Author Archives: lyssareviews

Gangesters vs Nazis: How Jewish Mobsters battled Nazis in Wartime America

  by Michael Benson

Just WOW!!!  I devoured this book, couldn’t put it down.  It was smart, funny, terrifying and interesting in the extreme to someone who loves American history and mob history.  All I kept thinking as I read this book is why were we never taught this in school? Why were we left ignorant of how strong the Facist movement was in the country in the 20’s through the late 40s? Maybe a bit of what is happening now could have been prevented.

Anti-Semitism was getting out of control Brown Shirts, Silver Shirts, and Catholic Prists.  Through other books on the era I have read I have found (scary though it is) how far back Catholicism goes to trying to kill off the Jewish people. How close the Pope was to Hitler when he came into power because he chose the Jewish people to hate. (What if it had been Catholic people? The Church had lots of money too and lots of power and was what he was targeting. Did they ever think of that?)  All this was working in concert here in America, and one Judge in New York City decided it had gone far enough.

Judge  Nathan D. Pearlman decided to do something about this.  He picked up the phone and called a local Jewish gangster and asked if he wanted to bust some Nazi up.  The only rule was no killing. They could go as far as they wanted, short of killing a man, he wouldn’t be able to legally protect them from that, but everything up to that, he was good with. He made calls to all the big cities from New York to LA over the course of about 2 years.  The Jewish Mob became the heroes of the story, instead of the villains they’d always been seen as, except by the young Jewish boys that worshiped them for getting out and having money.

Boxers, well known boxers, heavy weight, featherweight, and everyone in between, killers, racketeers, loansharks, all got in on the fun of beating up Nazis. Meeting after meeting, celebration after celebration, recruitment drive after recruitment drive, they showed and the Jewish squads not far behind (or already there) and the Nazis got the worse of it time after time.  No shot was ever fired, no Nazi ever died, but they were put on the run and had to move their meetings and whatnot, and still Jewish mobs show up. Stick bombs, sawed off pool cues, black jacks, fists, brass knuckles, rolled nickles…. They beat them up, left them bloody, broke bones, and they scattered. 

New Jersey was a welcoming place for them, the police were on the side of Nazis, they protected them, busted up the Jewish mobsters, but they still got their message across.  And none did time for anything done during this war, for it was a war. A war for their right to live, to exist, to be who they were born, American Jews.

The names in this book will amaze you, the history of Anti-Semitism in this country will sicken you, the way the government protected these people and how they used our own Constatution for their own gains will disgust you. How these outlaws became the good guys, the mobsters of the underworlds, will make you cheer.

This is a five star read, you must pick it up if you love history.  I do hope it becomes a movie, I would love to see this on the big screen. But Hollywood has always tried to keep this part of history and WWII separate.  I think it is time the story was told.

Save Me by Vi Carter

I loved this book. I’ve been waiting a month for the conclusion to this story.

In the last book we were left with the gun going off aimed at Layla, my heart stopped when I realized that was the end. After much grumbling… I wrote my review and posted it. Ms. Carter, such a crafter of words and worlds, contacted me and told me I had only a month to wait for the follow up. I sighed.

This book was so worth the wait! I was right back in Ireland, in that mansion, with that loving couple as soon as I read the first words.

Being a coming of age book, this book took a couple turns and had some teenage angst that keep you guessing. I do admit I was looking for the party that Alex tried to sabotage for Layla, never did see them going to one after the shopping spree. Would have liked to see Layla show up in something heart stopping that Jared would have shown her off in and would have made Alex furious.

The twist about his mom and dad was interesting.

And yes, there were so many twits in this one, so many loving moments and sexy ones too. I adored it all the way through.

Five stars. A must pick up to go with Deceive Me if you don’t have it already, why? You must read both. Thank you for letting us into your world, Ms. Carter and for giving me a chance to read these. .
I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Deceive Me (Part One Broken People Duet)

Deceive Me by Vi Cater is a wonderful book, all the feels are there, great character development… but it is a cliffhanger. I go so involved, then… next book out on…. It was fun, can’t wait for the next read.

Layla and Jared were in the foster care system together until something happened one day and she was taken away to the hospital. Seven years later she walks back into his life, his phys ed class at collage. He is now Jay, and life has hardened him more than he was. He had looked for her, but couldn’t find her. Layla had been adopted by the counselor that had helped her through the trauma, she had never gone back to the foster house. She had never gotten an answer on what had happened to Jared, now here he was, harder, different name, maybe not the same person she thought him to be at all.

His father is telling him one thing, she believes another, can they find their way through the maze of lies and deception before this new life comes to end them?

Five stars, a must read if you enjoy dark, edgy, collage romances. Definitely not YA but New Adult. Some trigger themes, bullying, verbal and physical abuse. But Ms. Carter pulls it together is a tapestry of words that flow and catch you from the beginning and won’t let you go to the last word. Then you are looking for the next book.

Mafia Games: Young Irish Rebels #3

Mafia Games: Dark Irish Mafia Romance (Young Irish Rebels #3)

By Vi Carter

Richard and Claire are both broken, hurt, and maybe, just maybe, they can help each other heal a little.

Clair was raised with a sadistic psychopath, her brother, and she was his favorite target. The day he broke both of her legs, so she was bound to her bed, he decided that his parents were no longer necessary, he wanted her all to himself. So, he set fire to their house, sitting with her as their parents burned to death.  She never told anyone about him.

Richard knew her brother, she was supposed to be part of the revenge he was going to get on the three men that beat him a left him for dead.  Except Clair stirs things best left alone in his dark, black heart.  He had sworn never to touch her, to leave her forever in her glass box… but best laid plans don’t always go the way you want them too.

A wonderful dark romance, with a man that will kill for his lady, whether she wants him too or not, whether she understands why or not. Can they survive the twists and intrigues? Can Clair survive another encounter with her brother? Can Liam, Richard’s father, survive his son’s take over? Or will he come out the victor with only one son left?

Five stars, a story that pulls you in and holds you as captive as Clair was in the glass box of her’s. 

The Wedding Night Affair

Ash and Juliana #1 by LC Sharp

Oh, this is a five star read from the beginning. I could not put it down once I started reading. Loved it.

The characters are well developed, even the secondary ones. This series is more mystery than romance, but you can’t miss the romantic elements that thread through. Strong and sure, connecting the two main characters and giving both a sense duty and stability.

Juliana, or Lady Uppingham (her late husband’s title) though she was born to that station in life, lifting him up a few rungs. He husband was a sadist that abused her horribly on their wedding night, then ended up dead. She was the only person in the room that could have done it. Branded a murderess, and sent to her father’s house, who was used to having his own way and was determined that he would get an heir out of his only child, his daughter. But the rules in England are changing, the Fielding brother’s who are magistrates and starting Bow Street investigations are leveling the playing field, justices for all.

Sir Edmmound Ashendon was a lawyer, a family tragedy had lead him to change to criminal law, and work with the Fieldings. He took Julianna’s case, and worked to prove her innocent, thought just getting her out of the gallows was his first job. He fought her family every step of the way. Especially once he had prof that she had been drugged and got her off the gallows, they took her away, but she found her way back.

Can these two find the man that killed her husband? Then her maid that had gotten her off the gallows? Can they find the Raven? a self styled Robin Hood, that was just a thug in the criminal underworld? Never really giving anything back to the people, but killing those that got in his way, or he didn’t need anymore. Can they find a home in each other and a stability to continue the fight?

You must pickup this book if you love the 1700’s. One of my favorite time periods. The grandeur of the time period is part of the plot and scenery of this book. It is what molds and shapes our characters. Ms. Sharp is true to her subject matter. Can’t wait for the next book to come out.

Undercover Duke (Duke Dynasty #4)

Oh, this was wonderful conclusion to this series. There is action, and love (maybe?) wishes and family history and drama that will satisfy the romantic in all of us. Ms. Jefferies had created another family you want to make your own.

Sebastian Wolfe, the Duke of Armitage is still looking for the person that killed his father, and talking with his brothers, they know think the same person has killed all their mother’s husbands. Focusing on the three women, who are know their mothers-in-law, that were all at the same house parties as their mother when her first two husbands were killed.

Sebastian is supposed to be talking to Lady Eustance, since Grey’s wife is in confinment awaiting the birth of their child, Grey can’t do so. The problem for Sebastian lays in the fact that Lady Eustance comes with Grey’s younger cousin, Vanessa Pryde. While he is too poor to entice Lady Eustance, Vanessa is a woman he can’t help but want. Event though his past has taught him that he should not, it hurts too much when they go away.

Vanessa Pryde has put it out in the family that she is in love with a poet and playwright, too keep Sebastian from looking too closely at her. She loves him and knows that is his not looking to marry, but wants to get him to like her for her, not Grey’s little cousin who he feels obligated to look after.

Sebastian Wolfe, Saint Sebastian as he is known, Duke of Armitage looses his cool when he catches Vanessa kissing her poet, and gets caught by her mother and uncle kissing her like only a husband should in a park. He offers for her, as he should, and secretly wants too.

Vanessa is elated and depressed by the fact they are to be married. Was it jealously that made Sebastian kiss her like that? Did he really want her as a wife? Their wedding night put part of those questions to rest, but not all. And she learned how many other secrets and history this family hides from the tonn.

Will they figure out who has been stalking the former Duchess? Will Sebastian be able to find the monies to save his estate? Will Vanessa get her heart broken by her new husband’s dead fiancee? You must pick up this five star read and find out. Ms. Jefferies had created another world within the Regency area that brings into a family and their loves and history. Thank you so much.

Princess of Belaria

This is the first book by a new author, Taisha Speters. I had the privilege of listening to the first part of this in our critique group, and it was delightful. As soon as it came out I rushed to get it, and finally got a chance to read it.

Marsais Corbin is 17, a normal high school senior, except all of sudden her best friend – and secret crush – suddenly asks her to be his girlfriend. Oh, wow, that is great! But before she can enjoy it, she gets ill and ends up in a hospital for months in a coma. She can hear everything perfectly, just can feel or see or communicate. But a woman keeps coming to her dreams, not the same one in her dreams she has been having since she was six, but she looks like her.

Now, Marsais knows she is adopted, knows her mother is most likely dead, but now the doctors are saying she is dying too, then it all changes.

Going back to school seems the thing to do, to try to catch up on 4 months of missed assignments to keep her scholarship to her dream collage, and stay with her friends she’s had most of her life. But a new girl joins the school, and makes fast friends with her, and seems to pull her away from her old friends. Is she friend or foe? All of sudden her old nemesis keeps trying to close to her, telling her this new girl is bad news. Does she mean her ill or is something changing there as well?

And her boyfriend? Well, he seems to know this new girl quiet well, and Marsais finds them kissing…. opps, not good things happen when she loses her temper.

She is told she is a witch, not just any witch, a princess with a kingdom to rule, if she can defeat her grandfather the king.

Adventure, romance, unexpected allies and new friends mix and mingle with the old to craft a fun, exciting and well written book that you will lose yourself in happily and not emerge from until the last page which leaves you wanting more. Taisha Speters, thank you for sharing your world with us.

The Handler (The Bratva Romance #2)

This book is a Stand alone novel in Vi Carters Dark Mafia Romances. I picked it up and literally could not put it down. I read it straight through. Five starts all the way the the steam that rises off the pages is hot enough to burn.

Lucca is a man with a past, he is a dark hero that will burn the world down to keep his girl safe, and though Evie wasn’t his to keep, he decided he was going to keep her. And turned the Bratva Mafia on it’s ear to do so.

Evie was a child that loved the water. Once might have called her a selki, had this been a paranormal romance. She was playing one night in the water, and found a girl that needed her help, she tried to help but the that night the water stole her away and turned her over to human traffickers, she was ten. She was cossetted and trained to be the perfect bride for some wealthy buyer. She was kept pure and innocent.

Lucca is called in by his boss, to investigate a ship load of the women Evie lived with that had been kidnapped away. Evie was the only one that had survived. Now Lucca had to cut through her lies and find out the truth and the other 6 women. But once he had Evie under his control his darker nature came out. Lucca feared no one, he worked for his boss because it was convenient, and he needed people like Igor to keep him in check. Now he was didn’t want those checks and balances, he wanted Evie, and he would kill his own men to keep her.

Evie knew things, she was well trained for which ever man bought her. But she had experienced nothing. For eight years she had been groomed to be a bought bride. Now she was in the hands of Lucca, a man that didn’t play by any rules she knew, and saw through her lies. Now he was too close to figuring out who her parents were, and she had to keep them safe at all costs. But she also had to help get back her sisters that had tried to abandon the night they had been taken.

Can Lucca and Evie find happiness in this dark world they inhabit? Can Lucca let himself feel, just for one person, something that was trained out of him? You have pick up this book and find out. You will not be able to put down this excellently crafted story until the end and then you might take a breath again.

Thank you, Ms. Carter, for sharing your stories and worlds with us.

Above and Beyond: Bronco Boys #6 by Andrew Gray

Above and Beyond is the last book in the Bronco Boys series.  I put off reading it because this has to be one of my favorite series, from the first time Zach giggled every time Bull touch him to search him before he and his friends got into the club.  But I found it on my Kindle and decided to open it. 

It was everything that Andrew Gray writes, all the feels were in this book.  Salvador Adruccio is every man’s dream, built like a brick ship, ex black ops, and focused on Elliot Hastings who is running. Elliot’s stepfather is crime boss in Pittsburg, PA, and has to control everything and everyone around him.  Elliot knows he has to get out.  He copies some paperwork, and runs, right to Harrisburg, PA and Bronco’s. 

In the course of this book, as they look for ways to bring Elliot’s stepfather down and keep Elliot safe, (Bull and Spook are in their element of course) Elliot is trying to come to terms with his new life, separating from his old and learn how to live with the fact his mom isn’t the same woman she was before she got married. Salvador and he are in the car, on the way to see Salvador’s mom, whom he has a great relationship with, that Elliot realizes that if he and his mom weren’t related, he wouldn’t even like her. They never would have been in the same circles, wouldn’t even have been friends. I had to stop reading at this point, tears, somehow, someway, Mr. Gray had put into words my exact thoughts and feelings I had fought with about my own mother. 

The story ends the next year at Thanksgiving.  Everybody is there, at Sal and El’s house getting ready to celebrate. Bull and Zack are running late, when Elliot opens the door Bull is holding a car seat with a little baby. Oh, what a way to end the series! I had to stop for a few more tears here. Five stars all the way.  This book is a must have if you have been reading the series. You have to finish it with this one.  And if you haven’t been reading the series, why not? Start NOW! You can’t wait one more minute to meet these guys.

Bad to be Worthy by Andrew Grey

With a name like this I knew I was in for some fun.

Gerome Meadows is a former Detroit Mobster in Witness Protection down Longboat Key, Florida. He is missing his former exciting life of clubs, men, and money, at least it wasn’t cold Iowa. He and his two best friends were here now, they had broke out of the program to say good bye to Terrance’s mother who died a little bit later, that is how they ended up here, warm, sunny, boring Longboat, Florida. Where they were the top predators in town and nobody knew it.

He used to run the hottest gay nightclubs in Detroit, Richard the man behind the money, he created – as Gerome would later put it – “books that were works of art, and fake as hell.” and Terrence was the muscle that kept everybody else in line. Now he managed a small gift shop, he had never skimmed off the top of anything from that shop. The owner, Betty, had taken a chance on hiring him, and he would never forget that. She was his to protect now. They all kept to the straight and narrow now, Richard was even married with a son. The one thing I would liked to have known was Gerome’s birth name, because that is the name the Marshall’s gave him, though I can understand why it was never mentioned, It was a part of his life that was no more, and Mr. Grey most likely didn’t feel it was relevant to the story (just my curiosity).

Tucker Wells was desperate, when asked to look for a package on the beach by a guy who said he would be paid $300 when he found it, he said yes. But he didn’t find the package, and the guy didn’t believe him. Tucker is living a tent village, homeless, no job, his only friends are Cheryl and her son, Joshie. When the guy from the job comes after him, thinking he is hiding the package, and intending to violence, Gerome is there to stop him. He gets them an apartment across from his (Richard had just moved out and was waiting on the lease to expire) and helps them get jobs. Tucker isn’t sure what to think, but with no where to else to go, they move in.

Paraphrasing from a TV show, “sometimes the best good guys are the bad guys.” A villain can be the best love interest, because a villain will burn down the word to save his love, a hero is bound by ethics. While Gerome is not really a villain, or even a anti-hero, he is a lover who will cross the line to save and protect the ones he loves. And when these men fall in love, oh, they burn up the pages! I loved this book, was hooked from the first sentence, like normal for an Andrew Grey novel. I had a hard time putting it down to get my work down. It is five star read, from beginning to end. I am loving this series, you really need to pick up this book and let the bad boy be worthy of your love.

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