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WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Romance book talk, reviews, recipes, and dog pictures

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

Currently reading

The Viscount and the Vixen
Lorraine Heath
Everything I Left Unsaid
Molly O'Keefe
Wicked and the Wallflower
Sarah MacLean
Progress: 70%

Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

70%

Wicked and the Wallflower - Sarah MacLean

“I will remember these pretty pink ribbons,” he said softly, to himself more than her as his warm fingers slid beneath along her thigh, beneath the fabric, “for the rest of my life.”

Reading Update: 20%

Wicked and the Wallflower - Sarah MacLean

"Oh, yes,” she scoffed. “Friendly is the very first word I would use to describe you.”
“If I were going to kidnap you and carry you off to my lair, I would have done it by now.”
“You have a lair?”
“As a matter of fact, I do, but I’ve no intention of bringing you there. Not tonight.”
She would be lying if she said the additional qualifier was not exciting."

Great first two chapters

Dangerous Passion - Lisa Marie Rice

Standing in the shadows in the cold of a Manhattan winter or the steamy furnace of a Manhattan summer for an hour or two a month, without his bodyguards, without any security whatsoever, for a glimpse of a woman…it was madness. 

The beginning of this was crazy good. The suspense, danger, and action was gripping. Then the story started to become the hero constantly talking about how the heroine is not like any other woman and his fantasy of banging her. We don't get a sex scene until the second half, which shocked me because this is categorized as erotica but the constant fantasizing by the hero and then the second half focus on sex more than earn that category. 

I wanted more action because the author wrote it so well. The villain was good, the hero's dark background was good, and I could even handle the very good girl but,

It had also been clear that she wasn’t wearing a bra, because she didn’t need it. Her breasts were perfect as they were.

No. She's sweet, amazing, no make-up, perfect no-dyed shade hair, amazing artistic talent, etc, etc, but no to the perfect breasts not needing a bra to look "perfect". I can sustain my disbelief only so far. Really though, I just couldn't with the perfect all other women are scum heroine, as viewed by the hero.

The sex didn't grip me because I didn't "know" the characters enough. Great first two chapters, though.

Reading Update: 20%

Dangerous Passion - Lisa Marie Rice

She straightened and looked him full in the face, wincing, expecting a monster, expecting to see brutality and savagery. What she saw instead was a weary kind of gentleness and what looked an awful lot like remorse. “I’m so sorry.”His deep voice was low as he wrapped a huge hand around her arm. “For everything. But now we must go.”

Wild horses couldn't have pulled me away from these first two chapters.

Roundheads, Cavaliers, and a Italian

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

'You believe it’s the King’s right to command Parliament; I don’t. You’ll fight to preserve His Majesty’s prerogative; I won’t. And we could argue till kingdom come without it making a blind bit of difference.’
‘You want His Majesty turned into a puppet?’
‘No. I want Parliament turned into something more than a cipher,’ came the swift reply. And then, ‘A balance has to be struck. The King stands for stability and tradition – and no one wants to see him safely back on his throne more than I do. But Parliament represents the people and must be allowed to act in their interests without fear of being dissolved on a royal whim.’
‘’Tis to preserve His Majesty that we against him fight,’ sang Francis.
 


For quotes and comments as I read - Buddy Read The Black Madonna

Historical Fiction with a romance element, if you enjoy Donna Thorland's books, you want to put this on your list.

This follows the Maxwell family (Roundheads), the daughter Kate is highlighted, the Langley family (Cavaliers), small glimpses of the Cliffords, Luciano del Santi, and the English Civil War. There is a lot of history in here, you get a good look at the players, circumstances, and events that lead to the war and then how it affects the family and friendships. Luciano and Kate are the romantic element but they do spend more time apart than together. Luciano is on a revenge/justice mission to find out who orchestrated his father's death. This worked to keep Luciano away from Kate and some added angst, but for me, it felt unnecessary and clogged up the story, we have a whole Civil War lead up and beginning to deal with.

The author does an amazing job with her characters, their relationships, and development of story with historical persons and events weaved in. The last thirty percent was tension filled with a focus on the Basing House siege and Luciano finally meeting his enemy. I was totally sucked into these characters and their stories, there is a wide cast with even secondary characters stealing your attention. Since Luciano really doesn't have a side in the war, besides the mentioned Basing House and some Powick Bridge, direct contact with battles, blood, and death isn't focused on. The feel of the war is through Kate's father Richard (you'll fall in love with him and his wife Dorothy and their relationship) and the political dealings he navigates in the parliament, the emotional dividing it causes for our characters, and nightly news feeling updates. 

The beginning was a little difficult to navigate as a lot is thrown at you, the middle you grow to love the characters, and the ending was a crescendo of the building tension. Kate and Luciano have biting banter and oodles of chemistry when they manage to get together but like I said, the whole little Civil War thing and Luciano's search for justice, keep them apart more than not. Definitely sticking with the series as there are many characters I need to know what happens to.

70%

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

‘What does the Covenant actually say?’
‘That we shall defend our religion and resist all those contrary errors and corruptions according to our vocation and to the utmost power that God hath put into our hands,’ quoted Richard dryly. ‘But it’s not what it says that matters. It’s the fact that we’re cluttering what ought to be a purely political treaty with religion – and at the same time opening the way for Presbyterianism to be rammed down our throats by allowing a clause that binds us to bringing the churches of the Three Kingdoms into conformity.'

 

Team Richard and separation of church and state

 

 

For more comments/quotes - Buddy Read The Black Madonna

50%

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

'This is England, not Germany. We like our peace too much. What you’re suggesting would amount to civil war - and that could never happen here.’

Awkward. But also, centuries morning quarterbacking.

For more quotes/comments - Buddy Read The Black Madonna

30%

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

‘Why did you do it?’ asked Richard. ‘How did you come to let it pass?’ 
His lordship flushed and stared at his feet. ‘Virtually half the House absented itself,’ he said. ‘But it won’t matter. The King won’t sign it. He told us he wouldn’t. So it didn’t matter how we voted. Not really.’ 
Hearing an echo of Henry Cox’s words, Richard felt a shiver go down his spine.


Shitith starting to hitith the fanith

 

For more comments/quotes - Buddy Read The Black Madonna 

20%

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

‘If the King hadn’t stopped it, John Hampden would have gone five years ago – and taken that boorish cousin of his with him,’ remarked Kit Clifford idly. ‘What’s the fellow’s name – Cromwell, is it? Got a big nose and a noisy laugh. I can’t think why His Majesty didn’t let them go. Pity, if you ask me.’

Pity.
I get way too nerdy when real history and people appear in books, the knowing anticipation. lol.

 

For more quotes and comments - Buddy Read The Black Madonna 

Reading Update: 10%

The Black Madonna (Roundheads & Cavaliers Book 1) - Stella Riley

'He has brought the Black Madonna home.’

Y'all, I sense some epic drama, adventure, love, heartbreak, and trauma on the horizon.

For more quotes and comments - Buddy Read The Black Madonna

Lemon cakes better than I love you

The Duke of Deception - Darcy Burke
Ned bent down and kissed his brother’s cheek. “Lemon cakes,”he whispered. 
George’s eyes remained closed, but his lips curved into a familiar, beloved smile. “Lemon cakes. Yes, Ned. Lemon cakes.”
Those had been their favorite sweet. Cook, who’d passed long ago, had made them twice a week and always ensured Ned and George had the first batch while they were still warm. “Lemon cakes”had been something they’d uttered to each other as a gesture of comfort. A sort of “I love you”for boys who wouldn’t dare say such a thing to each other.
 




Lemon cakes. This got me.

Anyway, good but not wowing. The sex scenes read a bit contemporary, they do hold off until the latter second half of book. Except for the beautiful lemon cakes scene not really anything new or memorable. Hero's brother George was the most I got emotional about, hero and heroine had more of a sedate romance and chemistry; I personally like a bit more spark.

50%

The Duke of Deception - Darcy Burke

Lightly, his fingertips grazed her collarbone and the side of her neck, gently stroking. She resisted the urge to close her eyes and lose herself in this simple and yet devastating sensation. If she completely surrendered… What? What would happen?

Reading Update: 10%

The Duke of Deception - Darcy Burke

“How chivalrous and yet scandalous at the same time,” she murmured.

Desperate Girls by Laura Griffin

Desperate Girls - Laura Griffin

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

First chair in a big case for her career, Brynn is under a lot of stress. When a serial killer she helped put away escapes from prison and murders the lead attorney that prosecuted his case with Brynn, she not only has her career but life to worry about.

Erik was an active Marine, Secret Service agent, but is currently working in the personal security private sector. He is built and used to high intense and dangerous situations, but not emotional and personal developments.

Brynn and Erik have let work dictate their lives but danger is about to reveal to them what they have been missing.

 

First in the new Wolfe Security series (there is a small character tie-in from the author's Tracer series) Griffin immediately drops the reader into murder and mystery. This tense start had me on edge, which the author was able to maintain to pretty much the ending.

 

Our heroine Brynn is a complete workaholic who is stubborn, brusque, and demanding. We get to see heroes, who are usually labeled "alpha", with these traits all the time, so it was refreshing to see a woman with such a forceful personality. However, Brynn veered, especially in the beginning, to oblivious, too stupid to live territory with her insisting she wasn't really in danger and therefore actively working to put her in more danger. Her demands and attitude got a bit repetitive in this regard and hurt her character rather than make her seem tough and smart.

 

The hero's calm, cool, and collective attitude made him seem smart and capable and when he would lose his grip a little in regards to his attraction to Brynn, it added some great steam to the story. His cool façade did mask his characterization a bit; we don't really get to know him until the later part of the book.

 

There is a large cast of characters that the author did a great job introducing but she failed to have them conversationally interacting. This would have been a great way to see and get to know the hero more; friendships are great showcases for personalities. The lack of conversation, in favor of courtroom scenes, gave this more of a dry feel.

 

With the lack of more emotional aspects, the book makes up for it in the murder mystery tone. The tension, wondering, and danger will keep your nerves taunt; the author excelled on the technical, realistic feel of security and the creepy factor of a serial killer on the loose. I would have liked a pov from the villain to add more depth, there was kind of an info dump that provided what felt like a pointless red-herring, and while surprising a last second drama that felt more tagged on than enriching.

 

The chemistry and romance is weaker but you'll want to sign up for the thriller aspects and tension. The author's writing has charisma and the series set-up will have me checking out the next in the series.

Reading Update: 60%

Desperate Girls - Laura Griffin

The fact that he was driving her around like a chauffeur just emphasized the awkwardness of their relationship.
Not that they had a relationship, not in the traditional sense. 
He was her bodyguard. She was his client. Anything else was just...temporary friendship. Or a figment of her active imagination.
But she hadn't imagined that kiss.

Goofy and bottom heavy

Fast & Loose - Elizabeth Bevarly

This has two characters that are different and a bit quirky, refreshingly different from the usually hero and heroine. The hero is a horse trainer but really no scenes involving that, you get some of the hoopla surrounding the Kentucky Derby a little. The heroine is a glass artist, you get more artsy stuff/tone involving her. 

The author did a great job introducing her characters, maybe too good a job because it feels like 60-70% of the book is introducing our characters and slowing bringing them together. We then get a rushed bottom heavy ending of them coming together and having a very quick romance. I really enjoyed these characters separately but did not get near enough time of them together to feel their romance.

There was also a secondary romance that came close to stealing the show. 

Definitely a different beat contemporary if you're looking to break out of the usual contemporary fare but the rushed romance ending killed all the lengthy character ground work the author had done.