Book Review: Bound by Temptation (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, #4) by Cora Reilly

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Liliana Scuderi has been in love with Romero from the moment she first saw him. After her sisters were married off for tactical reasons, she hopes she might be allowed to choose a husband for herself, but when her father promises her to a man more than twice her age that hope is crushed. No begging can make him change his mind.

Romero has always ignored Lily’s flirting. Her age and status made her off-limits but even someone as dutiful as him has only so much control. Wanting her when she’s supposed to marry another man could mean war between New York and the Chicago Outfit, and Romero has always put the Cosa Nostra first.

Lily suspects her sisters and Romero would risk everything for her, but is her happiness worth that much? Is love worth a war between the Cosa Nostra and the Outfit?

My mini-review:

“She wasn’t the little girl I’d first met. She was a woman in marriageable age now.”

The review for this sequel is going to be a lot shorter than the others simply because not much happens. There’s a forbidden romance. Sneaking happens. Sex happens. And then war happens. Or at least, it lurks in the near future. This isn’t to say that it was boring to read (because it certainly wasn’t), it was just fairly standard in regards to plot development. It was all about the love and lust and hidden kisses, and there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with that. This book would definitely fall under the category of “Guilty Pleasures”.

I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone but there is quite a cliffhanger at the end. Tensions are running high between The Outfit and the Cosa Nostra. And since we are all out of Scuderi sisters, I’m wondering if Fabiano is going to get to tell his story in Bound by Vengeance. I have no idea what to expect but I can’t wait!

★★★★ (4 stars) for sweet Romero.

Book Review: Bound by Hatred (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, #3) by Cora Reilly

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

When Gianna watched her sister Aria getting married to a man she barely knew, she promised herself she wouldn’t let the same thing happen to her.

Matteo – The Blade – Vitiello set his eyes on Gianna the moment he saw her on his brother Luca’s wedding, and Rocco Scuderi is more than willing to give his daughter to him, but Gianna has no intention of marrying for any other reason than love. A few months before the wedding, Gianna escapes her bodyguards and runs away. She has enough money to flee to Europe and begin a new life. But staying undetected when the mob is searching for her is a challenge that takes everything, especially as one of their best hunters and assassins is after her: Matteo Vitiello.

After six months on the run, Gianna finally settles into a tentative routine in Munich, but then Matteo and a couple of her father’s soldiers find her with another man.

Despite her pleads they kill her boyfriend, and Gianna is forced to marry Matteo. Her emotions alternating between guilt over having dragged an innocent into her world and hatred toward Matteo, Gianna is determined to make life hell for her husband. But Matteo is a master at mind games and their struggle for power soon turns into hate-fueled nights of passion.

My review:

“Love is when you feel safe in someone’s arms, when he’s the first thing you want to see in the morning. Love is surrendering. You risk getting hurt but you don’t care. You are willing to give someone the power to break your heart. Love means seeing someone at their worst and still seeing the good in them; love means someone is perfect for you despite their imperfections.”

Here we go again! There’s no doubt that Gianna is very different from Aria and Valentina, so of course her story will differ greatly from theirs. She wants nothing to do with Matteo. She’s repulsed by him, by her father, and most importantly, this life she has been born into.

I appreciate her perspective because it explores what happens when you actually do something about a situation that you don’t want to be in. This is a girl who knows what she wants–or doesn’t want–and leaves before someone else can decide her fate for her. Unfortunately, leaving doesn’t always result in the best consequences.

This book shows that hatred can fuel sex just as much, if not more, than love. In most ways, Gianna and Matteo’s relationship is the least realistic of the bunch, but it does provide some great drama. There’s nothing more entertaining than a love/hate relationship. Emphasis on the hate.

★★★ (3.5 stars) for a different kind of hatred.

Book Review: Bound by Duty (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, #2) by Cora Reilly

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Dante – The Boss – Cavallaro’s wife died four years ago. On the verge of becoming the youngest head in the history of the Chicago mafia, Dante needs a new wife and Valentina was chosen for the role.

Valentina lost her husband, too, but her first marriage had always been for show. When she was eighteen, she agreed to marry Antonio in order to hide the truth: that he was gay and in love with an outsider. Even after his death, she kept his secret, not only to preserve the honor of a dead man, but also to protect herself. But now that she’s about to marry Dante, her castle of lies threatens to crash. Dante is only thirty-six but already feared and respected in the Familia, and he’s notorious for always getting what he wants. Valentina is terrified of the wedding night that might reveal her secret, but her worries prove unfounded when Dante shows her the cold shoulder. Soon her fear is replaced by confusion and indignation. Valentina is tired of being ignored. She’s determined to get Dante’s attention and desire, even if she can’t get his heart that still belongs to his dead wife.

My review:

“So I’m not just going to manage a casino, I’ll also be a bordello queen.”

This was a nice continuation of Bound by Honor, kind of. I assumed the sequel(s) would focus on the Scuderi sisters so it was a little surprising to have the focus of this book shifted onto Valentina. In retrospect, this makes a lot of sense. We now have a little glimpse from The Outfit’s side of things. This is beneficial to readers of the series so we’re not just seeing things from the Cosa Nostra’s perspective.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love any book or film that discusses the inner-workings of the Mafia. Bound by Duty is a great example of the business, or duty side of things, but don’t be fooled–this series is far more Romance/Erotica than the synopsis lets on. Yes, there is certainly action, but most of it takes place in the bedroom. With that being said, there’s still quite a bit of bloodshed to look forward to. And there are always rats to be dealt with.

I’m looking forward to Gianna’s story.

★★★★ (3.75 stars) for a great concept. I’d love to see this type of scenario portrayed in a movie or television show. And I miss The Sopranos.

Book Review: Bound by Honour (Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, #1) by Cora Reilly

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Born into one of the leading Mob families in Chicago, Aria Scuderi struggles to find her own path in a world where no choices are given. Aria was only fifteen when her parents betrothed her to Luca – The Vice – Vitiello, the oldest son of the head of the New York Cosa Nostra to ensure peace between the two families.

Now at eighteen, the day Aria has been dreading for years is looming dangerously: her wedding to Luca.

Aria is terrified of marrying a man she hardly knows, especially someone like Luca who got his nickname ‘the Vice’ for crushing a man’s throat with his bare hands. Luca might be one of the most sought after men in New York thanks to his good looks, wealth and predator-like charisma that radiates power, but the society girls throwing themselves at him don’t know what Aria does: that the bad boy aura isn’t just a game; blood and death lurk beneath Luca’s striking gray eyes and arrogant smile.

In her world a handsome exterior often hides the monster within; a monster who can just as easily kill as kiss you.

The only way to escape the marriage to Luca would be to run away and leave everything she’s ever known behind but Aria can’t bear the thought of never seeing her family again.

Despite her fear, she decides to go through with the marriage; Aria has grown up among predators like Luca and knows that even most cold-hearted bastards have a heart and she has every intention of working her way into Luca’s.

My review:

“If I’d done that today, you would have lost control. The only reason why you didn’t was because I treated you like my husband, not a monster.”

This book is the perfect example of a guilty pleasure, or at least one of my guilty pleasures.

Some of you may or may not know this about me, but I have a particular fascination with anything Mafia-related. I’m not sure if I should credit that to spending my childhood watching Al Pacino movies with my older brother, re-enacting The Godfather, and writing scenes of bloodshed for the big screen, but damn… I’m pretty sure I spent a solid year of my life thinking I lived in the setting of “A Bronx Tale”. Don’t ask me why. I was an odd kid. Anyways, my point is that this is my kind of novel. This was long before I discovered YA Fantasy. Back then, my version of fantasy was far from faeries and werewolves. In fact, I wrote something similar to this book when I was in high school (granted there was a substantially smaller amount of sex in it) but it was thrilling just the same. But I digress. This book was action-packed.

There were a couple of things that bothered me, but I won’t mention them because they are spoilers. You’ll have to read the story for yourself. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of alpha males. And not the white-collar kind of alpha male. I mean the kind that kills a man when he’s only 11-years-old. That kind. It also goes without saying that this is pretty much an adult novel. I’m never sure what counts as erotica but this probably falls somewhere in that category.

I should also mention that aside from some spelling mistakes that made me cringe–hard–the writing was very easy to read. The writing, like the characters and the action itself, was fast-paced and didn’t waste any time.

★★★★ (4 stars) because y’all are tripping if you think I haven’t already got my hands on the next three books! I need to know what happens to the rest of the characters! Who’s next?