4582 Followers
212 Following
whiskeyinthejar

WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Romance book talk, reviews, recipes, and dog pictures

Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

Currently reading

Dream Maker
Kristen Ashley
Real Men Knit
Kwana Jackson
The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo
Kerrigan Byrne
Doctor Sleep
Stephen King
Progress: 10%

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

Reading Update: Page 1

Real Men Knit - Kwana Jackson

Improving my Monday with cheese filled dinner rolls and a contemporary romance. I might have to cover up with an afghan to complete the comfort trifecta.

 

Real Men Knit by Kwana Jackson pre-order (May 19) link

 

Garlic & Herb Cheese Bombs recipe

 

Reading Update: 5%

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

What mattered was they were never getting out. He was safe. That was what he thought then. Of course, he also thought he would never take a drink, not after seeing what it had done to his father. Sometimes we just get it wrong.

Eesh, this is forbidding as all get out.

Also, of course it had to be Mrs.freakingMassey that starts this off, what/who I found the most disturbing from The Shining.

Held up on a reread

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler, Claire Lamont

Rereading this 20yrs after the first time was quite a different experience, I wish I had time to reread a lot of other books.

Catherine's nativity was more pronounced, John and Isabella Thorpe made my blood pressure rise, the Gothic satire portion didn't play as big a part as I remembered, Henry was an intuitive dear but Austen also delivered a fourth wall breaking line that killed the romance for me, and the ending felt rushed.

For quotes, comments, and a deeper discussion of thoughts and feelings: Northanger Abbey buddy read

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn

First Comes Scandal - Julia Quinn

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.

Georgiana was kidnapped by a fortune hunter but even though she managed to save herself, her reputation is in tatters.
Nicholas is called down from medical school in Edinburgh by his father who orders him to marry their neighbor and Nicholas' childhood friend, Georgiana.
It's a marriage of convenience but a close quarters carriage ride with a grumpy cat might turn it into a marriage of love.

“There is only one thing to be done,” his father said. “You must marry her.”

First Comes a Scandal is fourth in the Rokebys series but I think you could jump into the series here, it would probably be even better to read the Bridgerton series before this. Rokebys is a prequel to Briderstons and heroes from the first couple books in the Bridgerton series make an almost center stage showing in this. As much as I enjoyed seeing the heroes as little kids, it was too much. Instead of focusing on the leads of this story, the little Bridgertons got too much of the spotlight; it started to feel like a cheap trick to get readers to like this book, trading on the Bridgerton love. If you haven't read the Bridgerton series, you'd probably be bored and think a good chunk of the first half was filler.

“She doesn’t need your time. She needs your name.”

I'm a sucker for little sister/big brother's friend trope but this was a little different with neither having a hidden or long standing crush on the other and we don't get much of Nicholas and Edmund (Georigana's brother) friendship. Not getting much, unfortunately, was a problem I had for the majority of the story. I had a problem with feeling Nicholas and Georgiana were strangers, to me and to each other. It wasn't until after the 50% mark that our two get married and then it is a carriage ride to Edinburgh. However, instead of scenes of these two bonding and dialogue to provide emotional and relationship building blocks, we get pointless cat drama, medical dramas needing Nicholas, and the story just seemed to want to focus on everything but Nicholas and Georgiana.

He’d been married a day and he’d barely even kissed her. He was going to have to do something about that.

The sentence structure had a tendency to veer to shorter and this made a good amount feel choppy but even though I didn't feel engaged with the story or characters, the pace did ping pong through pretty quickly. There was also a couple times where Nicholas or Georgiana expressed themselves a certain way that felt too casual of verbiage, not creating the historical feel I tend to look for when reading this sub-genre. This was also set in the late 1700s and besides some talk of hoop skirts to visit the Queen, it was indistinguishable from Regency set romances.

She liked being near him. She liked his quiet strength, his sense of purpose. And when his hands had been on her hips, even just to help her down from the saddle, she’d liked the way it had made her feel like she was his.

Georgiana and Nicholas felt like strangers to me and therefore, I wasn't invested or felt any emotional attachment to the conclusion of their romance. If you like some slapstick humor, there were a couple scenes when they take their carriage ride that might help drawn you into the story more than I. There were couple moments where I felt a hint of the chemistry between Georgiana and Nicholas but they were so buried in the numerous insignificant scenes the author decided to add, that it couldn't save the story for me. I went into this anticipating more of a focus on exploring their marriage of convenience and instead got a grumpy cat in a hammock.

I buddy read this, for more quotes and comments while I read: First Comes Scandal buddy read
 

80%

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler, Claire Lamont

Henry, with the friends of his solitude, a large Newfoundland puppy and two or three terriers, was ready to receive and make much of them.

Darcy who? Henry has a Newfie puppy!

 

More quotes and comments:  Northanger Abbey buddy read

70%

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler, Claire Lamont

Really into that Gothic vibe with Catherine thinking General Tilney has a wife in walled off section of the Abbey. Catherine playing a wild game of guessing about lives while people watching.

More comments & quotes: Northanger Abbey buddy read

Reading Update: 15%

First Comes Scandal - Julia Quinn

My buddy read for the month, discussing the new Rokesby over in The Hopeful Readers Group on GoodReads.
A grilled cheese and historical romance for this Tuesday

 

First Comes Scandal by Julia Quinn purchase link

 

Bacon, Brie, and Apricot Grilled Cheese w/ Balsamic Reduction recipe

I used turkey bacon, loved the Brie, basil, and Balsamic reduction combo

 

Beach Read by Emily Henry

Beach Read - Emily Henry

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.

 

January has lived her life with an open heart and rose colored glasses. Her mother's scares with cancer taught her to hide her fears while the way her parent's loving and romantic relationship taught her that outpouring happiness and love made life glow. When her father dies and a big secret is revealed, she can't manage to see only the glow in life. Her boyfriend dumps her and with her writing career in danger, January takes off to Michigan to come to terms with who she thought her father was and try to get her life back on track. When her next door neighbor turns out to be college rival and crush Augustus Everett, she winds up getting in a pseudo competition about who can write the best book in the other's genre. January's trying to come to terms with the past and she might just build a future while doing it.

 

From now on, it was the ugly truth or nothing.

 

Beach Read is a standalone contemporary that melded women's fiction and romance together perfectly. Told entirely from January's point of view, the reader is brought into her life as it's falling apart. January had a good childhood but not a perfect one, her mother had two cancer scares but the way her father showed his love for the family and constantly romanced her mother, taught January that love and happiness makes everything better. A little later in the story we learn that January's parents did have a couple month separation and it becomes apparent that while January knew there were cracks in her ideal world, she glossed them over. I liked how the author flushed out this trait of January's, not simply having her be a head in the clouds happy but having this aspect of January's develop in part to being a child who had a parent with cancer and emotionally deciding to keep in complicated feelings because you want every moment with them to be “happy”.

 

I wanted to know whether you could ever fully know someone. If knowing how they were—how they moved and spoke and the faces they made and the things they tried not to look at—amounted to knowing them. Or if knowing things about them—where they’d been born, all the people they’d been, who they’d loved, the worlds they’d come from—added up to anything.

 

The core of the story is January coming to terms with the fact that her father cheated on her mother and had a mistress, which she doesn't find out until after her father has died. The swirling emotions of January are felt, the anger, the disillusionment, and the pain. Her mother knew about the mistress but doesn't want to speak to January about it and while I liked this no easy, messy, tangle of emotions from two characters, I wish we could have gotten more from and between January's mom and her. This seemed like such an important relationship for January and it wasn't worked out enough for me. I did like how Sonya, the woman January's father had been involved with, became a fully fleshed out character and their relationship wasn't black and white.

 

The worst part of being college rivals with Gus Everett? Probably the fact that I wasn’t sure he knew we were. He was three years older, a high school dropout who’d gotten his GED after spending a few years working as a literal gravedigger.

 

I'm typically am not a fan of only one pov in a romance but it worked for me here, possibly because of the women's fiction aspect and probably because the author was able to convey Gus (Augustus) as solid, well rounded out character who's emotions I could grasp on page. From the moment January is angry at her next door neighbor grump to when Gus tells her “I lied,” he whispered against my ear. “I have read your books.”, these two sparked and burned. Their past relationship in college and how they misread each other's thoughts and feelings was a perfect bridge to January learning to look into the shadows and Gus discovering that he can bring light to the dark. I enjoyed their wit and snark that had such an ease to it; they weren't “on” for each other, it was just their chemistry. I did think at times their cutesy knee bumping while sitting felt a bit juvenile but overall I liked their friendship and that had me believing in their love.

 

I don’t need you to be Fabio,” I said, voice thick with emotion, like it wasn’t the single stupidest sentence I’d uttered in my life.

 

This had me chuckling and my eyes misting, the emotion is felt but with more of tingle and lightness, rather than diving into the trenches with it. As I mentioned, I wish we could have gotten more in regards to January and her mother's relationship and felt the same way with January and her bestfriend Shadi, who ended up feeling more like a guest star than integrated into the story. However, the relationship between January and Gus amused and attracted as they waded through their own issues and each others. If looking for a great blend of women's fiction and romance, Beach Read would be a perfect pick.

Reading Update: 25%

Beach Read - Emily Henry

I’m only 25% in and I want to say those magical words “Pre-order!” I’m not a typical laugh or cry reader and this has already had me guffaw out loud and get eyes a bit misty.

 

I’m reading through lunch!

 

Beach Read by Emily Henry pre-order (May 19th) link

 

Baked Honey Cajun Shrimp recipe

Love the flavoring of this one. I just about doubled the cajun, added avocado and rice, and made into tacos :)

 

Leave Me Breathless by Jodi Ellen Malpas

Leave Me Breathless - Jodi Ellen Malpas

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.

Former MI5, Ryan has been working for an exclusive protection agency for the last couple years and he is weary. Deciding that it is time to retire, he can't wait to get home and spend more time with his daughter but a new woman in town is disturbing his peace.
Hannah is constantly on the move and knowing she is only going to spend six months in this new town, she doesn't want attachments. When the town hottie almost runs her over though, all kinds of complications arise, the biggest starting with her heart.

Ryan's a good man. He deserves my all. But one thing I have to accept is that he can't have one piece of me. My secrets. No one can ever know that part of me. That alone could ruin everything.

Leave Me Breathless is a stand-alone but readers of The Protector will remember Ryan and enjoy the little appearances from that couple. Readers will also notice how similar this story line is to Protector; protective man falling in love with a woman who has secrets about an abusive man in her past. What hurt this story the most was the tried and true but nothing new formula. Told in alternating chapter first person povs, the beginning drew me in with Ryan quitting his job so he can spend more time at home relaxing and spending time with his daughter. While Hannah's past is not fully revealed until the second half, there are enough hints that the reader has a good idea what she is running from. The second half dragged as Hannah kept hiding her past from Ryan and their sexcapades took over for plot.

Hannah was a character that came close to a form of manic pixie girl, she is so adorably clumsy (to the point at times I worried she had vertigo), so sweet, and look how cute she is when she always has paint on her and doesn't care about make-up or appearance. It also made no sense that she would go to the trouble of setting up a paint store when she only planned on staying in town for six months.

Ryan was a hero that I probably would have liked more in my teens but older me was cringing at times at his controlling attitude; there were moments I felt his actions weren't that different or far off from the abusive husband Hannah was running from. His relationship with his ten year old daughter was nice, even though I thought his daughter's personality seemed a bit advanced for a ten year old.

Hannah and Ryan did have a nice feeling of fitting together, they did lack some foundation or solidness to their relationship that had me thinking their love was too quick to come to fruition. They did play off each other well, I just wish some of Ryan's “protectiveness” had been toned down.

There's a tiny bit of ex-wife drama but the characters' acted in a way that I appreciated, not overly dramatic about it and the resolution was pretty quick. The danger from Hannah's past was hinted at, slow to fully reveal, and then quickly (and a bit worrisome how Ryan immediately wanted to and dealt with it) wrapped up. If you like the classic story of woman in danger and protective man this would fit the bill, just don't expect any freshness to the tale.

Morning visitor

This wild bunny was feeling particularly bold yesterday, found themselves up on my deck. They didn't stay long before they rejoined their buddies back down in the yard.

 

Happy Friday :)

 

Reading Update: 50%

Leave Me Breathless - Jodi Ellen Malpas

Spring stuffing! Ever just have a craving for a random food?

Can’t wait to enjoy it with a protective hero and strong heroine story.

 

Leave Me Breathless by Jodi Ellen Malpas purchase link

 

Cornbread Stuffing recipe

Used turkey sausage, liked the seasonings :)

 

A Duke By Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes

A Duke by Any Other Name - Grace Burrowes
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.

“Lady Althea Wentworth is, without doubt, the most vexatious, bothersome, pestilential female I have ever had the misfortune to encounter.”

When her brother unexpectedly inherits a dukedom, Althea is thrust into the world of social splendor and social backstabbing. She spent most of her childhood trying to survive and protect her siblings, so the intricacies of navigating jealousy and competition for bachelors is beyond her. Having a duke next door, even if he is a recluse, could be the answer to her problems, though.
Nathaniel wasn't supposed to be the duke and he is starting to chafe at having to wear the mantle. When he finally descends on his neighbor to tell her to keep her pigs in her own yard, he can't help but finally feel alive when sparing with her.
Secrets that are starting to feel constraining and a chemistry that can't and doesn't want to be ignored, are heating up the Yorkshire moors.

Following the Wentworth family and their friends, the Rogues to Riches series delivers its fourth installment staring Althea, the oldest sister. In previous books, she was the straightforward sibling that could come off a little abrasive. In her own story we get a look at how she was left to take care of and protect her younger siblings from their alcoholic father while their elder brother Quinn (My One and Only Duke) went out to try and make money. When her family inherits the title, she becomes Lady Althea and not only gains the prestige but jealousy, with one particular enemy in a Lady Phoebe. With Phoebe making snide remarks and spreading innuendo about her, Althea needs help with learning how to navigate polite society as she does want a husband and family.

He was lonely.

Nathaniel is Althea's neighbor on their estates outside of York and is a recluse as he shuns society. At first he seems like a grumpy bear just wanting to hibernate but when we get a pov from his mother, that hasn't been back to the estate or seen her son in years, we get a tease that maybe Nathaniel is forced into keeping out of society. Then we are introduced to his brother Robbie, who supposedly died years ago, and learn that Robbie was the older brother and Nathaniel isn't the true duke. This is revealed in the first half and I don't count it as a huge spoiler as the majority of the book is about Nathaniel and Althea growing to love one another but Nathaniel not seeing a way they can be together because of the tangle it would cause and possibly revealing Robbie is still alive.

Anything for my only brother.
And now, anything had become everything.


Burrowes is always good at the subtle but sweet and loving emotions between her leads and Nathaniel and Althea wonderfully showcase that talent. When they have their first meeting you can almost feel Nathaniel coming alive as Althea snips and pushes back at him as he outright refuses her request to tutor her in the ways of polite society, while also slipping in advice to her. The angst to keep them apart, Nathaniel trying to protect his brother, added depth to the story, his character, and made you hurt for this family. Robbie looks to be the hero in the next book in the series and I'm looking forward to seeing how his connection to Althea's sister Constance occurred and see him get his happily ever after. The struggle and love between Nathaniel and Robbie was felt but their mother's struggle wasn't completely understood for me. She had a bad relationship with her husband so she hated the estate but how it felt like she suddenly just decided to go back and help felt rushed; her whole inclusion in the story felt a bit out of place.

I will always be that hungry girl.

Althea's background and how that shaped her was heartfelt and will have you feeling for her as Nathaniel tells her to never beg, at first not appreciating the strength and courage Althea displays in doing so. If you are a reader of the series, you'll appreciate the glimpses of the Wentworth clan and their strong and loving familial bonds, Lord Stephen, the younger brother makes his usual charismatic appearance and I can't wait until we finally get his book.

This is the woman I was meant for.

I did think the second half dragged for a bit as the threads of Nathaniel not thinking he could have a life in order to protect his brother and Lady Phoebe trying to force society to hate and shun Althea slowed down too much in their route to conclusion. I also thought that Nathaniel spilled the beans to Althea about Robbie a bit quickly and their first sex scene felt gently abrupt. However, if you're looking for a sweet comforting read, Althea willing to prod and poke at Nathaniel was great and this couple had a lovely charmingly amusing chemistry that will warm your heart.
 
 

 

Reading Update: Page 1

A Duke by Any Other Name - Grace Burrowes

Weekend reading and goodies!

 

Springtime chocolate bark, finding what I can in the pantry since it’s end of the month and I’m only going grocery shopping once a month.
Going to enjoy the gorgeous weather and revisit the Wentworth family, Althea’s turn to fall in love :)

 

A Duke by Any Other Name by Grace Burrowes pre-order link (Apr 28)

 

Easter Oreo Bark recipe

 

25%

Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen, Marilyn Butler, Claire Lamont

To be disgraced in the eye of the world, to wear the appearance of infamy while her heart is all purity, her actions all innocence, and the misconduct of another the true source of her debasement, is one of those circumstances which peculiarly belong to the heroine’s life, and her fortitude under it what particularly dignifies her character.

 

Oh, the tongue in cheek high drama of Catherine :)

 

For more quotes and comments:  Northanger Abbey Buddy Read

50%

A Dangerous Deceit - Alissa Johnson

But he just smiled at her again. It was that slightly rakish smile of earlier, but this time, the solicitousness was gone, replaced by a hint of mystery. And Jane discovered in that moment that a slightly rakish, faintly secretive smile from a handsome man who smelled of the forest was a very powerful thing. It made her feel singled out, as if he’d invited her to join some exclusive game. And, clearly, it made her feel reckless. Because despite having no idea what the rules, or even the name of Sir Gabriel’s game, might be, and despite knowing that every second she spent with him endangered her own secrets, she still wanted to play.