Showing posts with label Mafia / Organized Crime. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mafia / Organized Crime. Show all posts

Heavy Crown by Sophie Lark

January 17, 2024

Heavy Crown by Sophie Lark

Find it here: Goodreads * Amazon
FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Heavy Crown by Sophie Lark

Heavy Crown by Sophie Lark

Rating - 1/2
Standalone - Brutal Birthright #6
Release - January 6, 2021
Genre/Trope - Contemporary Romance / organized crime
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - explicit scenes
Source - ebook provided by NetGalley
Length - 426 pages

A Temptation I Couldn’t Resist...

I saw her being stuffed in a trunk: Yelena Yenin, only daughter of the most vicious Bratva boss in Chicago.

The Bratva hate my family. They burned my uncle alive. I should have left Yelena to her fate...

But she fought like a Valkyrie. Gorgeous, ferocious, and unbreakable.

I saved her so I could make her mine.

She says she’ll never submit to a man. I guess we’ll see…

I’ll push her to the limit. And far beyond.

“It’s you and me now, Yelena.
I love you more than anyone.
I’ll love you and protect you and adore you all our lives.
I’ll never stop.”

For my first try with this author, Heavy Crown was a good one. It had found family, plenty of action, some dark and sad moments, and tons of chemistry between the main characters.

Unlike his siblings, Sebastian was footloose and fancy free. He was starting to think that maybe he wasn't as content with his life as he should be. When Yelena crosses his path, things start looking up. She's absolutely gorgeous, a fierce warrior, and everything he could want in a woman. Too bad her father was the leader of the Bratva, his family's enemy. But isn't forbidden fruit so much sweeter?

It was easy to like both characters. There wasn't a lot of depth to them, or to the story, but it worked for me. There was something light about this book that softened the blow of all of its dark moments.

This is the sixth standalone in the series and it did read like a story that could stand alone. However, it also gave me just enough of the side characters that I want to read more about them. So I'll be going back to the beginning.

Sophie lives with her husband, two boys, and baby girl in the Rocky Mountain West. She writes intense, intelligent romance, with heroines who are strong and capable, and men who will do anything to capture their hearts.

She has a slight obsession with hiking, bodybuilding, and live comedy shows. Her perfect day would be taking the kids to Harry Potter World, going dancing with Mr. Lark, then relaxing with a good book and a monster bag of salt and vinegar chips.

Visit for more information.

Series Review // Ruthless People by J.J. McAvoy

December 11, 2023

Ruthless People series by J.J. McAvoy

Today's flashback is the Ruthless People series by J.J. McAvoy. This was my first foray into this author's work and I was blown away with the world she created for these two rival mafias ruling Chicago. This is the story of Melody and Liam, their arranged marriage, and everything that they grew to be. They started out as enemies, each the heir to a kingdom, eventually joining forces to rule together. It's a story full of chaos, death, drama, family and love.

All of these stories are told in either dual or multiple first person perspectives. The heat ranges from descriptive to almost explicit and there is a happy ending.

I read this series many years ago and can still remember how amazing it was. Have you ever read these books? Are you interested?

Please Note: I had intended to read this author's Children of Vice series after this, but I chose not to and will continue not to because readers, whom I trust, have advised me not to. To leave the love I have for these characters right here, to remember them this way. Supposedly the author ruined everything LOL.

Ruthless People by JJ McAvoy

1. Ruthless People

To the outside world, they look like American Royalty, giving to charities, feeding the homeless, rebuilding the city. But behind closed doors is a constant battle for dominance between two Bosses, cultures, and hearts. Ruthless People is a romantic crime fiction set in modern day Chicago, and follows the life and marriage of Melody Giovanni and Liam Callahan-rivals by blood and leaders through fear. Their marriage, arranged by their fathers in hopes to end years of bloodshed between the Irish and the Italians. Liam believes he's getting a simple-minded wife, one he can control, one who bends to his every need . . . the complete opposite of Melody. She knows exactly what type of man he is, and would rather die than give up the power she has spent her life building. The Mafia of the past has evolved, and with rival bosses gunning for them, Melody and Liam will have to learn to work as one to take down those who stand in their way.

Rating - ★★★★★

This book was fan-freaking-tastic!! I LOVED every single minute of it!! I know I'm twisted, but everything Liam did was beautiful to me. His character made me all swoon-y. I'm not sure what screw is loose in my brain, but even in torture and killing mode, he was extremely hot. And the way that he loves Melody, though a tad obsessive, possessive, and manipulative, was incredibly sweet. Speaking of Melody, she was truly a lioness. Beautiful and lethal. Her coldness put me off a bit but in no way took away from my respect for how strong a character she was. I love strong female roles and JJ McAvoy nailed it here. I'm glad that she was able to love Liam right back (in their own twisted but sexy and endearing way).

I can't believe JJ started writing this in her first year in college. That's amazing!! This author is truly talented. I've already got book 2 so that's what's next!

The Untouchables by JJ McAvoy

2. The Untouchables

Everything Melody Callahan has ever been told about her past is a lie. Her father lied. Her husband lied. But like all secrets…they come out. Not only is her mother, Aviela, alive but she won’t stop until she tears down everything Liam and Melody have spent the past year building.

With a new target on their back and the media now focused on their family as the Presidential election approaches, Liam and Melody must fight on two battlefronts. Melody is torn between being in love with Liam and wanting to kill him for lying to her. Being in love and showing love are two different things in her world. Liam wants to do anything to protect his family even if that means hurting the people he loves.

Family is everything… but what happens when they’re out for your blood? Everything they have been through is nothing compared to what is coming...

Rating - ★★★★★

This series just keeps getting better!! This installment had me on tenterhooks. I was giddy, anxious, nervous, happy, sad, mad, and every other emotion in between. That's what these books have done. Drawn out my emotions in such a way that I'm IN the story. I feel everything.

I tried to explain this series to one of my daughters. She wanted to know if the H and h were the good guys. I then had to explain that Liam and Melody were actually bad guys. That's kind of a given considering they were Mafia bosses. However, they are the best of the bad guys and I love them for that. They have a love for family and exist by an honour code. And their rules are absolutely hilarious!! I think that appeased her curiosity.

Honestly, this book was amazing. Melody's mother, Aviela, is gunning for both Liam and Melody. And she stops at nothing!! She's more ruthless than Melody (if that can be believed). There's a new baby in the house (sweet part of the storyline). There's a mole in the house. A family member is not acting like family. Liam and Melody are more in love than ever. And there's lots of killing and torture too. Awesome!!

American Savages by JJ McAvoy

3. American Savages

Melody is nowhere to be found, Liam is in jail, and the Callahan family is cracking, just as Avian Doers, the FBI Director and puppet master behind their downfall, planned.

But just because they’re down doesn't mean they’re out. To fight back, Liam and Melody will have to put everything on the line. The kid gloves are coming off, and no one is getting out alive. Nothing will compare to the reign of terror that is about to envelope the entire country. First they were Ruthless, now they are pure Savages. The end is here, and no one is safe…

Rating - ★★★★★

I swear that reading this series was like watching a really good Mafia, political, FBI, police thriller. It's got everything!! An amazing couple (Liam and Melody) who quantify dysfunction. They love each other so much but they're the Bosses of the largest mob! It's got sociopaths out the yingyang. There's action, suspense, torture, betrayal, justice, and also a lot of love. I am so sad to say goodbye to these characters. I honestly did not want this book to end. I feel a little lost right now trying to think of what book to read next. This series set me up with pretty high expectations. The epilogue was awesome!! Another job well done JJ McAvoy!!

A Bloody Kingdom by JJ McAvoy

4. A Bloody Kingdom

It has been eight years since the Callahans defeated Avian Doers and conquered Chicago. Melody is now the Governor and public face of the family, while Liam rises as the Ceann na Conairte of both the Irish and Italians.

Their reach is limitless; their power endless...but is it possible to have too much power? Can Liam and Melody raise a family, a city, and an empire?

Only a fool would try to stop them now....

Rating - ★★★★

It's been a long time since I was swimming in the debauched lives that Liam and Melody led. They're still the bosses running the criminal underground of Chicago. Liam's the face while Melody acts legit as the Governor. They were a bit soft with age and kids, but the lethal edge that always existed with these characters was still just as sharp. The story was utter chaos. I had no idea what would happen next and can admit that I was very surprised by some events. I loved getting the voices of the family as points of view. Everyone had something valuable to say and it gave this last book the family touch that I didn't even know would be necessary.

I'm not a huge fan of the way this story ended. I wanted more for these characters who ruled my life in so many ways. I'm hoping whatever was missing can be found in the legacy books the author released. I want more of Melody and Liam and hope to catch a glimpse of them there.

Review // Crow, Wrong, and My Time in the Affair

November 29, 2023

One of the things I love about the bookish world is that one book can evoke different feelings in all sorts of readers. One book can be a five-star read for me and a DNF for someone else. We all see something different because we're all different and I love exploring those differences by reading reviews.

Full disclosure: I read these books years ago, but I do remember enjoying them. Have you read them? Are you interested?

Crow by A. Zavarelli

Crow by A. Zavarelli

dual POV, contemporary romance with suspense

When I walked into his club looking for a job, I had no intention of capturing the attention of the notorious Lachlan Crow.
His reputation has been known to send a shiver down most spines.
Now the Irish mafia overlord is my new boss.
He doesn’t trust me, and I don’t trust him.
But it doesn’t matter because I have a job to do.
I can’t let him distract me.
Even if he burns hotter than the sun.
And all those growly commands and dark looks he tosses around?
I won’t let them get to me.
Not. At. All.
He’s used to everyone falling in line, obeying his every command.
But I’m not one of his soldiers.
And he doesn’t know why I really needed this job.
Lying to him was supposed to be easy.
But the longer I’m near him, the harder it gets.
It doesn’t feel like a game anymore because now my heart’s on the line.
And when the web I’ve spun begins to unravel, it could destroy us both.
Now Lachlan has a choice to make.
Let me go forever…
Or burn his world to save me.

Rating - ★★★★

This was a great start to what I can imagine will be an incredible series.

I was hooked from the first page. Although there were parts of Mack's personality I didn't like, she had many characteristics that I admire, such as strength (physically not so much emotionally), loyalty, sass, etc. Her devotion to her friend Talia and what she was willing to do to help her were true testaments of what friendship is all about.

There was just enough action and intrigue to keep things lively. Shoot, it even had betrayal coming out the ying yang.

Lachlan was freaking hot. No denying that. Dude made bad look so freaking good!! My only disappointment was not getting more of his POV.

I'm excited to read book 2 because Ronan seems like such a badass. I know under that cold exterior is a man of many layers and I can't wait to discover each and every one of them.

Wrong by Jana Aston

Wrong by Jana Aston

Contemporary romance

I have a history of picking the wrong guy. Gay? Player? Momma’s boy? Check, check and check.

Now I can’t stop fantasizing about one of the customers at the coffee shop I work at between classes. It’s just a harmless crush, right? It’s not like I ever see this guy outside of the coffee shop. It’s not like I’m going to see him while attempting to get birth control at the student clinic. While wearing a paper gown. While sitting on an exam table. Because he’s the doctor. Shoot. Me.

But what if, for once, the man I’ve had the dirtiest, most scandalous fantasies about turned out to be everything but wrong?

Rating - ★★★★

Luke and Sophie were adorable together. I love that despite their age difference, despite their different backgrounds, and their different goals, they still found common ground and love. I just wish Sophie trusted Luke a bit more during this story. It was slightly irritating. Given what he does for a living, in the end her doubts were unwarranted. I'm glad she figured that out.

There were some funny parts in this book. For example:

“There’s a wet spot on the paper. Is that normal? Am I supposed to clean up after myself? Why does no one prepare you for this before going to the gynecologist?" I must admit that I felt this exact same feeling when I went to the gynaecologist for the first time!

“What is it, Sophie?"
"Um." I bite my lip then blow out a breath. "Will it go back?"
Luke remains almost expressionless but cocks an eyebrow. How does he not know what I mean? "Will my asshole go back to normal?" I nod towards his dick. "You're really large. Will I, um, still poop normal after this?"
The room is dead silent then. A few seconds tick by like minutes and then Luke loses it laughing. He sits on the edge of the bed with his elbows on this knees, shaking. "Christ, Sophie.” I've always wondered why no other female MC I've read has voiced this same concern! WTG Sophie!!

I took away a star because I felt like I was missing a chunk of the story between the end and the epilogue. There was a disconnect there for me. Otherwise, this was a great read and I'm surprised that this is a first for Jana Aston. I'm guessing being an assistant to JA Huss allowed her to explore some serious literary skills.

My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantome

My Time in the Affair by Stylo Fantôme

Contemporary romance

I made a conscious decision to cheat on my husband.

Now, before you judge me, hear my story. Hear how much I'm like you, how similar my thoughts are to your own. Yes, I'm a horrible person. Yes, I've done horrible things. Yes, I don't deserve forgiveness. Yes, bad things happened because of my actions.

But I'm willing to bet I've done things that maybe, just maybe, you have thought of doing.

Maybe, just maybe, you're not as innocent as you'd like to think.

Or maybe I'm not so guilty ...

Rating - ★★★★

This wasn't the worst cheating book I've read. I think it was easier to digest because although I knew Mischa was married to Mike, the story didn't put their marriage on the forefront. There was hardly any interaction between them and it was pretty obvious through the writing that their relationship lacked passion. This didn't make what she did ok, but it put her thoughts and consequent actions into perspective.

Now Tal Canaan was a freaking dream. I loved him. I didn't like that he pursued a married woman, however, with him already knowing how lackluster her marriage really was (he seemed more aware of it than she did), it took away most of my anger. I loved how he tried to boost her self esteem, how patient and protective he was of her, and above all, how he loved her.

Mike's twist blew my mind but I'm guessing it was a ploy of the author's to make the cheating more acceptable and get us to root for Mischa and Tal's HEA.

The ending was disappointing. I was annoyed and felt like it was unfinished. The whole "come find me" got pretty old pretty quick.

Series Review // The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre

November 27, 2023

The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre

Today's flashback is The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre. While this series got THREE STARS from me, meaning I liked it, I've read several books since that I really enjoyed from this author.

Have you ever read these books? Are you interested in giving them a try?

The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre

Eden I

Haunted by memories of her brother’s death, and searching for answers, Lily Hart embarks on a career that takes her into a seedy underworld, where she is exposed to wealth, greed, lust and the reign of gorgeous, powerful, and dangerous men—one man in particular wreaks havoc on her emotions.

At thirty Jake Eden has everything: looks to die for, money, power and a never-ending line of twisted, fucked-up women willing to do anything to get with him. Love? Love was for pussies…until a woman with the stage name of ‘Jewel’ arrives on the scene. She alone is different from all the others.

Oozing pure, unadulterated sex, strong, intelligent and independent, she is everything he should stay away from, but she makes him itch to tame her and keep her for himself.

Her lure is addictive and undeniable and soon he is hooked.

But when the line between betrayal and loyalty is put to test…

Will love be stronger than revenge?

Rating - ★★★

There were elements to make this book interesting: sexy, mysterious, Alpha, aloof hero; jumbled, dedicated, naive and deceitful heroine; suspense plot; etc. But somehow it was a miss for me.

I felt like I was missing something and with each page I turned I couldn't find it. I failed to connect with the characters, but if I was to pick a favourite, it would be Jake. At least he was real in his character.

I'm going to read the next book just to see what happens when Jake figures Lily out.

The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre

Eden II

It wasn't supposed to be like this- I came ready, determined, but nothing could have prepared me for Jake Eden.

Engulfed in his power, his lust and his primal need for me, I've become ever more helpless in his hands. I love the way he touches me, holds me, protects me. I feel alive in ways I cannot explain. I know I am giving my body to a criminal...week after week, but I can't stop.

I'm addicted.

He has no idea.

It's all wrong, but I'll stay with my plan until I figure out a way around the conflict I'm facing...

I never knew that looks could blindside a man the way Lily Hart's beauty did me. When our eyes collided that first time, the connection was instant, I knew, that she was like no other. She was something special, uniquely different.

But I've discovered since then that there is a secretive side to her, and now I fear deception stalks her eyes.

I know I must keep my distance, but she keeps persisting that I have her heart, so how can I push her away when all I want to do is tie her down and make her mine?

Rating - ★★★

The writing was beautiful, especially when the author described Lily's grief over her brother. I also liked how her career evolved and that it was all in memory of him.

I hurt for Jake. I felt betrayed on his behalf. Underneath the hardcore persona rests a truly beautiful character. I honestly like who he was with Lily.

I'm reading on to see how these two accomplish a HFN or HEA after Lily's betrayal.

The Eden Trilogy by Georgia Le Carre

Eden III

I've been such a fool. Such a fool. He saw me coming and tied me up in knots. And I let him. After Vegas, my heart and mind have been thrown into complete disarray. Is it really possible that what we had— all that blazing, unquenchable passion—was just an illusion?
I know I've lost his trust, but somehow I must find a way to repair the damage I have caused and find my way back to his heart.
I have to make it right… whatever it takes.

She is my wife now, but I know she's not mine. Not really. Not properly. Not the way I want. You see, I want it all. Every last bit of her: heart, mind, body and soul.
And I'm prepared to move heaven and earth to make that happen. This is my mission and my promise. Watch me make her mine or die trying...

Rating - ★★★

As I suspected, this book was the most entertaining of the series. I liked the bit of drama with Jake's ex (although my heart hurt for Lily), the tension between Lily and Jake's mother, and the interesting twist in the plot. I did NOT see that coming. I enjoyed the connection between Jake and Lily, but I wish there was more to their story so that I could see that bond strengthen and grow.

Overall, a nice and easy read.

Review // Seduced by the Mafia by Aaron L. Speer

November 12, 2023

Seduced by the Mafia by Aaron L. Speer

What you must ask yourself is this: what is your plan now?
Will you go on, living as you have, knowing these psychos will target anyone?
Your friends? Your lovers?
Or will you become who you were born to be?
You can have the power to protect them.
It's yours by birthright.
This family needs a leader.
It needs the son of Carmine Silva.
It needs you.

Seduced by the Mafia by Aaron L. Speer

Seduced by the Mafia by Aaron L. Speer

Rating - ★★★★
Release - November 14, 2023
Genre and Trope - Romantic Suspense / mafia
POV - Multiple 3rd person
Heat - several explicit scenes
Source - eARC provided by the author
Length - 274 pages

When Leonardo Silva came into Angel West's life, she assumed he was a fallen star sent directly from heaven. He was gorgeous, attentive and yet something gave her pause, when she wasn't weak at the knees from their passionate nights together. A burden that weighed on him heavily. The family business that he wanted no part in. He wanted her, or so he said. His touch and gaze could burn through to her core, and just when she found herself at his mercy, he disappears without a word.

Later, what returns to her isn't the same man. The destiny that he refused, has taken hold. Leonardo was now a Mafia Don. A man who would take a match to anything that got in his way and Angel learns his disappearance was not all it appeared to be. As much as he has changed, there is one thing that hasn't; the unshakable desire to make her his.

But the forces that caused him to take up the mantle as head of the Silva Crime Family do not rest. The fight for New Haven has only just begun, as has the battle within Leonardo for his very soul. Angel holds the key to the latter and she must choose whether to fight alongside him, or be scattered among the ashes of his enemies.

Seduced by the Mafia by Aaron L. Speer

My Two Cents

All of his life, Leonardo was groomed to rule. He was heir apparent to a mafia fiefdom and yet, all he wanted was to live a normal life. To be happy, find love, have children, and create a new legacy. However, destiny has a way of finding you and Leonardo learns the hard way that the very life that he ran from may be the only thing that can protect the ones he loves.

I loved Leonardo. He was kind and thoughtful, cold and lethal, a man of many contradictions. Every time he handled a situation, I got all tingly. The fact that he was created as quite the generous lover sure didn't hurt.

I liked the idea of New Haven being kind of an urban utopia. As Angel said, "This is New Haven, nothing bad ever happens here." Until it did.

Seduced by the Mafia is full of action, suspense and mystery. I was kept guessing at who the 'bad guy' truly was and I enjoyed the not knowing. Seems like Aaron L. Speer can really write anything.

Previous book in the series:

The Author

Welcome to the Speerverse. Aaron L Speer has been publishing since 2014 and has won 4 Book of the Year Awards* and the Golden Stake Award at the International Vampire Film and Arts Festival held in Transylvania**.

The Undeadly Secrets (Paranormal Romance) spans six books so far, with the latest Peace Keeper: Part Two released in 2021. Heart Breaker is scheduled for some time in 2023.

Fans of MMA romance welcomed the hard hitting Championship Collection; Undisputed, Unbroken and Unbroken 2 into the world.

2022 will see the release of his first MC offerings as part of the Rebel Souls shared world; Rebel Sacrifice and Rebel Savage

2023 will not only see the release of Heart Breaker but also his first Mafia Romance: Owned By The Mafia

Find out more here:

Review // Tempted by the Devil by Michelle Heard

November 06, 2023

Tempted by the Devil by Michelle Heard

With my walls down, she walks into my black heart
and makes herself right at home,
and for the first time in my life,
I feel a flicker of love.

Tempted by the Devil by Michelle Heard

Tempted by the Devil by Michelle Heard

Rating - ★★★★1/4
Standalone - Kings of Mafia #1
Release - October 19, 2023
Genre and Trope - Contemporary Romance / arranged marriage / mafia
POV - Dual 1st person
Heat - several descriptive scenes
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Length - 270 pages

Attending a party with my stepbrother, I’m in for the surprise of my life.
It’s not a regular party, but instead, my wedding.
To Angelo Rizzo.
A coldhearted man who’s feared by all. Including me.

Turns out my stepbrother owes the Cosa Nostra money, and I’m being used to repay his debt to Angelo Rizzo.

Do I have a choice?
No. Not when it comes to matters concerning the Cosa Nostra.

Three hours later, I have a new shiny wedding ring on my finger and a husband I’m terrified of standing by my side.
Yep, my life just took a turn for the worse.
There’s no hiding. No running.
All I can do is face the nightmare that awaits me and pray I’ll survive being married to Angelo Rizzo.

Tempted by the Devil by Michelle Heard

My Two Cents

First of all, thank you for the book rec Janine @ The World Was Hers for the Reading because I ended up REALLY liking this story!

Angelo was one of the bosses of the New York underground. He was deadly, dangerous, and extremely sexy. He was everything that an innocent girl like Tori should fear. And she did. However, over time, she found that he was so much more than the man who would kill a guy over two thousand dollars. He was protective, kind, generous, and overwhelmingly loving of her. She saw the man behind the rep and he was everything she could have ever dreamed of.

I'm going to make you love me so much that you can't live without me. I'll become your god and the one you pray to... And I'll love you like you're my salvation."

There are elements of suspense and plenty of drama, but I enjoyed how all they did was draw this couple closer together. Angelo quickly found his heart with Tori and the author did a great job of mixing the mushy with the scary details.

I didn't know this was the first in a series of standalones, but I'm excited about it and I'm looking forward to reading the next book. Will I see Angelo again?

The Author

Michelle Heard is a USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon #3 Bestselling romance author. She writes emotional heart-shattering stories with a whole lot of Mafia & Romance that will leave you smiling with satisfaction. Every book has an unexpected twist that will show the strength of the characters who have to fight for their HEA.

Before becoming an author, Michelle had a career in banking. She lives in South Africa with her son.

Want to be up to date with what’s happening in Michelle’s world? Follow her on social media or sign up to receive the latest news on her alpha hero releases, sales, and great giveaways →

Series Review // Monster in His Eyes by J.M. Darhower

September 25, 2023

Monster in His Eyes by JM Darhower

Today's flashback is the Monster in His Eyes series by J.M. Darhower. One of my first ever dark romance reads, these books let me know just how much I would love this subgenre. Dark romance quickly became my go-to.

Monster in His Eyes by JM Darhower

Monster in His Eyes

Ignazio Vitale is not a good man.

I suspect it, the first time I see him, sense the air of danger that surrounds the man. He has a way of commanding attention, of taking control, of knowing what I'm thinking before I even do.

It's alarming and alluring. It's dark and deadly. It's everything I've ever wanted but the last thing I truly need. Obsession.

It doesn't take him long to draw me into his web, charming me into his bed and trapping me in his life, a life I know nothing about until it's too late. He has secrets, secrets I can't fathom, secrets that make it so I can't walk away, no matter how much I beg him to let me go. I see it sometimes in his eyes, a darkness that's both terrifying and thrilling. He's a monster, wrapped up in a pretty package, and what I find when I unmask him changes everything.

I want to hate him.

Sometimes, I do.

But it doesn't stop me from loving him, too.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ I love my twisted dark books. I cannot get enough of the anti-hero and Ignazio Vitale is definitely an anti-hero. But he's so sexy with it. He's dominant, hot, older, scary, secretive, charming, rich, etc. There wasn't a time in this book that I wasn't interested in what he would do next. I wasn't a huge fan of Karissa unless she was interacting with him. She wasn't interesting but his intriguing shadow made her seem likable.

The history between these two characters was heartbreaking and I honestly thought once everything was revealed that that would be the end. I'm so excited that there's another book to read. I can't wait to find out more about Naz. I want to see how they earn back each other's trust. I want to see them win their hard won HEA or at least a HFN.

Torture to Her Soul by JM Darhower

Torture to Her Soul

Don't say it unless you mean it…

It's a simple concept, one I've said time and again, but something people don't seem to comprehend. You should choose every syllable carefully, because you never know when somebody will hold you to your word.

Somebody like me.

I'm not a good man. I'm not. I know. I have enough darkness inside of me to rid the world of every stitch of light. But there's one I could never harm, one light I couldn't bring myself to snuff out.


She thinks I'm a monster, and maybe I am. I taunt her with my touch, get a thrill out of torturing her soul. But I'm not the only one. The world is full of monsters, and I'm not the most dangerous one out there.

Not even close…

God help me, I love her.

I do.

And God help anyone who tries to take her from me.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ First, I would like to thank the author for writing this book from Ignazio Vitale's pov. I am sooooooo grateful for it!!

Second, please tell me I'm not the only one head over heels for Naz????!!!! He's amazing! Getting to see everything through his eyes gave me a chance to try to understand what motivated him. To get why he made the choices he did. There were parts of this story that were absolutely gut-wrenching such as when he told what happened the night Johnny came to kill him and his wife and parts that made me laugh. I liked seeing that Naz really had a sense of humour despite his cold appearance. His inner thoughts around people was hilarious! Especially with Paul. And I loved how OCD he was with his things, such as his kitchen and his "trunk".

I'm not sure how I felt about the visiting Maria's grave scene. I couldn't figure out if it was to underline how much he still loved her or if it was to show that through his grief he was able to find love again. He said he felt guilty for what he had with Karissa and it kind of pissed me off. I completely understood it, don't get me wrong, but it still annoyed me.

I'm glad that it didn't take too long for Naz to see Ray's true colours. It's just sad all around. But I am happy that everyone got their just desserts lol.

So after some ups and many downs, Naz and Karissa got their HFN. I wonder how long it really lasts considering there is a third book! Can't wait to read that one and I hope it's in Naz's pov again. I cannot get enough of this character!!

Target on Our Backs

Target on Our Backs

The best way to keep your word is never to give it. Not long ago, in a chapel in Vegas, I swore to love Karissa for the rest of my days. But nobody's promised an infinite number of tomorrows. Nobody's promised forever. Sometimes, all we have left is today.

Carpe Diem. Seize the day.

It should've been over, we should've been happy, but people are making it hard for me to live in peace. I've got so much blood on my hands they'll never be clean, and somebody out there seems to want me to pay for it. Happily Ever After always comes at a cost, one any real man would be willing to pay. But that doesn't mean I'm just going to roll over and accept these consequences. Because when it comes to the woman I love? The life I've fought for? Nobody is safe.

My Rating: ★★★★ ~ I originally thought the series ended at book 2. And I would have been fine with the HFN that Naz and Karissa got. But I am so happy that there was this third book!! It was phenomenal!!

I've said it before and I'll say it again... I love love love Naz! He's cruel, vindictive, merciless, ruthless... but the way he loves Karissa is utterly beautiful. Everything he does is to protect her and their future together. And he does a lot to ensure that future in this book. His pov was so amazing that it made me enjoy her's a lot better. I was actually surprised to find her pov palatable. I honestly liked Karissa in this book. She's growing up *tear*

Karissa's friend Melody was wonderful comic relief. I'm not completely sure that was the intention but this character sure gave me a lot of laughs. Her music references were killer and she reminded me a lot of Melody from Josie and the Pussycats. She had a hard time stringing words in a sentence to make sense. Those quotes that were almost there but not quite lol.

Lorenzo... holy crap this character was deadly. But he charmed me and I liked him. I would like to know more about his NY takeover. It would definitely make for an interesting story. Anyway, I found his character to be exactly what I envisioned Naz to be pre-Karissa. Maybe Darhower will give Lorenzo his own version of Karissa. Maybe that story will also include Melody and her beau, Lorenzo's brother Leo. Maybe we could also get to see Naz again??? (*wink wink*)

In the end, I was sorry to say goodbye. But Naz and Karissa have officially gotten their HEA (I think/hope) and I thoroughly enjoyed their story.

Review // The Tempted Series by Janine Infante Bosco

June 26, 2023

The Tempted Series by Janine Infante Bosco

Set on the streets of Brooklyn, New York, the Tempted Series is a compilation of six steamy standalone novels that will leave you breathless and wishing for more. In between navigating the danger that darkens the beloved streets they call their own, each man finds a strong woman to love and carry him through the darkness.

You'll laugh.
You'll fall in love.
You'll cry.
You'll scream.
You'll probably curse too.
But more importantly, you will become part of this unconventional family.
You will become Property of Parrish.

────── ♔ ──────

Illicit Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Illicit Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★
Standalone - Tempted #1
Release - July 25, 2015
Genre/Trope - Contemporary Romance / mafia
POV - Dual 1st person (Michael Valente + Nikki Pastore)
Heat - 4 out of 5
Length - 367 pages

Broken, lost, and alone.
That's all I was before New York's most notorious gangster recruited me.
Now here I am, following in my father's footsteps and breaking my mother's heart.
And I'm torn between the only life I've ever known and the possibility of something else.
Because the only beacon of light in this dark world is the one woman I can't have.
The Boss's daughter.
The nightclub king's girl.
Her irresistible spirit struggling to be respected for who she is, and not just who she belongs to.
I see her. All of her.
She's the sweetest temptation I've ever known.
And the most illicit.

Nikki and Michael were very easy to like. She had a crush on him since they were kids and he quickly realized that the little girl he had left behind had grown up into a beautiful woman.

Nikki and Michael had oodles of chemistry. Too bad she had a boyfriend. And while she had a connection to her boyfriend, especially because he didn't seem to be intimidated by her father, the mafia don of New York, what she felt for Michael was beyond compare.

I lived for every illicit look.
Every illicit thought.
And all of their illicit touches!

Michael was hilarious and it really shone through on their trip to Florida to escape a threat against Nikki's father. I laughed so much picturing him trying to escape elderly advances.

I knew loving these characters would be easy because I went into this already knowing who they were. I guess that's the consequence of reading the Nomad series before diving into the original stories. However, I have no regrets because it only made me enjoy these people more. I adored getting this in-depth look at the way love bloomed between Nikki and her Mikey, and also the glimpses shown of Victor Pastore, Anthony Bianci, Adrianna, etc.

Forbidden Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Forbidden Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★
Standalone - Tempted #2
Release - November 10, 2015
Genre/Trope - Contemporary Romance / mafia / second chance
POV - Dual 1st person (Anthony Bianci + Adrianna Pastore)
Heat - 4 out of 5
Length - 305 pages

Respect. Power. Control.
From the time I was a boy that was all I wanted.
Being an enforcer for the mob gave me all of that and more.
But she gave me things I didn’t even know I could have.
Passion. Love. Hope.
I was never supposed to fall for her.
I was only good to take the fall for a crime I didn’t commit.
What use is power when you’re locked inside a cage?
I pushed her away and spared her the pain of this poisonous life.
Now, I’m free and she’s still the forbidden temptation.
The one I crave more than air.
More than respect.
More than power.
More than anything.

Anthony was such an intriguing character. He put on this disguise of being lethal and cold, but dude was swimming in so much heart. Everything he was or ever could be centered around Adrianna, and this lady knew her man. When he pushed, she pushed back. And when he pulled her in, she went willingly. There was so much back and forth in their relationship, that if you're not careful, you'll get whiplash. Outside forces were the primary reasons for why this couple had such a hard time, but Anthony didn't try to make things any easier. While all she wanted was him, he was constantly worried about the danger being with him would cause.

However, when he finally decided to fight for what was rightfully his, when he finally claimed his woman... everybody needed to get out of this man's way. I loved everything he did to finally give Adrianna the happily ever after she deserved.

The only drawback to this story was the way that Victor Pastore was portrayed. He went from beloved father to a monster and it threw me. At least some peace was made in the end. I'm here for the ride and it only seems to be getting bumpier. Don't even get me started on the whole Jimmy Gold situation. I can't wait for all of the fallout!!

Uncontrollable Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Uncontrollable Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★½
Standalone - Tempted #3
Release - January 1, 2016
Genre/Trope - Contemporary Romance / MC Romance
POV - Dual 1st person (Jack 'Bullog' Parrish + Reina)
Heat - 4 out of 5
Length - 202 pages

Crazy. Deranged. Uncontrollable.
Doctor it up all you want, no formal diagnosis erases the stigma associated with mental illness.
It’s a scar I’ve carried most of my life.
A hell I can’t escape.
I’m the president of the Satan’s Knights Motorcycle Club with enemies near and far.
But the real villain in this story is my mind.
Drowning in darkness, demons and shadows are all I know.
Until one day the sun begins to shine.
She’s broken, just a shell of a woman, but she’s a beautiful, bright light beckoning me home.
Saving me from the torment.
Showing me her own scars.
Healing me.
Loving me.
Shining her light.
An uncontrollable temptation I can’t resist.

Jack and Reina were two people who knew what it was to exist without living. Both were drowning in pain and breathed life into each other. I was already quite familiar with Jack's pain because I've been Property of Parrish for years, but seeing it mirrored a bit in Reina was a new experience. And although I walked, ran and swam in their deep love for one another some time ago, it was so sweet to see where it all started.

Jack was as crazy as ever. I really cannot get enough of this man! The Satan's Knights were looking for justice and sometimes that looks very ugly. Lives were at stake and no one was safe. I was just excited to see a certain someone get his.

This story was full of feels and angst and further cemented my love for all of these characters.

Reckless Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Reckless Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★½
Standalone - Tempted #4
Release - March 5, 2016
Genre - Contempoary Romance / MC Romance
POV - Dual 1st person (Robert 'Riggs' Montgomery + Lauren Bianci)
Heat - 4 out of 5
Length - 405 pages

It keeps you alive, but it can make you a fool too.
I tied mine to the club and nothing else.
I didn’t need more.
The Satan’s Knights gave me a reason to ride and secured my place in the world.
I also had a rotation of women at my beck and call—life was good.
Until one night.
One doe-eyed girl.
Little miss innocent wanted to ride in the fast lane and I was the badass with the bike.
A temptation I couldn’t resist.
If there was ever a reason to be reckless and risk my heart, she was it.

No one can deny Riggs his heart. Well, maybe he could. However, no matter how many times he tried to talk himself out of love, it kept hitting him in the face.

Riggs knew that Lauren was off limits. He may lust after her non-stop, but no way did he want to tangle with the Biancis. And then one night changes everything. One taste and he can't help but come back for more. Separation anxiety, dangers lurking around every corner, and a surprise pregnancy lead Riggs to find his heart once and for all.

Each Satan's Knight has something different to offer. Riggs' contribution: ridiculousness. Dude could find humor at a funeral. He made me laugh with all of his hilarious inner monologues. I loved seeing events from past books from his perspective. His view of how things went down gave certain scenes a different edge, whether it was to make me laugh, cringe or cry.

The hospital scenes absolutely GUTTED me!!

All this to say that this is book 4 of the series and I'm still very much entrenched with the Knights and I'm greedy for more.

Lethal Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Lethal Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★
Standalone - Tempted #5
Release - May 24, 2016
Genre - Contemporary Romance / MC romance / forbidden / age gap
POV - Dual 1st person (Dominic 'Blackie' Petra + Lacey Parrish)
Heat - 4 out of 5
Length - 530 pages

Drugs. Alcohol. Mayhem.
That's how I ride as the VP of the Satan's Knights MC.
I trade one addiction for another and make no apologies.
I'm no Knight in shining armor. I'm Satan's soldier, a villain dressed in leather.
She's a beautiful, broken angel, wrapped in lace battling her own demons.
And when she looks at me, I'm not a man chained to his cravings and crimes.
I'm her hero and she's my sweetest obsession.
A lethal temptation I can't resist.
The one I won't survive.

I knew all about Blackie and Lacey from reading the Blackout duet, but seeing where it all began was a nice detour (thinking of you, Riggs). I got to see how the whole Leather and Lace deal got started and their story was darker than all the rest. It was full of inner angst and outer dangers. With Lacey struggling with her mental illness and trying to be seen, to be heard... this young woman broke my heart. And Blackie was struggling with his many addictions. However, they were each other's rocks. They were the one person they could be real with, the person who could really see them.

I still find this relationship a bit icky. Remember, Blackie is Jack's bestie and Lacey is Jack's daughter. Blackie has been a part of her life since she was a little girl. Whenever the hero watches the heroine grow up and then falls for her, I'm always a bit thrown. But the author pulls it off. I wasn't grossed out (completely) and I found it easy to get on board with idea of this couple's happily ever after. They fought hard for it and they earned it. Painful and beautiful, their story was a treat to read.

Eternal Temptations by Janine Infante Bosco

Eternal Temptations

My Rating - ★★★★½
Standalone - Tempted #6
Release - August 1, 2016
Genre - Contemporary Romance / extended epilogue
POV - Multiple 1st person
Heat- 4 out of 5
Length - 294 pages

You've seen them through their most illicit temptations.
Guided them through their forbidden temptations.
Stuck with them through their uncontrollable temptations.
Owned their reckless temptations.
And survived their lethal temptations.
Five couples.
One threat.
Who will overcome the eternal temptation?

Join The Pastore Crime Family and the Satan's Knights MC in this mashup standalone romantic thriller. One final hit. One last ride. And these anti-heroes won't go down without a fight.
So ask yourself: are you tempted?

This was so much fun to read! It was like getting extended epilogues for my favorite characters and I'm still looking for more!

Eternal Temptations was full of pain, death (OMG the deaths were crazy in this book), remembrances, honorable mentions, beauty, family, and so much love. The love these characters have for one another, especially when it started (for some) from a place of misgivings... it's the stuff that makes these characters legendary. There's a reason why their stories crossover into other books and into other series. They are just that amazing!

When you fall in love with Michael + Nikki, Anthony + Adrianna, Jack + Reina, Riggs + Lauren, Blackie + Lacie, and even Grace + Victor, you'll want to make sure you read this book. It delivers in so many ways, and if that wasn't enough, it sets up the next series for the nomads. So freaking good!