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: 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: 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!

Review: Birth of a Queen (Sins #2) by Emma Slate

Title: Birth of a Queen
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/3/21
Length:  348 Pages
Series: Sins #2

Overview

I charmed the playboy.

I married the billionaire.

I became a criminal.

Flynn Campbell is mine.

I’m his wife, and the mother of his first born son.

We’re in love.

Our world is perfect…

And then a traitor threatens everything I hold sacred.

There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to protect my family.

There isn’t any place on earth they can hide from me now.

Run, traitor.

I’m coming for you.

My Thoughts

In this second installment we get to see Barrett really take to Scottish life. She studied the history and loved all that was Scotland before she met Flynn, so now that she’s married, with a baby and living there, everything that she could want has come to her.

Until someone takes it all away.

We remember from the first book that Flynn was part of the SINS, an organization that’s trying to free Scotland, and the FBI among other agencies want to disband them. That put a target on their back before, but this time it’s worse.

We’re in Scotland, on the eve of Ash and Duncan’s wedding (YES they got together) and the unimaginable happens. someone gets into the party and kills Malcolm (the leader of the SINS and Duncan’s father (Flynn’s adoptive father)) and gravely wounds Duncan. Wedding is off, and the balance of the story is hunting down who’s behind it.

If that weren’t enough, while Flynn and Barrett are on a fact finding mission in London, someone betrays them and kidnaps their son Hawk in the middle of it all. That’s below the belt and we watch what that transforms Barrett into. She was a woman who knew nothing of this world before, but she’s murdered plenty already in the first book so it’s anyone’s guess what she’ll do now to get her son back.

This is a mystery of sorts, trying to determine who’s behind all the betrayals, whos trying to overthrow the power of the SINS and then figure out the motives. We learn that there are several government agencies involved around the world and that makes things even messier.

Barrett is Kidnapped

Flynn is ambushed and gravely wounded

there’s a new set of babies on the way

a new future for the SINS

Just a huge question around what the future of the SINS looks like and who will be at the helm. Enjoy!

Review: Sins of a King (Sins #1) by Emma Slate

Title: Sins of a King
Author:  Emma Slate
Publisher/Year:  Tabula Rosa Publishing 3/2/21
Length:  348 Pages
Series: Sins #1

Overview

I can’t breathe without him.

Playboy. Billionaire. Criminal.

I should hate him for what he’s done to me, but I’m powerless to resist him.

His touch engulfs me.

His demands conquer me.

But Flynn Campbell isn’t who I thought he was.

Suddenly, I’m thrust into a world of seduction and sin.

Ensnared by danger and power, foreign desires burn within me.

It’s time to embrace the darkness…

And become a queen.

My Thoughts

I’m always a fan of a free intro book to a series, and didn’t really know what I was about to get myself into here. We don’t know much about what’s looming on the horizon when we meet our main character Barrett. She’s going to meet her brother who doesn’t seem like much of a good brother and we quickly learn why. He became her guardian when her parents passed away and as a result, he’s resented her. Now he needs something from her and this is what changes everything that she knew, and everything that she wanted.

Flynn Campbell is the man who changes everything for her. He owns several businesses, one of which is how he’s come to know Barrett and her brother, and as a means of paying off her brother’s debt to Flynn, Barrett now has to work off what he owes to Flynn. You would likely imagine something quite nefarious however Flynn needs to find out who’s bringing drugs into one of his clubs, so she’s working on the up and up.

As we all can imagine, we watch the chemistry that they had from the very first moment grow into something that they try to stop and can’t. There’s heat and something deeper there, however Barrett wants to solve his problems before going down that path. Unfortunately, this story seems deep into the mob underbelly and we watch how anything you want will be taken away.

Barrett figures out who’s behind the drugs, but in the same breath, she’s also kidnapped from Flynn. There are attempts on people’s lives, plans devised in the hopes of escape, murder….and to top it all off, an FBI inquest.

so, we’re left at the end of this first book with a power struggle, an attempt to right some wrongs and make the future into something different, something perhaps a bit more legit, however that’s got to be impossible, and we don’t know where that will leave us.

Relationships are developing, solidified and forged. There are a few that we hope for and a few that we are uncertain about. One that brings us heartbreak because it’s so pure. So, on that note, i’m off to find out more about Barrett becoming a queen – Enjoy!