Starla’s October – November 2021 Reviews

Sins in the Silence
By T. Maree

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Genre: Romantic suspense
POV: Alternating dual perspective, past tense
Heat gauge: 🔥 (1/5)

The prequel novella gives a glimpse into the Leah Reynolds Mystery series. Leah has a dark past, one she is afraid to talk about. She shuts out most people and even keeps her best friend, Jake at arm’s length. Jake is determined to break down Leah’s defences, but he knows to tread carefully. That’s why he enlists her help as an unofficial police consultant. And the mystery they must solve this time is a heart-wrenching case of domestic abuse.

This is an intriguing crime story wrapped up in a sweet romance. The protagonists are both likable and relatable people and I can’t wait to see their friendship bloom into a full-blown love affair.

I recommend this book to all lovers of romantic suspense and crime fiction.

(Rose's Inferno Trilogy, #1)
By Frankie Page

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Genre: Dark paranormal romance
Content Warnings: killing, death, profanity, violence, sexual assault (not between MCs), and a cliff-hanger ending.
POV: 1st Person present tense, alternating dual perspective
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4/5)

Selling her soul didn’t seem like a hefty price to pay to save her boyfriend’s life. But that was before he cheated on her. Scorned by the man she loved; Rose throws in her lot with hell to become a vengeance demon. Ace, the fiend who bought her soul, now shows her the ropes as she begins her transition. Wrath isn’t the only sin he wants to indulge in with her either. He wishes he could take her straight to hell, but a few things still tie her to the mortal coil, including her job. Rose works as a medical examiner and a brutal serial killer case has come to her attention. With her new powers, she feels compelled to do what the police can’t—to wreak eternal retribution.

Frankie Page has outdone herself with this one. I loved the dark, twisted characters and the gripping plot hooked me from the get-go. The tension between Rose and Ace is so hot! I’m also a sucker for a good love triangle, so the introduction of Grayson did not disappoint. I can’t wait to see where this story goes!

Discretion is advised with this book. Check the trigger warnings first. If such content does not worry you, and you enjoy paranormal romance, I highly recommend you read Retribution by Frankie Page.

Payback Princess
(Lost Daughter of a Serial Killer #2)
By C.M. Stunich

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Genre: Dark contemporary romance, romantic suspense, reverse harem
Content Warnings: Bullying, violence, pseudo incest, dark themes, cliff-hanger ending.
POV: 1st person, present tense.
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4/5)

What would you do for the one you love? Would you let yourself fall in love again to save them? Dakota’s father has put her between a rock and hard place, convincing her to perform unspeakable acts to save the boy she loves. But Parrish isn’t her only crush and Daddy knows this. Is he trying drive a wedge between everyone she cares about? If so, it’s not going to work, at least not where her guys are concerned.

I absolutely loved everything about this book. It is definitely on my favourites list now. There is so much raw emotion, steamy chemistry, and suspense that I couldn’t put this book down. It is very well written, and the characters are amazing.

If you can handle the heat and reverse harem aspect, I recommend this book to all lovers of crime thriller and romantic suspense. Just make sure you read book 1 first.

Pillar of Light
(The Lost Princess #1)
By A. Mashburn

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Genre: Paranormal romance, shifters, fated mates.
Content Warnings: Mild f/f interactions.
POV: 3rd Person, multiple POVs
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥 (3/5)

War threatens Gretchen’s family, forcing her to flee. To forfeit her memories and disappear into the human world. The spirit animal sharing Gretchen’s mind and body fights against the spell that binds her until there is no hiding anymore. Nicoli swore to protect Gretchen and her companion spirit. He watches her from the shadows, desperate to reconnect, yet unwilling to risk exposure. But when their enemies track her down, he realises the safest option is to reacquaint Gretchen with the world of magic.

Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like in this book was the protagonist’s name. No offence to the Gretchen’s of the world, but I just feel it didn’t fit the setting or the character. Otherwise, this story was awesome! I loved the way Mashburn seamlessly interwove the stories and perspectives of so many different characters. It is refreshing to see different sides of a conflict and appreciate the complex personalities. There is no true villain here, at least not yet. I’m curious to see what the hunters will be like as the series unfolds.

I highly recommend this series for all lovers of paranormal romance, especially if you enjoy the fated mates trope.

Ruthless Empire
(Royal Elite #6)
By Rina Kent

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Genre: Dark contemporary romance.
Content Warnings: Pseudo incest (stepsiblings), stalking.
POV: 1st Person past tense, alternating dual perspective with occasional scenes in the stalker’s POV.
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

The finale to the Royal Elite series tells Cole and Silver’s story. A gentleman on the outside and a beast within, Cole is the silent but deadly horseman known as famine. His infatuation with Silver started when they were children. He is the only person to see past her façade, the bitchy mask she wears to protect herself and those she cares about. She promised him her firsts, and when it looked like she broke that promise, Cole’s interest turns to stalker-level obsession. But he is not the only one with an unhealthy love for her. A real psychopath lurks in the shadows, and they are finally making their presence known.

I really enjoyed learning about Cole and Silver’s true natures. I had suspected there was more to Silver than meets the eye earlier in the series, and this book proved me right. As for Cole? Oh boy, that man has some issues, and it was good to gain insight into them. Sure, there was the kidnapping that happened to the boys when they were younger, but that wasn’t the darkest part of his past. The plot takes an intriguing turn when we learn the Doll Master’s identity and I never would have guessed. I loved the complicated relationship dynamics between Cole and Silver, and their chemistry is hot AF.

If you enjoyed the earlier books in the Royal Elite series, I highly recommend this one. If you haven’t read any of these books yet, and you like dark romance, you should check them out.

The Wolfrik Trilogy
By K. Rea

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Genre: Paranormal romance, modern fantasy, vampires, shifters.
POV: 1st Person, past tense.
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (4/5)

When vampires took over the Shadow Court, they exiled Evelyn’s wolf shifter family. Then they killed her parents. Driven by revenge, she single-mindedly hunts the vampire responsible. She did not anticipate getting caught by the dark prince, nor did she expect the sizzling chemistry between them. Yet when she finds herself at the king’s mercy or lack thereof, the connection she feels to Aiden may be the only thing that saves her.

These books were amazing! As soon as I finished the first, I simply had to move straight into the second. Now I can’t wait for the next instalment. The setting and magic lore are so rich and interesting. And the characters? OMG I love them all! I’ll admit it took a little while for me to warm to Aiden because he seemed too honourable for a dark prince. There were a few chapters there where I’d hoped Evelyn would choose his flirtatious vampire brother instead. But as the story progressed, Aiden’s character developed, and he swept me off my feet. Then we met Ares. Good lord that man is swoon worthy. If you are looking for hot book boyfriends, this is the place to find them.

All lovers of paranormal romance should give this series a go. You won’t be disappointed.

Devil's Night Series
By Penelope Douglas

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Genre: Contemporary romance, new adult fiction, enemies to lovers.
Content Warnings: Dark themes, violence, profanity, mild m/m interactions, and sexual assault (not between MCs).
POV: 1st Person, alternating dual perspective.
Heat gauge: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 (5/5)

It all began when someone got their hands on the phone. Or did it? The videos of their antics went viral, and police arrested three of the guys. When Kai, Damon, and Will get out of prison, the four horsemen reunite, and Michael helps them seek revenge on those responsible. But they were grossly mistaken. Pursuing the objects of their obsessions tears a rift in their friendship and battle lines are drawn.

I read Corruption back toward the start of the year and I don’t know why I didn’t move straight onto the rest. I loved the first book as much as any other Penelope Douglas novel, so I should have anticipated one heck of a ride with the Devil’s Night series. Of the lot, I’d have to say Hideaway and Nightfall were my favourites, not only because I adore Kai and Will, but for the intriguing plot lines. That said, all of these books are fantastic, and the author continues to sit on my list of favourites.

If you enjoy dark romance, you’ll love this series. Penelope Douglas is a brilliant author.

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