Maggie Blackbird

Romancing Canada's Indigenous People

Today, I’m hosting author Leigh Kenize and her latest release Ira, book four in the Vendetta series, a dark m/m romance.  Be sure to read my reviews of books two, three, and four.  And don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

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RB

About-the-Book

IRA CoverBook Title: Ira
Series: Vendetta
Author: Leigh Kenzie
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 3, 2020
Genre/s: Dark M/M
Trope/s: Dark M/M Mafia
Themes: Captive/Captor, Forced Submission, Kink, Non-con, Obsession
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 50 700 words

Out of nightmares can come dreams.

Allesandro
My fury consumes me. Nobody is safe from it. I will bring my Emilio home. I will rebuild my empire. I’ll demolish anyone standing in my way.

Emilio
He thinks he has me beat. He thinks he’s in control. If there’s one thing Master taught me, I make my own destiny. I’ll claw my own way out and when I do they’d better prepare. Nobody has ever seen the likes of me.

What happens when vengeance and fury twist together?

Warnings: Please be advised this book contains graphic violence, torture, and murder. It also includes non-con, psychological torture, and various kinks. The book also includes significant homophobic scenes. Some readers may find this material triggering. It is intended for a mature audience 18 years of age and up.

Trigger warnings: Contains graphic violence, extreme sexual situations, and homophobic scenes.

Note:  This is a continuous series. The first three books must be read prior to this one. Book 5 releasing early 2021.

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Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

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Excerpt

Peter POV

I wake up from my nap gasping. The memory of Daniel dying is rushing through me as I push through the last remnants of sleep. I lie there for a moment, trying to reconcile everything. I’m not sure who to be the most pissed at. I knew he wasn’t happy, he said I shouldn’t have taken him out of the hospital. His urges were too much for him to handle, but damn, he could have talked to me. I bite my tongue hard enough to draw blood when I think of Eamon. Fucker put Daniel in that situation to take that bullet, hiding the knowledge that they were real, because if I’d known then, fuck no, I wouldn’t have allowed it. He never understood brotherly love, though. I shouldn’t have waited. I should have taken Eamon out first. But it’s too late for that.

Lio. Lio pulled the fucking trigger. A deep growl builds in my chest. I loved him. I gave him everything, and he repaid me by killing my brother. Daniel’s voice echoes in my brain about needing to keep calm, not to punish Lio for not being perfect, but damn it, Lio has always been perfect. It’s why he’s mine. It’s why I found him, took him, and did everything I could for him. I take deep breaths, trying to rein in the anger and the poisonous hate that wants to spread. Maybe I just need to push him more, make him earn his forgiveness. I’m not fucking sure at this point if that’s possible, but maybe it’ll work. Maybe I can recapture our love. Maybe…

I startle when I notice he’s not in bed with me. I’ve been so lost in my head. Memories of what I did earlier float in my mind, and I quickly move to look at the floor. I exhale forcefully when I see him. I feared for a split-second that he’d escaped, but he didn’t. It means he knows he needs to be punished, he needs it the same way I do.

He doesn’t raise his head even as I move. I know kneeling for so long must be hurting his knees, but I don’t give a shit. I reach out and grab his hair, forcefully bringing him up and onto the bed. The way he scrambles slowly to move tells me how stiff he is from holding the same position for so long. I violently push him on his back and straddle him, grabbing his throat with my hand and squeezing. He doesn’t fight back, although I wish he would. His face steadily changes color, and tears roll down his face, making a pathway through the dried cum, but still, he doesn’t fight. The most he does is tilt his head back to give me better access. I wrench my hand off his neck, letting him draw in huge gasps of air. I punch the pillow by his head, barely missing his face. That, at least, draws a reaction from him. The flinch and fear. I want his fear. I need it.

Ira Teaser 6

My-Review

First off, the characterizations of Emilio and Allesandro were wonderfully crafted.  I really enjoyed reading about these two.

I loved the glimpses into Emilio’s mind as he planned his escape.  And how the training with Il Padrone prepared him for what he had to endure.  The character growth was spot on.  I really felt for this poor guy.  In a leap, he went from naïve college boy to a grown man executing what’s necessary to save his own life.

As for Allesandro, he also grew lots in this novel.  There is one scene between him and another that shows his armour is slowly being penetrated.  Will he ever truly become human?  That’s hard to say.  He’s spent his whole life being shaped into Il Padrone.  One can only change so much, but he’s finding some humanity and mercy.

The twists and turns in the plot kept the fourth installment fresh.  I didn’t feel bogged down or as if I was reading the same passage over and over.

As for the writing, it conveys the emotion, description, and setting that we need, but not so much that a reader can’t use their imagination.

The dialogue is sharp, snappy, and intense.

As for the additional POVs, they’re—as I mentioned in my previous review—unnecessary.  Some readers probably enjoyed them, but I found they took away from the story of Allesandro and Emilio, and bogged it down with nothing new to add that couldn’t have been conveyed through either Emilio or Allesandro.

One additional POV, I can handle, say, coming from Luca.  That’s fine.  But, honestly, I wasn’t interested in what the other characters were thinking.  Unfortunately, I found myself doing a lot of skimming, and I was still able to understand everything that was happening through reading Allesandro and Emilio’s POVs.

Still, this was a good read.  The changes in Emilio and Allesandro are wonderfully done.  And one can only speculate what’s in store for them for the fifth novel—will Emilio be completely assimilated and stay with Allesandro?  Will Allesandro find the last bits of his humanity?  It makes me wonder.

Ira Teaser 4

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About-the-Book

TradimentoBook Title: Tradimento
Series: Vendetta Book 3
Author: Leigh Kenzie
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: October 15, 2020
Genre/s: Dark M/M
Trope/s: Dark M/M Mafia
Themes: Captive/Captor, Forced Submission, Kink, Non-con, Obsession, Stalker
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 68 740 words/240 pages

The knife of obsession cuts deep

Allesandro
I’ll find a way to crawl out of the prison I’m in and when I do, the man obsessed with righting wrongs will pay for my forced exile.

Emilio
While I fixate on needing to know who harmed my master, someone has decided I’m their new favorite obsession. I refuse to run. I refuse to hide. It isn’t love and it can kill just as easily as hate.

How far will vengeance reach before it’s satisfied?

Note:  This is a continuous series. Il Padrone and Vendetta del Cuore must be read prior to this one.  Ends on a cliffhanger.

My-Review

The third book in the series leaves off where the second ended.  I appreciated this.  Some authors start with a prologue and detail what previously happened that I find myself glossing over.  Bravo to Leigh for getting right to the action.

And there is action.  Plenty of it, along with a lot of unanswered questions finally answered.

First off, I really loved Allessandro’s character arc.  This was brilliantly done.  There are chinks happening in his armour as he fights to remain Il Padrone, but the human side of him is tugging, wanting to be let out of its cage where he’s stuffed it.

As for Emilio, he is in for the fight of his life.  I really loved the look inside of his head, and how he did his best to try stay loyal to his master, yet do everything he could to survive.  He even had some difficult choices to make, and he is strong enough to make the right ones with the predicament he is in.  This is about survival.  He’s no longer a mere wisp of a college boy.  He is growing into a hardened man.

The twists and turns were brilliantly done.  I really enjoyed how the story kept weaving in and out of traffic like a car getting ready to crash.  This kept me reading, wondering what was going to happen next.

I will say the additional two POVs detracted from the story.  This series is about Allesandro and Emilio, and their journey through darkness.  I feel the author is talented enough to convey everything through Emilio’s POV when Allesandro isn’t available.  And when Allessndro is available–again, what went on between him and another character–could have been conveyed through Allesandro’s thoughts because the author has the talent to execute this properly.

So yes, this portion did detract from the story and sort of sent it off course in a way; however, it wasn’t enough to stop me from reading, or stop me from reading the series.  I will continue on with the fourth book.

It’s a fun, dark, and intriguing world the author has created.  So if you started the series, I recommend you keep reading.  It’s worth it.  Now, I am off to start on the next novel.

Ira Teaser 2

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About-the-Book

Vendetta de cuoureBook Title: Vendetta del Cuore
Series: Vendetta Book 2
Author: Leigh Kenzie
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: September 17, 2020
Genre/s: Dark M/M
Trope/s: Dark M/M Mafia
Themes: Captive/Captor, Forced Submission, Kink, Non-con, Obsession, Stalker
Heat Rating: 5 flames
Length: 211 pages

Allesandro
Loyalty.

My life revolves around it. Loyalty to me and to the Family. I demand it and in return, I will protect them. Emilio thinks he has me fooled but he doesn’t. No matter what I have to do, he will be my most loyal boy yet.

Emilio
Loyalty.

He offers me vengeance but insists I kneel and pledge my loyalty. Do I give in and if I do will I look in the mirror and see a monster staring back at me?

What happens when vengeance and the heart are tied together?

Note:  Contains graphic violence  Book 2 of the Vendetta Series, ends in a cliffhanger.  This must be read after Il Padrone, Book 1 of the Vendetta Series. It cannot be read as a standalone.

My-Review

For the sophomore book in the series, some authors fail while others succeed.  Did the author succeed?  You betcha.  She did a great job carrying the first story into the second while keeping the plot and the characters fresh.  I will do my best not to give away spoilers, but this will be tough.

Let’s start with Il Padrone and his character arc.  All I can say is I loved it.  I really enjoyed Allesandro even more in this book than the previous.  He’s still his ruthless, sadistic, unforgiving, merciless self, but the author added something else.  A peek into his thoughts.  There was one thought that completely stood out.  The “why” of it all.  When I read that, I was like, “Yep, she nailed it, now I am a happy camper knowing what is driving this man.”  LOL.

This peek inside that one little sentence also helped me to finally sympathize with him, because from birth, he’s been moulded to become Il Padrone.

As for Emilio, I will say I waaas somewhat disappointed.  Not with the author’s portrayal of this character.  Oh no, not at all.  She did a GREAT job of that.  It’s Emilio himself.  I thought he was tougher than that.  But Emilio has his reasons for going the direction that he did.  And this came through in his actions, what he learns, and his need to survive.  So the choice he made was the best one for him—in his eyes.  A great character arc with strong motivations.  I guess I was hoping he wouldn’t give in so fast.

The pacing was tight.  The author kept the book moving, making use of her word count right until the end.  No filler here.

The descriptions were well done, from the action and sex scenes to the visit to different places and character appearance.

Now, is this believable, such as say, the movie Scarface?  No.  You, again, as for the previous novel, do have to suspend disbelief.  But it’s a lovely world the author created, and I’m enjoying being here, otherwise I wouldn’t be starting the third book.

The ending came with a bang.  A big bang.

This is a wonderful series.  If you like dark romance, give the Vendetta series a try.  Just don’t go into it expecting complete believably.  The author has created a nice world of her own.

Ira Teaser 1

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About-the-Author

109297016_179666010232916_4358497146516811532_nLeigh is a dark M/M romance author from Texas with two needy terrors of terriers and a chaotic family. She considers coffee a major food group and her family fears broken coffeemakers. She writes in her spare time, forced to the keyboard by characters entirely too vocal in her opinion and often falls victim to plot monkeys. In between creating mayhem with her characters and friends, her hope is to transport readers to fictional places and provide darkness with a twist.

Find Leigh:  FacebookFacebook Group | Facebook Page | Newsletter Sign-Up | BookBub | Goodreads

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Giveaway

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