The Top 10 books that drew me into La Cosa Nostra
What makes a Mafia/Bratva Series stand out?
Family and Traditions
Family, faith, and culture are the elements I appreciate in a Mafia Romance. I was debating whether to divide my mafia reads into Mafia and Bratva but I decided to keep it within the one post. In my opinion, if you enjoy reading about one nationality, you’ll easily adapt to another.
What I adore about these books is the tradition both emulate. Tattoos are an example of one being prominent in Mishca and Lauren, whereas with the Marcello’s, Anthony is clear in his displeasure of the ink his son adorns himself with.
One of my favourite aspects is the use of use of Italian or Russian phrases which adds that little bit extra to the story 🙂 It’s not essential to the genre, but it’s an added bonus when it is done well. I don’t even have to understand it, as long as the intention is clear!
Then there’s the business side of life for the families. It’s all violin cases and suits (well that’s how I see it sometimes). These are well-heeled criminals, with impeccable manners albeit with a short fuse. This is the battle that goes to the end, the bloody side of the business that involves specialised cleaning crews. Yep, it gets gruesome!
While you have all the questionable business happening, come Sunday all stops and a pious family comes out to mix with the town. How on earth anyone could sit before their god and not be in fear of the building crushing around them considering the work they do is a factor I brush aside. Oh yes, I have no problem overlooking the fact that I too forget when it’s family time, business is not discussed. Well, not usually.
A well-dressed man instantly creates a good first impression and goes some way to garnering the respect that made men demand. They are smooth, dangerous and not to be messed with. While the money that pays for the suits is dirty on the surface the laundering is impressive, so much it is easy to forget the blood that has been covered up. For the blood of family though, they will bring down cities to keep them safe. Good news if you are born into the right family!
To be a good daughter or wife is no walk in the park in their world. Even the most indulged women have to be headstrong, determined and resilient to survive this life. The men may keep their business mainly behind closed doors but the majority of women are not fools, they may act like they don’t know but it is rare for them to have no idea. The women may not hold the top positions, but more often than not, the men all work hard to keep them appeased. Even if it is to uphold the ideal of family.
Romance That Burns Up The Pages
There is usually a Romeo and Juliet theme underpinning a lot of the stories I adore in the mafia romance genre but not always. Sometimes it is the opposite, with both families on board with the idea of a marriage because it is good for business. So there’s the chance of encountering an arranged marriage or a forbidden relationship. Lots of room for angst and feisty rebellion to keep you turning pages!
Dark and/or Gritty
I’m picky about my mafia romances and as such, I have honed in on authors who write gritty, suspenseful romance within the mafia genre. The variable degree of darkness ranges from ‘I don’t want to know’ to ‘business being business’. As with all the darkness I embrace in books it has to all be fictional and remain firmly between the covers of the books for me to be comfortable enjoying the drama. Once I see it in the newspapers or the nightly news, I am horrified at the reality of it all. Don’t ask, it’s obviously my way of processing the scary stuff in life I am thankfully well shielded from.
Amazing Side Characters
Family connections are pivotal to each story and the extended family provides the plethora of secondary characters bringing depth to each series. Ranging from the matriarchs of the family to the siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and of course the bambinos – there is never a shortage of interesting personalities vying for their story to be told.
So now to share the books
EDGy’s Top Ten Mafia/Bratva Series
The big omission from the list below is The Godfather by Mario Luzzo. I’ve watched the shows, but not read the books. Loved them all and can see the similarities that run through many of the books I enjoy but as I haven’t read it yet, I can’t include it below. My thanks to Bethany-Kris; London Miller and Sam Mariano as authors who keep my addiction for Mafia/Bratva stories well sated.
It’s important to note, it’s the suspense and danger that draws me to stories within the Mafia/Bratva fictional world of organised crime. The key feature being survival with a dash of romance (depending on your definition of romance!) where love rarely embarks upon an easy path. If you are happy to overlook what brings the fated lovers together, then enjoy the Edgy Top 10 books that originally corrupted my reading in no particular order of preference!
By Any Other Name by J.M. Darhower
Aptly named the Forbidden series. Genna Galante and Matty Baranti belong to opposing families on the edge of potential war. One wrong move is all it will spark turmoil between the families. They fight their attraction fearing the nightmare that looms. It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s plenty of good times, amusing moments and steamy scenes in among the angst. This is book one, be prepared to read on as this book has a heavy to be continued ending!
A book that focuses on the suspense rather than the undeniable chemistry bouncing off Aleksio and Mira. This book struck me as a fresh story within a genre I read a lot of, which I found impressive. It was fast-paced but it left me in a sedate calm mood by the end of the story. I wished I had read each book in the Dangerous Royals series back to back. It took me a while to get back into the second book but by the third book I was looking for more goodness from Ms. Martin!
Each book held its own within the Filthy Marcellos collection. Every member of the family had their distinctive character traits, allowing for each to maintain individuality without loss of the familiarity of the family connection. They are Mafia Royalty who embody a family bound by tradition and rules. I have listed the other standalone books that stem from the Marcellos Collection, all fantastic stories steeped deep in the complicated family life of a crime family.
Gian Guzzi, I recall, has the ability to knock all other anti-heroes off their pedestals with his cocky attitude and impressive list of talents. Reading over my review notes for this book has me smiling and tempted to get reacquainted with Gian. The other side of the coin that wooed me with this book was the challenge he faced in convincing Cara Rossi it was worth throwing away her convictions to have nothing to do with ‘this life of theirs’. Her reasons are solid until she meets Gian Guzzi.
I have to admit to looking up the definition of a Gun Moll when I first read this story. It made sense, Melina is a woman who was much more than a pretty face. She was dangerous and together with Mac they build quite a reputation. A powerful beginning heralds the goodness within this series coupled with Mac and Melina’s scene-stealing first encounter moment. What sets this book aside from other books was it didn’t fit into the cookie cutter mold I expected it to. Both Mac and Melina are considered outsiders for different reasons who put every effort into fitting into a traditional world where their ability to rise to the top seemed a far fetched dream.
My first Bratva book and it opened my eyes to a new author in London Miller while at the same time cemented my respect for Bethany-Kris. Together the authors have put together a flawless flow of writing that held my attention from the first page to the last. This is a story of forbidden romance between two opposing families of differing cultures. A bond is formed between Kaz and Violet through their fathers show of good faith. They had no intention of it being the beginnings of a connection that would one day resurrect into love.
Mishca and Lauren are an unlikely couple. The beginning is slow but be ready for when the pace picks up and the Bratva world comes to the forefront of the story. The suspense builds with revelation after revelation revealing a strong, impressive cast of characters. It has an NA base providing the basis for their relationship to evolve from. Once they get past the getting to know each other stage, be prepared for steamy scenes to go from the background to the forefront as soon as they become pivotal to the plot. This was the first London Miller book I read where she was the sole author. I then went on to read every other book she had written and now she is an auto-buy author who never disappoints!
Corruption consists of three books, Spin, Ruin and Rule. The introduction is crowded but don’t let that throw you, just pay heed to Antonio Spin Spinelli and Theresa Drazen. I was pleasantly corrupted by this series, originally only leaving one sentence reviews between books. Add the books and collection to your wish list. I was lucky enough to pick this series up on sale but at the time of putting this post together, it was back up to full price. That said, each book in this series got all the stars from me! My first CD Reiss book and I was impressed!
Accidental Witness by Sam Mariano (Morelli Family #1)
A very different Mafia book that I would loosely apply the term romance to. That said I fell for a particular Morelli man or two with one, in particular, wooing me beyond measure! This is more relationship driven than immersed in the business side of the family. Thank goodness for that, because how they make their money is sadly questionable. The household the story is based around, however, is captivating – literally, once welcomed in it reminded me of Hotel California song lyric – You’re welcome, but you can never leave. The loophole to finding an escape here is to be found only if you’re the person who is game enough to dance with the devil…
Sempre by J.M. Darhower (5 Stars)
I read this book before I began reviewing and blogging but I loved it. There was a lot of hype around the book I ignored before finally giving it a go. Oh boy, this was a gem. There’s a quote that I love from this book referring to Colpo di fulmine or The Thunderbolt. Reading over the quote was enough to spur me on to read this book again!
Made it through the Top 10 Series and want more? As with all EDGy’s other Top 10 Lists, we will continue to add more highly recommended books as we come across them to feed your addiction! Have I missed adding a book similar to the ones listed? Don’t hold back, add them in our comments to be included in the list below. EDGy’s Top 10 lists and beyond is all about sharing our love of books.
Here’s EDGy’s highly recommended Mafia Romance Reads:
- The Last Boss’ Daughter by Sam Mariano
- The Complete Irreparable Boxed Set: Irreparable #1-2 by Sam Mariano
- The Professional by Kresley Cole
- Hell’s Kitchen by Callie Hart, Lili St. Germain
- Staying in Vegas by Sam Mariano
Explore Edgy’s Lists
- Top 10 Dark Reads
- Top 10 Biker Series
- Edgy’s Top 10 for 2018
- Edgy’s Top 10 for 2017
- Edgy’s Top 10 for 2016
- Edgy’s Top 10 for 2015
- **F*ck Marriage by Tarryn Fisher - June 21, 2019
- All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness - June 14, 2019
- - June 5, 2019
- Black Swan by London Miller - May 27, 2019
- Pretty Reckless by LJ Shen - May 17, 2019
- - May 8, 2019
- Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn - May 8, 2019
- Oh, Holy Knight by Amelia Hutchins - May 3, 2019
- Dirty Pool by Bethany-Kris - April 30, 2019
- My Time In The Affair by Stylo Fantome - April 24, 2019