Overall Rating: 4 Stars
Nico (Ruin & Revenge #1) by Sarah Castille
[Audiobook Purchased from Audible]
Las Vegas Mafia boss, Nico Toscani, is used to getting what he wants, whether it is having the City of Sin under his rule or a beautiful woman in his bed. But when he meets his match in the gorgeous, headstrong Mia Cordano, the daughter of a rival crime lord, all bets are off. . .
Sexy computer hacker, Mia, struggles to break free of her ruthless father’s Mafia ties…but she can’t resist the powerful and seductive Nico, who will stop at nothing to possess her. With their families locked in a brutal war for control of the city, Mia and Nico enter into a forbidden game. Will they surrender to the passion that burns between them—and risk tearing apart their families? Or will Nico be forced to betray the only woman who sets his blood on fire?
If I gave half-stars, this would be one. This was very close to being a 5 star read, but it did include a few of my least favorite romance novel cliches. It also included one of my current favorite romance novel tropes (couples who are forced into a relationship in some way and end up falling in love) almost canceled out what I didn’t like about the book.
Nico was my first mafia romance and it did not disappoint.
I’ve been kind of “over” the whole alpha male thing lately and while Nico was definitely an alpha male, he was still very respectful of Mia… and his reason for being an alpha male makes a lot more sense because he’s, well, a Mafia boss. I mean, you don’t have a better excuse than that. He wasn’t an alpha just because he was rich or a CEO, he’s a freakin’ Mafia boss. It’s life or death if he shows weakness.
The author did a great job balancing both characters really well: a strong, feminist female and a badass alpha male.
I loved that the fact that Nico had a conscience and a heart despite his lifestyle didn’t take away from his ultimate character. He didn’t suddenly become a whiny, lovesick boy drooling all over the woman he falls in love with, which was nice. He was stubborn and strong, but he was also in love and extremely respectful toward Mia. I appreciated that.
As for that one subtracted star…
The steamy scenes included so many of my least favorite words and phrases, but mostly, what almost ruined the whole thing for me was the opening scene. Nico and Mia wasn’t quite instalove, but it was definitely insta-attraction, which normally isn’t too bad, but I guess I’m just over romance novels that harp on how hot and perfect and sexy the characters are.
I will say I am amazed with how many ways authors figure out how to describe how attractive a human being can be. (insert subtle eyeroll).
The book easily redeemed itself and those are just personal preferences and definitely have more to do where my mindset is lately, not necessarily with the quality of the book.
Audiobook Performance: 5 Stars
FIVE MILLION STARS. Aiden Snow’s deep, rumbling voice and incredible voice acting skills were beyond perfect for this book. Yummmmmm.
Butterfly Rating: 3 Stars
Not a ton of butterflies in this one.
Re-read Worthiness: Maybe
If it takes me awhile to get to the other books in this series, I may reread this one to refresh my memory. And I may even like it more the second time.
Bookshelf Placement: Maybe
I definitely want to read the rest of the series, and if I really love the rest of the books, I’ll need the whole series on display!
New Book Boyfriend: Yes
I’m all for somewhat broody alpha males that are badass and still fully respect women!