Review: Eagle Elite Series (1-7) by Rachel Van Dyken

Welcome to Eagle Elite.  Where you’re sucked down the rabbit hole and don’t know up from down.  My emotions were swinging from tearing someone’s eyes out to falling in love.  I’m so deep into their world I don’t ever want to leave.  ~ White Hot Reads

Love.  Loyalty.  Friendship.  Blood.  Protection.  Death.  Care.  Fear.


When Rachel Van Dyken’s Eagle Elite Series was recommended to me because I love mafia books, I had no idea how wonderful this series was.  Then I began to wonder how I was so late to learning all about these guys.  From Chicago to Las Vegas to New York and more…. there are so many adventures to be had.

Whoever told me life was easy — lied.  ~ Rachel Van Dyken

This line, totally drew me in.  Because honestly, it’s the damn truth! Life isn’t easy, but it’s amazing.

Ever since I was a child I’ve been fascinated with the mafia. Dreams of being a mafia princess were thwarted by being a realist —I’m not Italian and lived in small town Texas. So I just read obsessively about them.  My favorite may be ‘Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America's Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab' (Amazon --  The book is over seven hundred pages of information regarding the original five families in New York and their lives.  I still have this book and read from it more often than I should.

Guess what?  Now, This series is going to rank up there with some of my favorite mob stories!

It was clear someone had just dropped me into a horror movie where I was going to be offed at any minute. ~ Elite (Eagle Elite)

I laughed hard at this.  But yet I also I was also a bit worried at this point.  Worried for what came next.  Who was involved.  Where did we go from here… I feared for the players involved.

Nixon, Chase, Phoenix and Tex are friends… brothers in blood.  They take care of their own and  love as hard as they fight.  I’m not sure which of them I’d choose if ever given the choice.

Nixon is hot as hell and dangerously quiet.  Chase is funny and so hot my panties melt at the thought of him.  Phoenix is what dreams are made of. Dark and brooding but a heart of gold on the inside… or is it?  Tex! Shit, Tex made me cry.  And that’s hard.

Then there is Sergio.  I really have no words for Sergio.  I don’t know how or what I feel about him.  But I’m sure given the chance he could make any woman weep because of his hotness.

“When you fall in love, when you take that leap, it’s as natural as breathing; it’s as simple as that.  I’m romantic because my heart demands I be nothing less than one hundred percent, for you, day and night.” ~ Elect (Eagle Elite)

Love.  Love is what makes the world go round.  I believe this in my heart of hearts.  I believe that we all have our matches and that all of us deserve to find love, have love and experience the love of another.  I remember reading about and watching movies about the mafia and once you get over the dark part of the life, all I saw is love.  The love of the man for his wife and family.  For his mother.  The men protect the women with all they have and they love so hard.  It was so powerful to me.  It was what I dreamed of.  The combination of dark, suspenseful, thrills and chills and love is extreme and perfect.

If I died, the secrets died with me, meaning they would never know the truth. ~ Elect (Eagle Elite)

This quote from Elect screams protection and sacrifice.  When another human protects and sacrifices for those that he loves, be with blood family or just family, they recognize that their sacrifice is for the betterment of those around them.  There is so much more to this type of love than what we think we see or know.  The strength of the human who makes these sacrifices has an inherent need to protect and a deep love for others. Even if they can’t express it outwardly.

Our story was evidence that sometimes when you try to write it yourself, you get stuck.  You can’t see every possible outcome.  Maybe that’s why it’s better to let life happen — because sometimes it surprises you. ~ Entice (Eagle Elite)

The feels, oh the feels.  I shiver every time I read this.  I’m inspired to print this and frame it.  Control, care, loyalty, love… and so much more.  My heart beats fast and then slow when reading and recognizing so many truths here.  Don’t get stuck.  Don’t force your life to go a certain direction.  Be open and allow life to grab you and take you for an adventure — your adventure.  You never know what the world holds if you attempt to control it all.

The mafia isn’t romantic.  Regardless of what people believe, there is nothing romantic about gunshot wounds and death.  Only tragedy, yet there is romance in the perfect death, knowing you’ve died to save others.  That’s as romantic as we get. ~ Elicit (Eagle Elite)

I’m not sure there are words to express how I felt after reading this.  What I can tell you is what happened.  I stopped my reading and attempted to get my breathing under control.  Put down my Kindle.  Looked around.  Read the passage again and again.  I highlighted it and then read it again.  Only then, after about five minutes of erratic breathing, smiling like a fool and then frowning was I able to move on.  Elicit made me cry.  Uncontrollable, hot tears poured down my face.  Late night messages to a friend who’s read this series to keep me off the ledge helped and off I was going again.

Tex did something to me that I’ve not had happen in a long time.  He made me want and need.  He made me root for him and yearn for more than I’ve ever had.  We each have a side we share with others and a side that’s only for us.  He touched my heart in so many ways.

Blood is always telling.  It holds the key to our existence. It holds your life and eventually your death. ~ Elicit (Eagle Elite)

This is everything.  From the literal to the metaphoric.  Blood is always telling.  I’ve been reading this series while recovering and I can’t tell you how much this was a slap in the face.  The blood pumping through our bodies is everything. It’s the good and can also be the bad.  It’s your heredity.  It also reminded me that we are more than our blood.  Friends can be our family when our blood can’t be.

Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the monsters outside than face the scariest one of all — the one in the mirror. ~ Ember (Eagle Elite)

Monsters are scary whether they are the ones under the bed, outside the window or in our souls.  For some, looking in a mirror, can trigger feelings of doubt and self hate.  Remembering that we’re all human, with inherently good hearts and souls, is huge.  Knowing that we would do anything to protect those we love and adore is the first step.  Do all things with love in your heart and you’ll change your life.

We were quiet, passionate; both of us realizing we were experiencing one of those rare moments in life where words were useless and actions meant everything. ~ Elude (Eagle Elite)

Inhale.  Exhale.  Breathe.  Moments like these are so small when they happen.  In the end, they become one of the big moments.  One of the life changing moments.  The kind where we realize we’ve experienced something that has forever changed us.  It happened to me just reading this.  I cried.  Actually I bawled like a baby reading this book.  Elude is a beautiful, haunting, heartbreaking story of love and life.

“But the really great part about being human is our hearts grow, they make room, they have no parameters for how big or how much they can love, and even though I’m not worthy, I’m honored that you’re willing to share space with someone I loved…” ~ Empire (Eagle Elite)

Isn’t this an amazing thought.  Our hearts grow and don’t stop.  From family to friends, when we meet new people we never know how they’ll impact our lives.  Because our hearts are so open, we have the space for whatever they turn into.  We don’t choose who we love.  People come into our lives when we need them, much like I believe books do.

Rachel created a world where love shines through.  It’s dark and dangerous.  The thrills and chills are insane.  I loved every gunshot, thought of bodies in the lake and underground torture chambers.  The wild chases through cities and finding their places at home. Fighting for what’s right, for their families and more.  The detailed and vivid descriptions allowed me to clearly imagine every location, place and interaction clearly.

I’m ready for more Eagle Elite.  More Nixon, Chase, Phoenix, Tex and Sergio.  Just more of the families.  No doubt, this will go on my 2016 favorite reads of the year list.  I can't imagine how a series could capture me more.

Amazon Buy Links Elite - Elect - Entice - Elicit - Ember - Elude - Empire -