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What I've Been Reading

Hello everyone! I skipped my blog posts last week, which you may have noticed, so here we are with the latest addition to my What I've Been Reading series. I had to take Steven, my cat, last Tuesday to get fixed (or as my comedic grandpa said, "Fixed? Is he broken?"). He's been recovering well as I've just tried to keep an eye on him. He's not meant to be messing with his incision which means he still has to wear the cone of shame. It's been an adjustment but he should be able to take it off relatively soon - or at least I'm hoping.

Anyways, with all of that out of the way, let's get into the reviews of What I've Been Reading.

Disclaimer: This blog post will contain affiliate and referral links. I may earn a small commission to feed my book hoarding tendencies if you use these links to make a purchase. This in no way impacts my opinions of the books listed - they are all my own.

Title: Twisted Pride

Author: Cora Reilly

Genre: Romance

Description: Remo Falcone is beyond redemption.

As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached.

Now Remo is out for retribution.

A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.

Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.

A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect.

A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees.

Two families that will never be the same.

Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)

(Trigger Warnings: Mentions of Rape, Violence, Kidnapping)

I've previously stated my enjoyment of Cora Reilly books for a good mafia romance. The fact that they're all on Kindle Unlimited is a bonus. I actually just did a review of the main books in the Born In Blood series by the same author which you can find here. And I've loved that series for a while but now I've finally gotten to start her other one, the Camorra Chronicles. One of the books in the series of standalones is Twisted Pride - technically the second book in the series as I skipped the first one that I hope to eventually come back to.

Cora Reilly generally writes dark romance books that weigh on the reader. They include plenty of triggering topics which I always caution readers about - triggers listed above. Her books have such heat and chemistry between the main characters, whether they love or hate each other at any given point. The character dynamics are always interesting as they're extraordinary circumstances that aren't commonplace for most people, or at least I don't think they are.

Twisted Pride follows Remo and Serafina from opposing mob families whose lives should never intertwine. Thanks to the hand of Remo, they are forced to cross paths in a whirlwind of chaos and destruction. Their relationship is one of contention and hostility that ultimately explodes in their faces. If you're looking for a romance book with more of a character focus then I'd say that Twisted Pride is right for you. The monotony of the consistent setting for most of the book comes to life because of the characters.


Title: The Hunter

Author: LJ Shen

Genre: Romance

Description: Hunter

I didn’t mean to star in a sex tape, okay?

It was just one of those unexplainable things. Like Stonehenge, Police Academy 2, and morning glory clouds.

It just happened.

Now my ball-busting father is sentencing me to six months of celibacy, sobriety, and morbid boredom under the roof of Boston’s nerdiest girl alive, Sailor Brennan.

The virginal archer is supposed to babysit my ass while I learn to take my place in Royal Pipelines, my family’s oil company.

Little does she know, that’s not the only pipe I’ll be laying…


I didn’t want this gig, okay?

But the deal was too sweet to walk away from.

I needed the public endorsement; Hunter needed a nanny.

Besides, what’s six months in the grand scheme of things?

It’s not like I’m in danger of falling in love with the appallingly gorgeous, charismatic gazillionaire who happens to be one of Boston’s most eligible bachelors.

No. I will remain immune to Hunter Fitzpatrick’s charm.

Even at the cost of losing everything I have.

Even at the cost of burning down his kingdom.

Rating: ★ (1/5)

The Hunter unfortunately has the lowest rating I've ever given an LJ Shen book. Almost every time I pick up my kindle for some e-reading I have an LJ Shen book in my lineup. They're usually one of my favorite romance authors when I'm diving into the genre. Anyone who is familiar with my blog will know that I've read and reviewed a lot of the author's books. I have also given favorable reviews to them in the past, mostly in this What I've Been Reading series.

I'm disheartened to say, The Hunter was not only a 1 star read but also a DNF. I ended up dropping it at the 1/4 mark which I've never done before with an LJ Shen book. I usually only DNF books by authors I'm reading for the first time as sometimes I don't vibe with certain writing styles. This made it all the more unfortunate that I had to stop reading The Hunter since I know I normally love this author's books. There was just something lost in translation for me with this book.

I think The Hunter had the potential to be great but the execution was lacking. From the very first page, the author chose an odd and even downright boring place to start the book. The story never picked up from there. By the time I stopped reading, I still understood very little about the plot. It all felt incredibly insubstantial in material as everything was veiled in vagueness. It was like someone took a short story and added endless dragging and unnecessary fluff to bulk it out. I personally can't recommend this book but I look forward to the author's next release.


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