Title: Corrupt Me
Series: Philly Corruption
Author: Jillian Quinn
Publisher: Penn Publishing
Publication Date: January 17th, 2017
Shelves: New Adult; Contemporary; Romance
Format: eBook (231 pages)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3 stars
Izzie Rinaldi has everything going for her. All she has to do is make it through her senior year of college, and then she’ll be off to law school, one step closer to assuming her position at the head of her family’s empire. After a chance encounter with the campus bad boy, Izzie can’t get him out of her head.
Luca Marchese, the smooth-talking son of the most notorious man in Philadelphia, is used to getting what he wants. He hasn’t forgotten the girl he knew as a child, and now that he has Izzie’s attention, Luca will stop at nothing to have her.
Luca’s defiance of the law turns Izzie on more than she cares to admit. She wants Luca to corrupt her in every way possible, despite his reputation as the king of one-night stands. Their attraction is undeniable, but their desire for one another isn’t enough for Izzie to overlook visits from federal agents and the potential ruin of her family.
Linked to Luca and a criminal underworld, Izzie discovers she’s more like him than she thought. But a future with Luca could mean swapping her diamond bracelets for a pair of handcuffs.
I received an ARC of Corrupt Me from the author in exchange for an honest review.
“Izzie was my first kiss all those years ago, and I hoped that, one day, she would be my last.”
Torn apart when they were children, Izzie Rinaldi has since avoided her childhood friend and first kiss Luca Marchese. But after Izzie gets herself into trouble on their college campus, Luca intervenes and defuses the situation, before asking Izzie out on a date as payment for helping her. But despite her attraction towards him, Izzie cannot get involved with Luca again, as he is the son of a Mafia boss that cut ties with the Rinaldi family years ago. Despite Izzie’s avoidance of him throughout their time at Strickland University, Luca is determined to reunite with his bella donna; the only girl he’s ever truly loved, to show her who he really is away from his family’s notorious reputation. But will the deep corruption surrounding their family’s dealings ruin their newly repaired relationship?
I was really excited to read Jill’s novel! The cover is gorgeous! And discovering that it involves the Mafia interested me, since it’s not an area of fiction I’ve read or even watched before, so I thought this novel would be a cool new change for me.
Izzie is a entertaining character. She’s strong and takes zero amounts of shit, which I love to see in young female characters because it’s so opposite to who I am. But she’s also kind and quite vulnerable considering she is expected to one day take over her grandfather’s multi-billion dollar business. She also has to put up with people using her for their own gain with the wealth and connections she has. I thought she was a realistic, strong female character – she’s bad-ass but she’s not completely cold-hearted. I also liked the balance between her having a normal college experience and having an important role at Rinaldi Holdings. It’s a fun contrast to see her as a student enjoying her last year of college, and kicking the butts of arrogant businessmen she’s forced to work with at the office.
I was slightly confused by Izzie’s feelings toward corruption, however. I feel like she’s very moral and all about doing the right thing and protecting those she cares for. Luca’s dangerous, bad boy persona is attractive to her from the beginning… But she is furious with him when she finds out about his secret illegal activity; that he actually is a bad boy! I just didn’t really understand this.
As for Luca, it actually took me a long time to warm to him. I didn’t much like his character until over half way through the novel. I didn’t like the way he treated his two closest friends like they were his lackeys. I understand that it’s to do with who he is and how much power he has having close ties to the mafia, but I thought he was such a crappy friend for a really long period of the book. His thoughts on having friendships with women also kinda disappointed me:
“Girlfriend…I did not have girlfriends. Not even friends who were girls because that would imply I couldn’t fuck them. And what guy would want a platonic relationship with a chick? Where was the fun in that?”
I just can’t understand how a young man who loves and respects his mother so much (their relationship is adorable, by the way) can think this way about women? Maybe I’m just being oversensitive about it. Though I will say that his character improved a lot as the novel progressed. He shows his sweet side a lot – with his family, on dates with Izzie – and I think it’s very cute when the bad boy has a sweet, gentle side. Of course he says and does stupid things and makes mistakes but who doesn’t? I’m just happy that he learned from his mistakes in the end.
Luca is the president of his fraternity, and has two close friends named Mark and Hunter who are also members. Hunter was an okay character, have no complaints since we didn’t learn much about him, but Mark… What was Mark’s deal? He was such a creep! Did NOT like Mark in the slightest. I’m not even sure if he was supposed to be a likeable character. Izzie also had a best friend named Silvia, who was a fun, carefree character, and I wished we saw a little more of her. I liked the scenes that had her and Izzie together.
I thought the plot of Corrupt Me started off slow, and it seemed to take a while for the novel to get into all the corruption and drama I was eagerly anticipating. The Mafia aspect was what interested me to read this novel, but I felt that it took a massive back seat until around the 70% mark. The last third of the novel was the most entertaining for me, I really enjoyed the corruption and the secrets and the backstabbing – just the whole drama of the last part of the novel was really fun to read!
It took a while for me to get into Corrupt Me, but by the end I was hooked!
Would you read this novel again? No, but I’m excited to read the rest of the series!
Who would I recommend this novel to? NA fans interested in crime/mafia stories. Readers looking for a strong female protag.