Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann // Review

April 01, 2021

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

It was only three weeks, but it's burned into every cell, every vein, every tainted pocket of my soul. Forever. And so is she. - Dean

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

Still Beating by Jennifer Hartmann

Release - December 30, 2020
Genre - Dark Romance
Dual POV - 1st person
Heat Level - 3 out of 5/a few scenes
Format/Source - borrowed through KU program
Length - 459 pages
Publisher - Indie

When Cora attends her sister’s birthday party, she expects at most a hangover or a walk of shame. She doesn’t anticipate a stolen wallet, leaving her stranded and dependent on Dean—her arch nemesis and ultimate thorn in her side.

And she really doesn’t anticipate waking up in shackles in a madman’s basement.

To make matters worse, Dean shares the space in his own set of chains.

After fifteen years of teasing, insults, and practical jokes, the ultimate joke seems to be on them. The two people who always thought they’d end up killing each other must now work together if they want to survive.

But Cora and Dean have no idea their abductor has a plan for them. A plan that will alter the course of their relationship, blur the line between hate and love, and shackle them together with far more than just chains.

WARNING: This is a dark romance. This book contains subject matter that may be sensitive for some readers, including rape, as well as strong language and explicit sex. 18+ only. Please read responsibly.

Find your copy of Still Beating on Amazon — FREE with KU

The other day, I saw this book making the rounds in a few of my Facebook groups and since it came so highly recommended, I knew I had to give it a try. After reading Still Beating, I can definitely see why people were making so much noise about it. To me it read more like a contemporary romance with dark elements. The beginning was extremely dark while the rest was full of angst. Who doesn't love a bit of horror and heartbreak with their romance?

For fifteen years, Dean and Cora had been frenemies. Between moments of witty comebacks and elaborate pranks, they had a routine. When they're both kidnapped, chained to pipes in a serial killer's basement, and at his mercy, they are forced to face some hard truths — maybe all of that hate was hiding a whole lotta love.

We can't give our heart to another without loving our own first.

I loved how the author tried to make their trauma in the aftermath as authentic as possible. There was no just getting over what they had gone through. It was messy. It was ugly. It was absolutely miserable. The author's writing made their ordeal, their journey, their fight to get to the other side, so very beautiful. I enjoyed the writing, which is always a sure way for a new-to-me author to keep me coming back for more and I will be back. I'm looking forward to Oliver Lynch's story in Lotus.

My issues with this story were:
⭐ I could have done without Dean dating Cora's sister for 15 years and on the brink of marrying her before the kidnapping. I get that it was to add angst to any future relationship between them, but it was gross.
⭐ Cora was too wishy washy and timid for me. And for a girl who got around more than the hero did, why was she given a prudish attitude??? It was freaking absurd. I would have liked her to be more honest with him and herself.
⭐ I would have liked if more time was spent on these characters as a couple as opposed to the back and forth and bed buddy behavior. It would have helped me believe in their happy ending more.

Jennifer Hartmann resides in northern Illinois with her devoted husband and three hooligans. When she is not writing angsty love stories, she is likely thinking about writing them. She enjoys sunsets (because mornings are hard), bike riding, traveling, binging Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns, and that time of day when coffee gets replaced by wine. Jennifer is a wedding photographer with her husband. She is also excellent at making puns and finding inappropriate humor in mundane situations. She loves tacos. She also really, really wants to pet your dog.

For more information about this author and her books, check out her website:

March 2021 Bookish Recap

March 31, 2021

March has reached its end, Spring is truly on its way, and I couldn't be more thrilled. My favorite season is Autumn but I can't complain when the weather gets milder. And here in Toronto, the weather is definitely getting warmer.

This post is all about what I read and did to contribute to the bookish community. I always feel weird writing these types of posts because I never know what to say. I don't really do much. I read books I think I'm going to love, fall in love with a few, and do what I can to support authors and other book bloggers. No biggie, but here goes...

The Best Book(s) of March

Unspoken by Ari Reavis is an amazing fantasy romance about forbidden love and a woman's fight for justice and her kingdom. The Evolution of Fae and Gods by Sawyer Bennett is book three of her urban fantasy Chronicles of the Veil series and the best of the bunch (so far). Feral Sins by Suzanne Wright has been recommended to me a million times and I'm so glad I finally read it. Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden is a romantic suspense/thriller that kept me guessing and I'll definitely be continuing the series.

The other books I read were:
Dead Man's Ink Boxset by Callie Hart — 4 stars
A Discovery of Secrets and Fate by Sawyer Bennett — 4 stars
Mating Theory by Skye Warren — DNF
We Are All Found Things by Molly O'Keefe — 3 stars
Sex Material by Victoria Ashley — DNF
The Two Week Arrangement by Kendall Ryan — DNF
One to Take by Tia Louise — no rating
Rebel Hearts by Lili Valente — 3 stars
Savage Hearts by Lili Valente — 4 stars
It's Not Over by Grahame Claire — 4 stars
Shadow's Edge by J.T. Geissinger — 4 stars
Forsaking All Others by Janine Infante Bosco — 4 stars
A Prince on Paper by Alyssa Cole — 2 stars
Wicked Cravings by Suzanne Wright — 4 stars

Book Haul

I've been doing a really great job of keeping how much I buy down. I'm making strides in my TBR and I'm trying to only get what I have on there.

Added to my TBR

Save Me From the Dark by Cynthia Eden
A Battle of Blood and Stone by Sawyer Bennett
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Vampire by Rebecca Zanetti
The Last Piece of His Heart by Emma Scott
Thick As Thieves by Sandra Brown
When He's Dark by Suzanne Wright

I did a terrible job of not adding to my TBR this month. I need to figure out a consequence for keeping this from happening again.

My Reading Stats

First of all, I read 18 books this month. WTH?! That's amazing and way better than anything I've done in about a year. I read 5627 pages and 5 of my reads came from my TBR. YAY ME!! So here's how I did overall this month:


What Else?

I didn't do anything extra this month, but I have plans to participate in a reading challenge for April. I'm reading with the Romance Readers Reading Challenges group on Goodreads. I'm sure I'll have fun doing it like I did last time. I just have to figure out which books I'm going to read from my TBR to fit the reading prompts. Hopefully I'm not scrambling in the end :D

Thanks for sticking around until the end :D I'm still looking for book recs, so if you have one you think I'll love, please let me know. I'm looking for extremely sexy Fantasy or Paranormal. And when I say sexy, I do mean descriptive to explicit scenes please. I'm grown and I don't need my sex to be watered down.

What are your hopes for April? I hope it's as amazing for us as we want it to be!

Talk soon,

xo, Natalie

Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden // Review

March 28, 2021

Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden

I mean it. Chloe is mine. I'm hers. Because they were partners. Good. Bad. All the stuff in between—they were partners.

Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden

Step Into My Web by Cynthia Eden

Standalone - Death and Moonlight #1
Release - October 27, 2020
Genre - Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Dual POV - 3rd person
Heat Level - 3.5 out of 5/a couple of scenes
Format/Source - Kindle purchase
Length - 417 pages
Publisher - Hocus Pocus Publishing, Inc.

Step into my web…and you’ll never get out.

Chloe Hastings doesn’t like rules, and she doesn’t exactly play well with others. But she does have one amazing talent—she can get into the mind of killers like no one else. A police consultant and profiler, Chloe is definitely not like anyone that Joel Landry has ever encountered. From the moment they meet—in the middle of a bank robbery—she throws him off balance and pulls him under spell. She seems to have no fear, she plots constantly, and…Joel quickly finds himself trapped in her web.

She needs a new partner…and he’s just the man for the job.

There’s a sadistic killer hunting in the streets of New Orleans, and Chloe plans to catch him. First, though she needs a partner she can trust, and she’s decided that Dr. Joel Landry is the best fit for the job. Sure, he has a dark past. The doctor was attacked by a serial killer, but Joel survived while his attacker did not. Now the ruggedly handsome doctor has turned to the shadows. He’s learned how to hunt, how to fight, how to kill in a thousand brutal ways—in short, he’s acquired all of the skills that Chloe absolutely adores in a man.

He’s exactly what she wants. She could become the only thing he needs.

Together, they should be a perfect fit. She knows the minds of criminals better than anyone else, and Joel can protect her from any threat that comes their way. They’ll have one hell of a time tracking down the bad guys, provided Chloe and Joel don’t kill each other first. Another unanticipated twist for the new partners? Their attraction to each other is explosive, their desire uncontrollable. One reckless kiss seals their fate, and their need won’t be denied.

And neither will the killer who waits for his moment to attack.

Once you step into a spider’s web, there is no going back.

Author’s Note: Chloe Hastings always has a plan in play. Her investigations are unusual, her friends are generally on the shady side, and her social skills? Well, those are pretty much non-existent. But Chloe solves every case that crosses her path, and she never, ever backs down. When she teams up with her new partner, all bets are off. Joel is gorgeous, sinful, and about to break through every wall that Chloe possesses. He’ll fight for her, she’ll fight for him, and the criminals in their path had better get ready. There is a new crime-solving team in town.

Find your copy of Step Into My Web here:
Amazon * iBooks * Nook * Kobo

And this is why I will never ever question why Cynthia Eden is on my one-click list! Step Into My Web was on the right side of creepy (if creepy could be right) and gave me the thrilling story I was looking for.

After surviving an attack by a serial killer, Dr. Joel Landry was trying to get by. Surviving but not really living. He was scarred both physically and emotionally and Chloe Hastings believed she could offer him a way back. Be her partner. Help her catch a killer. Fall in love. No biggie.

She'd already made the first move. She'd gotten him out of his home, into her car, and at her side. He would be with her, so he'd be protected. He could thank her later.

There was so much to love about this story:
⭐ Chloe's mind, her secrets,her insights
⭐ Joel's strength and determination, his fight, his integrity, his endurance
⭐ the side characters that made their team — I hope to see more of them
⭐ the killings. I was seriously caught up in trying to find connections and didn't quite figure out whodunit until it was shown to me. I love to be kept guessing!

My only issue was the part about Chloe's ex, Morgan, who seemed to warrant more of an explanation. However, knowing that there will be another book, I'm hoping it will provide all that I found missing. I will definitely be one-clicking Save Me From the Dark when it releases in April.

"You're changing me. I feel like I've been sleeping. Or, hell, maybe I just haven't been living. Ever since that bastard put me in the ground, I haven't been the same. Nothing mattered. I dug myself out of the grave, but I felt like I was still buried. The days just passed and passed..."

"We should go —"

"Then I met you. You matter, Chloe. You matter." She'd changed everything for him.

She was searching his eyes. Searching —


"Yeah, baby?"

"Please touch me again."

Please. A fucking magic word. He slid his hand under her chin.

"Lean toward me.

He leaned close.

Her lips pressed to his. A soft, tender kiss. "You matter, too."

Read a preview, with Chapter One, HERE

Award-winning author Cynthia Eden writes sexy tales of contemporary romance, romantic suspense, and paranormal romance. She is a New York Times, USA Today, Digital Book World, and IndieReader best-seller. Since she began writing full-time in 2005, Cynthia has written over one hundred novels and novellas.

Cynthia lives along the Alabama Gulf Coast. She loves romance novels, horror movies, and chocolate. Her favorite hobbies including hiking in the mountains (searching for waterfalls) and spelunking.

For more about this author and her books, check out her website:


March 27, 2021

From New York Times Bestselling Author Sawyer Bennett comes the Chronicles of the Stone Veil, a five book urban fantasy/paranormal romance series. A departure from contemporary romance, the Chronicles of the Stone Veil is a return to fantasy/paranormal romance, where Sawyer started her fiction publishing journey. Readers can expect to find all the elements they love from Sawyer’s books—strong heroines, alpha heroes, and an epic romance—with a fantastical element to add to their reading experience. You can get the third book in the series, The Evolution of Fae and Gods, now!

Details for the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series are below:


You can start the series today with The Revelation of Light and Dark now.

Go to Sawyer's website for details: Click here to learn more about The Chronicles of the Stone Veil series

The Evolution of Fae and Gods is available now:

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

The Evolution of Fae and Gods

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #3

An Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance Series | AVAILABLE NOW

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

Add it to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Evil is coming. A dark malevolence the likes of which this world has never seen, and it comes straight from the depths of Hell. Darkness meant to destroy. A prophecy I am fated to fulfill but will most likely not survive. Through it all, Carrick Byrne has stood strong by my side. Something has deeply changed between me and the man I once despised, and all it took was a kiss of provocation for both of us to feel it. I know deep in my soul we’re being guided by destiny, but I don’t know if I can trust it. Carrick is holding something back, and I fear the consequences could be deadly once his truth is revealed. We’re not ready, but calamity waits for no woman. I have discovered a power within myself I must learn to master. A new connection in the Underworld has been revealed to me, one that I hope is friend but is just as likely foe. We are in a race against time as we try to figure out how to stop the end of the world from occurring. The battle is coming, and I can only hope we’re prepared for what happens next. The Evolution of Fae and Gods is book three of the Chronicles of the Stone Veil series and is best enjoyed if read in series order.


The Evolution of Fae and Gods is available now:

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

Purchase in Print

This series has quickly turned into something I'm going to be recommending to all urban fantasy readers and to those who are looking to try it. It's character-driven, plot-heavy, and I cannot wait to get my hands on A Battle of Blood and Stone.What's going on with Carrick? How will the heroes stop fake Fallon? And what other world will they be hopping into?

Find the full review HERE



The Revelation of Light and Dark

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #1 | Available Now

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

Add it to Goodreads

A Discovery of Secrets and Fate

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #2 | Available Now

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

Add it to Goodreads

The Evolution of Fae and Gods

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #3 | Available Now

Amazon | Nook | Apple | Google | Kobo

Add it to Goodreads



A Battle of Blood and Stone

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #4 | Coming April 13, 2021

Add it to Goodreads


The Rise of Fortune and Fury

Chronicles of the Stone Veil, book #5 | Coming May 4, 2021

Add it to Goodreads




New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestselling author Sawyer Bennett uses real life experience to create relatable stories that appeal to a wide array of readers. From contemporary romance, fantasy romance, and both women’s and general fiction, Sawyer writes something for just about everyone.

A former trial lawyer from North Carolina, when she is not bringing fiction to life, Sawyer is a chauffeur, stylist, chef, maid, and personal assistant to her very adorable daughter, as well as full-time servant to her wonderfully naughty dogs.

If you’d like to receive a notification when Sawyer releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter (



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