Review: Mafia Queen (The DiLustro Arrangement #3) by CD Reiss

TitleMafia Queen
Author: CD Reiss
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 10/12/21
Length:  298 Pages
Series: DiLustro Arrangement #3

Overview

What doesn’t kill you makes you a killer.

Santino DiLustro changed me. You can’t spend time in bed with the devil without getting addicted to the heat.

Before him, I was a girl. Innocent and weak. 

Now, I’m a woman. A fighter. A killer.

I’ll burn the world down for him. Shatter the sky. But I will not break. 

No. I will rise up and destroy whoever dares to threaten what my king has built, because I am forever his queen.

My Thoughts

I was relieved when this final installment of the story came out – we were left on such a distressing cliff at the end of book two that I NEEDED to see how the story would pan out. If you remember, things were going downhill fast at the end of book two. While Santi and Violetta were finally in a good place, trying to start the life that they felt they needed, Dami (Santi’s old best friend) was jealous and wanted what he felt was his – the inheritance that Violetta was getting of the sacred crown – and he chose to use Gia (Santis’ cousin) as bait on this.

This story shows us how easy it is to sway someone – convince them that the life they have can be better – that they can get more power and stature just because someone tells them. that’s what happens in this story with Gia. We learn that she had a romance with Armando – one of Santi’s closest men, but Dami showed interest, and claimed her, really to use her as a pawn, and Gia was quick to jump on that attention – to go with what Dami wanted because he had power and she wanted it. She was almost the demise of Santi, and that makes our opinion as a reader of her go way down.

So….we left the last installment with Gia pulling the trigger and shooting Santi, so he’s no longer a factor in the story. We watch him fall and believe he’s dead. At that notion, Dami gets what he wants – he takes Violetta now and goes to marry her so that he can get what he feels he deserves – the crown and the rights that he felt Violetta’s father bestowed on him and not Santi. Lucky for Violetta though, she’s not one to go down without a fight, and she makes a mess of things – kills someone and wishes that it were Dami in fact, but gets out of the marriage.

Violetta is now forced to be the Queen – to rule over Sanit’s men since that’s her position to hold. To gain their trust and their support and some how overthrow Dami and the Tabonas – all other ‘mafia’ groups that want to take over the territory that Santi has claimed.

The roller coaster continues – Violetta learns Santi is alive, they try to get to the Crown from the lawyer yet Dami is a step ahead of them and blows up the lawyers office. Death and destruction continue in this third book because every turn we take there’s another thing going wrong. Santi is captured, tortured, his finger is cut off, he’s imprisioned, and there’s no hope for salvation. The saving grace is in the form of Violetta’s mother’s ‘consigliere’ – he comes bearing the crown – which makes every one bow to Violetta since she’s the only one who can handle it. to everyone else it’s hot to the touch, and it’s ethereal – forcing everyone to bend when they see it.

Things move quickly from here – we see plans and strategies put in place, knowing that there will be death and destruction coming next. We have Dario who’s a mafia leader from New York come to their aid, with his own agenda though since he comes when he believes that Santino is dead. There’s something that we’re not quite getting to with him in this story and I look forward to seeing where his saga takes us since CD Reiss hints that the next series coming is about Dario.

When we began this series, there was the hope for love and the need to validate family. We have ups and downs in this story – watching as love is forced and not earned. Power is exchanged and taken from those who earned it by those who are too hungry for it. We watch as there’s a hope and desire for a life that’s never meant to be, in the hopes that we can make a life that works ….with balance. There’s chemistry and passion and there’s heat and need. All the necessary ingredients to a story that keeps moving quickly and resolves in a way that’s worthy. So….that all being said – i’m now off to find something new to read. Enjoy!

Review: Mafia Bride (The DiLustro Arrangement #1) by CD Reiss

Title: Mafia Bride
Author:  CD Reiss
Publisher/Year:  Paige Press 3/14/21
Length:  250 Pages
Series: The DiLustro Arrangement #1

Overview

Some girls dream of marrying a prince, but I never imagined I’d be sold to a king.

Santino DiLustro.

The king. 
The monster. 
The keeper of secrets.

When he forced me to marry him, I cried for love I’d never know.
When he locked me away, I cried for the freedom I lost forever.
Every other tear I’ve shed is for my soul, because I’m falling for the devil himself.

My Thoughts

I haven’t read anything by CD Reiss in a minute and i’m so happy to have found this first installment in the series. There’s always been an element of Mafioso in our authors books, and this time is no exception.

We’re introduced to Violetta, our leading lady when she’s first just a child in her uncle’s home. We know that she’s living with her uncle and aunt because her parents were killed years ago back in Italy and now she’s in America being taken care of by family. She notes an older sister Rosetta but we learn that she passed as well. This first time that we meet our heroine of sorts, it’s when she sneaks a look at a man who’s come to visit her uncle, a man that exudes power and darkness and yet at the same time he’s got such beauty that his soul does something to hers.

Fast forward several years and we’re back with Violetta, when she’s in nursing school, trying to make a future for herself in the American world while trying to stay true to her roots in the Italian world. She’s following all the rules that her family dictates for her and at the same time, she envisions what her future can look like when she’s done with school. She has an amazing summer vacation to Malta to look forward to until that’s ripped out from under her feet.

Enter Santino – Re Santino – King Santino. A Mafia boss, leader…all around intimidating guy. And ironically the same man that Violetta was captured with all those years before. She walks into her uncles home one day to see Santino standing over her uncle and he’s sobbing uncontrollably. Fast forward a few days and Re Santino is back at the house for dinner – with all the family there as well, and we learn that there’s an ultimate reason.

Violetta has been ‘sold off’ to Santino to be his wife. She’s forced against her will, losing everything that she had been working so hard for her entire life to be married to this man who doesn’t know her, who doesn’t know much about her and frankly who she’s not even sure there’s mutual like with.

We watch their relationship go from one of complete opposition, so a slow burn of something better. something more. We see Santino’s patience as he recounts bits of his past and how he introduces Violetta to parts of her past and history. She learns jiust how much of her past is intertwined with Santino and how well he knew her family back in the old country. While he opens her eyes to things that she didn’t know before, she appreciates the honesty and it starts to transform her opinion of what her life is to become.

He treats her like she’s from the old world – dressing her in old clothes that aren’t really right for a 19 year old. He keeps her ‘locked’ up in the house because he knows the evil that’s out to get him. She tries to run from him, hoping for any way to escape which turns out to be a bad move when she’s kidnapped, injured and bares witness to a few murders. She’s sent to stay with one of Santino’s past women who has protection by Santino’s men, and there she slowly starts to learn what it is that she needs to do in order to gain Santino’s interest and keep it.

The story takes a sweet turn from here – all that fear and tension and anxiety transforms. When Violetta makes it clear what she needs, he gives her a vacation to outdo anything that she’s experienced. The go to Italy and she gets toured around the country to all the places that she holds dear. She meets the woman who raised him, and she starts to fall into her role as a hostess and wife. She warms up to him enough to give him a part of herself that no one else has ever had, and then the other shoe drops, literally the next day. His aunt and his ex-best friend’s sister show up and the sister decides to spill more information than Santino would like about Violetta’s sister’s death, and the capacity in which Santino was aware and involved.

So we’re left on the edge of our seat – truly feeling back for her because she’s given her soul to this man, and now trust has been broken, there’s so much misinformation out there that I don’t even know that the truth will save them. Add to that the notion that someone is also out to kill the king – Santino knows that he;s being hunted, yet he’s not sure by whom. I”ve got my suspicions that it’s his ex-best friend Dami, but i’m sure we’ll find out how that plays out in the next book. So now I have to wait 2 months until it’s out – but i’m excited to see where this story goes. Enjoy!