#DGRFave & Review: The Darkest Temptation by Danielle Lori

THE DARKEST TEMPTATION
Series:
Made #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Danielle Lori
Release Date: December 12, 2020

A fortune teller once told Mila she’d find a man who would take her breath away. She refrained from telling her it would be literally while Mila ran for her life.

Having always done what is expected of her, Mila dresses the part, only dates college boys with exemplary backgrounds, and doesn’t ask questions. Not about her papa’s absences or his refusal to let her set foot in her birthplace—Russia.

Suffocated by the rules and unanswered questions, Mila does what she’s always wanted to. She boards a plane to Moscow.

She never expected to fall for a man on the way. One with unexplained wealth, tattoos on his hands, and secrets in his eyes. But it doesn’t take long for his caress to become a rough grasp muffling her screams.

Revenge is a dish best served cold. Unfortunately, a Russian winter is the coldest of them all, and Mila soon learns the only way to escape intact is to do the impossible and thaw her captor’s heart.

 AMAZON 

He was a monster dressed like a gentleman.

When I tell you that I am obsessed with this series, I’m saying I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SERIES. If you have been sleeping on this author and haven’t yet been introduced to her brilliance, allow me to give you the swift kick in the @ss that you obviously need. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Now if you haven’t read the first two books in this series, you’re seriously missing out, however, you can easily read this as a standalone. Ronan is Christian Allister’s brother from The Maddest Obsession and when I tell you that NOTHING will prepare you for his story, I mean NOTHING will prepare you for his story. This book isn’t quite dark, but it’s gritty AF. It skates the edge of darkness with a splash of dub-con and this girl LIVED for it.

She gave me her forgiveness. I had nothing to give her but vengeance

Ronan is the ultimate anti-hero and Mila is his innocent and slightly naive unsuspecting victim in his plot for revenge. Oh and did I mention the age gap? Because GAH. Delish! But I digress. One of my favorite things about this book was the development of both of these characters. It was watching Mila go from a young, naive, and sheltered young woman to someone that’s fierce and has a spine of steel, even when facing off with the devil of Moscow. She’s searching for answers and freedom and lands in the lap of her family’s ultimate enemy.

Ronan’s name gets whispered in fear throughout Moscow. The devil of Moscow, as he’s so eloquently called, is a ruthless and brutal crime boss. He has a hidden agenda when the beautiful Mila lands so perfectly in his clutches, one she never sees coming. But the more time Mila spends in his captivity, the more the plot twists. Because the cold and unfeeling devil soon begins to feel.

When I tell you I lived for this book, I mean I LIVED for this book. This was my most anticipated and favorite book in the series. Hands down. The tension. The grit. The slow burn. The character development. All of it so flawlessly combined to create a completely unputdownable and unforgettable story. These characters will stay with me for a long while and will be my ultimate rec for anyone looking for a great mafia read. This book was EVERYTHING. Sexually charged, quick paced, and full of twists and turns. I devoured it from cover to cover. Danielle seriously outdid herself with Mila and Ronan’s story.

#DGRFave & Review: The Villain by LJ Shen

THE VILLAIN
Series:
Boston Belles #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: December 16, 2020

Cruel. Coldblooded. Hades in a Brioni suit.

Cillian Fitzpatrick has been dubbed every wicked thing on planet earth.

To the media, he is The Villain.

To me, he is the man who (reluctantly) saved my life.

Now I need him to do me another, small solid.

Bail me out of the mess my husband got me into.

What’s a hundred grand to one of the wealthiest men in America, anyway?

Only Cillian doesn’t hand out free favors.

The price for the money, it turns out, is my freedom.

Now I’m the eldest Fitzpatrick brother’s little toy.

To play, to mold, to break.

Too bad Cillian forgot one, tiny detail.

Persephone wasn’t only the goddess of spring; she was also the queen of death.

He thinks I’ll buckle under the weight of his mind games.

He is about to find out the most lethal poison is also the sweetest

 AMAZON 

It’s never too late to change the name of the prince in your story. Just as long as you don’t end up with the villain.”

No one, and I mean NO ONE writes a true alphahole quite like LJ Shen. And she seriously outdid herself with The Villain. Because this alphahole? GOD. I loved to hate him and hated to love him and just plain wanted to have his babies. What? I like my fictional men mean, ok? Like MEAN. Gah. Makes my ovaries go all aflutter.

Nothing will prepare you for the delicious angst ride of this romance. It was heart wrenchingly good and tear your hair our frustrating. An unputdownable and mesmerizing story from beginning to finish. It hurt so good that I never wanted it to end. It was everything I adore about Shen’s books and so much more.

Now if you know me or follow my reviews, you know that I love my heroes mean. Like so mean it makes me want to punch them while also wanting to have their babies mean. And Cillian? The man is cold, calculating, unfeeling, and blunt to the point of rudeness.

Welcome to the dark side, Persephone. Leave your heart at the door.”

Now allow me to address the elephant in the room.
*cough*
Persephone
*cough*
When I tell you that she couldn’t have been a better heroine for Cillian, I mean she couldn’t have been more perfect for him. She was perfection. Seeing her growth throughout the book from infatuated belle to a woman that really stands up for herself and what she deserves was deliciously satisfying. And seeing Kill unwittingly fall for her, even more so.

The tension was absolute perfection. What I simply adore in Shen’s books is her ability to really stay true to her characters while giving them so much heart. This was the epitome of Kill for me. The man is calculated and unfeeling, yet you see him slowly thaw for the woman he never saw coming. His fall is realistic and it makes it that much more satisfying. I thought I loved Hunter, but that was nothing in comparison to my feelings for Cillian and Persy. This book was everything I hoped for and nothing I expected. A flawed hero, a blooming wallflower that comes into her own heroine, and a love that is absolutely EPIC. I loved this HARD.

#DGRFave & Review: The Revenge Pact by Ilsa Madden Mills

THE REVENGE PACT
Series: The Kings of Football #1
Genre: Contemporary, New Adult Romance
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Release Date: December 3, 2020

River Tate is a god on campus.
The king of football.
A tattooed bad boy with gunmetal eyes that see right through you.
The only chink in his armor is her, the girl he pretends doesn’t exist, the forbidden one with the shy smile and lavender hair.

Anastasia Bailey is a nobody.
The queen of nothing.
An outsider with the face of an angel and a body made for sin.
The only chink in her armor is him, her boyfriend’s frat brother, the football player who hates her.

But when Anastasia’s life comes crashing down, River’s the one who sweeps in and picks up the pieces.
Torn between loyalty, lies, and secrets, he battles the temptation to take everything from her when they make their revenge pact.

He can’t tell her no.
Because revenge (or love) is, sweet, and once you get a taste, the craving never ends.

The Revenge Pact is first in a series about three college football players.

 AMAZON 

There’s something real between us… The question is, what am I willing to do about it?

When I tell you that this book owned me. When I tell you that this story was absolutely EVERYTHING. When I tell you that River Tate is the ultimate book boyfriend that you will never be able to move on from. When I tell you this was easily my favorite book I’ve read from this author. When I tell you that this book is an absolute must read. BELIEVE. ME.

River Tate is a dangerous man. And the best thing I can do is stay away from him.

The second I started reading this story, I knew it would be different. River and Anastasia are going down as one of my favorite New Adult romance couples. It was THAT good.

I’m a sucker for a strong female and a tortured male plot, but this was so much more than that. It was all things forbidden, angsty and packed with enough emotion to make you turn each page with bated breath.

Anastasia and River’s relationship is tumultuous to say the least. He pretends that he hates her and she pretends like his presence doesn’t effect her. She also happens to be dating his frat brother. But if you’re thinking this is a love triangle or cheating book, think again.

River is a god on campus but he’s so much more than his image. This is a man with so many layers, you feel like every chapter offers more depth. He’s such a beautiful soul that I couldn’t help but fall for him immediately. His perseverance and honor make him one of the most beloved people on campus. He’s always there for his brothers and teammates. So it doesn’t matter how much he wants Ana, he can never go there.

Ana is a bit of a black sheep with lavender hair. She’s beautiful and smart, but her family is anything but conventional. She struggles to find a place for herself in the midst of the expectations from those around her. And when everything comes crashing down on her, the one person there for her is the last one that she expects.

This was an incredibly emotional and poignant slow burn romance. I fell so hard for both of these characters. Their imperfections and strengths, their pain and happiness. All of it was blended together so flawlessly that I couldn’t set the book down for even a second. You know when you read a book and you just have this feeling, like this power punch of emotion that goes through you like electricity? I had that the entire time reading this. These characters were so incredibly memorable and their romance was so incredibly powerful, that I felt a sense of loss when I finished because I couldn’t part with them.

If you’re looking for a new adult romance that’s packed with feels and a book boyfriend that will own your heart from the very first page, you need this book in your life!

Wall Street JournalNew York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her angsty new adult romances and romantic comedies.

Eight of her eleven novels have placed in the Amazon Top 10 Best-seller List: Dirty English #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things #6; Boyfriend Bargain #8; The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, #4.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online.

Connect with Ilsa:
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Join her Unicorn Girls Group on FB, the best way to keep up: http://bit.ly/37B6Nay

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Review & Excerpt: Deliver Us by Pam Godwin

DELIVER US
Series: Deliver
Genre: Dark Romance
Author: Pam Godwin
Release Date: October 27, 2020

Deliver Us, an all new dark, intense and gut-wrenching boxed set from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Pam Godwin is now available and perfect for a binge read!

Are you ready to fall in love with a villain?

Van Quiso’s chilling gunmetal eyes will shiver your blood and torment your heart. You’ll fear him and crave him, for behind the cruel mouth lurks a jealous, possessive devil who will sacrifice everything to protect the woman he loves.

Each standalone is a different couple with its own dark love story, all interconnected in a dangerous underworld of murderers, kidnappers, and cartels. Forget your comfort zones. This world isn’t pretty. But it’s oh-so-delicious and twisty.

With over 1000 pages of passion and suspense, this is your next binge read.

More than 200,000 copies sold and thousands of 5-star reviews. No cliffhangers. Available in digital, print, and audiobook.

 AMAZON | NOOK | KOBO | GOOGLE PLAY

The chains fell off his chest and arms and pooled around his waist. His freedom swept through him in ragged breaths.  

She gazed at him with stiff lines of determination on her face, an expression he’d seen a hundred times, the unwavering glare that tortured him, aroused him, conjured his nightmares, and filled his dreams.  

He memorized each twitch of her lashes, the delicate point of her raised chin, every faltered breath. He was consumed with having her and terrified to lose her.  

“Tell me what you’re thinking.” He reached up to brush his fingers through her thick dark hair. 

She recoiled before his hand made contact. A blank mask fell over her face, a wall of ice slamming between them. She moved to the driver seat and faced forward. 

His momentary calm burst into a roaring fire. Hands fisting, heart pounding, he didn’t know what to do with the fury burning through his veins. He tagged his jeans and boots from the floorboard and jumped out. 

He dressed as he walked, jerking on his boots, kicking branches out of his path. His muscles heated, and sweat slicked his bare chest, chilling in the night air. He wasn’t angry at her. He was angry for her. The abuse done to her body. The helplessness of her situation. His inability to free her. 

He slammed a fist into the nearest tree trunk. Again. Again. Pain ricocheted through his hand, down his arm, and fed his breaking heart.  

Out of the corner of his eye, he caught her silhouette standing a few yards away. A slender shadow, shrouded by darkness. And in her raised arms, she held a gun, trained on him.  

He threw another fist. Absorbed the burn. Expelled the rancor. He knew she was holding a gun on him to prevent him from running and putting her family at further risk. Regardless, she wouldn’t shoot him. Not because she needed a slave, but because she loved what was hers with a self-destructing passion.  

He faced her and held out his arms. “I’m yours.”  

The girl and the gun didn’t move. 

“Lose the damned mask and stop hiding from me.” He raked his throbbing hands through his hair. “Scream, cry, hit something. Hit me. But for God’s sake, let it out.”  

The shadowy lines of her body wavered. The gun lowered, returned to her boot. 

He stretched out his arms, savoring the cool breeze brushing over his unrestrained skin. “I stand here without rope or chains, Liv, tethered to you by my own will.” His blood beat with the ferocity of his words. “I won’t be free until you are.” 

Her head jerked back, her body rigid. Then she walked straight to him and unleashed her fists on his chest. She clobbered him over and over, her gasps accelerating with each fall of her hand. 

The lashing didn’t hurt. Not like the whimpers rising from her chest. She was hurting, lashing out for the wrongs that had been done to her. A sharp pain swelled in his throat. The only thing he could do was take it in, try to bear some of it for her.  

He held his arms out and his body open. When her hits ebbed into weak slaps, she stumbled back, hugging herself and clutching her elbows.  

His heartbeat slogged through the ache in his chest. He kept his arms outstretched and whispered, “I’m here.” 

Disbelief widened the whites of her eyes, and her breath caught. He waited. 

In two running steps, she launched at him, climbed up his chest, and curled her hands in his hair. He lifted her, pinning the curves of her thighs around his hips, and took her mouth. His knuckles burned with fever, but the heat from her lips was overriding. She whispered kisses over his jaw, around his mouth, caressing, assuring.  

He angled his head, deepening the reach of his tongue and drinking her in lick by lick. Her hands in his hair, the sweetness of her breath filling his mouth, there will never be another kiss like hers. She knew how to suck his lips and trap his tongue in a way that stroked every nerve ending in his body. More than that, she knew how to reach inside him. She found him, her ferocity defying the odds and pivoting them into place, perfectly interlocked. 

Her thighs squeezed around his waist, her breasts soft against his chest. He palmed her backside with a cautious gentleness, and chased her tongue, spiraling, stretching deeper, falling heart-first into an existence where only she mattered. 

First of all, if you haven’t read this series yet, it’s time to crawl out from under that rock you’ve been living under and see the light. Because this series is LIFE CHANGING. No one, and I mean NO ONE writes a redeemable anti-hero quite like Pam Godwin. They’re beyond anti-heroes, they’re straight out villains that you grow to love despite their darkness. Or is it because of their darkness? I don’t know and I don’t care, but I will say that this series is an absolute must read.

If you haven’t read it yet, now is the chance to get the first three books in one bundle. These are not meant to be read as standalone. You really need to do yourself a favor and read them in order. The characters are all introduced early in the series, so to understand the complexity, it’s best to read each book.

Deliver starts the series with a bang, and we get an anti-heroine. How often do you read that? And nothing will prepare you for the story of Van and Matias. GAH. I loved those books.

If you want to read my full detailed reviews you can find them here:
VANQUISH
DISCLAIM

Now do yourself a favor and jump on these!

 

Pam Godwin is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author

Pam Godwin lives in the Midwest with her husband, their two children, and a foulmouthed parrot. When she ran away, she traveled fourteen countries across five continents, attended three universities, and married the vocalist of her favorite rock band.

Java, tobacco, and dark romance novels are her favorite indulgences, and might be considered more unhealthy than her aversion to sleeping, eating meat, and dolls with blinking eyes.

Facebook | Twitter | Website | Amazon | Goodreads

#DGRFave & Review: Cruel Paradise by J.T. Geissinger

CRUEL PARADISE
Series:
Beautifully Cruel #2
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Suspense
Author: J.T. Geissinger
Release Date: October 1, 2020

Anti-hero (noun):
1) A powerful and charismatic man lacking moral character
2) A magnificent bastard
3) Killian Black

You don’t know me.
You think you do, but you don’t.
The only thing you know is my name, and even that’s a lie.

I’m king of Boston, lord of criminals, ruler of an underworld empire. Or am I?

Only one thing’s for sure: I operate alone.

Until I cross paths with a brazen little thief who sets my whole kingdom on fire.

Just as two wrongs don’t make a right, two villains don’t belong together. Especially since she’s the daughter of my most deadly enemy.

Taking her would start a war.
Keeping her would be suicide.
Making her mine would break every code of honor and defy all common sense.

Then again, where’s the fun in following the rules?

AMAZON 

Start the series of standalones BEAUTIFULLY CRUEL with here!

AMAZON

I climb into the car. The driver shuts the door behind me. In a moment, we pull away.All heat and coiled tension, Liam simmers in the seat beside me.

After we’ve gone three blocks, he says, “How long are you going to make me wait until you look at me?”

“I’m working on regulating my breathing so I don’t pass out. Maybe ten minutes?”

His chuckle is low and sensual, raising my blood pressure by at least two hundred points.

“You’re tougher than that. I’ll give you ten seconds.”

When the seconds have ticked by, I turn my head and glance at him warily from the corner of my eye.

He stares at me with such blistering intensity that for a moment, I can’t breathe.

His voice husky, he says, “Hullo again.”

Holy mother of god, he’s handsome. How can someone so evil be so hot?

My exhalation comes out in a burst. It’s accompanied by a shudder. Then I clear my throat and pretend I’m a mentally functioning adult. “Hi.”

He lets his gaze drift over me, head to toe, taking in every aspect of my clothing, posture, and expression.

“You still don’t trust me.”

I make a sound that’s supposed to be a laugh, but it sounds more like a small animal being strangled. “Trust? I’m sorry, did you just say trust?”

“I did.”

He’s serious. I stare at him in astonishment. “Of course I don’t trust you! You’re…you!”

The driver pipes in from the front seat. “That’s hardly fair, lass. You’ve only just met.”

Through gritted teeth, Liam says, “Declan.”

“Right. Sorry.” Falling silent, he turns his attention back to the road.

Liam smiles reassuringly at me. “It’s so hard to find good help these days.”

I look back and forth between them, gobsmacked by the whole situation. I could be hallucinating. Maybe that hipster bartender put something into my drink.

I’m still pondering that when Liam leans over and settles his huge, hot hand around my throat.

I grip his thick wrist in both hands, gasping and shrinking back into the seat.

Looking into my eyes, he murmurs, “I’m not going to hurt you.”

My voice comes out high and panicked. “This is a shitty way of proving that.”

“I’m not trying to choke you, lass.”

It’s true, the pressure of his hand on my throat is gentle, but still. “Then what the hell are you doing?”

He slides his thumb back and forth over the throbbing vein in my neck. “Feeling your pulse.”

Heart hammering, I stare at him. “Why?”

“Because I want to see how fast it gets when I kiss you.”

I freeze. “Don’t you dare.”

He quirks one dark brow. “Why not?”

“I don’t want you to.”

He leans closer, his eyes burning into mine, his body heat and the warm scent of his skin surrounding me. He growls, “If you were telling the truth, little thief, I’d honor that request.”

I blurt, “I’m not ready for that!”

Instantly, he stills. His dark gaze searches my face. Then, slowly, his full lips lift into a smile. “Then I suppose I’ll have to wait until you are.”

He stares hungrily at my mouth for a moment before releasing me.

I remain where he left me, frozen and wide-eyed, slumped against the door, staring at him and trying to convince myself of several important facts.

One, that I should be afraid. Because, two, that there’s at least a fifty-fifty chance he’s going to snap my neck. And three, that I really didn’t want him to kiss me.

Especially that I didn’t want him to kiss me. Because what would it say about my sanity if I did?

Adjusting his tie and looking straight forward, he says, “Don’t overthink it. But thank you for being honest. If this is going to work, we have to be honest with each other.”

My laugh is weak and disbelieving. “This? There is no ‘this!’”

He turns his head and sears me with his gaze. “Aye, lass,” he says, his voice thick. “There is.”

Do you always talk like you ate a dictionary for breakfast?” He puts his mouth close to my ear and lowers his voice. “No. Sometimes I talk like I fuck: dirty.”

You all don’t even understand the level of addiction that I have for Geissinger’s alpha males. The woman has created not only some of my most favorite and memorable heroes, but she can write a sharp witted and kickass heroine like no one else. I thought I died for her Wicked Games series, but that was nothing compared to her Beautifully Cruel series.

Now if you’re like me and have also read the Dangerous Beauty trilogy then you definitely remember Killian Black as one of the most dynamic secondary characters and have been slowly dying for him to get his own book. And if you haven’t read that trilogy, it’s an absolute must read.

Having said that, I do not recommend reading Cruel Paradise without having first read Beautifully Cruel. There are too many details and slight nuances that would be lost on you if you don’t read that first. And besides, that book was another HUGE 5 stars for me, so it’s worth the read for that alone.

There are some things I don’t know about you.”
I say tartly, “Like what? Which utensil I’d most like to gouge out your eyes with?”
He stares straight into my eyes. “Like how you sound when you come.”

Nothing can prepare you for the full force of Killian Black as the leading character. NOTHING. The man is potent with a capital P. And if you’re not reading the double entendre there, then you clearly don’t know me *evil grin*. But enough about me, let’s talk about this book. Because this book? This book was EVERYTHING. It was worth every agonizing minute, hour, and month of waiting because Killian Black is jumping straight to my number one.

If you’re a fan of sassy and sharp witted heroines, Juliette is going to be a favorite too. The woman is tough as nails and is full of sharp barbs and witty zingers. The banter between these two was some of the best I’ve read in a while. Killian is single focused on having her and she’s intent on resisting. The chemistry is utterly incendiary.

Cruel Paradise was a slow burn full of heat, suspense, and so much chemistry I thought my kindle would set on fire.

If it meant I could have you for good, I’d light my whole life on fire and walk away from the ashes.”

Killian is the head of the Irish mafia, but he’s not at all what he seems. And if you’ve read the first book, then you already know that. You know this man has secrets that run deep and a past that’s riddled in pain and shadows. Juliette is a bit of a female robin hood. She and her merry band of sassy girlfriends steel from the rich and morally corrupt and give to the poor. But when they steel from Killian, he’s not about to let it go. And when he sees who his little thief is, he knows he has to have her and pursues her with a singleminded intent to wear her down.

This book was completely unputdownable. The chemistry, the utter dominance that oozes from Killian was addictive as all get out. I couldn’t get enough of the man. Juliette definitely puts up a fight in her feelings and at times it almost grated on me, but I simply couldn’t care less because I was so riveted and invested in their story. I lived for these characters. I died for their romance. I couldn’t get enough of it. And I swear on all things holy if JT Geissinger doesn’t prolong this series by giving Fin, Max, and Diego a book, I will die. DIE I tell you. And I don’t even care if I’m being dramatic. I need it.

And as for this book? Cruel Paradise is a must read if you love a protective and possessive uber alpha and a sassy heroine that loves to give him hell! Read it. Thank me later.

J.T. Geissinger is a #1 internationally bestselling author of emotionally charged romance and women’s fiction. Ranging from funny, feisty rom coms to intense, edgy suspense, her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into several languages, including German, Hebrew, French, Czech, and Japanese. The film & TV rights to her Night Prowler series have been optioned by the BAFTA-winning studio that created VFX for movies such as Avatar, X-Men, and The Avengers.

She is a three-time finalist in both contemporary and paranormal romance for the RITA® Award, the highest distinction in romance fiction from the Romance Writers of America®. She is also a recipient of the Prism Award for Best First Book and the Golden Quill Award for Best Paranormal/Urban Fantasy.

She’s a Southern California native currently living in Nevada with her husband and rescue kitty, Zoe.

Connect with J.T. Geissinger

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#DGRFave & Review: Playing With Fire by LJ Shen

PLAYING WITH FIRE
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: LJ Shen
Release Date: September 15, 2020

A broken boy on the path to destruction.
A scarred girl without direction.
A love story carved in secrets, inked with pain and sealed with a lie.

Grace Shaw and West St. Claire are arctic opposites.
She is the strange girl from the food truck.
He is the mysterious underground fighter who stormed into her sleepy Texan college town on his motorcycle one day, and has been wreaking havoc since.
She is invisible to the world.
He is the town’s beloved bad boy.
She is a reject.
He is trouble.
When West thrusts himself into Grace’s quiet life, she scrambles to figure out if he is her happily-ever-after or tragic ending.
But the harder she pushes him away, the more he pulls her out of her shell.
Grace doesn’t know much about anything beyond her town’s limits, but she does know this:
She is falling in love with the hottest guy in Sheridan U.
And when you play with fire—you ought to get burned.

 AMAZON

He was going to soar and burst like a supernova once he was out of this small Texas town, and I was going to remain the ashes he left behind—the stardust that slowly descended the earth in his wake.

You know what I love about LJ Shen? Her ability to create some of the most unique and memorable characters I’ve ever read. Starting with Sparrow, my first book of hers, to now, I can remember every minute detail of her books, and considering most days I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, that’s saying something.

But Playing With Fire? This one just hit different. It was unlike anything I’ve read from LJ Shen before. It was a fiery, passionate and emotional whirlwind of a story that owned me from beginning to finish.

This was going to be temporary. And painful. And worth it.

Grace Shaw is not your typical heroine and easily one of the most unique characters I’ve read in a very long while. She used to be the queen B, now turned recluse. Her world was turned upside down and nothing has been the same since. She’s plagued by memories of what used to be and the hard reality of her present.

West is the town’s golden bad boy. A sinner on a motorcycle and the epitome of everything that Grace should stay away from. Theirs is the unlikeliest of bonds and friendships that starts with sparks of attraction, burns with a fiery hate, and rises from the ashes like a phoenix of love. Lord, I’m getting poetic here. But y’all. I just don’t have a better way of describing their relationship to you. It’s opposites attract with plenty of banter turned to some of the most delicious sexual tension. It was everything. EVERYTHING. It was angsty. It was painful. It was spellbinding and absolutely magnificent. I died for these two. This tortured town recluse and the bad boy that slowly but surely brings her out of her shell.

The romance is a delicious slow burn that I couldn’t get enough of. The story was packed with feels, plot twists, and enough chemistry to set fire to the pages. Pun intended. It was a unique, captivating, and utterly unforgettable standalone from the queen of angst, and I can’t recommend it enough.

#DGRFave & Review: When The Time Is Right by M. Mabie & Aly Martinez

WHEN THE TIME IS RIGHT
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: M. Mabie & Aly Martinez
Release Date: July 30, 2020

Fate doesn’t always happen overnight.

Hudson Bradley is the cockiest, most stubborn, hard-headed man I’ve ever known. And for fifteen years, he’s been my brother’s best friend.

But lately, what I’m feeling for him isn’t friendship at all.

Why is my heart racing every time his blue eyes lock on mine?
Why does every word he rumbles in my ear make my body come alive?
And worst of all, why did I bet him that I could find a woman he and his son would both love?

If I hadn’t given up on love altogether, Hudson would have been perfect for me. After all, he was there the day my world fell apart. He’s spent the last six years piecing me back together.

There are a million reasons why we could never work, but after a single kiss, I can’t remember any of them.

Now that the time is right, I have to make him mine—before I lose him forever.

 AMAZON

He was Hudson. My brother’s best friend. My reluctant partner in crime—or at least the man there to bail me out when I was partnering in crime alone. He was…a really fucking good guy. Not to mention stupid hot and all that masculine energy I craved.

Excuse me? Can I have your undivided attention please? I have a big announcement to make.
*clears throat*
This was easily my favorite friends to lovers romance I have EVER read.
*pauses for dramatic effect*

I KNOW. Big statement, right? But let me just tell you. This book? It was absolute perfection. It was everything. All of the things. It was swoony and emotional. It was hilarious. It was full of the best banter and so many laugh out loud moments that my face still hurts from grinning like a loon the entire time I was reading. I don’t even have the words to describe to you all of the ways I loved this book. But I’m going to attempt to here. Because it deserves all of the words.

Hudson has been the rock for Alexis as long as she’s known him. He’s the stable, reliable, and always there for everyone kind of man. He’s her brother’s best friend, but he’s been her friend as well. He was there for her through the worst and helped piece her together in the after effects.

His best friend’s family has been the only family Hudson has truly ever known. He loves them like they’re his own. Hudson is a single father and an amazing daddy. He’s also not exactly winning it in the dating department. Hard to date when you’re a workaholic single father after all. But then he makes a bet with Alexis on who can set the other up on the best blind date…and things take a very interesting turn.

Now lets talk about the friends to lovers trope for a hot second here, shall we? Because the pacing from friends to the realization that there’s something more was pure perfection. I adore the way the authors handled the timing of everything. It just felt so genuine and authentic. It sort of snuck up on both Lex and Hud and hit them over the head but it didn’t come as a shock. I don’t know how to explain it to you without you experiencing it, but let’s just say that it was SO GOOD.

These two together was everything. I couldn’t get enough of their banter and their easy camaraderie. They love each other so much but they don’t see what everyone around them have seen for years, which is how perfect they are for each other.

I loved Lex’s fiery sass. The woman had attitude and zingers for days and I couldn’t get enough of it. She’s a spitfire but she’s also a fierce friend and I loved the way she loved Hudson. As for Hudson, I can’t even begin to describe all of his perfection. This single daddy with a heart of gold was just GAH. He was everyone’s rock. He’s there for his family and his friends when they need him and he’ll do anything for those he loves. His son was the most adorable secondary character every and the way Hud and Lex were with him just melted my heart.

There was no crazy drama but there were plenty of feels. It was just one of those utterly perfect feel good romances that just suck you right into its world and wrap you up in it like the coziest blankets. It was magical. It was swoony perfection. It put a smile on my face and kept it there until the very last page. I loved the hell out of this book. I didn’t want it to end. And if you’re a fan of friends to lovers, you simply need this book in your life. It was EVERYTHING. ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING. And I simply cannot recommend it enough.

#DGRFave: Flock by Kate Stewart

FLOCK
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Ravenhood Duet #1
Author: Kate Stewart
Release Date: July 28, 2020

𝐂𝐚𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐚 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐭?

I grew up sick.

Let me clarify.

I grew up believing that real love stories include a martyr or demand great sacrifice to be worthy.

Because of that, I believed it, because I made myself believe it, and I bred the most masochistic of romantic hearts, which resulted in my illness.

When I lived this story, my own twisted fairy tale, it was unbeknownst to me at the time because I was young and naïve. I gave into temptation and fed the beating beast, which grew thirstier with every slash, every strike, every blow.

Triple Falls wasn’t at all what it seemed, nor were the men that swept me under their wing. But in order to keep them, I had to be in on their secrets.

Secrets that cost us everything to keep.

That’s the novelty of fiction versus reality. You can’t re-live your own love story, because by the time you’ve realized you’re living it, it’s over. At least that was the case for me and the men I trusted my foolish heart to.

Looking back, I’m convinced I willed my story into existence due to my illness.

𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘦𝘥.

 AMAZON

My greatest hope is to be in all-consuming love. My biggest fear is to be in all-consuming love.

Shut. The. Front. Door. TWICE.

I am totally and completely ruined. Dead. DEAD I tells ya. How do I even go on living after this book? HOW? I’ve been sitting in my room, staring blankly at the wall for the past 3 hours, just trying to figure out how to go on with my life. And I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s simply impossible. Until I have book two in my hands, the only existence is my currently over caffeinated and slightly manic state of OHMYGODWHATDIDIJUSTREAD!!!!

The only love I’ve ever known or craved is the kind that keeps me sick, sick with longing, sick with lust, sick with need, sick with grief. The distorted kind that leaves scars and jaded hearts.

I don’t know about you, but my love affair with Kate Stewart actually began with her books under her pen name. All I remember is cracking open Excess and falling head over ovaries for this woman’s words. Since then, I’ve been greedily devouring each of her releases without even bothering to read the blurb. This one being no exception. And if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, is that you do the same thing. Go in absolutely blind. Trust me on this and thank me later.

But back to my point and where I was going with this. When I learned that Angelica Chase was none other than Kate Stewart, it was like two worlds colliding for me. Angelica wrote twisty and erotic romances and Kate Stewart wrote unforgettable stories. So where am I going with this? Well, Flock happened to be the most amazing culmination of Kate and Angelica that I couldn’t even imagine in my dreams.

This book was….how do I even describe this to you. First of all, that blurb is vague AF. And as much as I want to give you more, I won’t. because this isn’t a story you read. It’s one you experience. And it’s one you need to experience to its full potency. It was a twisty and erotic masterpiece that sucks you in and doesn’t let you go. It’s a thrill ride of emotion and frustration as you grasp at straws to try to make sense of it all, only to fall victim to the author’s evil genius mind and realize you no longer know up from down and left from right.

All I know is I binged. BINGED y’all. I stayed up all night reading and while I can barely function this morning, I’m not even a little sorry because it was all worth it. Well. Maybe not my manic screaming when I got to the end and woke up my husband who preceded to look at me like I just lost my ever loving mind at 4 am. And you know what? He’s not wrong. Because I definitely did. And I won’t be sane until I get my answers in book two. And while it’s only a few days away, the wait for Exodus is the worst sort of torture.

So let me end my “review” (if you can even call it that) with this: if this book is not on your radar (you’ve been living under a rock), it NEEDS to be. If you’re not sure about reading it, dive in! If you read ANY book this year, make it this one. If you want a unique, captivating, and utterly unforgettable read, GET. THIS. BOOK.

That is all. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to rock myself in a corner somewhere (preferably with booze) in my wait for Exodus. And in case you’re wondering, no, I am most definitely NOT OKAY.

Review: Treachery by Lily White

TREACHERY
Series:
Antihero Inferno #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Elle Kennedy
Release Date: May 27,2020

Ninth Circle.
Treachery.
Also known as Tanner Caine.

He is a temptation with cold, dark eyes.
A man with a seductive smirk and a body built for pure sin.
The linchpin of a group of wealthy bad boys known as the Inferno.

A dark presence that repels as much as he attracts, Tanner is the poisoned apple I want to bite even when I know it will destroy me.

Our story started in college, but I ran from him so far I believed I was safe.
I should have known he’d find me eventually.
I should have known that nobody escapes.

He has me in his sights again with an offer I can’t pass up.
I know better than to make a deal with the Devil.
Not unless I’m willing to pay his sensual price…

***Each novel in the series depicts a unique romance, but the plots through each book connect in one world. For the best experience, read the series in order.

Nine Standalone novels. Nine dangerous men. Nine unrepentant sinners you’ll hate to love.

AMAZON

Just remember not to start games you can’t finish. I’m the type of guy who will keep playing them until you beg me to stop.”

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. TWICE.

What kind of rock have I been living under all of this time that this is my first Lily White book? And what kind of friends even are you that you haven’t smacked me over the head to read her sooner? *eyeing all of you* Except you, Ratula. We’re still going steady. And thanks for rec. I owe you one 🙂

But in all seriousness, how? HOW have I not read her before. I love me the dark stuff, and I do hear that Lily writes DARK. However, if you’re a bit of a puss, don’t worry, this isn’t on that level. It’s more twisty and gritty rather than dark. And this girl gobbled it right up with a spoon and begged for seconds!

He takes without asking. Traps me without apology. Seduces me without effort. A maelstrom. That’s what Tanner is.

The premise is delicious. Nine anti-heroes. Each with their own particular brand of tortured. Each unique and magnetic and with one shared goal, to bring down the patriarch that continue to pull their chain until they’re fully out from their influence. Sounds intriguing? Well it’s even better than it sounds.

Tanner is Treachery. He’s enigmatic and cold without a care for anyone but his own calculated agenda. Suffice it to say I wanted to have his babies the second he appeared on the page. And Luca was the fly that landed right into his spider web…but it certainly wasn’t by accident.

How is it possible to want someone so much when you absolutely hate them?

Now if you’re like me and enemies to lovers is your jam, prepare for this to be the best book crack ever. Because OH MY GOD.

If there’s one thing that I love in the enemies to lovers trope, besides a hero that’s deliciously MEAN, is a heroine that can give as good as she gets. And Luca is certainly that. The woman goes head to head with one of the most feared and intimidating man, and doesn’t bat an eyelash. The first time her and Tanner meet, she’s in college and while she’s a bit introverted and shy, she’s still no pushover. But when these two reunite years later, Luca certainly has had time to come into her own. And boy does she make Tanner work for it.

She’s the girl who thinks she got away, and fortunately for me, circumstances have landed her firmly back in my grasp. I’ll have her screaming my name before I let her go again-one way or another.

The banter and their push and pull dynamic was one of the most delicious I’ve read in a while. If you like your anti-heroes mean, and I mean MEAN, then you’ll fall head over ovaries for Tanner. The man is damn near vicious when need be. But behind the callous words and cold calculation, there beats something a little more. Something more vulnerable and hidden. Something that Luca is able to peel the layers back from.

He didn’t just kiss, he possessed, claimed, dominated until you couldn’t think past the way his lips felt and the hard body pressed against you.

I was immediately hooked on this book and instantly hooked and addicted on this series. As much as I loved Tanner and as much as he took center stage in the story, I was so intrigued by the other men. You get plenty of page time with Gabe, which makes sense, since his story is next, and I’m already gagging for it. But I have absolutely zero chill when it comes to it and want them all now!

If you’re looking for something gritty, sexy, with a layer of mystery and suspense that will have you reading well into the night and incapable of setting it down; READ. THIS. BOOK.

#DGRFave & Review: Black Tangled Heart

BLACK TANGLED HEART
Series: Play On #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Samantha Young
Release Date: May 14, 2020

To my siblings, Jane was a friend. A pseudo-sister, the girl we grew up with.
To me? She was everything.
Our passion consumed us.

When our world fell apart, I thought our love would be the thing that held us together.
She was the love of my life. But she abandoned me when I needed her most.
And I’ll never forgive her.

For years I’ve been planning my revenge against the people who took everything from me.
Jane won’t be an exception. I’m coming for her.
She knows it.

She says she wants to help me serve my version of justice on the people who hurt me.
I’ll let her.
She probably thinks it will save her from me.

It won’t.

*This is a complete standalone. The Play On series are books connected by the theme of the arts industry, not by characters.

AMAZON | PAPERBACK

A love that consumes, consumes everything unto utter desolation.”

I loved this so hard! SO FREAKING HARD! I can’t even deal right now. I need a minute to calm my tits and collect my thoughts here.

Ok. I’ve calmed my tits. Maybe. I may have fangirling bursts throughout the review. Fair warning. So deal with it, mkay?

If you haven’t read Young’s Play On series yet, you’re seriously missing out. I’ve loved every book so far, but this one was definitely my favorite. And if you haven’t read the previous books, don’t worry, they’re all complete standalones. There’s not even a crossover aside from being set in the same “world”. Different characters, different stories, and all completely unforgettable.

The story here, there was just something about it that owned me so completely. It was magical, beautiful, and heartbreaking. It’s told in two parts. The first part tells the story of how Jane and Jamie meet as kids and ultimately fall in love. The kind of love that’s blistering and all consuming. The kind of love that can make you or break you, and it was MAGICAL. I lived for the two of them together. The progression of their characters was one of my favorite parts. Seeing Jane grow from a quiet, shy and unassuming child that doesn’t want to rock the boat, into a stunning teenager that’s just as shy but also isn’t afraid to stand up for herself. She was this perfect balance of quiet strength that I fell hard and fast for. And Jamie? Be still my heart! The guy was intense even as a teenager.

Life doesn’t always follow the plans you have, and soon Jamie and Jane fall apart as intensely as they fell in love. The second part is a second chance romance that reunites these two as adults and OMG I was so here for it. Jamie is no longer the young man that Jane once knew. He’s colder. Harder. Angry. And full of vengeance, all of which is aimed at her.

As the layers of lies and betrayal get pulled back, the reader gets pulled in. This story was all encompassing. I was completely consumed by their romance and their story. I binge read it. This was one of those stories that I couldn’t bear to put down for even a second. I was rabidly reading and never wanted it to end.

If you’re looking for a gritty second chance romance, look no further. This was EVERYTHING!

Samantha Young is a New York Times and #1 International bestselling author from Stirlingshire, Scotland. On Dublin Street was Samantha’s first adult contemporary romance series and has sold in thirty countries. She has since published over thirteen romance titles including the New York Times Bestsellers Into the Deep, Hero, and her most recent contemporary romance Fight or Flight. When writing Adult Paranormal romance she writes under the pen name S. Young.Connect with Samantha. Young:

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