I received this book for free from The Next Step PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly
on September 28, 2020
Cover Design: Hang Le
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Age-Gap, Cheating, Mafia, New Adult/Adult, Suspense
Format: ARC, digital e-book
Source: The Next Step PR
Buy on Amazon
A new STANDALONE age-gap, arranged marriage romance from USA Today Bestselling author Cora Reilly!
Sofia knows how it feels to be the consolation prize.
And definitely not an ice princess.
Her sister is—was all those things. Perfection. Until she wasn’t. Until she ran off to be with the enemy and left her fiancé behind.
Now Sofia is given to Danilo in her sister’s stead, knowing she’ll never be more than second best. Yet, she can’t stop longing for the love of the man she’s been crushing on even when he was still her sister’s.
Danilo is a man who’s used to getting what he wants.
The sought-after ice princess.
Until another man steals his bride-to-be. Danilo knows that for a man in his position losing his woman can lead to a loss of face.
Thirst for revenge.
A dangerous combination—one Danilo can’t leave behind, not even when a girl just as precious takes her sister’s place to placate him. Yet, she’s got one flaw: she’s not her sister.
Unable to forget what he’s lost, Danilo might lose what he’s been given.
Contemporary Romance, Age-Gap, Cheating, Mafia, New Adult/Adult, Suspense
First Person, Dual-POV
This is a standalone book with interconnected characters from The Camorra Chronicles series and Born in Blood Marcia Chronicles series. I haven’t read any book from those series and I completely understood everything.
Contains issues and situations some may find triggering.
Great plot concept and fantastic romance!!!
I have mixed feelings about this one and I guess my review will be all over the place.
I loved the idea of this book, but a few things of the execution didn’t work for me.
At the same time, I was invested in the story and went all over bed time to finish the book.
I will look forward to read books from some of the secondary characters that I’ve liked.
26.5/35 STARS – 3.5 STARS (between 24.5 stars and 27.5 stars)
Addictiveness: 4 Character: 3.5 Cover: 4.5 Freshness: 3.5 Plot: 3.5 Romance: 4 Writing Style: 3.5
Action 3/5 Angst 5/5 Darkness 2/5 Humor 0/5 Romance 4/5 Suspense/Mystery 3/5
Would I recommend? Maybe for the followers of the interconnected series.
Would I re-read this book/series? I would read more from the series, not sure if I would re-read this one.
Would I read more from the author? Yes, I’m hoping Anna, Leonna and Emmy will get their own book!
Addictiveness: 4/5 From the beginning of the book I was invested in Sofia’s happiness. This kept me hooked and reading the book well over past bedtime. As addictive as pizza!!!
Character: hero 3/5, heroine 3/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 4/5, real 4/5 Complex characters, with interested background stories, but I wanted more depth from them.
Secondary characters so many that I would love to read their own book. Anna is a must! She was definitely my favorite character of the book. Her brother Leonas, also will become an interesting one. I really liked Emma and would love to see her happy ending. In fact, I was upset, that they she was never mentioned again after her wedding.
Villain/antagonists there was no clear villain here. In fact, the conflict was of their own doing and their obsession with Sofia’s sister.
Cover: art 4.5/5, title 5/5, color-font 5/5, subtitle 5/5, background 4/5 buy 4/5 I’m obsessed with book covers. I love to find snippets of the stories within the art. I always try to be true to myself, I buy so many books because of the cover and I have skipped many because of not very appealing art. Covers are part of the experience for me and I do like to understand them. This was a really good cover. It really stuck with me and got me the feelings. I love the colors and the background. The title and subtitle made it personal and gave a hint of the story. I would easily buy this book by its cover without needing to read the blurb!
Freshness: 4/5 Even though this was another mafia romance, it felt fresh. The plot concept was really good and interesting. It felt original in the middle of so many. As fresh as iced tea during summer!!!
Romance: believable 4/5, chemistry 4/5, description 5/5, development 3/5, steam 5/5 The romance was amazing, really good. It really held me and kept me going. Even though this was a too slow burn to start, because Sofia was growing up for almost 50% of the story, when it started it was scorching hot! The smut was amazing, the description wonderful and it all felt relevant to the story. At the end of the book I truly believed that Sofia was not a consolation prize, but truly adored and loved. What was that scene at the bathroom in the middle of the party? Yeah, panty-wetter! Slow burn romance!!!
Writing Style: 3.5/5 Good plot concept, some interesting characters, fantastic romance, superb smut. Good writing!!!
Because I try to be very analytical and I don’t really believe in perfection…
Character: hero 3.5/5, heroine 3/5, secondary characters 5/5, growth 4/5, real 4/5
Sofia was an ok heroine. She had everything to be a very strong woman and powerful character, but sadly she was whiny and stuck on one thing for most part of the book. Yes, she was very young, but still I had a hard time connecting and understanding some of her choices.
Danilo was a good hero. Definitely better than Sofia. Yes, he was also stuck and obsessed with the past and it was really annoying. But I really liked the second part of the book Danilo. He really was invested and trying to be a good husband. Oh, he was also an amazing brother!!!
The characters were not very easy to love, connect and understand!
Plot: believable 3/5, conflict 3/5, dialogue 4/5, ending 5/5, enjoyment 4/5, opening 5/5, pace 4/5, setting 4/5, subplots 3/5, twists 3/5 Amazing opening with an incredible ending. Interesting plot concept, with well written dialogues and ok pace. Good setting, a few subplots with a couple of twists. Ok level of enjoyment!
The things that I had a hard time with the plot:
- The main couple’s obsession with the heroine’s sister and her husband. Yeah, I haven’t read the other books in the series, but I ended up rooting for Serafina and Remo without even knowing them. They were mentioned too many times in the book. Everything was about them. Tiring!!!
- How some subplots like Samuel and Emma were just left hanging in the middle of the story. It was weird, and I kept waiting to know how were they doing after getting married.
- How Danilo took all the blame from a mistake, that was mostly Sofia’s. (Yeah, evasive because I don’t want to give spoilers)
- How Danilo mistakes were totally different ones than the one he was mostly accused. (Again, evasive)
The things that I’ve liked in the plot:
- I loved the idea of the story. I loved to see Sofia growing and how the author did a good job not turning this into a very tasteless tale. She managed very well the age-gap.
- I loved the romance. It was so so so good. Danilo grew so much to become a good husband.
- I loved the ending! The author gave everything that I wanted. She really made me believe that was no way Sofia was a consolation prize.
- I will be on the look out for Anna’s book. I mean, it is impossible that she won’t get her own, right?
I was glad to be away from Sofia. In the past, our encounters had been mildly entertaining due to her awkwardness and crush on me. I’d watched her innocent flirting with amusement but never taken it seriously. She was a child and I couldn’t imagine her as a grown-up, much less my wife. Our life together had been an abstract concept.
Already at our last encounter I’d noticed a change, and now it was impossible to ignore. I noticed Sofia, not because she deserved my attention due to our planned future together. No. I noticed her curves, her beautiful face. Sofia wasn’t a kid anymore. She was a young woman with a desirable body. Now, her flirting didn’t seem amusing or like a game. It felt like a promise of what would soon be in my reach, a dangerous temptation.
I wasn’t a man who acted on impulse or followed his sexual drive without a second thought, but the mere fact that Sofia tempted me when she was still off-limits set my teeth on edge. I didn’t enjoy this feeling of being a slave to my instincts, but when I saw Sofia’s body, certain body parts definitely held more power than others.
The house was quiet and dark as I made my way toward Emma’s room. I carefully opened the door and peered in. Emma was asleep, her back turned to me. She was still my little sister, still a little girl in my eyes, which was at odds with my perception of Sofia who was barely older.
I closed the door again and headed back out because I’d promised to return.
When I stepped out onto the patio, my body tensed at the sound of steps but relaxed when Sofia appeared before me. She had her towel wrapped around her shoulders, for which I was grateful.
“Are you heading to bed?”
She shook her head. “Actually, I was looking for you.”
My eyebrows shot up. The way she said it raised my hackles. It was difficult to make out her face in the dim light, but I had a feeling she was flirting with me.
“Maybe we can take a walk?”
“Okay,” I said slowly, not wanting to deny her even if I didn’t think being away from the others was a good idea. To my brain’s displeasure and my body’s delight, Sofia dropped her towel on the chair then headed down the path that meandered around the house. I followed her, trying not to pay too close attention to her peach-formed ass in her tiny bikini bottoms. “Is there something specific you want to discuss with me?”
Sofia stopped and looked up at me. She appeared nervous. “I just wanted to be alone with you. We’re engaged and are soon going to be married, but we’ve never been alone. We never really got the chance to get to know each other better.”
Sofia probably meant it in a very innocent way, but I couldn’t help but imagine all the ways I wanted to get to know her, especially when my gaze dipped to her erect nipples straining against the wet fabric of her bikini top. “We’ll have plenty of time to get to know each other once we’re married. Being alone with you like this is against our rules.”
Sofia shrugged as if it didn’t matter, but it did. We didn’t need another scandal on our hands.
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