Member Reviews

It Had to Be You tells the riveting story of two assassins facing a deadly dilemma - they are each other's targets. Traveling through Western Europe, they must fight their mutual attraction while playing a dangerous game of desire and death. This intoxicatingly suspenseful and provocatively steamy book drew me into a forbidden romance filled with suspense and intrigue. I was captivated by every thrilling moment.

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Everyone knows that Eliza Jane Brazier is a full-blown auto-read author for me and her latest 2024 novel, IT HAD TO BE YOU, further cements that. IT HAD TO BE YOU is the most unhinged, spicy, and BEST novel that she has ever written and I cannot wait for everyone to get their hands on this unique romance-thriller!

Eva and Jonathan are two contract killers who meet unexpectedly on a sleeper train from Florence to Paris; unbeknownst to them about their secret career paths. Their chemistry is magnetic and the two hook up while on the train, but leave each other thinking they may never see each other again. When the two end up running into each other six month later in the Hall of Mirrors (my favorite place ever!!) in Versailles, the two's magnetic pull towards each other further is harnessed. However, Eva was contracted to kill Jonathan, leading to a total collision of their worlds in ways we would never expect.

I knew this book would be spicy but HOT DAMN did it get spicy! IT HAD TO BE YOU is the perfect combination of Carola Lovering meets Lisa Jewell. This book is sexy, wild, unhinged, amazing, spectacular, the moment, iconic, and a total blast. I read IT HAD TO BE YOU in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I do think this book hits harder for me because it involves toxic romance and ummmm, I can relate! This book is so unique and hard to pinpoint how to categorize, but I think it's a romance-thriller? All I know is that Eliza Jane Brazier has busted the door down on a new subgenre that I want more of. Readers of this author must prioritize this—it's an amazing beach read. Expect IT HAD TO BE YOU to be in my top reads of the year!

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It Had to Be You by Eliza Jane Brazier is about Eva and Jonathon, contract killers who meet on a train. Soon after, they are hired to kill each other.

This book is labeled as a thriller, but to me, it felt like a romance book with a super fun twist. I loved the alternating POV, so you really knew what each character was thinking. There were several great spicy scenes.

Overall, this was a fun book to read! I enjoyed it and would recommend. It Had to Be You is being published July 16, 2024.

Thank you to Berkley Publishing and NetGalley for the eARC.

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📣 a steamy thriller with steam & a HEA

Thanks to the publisher & Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

📖 what’s the last book that made you go 😮?

That time Jess barely read a summary before requesting a book & realized later she missed some crucial details…

I thought Eliza Jane Brazier’s It Had To Be You was gonna be like a Julie James’ book. I realized very quickly—maybe after one of the leads said how much they loved killing people—that I was wrong.

The title of this book sounds so romantic. There’s no denying that Eva & Jonathan have a special kind of relationship, that they are attracted to each other & devoted to each other, & that they are each other’s person.

They’re also contract killers who at different moments in the book lie to each other & even try to unalive the other.

Potato, po-tah-to.

This book is not for the faint of heart & there were a couple of times I got a bit squeamish. (I don’t usually like my characters to like killing 🤣). But it’s also often funny & sarcastic & occasionally poignant, & the two leads do make a human & romantic connection that feels like a HEA at the end.

This book was not at all what I was expecting. But I ended up having fun on the ride.

4.25 ⭐️. Out 07/16.

[CWs: murder, violence, suicide ideation, reference to past abuse. When they first meet she knows he is high but she sexually propositions him & they have sex.]

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Two assassins meeting on a sleeper train to Paris sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it was also an excellent setup for this book. Eva meets Jonathan on the train and they hit it off immediately, although neither of them admits what they do for a living. They have one incredible night together and then separate, never to see each other again. Except, then Eva's next job turns out to be killing Jonathan. This sets them off an a whirlwind trip throughout Europe, getting to know each other and the organization lurking in the shadows.

This was an incredibly fun summer read. Eva and Jonathan have both done terrible things but somehow I found myself rooting for them from the very beginning. The assassinations are thrilling and getting inside the minds of these two contract killers was the most interesting character study. This would be so fun to devour by a pool or a beach if you're in the mood for a pretty fantastical thriller!

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I loved the dual points of view and seeing the inner thoughts of the characters. What a unique story as well! I enjoyed the intrigue, the travel, and the couple. It was a great weekend read!

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Review has been posted on Goodreads and instagram

Arc Review
Publishing Date-7/16/2024
My Rating- 4.5 Stars

“She wears a long black dress and long black gloves to hide any bloodstains. She carries a silver purse, a Glock, and a prayer”

What To Expect/Content Warnings
❤️‍🔥Dark Romantic Comedy
❤️‍🔥Dual POV
❤️‍🔥He Falls First
❤️‍🔥Contract Killers
❤️‍🔥European Setting
❤️‍🔥Spice, Spice and more Spice
❤️‍🔥Talks Of Suicide
❤️‍🔥Use of Guns & Knives

“She is crazy, and it is so fucking hot. I want to get down on my knees and worship her, the only god in this whole chapel”

My Thoughts-
This book is exactly what I needed to get me out of a slump. I throughly enjoyed this book. For me this was such a fun and face paced read. The premise is so unique. Two contract killers who are both ordered to kill one another, but end of falling in love. Sign me up. This was a very engaging read. I wanted to know who put the hit out on the both of them, and I wanted to see what would happen between these two, romantically or in death. Between the banter and inner monologues I was cackling. This is certainly a deranged and dark book but the comedy aspect lightens the mood. The characters were very likable and flawed. Even though the main characters were cold blooded killer, they both had a soft side that most can relate to. This was a chaotic read and I loved every page, I definitely recommend this book.

“What did I expect was going to happen? He told me he was going to kill me, several times. I acted like it was foreplay”

“I would die for her, I think. I might even let her kill me”

💋Bad Guy- Billie Ellish
💋Burning Desire- Lana Del Rey
💋Too Sweet- Hozier
💋Never Be The Same- Camila Cabello
💋Bad Habits- Steve Lacy
💋Down Bad- Taylor Swift
💋Paint The Town Red- Doja Cat
💋Sunflower- Post Malone
💋We Found Love- Rihanna
💋Dont Blame Me- Taylor Swift
💋Blinding Lights- The Weekend
💋Levitating- Dua Lipa
💋Murder On The Dancefloor- Sophie Ellis Bextor
💋Passport Bros- Bas, J.cole

✨Thanks to NetGalley, The Author, & Berkley Publishing for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ✨

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Unstable assassins assigned to kill each other and they fall in love? Sign me up. Really enjoyed this one even though the tone was a little all over the place, but I am always here for stories about being on the run in Europe. Dark and frothy, an entertaining ride.

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Special thanks to @Berkleyromance @Berkleypub and Netgalley @netgalley for this e-arc. All thoughts are my own.

Eva and Jonathan hook up on a sleeper train in Paris and never expect to see each other again. They each felt a spark, but sparks aren’t allowed in their line of work.

Six months later, they run into each other again. This time not by chance. Eva has been hired to kill Jonathan. She’s a contract killer and doesn’t know he is too.

This kicks off a high-stakes adventure across Western Europe. As they get close to completing their assignments, it becomes clear that they are also being hunted by something more dangerous than love.

The way this book started out made me immediately have to suspend all rational thought because in what world would this happen? I just couldn’t fathom it happening at all. But, setting that aside, the story continued with some drama and angst. The middle felt like it was long and drawn out, and I’m still not sure that everything was needed to make the story. I think that a lot of the things that happened in the middle could have been removed to tighten up the plot and make for a more enjoyable read. I know that this book was supposed to be enemies to lovers, but I’m confused because they were never enemies so how does that work? Wouldn’t they just be lovers? I went into this book expecting so much more based on the synopsis, but it never fully developed for me. I did enjoy the European setting, which was a lot of fun, but the setting can’t carry the whole book.

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A fun rom/thriller in the vein of Mr and Mrs. Smith--lots of drama and hijinks. Loved the setting as well!

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Grosse Point Blank anyone? Loved that movie and this book has those vibes!

When Eva and Jonathon meet on a train there is an instant connection. The surprise is that Eva is then hired to kill Jonathon and he is a contract killer too! Thus begins an exciting chase throughout Europe filled with murder and mayhem as the two try to outwit one another.
Fun and madness, what's not to like? #berkley #ithadtobeyou #elizajanebrazier

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I’ll say it: the beginning was off-putting - how can someone with a gunshot wound, who is literally dying, have sex? And on a moving train!?!

You have to immediately suspend your disbelief entering into this whirlwind adventure romance. If you can, you’ll be rewarded with a fun retelling of what could easily be a trite trope. The first person storytelling threw me off at times (I had to recheck at the beginning of the chapter who was talking), so hopefully this will be tidied up before final edit.

All in all a fun instalove story between two characters who, while not entirely fleshed out, are interesting enough to stick with.

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Trains have played pivotal roles in many mysteries and thrillers, from Patricia Highsmith’s intense STRANGERS ON A TRAIN, to James Bond’s life and death battle with hired assassin Donald Grant in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE, to Agatha Christie's iconic mystery MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Though moving, trains can be claustrophobic settings, the proverbial locked room. This is true for Eliza Jane Brazier’s excellent thriller IT HAD TO BE YOU. When hired assassin Jonathan boards a train while nursing a gunshot wound, he did not expect to meet the sexy and intriguing Eva. Nor did he expect their relationship would quickly become white hot. And probably the last thing on his mind was that Eva was also an assassin and her target was him. What follows is a dark and humorous romantic thriller that has too many plot twists to keep up with. Will the lovers end up together, or kill each other, or join forces against a common enemy? These questions remain until the very end. Jonathan and Eva are unique and compelling characters that draw the reader in. It is hard not to root for each of them. If I have any criticisms of the story, they revolve around two things. The story is told entirely in first person point of view, moving back and forth between the two characters. Though it works well, there are times when you have to stop and think about who is the point of view character in the scene. Second, the internal angst that each of these characters faces sometimes becomes melodramatic and repetitious. These minor criticisms aside, this remains a compelling story and a fun read. Highly recommended.

DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Jake Longly and Cain/Harper thriller series

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Me gustó que fue algo diferente.

Con la sinopsis me imagine una historia fácil, con comedia, sin complicaciones más que son asesinos, pero resulta ser más que eso. Eve y Jonathan no son personajes sencillos son complejos y dañados, muy dañados.

Se que a muchos no les gustará la escena de la espada y la inyección, pero a mi me pareció excelente porque demuestra el nivel de locura que manejan, pero también muestra la lucha por sus sentimientos.

Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for the ARC in exchange for and honest review.

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It Had to Be You by Eliza Jane Brazier was a very fun romance/mystery/thriller.

This definitely had a slower start and I wasn't sure I was going to be able to finish it - I'm glad I stuck with it.

Told in first person, dual POVs, the structure of the book is very engaging. The chapters are short and broken up into several parts. Just as the beginning started to lull, we jumped to the next part and started off another engaging leg of the story.

Both of our Main characters are assassins and (obviously) mortally grey. I don't think this qualifies as a "dark" novel (think Butcher and Blackbird) and I am grateful for that. I often think dark stories go a bit too far and this was the perfect amount for me.

There was a little too much insta love but I actually think it fit the characters well. I really liked their dynamic together and I ended up quickly rooting for the little psychopaths.

Rated 4 stars. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC ebook.

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This book was a cute mystery. I enjoyed the banter and the thrilling moments equally. I really enjoyed the mix of characters and the ending!

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What a wild, deranged romp of a book! Eva and Jonathan share a steamy moment on a train, never to meet again- until Eva is assigned to kill him. What follows is a supremely fun, unhinged ride through the cities of Europe, providing a backdrop to their romance unfolding, despite their best efforts to shove their emotions to the backburner. I loved their internal monologues, the dramatic twists, and the real laughs. Brazier's writing lends itself well to characters who always feel a little off-kilter, which keeps them unpredictable. If you like your romance a little dark, for your hero AND heroine to be a little unstable, and an action-packed plot, this is the book for you. For fans of Butcher and Blackbird.

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This is a fun, funny at times, insightful at others about two hired killers who fall in love. And love might be the most dangerous adventure of their lives, if they survive it.

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I attempted to read Butcher & Blackbird earlier this year and this is the better take on killers falling in love. I was hooked! 86 chapters are broken into 14 parts across 384 pages, so we're moving at a fairly clippity-clop pace as Eva and Jonathan evaluate and re-evaluate the life of an assassin. It's sexy, fast, furious, and full of twists!

The writing is by turns humorous, ironic, and a little too real ("I have this horrible feeling that everyone else is ordinary, everyone is normal, everyone is happy, except for me."). In fact, much of this novel—the emotion, the thematic questions, the love story—really took me off guard. I didn't expect such an uplifting, desperately romantic story about two intensely lonely people searching for connection. But it's what I got.

And, FINALLY, for once, dual first person POVs came through for me! Both MCs are oddly endearing, with distinct narrative voices. I'm not sure, but I feel it's implied that Jonathan is neurodivergent; among other examples, his chapters are factual and concise without a single contraction word used, while Eva's chapters flow in a more typical description style. There's so much nuance in their characterizations.

All in all, this was time well spent in Europe!

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"It Had to Be You" by Eliza Jane Brazie promises readers an electrifying blend of romance, suspense, and danger as two contract killers find themselves irresistibly drawn to each other while facing off in a deadly game across Western Europe.

The premise of the novel is undeniably intriguing, offering a fresh twist on the classic enemies-to-lovers trope. Eva and Jonathan's initial encounter on a sleeper train sets the stage for a thrilling and unpredictable journey filled with twists, turns, and unexpected sparks of passion.

Brazie's writing is fast-paced and dynamic, propelling readers forward with adrenaline-fueled action and sizzling chemistry between the two protagonists. The tension between Eva and Jonathan crackles with intensity, as they grapple with their conflicting desires and the dangerous circumstances that threaten to tear them apart.

However, while the premise holds promise, the execution falls short in several key areas. The characters, while engaging, lack the depth and development needed to fully invest readers in their journey. Eva and Jonathan's motivations and backstories feel thinly sketched, making it difficult to fully understand or empathize with their actions.

Additionally, the novel's reliance on clichés and predictable plot twists undermines its potential for originality and impact. The romance between Eva and Jonathan unfolds in a formulaic manner, following familiar tropes and conventions without offering any meaningful surprises or revelations.

Furthermore, the action-packed sequences and high-stakes encounters feel disjointed at times, lacking the cohesive narrative structure needed to sustain tension and momentum throughout the story. As a result, the pacing feels uneven, with moments of excitement punctuated by lulls in the plot that hinder the overall flow of the novel.

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