Review: Nico by Sarah Castille (Ruin & Revenge #1)


Note: This ARC was provided by St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review.

“Revenge sustained me. It was the only reason I got up in the morning; it helped me make it through every day; it gave me something to live for. But I didn’t realize it was all I lived for. Not until I met you.”

It was supposed to be nothing more than the usual thing when testing the security of a client's computer system, but when twenty-six-year-old Mia Cordano is brought before the hotel owner after she stabbed the overly handsy guard who thought she was easy prey, nothing becomes something before either one openly acknowledged it. And just like that, Nico Toscani seems to be have no qualms making his presence felt and what a presence the twenty-eight-year-old mob boss makes in Mia's life. She refuses to be the good mafia princess her father demands she be, but her getting too close for comfort with the son who has a vendetta on her family after they murdered his father isn't about pushing her father too far. The connection between Nico and Mia is all-consuming and it could very well be the kind of thing that Nico's parents shared, but Mia's been promised to his homicidal cousin. How far are Nico and Mia willing to go in order to get what--and who--they want? Even with feelings as strong as theirs, will these two survive when murmurings of betrayal and deceit come their way and in the end, will anyone be left standing?

I've read all save for three (and not including anthologies) of bestselling author Sarah Castille's books and I do believe I've just finished reading my new favorite, Ruin & Revenge series starter and latest Castille release, Nico. This mafia romance has everything you expect in stories that fall under this sub-genre but it's on this plane reserved for well-written, thoughtful, and evocative creations that refuse to be nothing more than run-of-the-mill--just like Castille's Nico. Not only was I drawn to the main characters--Nico Toscani and Mia Cordano--but these two could have given the classic Shakespearean poster children for star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, a few tips on how to overcome all the inter-family squabbling and rivalry and basically come out of it still in love and still alive. Nico and Mia refused to roll over and be whatever was expected of them. They fought back and they were a sight to see, or in this case, to read about.  Mia's a badass, punk-loving hacker and I loved her independence and her appreciation for Nico's desire to protect her; Nico's main goal has been vengeance but Mia gives him new purpose.

Stories like this one require a strong cast of supporting characters, and Nico certainly had it in spades. Frankie De Lucchi and Luca Rizzoli, Nico's closest friends, allies, and protectors, are different in terms of temperament yet equally interesting. I know their stories are both part of the series, so I'm definitely excited about that and have already added the titles to my never-ending to-be-read list. Then there was Gianni De Cicco, aka Big Joe, a Toscani mob associate for a decade and a member of Nico's crew for three of those. His is a side story in this novel, but I'm kinda-sorta-maybe (okay, yes, I am...I really, REALLY am) hoping that he and Kat Cordano are able to continue their story or that we get a closer look at how they came together and how they're now doing with his daughter. If you've read the book, you'll know that Gianni was fascinating, but I won't give additional details. There's also Jules Rafferty, Mia's best friend and fellow hacker, who I'm intrigued about. Clearly, Nico is a series starter that had lots to offer and with the hangover I'm still experiencing, it easily makes it on my list of 2016 top reads. Five-plus stars. ♥

Date Read: 11 December 2016

Learn more about Sarah Castille.

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