Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:
Synopsis for Secret Beast (from Goodreads):
The beast hides a dark secret in his past…
Leo Morelli is known as the Beast of Bishop’s Landing for his cruelty. He’ll get revenge on the Constantine family and make millions of dollars in the process. Even it means using an old man who dreams up wild inventions.
The beauty will sacrifice everything for her family…
Haley Constantine will do anything to protect her father. Even trade her body for his life. The college student must spend thirty days with the ruthless billionaire. He’ll make her earn her freedom in degrading ways, but in the end he needs her to set him free.
Series: Beast of Bishop’s Landing | Midnight Dynasty Series
Author: Amelia Wilde
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Dark Romance, Erotica
Heat Rating: Hot to Smokin’ (Kink: Major | BDSM: High)
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2021 – July 2021
Source & Format: Kobo Plus–eBook
Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:
So I deviated from the recommended reading order of the Midnight Dynasty Universe I have listed below because I thought our hero, Leo, was the more intriguing of the two Morelli Brothers we met in the Cinderella Trilogy. I was really wanted to learn more about his character and see who could tame him in this retelling of Beauty and the Beast.
The Concept – Midnight Dynasty:
The Midnight Dynasty Universe is a collection of books (series and standalones) by different authors but feature the characters from a collective world. They’re intended to be read in any order because each series focuses on two characters at a time, but there are chronological events and character interactions throughout the universe that overlap in the different series.
This trilogy was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and I felt like it was a pretty loose one. There are bits and pieces in the first book; not so much in the second; and then inklings come back for the finale. Or perhaps I’m not overly familiar with the original fairy tale and missed some elements along the way. Regardless, this is a dark romance filled with lots of family drama and an innocent heroine who charms a scorned man — exactly what you expect for a Beauty and the Beast Retelling.
I really struggled to get into the story with Secret Beast (#1). I found it to be terribly dry and I wasn’t immediately won over by the romance. The drama picks up by the end of the book and that’s when things get a little more interesting and grabbed my attention. But I went through a bit of the same disinterest in Book #2, Hidden Beauty.
I thought the finale (#3 – Fallen Rose) struck a better balance between character growth, romance and drama and for me it was the best of the series.
One of the unique elements to this Midnight Dynasty Universe is that different authors write the different series yet all share the same characters as each other.
Most readers will have met Leo in the Cinderella Trilogy where he lives up to the name “beast” in my opinion. He was pretty ruthless in that series so I was curious to see who would tame his heart in this series. Yet I really struggled rectifying who he was in that series with the man we meet here. I had literally just finished that other series so everything was fresh in my mind; but I just felt like there was a disconnect here, so it took me a while to let the past go and focus on him in this series.
Haley lives up to the sweet, virginal expectation of Belle. She was a new character to me so I didn’t have any pre-conceived ideas about her other than what I knew from the original fairy tale.
Beauty and the Beast as a fairy tale is really just the original (or perhaps most well known) close proximity trope. I don’t mind that trope and since Leo isn’t actually an animal, I can get on board with the idea.
However, I truly struggled with the romance here and there are two reasons why:
The first is that I think these two spend more time apart then together. Which is weird because Haley is literally trapped in his house for the entire series. They have a single interaction by the 20% mark of Secret Beast (#1) so I wasn’t feeling that chemistry right away. (I mean, I get why Haley might not be attracted to him given the circumstances, but I missed that underlying sexual tension). Then, I felt like they spent most of Hidden Beauty (#2) apart as well. I just struggled to see that great love between them.
The second reason is that I’m not a huge fan of their kink: dubious consent. I enjoy reading a lot of darker romances so kinky sex seems to come with the territory. However, books featuring heavy BDSM content and scenes of dubious consent aren’t my favourite to read. There’s a fine line for me and this series really straddled that line for me. Haley is a virgin so that tainted the scenes because does she really know she enjoys that type of sex if she’s never really had it any other way? And was she really enjoying it or is it because Leo is constantly telling her she is that is driving her eroticism? For me, I sometimes struggled to find that answer and I will be honest that I skimmed through a lot of their intimate scenes as a result.
Midnight Dynasty’s Reading Order:
I had found a suggested reading order on Redit but I jumped a few books based on the lead for the Beast of Bishop’s Landing. Here is the suggested order based on that post and my own readings:
- Cinderella Trilogy (K Webster)
- Starcrossed Lovers (Jade West)
- Beast of Bishop’s Landing (Amelia Wilde)
- Hearts Trilogy (M O’Keefe)
- The Collector Trilogy (Amelia Wilde)
- Wicked Idol [Hellfire Series #1] (Becker Gray)
- Lessons in Sin (Pam Goodwin)
- Dark Dream Duet (Giana Darling)
- The Arranged Marriage Trilogy (Monica Murphy)
- Deception Duet (K Webster)
Series Rating: 2.5/5
Secret Beast 2/5 | Hidden Beauty 2.5/5 | Fallen Rose 3/5
I really struggled with the romance of this one thanks to its sexual content. However, I got to know more about the Morelli family in the Midnight Dynasty Universe and it got me really excited to read their series next!
Read if You Like: erotica, dark romances, Beauty and the Beast
Avoid if You: dislike kink/BDSM, dislike dark romances
- Rush by Maya Banks (Breathless Series #1)
- Beauty of the Beast by Rachel L Demeter (Fairy Tale Retellings Series #1)