A adult contemporary romance trilogy written by Kate Stewart that focuses on Cecelia Horner and the events of the summer she turns nineteen and what happens afterwards. This is a 18+ series due to language and sexual content, I would not recommend this for younger readers, probably best for ages 18-30ish. Older adults might also like it but considering it starts with Cecelia at 19, it might be a bit young for people over 35. I’d say the spice level is a 3.5/5 depending on your personal thoughts on spice and which book your looking at. It’s nothing to overplayed or aggressive as some books can get. If you like spice in your romance then you would likely enjoy these books and the covers are subtle which is a bonus for those like me who hate romance novels with a shirtless male on the front cover. The actual dialog and plot are enjoyable as well, making it a really enjoyable read.
I really loved this trilogy. The characters that Kate Stewart created were really enjoyable along with all the different personalities that appeared throughout the trilogy, there was no character that seemed out of place. The The last book is not really necessary to the true story of the books, its almost more of an addition for those that really fell for the characters but I still enjoyed it a lot. I would definitely recommend these books to people that like romance, spice and a little suspense and action! Let's get a bit more in depth below!
Star Rating: 4.67/5 stars for the trilogy, its definitely worth the read if you’re into this genre.
If you like romance, sassy female characters, dark mysterious male characters, multiple love interests, soulmates, and tension then you’ll probably really enjoy this Trilogy. Lets get a bit more in depth below with the usual book-by-book review!
Cecelia was always the responsible one. Being the wallflower in school, getting good grades and not partying, taking care of her single mom while growing up in Atlanta. Her father, a millionaire business owner, has been estranged for many years and only pays the bare minimum of child support. Everything changes after she graduates high-school and her mom starts to shit down. In order to secure the inheritance her father offers which can fund her life and assure her mothers financial security, Cecelia moves to Triple Falls for a year where she will live in her fathers home and work in his factory. Once she arrives she meets the handsome and mysterious Sean who leads her into a
This was a really fun read! I felt like the pacing was really good and the relationship and character building was great. Cecelia is a curious nineteen year old that has been hiding behind self-imposed barriers most of her life and this was her chance to explore life without having to worry so much about her mother so it was nice to see her loosen up. She’s very sassy and I loved seeing her fight back against the boys and try to stand up for herself when she needed to. Dom and Sean were both really great love interests for her and their very different personalities made it interesting to see how the relationships differed. I don’t have anything bad to say about this book, if you like romance you should check this out! It’s really good and without spoilers thats the most I can say!
Favourite Quote: “It’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chance of a normal and healthy relationship because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.
At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.” - Cecelia, Flock, Prologue
Star rating: 5/5 stars for this one, I really enjoyed it and the aspect of the
——————————— Spoilers if you haven’t read Flock ————————————
After being pushed away by the two men she loves Cecelia comes face to face with the Frenchman, someone she never saw coming. Heartbroken, lost and lonely Cecelia fights to finish her year working in her fathers factory to gain her inheritance all while trying to reassemble her shattered relationships.
This book. THIS. BOOK... This was a ride, let me tell you. Book one was mostly sweet, you feel the love and enjoy the relationships. Book two hits a whole other way. The romances are intense, the heartbreak searing and the plot driven. We get a new love interest, a threat to Cecelia’s safety and a whole lot more with this instalment in the trilogy. Exodus has almost a mob feel to it. With the Frenchman as a mob boss of the Ravenhood, the book is not actually described this way from what I’ve seen but its a good way to explain who the members of the Ravenhood are in a way. Obviously from book 1 we know they are more of a Robin Hood team rather than murderers. So it’s like Robin Hood created a band of thieves and criminals to defend the helpless. Okay maybe this is a poor explanation but somehow it makes sense to me.
Anyways, the book focuses a lot on the romance content but there is a driving conflict outside the romance. If I’m being honest, this book hurt, a lot. I can’t even say how many times this book made me cry, and it was great but also terrible at the same time because it really broke my heart for a while there and I’m still not really over it. Don’t get me wrong there are a lot of really great moments as well but be aware this might make you cry, it definitely got me in the feels. There are a lot of twists that you don’t expect, a few that you do and a lot of, ’WHAT THE HECK’ moments. Its still a really great read, I would definitely recommend checking it out, just have a box of tissues ready when you do.
Favourite Quote: “I came back to declare war on my memories, to draw my lines, and I’m already disgusted with just how relieved I am by reclaiming, owning my dark side.” - Cecelia, Exodus ch. 30
Star Rating: 5/5 stars, Probably my favourite book in the trilogy. Loved the change in direction from the first book and the added perspective if Cecelia six years after the events of that summer.
————————————— Spoilers if you haven’t read Exodus ————————————
The Finish Line
Starting where we left off, Tobias and Cecelia have reunited at her new home in Virginia. Unfortunately it isn’t the reunion either was hoping for. Cecelia is distancing herself, trying to determine if he will really stick around this time and still feeling the burn from his last rejection after she laid her heart on the line. Tobias has stepped back from the Ravenhood for a ‘vacation’ and is fighting to prove his loyalty and devotion to her. Love isn’t the problem with them, it’s respect, honesty and trust that constantly push them apart. This last instalment is centred around their relationship while each struggle to overcome the past, and includes the perspectives of both Cecelia and Tobias to give us a better understanding of each of them.
This takes place mostly right after the events of the last book but there are flashbacks to Tobias’s past as well as a seven year time jump at the end to show the future of Cecelia and Tobias. I really loved getting the perspective of Tobias and hearing about his past and what he’s done to get where he is. I also really loved getting to see the aftermath of the choices they’ve made and how they tried to overcome their past to make their love for one another into a relationship. It doesn’t dance around the fact that real couples have trouble and that relationships aren’t always perfect and easy. I think Cecelia’s perspectives could have been a bit more in depth, especially since we really cracked open Tobias and what he was going through but she was guarded in her perspective, though it may have been to signify that she was guarding her heart and trust in the story. I tend to like more pressing plot in the books that I read which is why this one wasn’t as good as the first two but I did still really love getting a more deserving ending to the series than where Exodus finished off.
Favourite Quote: “Fate threw me the cards while Karma had its wicked way with me.” - Tobias, The Finish Line Prologue
Star Rating: 3/5 stars, The relationship building was the main part of this book, focusing on Tobias and Cecelia getting through their past. There is an external conflict regarding the Ravenhood but it felt more like an afterthought thrown in rather than a driving factor.
————————————— Major Spoiler Warning for the Trilogy ————————————
I really enjoyed these books, I finished the trilogy in three and a half days! It was a really fun read, even though my heart hurts a little. I would highly recommend these to romance lovers. So let's talk about my dislikes and likes of the series.
Things I didn’t Like:
The hurt Tobias and Cecelia cause each other, but especially everything that he puts her through between taking her boys away which basically forces her to fall apart
Tobias hurting Sean and Dominic by getting with Cecelia
Tessa’s reaction to Cecelia when she first comes back into town. She had no right to be rude to her and act like that, sure Cecelia hurt Sean but he did much worse to her and she thought of Tessa as a kind of friend and wanted a semblance of normalcy. That made me very frustrated
Dominic dying. Totally not okay with this at all! Honestly still hurts when I think about the books even though I enjoyed the ending, this will never be okay. Heartbroken! Kate Stewart, you ripped out my heart!
Marking her without her permission and breaking the necklace.... I was so angry about this and totally understood her reaction
The lack of external conflict in The Finish Line, the conflict with Antoine could have been a bit more present in the book, it felt like it was rushed into the ending of the book rather than a driving factor and we never saw Cecelia making plans etc even though we were getting her perspective which I think was a bit of a let down
I wish we had gotten more Layla/Cecelia time, I thought their friendship was nice and wish there was more of it. I know that Cecelia and Tobias were supposed to be ’the lonely king and queen that found each other’ but I think that Cecelia did make friends that lasted and Layla should have been one of them.
Things I did like:
The relationships between Cecelia, Sean, and Dominic and how each pair has their own unique relationship. Sean pushing Cecelia to be active and explore and enjoying the freedom together and him allowing her to explore. While Dominic was more relaxed and laid back, spending days together inside and showing her his deeper side in a more intimate way
The endings of both Exodus and The Finish Line
Tobias in The Finish Line being all sweet and trying to win her trust
The spice was fun to read but not too aggressive for the most part I think it worked for the storyline and relationship building
The time jumps and how it was carried out
Getting a Tobias POV in the last book was really enjoyable and the flashbacks gave a lot more information about him which I enjoyed
The twist at the end of The Finish Line when Cecelia flipped it on Dominic and told him she knew and plotted to bring Antoine down and the awe that he felt for her being so ruthless and the perfect woman for him and The Ravenhood
Tobias using “Trésor” as his pet name for Cecelia, honestly really really sweet and cute that he calls her that
Halloween and the snowball fight! So cute and made me smile
Cecelia and Tylers friendship
The twist of Cecelia’s mom being the one to have killed their parents and then using her income to try and support them as much as she could by sending clothes etc...
Another Thought on the series:
I believe we never actually learn who left Cecelia the raven necklace, at least thats what I remember is that we never get an answer. In my mind it was Dominic because Sean had already shown her he still cared about her by dancing with her in the street that day before she confessed to Dominic that she loved him for the first time. I think he wanted to remind her that he still loves her and that she is still theirs in the only way he knew how by giving her that symbol. Likely getting Tyler to sneak in and leave it for her though because technically Sean and Dom were in Paris at that point. OR They both agreed to leave it for her and claim her as theirs and had Tyler sneak it into her room for them. This could also make sense since they were kind of in a collective relationship and Sean and Dom were open about their feelings for her with one another.
I don’t think Sean would have left it for her without also leaving a note or some sign it was from him.
“My favourite books, love songs, movies, the ones that resonated with me, have kept me grieving long after I turned the last page, the notes faded out, or the credits rolled.” - Cecelia, Flock, Prologue
“The only love I’ve ever known or craved is the kind that keeps me sick, sick with longing, sick with lust, sick with need, sick with grief. The distorted kind that leaves scars and jaded hearts.” - Cecelia, Flock, Prologue
“It’s time to confess, to myself more so than any other, that I’d hindered my chance of a normal and healthy relationship because of the way I was built, and because of the men who built me.
At this point, I just want to make peace with who I am, no matter what ending I get.” - Cecelia, Flock, Prologue
“Just don’t give it power. Now is now, later will eventually be now. Don’t be a slave to the insanity of keeping time and keeping up. Now is the only thing you have control over, and even so, it’s an illusion.” - Sean, Flock ch.11
“Eggs-runny, coffee-black, beer-cold, music-loud, cars-
Woman” - Dominic, Flock Ch. 27
“And if I’m damning myself, I’m going to enjoy the burn.” - Cecelia, Exodus ch.11
“I may be the villain you fell for, but that doesn’t make me any less the villain.” - Tobias, Exodus ch.22
“It strikes me then that I’ve never known all-consuming love until this day, until him, and I’m positive, I will never know it like that again. I found my truth in love just seconds before it was ripped from me. A curse, a damning fate, to be in love with a man I was supposed to view as my rival who instead stole my heart.” - Cecelia, Exodus ch.22
“I came back to declare war on my memories, to draw my lines, and I’m already disgusted with just how relieved I am by reclaiming, owning my dark side.” - Cecelia, Exodus ch. 30
“Standing at the entrance of the seedy bar is the most lethal and beautiful of devils, and he’s brought hell with him, the summoned flames dancing in his eyes.” - Cecelia, Exodus ch.40
“It’s ironic and cruel how the mind works, mine especially. Some memories I re-live regularly but would do anything to forget, the details so vivid, so ingrained, it can be torturous. While others, the memories I hold most dear, at times evade me.“ - Tobias, The Finish Line Prologue
“Fate threw me the cards while Karma had its wicked way with me.” - Tobias, The Finish Line Prologue
“You’ll never be alone again. You’ll never be alone. I promise you. It was never my heart Tobias. It was always yours.” - Cecelia, The Finish Line Epilogue
All Quotes are directly from Kate Stewarts Ravenhood Trilogy.