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Our Review

This is the second book in the Children of Vice series.
We recommend reading Children of Vice before Children of Ambition.


‘Attraction is important. But love…That comes from two people forming a bond. Knowing that one person is always in your corner. Will always stand by you. Fight with you. Love is what happens when you are fully and brazenly able to trust and depend on another person.’

We have loved this series from the moment we read JJ McAvoy’s words. A ruthless mafia romance with an intricate family bond that separates love from hate. This is Dona’s book and whilst it had a slow start we loved how it showed us snap shots of a young Donatella raised by the hard hand of Melody Callahan. Shaping her into a woman who can withstand just about anything life may throw at her.

“Everything I am, everything I’ve gone through, has been for this one moment…”

Donatella is at a cross roads in life where her place in the world feels questionable despite family as well as personal reputation. She feels somewhat lost yet sure of who she is. Family relations are changing which makes her question her place. She’s her own brand of ‘Callahan crazy’ and is as kick arse, if not more so than her siblings. A strong woman is often judged or misunderstood but her heart beats the same and feels the same as any other.

‘Show me a strong woman and I’ll show you the scars on her soul that made her so.’

‘Hurting Dona wasn’t easy, but when accomplished, it made everyone else hurt right along with her.’

We’ve had a love hate relationship with Dona since the beginning of this series which began with Ruthless People, however, Children of Ambition shows us a side of her which we had yet to experience and had us rooting for her happiness. For her to receive a love she deserved and a stillness of mind and peace to her soul. The world can truly be a vicious place for a woman, and no more so when you’re the daughter of the mafia who lives and breathes the desire for ultimate power, control and respect.

‘Today we’d wear what she wanted us to wear. Eat what she wanted us to eat. Say what she wanted us to say. Because her message was clear… In an instant, if she wanted to, she could destroy us all.’

‘I’d been warned about her. How Donatella Callahan was like a siren, her beauty so enchanting she drew men in and pulled them to the deep before they’d even realized.’

The timeline moves from past to present, delving into childhoods as well as moments that have a huge consequential impact on everyone’s future. Family relations are explored and the bare-naked truth in everyone’s hearts are shown in that unique Callahan style which we’ve come to love and crave. Loyalties are tested, surprises are uncovered and an unapologetic mystery man enters the fray with to throw the Callahan siblings into complete disarray. What a ride it turned out to be with the last 30% seeing us unable to put our kindles down. Loved this instalment and are now eagerly awaiting the next.

“I don’t want you to change. I’m not telling you to change. I’m telling you that you’re going to have to do what we all do in this family, and that is to pick a mask to wear for the world and only take it off when you’re with me.”

Note: We received an unedited ARC for review


“Show me a strong woman and I’ll show you the scars on her soul that made her so.”

Everything I’ve done, everything I will do…no remorse. The world is a vicious place for a woman. It’s even crueler to the daughter of the Ceann na Conairte—discarded, married off, left powerless…

But I am no ordinary daughter of the mafia.

Unlike every other mafia family, my mother was Melody Callahan, Bloody Mel, the Don of the Italian Mafia, and the Don didn’t raise some precious mafia princess.
Bone by bone she broke me first, so no one else could—and bone by bone, I pieced myself back together.

I am no longer just the daughter.
I am the Don.
I am Donatella Aviela Callahan, and there is only one way—my way.

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