“This life is so complex that we rarely get to be the people we are truly meant to be. Instead, we wear masks and put up walls to keep from dealing with the fear of rejection, the feeling of regret, the very idea that someone may not love us for who we are deep in our core, that they might not understand the things that drive us.”


When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell’s life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys’ dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties – the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

Ok I’ll admit the decision to read this book was pretty much the outcome of peer pressure. I saw most of my friends reading it and I needed to know what made them love this series so much, so sue me. But I had also never read a book (YA or NA) that was about a mafia so I figured that I might as well read this one and find out. I grew up having a lot of Italian friends, both at school and as family friends, so everything about the Falcone brothers made me laugh because at times they were so stereotypically Italian (especially Gino oh my god, he was a riot). Overall, this book and by extension the series was a lot darker than your typical YA contemporary but it’s definitely worth the read. But enough about the generals, let’s get down to the specifics!


  • The plot twists. My god, the plot twists. As the plot progresses, Sophie learns more about the Falcone mafia and their history and discovers how every family has a boss. This becomes one of the biggest mysteries of Vendetta. Who could the Falcone boss possibly be? It’s not the father, because he’s dead (don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler), so you think it’s the creepy uncle which would probably make sense. But after papa Falcone died literally no one knew who his underboss was. Sophie has her theories, you have your theories as the reader, but the reveal will most likely surprise you. It’s one of those “wouldn’t it be great if the boss turned out to be this one person?” and it is, in fact, great. I would also like to state, for the record, that I called this one.
  • I have two words for you: Gianluca Falcone. Even though he’s barely in this book and doesn’t interact with Sophie as much as his younger brother Nic does he makes quite an impact. He comes off as intimidating and borderline terrifying but that’s not how he is at all. He just wants to protect his family because that’s all he knows how to do. But even with his intimidating persona, you know that’s not the real Luca. You just know immediately that he’s different. You’ll want to know so much more about Luca Falcone, trust me.
  • I feel like Catherine Doyle did A LOT of research about mafia families prior to writing this book and you can definitely tell. Like, more than just watching The Godfather kind of research. The amount of information you learn about the Falcone mafia is extensive and concise and it doesn’t feel like it’s something she pulled out of a hat. Like there were times where I’d think that I was reading about an actual mafia family and not fiction because it was so vivid and it pulls you in. I think that says a lot about Doyle as a writer and I respect that. I actually enjoyed a lot about her writing but it’s the fact that she was able to make this story feel so incredibly real that I enjoyed the most.


  • The overall pacing of this book was pretty slow. Especially at the beginning, I felt like a lot of it just dragged on and there were a lot of times where I was like “this really doesn’t matter can we move on please?” That doesn’t mean that the entire book was slow because it wasn’t. It was mainly the beginning, which probably makes sense because you’re figuring out stuff at the same pace as Sophie, but it was still pretty dry.
  • Sophie was pretty frustrating. Don’t get me wrong, I love her but for the majority of Vendetta she was incredibly naive which in turn made you either annoyed or frustrated by her. It was just the fact that she was so unbelievably blind when it came to everything around her until like the last third of the book and it was all because of a stupid crush on a boy. I mean ok, if you think about the fact that she’s a 17 year old girl with a crush and the fact that literally no one around her tells her ANYTHING, she has an excuse to be naive and I can forgive her for that. But for some people it’s hard to look past that and it can be really easy not to like Sophie.
  • The romance between Sophie and Nicoli was…..I can’t call it unnecessary because of what it leads to but I can definitely call it annoying. Nic was just a bad character (please don’t call him a bad boy it’s an insult to bad boys everywhere). Next to him, Sophie doesn’t look that annoying or frustrating whatsoever. I literally wanted to punch him in the face so many times. He’s selfish, he’s shady, and he’s so self-absorbed that he doesn’t really care about the people around him. He’s so caught up in Sophie and how he feels about her that he kind of twists that around into making everything about him. There was never an instant where Nic did something to melt my heart or show that he’s a good guy, not like Luca. It’s just such a bland romance and even though it’s definitely a catalyst to the rest of Sophie’s story I just wish it never happened.


  • The end of this book makes reading it worth it. I can’t even begin to describe how important this ending is and how hungry it will make you for the second book. If not for me, do it for Luca Falcone, ok? Trust me.

BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF



Title: Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1)
Author: Catherine Doyle
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Pages: 352 (Paperback)

What did you think of the book? Leave a comment below!

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