Review: Space (Penny Reid)

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Space
Series: Laws of Physics, #2
Author: Penny Reid
Publication Date: March 11, 2019
Publisher: EverAfter Romance
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One week.
Private cabin.
Famous physicist.
Still an unrepentant slacker.
What’s the worst that could happen?

Mona’s meticulously planned allotment of relaxation is thrown into chaos by the unscheduled appearance of her older brother’s band of friends, including the one person she’d hoped to never face again. Abram still makes her feel entirely too much, which is one of the reasons she disappeared after their one week together. But now, trapped on a mountain of snow and things unspoken, Mona will have to find a way to coexist with Abram, chaos and all.


If you aren’t familiar with the Laws of Physics series, it starts with Motion. In Motion, we meet Mona and Abram. Genius Mona is pretending to be her twin sister, Lisa. “Lisa” is under her brother’s best friend’s watchful eye for her wild ways. Abram and “Lisa” connect in a way neither of them planned. Some stuff goes down and there’s a major cliffhanger. (If this sounds at all interesting, hurry up and pick up Motion)

Why I did I just tell you all that? Well, Space is the continuation of Mona and Abram’s story. It’s been a couple of years since Mona and Abram saw each other. Both have regrets from their time together. They have to work through a bunch of stuff. It’s uncomfortable and note easy for either of them to do, especially around so many people.

PENNY REID!!! You’re so amazing, so how can you be so cruel? I loved Space so much. It was so freaking sweet and funny and good. It was also stressful in the best way possible. The cliffhanger wasn’t exactly shocking, but it did leave me needing MORE.I need Time like NOW! I couldn’t get enough of Mona and Abram. Fans of Penny Reid’s books are going to love this smart romance series.

Laws of Physics is the second trilogy in the Hypothesis series; Laws of Physics parts 1 (MOTION) & 2 (SPACE) end with a cliffhanger.

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Motion

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Time

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Meet Penny Reid:

Penny Reid is the Best Selling Author of the Winston Brothers, Knitting in the City, Rugby, and Hypothesis series. She used to spend her days writing federal grant proposals as a biomedical researcher, but now she just writes books. She’s also a full time mom to three diminutive adults, wife, daughter, knitter, crocheter, sewer, general crafter, and thought ninja.

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Review: Team Player (Julianna Keyes)

Team Player
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Don’t hate the player…

BOTTOM NINE
Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor.

BASES LOADED
Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade.

TWO OUT
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight…


Team Player is a classic contemporary sports romance. It’s written in third person dual point of view. While that’s not my favorite type of narration, it was well done. I almost didn’t notice it was third instead. I loved how each chapter started off with a fun Tweet that applied to what was coming up.

There was a lot of stuff going on in this book. Gwen was dealing with her aunt’s death and trying to hold onto her job with the Thrashers. Her attraction to Ty wasn’t something she was ready to face. Ty wasn’t quite ready for Gwen either. His baseball career hasn’t been the same since his best friend abandoned him. Despite all of this, they don’t want to fight their attraction and start to secretly see each other. The secrecy of their relationship adds a bunch of other things for Gwen and Ty to deal with.

Gwen and Tyler were both similar and completely opposite people. Gwen was quiet and spent a lot of time trying to fly under the radar. Tyler was a cocky athlete who was always in the spotlight. Surprisingly, both of them were loners. Neither had a good support system or friends. I thought that was weird and a little too convenient, but it was one of the things that helped them connect to each other. They had great chemistry. I loved their quiet moments together — especially how they watched a baking show together.

I think what shocked me most about Team Player was that it wasn’t the couple or the romance that was my favorite thing about the book. I loved other stuff more. I thought Gwen and Ty’s backstories were really good and important. I wish they had gotten a little more focus. I loved reading about Gwen’s relationship with Marge and how it shaped her life — especially when it came to her job with the Thrashers. The dynamic in Gwen’s office was fun and fresh. I loved how smart she was when it came to her job. I adored all of the Thrashers’ players. Ty’s teammates were hilarious. They made his character feel more “real”. I would love books about a couple of them. (Preferably in first person…) Overall, Team Player was a fun contemporary sports romance.

Review: Heart of the Devil (Meghan March)

Heart of the Devil
Series: Forge Trilogy, #3
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Publisher: Red Dress Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling author Meghan March comes the stunning conclusion to the Forge Trilogy. In this final volume, ruthless billionaire Jericho Forge faces his toughest challenge. To emerge victorious, he’ll have to give up the one thing he’s never offered a woman—his heart.

It started as a game. She was nothing but my pawn.

But I was quick to see the error in my ways, and now she is everything I never knew I needed.

The value of a woman like India Baptiste is beyond measure.

But the problem with being a man like me? I’ve already screwed this up, and there’s no guarantee India will take me on for one last bet.

I’ll do whatever I have to do. Drop to my knees and offer her the only thing I have left. The one thing that’s only ever been hers—the heart of the devil.

Woohoo! What a conclusion to an explosive trilogy! Heart of the Devil exceeded every expectation I had for it. It kept me on my toes at all times. I didn’t know who to suspect or believe. I was shocked and awed by so many of the revelations that kept coming throughout the entire book. Ms. March couldn’t have written a better ending for Jericho and Indy’s epic romance. I loved every minute of it!

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All about Meghan March

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

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Review: The Unhoneymooners (Christina Lauren)

The Unhoneymooners
Authors: Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

For two sworn enemies, anything can happen during the Hawaiian trip of a lifetime—maybe even love—in this romantic comedy from the New York Times bestselling authors of Roomies.

Olive Torres is used to being the unlucky twin: from inexplicable mishaps to a recent layoff, her life seems to be almost comically jinxed. By contrast, her sister Ami is an eternal champion . . . she even managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a slew of contests. Unfortunately for Olive, the only thing worse than constant bad luck is having to spend the wedding day with the best man (and her nemesis), Ethan Thomas.

Olive braces herself for wedding hell, determined to put on a brave face, but when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. Suddenly there’s a free honeymoon up for grabs, and Olive will be damned if Ethan gets to enjoy paradise solo.

Agreeing to a temporary truce, the pair head for Maui. After all, ten days of bliss is worth having to assume the role of loving newlyweds, right? But the weird thing is . . . Olive doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, the more she pretends to be the luckiest woman alive, the more it feels like she might be.

With Christina Lauren’s “uniquely hilarious and touching voice” (Entertainment Weekly), The Unhoneymooners is a romance for anyone who has ever felt unlucky in love.


If I had to sum The Unhoneymooners up in one word it would be delightful. I absolutely adored this book. It is one of the most enjoyable enemies to lovers romantic comedies I have read. It’s definitely one of my new favorite CL books.

The Unhoneymooners had me laughing and smiling the entire time I was reading it. I loved it so much I read it in an evening. Ethan and Olive had the best banter. It started out mean and then morphed into flirtatious. I loved the way they egged each other on and pushed each other’s limits. It made for great chemistry between the two of them. They also had some touching deeper moments between them. I loved how getting to know each other broke down walls between them. Ethan and Olive were so perfect for each other.

Another thing I loved was how flawed each of them were. This book was entirely in Olive’s point of view. At times I wanted to give her a good shake and tell her stop feeling so sorry for herself and to quit being so stubborn. Ethan’s flaws were less grating and actually pretty normal. He blindly trusted and didn’t always think about other people’s feelings when acting. I missed not having Ethan’s point of view. He only got one chapter. It didn’t make me love the book any less, but it would have been nice to hear his thoughts.

There were also many hilarious and important relationships in this book besides the one between Ethan and Olive. Olive’s relationship with her twin sister was also front and center. Ami and Olive’s relationship was good, but they had some things to work out. Olive’s budding relationship with Ethan causes some stress with Ami and Dane. The rest of Olive’s family was outrageous and imperfectly perfect. They were a tight-knit group who showed up when they were needed.

The Unhoneymooners was so much fun that it’s going to be the book I recommend everyone take to the beach, pool, or park this summer. It’s that much of a good time.

Review: Fumbled Hearts (Meagan Brandy)

Fumbled Hearts
Series: Tender Hearts, #1
Author: Meagan Brandy
Narrators: CJ Bloom, Alexander Cendese
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

He’s the persistent playboy who refuses to walk away. I’m the impassive new girl with nothing left to give.
Things are about to get complicated…

After months of refusing, I finally agreed to make the move to Alrick Falls. My family thought it was best – that a new scene would be good for me—and I was sick of having the same conversation.
So here I am, and the plan is simple. Smile through each day and avoid her at all costs.
It’s perfect.

Until the cocksure quarterback comes into play.

The last thing I want is his crooked grin and dark brown eyes focused on me.
Yet here he is, constantly in my space, pushing me, daring me to care. Telling me what I think and feel, as if he knows.
He doesn’t know anything. And  I plan to keep it that way.


Yeah. I’m not where to start with this review, but I’m going to apologize ahead of time if it ends up being a complete rant.

I have to give Meagan Brandy props for her ability to write completely messed up characters. I have read a couple of her books now, and both of them had characters who had been through some rough times. Kalani’s flippant, hard-shelled personality was exactly what I would expect of someone trying to shield herself from the world. I loved how Nate broke down Kalani’s walls and how sweet their relationship was.

Everything else drove me absolutely positively nuts. Despite understanding Kalani’s attitude, I hated it. I hated the way she acted. She had a superiority complex that was insane. She complained others were judgemental, but she was just as judgemental. The way she treated people — Nate included — was not good. Kalani hid things from Nate when she didn’t have a reason to. She kept him at arm’s length even when she swore she loved him. She was a mess and I don’t think she truly got the smack in the face she needed.

I loved Nate. He didn’t hide who he was or what he did. He treated Kalani in a way I didn’t think she deserved. Nate did have a time of stupidity, but I wasn’t shocked by it and he had legit reason to be upset. He could have solved his problems before they started, but I didn’t blame him for his conclusions.

The rest of the characters were crazy, over the top high school students. I never really got a good read on Kalani’s cousin and her boyfriend. Parker was a sweetheart, but I couldn’t figure him out for a while. Things didn’t go where I thought they would with him, so I have to admit that despite not loving this book I will be reading the second. I loved Nate’s parents. Everyone else sucked in that snotty, mean girl/guy way.

Now for one of my biggest complaints about Fumbled Hearts. It was set in high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people! These characters and their actions were more suited for COLLEGE. Kalani had been emancipated for like FOUR YEARS before this book. She was 18. Who gets emancipated at 14? Maybe some kids do, but it seemed crazy when it could have easily have been only a year or two with the storyline. Then, there was all of the drinking and sex. I know this stuff happens in high school, but with the attitudes of the characters it made the whole feel of the book that much older. I kept waiting for someone to show up pregnant with all the talk about sex without a condom at times and pulling out. Seriously, why is this included? Nate’s parents seemed more than happy to let their son have sex under their roof AND didn’t say much when he admitted to not using a condom all of the time. If you’re going to write sex into a YA book, PLEASE advocate safe sex or show the consequences. Finally, there was the ending. It was cheesy and I honestly expected more from it.

I found Fumbling Hearts to be an addictive listen. The narrator did a great job, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to these messed up characters. I just didn’t really enjoy where things went. It was all too problematic for me. 🙁 I’m hoping book 2 is better.

Review: Diary of a Bad Boy (Meghan Quinn)

Diary of a Bad Boy
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: March 7, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Dear Diary,

I might have gotten myself into a wee bit of trouble—and I’m not talking about the “court mandated community service,” or “therapy sessions from bashing a bloke in the head” kind of trouble.

I wish it were that simple.

Nope. I’m talking about the “falling in love with one of my client’s daughters,” kind of trouble . . .
The kind of problem I can’t talk my way out of when the truth gets out.

How I ended up with her phone is a long story—and when she called to get it back, I took things a bit too far. One innocent exchange wound up leading to so much more.

Fun, new, and totally immune to my charm, Sutton is different. And I had no idea she was the daughter of Foster Green.

Blame it on the dark colored stout running through my veins, pushing me toward one bad decision after another. Pushing me toward her even though I know right from wrong; even though she’s my client’s daughter.

Dating her might be the best or worst decision I’ve ever made. Only time, whiskey, and one more roll around the mattress with her will tell.

Roark


Diary of a Bad Boy is one of those books I loved from the moment I started it. That’s something I have come to expect from Meghan Quinn. She writes the best romantic comedies, and Diary of a Bad Boy is one of them.

What did I love about this book? The writing. Diary of a Bad Boy was infused with humor. I loved the banter between Roark and Sutton. It was just so much fun. I loved that it was written in dual points of view, so I got both Roark and Sutton’s thoughts. There was also a fun bad boy diary by Roark. I loved reading his attempt at therapy through the diary. My favorite thing, though, were the text messages between Roark and Sutton. They were so perfect.

Roark and Sutton were an incredibly fun match. Roark was older, more experienced, and more jaded than Sutton. He liked to smoke, drink, and fight. Roark was a bad boy to the bone. He needed someone as young, somewhat naive, and full of sunshine as Sutton. Their interactions were so entertaining. I loved how they started off as enemies and then slowly grew on each other.

Roark and Sutton had some meaningful relationships that I adored. Roark had his friendships with Bram and Rath that we first saw in The Secret to Dating Your Best Friend’s Sister. I really enjoyed seeing more of these guys supporting each other. Sutton had a crazy best friend. My favorite side character was actually Sutton’s dad, Foster. I loved her relationship with him. I also loved Roark’s relationship with him.

Yeah. Diary of a Bad Boy was a great read. I loved every moment I spent with it. It’s made me super excited to read Rath’s book. There’s a story there that I cannot wait to find out about!

Review: Hollywood Princess (Natasha Madison)

Hollywood Princess
Series: Hollywood Royalty, #2
Author: Natasha Madison
Publication Date: February 26, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Behind the “lights, camera, action” of Hollywood lies a world of deception, love, and seduction.

Are you ready for Hollywood Royalty?

Kellie

An Oscar, a Tony, an Emmy, a Grammy—she has them all.
She’s the most sought-after woman in Hollywood.
Even if her rise to fame was a fluke, you can’t deny the camera loves her.
The problem is, so does everyone else, and she’s about to leave on the biggest concert tour of her life.
Headlining for the first time in five years.

Around the world in ninety days. Should be a piece of cake.
Until her new security detail walks in the room and she’s looking into the eyes of the only man who didn’t fall for her charm.

It’s only a matter of time until he falls for Hollywood’s Princess.


Do you like books about celebrities? How about books about celebrities and their bodyguards? If you do, then I highly recommend Hollywood Princess. I have read quite a few bodyguard romances and Hollywood Princess is one of my new favorites.

Kellie is a country music superstar who is about to embark on a huge tour. Due to some recent threats, her security needs to be beefed up. She’s assign a personal bodyguard, one she knows from previous experiences. One Kellie hit on and was turned down by. Brian’s presence is sure to make things all awkward for her on tour. Kellie isn’t the only who finds things awkward. Brian may not have accepted Kellie’s advances in the past, but that doesn’t mean he was immune to them. Spending night and day with her will take all his willpower.

Hollywoood Princess was just as good, if not better than, Hollywood Playboy. Brian and Kellie were so much fun. Brian was this serious man who did things by the books. He didn’t mix work and play. That didn’t work for a celebrity who was used to getting what she wants, so Kellie was constantly pushing them. The push and pull of the situation made Brian and Kellie’s chemistry sizzle. I loved how they both tried to get their way and how their relationship evolved. It was very sweet.

The only thing I wasn’t completely sold on in Hollywood Princess was the suspense plot. I knew who the person intent on getting Kellie’s attention was from the get go. That didn’t really bother me. It was more the reasoning behind it all. It was just too much of a stretch, but I guess the person was kind of crazy…

Hollywood Princess was a great celebrity/bodyguard romance. It was filled with so many entertaining moments and a romance that made me swoon. I’m excited to find out what Natasha Madison has in store for me next with Hollywood Prince. I hope it will be just as good as the first two books in the Hollywood Royalty series.

Review: I Owe You One (Sophia Kinsella)

I Owe You One
Author: Sophia Kinsella
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Dial Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella, an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” But since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will? It’s simply not in her nature to say no to people.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. Turns out the computer’s owner is an investment manager. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, Sebastian scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. But Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

Then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. She wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. And Seb agrees, until the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


Sophie Kinsella has been writing books for years, but I Owe You One is the first I have picked up. My first impression wasn’t very positive. Fixie immediately had me feeling some emotions I didn’t enjoy. She was high sting and wound tight. The tension inside of her transferred to me. I thought, “Oh no.” I was worried I was going to struggle through the book feeling on edge and uncomfortable. That was just an initial reaction. As I continued to read past the first chapter, Fixie grew on me. Once I understood the reasons behind her disposition, I could relax and roll with her personality. I began to truly enjoy the story.

Fixie was a doormat. There was no one she stood up to. I wanted to smack her when it came to Ryan, Jake, and Nicole. Fixie gave and gave and gave. The happiness of those around her mattered more than her own. It was easy to identify with that. I think we have probably all been there at some point in our lives. I know I have. I Owe You One was really about Fixie coming into her own and learning how to say what needed to be said and do what needed to be done. I loved the evolution she went through. I am happy to say that I ended up loving her character way more than I expected to in the beginning.

The other characters in this story were perfect. Ryan was hideous and irredeemable. Jake was completely frustrating in his antics. Nicole…Oh my goodness. The way her sentences trailed off was hilarious. Her helplessness combined with her getting in touch with her personal happiness was over the top fun. I loved Fixie’s mom. She was so supportive and loving.

And then there was Seb. Seb was this great surprise. His IOU to Fixie added a cool layer to the story. It made all sorts of things happen. Seb helped Fixie grow in some of the best ways. I wish I would have gotten more of him.

I Owe You One was a delightful story. I ended up truly loving it. I am so happy that I didn’t give up reading it after my initial assessment of Fixie. She grew on me in the best of ways. Her story was so important and a good reminder to always be true to yourself.

Review: The Girl in the Painting

The Girl in the Painting
Author: Max Monroe
Publication Date: February 28, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Ansel Bray, an artist known around the world for his tragic hiatus from the canvas.
Ansel Bray, a broody, handsome man not known by me, at all.

Long dark hair, blue eyes, and dimpled cheeks. I’ve never met her, but her image is imprinted in my mind. An angel muse who inspires me to paint again.

There is something about him. Something that spurs a need to be as close to him as possible. A need to find out why.
There is something about her. Something that draws me in. Something that urges me to find out what her presence means.

Why does the girl in his painting look so much like me?
Who is this girl, and why can I see her so vividly?

I shouldn’t fall in love with him.
I shouldn’t fall in love at all.

But fate plays her hand.
But fate has other plans.

The lines of my life will blur.
The needs of my heart will change.

What a beautiful mess we’ve made.


Just when I think I know Max Monroe’s writing, they go and change things up again. I have always been a fan of their contemporary romances. When they released the Stone Cold Fox trilogy I was shocked at how versatile their writing was. It blew my mind how well they did both romantic comedy and romantic suspense. With The Girl in the Painting they have gone in another direction that has me marveling at their writing talent. This book was more emotional that anything I have read of theirs before. I loved that. Is there anything they can’t write? I doubt it.

The Girl in the Painting is one of those books you have to experience for yourself. There was a touching and addictive plot. I guessed some of the things that happened, but other parts were a shock. Everything was so well executed. The characters were so colorful. Ansel came across loud and clear as the tortured artist. His story was both heartbreaking and inspiring. Indy was a woman who thought she was living until she met Ansel. Their connection to each other was palpable. I got lost in their story and the emotion of it.

I was so impressed by A Girl in the Painting. It wasn’t what I have come to expect from Max Monroe, but I loved it as much as I have loved some of my favorite books of theirs. I hope we get more emotional tales from this duo. I wouldn’t mind a book about some of the side characters from this story.

Review: Bennett Mafia (Tijan)

Bennett Mafia
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: March 4, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

There were always whispers about my roommate at Hillcrest Academy.

The wealthiest of the wealthy sent their kids to our boarding school, and Brooke Bennett had been at the top, though I never quite knew why. She was fun and outgoing, but she kept quiet about her family. The only things she showed me were photographs of her brothers.

I became fascinated with her second-oldest brother. Kai Bennett.

He was the most of them all. Smoldering. Hypnotic. Alluring.
Kai had eyes that pulled me in and a face that haunted my dreams.

Then I met him.

He came to our school with their father, and that’s when I learned what kind of family Brooke came from. They were mafia, and Brooke’s oldest brother was dead. Her father said accident, but Brooke said murder.

Three months later, her father died, and Kai became the head of the Bennett Family. Brooke left Hillcrest for good, and that was the last time I saw her.

Fourteen years later, I’m staring at her face on the television. Brooke is missing.

Two days later, Kai Bennett kidnaps me.


I cannot get Bennett Mafia out of my head! Every time I read a book by Tijan, I’m stuck thinking about it for days. Her words and worlds are so addicting and emotionally impactful. It doesn’t matter if I like or dislike one of her books, I’m always left with something to work out in my mind. It happened again with this book. I can’t say that I fell head over heals in love with it, but I did really enjoy it. There were just a couple of things that I had a hard time digesting.

I was impressed with the tale Tijan told in Bennett Mafia. This book was more than just a dark romance. It had all the angst and emotional turmoil of one, but it also had some twists that reminded me of a thriller. Bennett Mafia took me on a ride. I loved that. So many things happened that I didn’t expect. It was great!

Kai and Riley were interesting characters. Riley was a tortured soul who tried to do good. She didn’t let many people in, and I found myself having a hard time getting close to her in the beginning. Once I got into her head and felt the frustration and indecision she was going through, it was easier to connect with her — which was important since she was our only narrator. Kai wasn’t really the book boyfriend type, but he was the perfect mafia king. He was demanding and intense. I would have loved to have had his point of view to know what he was thinking. Both Kai and Riley were methodical. Everything they did had a purpose. They were both very good at hiding emotions and doing what needed to be done. I think that’s why it took me a while to love both of them. I had to get past the walls they had erected just like the people in the book did.

Kai and Riley’s relationship wasn’t one made in heaven. It would be more accurate to say it was made in hell with the mafia thing and all. Their relationship made me uncomfortable at times. Not for the reasons I would have originally expected. I had a hard time buying into it. They had an immediate and intense physical attraction to each other. Their sexual tension and chemistry was strong. That’s where things kind of stopped for me, though. I didn’t feel the emotional connection between them for much of the book. I felt like the building blocks of that love or the moments they could have forged that bond weren’t really there or strong enough for me until the end. That made some of the choices they made not feel as true to me. I don’t want it to sound like I didn’t like Kai and Riley together. I did. I just wanted more from them, I guess. I wanted to feel for their relationship what I did for Samantha and Mason or Ryan and Mackenzie or Jesse and Alex.

Another thing that was uncomfortable for me was some of the brutality to the story — which I expected from a book about the mafia. I cringed through those parts as they propelled the plot forward. That kind of stuff isn’t my favorite to read, but I can handle it when I appreciate a story line. Those heinous acts were important to and perfect for Bennett Mafia.

Despite these things, I found myself addicted to the story. I always wanted to know what was going to happen next. I loved how things unraveled and became known. I also really loved the side characters. The Bennett family was so interesting and surprisingly lovable. Bennett Mafia may not have been my favorite Tijan romance, but it was my favorite Tijan suspense story.