Review: Black Hearts by Karina Halle

Black Hearts by Karina Halle
Series: Sins Duet #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 19th 2017
Links: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review

I wasn’t supposed to know about her. I never should have found her. And I sure as hell shouldn’t have taken her…

From a New York Times bestselling author comes a BRAND NEW smoldering romantic suspense that will get your pulse racing, your thighs clenching and the pages turning.

For Vicente Bernal, truth is all he’s known. The son of an infamous drug lord, Vicente was born to help run the family business, which means he’s been raised on a throne of sordid pasts and dirty laundry, violence and pride. But when Vicente stumbles across someone he’s not supposed to know about – a woman from his father’s checkered past – he sets out to California to find her behind his father’s back.

What Vicente doesn’t expect to find in San Francisco is Violet McQueen, the woman’s twenty-year old daughter. Beautiful and edgy with a vulnerability he can’t resist, Violet tempts Vicente from afar and though he promised himself he’d stay away from her, curiosity and lust are powerful forces. Besides, Vicente has always gotten everything he wants – why shouldn’t he have Violet too?

Soon his wants turn into a sexual obsession, one that sweeps Violet into his games as they fall madly, deeply in love with each other, the type of first love that can drive a person mad.

In a world of hot sex, raw love and damaging lies, these forbidden and star-crossed lovers are going to have to fight tooth and nail for their happy ending.

Our families would die before they ever let us be together.

I was SO excited when I heard that Karina Halle would be writing this series. I was a huge fan of the Artists Trilogy when it first came out, and though I still haven’t read the Dirty Angels series, it’s been on my tbr because of none other than Javier! Now we finally get Ellie and Camden’s, and Javier and Luisa’s children’s story. This is a star-crossed lovers romance like no other. Violet McQueen’s mother and Vicente Bernal’s father were lovers turned enemies, and now their children get the chance at a love that could have been.

Vicente Bernal has known his drug lord father to be the ruthless, dangerous, insane, almost-cruel man he’s been all his life. But when he finds letters written by his father from a time when he was actually sane and possibly with a heart, he’s determined to find the woman who brought out the man Javier Bernal used to be – Ellie Watt, now Ellie McQueen. When he arrives in America with a fake identity, Vicente isn’t sure of the path that will get him to Ellie, but when her daughter, Violet, appears in front of him, it seems as if fate was deciding which path he should take.

“You’re everything I’ve ever needed,” he says through a lustful groan. He bites his lip, the corded muscles of his neck straining. “I was famished, starved, for you. For this.”

Violet McQueen doesn’t know why, but she’s always felt like her family was just a little bit… off. Her parents are hiding something, and when she finds out about a grandfather who was supposed to be dead her whole life had died only recently, she sets out to uncover the lies told by her parents. Along the way she meets the gorgeous, mysterious Vicente – the passion and lust between them is fierce, and it isn’t long before she finds herself falling and trusting him. But what will happen when she finds out that another person she loves has been lying to her?

“You’re mine, Violet,” I murmur roughly against her mouth, my fingers pressing into her cheekbones. “I don’t care how that sounds, but it’s all truth. You belong to me.”

I had high expectations for Black Hearts, but it fell a little flatter than I expected. I never connected with either of the main characters – Violet was too naive and trusting and Vicente felt wishy washy and immature. I never really BELIEVED in the love that grew between them. It seemed like one minute they were in lust and the next minute they were in love. I get that they were in moments of action so it would be hard for them to have any down time, but I would’ve liked to see the romance bloom more genuinely. I actually started disliking the parents too, which was a disappointment because I loved them in their own books. Much of the book was just a little too boring and aggravating, and I just couldn’t find it in myself to care that much about all the problems going on in the book. However, these feelings could entirely be just me, so if you were a fan of either of the original series, please don’t let this review stop you from giving Black hearts and the Sins Duet a try! Hopefully you’ll enjoy it more than I did!


Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.

Reading Order: Sins Duet series


#1 ~ Black Hearts: Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Souls: My Review • EbookGoodreads

The Sins Duet is a standalone spinoff series of The Artists Trilogy and the Dirty Angels series. Here are the reading orders for both series (which you don’t need to read before starting Black Hearts).

Reading Order: The Artists Trilogy


#0.5 ~ On Every Street: EbookAudible • Goodreads
#1 ~ Sins & Needles: My Review • EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Shooting Scars: My Review •  EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Bold Tricks: EbookPaperbackAudibleGoodreads

Reading Order: Dirty Angels series

Dirty Angels by Karina Halle Dirty Deeds by Karina Halle Dirty Promises by Karina Halle

#1 ~ Dirty Angels: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#2 ~ Dirty Deeds: EbookPaperbackGoodreads
#3 ~ Dirty Promises: EbookPaperback • Goodreads


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Audiobook Review: The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard
Series: Haunted Hearts Legacy #1 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Length: 12 hours and 45 minutes
Narrated by: Gemma Dawson
Links: Audible • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower – intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

International and NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book New Adult gothic saga following the generations of one family as – haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts – they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

I’ve only read one other book of A.G. Howard’s and that was her YA novel, but the premise of The Architect of Song sounded promising, and I’ve been super in NA fantasy lately so I decided to give it a try. This is more paranormal than fantasy though, but anything in the NA genre that wasn’t contemporary was still right in my boat. Here we have a story about nineteen-year-old Juliet whose deafness has caused her to live a life of isolation. But when her home is at risk of being seized, she is unknowingly thrust into a web of secrets and lies… and even ghosts.

Listening to this audiobook was a strange experience, to say the least. Usually I don’t have a hard time following a story when I listen, but this wasn’t the case with The Architect of Song. I felt like too many things were happening at the same time, and the story was too tame to really hook me in. I wanted more romance, especially between Juliet and her ghost, because I wanted to see how that would work out. The mystery surrounding the ghost Hawk and Lord Thornton, who was the one trying to take away her estate, was a bit too convoluted for me. I’m sure if I read this instead of listened, I would’ve understood more, but the audiobook just wasn’t working too well for me.

This is the first time that I’ve listened to a narrator with an English accent though, which was wonderful and lovely. I really enjoyed Gemma Dawson’s accent and voice and would definitely listen to her again. Her narration was what made listening to The Architect of Song a little more enjoyable, so it wasn’t a complete bust. I’d say if you’re a fan of mysteries and love stories, you should give this a try! Hopefully it’ll keep you hooked more than it did for me.

THE ARCHITECT OF SONG is now available on Audible:

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Reading Order: Haunted Hearts Legacy series

#1 ~ The Architect of Song: Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ The Hummingbird Heart: Goodreads (out Aug. 2017)
#3 ~ The Glass Butterfly: Goodreads (out Aug. 2018)
#4 ~ The Artisan of Light: Goodreads (out Aug. 2019)

Here’s an audio excerpt from The Architect of Song!


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Audiobook Review: Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole

Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole

Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole
Series: Sweet Home #2 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Length: 10 hours and 40 minutes
Narrated by: Stephanie Bentley
Links: Audible • EbookPaperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

From the USA Today best-selling Sweet Home series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds, and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.

We all have secrets.

Secrets well buried.

Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.

Lexington “Lexi” Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family, and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve.

When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.

Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year’s NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves, and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law – until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track.

But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman – a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.

Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?

Tillie Cole knows how to write intense, emotional romances with broken characters. While I didn’t love Sweet Fall, it was an experience listening to this audiobook. If you were a fan of the previous books in the Sweet Home series, you’ll definitely want to pick up Sweet Fall. The story has a similar vibe to Molly and Rome’s, if a little darker, and it’s got that unique NA college feel that Tillie Cole writes. Plus, the narrator, Stephanie Bentley, is my favorite so far of the series!

Lexi Hart and Austin Carillo appear to have the perfect college lives, but beneath the surface is something much more dark and painful. Lexi has been battling her eating disorder, which nearly cost her her life, for years, and just when she thought she’d made it, the voice in her head telling her she’s pathetic and worthless rises up again. Austin is the wide receiver for the Crimson Tide, but he’s mainly doing football for his family. His mother is on her deathbed and his brothers have been picked up by a dangerous gang, and he needs to be picked up by the NFL to save them. Lexi and Austin are hanging on by a thread, but by some miracle, they manage to find and lean on each other. They find solace in each other but can they have a lasting relationship when both are fighting demons in their heads?

This was not the easiest book to listen to, but I was definitely hooked onto Austin and Lexi’s story. I felt for their pain and the struggles that they go through. While I couldn’t connect that well, my heart went out to these characters. It gets a little depressing at times, which is not my thing, and Austin’s story involving the gang got frustrating at times, which is why I can’t give this a higher rating. I will say that the narration was perfect – it was my first time listening to Stephanie Bentley but it definitely won’t be my last! She did a fantastic job at narrating and I had no problems with her Southern accent.

Angsty, romantic, and intense, Sweet Fall isn’t for the light-hearted listeners, but if you’ve enjoyed Tillie Cole’s other books, then you’ll probably enjoy Sweet Fall too.

SWEET FALL is now available on Audible:

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Reading Order: Sweet Home series

Sweet Home by Tillie Cole Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole
Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole

#1 ~ Sweet Home: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Sweet Rome: My Review • Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Sweet Fall: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Sweet Hope: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Sweet Soul: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Here’s an audio excerpt from Sweet Fall!


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Blog Tour + ARC Review: A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole

Welcome to today’s stop on the tour for A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole!

A Veil of Vines by Tillie Cole
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: November 28th 2016
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To most people, princes, princesses, counts and dukes are found only in the pages of the most famous of fairytales. Crowns, priceless jewels and gilded thrones belong only in childhood dreams.

But for some, these frivolous fancies are truth.

For some, they are real life.

On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, people have always treated me as someone special. All because of my ancestral name and legacy. All because of a connection I share to our home country’s most important family of all.

I am Caresa Acardi, the Duchessa di Parma. A blue blood of Italy. I was born to marry well. And now the marriage date is set.

I am to marry into House Savona. The family that would have been the royals had Italy not abolished the monarchy in 1946. But to the aristocrats of my home, the abolition means nothing at all.

The Savonas still hold power where it counts most.

In our tight-knit world of money, status and masked balls, they are everything and more.

And I am soon to become one of them.

I am soon to become Prince Zeno Savona’s wife…

… or at least I was, until I met Achille.

And everything changed.

Buy Links:
Amazon US • Amazon UK • Amazon AU • Amazon CA • Kobo

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A Veil of Vines is pretty different from what Tillie Cole has released before – it’s a fairly sweet and simple romance that isn’t too dramatic or angsty. I was intrigued enough by the blurb, but wasn’t sure what to expect in the book. While there wasn’t anything that particularly wowed me, I did appreciate the simplicity of the love story. It’s predictable and a little cheesy, but if you’re a fan of the author, then you might want to pick this book up.

Since she was a child, Caresa Acardi was a promised bride of the heir of the former royal Savonas. Her family was considered royalty in Italy, which meant arranged marriages, so she must continue the tradition with Zeno Savona, despite the fact that she doesn’t know him. But when she arrives in Italy, it’s not the prince she ends up falling for, but the shy winemaker on the Savona’s land.

Achille Marchesi is a sweet, shy, humble hero, something that I’m sadly not used to in the romances I read. He was a breath of fresh air to read about, and definitely my favorite part of this book. It’s a touch of a forbidden love story between them, but it’s pretty low on drama like I said before. I could see how things would work out between Achille and Caresa but it was still enjoyable reading about how the two of them fell for each other despite the factors going against them.

Simple and romantic, A Veil of Vines isn’t quite the epic love story, but I think for those who like Tillie Cole’s way of writing and storytelling, this will be a hit. It’s not a favorite of mine from her books, but I don’t regret reading it, and I’m excited for more from her!

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about the author button

Tillie ColeTillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram • Goodreads

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One (1) Signed Copy of A Veil of Vines + Limited-Edition The Future Mrs. Marchesi T-Shirt

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Audiobook Review: Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole

Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole

Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole
Series: Sweet Home #1.5 (full reading order below)
Audiobook Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Length: 12 hours
Narrated by: David Radford
Links: Audible • Ebook • Paperback • Goodreads
Source: I received an audiobook in exchange for an honest review

You met Romeo Prince in the Amazon and USA Today best-selling novel Sweet Home. Now hear the story from his lips: unbarred, uncensored, and raw to the bone.

It makes me laugh when I hear folks think Molly and I rushed into things too fast, spouting that we couldn’t possibly have felt what we did for each other in such a short space of time. I say, how the hell would they know? We made it, didn’t we? She became my whole life, didn’t she? And as for my folks not being real, being true? Tell that to me aged 10, 11, 12 – damn, all my bastard life – when I was never enough, when I was beaten until I bled for being too good at football and not being everything they’d dreamed: the perfectly dutiful son. Tell that to thousands of kids around the world getting wailed on by asshole parents for whatever stupid reason; tell them evil doesn’t exist in their eyes.

F–k Romeo and Juliet. This is the story of me and my girl, from my lips. No mushy sentiment, no cheese, just the plain, hard truth, and, because I’m feeling generous, I’m going to let you in on more of our story, too.

Sweet Rome is a new adult companion novel to Sweet Home. It contains adult content, sexual situations, and mature topics. Suited for ages 18 and up.

If you were a fan of Sweet Home and ever wondered what Rome was thinking throughout the novel, then Sweet Rome is perfect for you! I do enjoy getting the male POV in my romances, so Sweet Rome was a must listen for me. I love getting inside the hero’s head and experiencing how he falls in love with the heroine, and Tillie Cole gave me exactly that in this audiobook.

As you know from Sweet Home, the heroine, Molly Shakespeare moves from England to the University of Alabama to complete her Master’s. She’s incredibly smart, but her social skills aren’t exactly the best. She keeps to herself, until one day she can’t – Romeo Prince storms into her life and turns it upside down and for the better. The quarterback and heir to an oil fortune, Rome sweeps Molly off her feet in a whirlwind romance. He’s intense, sexy, alpha – and there is no one but Molly for him.

I really enjoyed getting to know Rome’s side of things, and I appreciated that his book wasn’t a full recap of what happened in Sweet Home. There are new scenes that we never saw in the first book, which made listening to Sweet Rome all the more enjoyable. David Radford is a new-to-me narrator, but he did a fantastic job with the Southern accents in this audiobook. I’ve listened to accents that sound cringeworthy, and thankfully his wasn’t. I would definitely listen to more of his narrations!

If you like opposites-attract romances, especially those where the popular quarterback falls for the quiet nerd, then you’ll probably enjoy Sweet Home and Sweet Rome. The two go hand-in-hand, and I’d say it’s worth it to get both stories for the different perspectives of the main characters if you enjoyed the first book. Right now, I’m excited to listen to the rest of the series in audio!

SWEET ROME is now available on Audible:

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Reading Order: Sweet Home series

Sweet Home by Tillie Cole Sweet Rome by Tillie Cole
Sweet Fall by Tillie Cole Sweet Hope by Tillie Cole Sweet Soul by Tillie Cole

#1 ~ Sweet Home: My Review • EbookPaperback • Audible • Goodreads
#1.5 ~ Sweet Rome: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Sweet Fall: EbookPaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Sweet Hope: Ebook • PaperbackAudible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Sweet Soul: My Review • Ebook • Paperback • Audible • Goodreads

Here’s an audio excerpt from Sweet Rome!


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