Tag Archives: mafia

Review of Deathless & Divided (The Chicago War, #1), by Bethany-Kris

I received an Audible code for a copy of Deathless & Divided, by Bethany-Kris.

Description from Goodreads:

Lies and love. This is how a war starts.

A life for a life. That’s the mafia way. Damian Rossi owes his life to a man who is ready to collect. That payment comes in the form of an arranged marriage to the daughter of another leading family in the Chicago Outfit. He’s ready to follow through, even if that means making sure Lily knows she’s his.

Lily DeLuca isn’t being given a choice. Forced home to marry a man she doesn’t know and back into a life she’d rather forget, her world is full of half-truths, buried pain, and uncertainty. But Damian is nothing like she expects. His motives aren’t clear. Her beliefs are being tested.

When it comes to this world, no man can be trusted. Someone is ready to flip the Chicago Outfit on its side all for the promise of something better. But no one runs a clean game and these men play for keeps. When blood begins to paint Chicago red, four families will be divided by loyalty, hatred, and revenge. There is no hiding. There is no safety.

No one is deathless.

No one.

Review:

This wasn’t bad, not what I expected going in, but not bad. I liked that Lily wasn’t a push-over and Damian was too charming for words. I really liked all the behind the scenes manipulation happening between the bosses, though I guessed who was behind it all from the beginning. The writing flows and Scarlato, the narrator, did a good job. 

I did think Lily got over her resistance too quickly and then the two of them were instantly in love and willing to go to any lengths for one another. It was a little too much too quickly. But again, not bad. 

I just had one big complaint (that has multiple facets). While it may be goshe to talk about sex, I’m going to…in some detail. My first big complaint came with the first sex scene. The whole premise of the book is that Lily has been called home to Chicago and her mafia family to be married off. She’s angry about this, feels like chattel, struggles against the whole idea. Damian—her intended—tries hard to convince her this isn’t the case. So, when in the very first sex scene he starts all the “tell me who this belongs to” (when talking about her pussy), “you’re mine,” “say you’re mine,” “you belong to me,” etc it smacked as seriously out of place. It should have undone all his work to convince her she wasn’t a piece of property. It did not fit any of the previous set up of the plot. 

Second, I kind of wonder if Bethany-Kris doesn’t usually write MM romance, instead of M/F, because Lilly is the soppiest woman I’ve ever heard of during sex. There were so many references to things like HER cum leaking down her legs. I mean, that she’s wet is great, and maybe she’s a squirter (but none of that is mentioned) just lots and lots of HER cum. Merriam Weber reminds me that cum can be used as a noun to mean orgasm, but that’s not really how I sensed it being used here. It read like the fluids coming during orgasm, which Merriam Weber also dictates as specifically semen. So, all this cum felt off when referring to a CIS female character. I don’t think we had a single reference to Damian’s semen though. 

Lastly—and again this leads me to wonder if Bethany-Kris isn’t more comfortable with MM—the anal sex. I have no problem with this being included. Heck, change it up on occasion. Great. But the way it was build up as being something special and momentous irritated me. The way her giving him her ass is somehow more meaningful than any of the previous sex, like it’s a culminating act, felt contrived and pointlessly titillating. Plus, I knew with 100% certainty that was going to happen as soon as he mentioned it in the first sex scene. So, it was disappointedly predictable, not taboo and exciting in any fashion. 

All in all, as much as I like a good erotic book, the sex in this one often rubbed me the wrong way (pun intended). But I generally enjoyed the book.

Review of Guns n’ Boys (Guns n’ Boys #1.1), by K.A. Merikan

Guns N' Boys I downloaded a copy of K. A. Merikan‘s Gun’s N’ Boys from the Amazon free list.

Description from Goodreads:
 Love is sour like a Sicilian lemon.

The Family is always right. 
The Family doesn’t forget. 
The Family pays for blood in blood. 

Domenico Acerbi grew up in the shade of Sicilian lemon trees ready to give his life for the Family. Ready to follow orders and exceed expectations. A proud man of honor.
When Seth, the younger son of the Don is kidnapped, it’s Domenico who is sent to get him back. The man he finds though, is not the boy he knew all those years ago. Lazy, annoying, spoiled, and as hot as a Sicilian summer.

Seth Villani wants nothing to do with the mafia. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a say when the Family pulls him right back into its fold after his mother’s death. Thrown into a den of serpents otherwise known as the Villani Family, Seth has to find a way to navigate in the maze of lies. But when Domenico Acerbi, the most vicious snake of them all, sinks his fangs into Seth, the venom changes into an aphrodisiac that courses through Seth’s veins. 

Domenico knows his life is about to change when he gets the order to train Seth up to the role of future Don. Seth isn’t made for it. He isn’t even made. But a man Domenico knows he would never have to fear might just be someone he’s always needed.

If Seth is doomed to follow in his father’s footsteps, he might as well enjoy himself—with the most intoxicating man he’s ever met. Maybe he can even fool himself into believing that Domenico isn’t a handsome sociopath who kills for a living.

 Review:
If I was going to use ratings I would call this a 2.5, but I’d round up for being well enough written. My problem with it was that I expected some gritty Mafia action, with a hot sex on the side. What I got was almost literally just two men in a room fucking and fighting. It wasn’t even physical fighting for the most part, just bickering like kids. Sure some of the sex was hot and, to be fair, they occupationally went and fucked or fought in a park or a new apartment, but after 300+ pages of it I just got bored.

The Mafia played almost no part in the book beyond a device to force them together and you never learn the reasons behind the decision that led to the events. No doubt you will in future books, but I won’t be bothering with them. So I’ll never know.

I found neither character particularly relatable either. Dom was sexy, sure, and some of his confused moments were surprisingly endearing in their rarity, but he was basically an asshole, lacking in even basic empathy or sympathy. Plus, he was ‘grooming’ Seth, so all his actions are suspect. Seth, for all his hot bod, etc was annoying and whiny. Mostly I just wanted him to shut up.

It’s a fine book if all you’re looking for is porn with plot, but I was hoping for something more. Also, as a side note, I hate all this 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2 numbering. Why can’t it just be 1,2,3? Anything else makes me think of novellas between books and those annoy me too.

Review of Find Big Fat Fanny Fast, by Joseph Bruno

Find Big Fat Fanny FastI picked Find Big Fat Fanny Fast, by Joseph Bruno off of the KDP free list.

Description from Goodreads:
Since the start of the 20th Century, the Italians and Chinese in the Little Italy/Chinatown area in New York City have endured an uneasy truce. In the first three quarters of the century, the Italians ruled the neighborhood with an iron fist. But starting in the 1970’s, the dynamics began to change, as more Italians moved out and droves of Chinese began flowing into Chinatown from China. This did not bode well for Italian mob boss Tony Bentimova (Tony B), so he enlisted the help of his most trusted killer, Big Fat Fanny Fanelli, all six foot six inches and six hundred and sixty pounds of her, to ensure the Italians maintained control of all the illegal rackets in Little Italy, which was slowly, but surely being transformed into Chinatown.

Review:
I’m not sure exactly what I just read. I suppose it was a satire of some sort. And I suppose as a spoof it was pretty funny. But I have to admit it left me scratching my head a bit. For example, though there is a character called Big Fat Fanny Faneli, she isn’t by any means a main character. She shows up in chapter one, then the book jumps back tree generations and the next 45% of the book is dedicated to history. Fanny shows up again in the latter 1/3 of the book, but is still on the sidelines. So, other than sounding snazzy, why is she the title character?

I’m not just being snippy here. It’s a legitimate question. I’m not entirely sure I was able to pick out the point of the events that occurred, i.e. the plot. I’m not claiming it didn’t have one. It did. But just like the title of the book is focused on an insignificant character, the events leading up to the culmination of the novel seemed less than focused. Amusing, worth reading, but scattered and a little too far reaching.

Again, I do have to admit the book is funny. There is a lot of irony in it and anyone who enjoys mob stories would recognise the themes here, purposefully exaggerated as they may be. So for a fun, fast read it’s worth picking up…as long as you aren’t easily offended. I don’t think there is a group or race that isn’t insulted here. At least it is equally spread, so at no point does it feel as if any one grouping is being targeting for racist commentary, but there is no shortage of it.

Lastly, it had a perfectly good ending in place. It had wrapped up nicely and everything. Then it had to ruin it by going and tagging on a cliffhanger for book two. Grr. Still, the few hours it took me to read the book weren’t wasted.