Review: Tell Me To Go (Tell Me #2) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTell Me To Go
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 09/03/19
Length:  166 Pages
Series: Tell Me #2

Overview

His offer: 365 days and nights = $1 million
My addendum: I’m not doing that
His promise: Before the year is up, you’ll beg for it

My days of lying and stealing are over, but then Nicholas Crawford makes me an offer I can’t refuse. Spend a year pretending to be his significant other in exchange for $1 million dollars. 

I tried to put that part of my life, and those hard-won skills, behind me. But I need the money. He needs a partner.

I told him that I’d never sleep with him. He promised me that I would end up begging for it. Now, I want him more than ever.

Especially when I run my fingers over his chiseled body and he teases me with his tongue.

Especially when he puts his hands on the small of my back and kisses me.

I want him so much I am going to scream. I want him so much…I might even beg.

My Thoughts

In this second installment we get to the crux of what this story is about and we learn far more than we bargained for. At first I thought that Nicholas just wanted Olive for a plaything since that’s typically what these stories turn out to be in the genre, but instead, there’s so much more. Nicholas is involved in some sort of scam situation, where he steals things back from people who lost them and replaces the stolen goods with replicas. Interesting right? So he needs Olive’s help to run these cons.

It’s one con that turns our wrong because of a few hiccups. They’re aiming for a mark at a party when Sydney, Olive’s roommate and James, Nicholas’s friend and the man Syd is dating show up there as well. So they have to call the con off and change direction. Challenge here is that Olive has no idea what the true con is and gets upset, and then takes it upon herself to carry out the part that she knew without Nicholas’ help. She’s successful, but someone involved ends up dead. (we learn about this later)

Interestingly enough though, there’s a subplot here that we slowly start to learn in the latter part of this story. We know that Olive has an older brother Owen who’s in jail. They’ve grown closer while he’s been away and we see that the bond is something that’s fragile now. He calls her and tells her that he’s up for parole and needs her to come and testify for him, so she gets into a fight with Nicholas to go and help him out. During that same call, she accidentally reveals too much information to Owen about Nicholas and it turns out they know each other well – they ran in the same criminal circles and there’s animosity there. Olive’s being warned off, and yet she’s not sure who to believe.

Fast forward to the time post the parole hearing when Olive and Nicholas are back at her apartment and an assassin comes after her. We learn that there’s far more to this story than we ever could have imagined and now i’m curious to see where it nets out. Owen knows more than he says, Olive now knows more about Owen’s past that he never revealed, and Nicholas is still not being open with Olive about who he is and what he does.

Add to that sexual chemistry that’s off the chart, and yet not consummated, which means that we have a fire that’s about to explode and I can’t wait to see if it happens in book three. Enjoy!

Review: Tell Me To Stop (Tell Me #1) by Charlotte Byrd

TitleTell Me To Stop
Author:  Charlotte Byrd
Publisher/Year:  Byrd Books 08/06/19
Length:  165 Pages
Series: Tell Me #1

Overview

I owe him a debt. The kind money can’t repay.

He wants something else: me, for one year.

But I don’t even know who he is…

365 days and nights doing everything he wants…except that.

“I’m not going to sleep with you,” I say categorically.

He laughs.

“I’m going to make you a promise,” his eyes challenge mine. “Before our time is up, you’ll beg me for it.”

My Thoughts

This is a light and sweet novella that is a launching pad I think to a bigger series. We find ourselves in Boston, with two friends that are in interesting circumstances. They’ve got very different backgrounds which puts them in different financial positions, yet they are great friends. Olive is our main character, and she’s trying to make a new life for herself. she grew up in less than ideal circumstances, a father that’s gone, a brother that’s passed and another that’s in jail. Her mother has chronic pain and has bad addiction habits that keeps her on the wrong side of things. We also see that the mother daughter relationship here is not one with anything good to save.

Olive’s taken student loans to get the education that she craves so that she’s able to move herself far from where she’s from, and will have to pay those for the rest of her life basically. It all changes when one day she receives a check for the exact amount of money that she owes and her life’s trajectory will change. She doesn’t know who the money is from and what strings are attached but what she does know is that she has to take a chance and make a leap.

She deposits the money, accepts an invitation to go to Hawaii to meet the person who’s funded her, and from then on, the story takes a few interesting twists.

What we learn of NC really makes us wonder what’s going on in the world. We learn his story and his motivation to help her out and yet we aren’t sure exactly what he has in mind for her long term. He wants Olive to be with him for a year, but at what capacity and for what reason we’re still unsure.

Olive doesn’t trust and so she goes home only to be tricked by her mother. Her mom owes a lot of money to a bookie and pulls a scam to scare Olive into settling her debt. It’s a shame that her mother doesn’t see the amazing woman that she has in a child, but it’s also not surprising. The decisions that Olive makes as a result make us as readers smile, and maybe shock us a bit because in her shoes, I don’t know that we would do the same.

What I do know is that we find Olive putting herself first for once, and what that means is that the games are about to begin. I don’t know what games, and I don’t know how exciting they will be, but I can imagine that they will be hot, and full of chemistry and passion. So on to book two I go !

Review: Wreck & Ruin (Blue Angels Motorcycle Club #1) by Emma Slate

TitleWreck & Ruin
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 12/15/19
Length:  304 Pages
Series: Blue Angels #1

Overview

My life is boring. Monotonous.

And then tall, dark, and dangerous walks into the bar where I work.

Before I know it, I’m in his arms asking him to rescue me.

He’s Colt Weston, President of the Blue Angels MC.

Colt makes me feel alive…and wanted.

The Blue Angels embrace me as one of their own, and when a violent rival threatens to tear us apart, I learn what loyalty truly means.

Family. Sacrifice. Revenge.

There’s nothing Colt won’t do to protect me.

My Thoughts

The summary sets the scene nicely but doesn’t give us the full depth and breadth into what we’re about to start enjoying. This is a standalone story in the Blue Angels series, the first of many stories I hope, and it’s intense.

Just like we read above, we start off at Dive Bar, a place where Mia works. She’s being pestered by a customer when two incredibly handsome men walk in wearing biker leathers and looking like trouble (in the best sort of way). She rushes over to the bikers and asks one to pretend to be her boyfriend to get the other guy out of her hair. He kisses her, and their worlds change for ever. They just don’t know it yet.

Mia is innocent in a sense that she has no idea who she’s kissed and what that means. Her best friend Shelly though is fully aware of MCs and who the Blue Angels are and that she should steer clear. No problem for Mia since she’s not interested in anything right now.

In the same 24 hours, Mia finds herself in the crosshairs of another MC – the Iron Horsemen and Dev – their Prez. he’s ‘doing business’ with Richie, Mia’s boss at the bar, and corners Mia, kisses her as well to effectively stake claim and from there we know this story is going to be a ROLLER COASTER.

The ride is fast and furious because there’s something Dev wants that he thinks Richie told her about, and Mia is forced to go to the Blue Angels for protection. We all know how this story will play out. Naive innocent girl sucked into a life of danger and will it work? who knows. Will she find love? we don’t know.

But what we do know is that given that it’s in Waco, and the Blue Angels, we know that Flynn/Barrett, Ramsey and some of the others from SINS will pop up since Waco and the MC were where Ramsey spent some time post his breakup with his British girl.

This story takes us on a journey of self growth, figuring out who you are by yourself and then who you are with and to others. Mia has had a rough life with her mom passing when she was really young, and her grammie passing a few years prior. She’s never known her father (who actually makes an appearance in a very unexpected way in this story) and all of this shapes her into a woman who is independent but is forced to rely on others due to circumstances out of her control. Everything that she thought she wanted for herself has changed, and her idea of family and the future are completely pivoted.

At the same time we watch our leading man Colt pull his walls down. We learn from his sister Jonie that he’s been closed off for years, that they are also orphans of a sort and that it takes someone who sees past the the outside shell, the MC and the hard edges to make him laugh. There’s potential for Mia to do that, but we watch them fight each other.

There are bittersweet moments since we have quite a bit of death in this story as to be expected, and we wonder what the implications will be in the long run for happiness, closure and revenge. (yet another theme that we see quite a bit in Emma Slate books). Some of our favorites don’t make it through to the end, and some give us hope for future installments of the series since the stories are definitely going to be entertaining and juicy.

So on that note, dive into this one, enjoy the steamy hot scenes and the roller coaster of the underground criminal world, and wait patiently with me for book 2 to arrive in November. Enjoy!

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!