Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – The Wren by Penelope Black

The Wren; #1 of the Wren and Wild duet
(#1 within a duet)

Publication Date: September 28, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Book Duet/Dark/Arranged Marriage/Reverse Harem/Mafia Romance

Author: Penelope Black

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


Gripping storyline with strong female leads. While this is The Wren’s story, we get to meet all the King women and let me tell you, they are amazing!!

Maeve King is the oldest of her five sisters and at an early age takes over the role of protecting and watching over her younger siblings. When Maeve learns she is set up for an arranged marriage, only to further gain her father’s control in the Syndicate, Maeve takes things into her own hands. Because even though the thought of marrying someone she’s never met enrages her, she refuses to let one of her sisters take her place.

Nico, Tommy and Romeo never see her coming and they each, individually meet Maeve all through separate occasions. I love, love, love how everything in this book plays out and how Maeve, The Wren, individually meets each of her love interests, but never really gives them much of a second thought. This is not your typical RH, at least not yet it seems. I’m not going to say too much about anything else, but I do love her individual interactions between each brother.

I can hardly wait for the next part of this duet because everything in this first half has been absolutely great and unexpected.


As the firstborn King, I should be the heir to the Irish Syndicate.

Instead, my father wants to marry me off to the highest bidder to fund a war I don’t believe in.

My carefully controlled life starts to unravel, spiraling out of control faster than I can stop it.

And then I meet them, and I can breathe again.

Tall with perpetual smirks and covered in tattoos, they remind me what it feels like to live.

Remind me that I don’t need someone to save me.

I’m a King. I can save myself.

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Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Vicious Lies by Rachel Leigh

Book Cover

Vicious Lies; Bastards of Boulder Cove #2
(#2 within a series)

Publication Date: September 30, 2022

Genre/Tropes: New Adult/Antihero/Dark/Reverse Harem/Secret Society/Bully Romance

Author: Rachel Leigh

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


Things are heating up and getting more twisted as the plot thickens. It’s delicious and suspenseful and you won’t be able to put it down.

While there have always been intense feelings between Jagger, Crew, Scar and Neo, whether it was anger, hate or something else now that Crew and Scar have become an official couple Jagger is wondering if he should have made his feelings known sooner.

Vicious Lies dives deeper into the past relationship between Jagger and Scar as well as how he could potentially fit with Crew and her now. He isn’t there to mess up what they have, but he also isn’t willing to walk away from what he feels for her, what he’s always felt for her.

I love Jagger and how he handles his friendships along with his feelings for Scar. She too doesn’t back down with the intense emotions she’s feeling for both guys and stirring deep inside, and I mean deep down inside is something else for the third guy in residence, Neo. Mostly it’s hate, but you know right there next to hate…well, we’ll just have to see.

For Scar, there is a really nice balance between a sweet and loving Crew, a spicy and protective Jagger and I can just picture a total Dom of an alphahole in Neo, but I’m totally here and ready to find out.

Plus…the mystery of who is stalking Scar and wanting to bring everyone down, I can’t wait to find out how it all ends.


At Boulder Cove Academy, three things are certain:

The Lawless Rule.
The games are dangerous.
Nothing is as it seems.

I came here expecting to face my bullies with an iron fist.

I played their games and won.

Now that I’ve earned my place, at the academy and in their home, I should have nothing to fear.

But with every past there is a shadow and mine is drawing closer with each step I take.

I thought The Lawless were the ones I should fear, but someone far more vicious is watching.

The games should be over, but it seems they’ve only just begun.

The Bastards of Boulder Cove series must be read in order:
Book Cover Book Cover

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Book Reviews, Contemporary Romance, Year of Reviews - 2022

Review – Heart of Stone by K.K. Allen

Heart of Stone; Camp Bexley #3
(#3 within an interconnected series)

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre/Tropes: Second Chance/Contemporary Romance

Author: K.K. Allen

Review Rating: 5 Gold Stars


Grab the tissues and also prepare to smack Benson Bexley around a little bit because Heart of Stone is quite the emotional roller coaster ride, but an amazing ride it was!

When this book first started I did not like Benny Bexley very much. He was a bit skeevy and totally conceited, but I also knew beneath all of that bravado he was hurting. While all of the Bexley brothers went through a great tragedy years ago, Benson lost even more, as he lost his twin brother. Carrying this grief around for the past decade, having it weigh down on his shoulders only made him harden his heart to those around him, living life on the surface and never digging deep, but as the story went along and Benson dug into those long buried emotions….wow, he is one really great guy, with a really dirty mouth. I totally fell in love.

Brooklyn Kennedy had a major crush on Benson back in high school and he had no idea she really existed, at least not the real Brooklyn. It was unstandable considering those were the darkest days of his life, but she didn’t really understand back then. Fast forward to the present and Benson is back in town, a place he never thought he’d return to, but to pass the time he signs up for an art class, one that Brooklyn is teaching. All I’ll say is Brooklyn isn’t exactly happy to see the man who doesn’t remember her one bit.

I adored Brooklyn and her smart, feisty spirit. She also has the perfect softness to loosen up Benson’s hardness. He’s been going at the same speed for so long, it isn’t until he is challenged by Brooklyn that he actually slows down and softens up. Those moments require tissues, on the flip side there are also lots of moments where Benson’s sweetly, dirty mouth comes out to play and you might need a fan to cool down instead.

Heart of Stone and Benson Bexley have become my favorite Bexley book, but I do have a feeling that the youngest brother, Cayson, has a strong shot of over taking all of his older brothers.

Benson Bexley always had a heart of stone.
Apparently nothing changes.

When he returns home after a decade gone, I recognize him right away.
How could I forget him?
He’s the same cocky flirt who slid dirty poetry to me in art class.
With the same stone-cold stare that shielded his soul from the world.
And that same sharp-edged jaw that cut straight through my heart like a dagger.

Fortunately, this time I see right through his arrogant charm.
Even better, he doesn’t remember who I am.
And I have no intention of reminding him.
After all, it’s only a matter of time until his nomadic life takes him away again.
When his poetic charm strikes again, I play along.
But maybe it’s time he got a taste of his own medicine.

It’s not in my nature.
But Benson Bexley deserves nothing less.
It’s time for that heart of stone to shatter.

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