Bound By Blood Anthology by Cora Reilly

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

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— BLURB —

Born in Blood
Sworn in Blood…
…isn’t only the motto the Famiglia lives by.
Bleeding for love is something every couple in this book has experienced. Through hardships their love morphs into something even more beautiful and resilient. A love each of them is willing to fight for.

This anthology contains stories for the following couples:

Aria & Luca
Romero & Liliana
Growl & Cara
Mauro & Stella
Matteo & Gianna

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— MY REVIEW —

First off — I am so fucking ecstatic that we get more updates from OG couples from the mafia world that started it all, Born In Blood! 

Warning: Lots of cussing ahead! And minor teasing!

Okay. Here we go. First up?

*drumroll*

📖 1: Luca & Aria

What can I say about these two other than I love them, and seeing even a snippet of their lives whether it be past, present or future always leaves me with a buzz of happiness. Their short story pulls at the heartstrings — not only with how much they’ve come a long ways in their relationship since they first met, but with how much their world has evolved. It’s also a nice breather from the gritty, mafia side because this story is focus more so on their private life together.

Luca was my first love from this world, and I honestly don’t think I could ever tire of reading about him.

I’d like to see one person come away from reading this little novella without a smile on their face. C’mon. Prove me wrong! You’ll smile, you’ll giggle, you’ll flail your arms, and you’ll sigh with happy contentment! 

😜 Not a surprise but I know a lot of readers are looking forward to this:

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Next up? Fresh meat!

📖 2: Mauro & Stella

Ahhhh. Mauro and Stella. Two new characters that I didn’t realize I needed until I read their story. Now I am in desperate need of a full length novel! *Looking at you book gods. Make it happen.

Who loves a step-sibling romance trope in their reads? I’m not embarrassed to admit it’s a trope I can easily be iffy about just because of the whole cringe factor that can be displayed if the story or characters are written in a weird incest sort of way. Uuck. But Forbidden Delights had none of that whatsoever!

Gripping, edge of seat chemistry. The build-up of sexual frustration was both adorable as fuck and intense. Add Mauro to your book boyfriend list? ✔✔✔   

Since I had already read this novella when it was initially released in the romance anthology; Love In Lockdown, I’ve already written and posted my full review. To read my thoughts on Mauro and Stella, you can find it here: Forbidden Delights by Cora Reilly

😳 Here’s something to look forward to:

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Things are heating up. Next one up is the couple that is “made for hell.” 🔥

📖 3: Matteo & Gianna

*exhales…*

Okay. This one is a little tougher to review. Whilst I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading their novella, I did have mixed feelings about the developments. I wouldn’t be surprised to see their novella divide a lot of the readers who love Matteo and Gianna. When it comes to Gianna, you either love her or hate her. Just so you know, I’m on #TeamLoveGianna (I definitely prefer her more than Aria), and whilst their situation was all kinds of WTF?, her decisions are understandable, her feelings are relatable, and I, for one have always accepted her… opinionated attitude and all! 

In saying that, Matteo has and always will be my adorable shark-grinned cinnamon roll! Seeing him wrack over his emotions just about gave me chest pains. The guy just has so much heart! This may be a novella but it packs a punch and gave a much needed update to the next chapter in their lives. Not only has this story showed how much Matteo and Gianna have gone through in their relationship, but it reminded me of how much time has passed, of how old I am, and how long it’s been since Bound By Hatred! 😅 But phew… What a journey! Have tissues at hand.

(Oh, and I knew there was a very good reason as to why I love Luca and Matteo’s brotherhood!) *sigh* 🤗        

🙈 What you’re getting yourself into with this one:

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Up ahead: Sugar and spice, and all things nice!

📖 4: Romero & Liliana

I don’t know why Romero and Liliana are underrated. I loved Bound By Temptation to bits and Romero is such a refreshing change from the arrogant, alpha type Made Men who enjoy the blood and grittiness. If you’re in need a true gentleman, who’s caring, protective and adorably romantic — Romero will not disappoint. And neither does this story. It was just straight up sweet! 

Besides their intial book, for the most part Romero and Liliana haven’t been in the forefront, and this short story pretty much sums up their quiet life. They’re practically living the dream with having found a balance between the Mafia world and their own little heaven outside of it. It’s cool to see that there’s at least one couple in this world that doesn’t have too much drama going on around them constantly. Such an effortless coupling.    

But not to worry, Romero will still bring out the raaaaawr!

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And finally… the feels!

📖 5: Growl & Cara

I’m gonna admit it right here, right now — this couple’s story was the one I was anticipating reading the most! Why? Well, as much as I have a lot of love for Matteo, at least we got snippets of him in previous books. But with Ryan? The most we got was a name drop here and there. 

And now? 

Fuuuuuuuuuck! This story completely punched me in the gut. I felt like the rug was ripped right out from under me and it resulted in me bawling my eyes out! Ugh. As much as this story shattered my heart, it’s still probably my favourite one from this collection. I didn’t think I could love Growl anymore than I already do but he wormed his way in deeper into my heart! 

Tissues! Where are the bloody fucking TISSUES!!!!? 😭😭

Their story was full of sorrow, but one of family, peace and healing too. Even if we don’t get another full length novel from Ryan and Cara, I think this novella will leave fellow Growl fans satisfied with the open-ended conclusion. When one door closes, another opens.

💘 Something not to be missed:

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🖐 Fantastic stories! A great compilation from couples I so lusted after from the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles. Great seeing little snippets of what-ifs and possible teasers for future book storylines. A must read, and must have for all Reilly fans! 

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you to Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💕


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Happy reading, guys! Thank you so much for stopping by and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Bound By The Past by Cora Reilly

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— BLURB —

Dante

My life’s a tale of betrayal.

I killed so many because they betrayed our cause, because they betrayed the Outfit.

A hypocrite. A liar. A murderer.

That’s what I am.

Five times I betrayed the Outfit. With my blood I made a vow to our cause, swore my life to it, promised to put the Outfit first. Above all else.

Five times I chose a woman over the good of the Outfit. I betrayed my father. My vow. My men.

You reap what you sow.

Would my betrayal destroy everything I swore to protect?

Valentina

On our wedding day I made a vow to stand by Dante’s side.

In good and in bad times.

To love him through it all.

Growing up in the mafia, I knew the challenges in our life would be numerous. I never expected them to tear at the very base of our family, of our existence.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

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Dammit! 👏👏👏 Well played, Cora. Well played.

You’ve officially gotten me… or should I say you’ve finally gotten me to like Dante! 😋

When I first read Bound by Duty back in 2016, Dante Cavallaro wasn’t my favourite protagonist. But don’t get me wrong.. I didn’t hate the guy, to me he was just… meh, okay. From my perspective, he definitely lived up to the Iceman image. When other fans swooned over him I always (silently, mind you–didn’t need my head getting bitten off) thought “hmm…was I missing something?” or “What did they see in him that I sure as hell couldn’t??” — things like that.

Now fast forward to 2020, and I fiiiiiiiiinally see it! *cue the harp*

Before I move along with my review I’m adding Cora’s disclaimer first. With the release coming soon, I want to make sure you guys are up to date and that when you read on, my review will (kinda, sorta) make sense to you. I’ll try to keep the rambling to a minimum. 😉


This book isn’t a standalone. You should read (at least) Bound by Duty before starting Bound by the Past. It is, however, recommended that you read Bound by Honor, Bound by Duty, Bound by Hatred, Bound by Temptation and Bound by Love, as well as Twisted Loyalties and Twisted Pride in advance because this book entails spoilers for all of the aforementioned books. 


Okay. Now that we’ve gotten that out the way…

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Let’s start with the reason as to why I am now pro Dante, shall we?

Carla.

Carla made me like Dante. I’m pretty sure she was the missing link that I needed in order to see Dante in a whole different light. I could be completely wrong, but I can’t help think Cora included Dante’s life pre-Valentina especially for us skeptical readers (I can’t be the only one who wasn’t as big a fan of Dante) to better understand his demeanor both publicly and privately.

Similar to Bound by Love where it was from Luca’s point of view, Bound by the Past is from Dante’s — at least for the first part, then it becomes dual POVs between himself and Val. The story is also told from different years of Dante’s life starting from when he was a teenager.

But that first part where it was only Dante’s POV was where he won me over. Just. Like. That! This book (and I’m saying this because it’s how I personally felt) redeemed him in my eyes. The Iceman thawed a little, and the second he started opening up, I started to really invest in his life.

This book is not only much anticipated but in my opinion necessary, especially for readers, like myself who were on the fence about Dante. I guarantee, you will come away from reading it at least understanding him better and his reasoning behind everything that occurred.

His backstory was easily one of the highlights for me. I’m not gonna lie — I teared up 10% into the book. I wasn’t expecting it but Cora’s known to keep you on your toes, so I rolled with the punches. Getting to know more about his life, his family dynamics and his marriage with Carla before everything that happened in Bound by Duty and onward made his world-building and Cora’s entire mafia world even more detailed than it already was.

I seriously didn’t think I would learn anything new about Dante that’ll have me turn on my axis but after reading this one… *phew* I feel like I need to be laying down, stare at my ceiling and just contemplate life.

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The Iceman may just have the biggest heart of all!

If anything, he’s more human than the other Capos. And seeing that certainly had it’s pros and cons. I can picture it now, BBTP will have so many readers’ minds ticking. The results from his actions both past and present is bound to have people questioning, second-guessing, debating, and perhaps even have cause for concern at what it would mean for the future.

So much character growth since Bound by Duty. Dante has portrayed such a cool, calm demeanor not only within the world he’s in but to the reader reading his story. Yet there was so much going on behind the scenes in his life, at least half the things that were revealed in this book I never would’ve expected! It’s heartbreaking.

Without a doubt, Bound by the Past is about sacrifices, betrayal, and secrets. No matter how much of the mob business was kept away from their personal lives and vice a versa, they both eventually bled into one another. Whether you’re a fan of Dante or not, it’ll be hard not to feel bad for the guy in this one. He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place one too many times and you can’t help but feel helpless right along with him.

Thank goodness for the all the sweet sentimental moments in between. Like Cora’s previous books, there was a nice balance of light and shade within each of her scenes. And if all fails — the saucy scenes in this one were turned up a notch! 🔥


“It was strange to think that one of the happiest moments of my life followed so closely after an act of war. Maybe it was a reminder that I needed to focus on the good in my life, even if evil would always be my closest companion.”


Then there’s the array of secondary characters that either have been introduced or developed further, which added layers upon layers of side stories and endless possibilities.

Hey, Flamingo Squad! Remember all those times Cora asked questions and had polls on what we would like to see in her future books? If you don’t. No worries because that’s all about to come flooding back whilst reading BBTP. If I could share spoilers right here, right now, you would be seeing a relatively long list! But since I can’t, I’ll just say this — those who are wondering about certain characters, certain couplings, certain stories, you’re queries may just be answered in this book! I know a couple of mine were….but oh man… I was still surprised by a some!

(P.S. Join the Facebook group if you haven’t already → Cora’s Flamingo Squad)

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Another exciting highlight I have to mention are certain introductions Cora has included in this book and directions she’s hinted at for future books. I’ve never been one to complain about the lack of, or seek diversity in my reads. If it’s there — great! If not, no biggie. And considering Cora writes mafia romances, there’s only so many cultures and ethnic diversity that can be included. I’m not going to mention the ethnicity of the character that was introduced in this series, but I want to thank Cora for broadening her world to include it. I feel like her fictional world has just expanded tenfold with the additions and various plots she’s incorporated into her original story arc.

Bound by the Past is probably one of my favourable books she’s written in the sense that it was clever writing, and her chosen format was easy to follow. Cora has managed to bind the Born in Blood and the Camorra Chronicles stories and timelines together seamlessly.

Whichever book (whether it’s from BiB or the Camorra Chronicles), Cora has managed to make me see their side of the story and feel for those characters. It’s remarkable how seeing both sides of a story can easily sway your judgment. Just when you think you prefer one territory over another.. Sigh. It’s honestly a losing battle.

  • I saw a different side to Dante in this book.
  • I saw more from crazy-psycho Remo (which BTW I could’ve lived without lol).
  • There’s characters in here that may be minor now but will eventually play bigger roles that I can’t wait to see in the future.. *ahem ahem* Samuel. Danilo. Orazio. Oh my. I could go on but I… eeeeep… I can’t! 😭🙈
  • And there’s so much insight to Dante’s family — and I don’t just mean with Val and their children. I’m talking about the Miones too! SO MUCH! SO SO MUCH!!

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As this is considered the last book in the BIB series with an anthology and a series of standalone books set in the same world in the works, this story ties everything that’s happened from past to present fairly well. There’s highs and lows. Things I agreed with and some things not so much. But I’ve been in this situation before and knowing Cora, she’ll be able to easily persuade me later on. I mean, she is Queen. Her word is law. 😉😉

An overall satisfying conclusion to Dante’s story. It’s a must read. For fans of her series and for mafia romance lovers alike. Nothing but contentment here!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Thank you so much to Cora Reilly (and Emily Alice) for the opportunity to read and review an advanced copy!

🔔 Interested in reading Bound By The Past? Grab your copy here: Amazon US  |  Amazon UK  |  Amazon AU  |  Apple Books  |  Barnes & Noble

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MusicButtonCora’s playlist for Bound By The Past!

L I S T E N  N O W

🎧 BOUND BY THE PAST PLAYLIST


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Thanks for reading my review! Happy reading and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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Luca Vitiello by Cora Reilly

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• BLURB •

I was born a monster. Cruelty ran in my veins like poison. It ran in the veins of every Vitiello man, passed on from father to son, an endless spiral of monstrosity.

A born monster shaped into an even worse monster by my father’s blade and fists and harsh words.

I was raised to become Capo, to rule without mercy, to dish out brutality without a second thought.

Raised to break others.

When Aria was given to me in marriage, everyone waited with baited breath to see how fast I’d break her like my father broke his women. How I’d crush her innocence and kindness with the force of my cruelty.
Breaking her would have taken little effort. It came naturally to me.
I was gladly the monster everyone feared.

Until her.

– Bound By Honor in Luca’s POV (and a few scenes from his childhood & teenage years).
– Can be read without reading the other books in the series.

•••

• MY REVIEW •

**This is a spoiler free review!**

I discovered Cora and Bound by Honor at the beginning of 2018 and just a little over a year later with the upcoming release of Luca Vitiello, it almost feels like it’s come full circle.

Luca was my first mafioso love from this series and getting to see what he thinks about, his true feelings, and opinions was like getting to snoop in on your crush’s deep dark secrets or what not.. (and I’m all for it!) 😜

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What I loved about this book was every question I had from Bound by Honor concerning Luca was answered in this one. Buuuut… I have to say as much as Cora is sooo good at trying to give us ALL the answers to our questions.. whilst reading Luca’s POV – the more questions that were answered, the more just popped up in its place… *SIGH* Now I’m hungry for Matteo’s and Romero’s POVs (at least for certain scenes). LOL.

When I read Bound by Honor Aria’s feelings towards Luca were evident. It was obvious that the longer they were together the deeper her feelings were for him. With Luca, I always had an inkling that his love for Aria was there long before she got shot, but what I love about seeing it from his POV, is you get to see precisely when it started to bloom into something other than a marriage of convenience for him. And I tell ya… it’s a lot earlier than I thought! A lot, a lot! Which I kinda dig because it makes you think: “Oh wait! Who really loved who first…?” Was it really Aria?? Hm.

How much does Luca love and care for Aria? What were his first impressions of her, and his thoughts during their wedding? Is he really as cold-hearted and brutal as he seems? His thoughts on his father, his relatives, Nina and Grace.. as well as Matteo, Cesare, Romero and the rest of his men. These are just some of the things you’ll get to find out in detail!

You get to see the brutal truth of what it takes to be a Made Man. The sacrifices. The responsibilities. The pain. The hardships…

But what excited me most about this book is getting to read the scenes from Luca’s childhood and teen years. I was curious to learn more about Luca and Matteo growing up and the added scenes from those times were probably my favourite parts to read! Luca and Matteo have always had a strong brotherly bond and it stems from their scarred childhood, after having lost their mother and enduring life with a father – who not only is Capo but someone who enjoys being a ruthless, violent and viciously vindictive asshat… not only to his men but to his own children and women alike.

Luca (and Matteo) with their father:

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Also.. Luca (and Matteo) with their father:

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Anyways. Ooh. Any Romero fans?

I don’t know how it’s possible but I ❤ Romero even more in this one! And I have no doubt you guys will too. 😄 I love the person that he is. I love his beliefs. I love his loyalty. And I love that he is like a brother from another mother to Luca.

Now. I wanted to add in a particular quote that made my heart sing when I read it, but I wasn’t 100% sure I could without it being spoiler-ish. So I’ll just say that there’s a particular scene where Luca really contemplates the value of having Romero by his side. Guys, Luca might not ever admit it but I’ll say it… He has a friend for life in Romero! (Matteo too!) *GROUP HUGGGG!!*

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(P.S. Look at Dean’s face. I can totally picture Luca making the same facial if Romero or Matteo ever hugged him. Hahaha!)

Finally – If you were wanting to see more of Luca’s bloody side. Then you got it! With it only being from his POV, you get to see him work in all his Made Man glory!

Cue: Blood splatter! 😛

I can’t get enough of Cora’s Mafiosos! Bound by Honor from Luca’s perspective is an amazing addition to the Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles, and a perfect book for rabid fans (like moi) who need regular doses of Luca! Nobody writes Mafia books like Cora. A HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ!

RATING: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Cora Reilly for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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