Thank you to Giana Darling and Candi Kane PR for the advance reader copy of When Villains Rise, the second story in the Anti-Heroes in Love duet. This story is releasing on July 5th!!
I cannot even describe how much I was anticipating this sequel. Outside of Inked in Lies, which remains my favourite Giana Darling novel. This duology is a very close second. Giana has blown me away with the depth of this story.
Check out the Goodreads synopsis…
“From Wall Street Journal bestselling author Giana Darling comes the conclusion to the Anti-Heroes in Love duet, a gripping mafia romance about the capo who will risk everything to keep the woman he loves safe…
I am the hero no one wanted…
I was a murderer.
One of the cruelest and wealthiest men in New York City.
Dante Salvatore, capo of capos.
Yet I had one weakness.
Cold as ice, sharp as the edge of broken glass, and more beautiful than any woman should have the right to be, she stormed my defenses and razed my life as I knew it to the ground. For her, I would once again play the hero and prove myself worthy of her unconquerable heart.
For her, I would change everything.
I could have left her to the enemies hounding me, but instead, I made the unforgivable decision to take her with me to the old country. Now, there is no other option. In order to keep both of us safe, Elena Lombardi must become my wife”
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: I really do not want to spoil you much so if you have not read the first instalment. Please stop reading this review and go pickup When Heroes Fall. If you read When Heroes Fall you should need my review to incentive you to pick up the next instalment but nonetheless my thoughts are all incredibly positive. The big standout for me is just how much character development Elena (and to a lesser extent Dante) went through. Elena was so much in her element. Turning into a mafia donna was the best goddamn thing to happen to her.
- Setting: I loved getting to run off to Italy in this instalment. For as many Lombardi world books Giana has written, none have really spent that much time in Italy. Which makes sense as the Lombardis had to flee Napoli. This story really showed the beauty of the grittiest place in Italy. The Villa with it’s lemon groves just sounded gorgeous. I may be very biased but I am Italian, so I just find it to be one of the most gorgeous settings in the world.
- Pacing: The pacing was perfect. Not too long, or too short. I read it quickly but I loved that I could just engulf this story. I am jealous of all of you guys now who can binge the two books back to back. I really love having this story be broken up over two instalments because one would not have been enough to fully flush out these characters. Yet three would have dragged the story along, the problem I found with Giselle’s trilogy. I want to give Giana a shout out here for the release schedule. Having the books close together but not too close together was absolutely perfect. I felt like excitement and momentum did not decrease, yet the stories coming out closer together helped me remember everything I read in the previous book. While also making the cliffhanger a lot more bearable.
- Romance: The romance in this story is nothing short of epic. This may be one of my favourite romances ever. The connection these two had and the way they made each other better and stronger was just immaculate. Dante did not impose new characteristics onto Elena, he helped her embrace her true self. As she opened up to him while also embracing the darkness within her, she learned to balance living in a world where she can be both a hero and a villain. These two have an electric chemistry, their kisses could start a three alarm fire. This romance made me feel every emotion possible, it had me crying, laughing, swooning and hot and bothered.
- I want to give a quick shout out too to all the Italian in this book. I absolutely adored the nicknames and as someone with an understating of the language it was nice to have a better understanding of some of the idioms Giana used. Granted I did not know much of the bedroom language, so it was also fun to learn some new naughty words. Brava Giana!
When Villains Rise receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story below…
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Thank you again to Giana and Candi Kane for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!