About the Book:
Title: Family Ties
Author: Nat Chelloni
Page Length: 334
Publication Date: March 31, 2023
Synopsis: SHE’S THE TEMPTATION HE CAN’T RESIST
Gina Leonardi is seventeen and romantic. She wants to be an ordinary girl with a normal life, but it’s next to impossible. Her family is in the Mafia. She fights for her rights, mutinying against the world where men treat women like accessories.
HE IS EVERYTHING SHE HATES
Renzo Castellano is twenty-nine. He is a true Cosa Nostra. He has no room for sentiments because business always comes first for him. Taking care of a rebellious teenage girl is the last thing he wants.
A chance encounter shatters their worlds because it’s not always business; sometimes, it’s strictly personal!
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Family Ties is the second book in Nat Chelloni’s mafia romance series, and it follows Gina and Renzo. I was excited for Gina’s story, as we met her in the first book, and I loved her character. I’m not generally a big mafia romance reader, though I’m not sure why. I always enjoy them, and Chelloni writes such compelling stories. I wasn’t disappointed. The story is slow-building, sexually tense swoon-tasticness!
The story takes place mainly in the Northeast, which is where I live. It was so fun to read about cities and places that are familiar to me, and I think I connected to the story a lot because of it. The plot focuses a lot on family and being part of the mafia lifestyle. Both are complicated and messy, and the rules and moral codes are very nuanced. Every major decision is a high-stakes decision with potentially disaterous results, and Renzo and Gina experience this with their families and the business.
I love me a strong, protective alpha hero, so I easily fell in love with Renzo. The way he treats Gina from the very beginning of the story is so sweet and caring and patient. Yet, as a mob leader, he is serious, and he let’s nothing get in his way. He is the youngest mob boss, and he’s known for his business savvy and ruthlessness, and we see it several times throughout the story. He’s also really smart, and his insight proves invaluable in business and his personal life. He’s a great character, complex and layered, and he has an interesting arc.
Gina has strong beliefs and often rebels against the mafia lifestyle she was raised in. She craves independence and feels stifled in her overprotective family. The hypocrisy and double standards she experiences frustrate and anger her to no end, and I don’t blame her. The last thing Gina wants is to be attached to a mobster, but, like Renzo, she can’t resist her feelings. I thought her character was very interesting. She has a lot of conflicting feelings, which I totally related to. She wants to appease her family and maintain her strong bond with them, but they want different things for her than she wants for herself. Ultimately, Gina just wants to be loved and accepted for who she is, flaws and all, and she fights to be heard among all the other loud voices in her life.
Gina and Renzo have a great connection from their first meeting, and as they grow closer (and some time has passed), their chemistry sizzles. They have a wonderfully slow-building and burning love story that begins as a friendship that turns into a marriage of convenience, which turns into so much more. I enjoyed the progression of their relationship and the growth of both characters as they fall in love and open themselves up to each other more. I also love that Renzo falls first. He is usually so in control, but he falls hard for Gina, and it was fantastic to see this strong, powerful, and sometimes ruthless man turn into a puddle of mush for the woman he loves.
Like the first book in the series, this story has a lot of intrigue and tense moments. With murder, nefarious plots, unwanted attentions, possible stalking, imprisonment, and more, Renzo and Gina face many obstacles, as do their families. And family is a strong theme and component of the story. Gina’s relationships with her brother, mother, and father are all tested in different ways, and Renzo’s relationship with his family is also challenged, though not in the same ways as Gina’s. It all makes for an interesting plot and an immersive read!
Special thanks to Nat Chelloni for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The intrigue.
- The setting.
- mafia romance
- age gap
- marriage of convenience
- friends to lovers
3 thoughts on “Book Review: Family Ties by Nat Chelloni”
I found myself starting to pick up more mafia romances last year. I’m reading Sophie Larks’s Brutal Birthright (mafia) series right now and really enjoying it. Great review!
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Thanks, Ali! I’ll have to check that series out.