I received this book for free from From Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Forbidden #1
Published by Self-pub on February 23rd 2015
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Source: From Author
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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.
I cannot even tell you how happy I was when I found out another J.M. Darhower novel was heading our way! Once I read the synopsis, I was dying to get my hands on it and thank god I didn’t have to wait long!
By Any Other Name has a Romeo & Juliet vibe from the get go. It’s in the title, it’s in the synopsis. Two mafia families at odds against each other, death and destruction surrounding their hate. Initial thought, ‘this cannot end well’. Darhower doesn’t stray from laying on some thick angst in her storytelling, and nobody does it quite like she does. And I love her for it!
The story opens up with a prologue that immediately put me on edge, giving us a brief glance back towards the beginning of the feud between the Galante and Barsanti families. I was seriously hooked right from that very moment. Fast forward 16 years and you have the bulk of our story. Genna and Matty are our star-crossed lovers, meeting under circumstances which left their family identities unknown at the time. They immediately hit it off and once they do find out, it’s too late. They’ve already cast a spell on each other with a connection that sizzled off the pages. Genna is a little wild and reckless when we first meet her. Well, that never really changes much. lol She’s fiercely true to herself and confident. I liked her instantly. Matty is sarcastic and smart. He liked to crack jokes with some playful innuendos that made me smile and love him even more. He’s a little mysterious at times, with a past we only skim the surface of, and one I’m dying to find out more about! Much like Genna, he’s also very confident and it wasn’t a surprise these two hit it off so well. And by well I mean, holy hell, HOT! Their chemistry was off the charts with some scenes that left me fanning myself!
“You’re like a volcano, Genna. You’ve been dormant all this time, all that passion building up and brewing right under the surface, just waiting for the right tremor to cause the explosion.” He kissed her again, his hand drifting down her leg and slipping beneath her dress. “And I think I got just the shockwave to set you off, princess.”
“I didn’t think you could be more beautiful,” he said, “but then you went and screamed my name.”
Of course the situation is extremely dire. These families want nothing more then to eliminate each other. A romance caught in the middle has no baring on it at all. The circumstances are dangerous but they discover the risk is worth it.
Obviously we meet both families and I adored a few characters on each side, which was a tough situation because of the awful things the families were doing to each other. But it gave us a chance to see them as people, to see their vulnerabilities. There was even a crossover character who also made an appearance in the Forever series (Sempre: Redemption to be more specific)! I wish you could have seen my face when I caught the reference! EEP!
I’m not going to get into more details of the plot because part of what made this such a great reading experience for me was all the unknown. The foreboding just built and built to where I was actually shaking with nerves towards the end, so scared what would happen to all these characters I grew attached to. I could not put the book down and once I finished I was in awe of what I had read. I spent the whole night thinking about everything that happened, wanting more. I still cannot stop thinking about it! But I don’t want you to think this story is just an angst-fest. It is also filled with great humor to ease the tension of such a serious and nerve-wracking vibe. The romance was amazing and the plot to die for. Heh.
I’ve read all of J.M. Darhower’s work and though the Forever series holds a special place in my heart, I have to say that By Any Other Name has secured the space just next to it. I’m so beyond impressed with this first book in the series and NEED to get my hands on the sequel, ASAP! Dangerous and exciting, By Any Other Name was everything I hoped it would be, and more!
“This is going to get us killed, isn’t it?” she whispered.Matty let out an exasperated sigh as he held her tighter. She hoped he’d contradict her, say somethingto set her mind at ease, but instead he mumbled a response that made her stomach sink.“Probably.”