Review: The Truth (Charade #3) by Stella Gray

TitleThe Truth
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 5/25/21
Length:  250 Pages
Series: Charade #3

Overview

My family has given everything to salvage the Zoric name and reputation from my father’s tarnished legacy.

I only needed a moment to destroy it all.

Along with two hearts.

It was supposed to be a simple charade. I never thought Ford and I would fall in love.

But I can’t take back what I’ve done.

He can’t change the past.

And what we’ve done changes everything.

But only if I stop running.

Someone has to lose either way. But when the truth comes out, there might be no winner at all.

My Thoughts

As I jog my memory to think back to where we ended book two, i’m quickly reminded that we once again found ourselves on the downward spiral of Emzee and Ford’s relationship. They were happy until Claudia shared some information that Ford never wanted her to know – the truth behind what happened in high school at his own hands.

Claudia reveals that all the rumors that Emzee suffered from, those rumors to which she thought that Ford rescued her from, where actually started BECAUSE of him. So the onset of book three, we are taken to the past where we see what happened to prompt that. We learn that Ford overheard his parents fighting and learned that it was because of the illegal business that Em’s dad ran, and Ford felt that his parents were going to split up because of it, resulting in his life being ruined. So he took it out on her.

From this point on in the story, we watch how things go from bad to worse. We learned that Emzee was pregnant in book two, and she still hasn’t shared that information with anyone. She starts the divorce process to get out of the marriage which solves many of her problems – she no longer has to stay married to a man she continues not to trust, and she’s also able to uphold her part of the bargain with the Malones where they will pay off the Russian mob if they split.

The divorce prompts a move to New York and a start of a new life. Ford’s not going to take this laying down, so we watch for the next bulk of the story how he tries to win her back – how he moves to New York, into the same building and even buys the building. He woos her every day with romantic gestures and every time it seems like they’re making progress, Em sticks to her guns and begs for the divorce.

Just when Ford makes a big breakthrough, Claudia shows up again and well we know what happens every time that happens. The end of the couple. Which makes everyone happy except for Ford and sometimes Emzee.

There’s so much going on in this story though that we can’t forget about other sub plots. There’s the Bratva and what the Zoric’s will do about them if the Malones don’t keep up their end of the bargain. There’s the notion that Tori’s pregnant and due any day, Brooklyn is pregnant and not far behind, and still no one knows that Em is pregnant.

There’s Emzee’s new job that she loves but the same job that takes her away from her charity in Chicago so we have to wonder what will come of that. and there’s Claudia – there HAS to be an ulterior motive there for her to continue to pursue Ford and interject herself at every turn, yet it’s not obvious throughout the series…yet.

So….add to all that turmoil a few Very steamy scenes partially due to intense chemistry but also due to pregnancy hormones and what we get is an insanely indulgent third and final installment to Emzee’s story. Not sure that the closure is what we expect or need, but it serves it’s purpose. So…Enjoy!

Review: Royal Cocktail by J Kenner

Title: Royal Cocktail
Author:  J Kenner
Publisher/Year:  Martini & Olive Publishing 7/12/21
Length:  143 Pages

Overview

Sparks fly between a playboy prince and an idealistic lawyer, but when the demands of the throne call, can they get a fairy tale ending? 

Prince Leopold of Avelle-am-see is destined to rule his small European country. But he doesn’t want to. His entire life, Leopold has rebelled against the inevitable, gaining a reputation in Europe as a bad boy royal with a chip on his shoulder.

Skye Porter jams on researching complex legal issues, but with her lifelong speech impairment, she’s happy to pass the briefs off to another lawyer to argue. Just the idea of being in the spotlight makes her cringe. Two years ago, she dodged a bullet when her intense college fling with charismatic Leo ended when the bastard ghosted her. At the time, she’d had no idea he was a prince, or she never would have fallen so hard.

Now Leo is back, and the chemistry between them sparks just as hot. With his promise of secrecy, Skye surrenders to one more wild night. But when the press finds them together, Skye is tossed into a nightmare of tabloid photos, graphic memes, and a life in the public eye. 

Can a reluctant royal and the girl next door find their happily ever after?

My Thoughts

I always love a story that ties back to another one that I read ages ago, and surprisingly, I do even remember a bit about those story lines even though it’s been a minute. We spent quite some time at The Fix in the Man of the Month series, so we’re back at the bar, but not for the same reasons. No more saving of the bar is needed, and instead, it’s just a back drop for where 2 people meet, and fall in love, and then realize that things are far more complicated than they seem.

We start this story two years in the past when Leo is in the US studying Physics which is something that he’s passionate about, and something that his father the King allows of him if he 1) keeps a low profile, 2) uses it as a means to further his home land and 3) realizes that this is a reprieve before he’s to take the throne in a few years. Leo is the rougish bad boy royal that we expect, but there’s more to him than meets the eye.

Skye has her own dark story. She’s a law student in the beginning of this story – and we know that her struggles in life are due to a car accident that she was in when she was little, the accident killed her mother and left her with a brain injury that impairs her speech. It’s something that she’s struggled with and learned to live with but also something that makes her uncomfortable.

When she meets Leo, it’s lust at first sight for sure, but he also doesn’t seem affected at all by her speech and it’s because he quickly informs her that he has an uncle who suffered from the same impairment and it was something that they lived with and moved on from.

We watch these two fall in love, even though Leo knows that he can never be with her. SKye isn’t a citizen of his country and that’s all that he’s allowed to marry. In fact, he hides his identity entirely and we know from experience in reading stories – when you aren’t the one to reveal who you are, it blows up in your face.

Which happens – the night after they first sleep together. Leo leaves with no note or explanation, and Skye is left brokenhearted. She only learns after the fact that he’s a prince and that he had to go home because his father suffered a heart attack, but when he also doesn’t reach out to her after the fact, things go from bad to worse.

We then fast forward two years later – when Skye is established in her family’s firm and she’s thriving, doing what she’s able and comfortable doing. She wrote an international legal paper for a law review to graduate and that same content comes back to haunt her when it brings a person from her past back to Austin for her help.

The story from here is one where we see forgiveness, yet we see tentativeness. They both don’t know where to go from the first words now since there’s so much anger and hatred, love is a hard thing to overcome. All Skye wanted was the truth and a genuine apology and it’s a shock to see that she gets it.

While Leo being back is one obstacle in Skye’s life – we also watch as her father forces her to present her international review at a symposium since it’s content that can grow the firm and it’s an opportunity to push Skye to be more than she think she can, and Skye’s terrified. She hates the idea of speaking in public and that means that she’s hit two times with painful challenges.

The balance of the story is watching how both story lines play out as well as watching how things at home need to evolve for Leo. He has an older sister who’s capable of leading their country, who wants to lead, but yet she’s a woman so she’ can’t. That’s part of what brought Leo back to the US to talk to Skye, but we also watch how things aren’t that easy.

The ending of this story is a bit of a surprise – we don’t expect revelations to come from various places, but what we get is an ending suited for the beginning of this story. I feel like there could be even more of a link and tie into the Man of the Month series, but I get why it’s a standalone. So on that note, enjoy this short story – and now i’m on to the next. Enjoy!

Review: Peasants and Kings by Emma Slate

TitlePeasants and Kings
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 10/2/20
Length:  348 Pages

Overview

My entire life has been a lie.

And then I meet a mysterious, powerful billionaire who makes me an offer I can’t refuse.

My body comes alive under his sensuous touch.

But Hadrian Rhys is a man with a dark past and a broken soul.

I never expected him to fall in love with me.

Now my secrets are coming back to destroy us.

Bloodlines, alliances, and murderous restitution lie buried deep within my past.

My name is Sterling Miller.

You won’t believe who I am.

My Thoughts

I’m glad that I read SINS before this although i’m not entirely sure that it’s a mandate. What we do get is a reference to the Dallas Rex where this story revolves for a bit, and that’s a place where Ramsey Buchanan has spent some time. We also get a reference or comparison of our main leading lady to Barrett Campbell which is quite a compliment even if it’s not wanted. So, all that being said, we know that this is going to be a good story right?

We are circling around The White Company here -and if you recall, we know that they are a powerful Italian Mafia like family, one that is able to get things done under little observation. Barrett and Sasha went to them in the last installment of the SINS / Ember series to get Quinn back, and Barrett being Barrett, she was able to get their agreement and their respect all in the same moment.

To back up, our leading lady – Sterling doesn’t know much of her past, but she quickly comes up to speed on it when she learns that her estranged mother has committed suicide and has left information for her. A letter and $20k to stay hidden. Sterling learns that her family is The White Company and that her mother ran away from them when they tried to marry her off, she married someone else and they killed her husband. The family didn’t know that her mother was pregnant, so Sterling really needed to hide her identity. She has traits of the family that would give her away and that means that she has to go underground.

When she’s out of money and time, and her name and face are going viral because of a good deed that she’s done, she runs to her only friend, Tiffany who works at The Rex and can help her. You remember from the previous series that the Rex has several components to the business. A Burlesque club, high end businessmen traveling through, and even a brothel. Well….we quickly learn that Tiffany’s job as a concierge at The Rex really means that she works in the brothel, but it’s high end and gives her access to all sorts of things that you can only dream of. By bringing Sterling into the Rex, she’s able to secure a new identity and a means to provide for herself to be safe. Her ‘family’ can’t hunt her down if they don’t know how to find her.

That’s only the start of things to come. On the day of her interview, she meets a Scottish man who has a pull on her – yet she doesn’t act. It’s only at her first event for the Rex that she sees him again, and spends the night with him that her world changes.

What’s meant to be one night of passion turns into something deeper. for both of them. This man, Hadrian is a Scottish power of his own, rivaling that of Flynn and the others that we met in previous books. He has connections that are on par with the others, and he’s got the attraction and sexual prowess to make you all swoon.

He’s a protector and that’s what Sterling needs. She shares her past and who she is and he gives her insight into his past as well and they bond over it. It comes in handy when Hadrian has done work for The White Company in the past and knows the family ‘well’. He tries to do right by Sterling to get the past erased, but it all goes to shit when they take him out and kidnap her to marry her off in retribution and to save the family reputaiton from the sins of her mother.

We watch the insanity unfold and the archaic nature of these criminal families take form. While in the other series we’ve watched the person who’s been kidnapped find some redeeming quality of their captor, that’s not the case when the man that Sterling is now being forced to marry physically harms her and puts her in harms way for the livelihood of her future.

Blood oaths are sworn, deaths happen and future deals are made that make everyone miserable. To be honest, this story had the potential to be a great series but this seems like a standalone that offers up notions of what other spin offs could be. It’s a great story nonetheless and i’m really glad that I was able to lounge by the pool today to read it. Enjoy!

Review: Ashes (Ember #3, SINS #7) by Emma Slate

Title: Ashes
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  190 Pages
Series: Sins #7 / Ember #3

Overview

I’m safe in the arms of the man I love.

We have a chance at a future together, but first we have to survive.

Another man has come between us, and his memory lingers in our bed.

Our enemy wants only one thing…

To see the love of my life die.

But now I’m a queen amongst warriors.

Blood for blood.

My life for his.

Fairy tales are for little girls.

My Thoughts

Well, my concerns were availed and relieved in the second installment where we spend our time with Quinn and Sasha together trying to find safety and delve into this third installment where their world is blown up yet again. Mind you we knew that it was going to happen, but the fact that they are still a ‘we’ is something commendable. They’ve some how figured out how to get past the trauma and drama of their relationships and some how have come out the other end with something stronger. that’s good cause we know they’re going to be tested over and over and over again.

throughout this third installment, we watch several things unfold. Helena, Quinn and Ori’s daughter is born, and they hide her from Ori, who some how survives a beat down by Sasha, and is in jail, until he’s not. That’s when the story goes awry. He’s taken control of Quinn’s company and he’s trying to draw her out, along with sasha. He also has learned some interesting information that brings another target into the mix – Barrett. How he learned this we never find out but what we do know is that his grandfather has uncovered the true murderer of Igor and that add complications.

Quinn spends much of this third book reminding us that she’s not just pretty – she may not be Barrett but she’s strong, tough, resilient etc. She’s able to do more than people give her credit for and she uses the realtionships that her father cultivated to get what she needs.

She’s a badass.

She devises a plan with the help of the Chinese mafia to take something that kills her…but does it kill her?

She sets a trap for Ori in thehopes of capturing him so that they can be free. does it work?

She plats and plans with her extended family to find loopholes and gaps in things, even when she’s mourning her brother’s death (yup…another one bites the dust).

So there’s so much more to Quinn than meets the eye, and it’s enjoyable to watch how that unfolds in this third book. We see Barrett and Flynn find a new evolution of things, we watch Brandon Kilmartin come to terms with reality and perhaps have a spark of his own elsewhere. We watch relationships with the FBI evolve and perhaps scare us a bit to see how they can work int he future under a new relationship….

So while this is the end of Ember, and perhaps the end of the SINS series as well, there’s a new series that takes us to the Rex Dallas and we know that Ramsey went there, so this is DEFINITELY not the end of the characters and story that we love. I’m intrigued and i’ve purchased the next one to dive in tomorrow (or more likely later tonight). Enjoy!

Review: Burn (SINS #6 / Ember #2) by Emma Slate

Title: Burn
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  178 Pages
Series: Sins #6 / Ember #2

Overview

I believed his seductive lies.

I believed his golden promises.

Now I’m in his clutches, and the more I struggle, the tighter his grip becomes.

But if you squeeze too tight, the thing you’re trying to hold onto might just slip through your fingers…

I will never belong to him.

Sasha Petrovich lives in my dreams and calls to me in my sleep.

Our love rages like wildfire, and when we are together again, we will burn it all to ashes.

My Thoughts

I was really bummed when the first book of this spin off wasn’t really about Sasha at all, and that this fast forward into the future left us wondering what that would mean for Quinn. She was in a dark place for most of the story – trying to wallow in her misery and refuse to come up for air. What happens though as that installment progressed and ended, she was happier. Quinn took over her father’s company and was hitting her stride. She was back with her friends and she had a new potential love interest – Ori Abruzzo. (I knew who hew was the minute the name Ori came out of his mouth but….she does not know who he is).

she we ended on a cliff hanger – car accident, and now she has amnesia. She remembers nothing, and Ori takes the opportunity to tell her that they’re engaged. From there, this story gets more and more complex.

Quinn has a niggling feeling that all is not what it seems with Ori and it’s good that she holds onto that. She gets flashes from her memories of Sahsa (although she doesn’t know that it’s him) and a few other things, but she correlates all her memories to sadness so she opts not to unlock her past. What’s interesting here though is that Ori spins a nice tale about how she’s not supposed to talk to other people and unlock her phone etc etc because too much memory at once will be bad for her mental health. Controlling much?

The side story to this ACTUALLY includes Sasha. He’s returned to New York and goes straight to Barrett and Flynn. He never stopped loving Quinn he just didn’t love himself and he used the year or so to recover, get reconstructive surgery and train to be stronger and harder. It’s going to prove useful when he learns where Quinn is and with whom.

The story from here is watching as Sasha goes after Quinn, trying to get back in touch with her but always being one step behind. We also find ourselves watching Quinn continue in a relationship that doesn’t feel 100% right but at times feels pretty close to right. She goes with him to Italy even and they plan to get married.

What happens in Italy, well you can only imagine that quite a bit will happen when you’re in the homeland of the leaders of the Italian mafia….no?

yup..

we’re left at a cliffhanger where Ori knows that Sasha’s alive and hunting Quinn….realizing that Ori used Quinn as a means to draw Sasha out since he’s still bitter that Sasha ‘killed’ his best friend Igor. Quinn is forced into a marriage that she knows that she doesn’t want….and yet, we’re left at the end with a nod to her memory….does she have it back and what does that really mean for her and Ori and her and Sasha.

I’m heading off on vacation and happily downloaded the next book in the series so I can see how this story nets out. It’s intense and insane, but different than many of the other installments, there’s really not as much of the sexy-times as the others. not a bad thing mind you given that this story is NUTS, but i’m sure we’ll pick that back up soon. Enjoy!

Review: Ember (SINS #5) by Emma Slate

Title:Ember
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  178 Pages
Series: Sins #5

Overview

My life was an enchanted dream.

Opulent parties. Designer clothing. Charming men.

But when my father dies, my glittering world implodes.

I am weak. Naked. Vulnerable.

My life has become a nightmare.

I am alone.

Until him.

My savior.

Or is he…

My Thoughts

I’ll be honest, when I read that this story was Quinn and Sasha’s story – I was expecting it to be about them as a couple, not about them 2 years in the future and apart. When we left the first bit of the series, we knew that Sasha had been burned beyond recognition and that he had wanted Barrett to end his misery to which Flynn intervened. Just when we had hope that there was something positive in their future, it all implodes.

After Sasha left Quinn alone in New York, leaving pretty much everyone, Quinn runs back to Boston to go back to her family and friends. It wasn’t enough that Sasha broke her heart, but then her father falls ill and we start this fifth installment at his wake. Quinn is alone – she’s got no family left and she’s still reeling from the heartbreak from a year ago. Even then, we also learn that she was pregnant and lost that baby, so pretty much everything in her life was going downhill.

When things seem like they won’t get better ever, she meets Ori – a name that’s familiar from Igor’s story, yet we don’t know how things will tie together. Ori finds himself intrigued by Quinn and she’s really not open to a relationship at this point given that she’s really not in a good place. When she falls incredibly ill and he takes care of her, we see the ice thaw and there’s hope on the horizon for a happy ending.

For a reader, there’s so much frustration happening because he continues to hint that he was close with Igor and that Igor’s best friend is the one who killed him, and of course he knows that Sasha was Igor’s best friend – the one who killed him (supposedly since it was actually Barrett if you remember), so i’m curious how this is all going to come full circle and what will happen when that does happen.

So, things are a roller coaster of emotions, and we don’t quite know which way this story is going to go. Where we end up in the last few pages is a car crash and amnesia and a reveal that doesn’t quite sit well with me, and i’m sure we’ll see what that means in Burn. So…i’m happy that i’ve got a commute to work once again tomorrow (yay back to the office) so that I can read the next book on the train. Enjoy!

Review: Dawn of an Empire (SINS #4) by Emma Slate

Title: Dawn of an Empire
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  158 Pages
Series: Sins #4

Overview

How does a man become a villain?

Igor Dolinsky knows violence.

It’s his past, present, and future.

His destiny.

When he meets Maryruth, a fearless, beautiful woman who puts him in his place, Igor dares to hope for something different.

Determined to leave the world he was born into, he wants nothing more than to marry the girl and live happily ever after.

But empires are built on bloodlines.

When you’re heir to the Russian mob, walking away isn’t an option.

But Igor is a lion.

They have no idea what they’ve just done…

My Thoughts

I love a good side novella and this one really gave us some color and context that we never got from the big series. We are focused on Igor Dolinsky – the head of the Russian Mafia and how he kidnaps Barrett and some how manages to make her develop some weird emotions towards him. Its through Igor that we met Sasha as well and we see what their relationship was as well.

There’s so much more to Igor than we got from the first book, and the story that made the man into who he became was one that makes you wish that things were different. We knew that he played the viola and in this novella we get the story how it was passed down from his great great grandfather and how on his mother’s deathbed, he played for her and it was their bond. There are strong memories that are brought up each time he plays and that shows us that how he felt towards Barrett was real and not based on revenge.

Throughout this story, we see that Igor was put into a position that he wasn’t happy about and that he actually wanted to change the way things were done. He had more support than his farther who ran the mafia, and he had a vision on how to make things better. He was more sensitive than hard, yet he knew how to play that game. When his father pushed him against walls, he found ways to push back.

It took falling in love with a woman who wasn’t available to make change really take shape. He no longer accepted the arranged marriage put in front of him and he no longer accepted that he could wait until the right moment to over throw his father. He needed to take a stand at that moment.

His father has eyes everywhere and sought out ways to hurt and embarrass Igor.

His father has more power than Igor gave him credit for, and used those who Igor felt were allies to hurt him and bring him to his knees.

His father therefore underestimated the end result, and that’s where our story leaves us.

The side bit about Sahsa though – is that we learn that he and Igor knew each other from a young age and truly were the best of friends. We saw how in the first installments, Sasha had Igors back until he couldn’t support Barrett’s treatment and then helped Barrett overthrow him. So there’s definitely redeeming qualities that stemmed from even before Barrett and i’m excited to see his story take shape in Ember – the next novella installment. Enjoy!

Review: 44 Chapters About 4 Men (Origin of Netflix’s Sex/Life) by BB Easton

Title: 44 Chapters About 4 Men
Author:  BB Easton
Publisher/Year:  Grand Central Publishing 6/21/21
Length:  336 Pages

Overview

One woman’s secret journal completely changes her marriage in this hilarious and biting memoir—the inspiration for the Netflix Original Series.
 
School psychologists aren’t supposed to write books about sex. Doing so would be considered “unethical” and “a fireable offense.” Lucky for you, ethics was never my strong suit.
 
Sex/Life: 44 Chapters About 4 Men is a laugh-out-loud funny and brutally honest look at female sexuality, as told through the razor-sharp lens of domesticated bad girl BB Easton. No one and nothing is off limits as BB revisits the ex-boyfriends—a sadistic tattoo artist, a punk rock parolee, and a heavy metal bass player—that led her to finally find true love with a straight-laced, drop-dead-gorgeous . . . accountant.
 
After settling down and starting a family with her perfectly vanilla “husbot,” Ken, BB finds herself longing for the reckless passion she had in her youth. She begins to write about these escapades in a secret journal, just for fun, but when Ken starts to act out the words on the pages, BB realizes that she might have stumbled upon the holy grail of behavior modification techniques.
 
The psychological dance that ensues is nothing short of hilarious as BB wields her journal like a blowtorch, trying to light a fire under her cold, distant partner. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but in the end, BB learns that the man she was trying so hard to change was perfect for her all along.

My Thoughts’

Let’s start by saying I watched Sex/Life first, and then felt the need to read the book. Perhaps it was a mistake.

Let me share a quick trailer because I think it’s warranted – however I will put a WARNING! There may be some content that may not be appropriate for younger readers!!!

Anyhow – i’ll focus on the book since this is a review about the book, and keep my Netflix thoughts to myself. What we have in this book is a personal memoire of sorts – BB is sharing her life through a series of stories from her past and relating them to her present.

The premise of this story is that BB is a bit deflated with how her life has turned out in it’s safety now that she’s a married mother of two. She feels as though she’s changed the person that she’s always been to fit into the safe mold since she never found success in love with the rebels. Throughout this story, we see how BB journals her experiences, realizes that her husband has read the journal and tries an experiment that takes her both down memory lane and also trains her husband to be the man that she needs.

In doing this, she drafts a super secret journal that recaps some spicy tales from her past. In this journal, we are taken through her experiences with Knight (high school), Harley (also high school), Hans (college) and Ken (marriage). The first 3 men bring out her wild child rebel side and that’s what she needs to thrive and survive in life, yet it breaks her beyond repair. That’s when Ken comes into the mix and he’s an accountant and safe and that’s where her life goes.

So throughout the 44 chapters, we watch BB fall in love over and over again with men that aren’t right for her yet she makes excuses for why they make sense. They need her more than she needs them, they bring her a connection that she’s been craving, or she just likes the sex. Then she finds Ken, who she’s not necessarily drawn to at first but has a moment of clarity at a party that makes things change. OR so she thinks at the time , but is quickly lulled into boredom.

Ken has the house, the finances and the drive to be the man with stability, but what he doesn’t have is the emotion and sex drive that BB needs. We learn the reason behind the latter but never the former, yet we spend the bulk of the story watching BB try to change and evolve Ken into the man that she needs.

I wonder if I would have liked this story more if I had seen it without watching the series first. I had these high expectations of a story line that really pulled through the entirety of the book, with drama and angst, and yet the moments of drama that we get in the book are surface level. They aren’t angst ridden, life changing or soul breaking by any means, yet that’s where the Netflix series takes us.

I wanted to enjoy this book more – I wanted to root for Ken and BB to be what they could be, yet the peaks and valleys in comparison to the series weren’t quite there and it was just one of these stories that you want to see smooth out and happy and assume that it’ll get there. If you’re going to choose to engage in both the show and the book – read the book first and then watch the show. That way you get the origin at face value and then can make your own opinions. Enjoy!

Review: Rise of a Dynasty (SINS #3) by Emma Slate

Title: Rise of a Dynasty
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  280 Pages
Series: Sins #3

Overview

I can’t believe we’re alive.

After what we’ve just been through, I love him more than anything.

But when I discover Flynn has been keeping a secret, it exposes the cracks in our marriage.

I thought our bond was unbreakable.

To survive what’s coming, we’ll have to face the sins of our past together.

I’ll do anything for Flynn…

Even if it means making a deal with the devil.

My Thoughts

The first two installments were really allowing us to find our footing with this story, with our characters, and in this third book, we have utter chaos and insanity. There’s really no moment for relaxation or reprieve…instead there are attacks constantly and at every angle, with the hopes of ripping relationships and families apart. Will whomever is behind it succeed? I think they just might.

We start off this story with Flynn and Barrett on their long awaited honeymoon. They’re taking time away to spend it alone, without kids in the hope to find what their relationship was based on – the romance and attraction and companionship between them. They’re able to succeed until they’re not.

Throughout this story we watch deaths amass, alliances form amongst differing mafia organizations, and the hunt for who’s truly behind it all. We watch as Flynn and Barrett and everyone celebrate the opening of the Rex in Vegas, just to have it thrown in their face when a scandal tears their family apart.

Someone’s out to pin Flynn for cheating on Barrett, and when we learn that woman is pregnant, we know that not only can it not be Flynn, we realize that it was Duncan…or was it? Duncan and Ash are in a good place at the onset of this story, but that dalliance throws them into a tailspin and we see that their relationship is doomed.

Add to that, Sasha is now dating a woman named Quinn who has ties somewhat to Flynn’s family, and yet, there’s so much distrust between them. She’s worried that Barrett will go after Sasha since it’s clear that Sasha is still in love with her, and we watch that relationship struggle to find it’s footing.

Several of our favorites are kidnapped and several characters end up dead. Like I noted before, we find ourselves aligned with the most powerful drug kings in Argentina, we are in debt to the White Company all of a sudden and we find out that the person behind the mass of killings isn’t someone we suspected and the person who’s after Flynn is someone that we should have expected.

There’s the constant question of trust and loyalty, the worry that there will always be someone to watch out for over their shoulder and the notion that there’s never going to be a moment of calm in their lives. is that what they want and is that something they can survive? The only way to find out is to read through this story, through the epilogue and see if the next book takes us to a place that makes things any more clear. Enjoy!

Blog Tour: Mix Tape by Brittany Cherry

Author Brittainy Cherry Writes Her Own Mixtape

Hi, Everyone! I’m Brittainy Cherry, author of The Mixtape, a contemporary romance novel. I am so excited to share Oliver and Emery’s story with you all. These two characters are both struggling through life in their own ways, and it is through music and love that they find their way back to themselves and each other. 

The Mixtape could’ve never come together without my own mixtape of sorts to help guide the way to this novel. Music not only plays a huge role in the story, but also in my personal life, so of course I had to whip up my own mixtape as I wrote this story. For example, my playlist began with “Godspeed” by the extremely talented James Blake that set the mood of the story. His tones and lyrics wrapped me up into a warm hug and I allowed the song to move me as I crafted Oliver’s character. 

Then, we moved into “Soldiers” by Rachel Platten which is a powerful song about taking moments to breathe in order to move forward for another day, like soldiers in the night. It’s a song that showcases the strength of our heroine, Emery, who is a single mother, trying her best to create a better life for her young daughter. 

I had the best time tying in songs like “Slow Dance” by AJ Mitchell (feat. Ava Max) to show the slow burn between Emery and Oliver falling together, followed by their first kiss being written to the song, “Can I Kiss You?” by Dahl. 

The whole story was wrapped up with a classic, “Could It Be I’m Falling In Love” by the Spinners, which sums up what I hope you experience reading this novel: a mixtape of emotions which lead to you falling in love with the love story of Emery and Oliver. I hope this novel heals you the same way music soothes my soul. 

The Mixtape Excerpt

Sometimes the world didn’t make sense. No parent should’ve ever had to bury their own child. I couldn’t even imagine that kind of pain that raced through her heartbeats on a daily basis. If I could offer up only one set of prayers for the remainder of my life, it would be for the parents who had to say goodbye too early on to their own. 

Those hearts would always beat a little slower in my mind. 

“I’m so sorry, Michelle.” 

“Thank you, sweetheart.” She reached out and patted my hand, and I knew it was because she needed a hand to hold. So, I wrapped both of mine around hers. “The mourning doesn’t get easier. It just get quieter. Some days, I still cannot get out of bed, but I’m blessed. Because Richard stays in bed with me and my quietness. Then, when it’s time for me to get up, he pulls me to my feet, and we dance. A piece of advice—find yourself a man who would dance with you even when your heart is broken.” Her eyes flashed with tears and she held my hands tighter. “You want to know a secret?” 

“Yes.” 

“I thought I was going to lose Oliver, too. He kept everyone so far away. So, when I flew out here, I prepared myself for the worst. I thought he’d be in a drunken slumber or, worse…so much worse. Last time I came a few weeks ago, he wasn’t doing too well. But this time? This time I came back and he’s smiling.” 

“That’s so good.” 

She smiled brightly up at me as tears freely danced down her cheekbones. “So thank you.” 

“I didn’t do anything,” I swore. 

“You’re the only difference in his life since I came back. Plus, there’s the way he looks at you when you’re not looking. Now, sweetheart, I don’t know what you did, but I’m almost positive that you helped bring my son back to life after he was holding death’s hand. Call it my mother’s intuition. So, thank you for helping him. Even if it’s just by being his friend.” 

Now I was tearing up, and I pulled her into a tight hug. “You’re an amazing mother,” I whispered, and she began to cry harder. 

“You have no clue how hard it is to believe that each day.” 

I think all mothers thought that. The ones who doubted her mothering skills, were sometimes the ones who were trying their best day in and day out. I didn’t expect the conversation with Michelle to go the direction that it had, but I was glad it had taken that path, because it was clear we both had some healing corners of our heart that had to be touched that evening. 

“Oh, don’t tell me you two are wine drunk and emotion,” Richard cut in, walking in our direction. “We were just picking out a song for two seconds and we turn around to find you both moping.” 

“Oh hush, Richard. Can’t us girls have a moment every now and again?” Michelle remarked, standing to her feet. 

“Yes, but for now, we dance to The Spinners, my lady.” Richard reached out for his wife and took her into his arms as they began swaying to the song, Could It Be I’m Falling In Love. Richard serenaded Michelle as she smiled and melted into him like a perfectly fit puzzle piece. 

Oliver came to stand beside me as we both watched his parents fall more and more in love with one another. 

“This was their wedding song,” Oliver mentioned. “Dad recorded it, and they danced to it for their first dance.” 

“Oh my gosh, how sweet is that,” I swooned. True romance. 

“They dance to it every single night. On the good days and bad days. Especially on the bad days.” 

“They’re what I want my love to look like,” I confessed. Oliver gave me a tight smile but didn’t say anything. I shifted around for a minute before looking toward him once more. “Do you want to dance with me?”

***

About the Book

Title: The Mixtape

Author: Brittainy Cherry

Release Date: July 1, 2021

Publisher: Montlake

Summary

Emery has never felt more alone. Raising her daughter is both her pleasure and her pain as she struggles to hold on to her job as a bartender and keep a roof over their heads. With no one to help them—no support system—any unexpected expense or late bill could turn their whole world upside down.

Reeling from the death of his twin brother and bandmate, rock star Oliver Smith is trying to drink his problems away. Apparently he isn’t very good at it; they follow him wherever he goes. Also in hot pursuit are the paparazzi, who catch Oliver at his lowest low.

He could have walked into any bar in California, but he walked into hers. Emery helps Oliver lose the crowd, and they find themselves alone: two people whose paths are marked with loss and pain. However, they hold an unshakable hope for healing. They find solace together, but can their love withstand the world?

About the Author

Brittainy Cherry has been in love with words since she took her first breath. She graduated from Carroll University with a bachelor’s degree in theater arts and a minor in creative writing. She loves to take part in writing screenplays, acting, and dancing—poorly, of course. Coffee, chai tea, and wine are three things that she thinks every person should partake in. Cherry lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her family. When she’s not running a million errands and crafting stories, she’s probably playing with her adorable pets.

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