By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower

March 7, 2015 Book Review 0 ★★★★★

By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhowerfive-stars
By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower
Series: Forbidden #1
Also in this series: Sweetest Sorrow
Published by Self-published on February 23rd 2015
Genres: Suspense
Pages: 281
Buy on Amazon
Available on KU at posting: Yes

A deadly rivalry.
Two families at war.
Nobody is safe, not even the innocent.
Especially the innocent.
Blood will be spilled.

Genevieve "Genna" Galante knows a thing or two about causing trouble. After all, it's engrained in her DNA. As the only daughter of Primo Galante, notorious boss of the Galante crime family, her life is dictated by a certain set of rules… rules Genna was never very good at following.

Matteo "Matty" Barsanti never wanted anything to do with the family business, but as the first-born Barsanti son, certain things are expected of him. It's his duty, according to his father, to help take down the enemy... even if that enemy means something to him.

A chance encounter on an elevator changes the course of lives, causing the biggest trouble of Genna's young life. The only good Barsanti is a dead Barsanti. She's heard it said time and time again. So what happens when she falls in love with one of them?

The story of star-crossed lovers caught in the middle of the biggest rivalry New York has ever seen, determined to make it… if only they can survive their parents' feud.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.

By LilyWow! A twist on Romeo and Juliet that had me on the edge of my seat!

A chance meeting after a frustrating day in court finds Genna face to face with a man that her family has done everything to ensure she would never lay eyes on.  Contemplating her new found situation has her off guard to the temptation that is Matty.

 “This guy, no this God, has been zapped straight out of the pages of GQ and transplanted right here in her elevator”

He’s a Barsanti… a name she’s been raised to fear. Genna had no idea Matty has any connection to the Barsanti’s. Neither did Matty have any idea of Genna’s family connections.  What appears to be a pleasant distraction for them both has them unaware of the implications of the impossible situation they were in until it’s pointed out to them.

 “The Prodigal Son and the Ice Princess, huh? Sounds like a terrible fairy tale. You know, the kind where the big bad wolf eats everybody in the end.”

The Galante and Barsanti families have been estranged for years, after a horrific tragedy left both families with a simmering hatred for each other. War is but an indiscretion away and neither is safe in the other’s neighbourhood.

Family love and loyalty is in abundance for Matty and Genna through their respective families. Even being in each other’s company will come at a cost. With two headstrong Mafia families, the price will be more than anyone would be prepared to consider.

“If you go with me, I’ll tell you,” he said. “Come on, what do you have to lose?”

My life, she thought, but those words caught inside of her, blocked by the swell of her chest, refusing to come from her lips. No matter how much the well-trained voice of warning in the back of her head screamed it, she couldn’t listen. She didn’t believe it.

They fight their attraction to each other as soon as they discover their family backgrounds. Love is a troublesome emotion that has little regard for the consequences it brings. Unkind remarks are exchanged, weakening Genna’s protective wall and slowly it starts to drop away.  A dangerous game of hide and seek evolves, finding them flirting with a dream that could easily morph into a nightmare.

Of course, even during a cold war, intel is acquired. The activities, as well as the comings and goings of each family, are known. There is discrimination amongst the children of the families that has been fed to them over the years. What they discover is that in reality, they are not quite the monsters that the fathers have portrayed.  Both Genna and Matty have siblings that look out for them and try to warn them off when they discover the breech of family protocol. Then they have the drama of keeping their respective fathers in the dark, which is not going to be easy in a town that has eyes and ears everywhere.

“I gave you a dinner,” she said, motioning toward the food in front of him. “Even cooked it my-self.”

“Yeah, well, do me a favor?” he asked, taking an-other bite of the beef stew. “Never cook for me again, because this? This isn’t your strong suit.”

One thing was for sure if Genna had planned on using food as the way to Matty’s heart, she was in big trouble. His comments when it came to her culinary skills (or lack of) painted a picture in itself, that to stomach her offerings required love, I pity the people who had to rely on that as their only source of sustenance for the day! The constant referrals to what she has prepared provide a fun side to a suspenseful story.

I don’t mix business and pleasure, Genna. And you? Well, you’re not business to me.”

 “Does that make me pleasure then?”

 A smile touched his lips as he pulled her closer to him. “Hmm, well, that’s certainly the way I remember it

In amongst the angst are lots of good times, amusing moments and some very seductive scenes that have you believing the risk is worth it. Both families want their legacy to continue. Genna’s father reminds her that she should find a nice Italian boyfriend, he obviously had not intended her to find this particular one and all hell will break loose if he finds out.

My heart was in my mouth as I read the last pages. It ends with a heavy ‘to be continued’ but one I am sure most will be comfortable with. Can’t wait to read more of the Forbidden Series!

What I loved:

  • Matty’s offer to show he could be trusted
  • Time spent with Matty’s mother, Savina
  • Brotherly love
  • When gambling pays off
  • The suspense
  • The humour (well except for the corny innuendos, but they were in context…)

What I struggled with:

  • Arghhh that car, why did he have to drive something so obvious
  • Did I miss what triggered the initial tragedy? It felt like it was a misunderstanding, not the outcome but why it happened. Assuming more will be revealed in the next book. Not that anything could have justified innocents being killed

Lily’s Rating: 5+ Stars

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