Ultimate Reading Challenge is hosted by Collector of Book Boyfriends and Girlfriends and Reading Frenzy Blog. This is a monthly challenge that will run all year. Click HERE to check out the challenge and sign up.
For this month’s challenge we had to read a New To You Author. I actually read a few books by new to me authors this month. However I chose to highlight Dylan Allen. I meant to read just the first book in her Symbols of Love series but then I had no choice but to devour the entire series. These books are so well written and I became so invested in these characters. This new to me author has now become a top favorite author. These books are interconnected standalones but I recommend reading them in order.
Enter the GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!
Book 1: RISE
As a woman, I don’t dream, I work. I don’t fall in love, I focus. I would never let anything as frivolous as love distract me.
Until I meet Simon. A gorgeous, brilliant young architect with dark eyes, a sweet smile, and a dirty, dirty mouth. He sets me on fire, and suddenly all I can do is dream…of his hands, his lips, his body. Of a heart good enough and a love strong enough to make me believe in happily ever after.
But Simon has secrets that are even deeper than mine. Will our pasts destroy everything we’ve worked for? Or will we find the courage to rise to the challenge and fight for the love we share?
Book 2: REMEMBER
Milly’s life was safe. Her plans, certain. She doesn’t take risks because she knows what it’s like to lose everything. But when it all falls apart, she decides to throw caution to the wind. Her journey to reclaim her future leads her straight into the grown up arms of the boy she left behind. In them, she finds passion long denied and love she thought was lost. But is the promise of a second chance worth the risk of losing herself again?
When he discovers that the girl he has loved his whole life moved on without him, Dean needs answers. He didn’t expect to still want her. He didn’t expect her to want him, too. And suddenly, he finds himself in a battle for the heart of the woman he’s never stopped loving.
As they look to the past for answers, can they hold onto the future they were meant to have? Or will what they remember make them wish they could forget?
“I’m starting to remember who I am. I’m not powerless, I’m not small, and I’m certainly not afraid.”
This was an amazingly beautiful story about a second chance at love and a heroine finding the strength to remember who she is after her world gets turned upside down.
This is Milly’s story. She is the eldest Hassan daughter and her life which she thought was safe has just flipped and taken her in a different direction. At first she is lost, appears weak and needy. Then the strength and courage of this woman surfaces and she recognizes she has actually been spared a lifetime of mediocrity and pain.
At the heart of this book is a breathtaking love story. It is a second chance at love that withstands years of separation. Dean is Milly’s person. This book was heartbreaking and swoon worthy and oh so romantic.
“You are the greatest love of my life. We met, and my soul said, ‘that’s him, Milly.’”
It was also sexy as hell. Dean’s need to protect, defend and claim Milly as his own was a huge turn on. Of course his dirty mouth in the bedroom was nothing to blink at either.
“I need you to touch me, Dean.”
“No. Tell me what I want to fucking hear. Don’t be a lady with me. I want you tell me what you want.”
This book also gives us much more information on the girls’ father and we get alot of questions answered. This background story adds another layer to this book that makes it even more interesting. If you love a second chance romance with a strong heroine then please give this one a chance. While this can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading Rise first to fully appreciate this series.
Series (Symbols of Love): Book 2, Interconnected Standalone
Heat Level: Moderate to High
Book 3: RELEASE
Enemies to Lovers
He’s here for business. Harry’s intoxicatingly handsome, rich, and also the biggest jerk I’ve ever met. So, it’s inconvenient that sparks fly every time our eyes meet.
Indulging in an affair wasn’t on my agenda. But fate isn’t a mistress to our intentions; And what starts as a strike of lightening on a moonlit beach ignites a fire between us that will span continents.
Meeting again in the unlikeliest of circumstances feels written in the heavens. And I’ll need the courage of the gods to tell him the truth.
They say the truth will set you free… but what if it destroys you first?
This is what happens when souls that are meant for each other collide. They create something new. Something that no one has ever had before. It’s unpredictable, with a will of its own. It refuses to be mastered or tamed.
This whole series has slayed me! Release is the final book and this is Lilly’s story. I hurt for Lilly so much. I felt her pain to my core but even more than that I understood why she made certain decisions. On the outside if you don’t know her story you may question her choices and judge her harshly. However, as you get to know her you realize she actually puts everyone before herself. Even in her darkest times, she was a rock for her sisters and mother. She puts on a brave face so they won’t worry about her but it’s all an act.
Then she meets Harry who sees that she is hiding. He doesn’t know her story but he sees the mask she wears and makes it his mission to break down her walls.
“Oh, yes. It’s happening. And Lilly, I’ll fight for it. I’ll fight for you.”
Can I just say that all the men in this series have captured my heart!!! Harry is wealthy and is next line to be an Earl but he is also a down to earth guy who has the sweetest heart. Poor Harry also had his own share of troubles that he had to overcome. Of course he is another sexy hero and the heat in this book was on point.
I will say that there was much more humor in this book compared to the others. It may just be Lilly’s personality as well as her cousin Porsha who was a hoot. Or maybe it was just the chemistry between Harry and Lilly and the fact that they started out as sort of enemies. They were just a fun couple to read about. Even the first encounter between Lilly and Harry had me laughing out loud. That scene had me feeling a lot of other things as well but I won’t spoil it for you.
Jeez! I can’t sing the praises of this book more. My heart was so full after reading this. Simply amazing! I highly recommend this entire series.
Series (Symbols of Love): Book 3, Interconnected Standalone
Heat Level: Moderate to High
Dylan Allen is a Texas girl with a serious case of wanderlust.A self-proclaimed happily ever junkie, she loves creating stories where her characters chase their own happy endings. When she isn’t writing or reading, eating or cooking, she and her family are planning their next adventure.