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Playing With Knives

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  593 ratings  ·  171 reviews
Life is so hard when you want to live like a magpie, stealing anything shiny you find, but you live in a small town where everyone knows your face.

Nothing exciting ever happens here, unless you count us getting our very own movie rental shop right next to the sheriff’s station.

Which, for the record, I don’t.

That is, nothing exciting happens until my roommate is murdered an
Kindle Edition
Published September 14th 2021
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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  593 ratings  ·  171 reviews

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Crystal (Crystal_reads_)
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dark-romance

I am pleasantly surprised at how well this book kept my attention. A.J. Merlin is a new to me author, and I look forward to her future books. On my dark scale, it’s medium Gray.

Willow, aka Will, is the female protagonist in this story is such a cute little thief. She had me laughing a time ot two. Will already feels like an outcast in her town because of her mother and now dealing with the death of her roommate. I will say she handles it like a champ. Then she meets the boys, new to the town;
⭐Toonasa⭐ •Romance Book Lovers' Haven•
A SINFUL, Suspenseful, Angsty & KILLER Dark contemporary "Mafia (sort of)" Reverse-Harem romance which kept me on edge & guessing what'll happen next! It was full of Quirks, Steals, Shiny...Loved it!
Full RTC soon!
Yami's Bookshelf
Sep 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2021-arcs
You know that feeling when you start a book and the first quote states: “Oh God, he knows I broke into Ms Clutterbucker’s house while she was away on vacation and stole her remote batteries!” Well, I know this is going to be an epic read in itself. Like, for real, who steals remote batteries to begin with in real life! This has to be the best quote I have ever read in a long time!!

I love nothing more than finding a new author that I’m going to obsess over. Well, I’m just floored over AJ Merlin’
Chelsie Lucas
Playing with knives

I dont know how to Rate this. Legit. 2.5 ⭐️ but like. Lower than that ??
I couldn’t NOT read it because I needed to know who or what they are but. Man.

Mini play by play of the book::
53% of the way in. FIFTY THREE. And so far. Nothing of importance has happened.
A lot of talking. Stalking. Then light kidnapping and yet. No answers given. No one seems to like each other. The FMC gets caught EVERY TIME she does ANYTHING.
She’s scared of everything and it’s super
Patron Saint Fitzwilliam
Didn’t find Will very interesting and wondered why the guys did too. Up until the 50% I totally thought this book had a paranormal element. Whoops. I also didn’t like how we didn’t know what was going on with the guys until about the 40% mark, and even then nothing explained fully until later.

The writing was just okay but I found certain passages stilted and found myself rereading to catch things. This was just an *okay* read for me.

Ps: if you’re gonna have a villain protagonist kill a perfectl
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
You know a book’s going to be fun when it starts with a thought like:

"Oh God, he knows I broke into Ms. Clutterbucker’s house while she was away on vacation and stole her remote batteries."

Who steals remote batteries? A klepto like Willow Carlysle is the answer to that question. She loves stealing things that “would prove to be a minor inconvenience, and taking batteries accomplished that.” This isn’t a story about Will, the inconvenient thief. This is a story about Will, a woman who gets caught
abbey willcox
Sep 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
"Curiosity killed the cat. and I don't think satisfaction will bring this kitten back"

Yessss 👌🏼 I never knew I needed this book in my life, but hell yeah I did. THESE GUYS!!! I've read a lot of RH and all different kinds. Usually you get all the different types... but, in this book they are all dark and scary as f*ck!! I really want sure if they would kill her or bang her 😂 all of them had me on edge, Lysander and the guys remind me of Diesel from DOV a little..and we all know how much I love hi
Jul 19, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stars ▷ ✨✨✨✨✨
Spice ▷ 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
POV ▷ 1st person, single POV
Rep ▷ 🌈
▷ Standalone
Themes/Tropes ▷RH/Poly/Dark/Contemp
Triggers ▷ Animal Cruelty/CH 32 PG 322-324/Summary (view spoiler)
KU ▷ Yes + Audio (ya'll get the audio)
Pet Names ▷ Little girl, princess, pretty girl, darling girl, sweet girl, baby girl, gorgeous girl
Will is a animal loving klepto/magpie. When her roommate/BFF is murdered she’s decides to do some investigating on her own and the 4 hot strangers in town seem like likely suspects. But there is more to them than meets the eye. This is an RH with some dark themes, and told entirely form the FMC POV. There were a few times I really wanted a POV from the guys - they are all a little (lot) psycho but almost immediately become obsessed with Will. I’m kind of sad this is a stand-alone because I reall ...more
Rambling Reader
Sep 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
For me, Merlin is one of those authors that I consistently enjoy. I really like her Summoner series, definitely dug into the first book in her omegaverse series, and while this one was a much different flavor than those stories, I'm glad I had a chance to read it.

Will is a fun character. She's got some of the components of Merlin's other leading ladies in the sense that she's a bit awkward, maybe not the most socially adept or generally social person, and she's got a little bit of baggage. But
K.  Ramjohn
Jul 12, 2022 rated it really liked it
Playing With Knives was an unusual Reverse harem tale and I will admit I had mixed feeling about it. I though the storyline was interesting as it was a bit different from my usual reads. There was mystery and suspense, hott steamy scenes, kidnapping and a cast of memorable characters. I like each of the Male Characters. They were all psychopaths and each one brought something different to the story and they made me want to know more about them. However it was the Female Main character I had issu ...more
Sep 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This was a new to me author, and I’m impressed! This book grabbed me from the beginning and didn’t let go. This fmc, Will, was absolutely unique. Definitely a loner, always bored, animal lover, and “questionable life skills!” It all started with her roommates murder, and it led her down a curious path to four skilled men in a “pack.” She definitely doesn’t follow instructions and is always wayyy to curious for her own good. She’s always finding trouble without even trying. Once this reverse ...more
Nov 15, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reverse-harem
This was fun! Yes, it got unrealistic because how are four men in control of the chicago police?? Like how? But whatever.

The best part was the tension and the suspense in the beginning when you’re not sure how mean the guys will be. What didn’t make it dark dark is that the heroine was never afraid of rape. (That’s one of the unrealistic bits) She was afraid shitless but rape is not something she ever thought of directly. That made the book safer and allowed leeway for the guys to be a scary. D
Oct 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Playing With Knives by AJ Merlin is a contemporary dark reverse harem romance.

The book does come with a warning "18+ Dark Reverse Harem Romance. PWK contains graphic sex scenes and detailed violent acts that may be triggering for some readers. There are also MM and MMFMM scenes and relationships."

This is the first book of AJ's that I have read and it definitely won't be my last. I was pulled in from the very beginning and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. I loved that this bo
May 06, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Love me a good serial killer romance read!!!
Sophy Sorn
Aug 03, 2022 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed listen to this even if sometimes it got me a little loss
 •Cici• Theory of A Dreamer Book Blog♥
Being new to Ms.Merlin's work I've been looking forward to picking up her books! As soon as i stumbled across this book while scrolling through social media I knew i had to read it first! I enjoyed it!

I liked how (Will) Willow's journey was quick to get my attention! I wasn't quite sure what all was going to happen in this story and I enjoyed the way it kept me on my toes. I felt many different things throughout with these characters as well which I liked!

With Playing With Knives, Ms.Merlin has
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Playing With Knives by AJ Merlin is a contemporary dark reverse harem romance that I listened to on audio narrated by Leanne Woodward.

I loved that this book is not your typical dark romance, it kept me guessing on how the story would go. I really enjoyed the relationship that bloomed between Willow, Lysander, Azriel, Nykos, and Rhys.

I originally read the book when it was first released and was so excited when I seen it was coming to audio and I was not disappointed. Leanne did an amazing job on
Sep 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
I was very intrigued by the synopsis of this book. I was so excited to read it I even signed up for the ARC and I wasn't disappointed! I loved all the characters and their interactions with each other. The story is good but I feel like it needs just a little more development. I'm trying to be spoiler free but I would have loved to have more insight into the characters backgrounds to show how they came to be the people they are and why they do what they do. ...more
Erin Figueiredo
Sep 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal Story!

This was an phenomenal story that pulled on my heartstrings, had me laughing throughout and kept me cheering on Will (as she is one feisty – slightly crazy - woman). I was hooked from the very first page and I never wanted it to end.

The story captivated, enthralled and entertained me with all of the antics and interactions between Will and the fierce some sexy men that she wants in her life (they really try to shoo her away like a little feisty kitten at times). Will kept me on
Emily (emilysdarkcorner)
Sep 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Besties I got an ARC for playing With Knives by @ajmerlinauthor

First of all let me start by saying this story is insanse and so good! I love how through out the story you are going on a journey along side Willow while she is discovering herself.
Her men help her on her journey and they are hot as hell even while they are doing some kidnapping.

The smutty scenes between Willow and her men are just so hot. They had such amazing sexual chemistry between all of them!

I could not stop reading this b
Oct 17, 2021 rated it liked it
I rolled my eyes so much at Will...she was on the verge of tstl for me.

I don't get what the guys saw in her and didn't understand the connection

“Curiosity killed that cat. And I don’t think any amount of satisfaction will bring this kitten back”

Playing with Knives by AJ Merlin is a perfect spooky read pick for fans of dark romance. Before getting into the body of the review, I want to emphasize that I would NOT in any way recommend this book for younger audiences. Mature readers only! And if you aren’t a fan of reverse harem books, then this probably isn’t the best choice for you and I would recommend that you
Katie's Book Boyfriends
“It’s not a big deal or anything. I just like to take shit.”

“Like a magpie,” Nyko commented thoughtfully.

“An adorable magpie,” added Lysander.

THIS BOOK! THIS AUTHOR! THIS NARRATOR! You guys!!!!!! WOW! Like, I keep praying to the book goddess that Kayley Loring will finally write a dark comedy but noooooooooo. So wow! AJ Merlin! You’re my girl! I love you!

We have a girl who likes to steal things. Her roommate just got murdered. She wants answers. She finds four out of towners in her small town
Kristin Conover
Oct 21, 2021 rated it liked it
Felt unfinished

Will and the packs story really should have been a series instead of one book which is why I gave this three stars. It feels unfinished. There was no character development for the pack and no relationship building between Will and them other than the steamy scenes. I really would have liked to have some actual feelings involved in this story, but it all felt really cold and detached especially between Will and two of the guys. I felt the guys feelings for the dogs more than their
Sep 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Will is a thief. She prides herself on her skills. She doesn’t take a lot and doesn’t steal from people who can’t afford to lose a little. Living in a small town where everyone knows everyone’s business, Will keeps mostly to herself and chooses to avoid her self-centered mother as much as she can. Most of the people in town think she’s a troublemaker and ungrateful daughter based on how much her mother complains to everyone who’ll listen. She finds comfort in stealing and working at the local an ...more
Sep 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
For once, in a REALLY long time, I was genuinely surprised by the direction of a book. Like, for a few chapters I thought for sure it was going one place, and it was COMPLETELY the opposite and I LOVED it! Willow is the FMC, in a small town in Michigan where she is a snarky, lock picking, animal loving extraordinaire! I liked her as a character and found it interesting that was not only a bit of a thief (a self-proclaimed good one too) but, also that she had a big heart for animals and sort of h ...more
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