Playing with Fire

Renee Graziano
Playing with Fire
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Release Date
April 2014
Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Reign Grazi is no stranger to dangerous men. Her whole life, they've been there. Grandfathers, uncles, cousins…she knows the difference between people who made the rules and those who broke them. But she has no idea why someone might want her dead.

Nick Fattelli is handsome, sophisticated, and…an assassin. He doesn't know who hired him to take out Reign, but after they meet and sparks fly, he vows to protect her. Unless it's really him they are after…

Book Review by Delta (reviewer)
Jul 04, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
109 people found the following review helpful
PLAYING WITH FIRE is the debut novel by VH1's Mob Wives star Renee Graziano and gives the reader an inside look at what it's like to be a mob princess with a price on her head.

Fashion designer Reign Grazi knows dangerous men; she's been around them her entire life. And when she meets elegant yet understated Nick Fattelli, she spots his edge of danger immediately, and she isn't interested in resisting him. Nick definitely wants to get close to Reign, but not just because he wants her in bed. He has no clue who hired him to kill her, but she doesn't seem like the kind of woman someone wants dead, even if she is part of an organized crime family.

Nick wants to know who wants Reign dead and why. He also wants to know why he's so intrigued by this particular woman. Reign knows she should go for someone safe, someone like her former lover Sal who adores her. But she can't quite stay away from her bad boy hit man Nicky. As she and Nick get to know one another, they both find themselves falling harder for each other, even though they know they're not good for one another. Can Nick keep Reign alive long enough to figure out who wants her dead?

PLAYING WITH FIRE is the debut novel by Renee Graziano, star of the VH1 reality show Mob Wives. I will admit that I had a really difficult time putting aside my opinion of Ms. Graziano's TV character and reviewing this book solely on its merit. PLAYING WITH FIRE almost looked semi-autobiographical, with the similar names and cast of characters in both the book and her real life, further blurring the lines between fiction and reality. Regardless, there were things about this story that I liked and things that were cringe-worthy for me. The sometimes cheesy ("He represented danger, and she had the golden ticket for that ride.") and sometimes sleazy writing just had me rolling my eyes. Additionally, there were random sentences thrown in that gave me whiplash on occasion, trying to figure out what direction Ms. Graziano was going to go.

That said, I did like the suspense of wondering who wanted Reign dead and why. The information unfolds slowly yet methodically, keeping the suspense up throughout the story. Ms. Graziano hit her stride midway through this book and I wound up somewhat enjoying the story as it unfolded. While I didn't really enjoy Reign's snotty attitude or lack of enthusiasm and thought she went about her day mainlining Prozac, Nick was better written and had a decent amount of depth to him. Their chemistry in the bedroom was lukewarm, but as a crime-fighting duo, they have potential.

Overall, PLAYING WITH FIRE wasn't a horrible read for me, and I think that with a little more developmental bitch slaps and a little less on-page arrogance, Ms. Graziano could have a decent future ahead of her as an author.
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