of these groups – the secretive ones that only the crème de la crème are invited into, the ones outsiders speculate about for centuries – I’m the second in my family invited to attend, but to them, I’m fresh meat. New blood. New money, too.
They think they’ll elbow past me, that I’m here for their amusement, for them to walk all over, they’ll find out soon enough that I’m not.


I may look like one of them, with my designer bags and clothes straight from the Parisian runways, but I’m not. I’m here for answers, to take revenge for blood spilled on their centuries-old Persian rugs.
I transferred here in search for answers about what happened to my older brother, who hightailed out of here, and my friend who seemingly disappeared into thin air. I certainly wasn’t here for the attention of the star hockey player, regardless of how much he willed my eyes his way. I wasn’t here for his scrutiny or his judgment or to read into his mysterious aura. I was here for the society, because only they held the answers I needed. That was, until I found out that in order to get those answers, I needed to go through him. He’s saying if I want in, I have to play by their rules, follow their lead.
It’s a game I’m willing to play.


I may be the second person I know of to be invited into their society, but I’ll be the first to make it out intact.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Half Truths is this perfect narrative constructed by some of my favourite tropes—secret societies, enemies to lovers and college sports—beautifully weaved together and set within an eerie, sinister environment that clutched every fibre of my being without remorse. Carefully crafted, Claire Contreras delivered a suspense-filled romance that left me on edge, wondering what questions will be answered and secrets unveiled as each page flew by in the most riveting blur ever.

He had a mysterious aura about him that matched his namesake.

I’m in absolute love with Logan Fitzgerald, a perpetually brooding hero surrounded by an aura of alluring mystery and captivating intrigue. Mean and detached though somehow charming, Fitz’s disinterested attitude is overshadowed by an unforeseen softer, sweeter side hidden beneath the complex multi-facets he possesses. Receiving glimpses of this unattainable hero left me an unashamed wanton mess, desperate to have more of this conceited character because there’s nothing better than having a mean yet romantic hero.

He left a lot to the imagination. Maybe that was it. He gave just enough to pique interest, but not enough to satisfy.

Amelia Bastón’s characterisation truthfully astounded me. She’s more than just a ‘rich girl’ surrounded by materialism and superficiality. Mae’s determination to become more, to achieve her dreams beyond her family’s desires is an admirable and relatable quality that will resonate with readers. Furthermore, her irrevocable love for her brother is an endearment. Combined with an unfettered resolve to uncover some hidden truths unveils a character that’s fierce and intelligent and ambitious; a woman who loves wholly and unconditionally.

“I want you forever, Amelia,” he said against my hair. “And forevermore after that.”

Started as enemies, but turned into lovers, Fitz and Mae’s connection transitioned with such a delicious slow burn, my heart ached to have more once the torture finished. Despite the constant bickering and bantering, the sexual tension and chemistry between them kindled and crackled into something undeniable as it flared across the pages. Even though the romance doesn’t dominate the narrative, Fitz and Mae’s bond progresses naturally and beautifully.

Countless secrets and creative foreshadowing increase the tension and suspense tenfold flowing through this intricate narrative. I’m in absolute love with enemies to lovers and the feature of secret societies and college sports made me more enamoured than I anticipated with Half Truths. It’s as if my heart waited for something this brilliant, a faultless blend of romance and thriller, to be written for years.

arc · new release · review · romance

Forever and Never by Ella Fields

Forever and Never (Magnolia Cove #2)
by Ella Fields

Rating: ★★★★★
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Lars Bradby was supposed to be my forever.
That was before we found out he would become a father at the tender age of eighteen.

For years, he’d watched me.
For months, he’d wanted me.
For weeks, he’d chased me.


Relentless and infuriating, he turned my stubborn heart into something pliable and weak.
Sly and honest, he worked his way into my life as though he’d always planned to be the focal point of it.


In love and naive, even when our future seemed bleak, I believed in us.
Heartbroken and desperate, I tore my bleeding heart from my chest, wanting only the best for him.


In doing so, our forever wasn’t just interrupted. It was chased away with one irreversible decision after another.
And now, we could no longer see it beneath the heaping piles of debris we’d left in our wake.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

How do you find words accurate enough to describe the intense rush of emotions, or the relentless bombardment of thoughts that you feel finishing a read as evocative as Forever and Never? Heart-rending only scratches that surface. I’ve been shredded, left in tatters to wallow in my wrenched emotions of immense sadness that is as equally fierce as my devastating happiness. Raw and bruised, my heart is exhausted, but also enthralled in irrevocable ways by this bittersweet romance.

“I don’t want to be your boyfriend. I want to be your world.”

I’m in absolute love, truthfully and unconditionally, with Lars Bradby. Beneath his “bad boy”, carefree attitude is someone with numerous, fathomable facets waiting to be discovered—a kind heart and unwavering dedication disclosed through a secretive romantic side. Combined with an unfettered devotion to everyone he adores, Lars ensnared my full attention rendering me totally stunned and enamoured.

Guarded and stubborn from past experience, Daphne Morris doesn’t know what real love or genuine affection is. Complex and multi-faceted, her heart is fortified by long established, untrodden walls, but when these begin to crumble piece by piece, my whole being ached for the insecurity and weakness that came through her outward appearance of confidence.

You could meet your first love, possibly your soul mate, but there were always conditions for those who didn’t deserve them.

Forever turned into never; love transformed into hate, but that didn’t make me love this less, because love isn’t easy. Sometimes it is bittersweet and filled with unending heartache, but the genuine beauty of this romance is seeing real love endure treacherous waters of terrible decisions and unfortunate circumstances. Nothing is eased in, or written in vague detail—it is raw and brutally honest in every realistic depiction making your emotions soar; leaving your beating heart aching.

I say it all the time: Ella Field’s writing is delightfully poetic, a seamless flow of bittersweet, realistic moments soothed by enchanting sentences that ensnare your attention. It will leave your heart tattered and mismatched, but the true authenticity and deliverance makes this heartrending narrative resonate with readers. Difficult and angst-written, the journey is worthwhile because there’s nothing more charming and endearing than witnessing true love prevail.

arc · new release · review · romance

Violent Ends by Jessica Hawkins

Violent Ends (White Monarch #2)
by Jessica Hawkins

Rating: ★★★★★
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I had a life, love, and future to give. Until my enemy took a wife.

The devil has a name, and it’s Cristiano de la Rosa. On my wedding day, he was the last man I expected to see standing at the altar. He wants to make me his queen. His brother wants to rescue his princess.

Getting Cristiano to lose control becomes the name of the game, and the stakes are life and death. But as truth and lies blur, loyalty is tested, and our chemistry threatens to reach the melting point, the prize grows less clear. Either freedom no longer means what I think it does, or Cristiano is as devious as everyone says, and he’s mastered the art of playing my mind.

All I know for certain is that nothing is certain. And all you need to know? This is a love story.

But even love stories have to end.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

From a seamless flow of enchanting moments and enthralling intricacies, I’ve found myself totally charmed and unconditionally enamoured by this sinfully decadent series. Violent Ends is more sordid, full of wicked sexual tension, rife with inescapable angst and featuring the filthiest, dominant anti-hero—the outright debauched insinuations increased tenfold— all weaved together to create a devious, sexually heated and emotionally raw narrative.

Her fear both excited and calmed me. Her tears were mine to collect and soothe. Her pussy was mine to devastate and worship. And lick and explore and fuck.

I have been officially ruined by Cristiano de la Rosa. His unfathomable series of hidden facets and untold secrets, threaded together beautifully, manifests itself into an unreadable, ruthless man doused in confidence, lascivious domination and raw sexuality. Despite the inexorable intimidation in Cristiano, it is soothed by an unforeseen sweetness and fondness for Natalia, creating an attractive, irresistible allure to this merciless character. He will leave you wanton and compelled, ready to spontaneously combust and unashamed in your attraction to this dangerous, but caring man.

I stared at him, utterly perplexed at the puzzle before me. This was exactly what I’d feared. Not knowing whether to hate him or to feel something else entirely.

Natalia Cruz’s defiant attitude matures—she’s less naive, more fierce—with an unrivalled stubbornness and closed-mindedness to follow it. In some aspects, her inevitable confusion, mistrust and aversion is understandable, but the continuous complex warring between body and mind becomes frustrating. Once certain rumours are justified, secrets are unveiled and brutally honest truths are delivered, Natalia’s harsh judgments are challenged, steadily changing into acceptance that made is easy to love her once again.

For every door she slammed, I would open another. I’d pursue her. I’d break down that defiance until I found myself in her sweet core. She would cross over into the darkness. And I’d be waiting with open arms.

Powerfully seductive and beautifully devilish, Cristiano’s dominant attitude, brimming with undeniable wickedness and intense fervor, is an irresistible enticement. Full of animosity, but eased by desire and soothed by flourishing affection, Natalia’s inner submissive blossoms in slight measures in this slow burn romance, leaving me absolutely thrilled to discover what kind of connection this couple will have.

Walking that fine line between hate and admiration only seemed to kindle our sexual attraction.

Violent Ends is all-consuming and angst-ridden, rendering you entranced; your heart erratic, your mind chaotic and emotions racing tenfold. Compelling in deliverance, this romance won’t disappoint—Jessica Hawkins amplifies the sensations and heated connection budding between Natalia and Cristiano as it continues down a dark albeit wonderfully satisfying path.

arc · new release · review · romance

Violent Delights by Jessica Hawkins

Violent Delights (White Monarch #1)
by Jessica Hawkins

Rating: ★★★★★
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In the de la Rosa family, old grudges run deeper than loyalty, and betrayal is a three-letter word: war. But this feud isn’t between enemies. It’s between brothers. And I’m the prize.

I was born a princess among criminals. An untouchable among thieves. Heiress to a life others have killed for, and one I’m prepared to trade for my freedom. I vowed not to leave without Diego, my first love and best friend, but if his ruthless brother has his way, I won’t leave at all. Cristiano de la Rosa is a man as big and bold as his legend. Once upon a time, he was our cartel’s best soldier . . . until he became my family’s worst enemy.

A man like Cristiano will bend fate to his will to get what he wants. Even if it means dragging me to hell—and tearing me from his brother’s arms.

“She is mine.” Three words from two different men.
A life, future, and love I don’t get to choose.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

“This is a game, Natalia, and you have to play—or you’ll lose. Learn your lesson should someone care enough to teach you. And never doubt that you are a prize to hold tight.”

On a whim, I decided to sign up to read this because despite my savage hatred towards love triangles, I have an unhealthy obsession with dark cartel and mafia romances. Watching the intricacies weave together into an intriguing and captivating narrative leaves me undeniably ecstatic for all the sordid possibilities—my head is filled with multiple theories and assumptions! I have many thoughts running through my mind, with a myriad of questions accompanying them waiting to be answered.

“The truth is in you like a heart. Like blood in your veins. Like bones.”

I’m not quite certain what to mention, or where to begin really, other than this story is beautifully bitter and tragically sweet with an innocent Natalia caught within a feud between two disgruntled brothers, Diego and Cristiano, who couldn’t be anymore different. One’s kind, hiding behind a cleverly disguised facade; the other is darker, unapologetically ruthless and merciless with a cold, but brilliant persona. I knew where my heart would align itself before this even began.

Read this with an open mind as your allegiances will be challenged by certain enigmas and despite the disgusting albeit delightful love triangle moments, this is sinfully decadent and wonderfully enchanting. Violent Delights is quickly forming into a favourite delicious slow burn forbidden romance of mine, a perfect beginning to what will become an enthralling trilogy brimming with deceitful actions and manipulative words.

“With me, you always have a choice. You’re not beholden to my wishes, but I hope you’ll still carry them on your wings and deliver them for me.”

Without an ounce of doubt, I’m entranced by this suspense filled, all-consuming narrative that sends your heart beating tenfold and your emotions soaring as the cunning deception and shrewd scheming overflows across the pages. If you love cartel settings; two, competitive brothers irrevocably different, vying for the same woman’s attention and affection; a romance darker and gritter than standard, pick this up. Hold onto your wits and emotions—Jessica Hawkins doesn’t hold back!

arc · new release · review · romance

Cruel Sanctuary by Tara Leigh

Cruel Sanctuary (Wages of Sin #1)
by Tara Leigh

Rating: ★★★★★
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They say New York City is the Devil’s Playground.
They’re wrong.
This city belongs to me.
And so does Aislinn Granville.

She is a pampered politician’s daughter.
A decorative ornament, raised to smile and nod and do what she’s told.

Except… she doesn’t. Not with me. Ever.

In this city full of thugs and thieves, I’ve kept Aislinn safe.
From my enemies.
From me.

Until now.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Weeks after devouring Cruel Sanctuary, I’m still floating within the clouds, unable to step away from this enthralling introduction with a clear conscience. Beautiful darkness and enrapturing suspense creeping through this wonderfully written narrative ensnares your attention, pulling you towards its gravity of jaw-dropping revelations and heart-stopping unexpectations. Aislinn and Damon’s sinfully decadent chemistry renders you breathless, totally captivated and utterly wanton.

Damon King might reign over Manhattan, but I will never bow to him.

Damon King is my newest obsession, an irresistible dangerous enigma with an imposing and conceited attitude that infuriates you, but also leaves your insides a confused mess of fluttering desire. I’m unable to resist the complexity buried underneath a ruthless anti-hero, one who exudes sweet corruption and merciless intentions, but carefully unfurls an unexpected compassionate side. Witnessing this emotionally detached man quietly obsess over Aislinn’s safety sends the heart soaring and belly fluttering with so many good feelings. Despite walking the fine line between right and wrong in precarious ways, Damon possesses a personally instilled code of honour, a sliver of goodness that balances the darkness inside.

Damon King is a ruthless bastard. A dark warrior with the soul of a savior.

I adore a fierce and feisty heroine with an inner strength that conflicts and coincides with the hero’s equally intense personality. Aislinn Granville astounded me—she’s carefully constructed walls around her heart, fortifying them whenever possible, but when those constructs begin to crumble she learns to embrace the darkness surrounding Damon. Her ability to maintain an open mind and caring heart, as well as remaining undeterred and resolute, despite her deeply ingrained ethics being continuously challenged by an infuriating hero is an admirable feat of strength.

After a lifetime of being the dutiful daughter, the good girl, minding my manners, I am intrigued by the darkness Damon has exposed me to. Tonight, I want to dance with the devil.

Aislinn and Damon’s connection bursts with hatred filled lust; a type of chemistry with an intensity that crackles seamlessly into a passion filled relationship as they open up to each other. I love this author’s writing—the poetic, almost fairytale-esque nature of it with a hint of darkness to balance the scattered sweet moments throughout. And she writes a brooding asshole so damn effortlessly, you can’t help but love him, even when he is insufferable!

Darkness is where I thrive. Dark minds. Dark rooms. Dark hearts. Except that my heart doesn’t feel so dark anymore. Aislinn has brought light into my life.

arc · new adult · romance

The Risk by Elle Kennedy

The Risk (Briar U #2)
by Elle Kennedy

Rating: ★★★★
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Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

It’s official—I need more Jake Connelly and Brenna Jensen.

Elle Kennedy doesn’t disappoint whenever she writes amazing stories about these near-perfect and wonderfully captivating hockey players. I’m not sure how she does it, or why we even deserve these fictional boyfriends, but we’re indeed blessed, fellow college and sports romance loving friends. The Risk is such a good combination of sexy and sweet, with an emotionally satisfying and joyously humourous setting. It uses the enemies to lovers trope without fault, while adding forbidden romance and pretend dating to make this epic.

She’s bold and fierce, and those qualities combined with her beauty make her a force to be reckoned with.

Relationships aren’t Brenna Jensen’s top priority. She’s content keeping hookups casual, shattering eager hearts and moving forward in life. But Jake Connelly is proving himself to be difficult to resist with an irresistible charm and delicious self-assuredness that draws her towards him. When Brenna finds herself caught within an impossible situation, she enlists Jake to be her pretend boyfriend, but for every fake date, he wants a real date.

I mean, my heart certainly knows what it wants. It wants Jake Connelly. But news flash—my heart is reckless and stupid.

Brenna is my newest favourite heroine in this series. She’s sassy, witty and confident, despite the survivor’s guilt she harbours and the awful things she experienced from her past. Beneath her fierceness there’s a guarded sense of vulnerability we receive glimpses of. And a wonderfully compassionate, somewhat unexpected loving heart that makes this woman real and easy to appreciate. I didn’t think it would be possible to love her more, but that happened. From her teenage struggles, strained relationship and questions of self-worth, watching Brenna overcome these hardships but still be one boss lady made me admire her tenacity.

Being Harvard’s hockey team captain, Jake is naturally cocky without being overbearing; a womaniser with a hidden sweet, romantic side. And despite having secured a position with Edmonton’s Oilers next season, Jake is determined to push his college team to victory. I adore a cocksure, assertive athlete without the douche attitude—it only makes this hero even more appealing and irresistible. Jake will have your undying attention and affection, stuttering and stammering and falling all over yourself because you’re smitten as hell. I, along with Brenna, couldn’t resist everything about him—his wit and charm, his charisma and confidence and passion for everything he dedicates himself to.

“I like having you like this,” I whisper. “On your back. Legs spread.”

Chemistry between these two has been brewing for such a long ass time and even when they’re bickering and disagreeing on something, the banter is absolute perfection. They have this perfect amount of push and pull, hard and soft, honesty and hesitancy with some of the hottest and sexiest scenes together that is brimming with so much passion it singes the pages. I almost spontaneously combusted reading that secretive bedroom romp!

I love that this author constantly raises the question and concern of misogyny inside the world of sports journalism. Sadly, Brenna experiences this dreadful behaviour firsthand while trying to enter the field. And even worse, real life women are subjected to unwarranted sexism everyday. We’ve all heard the “jokes”, the mumbled comments and unacceptable outbursts. Brenna and other women attempt to dismantle the toxic environment, something I’m grateful for and profoundly proud of.

I’m officially his groupie. But that’s okay, because he’s my groupie. We root for each other.

The Risk lived up to my expectations, but there’s little things that pulled my rating down. I was loving every moment until we started heading towards the epilogue. Jake annoyed me when he thought out of his arse instead of with what is an intelligent brain (sometimes), but I still forgave his choices (I’m weak for Connelly, don’t judge me). I felt the epilogue wrapped up quickly and focused more on personal achievements rather than relationship progression. Damn it, I want more Jake, okay?! Otherwise, this is such a perfect treat, as always, from Elle Kennedy. It reminded me so much of her other series, Off-Campus, as it emanated a similar vibe. I’m dying to have more Hunter and wouldn’t object to Brooks, so I can’t wait for The Play!

arc · contemporary · review · romance

Ruthless King by Maya Hughes

Ruthless King (Kings of Rittenhouse #3)
by Maya Hughes

Rating: ★★★
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My dick never got me in half as much trouble as my heart…

We were high school sweethearts. I was head over heels for her and no one could tell me we weren’t going to last forever. College? Going pro? My family’s money? None of it mattered. She was all I needed.

Then she ripped my heart out. But I’m not going to let that happen again.

She’s back. Invading my life and acting like she was the wronged one. The pain is still there, but I can’t keep my eyes off her. I can’t stop thinking about her and how much was left unsaid between us. Being this close is making me question everything I thought I knew about her.

This time everything will be on my terms. Everything…

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I have been dying to read Avery and Emmett’s second chance romance since starting Kings of Rittenhouse. Once having experienced an enviable, near perfect romance, only to have that dream shatter, ending tragically, Avery and Emmett’s relationship started to be filled with undeniable animosity. And many questions started swirling in my head, piquing my interest, about this couple’s reasons for separating.

Ruthless King was overall more enjoyable than Shameless King and Reckless King. However, I seem to have an issue with each installment. In Shameless King, Declan’s virtually non-existent relationship with his dad was pointless; in Reckless King, the forbidden relationship came too late and wasn’t worth being a point of contention.

Avery Davis had dismantled me and left me as a shell. Even knowing the pain she’d caused, every night I closed my eyes, it was her I dreamed about.

Complete, utter disappointment consumed me when we finally received details about the separation. I understand that sometimes a situation appears worse than it is, but unless you really saw something, or find definitive proof, having a smidge of maturity really saves a person from experiencing unnecessary heartache. Miscommunication is my least favourite reason to separate a couple for prolonged periods of time.

Avery could have been honest, saving herself being subjected to bullying by an ex-boyfriend, but instead remained quiet about everything that happened. She didn’t trust herself, nor her relationship. I experienced inconsistencies with her less than fabulous personality—one minute, she’s angry at Emmett for not believing her; the next, she admits she didn’t want to cause issues by upsetting Emmett. You can’t be annoyed at someone over a situation you’ve been secretive and dishonest about.

“I never stopped loving you. Even when I hated you with all of my being, even when I hated myself for it and wished I could carve my heart out of my chest, I still loved you.”

I started enjoying this more towards the end, because the narrative moved forward and the characters developed some. However, relationship development felt stagnant. I have some very good feelings regarding Ford and Olivia (that ending!) in Fearless King. If you love second chance sports romance, I recommend reading this series!

arc · review · romance

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

The Kiss Thief
by L.J. Shen

Rating: ★★★★★
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They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

A story of a Nemesis and a Villain with no chance at a happy ending. Where the prince doesn’t save the princess. He tortures her. And the beauty doesn’t sleep. She’s stuck. In a nightmare.

What a fantastic beginning to reading in 2019!

I knew I’d fall in love with this, because it is L.J. Shen. One of, if not, my favourite author. Ever. She’s a proficient and excellent writer—her sentences are carefully and beautifully constructed into gripping scenes and concise prose—who continues to astound me with every release.

She’s mastered an ability to transform cold-hearted and callous asshole heroes, who undergo an inevitable transformation of redemption, into loveable characters we can’t hate. They’re always damaged, filled with cynicism and sarcasm and hatred towards the wrongdoer, yet loaded with vengeance and countless positive qualities that make them them.

God, she was sweet, and she was all mine. Not just her body but also her words and her courage.

I thought I loved Baron “Vicious” Spencer; adored Celian Laurent, but I’m unconditionally infatuated and unquestionably besotted with Wolfe Keaton—The Kiss Thief. On the surface, he appears to be nothing beyond ruthless; however, there’s an immense amount of depth, intrigue and enigma surrounding this mean anti-hero. Without doubt, he is complex and multi-faceted, someone who appears withdrawn and detached, yet beneath the tough exterior is someone able to love. And love hard. Fierce, without shame. Wild, without restraint.

We were entwined and entangled, connected with invisible strings, each of us trying to pull away, only to create more knots that made us closer.

Francesca Rossi is my newest fictional best friend. Tangent: I was almost named Francesca. Ergo, we’re best friends. I digress. Having been raised dreadfully sheltered inside a gilded cage, oftentimes Francesca appears to be docile, unsure of herself and awfully immature. Seeming complaisant, or sometimes quiet, however, doesn’t always mean being submissive or feeble-minded—she’s quick-witted and intelligent. Torn between an older life bound in tradition and a newer life promising freedom, Francesca transforms into someone more daring, challenging and outspoken.

He turned to me, his grays on my blues, two pools of beautiful lies.

Wolfe and Francesca are explosive. Passionate enemies who slowly and quietly transform into intimate lovers. Wrapped up in an unexpected fervid romance; embraced by an intense connection.

The Kiss Thief is an engrossing, riveting narrative of an arranged marriage set within a modern Chicago. Promises of revenge shadowed by danger is abundant—you will be turning the pages faster than expected. L.J. Shen continues to astound me with the ways she illustrates love. It is always an intense fierceness of earnest affection and vicious yearning that is wretched and heart-aching however real. To be in real love is to be free. To change. To transform into someone greater than you’ve imagined. And she’s portrayed this through Wolfe and Francesca.