By Any Other Name (Forbidden #1)
by J.M. Darhower (Goodreads Author)
TeriLyn's thoughts: J.M. Darhower penned a real thrilling story in By Any Other Name. I couldn't put it down so consumed by the lives of these two characters and the twisted mafia-family mess in which they're both so entwined. With the characters being younger I would classify this story as New Adult however with the writing and character development being so mature it doesn't have any trace of the naivety often found within this genre. It's layered and nuanced. The characters strength and sass palpable through the writing.
Darhower eloquently presents this story from the third person point of view. Two star-crossed lovers destined for destruction inside a web of betrayal and violence. A timeless romance trope expertly executed. Matty and Genna find each other unexpectedly forming an instant connection full of sexy banter and playfulness despite their circumstances. When truths are revealed neither continues the journey with blinders on but rather an astute perception of their realities. The conflict isn't angsty because of nonsense misgivings, vulnerabilities, or distrust. It's born and bred from events and history outside of their control. I love this sort of relationship in books, love reading how two people strive to make something that feels so real actually happen in their lives rather than depreciate it with internal issues. Chaos erupts all around Matty and Genna, deep roots of loyalty and perceptions are penetrated and tested. Their journey to overcome the chaos is a compelling one.
Awesome secondary characters, a perfectly orchestrated setting, and the detailed history all converge creating this bigger picture story for Matty and Genna. I can't compliment the writing of J.M. Darhower enough to do it justice. It comes off as effortless story telling and engages the reader thoroughly. I fell in love with Matteo Barsanti and Genevieve Galante. I felt like I was a part of their story and not a bystander watching from afar but rather an insider who felt everything they felt and saw everything the saw. By Any Other Name stands strong in the romance genre. If you love mafia stories and timeless romance with super sexy banter and passion you'll undoubtedly love this book. Can't wait to read the next installment.