Thursday, February 19, 2015

review || EMBER { blog tour }


Ember by Rachel Van Dyken

Publisher: Rachel Van Dyken (2/19/2015)
Series: Eagle Elite, book 5
Genre: New Adult, mafia themes
Source: InkSlinger PR
Purchase links || amazon | bn | ibooks | kobo

Rating: ★★★★

I am a Killer. A Rapist. A Monster.

I know only pain and survival.

That is until the Cappo's sister walked into my life.

And changed everything.

She's a light who makes my darkness darker, her smile makes my heart turn to ice, and I can't escape the fear her seductive looks instill--knowing it's only a matter of time before I fail--again, and take her for myself.

This is the story of my redemption.

But it's not pretty...I died, and now I'm alive, but not living, breathing but not surviving. I am Phoenix De Lange, son to a murdered mob boss, estranged brother, horrible friend, monster in the making, newest leader to one of the most powerful families in the Cosa Nostra.

And I will have my vengeance.

Or die trying.

I am Phoenix De Lange.

Death is all I know.

Until she offers me a piece of life--I can't resist taking.

{ excerpt } .

I wasn’t sure how to act. Wasn’t sure if I should apologize for attacking him or thank him for not laughing in my face. Embarrassed and irritated that he was most likely going to ignore whatever it was between us even if it killed him, I stared hard at the cement floor. 

“How are you feeling, little girl?”

“I’m not little.”

“You want me to call you fat?”

“No.” I lifted my head. “Call me gorgeous like you did last night.”

“Well, shit.” Phoenix ran his hands over his face then grabbed my arm and dragged me down the hall into a darkened corner. “You remember?”

“You kissed me.”

“Prove it.”

“What’s wrong with you?” I pushed against his chest. “You like me! Admit it!”

Phoenix made a face. “You were drunk, launched yourself at me, and I caught you. Did we kiss?” His eyes went completely black. “Yeah, we did, but it meant nothing.”


“Really.” He hissed out a breath through his teeth.

“Prove it.”


I pushed him against the wall. “Prove it meant nothing. Let me kiss you now, and if it meant nothing it will be like… what? Kissing your sister.”

“I’ve sworn off women.”

“So this should be an easy test then, right?”

“Bee…” Phoenix’s face was pained, as if I was holding a gun to his head rather than offering to kiss him. Was the idea so abhorrent? “Please…” His voice had a pleading tone I’d never heard before. “Don’t do this.”

“One. Little. Test.” I rose up on my tip toes and kissed him full on the mouth. His lips refused to move against mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck. He stiffened even more.

Irritated, I bit his lower lip. He gasped, and I slid my tongue inside his mouth. He pushed me away with a curse then wiped his lips. 

“Done. Your little test is done. I didn’t respond. Happy now?” His eyes were furious; the blue flashed like lightning against his skin. His fingertips shook as he made a fist.

“You like me.”

“Bee…” Phoenix pinched the bridge of his nose with his fingertips. “…find someone your own age, someone who’s interested in you in the way you deserve, alright?” His tone was gentle, and maybe that was what hurt the most. It was like he was letting me down slowly, hoping I didn’t break. But the joke was on him.

Because I was already broken.

I didn’t want boys my age — I wanted him.

“You’re a good liar.” My eyes narrowed. “And you’re lucky I’m patient.”

“Lucky?” He sputtered out a laugh. “That you like toying with me?”

“No, lucky that even though you constantly push me away…I keep coming back for more. But, Phoenix… everyone’s time eventually runs out.”

“Go to breakfast, Bee.”

“Go to hell, Phoenix.”

about Rachel || Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at

connect with Rachel || newsletter | facebook | twitter | goodreads | amazon author page

{ series } .

ELITE { amazon | bn | itunes }

ELECT { amazon | bn | itunes }

ENTICE { amazon | bn | itunes }

ELICIT { amazon | bn | itunes }

BANG BANG { amazon | bn | itunes }

ENFORCE { amazon | bn | itunes }

{ review } .
First off: that cover. My goodness gracious... Now, while reading I tried to think of him as Phoenix and it didn't quite jive in my head, but it made little difference. Good looking cover model... a character who's brooding and hiding some dark things in his past... Yep. 

Recipe for excellence.

Where do I go without giving you everything?? My goodness, what a book & addition to this series. To be fair, I haven't read the other books. I did, however, skim/briefly thumb through ELITE at Target one day and was thoroughly impressed -- might I add that.

My problem when it comes to buying books is that 'one-clicking' on Amazon is entirely too easy... so sometimes I buy them in paperback form and hide the monitary hurt in my grocery bill. Yes, instead of food or water, I will buy a book. My tour/NetGalley book list is so full right now, though, that purchasing "for me" books just isn't an option at the moment.

But oh, don't you worry, I have EVERY intention to reading this series, start to finish... err... last book, start to finish.

Did I have questions that likely would be put to rest had I read earlier books? Sure. But was it absolutely, direly necessary to read the other books to read this one? No...but things would have made more sense with that background.

On paper, these two characters coudn't be more wrong for eachother. Phoenix is, as he states time and again, a murderer, a rapist, and therefore a monster. But I think he's much too hard on himself. As the new head of the Nicolasi family, he lives a life where one thing ultimately means and leads to another. While he finds himself to be a monster... how can one be when the thought of touching a female brings on nausea? He punishes himself more than enough...

And then there's Bee, short for Bianka; it is a nickname that Phoenix gave his friend's little sister. She is loud and fun and always smiling. She dances into rooms and has jokes for everyone... But that's what she shares on the outside. They say that some of the happiest people are actually the saddest, and I find that to be the case with a certain Miss Bianka Campisi -- hard not to be sad when you had the father you did, and the lifestyle you were thrown into by being born into the Cappo family. Granted, all those boys in her 'family' are settling down and I'm sure they will move heaven and earth before their families endure the things that Bee (and them as well) had to live through; I feel they'll start a new style of family.

However, that is not to say that Bee hasn't learned a thing or two while in the mafia family. When a classmate goes to trip her, she whispers not-so-sweet little nothings to him to get him to back off.

Phoenix does a decent job warding off Bee and her touches, but eventually it becomes too hard. Granted, it terrifies him to let her in, namely because of his past and his anger and ways he acts out against women -- hurting Bee is the last thing he wants to do. Will he verbally spare with her? Try to get her turn away? Absolutely. But he's scared to death of putting his hands on her and hurting her physically.

Watching Bee break through Phoenix's barriers, and for Phoenix to find his redemption, was one of my favorite ways to spend this last weekend. Seeing all of the guys and how they interact with one another and their ladies, how they operate in their mafia world... I loved it.
"Which, by the way, sounds like the worst idea I've ever had since my wife just gave me bedroom eyes, but I'll do it."
I mean... how can you not love these men? 

Extra little note? Loved the little glimpses into Sergio. I'm now excited to read his book soon, too! My goodness, this list of books I need to read keeps getting longer, and longer, and longer...

{ giveaway } .

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