Book Reviews, Dark Romance, Forbidden/Taboo, Mafia/Gang/Secret Society Romance, New Adult, Suspense/Intrigue Romance, Year of Reviews - 2023

Review – The Lies Beneath by Bri Blackwood

The Lies Beneath; The Westwick University #1
(#1 within a series)

Publication Date: March 13, 2023

Genre/Tropes: Book Duet/New Adult/Dark/Age-Gap/Stalker/Secret Society Romance

Author: Bri Blackwood

Review Rating: 3.5 Gold Stars


This is an age gap, stalker romance with a secret society trope wrapped up in lots of darkness all in a twisted little bow.

Iris Bennington picks up a stalker in Soren Grant, a billionaire who turns into her professor. Soren basically begins fulfilling her wishes, although there is a lot that leads into how he fulfills these wishes that lets us know this man is not quite all together upstairs, if you get my drift, but basically it all boils down to he’s just super obsessed. From the moment he sees her he was all in and the question I had was, should he really be obsessing over a college student when he’s a billionaire CEO? The answer to that was…well, I’ll let you decide because I’m sure it’s all part of his unhinged factor.

Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself…but as I read the book and finished the book, I was still left with a lot of unresolved questions. Yes, I realize this is a duet, but the suspenseful plot wasn’t the issue, that part is actually what still kept me reading. It actually was the relationship between Iris and Soren that I was hoping to have more spark and…their chemistry was just off. One moment Iris thought Soren was a total creep and the next she was swooning as they jumped into things at lightning speed…there was no build up and it just threw me, personally.

While this is a big reason for the 3.5 overall star rating I also had a hard time with so much internal dialogue. This isn’t an accurate account by any means, but I swear their internal monologuing took up about 95% of the book and without conversations or characters interacting with other people, my mind started to wander. While this is all personal reading preference and doesn’t reflect on the author’s talent, it did leave my mind time to think about those questions and reflections that had nothing to do with the author’s voice. Please remember this review is my personal opinion and my reading preference on an author’s voice should not sway your reading choices on who to read.

Privilege has its secrets…

Westwick University is known for its prestige and pedigree for hundreds of years.

Many people would die to come here…

And some have come here and died.

There are lies buried within these walls that the world doesn’t know about.

But I do.

It’s what happens when your family has gone to the same college for generations.

Stories and secrets are passed down, making me yearn to know more.

I’m determined to discover if each and every one is true, but I’m distracted.

Because my new professor has taken a particular interest in me.

Or so I think.

I shouldn’t be tempted because anything with him is forbidden.

But the way that he only has eyes for me has set me on edge.

I can’t tell if there is something there or if I’m making it all up in my head.

Why would a billionaire, who is known for his solitary life after the death of his wife, want to teach here?

There’s so much I don’t know.

But I know that lies do nothing but lead to more lies.

And when I uncover the truth, the world will implode.

The Lies Beneath is the first book in a dark forbidden college romance duet that has enemies-to-lovers themes. This book may not be suitable for all readers due to dubious situations that might be triggering. It ends in a cliffhanger.

Find more of my reviews on Amazon under Kayreader
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