Review: Rise of the King by Bella Matthews

Rating: 3/5
tropes: Friends to lovers, small town, foodie, mafia, hidden identity,
Series: Restless King
Pop: 51%
CW- On page violence

This is my first read by Bella Matthews and I have mixed feeling about the book. It was an engaging and quick read with well thought out characters. Sam and Amelia work together. I liked the chemistry between them. The balance each other out. They way they are written you truly feel the desire and worship Sam feels for Amelia. Their meeting was such classic mafia and it set the tone for the book. If Sam and Amelia were not such likeable characters this book would have gotten a lower rating from me.
My hangs up come with the elements of the story. The timeline jumps. The lack of truly define the backstory and instead implying it. The author doesn’t take us on a journey as much as they give us blurry snapshots of the action. When I read a mafia book I want action. I want tension and intrigue. I want the suspense of what will happen next. This author tried but it fell short. I appreciate an author that tells versus shows in story but I think that what the misstep comes from is that her telling was more implied like an inside joke only she knew the punchline. There is set up but the delivery was week.
I also think the pages were crowded with supporting characters that did not add to the story but were set ups for other books. It is as if the author forgot at times whose story they were writing. I do wonder if Sebastian’s book run congruent to this book because there were a lot of holes how is story is woven in and out of this book. it did not make we want to grab that book, instead it frustrated the reading experience.
I do feel like author wasn’t sure what type of book she was writing. Was it a family series, a mafia romance or a sports driven romance. It was just too many elements and diluted the story.
This was supposed to be mafia and it lacked any dark elements we expect. I am not even sure you can say mafia light, more mafia adjacent.
I am on the fence about reading this author again. Maybe their sports romances are better, I believe this was their first time writing mafia elements.

Rise Of The King (Restless Kings) by [Bella Matthews]