[ARC REVIEW] “Pretty Ugly Promises” By: C.W. Farnsworth

What is Pretty Ugly Promises by C.W. Farnsworth about?

When people choose to leave, you should let them.

That’s a lesson Lyla Peterson has learned over and over again. Abandoned more than once, her focus is on ensuring her son never experiences that familiar sting, not on lingering questions from the pain-filled past.

Until the opportunity arises to seek elusive answers and Lyla seizes it, opening old wounds and revealing dangerous secrets.

He chose to leave.

She should have let him.

Rating: 4/5 Stars


This is the third C.W. Farnsworth book I’ve read this year — I was on a mini binge when I signed up to read this one — and it might be the first mafia romance I remember reading cover-to-cover. It took me awhile to get into it, and I’m not totally sure why. The book opens at a college party, which is where Lyla and Nick first meet, before jumping ahead to the present (nine years later). Although the story still works that way, I think his absence in the present time would’ve been more impactful if the book had been split more evenly in half between past and present, or even if we had seen more of their relationship develop and got to see her reaction to his leaving in “real time” in the past when she found out him and his friend Alex had just disappeared overnight. 

Even though it comes partially at the cost of Lyla’s less than ideal (and traumatic) upbringing, she’s a great mom. You can see that shine through in every decision she makes, and after being used to raising Leo all by herself, it’s understandably not easy for her to accept Nick’s help, whether that be monetarily or emotionally. The two of them have a lot of unresolved feelings that get more and more complicated due to external circumstances, both past and present, and it’s interesting to watch them navigate that. 

This definitely has the ‘you touch her and you die’ trope, but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the ‘hates everyone but her’ trope, either. Nick doesn’t seem to be super friendly with any of his men or staff, and I did kind of think that Lyla would come to befriend some of the staff at least in some way, but that never happened. Once Nick took care of one problem that was a danger to Lyla and Leo, we hear about other problems that could be a result of former plans that were in place by that person he was after, but then once things work out between Nick and Lyla, we don’t hear anything more about any real danger that resulted from certain attacks, which I thought would pop up later but never did. 

That being said, I really did like Nick and Lyla together. Despite Nick’s upbringing and, you know, being the head of the Russian mafia, when it came to Lyla and Leo, he was extremely emotionally intelligent and never brought any of those negative feelings home. Leo also has to deal with a lot of trauma that he handles surprisingly well without any therapy, but it is kind of sad to watch him start to seem to prefer Nick over Lyla. Not saying that Nick doesn’t step up and be a great dad, but it seemed like that weighed on Lyla a lot. It’s also usually Lyla who initiated all of the intimacy, which makes sense why she constantly questioned if Nick was in love with her or not. He wouldn’t turn her away by any means, but I get where that insecurity comes from. 

Overall, I think this was a decent read, but not my favorite of C.W. Farnsworth’s books (I loved “Serve” and “First Flight, Final Fall” the best), but if you’re looking for a second chance mafia romance, then I’d say to check this one out! They also kind of have an insta-love trope, but circumstances get in the way, which like I said, complicates things. I was totally down for the soulmate/love at first sight kind of thing with them though. I just wish the ending was longer, so we got to see them actually together more! As with almost all new adult/adult books (this mainly takes place in their mid-twenties), I recommend it for 18+ due to some of the sexual content — but also for some of the darker content, like kidnapping, murder, death, and mentions of torture. Huge thanks to C.W. Farnsworth and her team for providing me with an early copy to review — the book is available now, and is free to read on Kindle Unlimited! 


Reviews of C.W. Farnsworth books:

“Famous Last Words” (ARC)

“Like I Never Said” (ARC)

“Pretty Ugly Promises” (ARC)

“Serve” (review coming soon)

“First Flight, Final Fall” (review coming soon)

Playlists for C.W. Farnsworth books:

“Famous Last Words” ♪

6 thoughts on “[ARC REVIEW] “Pretty Ugly Promises” By: C.W. Farnsworth

    1. Me neither, but I thought it was pretty good! I’m not usually huge on mafia romances, but I don’t think I’ve read any with kids before. (I’m not always a huge fan of kids and coincidentally a lot of the arcs I have coming up all have single parents lol)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol. I don’t mind the kids (especially in horror) For me it just seems like the mafia reads try too hard.
        And now that you mention it.. none of my upcoming ARCs have kids either. Huh. Happy reading! 😋

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks! I think a lot of my trepidation involving kids in books (but this is mostly accidental pregnancy as a plot point, not single parents) is it’s usually used as an excuse to not really develop the romantic relationship as well because it’s sort of like oh now we have to be together

        Liked by 1 person

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