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WhiskeyintheGraveyard 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 Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel (Electric Empire Novels)
Viola Carr
Good Girls Do
Cathie Linz

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

Who's the real alien?

The Last Hour of Gann - R. Lee Smith

 

She should have been prepared to see something like this. An alien, that was. From the moment she'd first seen the scaly deer if not sooner. But there was a big difference between knowing intellectually that there were forms of animal life on this world and seeing a six-foot tall lizardman come at you out of the bushes with a knife in his hand.

 

 

This was 1,000 pgs. I'm exhausted because as you can tell by rating, it was only an ok 1,000pgs. 

Look, everyone seems to love this book, so grain of salt and all that but here's my probably not coherent exhausted luke warm take:

 

The first three books(parts) was pretty interesting, meeting our first person pov heroine Amber and how she has had a poopy life on Earth and decided the best way to survive was jumping on a space ship. Her whole life seems to be taking care of her sister Nicci who is completely a waste of space. Nicci depends solely on Amber and blames her if anything goes wrong. The ship gets hit by a bunch of asteroids, killing most of the 500,000 or so, gets knocked off course and crash lands on an unknown Alien planet. 

48 survive with a guy named Scott who wants to be leader and really has it out for Amber. 

I've never been in such a survival situation with a group of people but I would hope food and shelter would be first on their mind, at least for a hot minute, over what guy gets what "womb" out of the 11 to repopulate their colony. Looking over reviews, I see this is classified by some as erotica, which could help explain the huge focus on sex, which felt over focused on to me. 

People needing leaders but too scared to lead I get, but the hate on Amber felt so forced and the lack of anyone questioning stuff, again, felt forced to serve a narrative. It was a good narrative on society with a Lord of the Flies feel but still, a bit forced. 

 

 Meoraq and his world that Amber crash landed on was interesting, especially with the importance of religion the author added in and how it tied into their society and cultural values. Meoraq's faith and sureness in his world and role in it was interesting to follow along with as he met Amber and how she slowly but surely put it dent in it all.

 

After book three, things slowed way down for me as it was endless Amber fighting against the group trying to get them to survive, her sister treating her like crap, and Meoraq being annoyed with the whining humans but also kind of attracted to Amber, a lot of rinse and repeat. Book six has Amber being kidnapped and the constant rape scenes start, it was incredibly exhausting. 

 

I liked how the author addressed religion, how its needed, what it provides, and how it can lie. I liked how this was something pretty different with the alien world and culture and how Meoraq was a lizard, no human characteristics at all. I also liked how the humans were the "aliens" and how the author played with that theme. Ultimately, this was too long with repeated scenes, forced or simplistic actions, and too many rape scenes. If you want something different with a lizard hero, many others really enjoyed this.

Reading Update: 20%

The Last Hour of Gann - R. Lee Smith

 

“We’re going to take care of you, Amber. You and all the other girls. You’re our most precious resource.”

“What?”she said flatly.

“This is still a colony,”said Scott. His hand was still on her shoulder. “Only we’re not in it for the five-year contract anymore and you are one of only eleven wombs. We’ve been talking about this.”

“Wombs.”

“And we’ve made some difficult decisions regarding our duty here.”Scott ran his commanding eyes across his gallant colonists. “It may be our immediate goal to persevere, but our ultimate goal hasn’t changed from the day we boarded the Pioneer. It’s not just about living, surviving. It’s about preserving our lives, yes, and our way of life, our very future. Yes, Miss Bierce, we have a duty…and we’re going to have to be mature about this.”

“Says the man about to order people to fuck,”said Amber, and quite a few people flinched, just like that wasn’t where that little speech was going. “Were you planning to pass us out like the tents or let everyone draw straws? Let me guess: Your lieutenants get the first pick?”

Amber looked at Eric. He did not look back at her.

Totally His by Erin Nicholas

Totally His (Opposites Attract) - Erin Nicholas
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.

With a father that made a living scamming women, Sophie has learned to depend on herself and guard her heart. When her theater ends up with some fire damage, she suddenly finds a hot cop invading her life.
The hot woman in pink lingerie caught Finn's attention right away but her guarded heart is giving him quite the challenge. 
Sophie and Finn are about to be hit with a hurricane of past hurts, family drama, and sexual chemistry.
 
Maybe she'd give him a chance. The thought flashed through his mind. Maybe he'd like theater. Or maybe this was an opposites-attract thing. That seemed more likely. Or hell, maybe they could just date for the sex. 
 
Third in the Opposites Attract series, we have our guarded heroine Sophie and open hearted hero Finn. Sophie's two girlfriends were the heroines of the two previous books but I had no problem starting here in the series. If you like Jill Shalvis, you'll enjoy this couple’s similar in tone playful encounters. The first half of this book was incredibly delightful with Finn and Sophie meeting and acting out some great fun and hot chemistry. 
 
How he wanted to say sweet things like how gorgeous she was and how lucky he felt that she'd let him close like this. Close was hard for her. This was not sex-only dating, and he knew she knew that. 
 
A fire gives our couple their meet-cute but Sophie actually ends up being the great theater friend Finn's mother had been raving about. Finn is the oldest and every since his father died, he's taken on the role of leader and taking care of everyone. I liked his calm, cool, and take care of business attitude that was also accompanied with a sense of humor and sexy demeanor. He was a great companion to Sophie's kickboxing, I don't want any part of a family, and feisty self. The first half was them meeting, feeling each other out, and sparking off each other and I enjoyed it immensely. After that, it seemed their relationship was a bit rushed with their second meeting kind of snowballing into a pretty invasive personal talk and not a ton of long interactions. The story started getting a bit repetitive with Sophie fearing getting close to Finn and his family, being hot and heavy with him, and then proclaiming she must stay away. 
 
And he wanted to eat ice cream in bed with her. He wanted to read out loud to her. In bed. And he wanted to talk dirty to her. In bed. In the shower. In the kitchen. In his truck. There were so many dirty things he wanted to say to her, do to her, hear from her. 
 
After our leads sweet, lively, and down and dirty beginning, I was little disappointed in the second half not providing some more depth to their relationship. A vast majority of the scenes take place in the theater, Sophie doesn't spend any time with her friends, and not a ton of scenes of Finn and Sophie interacting with the large amount of secondary characters. For the big role Finn's mom plays in the story she actually stayed a bit too much to the sidelines along with Finn's brother and partner. Having Sophie and Finn's friends and family stay to the side too much gives the story a lack of depth that small town (this actually takes place in Boston but there is clearly a community of people that the author is focusing on to provide a small town feeling) contemporary romance is known and loved for. 
 
Sophie's father provided a good antagonist to keep our leads from an easy happily ever after but for the most part this story was pretty heavy angst free. This was a sweet story that wasn't afraid to also get down and dirty. I greatly enjoyed visiting the Kelly family starring Finn and will look forward to his firefighter brother Colin hopefully getting top billing next time.
 
 

 

Ahhh! If I can get to this bingo call, it would give me a bingo. I was tempted for a hot second to just read this and the calls that would give me bingo but my order and discipline side is too strong.
I'm six calls behind, boooooooooooooooooo :(

Bingo Call: 10/11

Reblogged from Moonlight Reader:

 

Magical realism: a genre which expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements.

Duke of Desire by Elizabeth Hoyt

Duke of Desire - Elizabeth Hoyt

***Full Review***

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.

Kidnapped and brought as an offering to the Lords of Chaos, Iris improbably finds herself rescued by the towering Wolf.
Now a man and ready to take on the insidious Lords of Chaos, Raphael, finds himself saving a woman he can't forget a shared waltz with. 
Raphael's scars run deeper than just the surface but Iris is determined to show him he's worthy of love. 
With the Lords of Chaos looming over them, Raphael and Iris will show that love is the greater strength.
 
The twelfth installment in the Maiden Lane series brings us to a resurgence of the Lords of Chaos. Previously thought snuffed out in the last book, a new Dionysius leader has emerged and stronger than ever. You actually wouldn't need to read any other books in the series, maybe just the previous one as you get an introduction to the Lords of Chaos. As this is placed in the Maiden Lane series, I was a little disappointed that we didn't get any previous characters to check up on; the Duke of Kyle from the previous book makes an appearance but that is all. 
 
"You need to marry me." 
 
If you read the previous book, you'll remember the Duke of Dyemore, Raphael, introduced as a hulking scarred beast who waltzes with Iris. Here he rescues her and in order to keep her safe from the Lords of Chaos, he marries her. Iris was a bit dull as heroine but with the focus so heavily on Raphael's past with the Lords of Chaos, she didn't get a fully rounded out story. We know she didn't have a loving marriage and she cares for Raphael, but I didn't feel why she cared for him so soon. Iris ended up being a ghost on the pages to me.
 
Raphael's childhood trauma dominated the story and was extremely heavy. Frankly, that's all it felt like his character was, I didn't learn anything else about him. His attraction to Iris seemed to be based on one waltz and because she seemed like a golden light to him. A lot of their relationship was Raphael wanting to keep Iris on some sort of pedestal, away from his defiling hands, but this also creates a blank spot of him never really knowing and connecting with her. 
 
After a darkly adventurous start, the story took a bit of a slow turn. The first half was basically Iris wandering around Raphael's gloomy Abbey, trying to learn his servants’ names, and disregarding Raphael's warnings of danger. Iris' lack of understanding or listening to Raphael about the danger ended up making her feel pretty vacuous at times, too. 
 
With the focus so much on childhood pain (childhood sexual abuse is discussed prominently here), it made it extremely hard to switch gears and follow along to a sex scene, no matter how it was handled. In fact, the whole heavier tone of this one had a very uneven feeling with the usual Hoyt naughty sexual scenes. 
 
The romance was lacking for me here with Iris not showing up completely and Raphael dealing with extremely traumatizing pain. Their lack of romantic connection kept me from feeling them and the Lords of Chaos brought such a heavy disturbing emotional toll, this ended up not being a very fun read. Hoyt's atmospheric writing can't be denied but after following along with the Maiden Lane series for so long, I guess I was personally looking for a more uplifting, sigh, and smile ending.

50%

Totally His (Opposites Attract) - Erin Nicholas

He’s the type of guy to keep a dachshund so she won’t be traumatized by another move. He’s the type of guy to get involved in the theater for his mom. He’s the rock of his crazy family. He’s a cop. He’s a good guy.

Reading Update: 20%

Totally His (Opposites Attract) - Erin Nicholas

“Okay, yes, I’ll go to a play with you sometime,”he said. “I’ll even buy. But you have to sit close and explain stuff to me that I don’t understand.”

She looked confused for one second, and then her lips curled. “You thought I was asking you out?”

“Oh, you’re not dedicated to helping people learn about the theater and fall in love with your greatest passion?”he teased.

She tipped her head. “You like chocolate martinis?”

"Um…what?”

"Those are probably my greatest passion.”

He chuckled. “Never had one of those either.”

“Hmm, so many things to help you learn to be passionate about.”

Heat streaked through his gut. Yeah, he definitely wanted to try something new.

Regency window dressing

Reforming a Rake - Suzanne Enoch

She blinked and swiped her disheveled hair out of her face---and saw her abductor. 

"Lucien!" she shrieked. "What in God's name are you---"

"I'm kidnapping you," he said calmly.

"And your little dog, too."

 

For 40% of this story the hero was unnecessarily rude, the saying "honesty without tact, is cruelty" needs to be written on a chalkboard 100 times by him. There was also an icky feeling to how he pursued and came at the heroine, you know, his employed, at his mercy, governess. He mellows toward the end and gets pretty gallant about working for the heroine but by then, I wanted to deuces him.  

For 70% of this story the heroine was strong and leveled headed but when the hero turns the corner and it looks like he really does have feelings for her, she devolves into an angst for angst sake character denying they could ever be together. Seriously, I don't use the term muttonhead lightly, but Muttonhead. It was even more disappointed and annoying because of how good she was earlier.

Now, I don't consider myself a full on perv but for how scandalously rakish our hero was supposed to be and lingering sexual chemistry ( was more tell than show), the first sex scene especially, was over before a lip could finish being bitten. Not the payoff I was looking for (and maybe the heroine, either? I kid, I kid)

Anyway, villains being villains, and hero and heroine having late personality transplants made this more regency window dressing to me. However, the bump up to 3 stars is because Enoch has a style, tone, and emotional (not as many scenes here as in her other books) way with words that charms me.

50%

Reforming a Rake - Suzanne Enoch

“No arguments?”he asked, sliding his hand around her waist and pulling her close.

“None. Except that six inches of light should show between us the entire time we’re waltzing.”

Unexpectedly he laughed, a wicked, merry sound that made her smile back at him.

“What’s so amusing, my lord?”

“Six inches isn’t nearly enough, Alexandra. Not where you and I are concerned.”

 

Sick brag, bro!

Reading Update: 20%

Reforming a Rake - Suzanne Enoch

“Lex?”he murmured, leaning over her shoulder to scoot the chair forward as she sat. “It doesn’t suit you. Not enough curves or secrets. I prefer Alexandra.”

She closed her eyes as her name rolled softly from his lips.

Missing some details

Raining Men and Corpses: A Raina Sun Mystery (Volume 1) - Anne R. Tan

 

*Takes place in small college town called Gold Springs

 

Someone was in the house. Raina tiptoed around the car to the side door. The rushing noise in her ears competed with her uneven breaths. Her clammy hands gripped the doorknob. She twisted and pulled. The door scraped against the concrete floor, ripping through the silence. It opened an inch. Gooseflesh peppered her arms.

 

This is first in a series that looks to follow along with Raina as she amateur sleuths her way through situations and her detective ex-husband Matthew tries to get her to mind her own business. Their relationship was completely mystifying as the most we get about Matthew is he has gold flecked eyes, thinks he will snap one day because his dad was an alcoholic, and wants Raina to stay out of murder cases. Told from Raina's point of view we get statements here and there about how Matthew and her were childhood sweethearts, married, he left her cuffed and naked in a hotel room in Rome, and their marriage was annulled in Vegas. Again, this first in series, which all these little statements dropped here and there, I kept checking to make sure I didn't miss a beginning novella or something; I felt so lost in regards to their relationship.

 

The murder mystery had great red herrings but it was a bit overshadowed by how I kept being baffled how so many were disregarding/disrespecting the police and investigation. No one seems to be telling the police the truth and some officers seem to be ok messing up an investigation because of personal feelings. This along with not getting a pov from Matthew and him using believable procedure for the investigation, gave the story more of a chik-lit murder mystery farce. 

 

Raina and the cast of characters including her grandmother and friend Eden, were enjoyable to follow along with for the afternoon but I needed more details to explained connections to really immerse myself in the story.

Halloween Bingo Card

Many bingo calls behind, so what do I do? I pick a 1,000 pgs book. Ugh. Next square, please!

 

 

Ghost - Grim Shadows by Jenn Bennett

Cozy Mystery - The Witch and the Dead by Heather Blake

In the Dark, Dark Woods - Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Witches - The Hunter and the Witch by Rachel Chanticleer

Werewolves - Soulless by Gail Carriger

Modern Masters of Horror - A Soul to Steal by Rob Blackwell

Terrifying Women - The Warlord Wants Forever by Kresley Cole

Free Space - My Immortal Highlander by Hannah Howell and Lynsay Sands

Diverse Voices - Visions of Heat by Nalini Singh

Haunted Houses - Haunted on Bourbon Street by Donna Chase

Terror in a Small Town - Raining Men and Corpses by Anne R. Tan

Aliens - The Last Hour of Gann by R. Lee Smith

Kindle Freebies

I have not read these selections but they're free (at the time of my post).
So enjoy and partake at your own risk :)
 
*Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and Get Yourself Some!
 
Mad For Love (Highland Brides Book 1) by [Essex, Elizabeth]  Driven (Southern Alphas Book 1) by [Sjoberg, Lori]  Ride (Bayonet Scars Book 1) by [Emery, JC]
 
The Major's Faux Fiancee (Dukes of War Book 4) by [Ridley, Erica]  Leather & Lace: Trident Security Book 1 by [Cole, Samantha A.]  Remedial Rocket Science: A Romantic Comedy (Chemistry Lessons Book 1) by [Nix, Susannah]
 
More, Please (Homefront: The Sheridans Book 1) by [Aster, Kate]  Heir Untamed (Latvala Royals Book 1) by [Bourdon, Danielle]
 
Hope everyone can find one to enjoy!

Corporate eye-glazing

Paradise - Judith McNaught

My first contemporary by Judith McNaught gave me some of her fun emotional connection and a good amount of eye glazing department and corporate talk. Our leads had an instant connection when they met and I really enjoyed their back and forth tinged with sexual chemistry and sass. Unfortunately, Matt and Meredith don't spend a lot of time together. Their first go at it has them together for a whirlwind six days and then its not until the 60% mark that they get to spend any real time together. 

There was way too much corporate world talk for me and caused me to put off grabbing this back up to read. For having a bit older of a publishing date, this still held up pretty well. There was some high drama, with a lot of it coming from Meredith when she was upset, she was portrayed a pretty dramatic; it seemed to be feeding into this time period's love of overstating the thought that women are high strung emotional beings. 

I would have liked the corporate talk 80% slashed, Matt and Meredith spending more time together, and less of a rushed ending.

Reading Update: 20%

Paradise - Judith McNaught

She finally spoke, her voice quiet, thoughtful, smiling. "Planning to set the world on fire, are you?"

"With a torch," he averred.

Two ghosts for the price of one

Haunted on Bourbon Street - Deanna Chase

 

Ice numbed my hands and moved up my arms, making me shiver. I pointed to a shadow, black as coal, moving across the far wall. We stood, paralyzed, while the image grew larger and moved toward us.

 

This is the first in the series, but I checked twice to makes sure, I felt pretty lost as the author just hurls the reader into the mix of characters and her paranormal world. Jade is an empathy who can sense and read other people's emotions and I guess, has trust issues with witches. When she moves into an new apartment, it turns out to be haunted by ghost that she eventually calls Mr. Sexy, because of the sensual dreams she starts to have starring him.

At the same time, her boss and new friend Pyper is having horrible dreams where a man she calls Mr. Evil is scaring her in her dreams. At first, they think it is the same ghost, kind of a forced story thread to keep the mystery component going as it seems obvious there are two different ghosts. 

Along the way with trying to figure out who is haunting the two women, Jade has a blossoming romance with her apartment's owner, an on the fritz friendship because the friend is now dating her ex (this whole storyline was confusing and not nearly enough flushed out but as this is a series, I think the author plans on addressing this in the next), and Jade finding out about ghosts, angels, and her other powers. 

There was a lot going on, not always laid out or explained the best, or personal relationships fully flushed out but I can see the series getting better as the author settles into her created world and characters.