1157 Followers
201 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

A Reckless Beauty
Kasey Michaels
Marry in Haste
Anne Gracie
Unforgiven (Loveless)
Jay Crownover
Progress: 40%
Unmarriageable
Soniah Kamal
Doctor Sleep
Stephen King
The Shining
Stephen King
Progress: 60%

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

50%

Bliss - Judy Cuevas, Judith Ivory

Nardi laughed. "Ah, so now we have it, your stake in my 'improvement.' I am supposed to be a prince for you." He lowered the bottle to rest on his thigh. "I can't be, Hannah. That is what I have been trying to tell you. I am a drunk and a failure."

Oof, the emotion in this story.

More quotes and comments:  Bliss Buddy Read

30%

Bliss - Judy Cuevas, Judith Ivory

A soft, small creature sniffing and mousing around him, not close enough to touch him but close enough to walk the hair at his arms, at his neck, up his spine, backward against the way it normally lay, against its natural, customary position.

More comments & quotes: Bliss Buddy Read

Reading Update: 10%

Bliss - Judy Cuevas, Judith Ivory

She was going to see Paris at its finest, the city of gaiety and laughter and champagne, all a lady could drink, a place where a person could live life to the fullest—and not find herself destitute, accused, and ashamed in the aftermath.

More quotes and comments: Bliss Buddy Read

Top Three Reads January

 

A contemporary intoxicating murder suspense, A Victorian murder mystery immersed in the art world, and A fun, absorbing sci-fi space opera with slow burn romance.
Looks like I was feeling the murder and mayhem in January :)

 

What were your favs from the month?

 

Click links to read reviews

 

4.7 stars - A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

 

3.7 stars - Aurora Blazing by Jessie Mihalik

 

3.5 stars - A Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Wicked Sinner by Stacey Kennedy

Wicked Sinner - Stacey Kennedy

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.

Asher broke Remy's heart when he abruptly broke up with her and now years later, he's been trying to be her friend but she doesn't know if her heart can take it. When he objects at her wedding, she can't stop the flutter of her heart. Unfortunately, it's to arrest her almost husband, turns out he was a conman just out for her inheritance.
When she finds what could be a fortuitous gift left behind by her scam artist ex, she jumps at the chance to start her dream business. However, Remy's luck might not be changing as a shady maybe tied to the mob guy shows up and the only one who can help her is Asher.

“One chance to be friends, Asher. That’s it. Mess this up, and we’re done. Forever.”

A second chance romance in the Dangerous Love series, Remy and Asher have quite the past. They were madly in love while Remy was in highschool and Asher graduated and went onto the Police Academy. Asher gets recruited by the FBI and after his mother commits suicide, he decides that all the dark emotion inside of him should be kept away from Remy and he leaves her behind in Maine while he goes to D.C. I didn't read the first in the series and I felt like I missed background emotion between these two. There was a good flashback scene to their breakup and then a quick recap of how Asher's been back for five years, Remy ignored him for the first couple and the last year has just started talking to him. This story starts with Asher claiming to just want to be friends with Remy and her thinking maybe she can but nervous that she still loves him.

This angst could have worked for me but Asher's thoughts and emotions constantly contradicted the “just friends”, one moment he was spouting how he only wanted friendship because of the darkness in him and then there were scenes where he is wanting to spend all day in bed with Remy and basically acting like he wanted a relationship with her. He wasn't warring internally with himself, just the writing ignoring the character conflict in favor of having them together.

No one made her laugh like Asher. No one made her feel as alive as Asher had. In that empty hollowness of her chest, a part of her wanted to feel a little piece of that again.

Remy's interest in New Age things gave her an interesting hook but the catalyst for the danger she gets put in, using money she found in her house that she assumed was her conman ex-fiance's, to start her dream business, gave her an aggravating clueless personality as the story went on. It's obvious from early on that she should tell Asher, who is a cop or any of her other two friends who are cops, that a maybe mob guy is after her because of the money she used. The group of friends the series seems to follow provided some good friendships for Remy. I liked how the other two women, Peyton (heroine from first book) and Kinsley (bestfriend of Remy and sister to hero from book one) supported and laughed with one another.

He cupped her face, then brought his mouth close to hers, and before he claimed the kiss, he said, “I’m here and I’m not going anywhere.”

This book seemed to have a little too much going on, the heavy issues Asher personally had to deal with (his mother's suicide, alcoholic father), Remy being in possible danger from the mob, and their healing from a painful past while trying to build a current romance; these threads never had focus or time enough to go into the depth I needed to get me emotionally involved. The ending was more anticlimactic for me as the have to marry for inheritance forced these two together at around the 85% mark and then gave a quick “oh I guess I do want to be married to you” turn around that provided no emotional fulfillment. Basically, Remy and Asher's journey didn't flow for me, they had some sweet moments but emotions, thoughts, and actions contradicted for sake of dragging the story out. There was a secondary romance teased between Kinsley and Rhett (Kinsley's brother's bestfriend and fellow cop) that might have me checking out the third in the series.

Reading Update: 50%

Wicked Sinner - Stacey Kennedy

Second chance romance and sweet/spicy tacos
That cover providing some Thirsty Thursday ;)

 

Wicked Sinner by Stacey Kennedy purchase link

 

Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Chicken Tacos recipe

 

Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch

Scot Under the Covers - Suzanne Enoch

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.

Shackled by an agreement that he had no part of, Aden is in London forced to find an English bride before his younger sister gets married. When his soon to be brother-in-law's sister makes her disdain know for him immediately, he is intrigued.
Miranda's brother is in trouble and somehow she is the one who is going to end up paying the price, but she won't go down without a fight.
Two people whose futures are trying to be set by others might just find hope in each other.

They didn't call him the elusive MacTaggert brother for no reason.

Second in the Wild Wicked Highlanders series, Scot Under the Covers starts a couple weeks after the first in the series. New readers might miss some of the MacTaggert family background and dynamics but there was enough rehashing to keep them from totally being lost. I do recommend reading the first however, as I enjoyed it and I think it lays down the foundation for the series. Aden is the middle brother and the most mysterious, he keeps his cards very close to the chest and his emotions contained, no one really knows exactly what he is thinking and feeling. While we were introduced to her brother Matthew in the first, Miranda makes her first appearance here and she comes off snobby as she insults Aden right away. Readers learn that Miranda's uncle had to leave England because of gambling debt and that Matthew has gambling issues too. All Miranda knows of Aden in the beginning is that he likes to gamble, so with all the hurt gambling has caused her family, she wants nothing to do with Aden.

That was her problem now, he realized. She saw a trap, knew it to be a trap, hadn't even stepped into it herself, but now she couldn't find a way out of it.

The crux of the story is that Matthew lost 50,000 pounds to a Captain Vale who threatens to ruin their family unless Matthew promises Miranda will marry him. Miranda is, obviously, upset about this and goes to Aden for help on how Vale thinks and if, as a gambler, he knows of anyway to get Matthew out of the debt. It was a little bit flimsy of reasoning but I went along with it and the story started off sparking with Miranda being cold to Aden, Aden not letting her just get away with her rudeness from the beginning, and then the emotional simmer starting to seep through from the couple. The middle, unfortunately, was too loose and dragging. Aden is constantly portrayed as having a grand plan or scheme but since he is so self-contained, he doesn't want to tell anyone, not even Miranda, his plans. This works for awhile as Miranda and him are getting to know one another but the reader is also kept in the dark. The middle was a constant back and forth of Miranda wanting him to share what was going on and Aden simply saying trust me. What really made dragging through the middle not worth it was the ending, the whole grand scheme Aden was supposed to be working towards, gets thrown away and an extremely simple action is taken instead. It made it feel like the whole middle had no point.

If she genuinely disliked him he'd turn elsewhere, but beneath the sparring between them, perhaps even because of it, he felt...something. A slow, brewing lightning storm that made the hair lift on his arms and had him anticipating things he couldn't yet put a name to.

Miranda and Aden had chemistry, I wished there had been more scenes focused on them together; there was a hallway scene with them alone that simmered and heated up the pages. There were two bedroom scenes, the heat level was lower in this one, in regards to what is currently being published. Aden is constantly wondering if Miranda is pretending to like him to keep him helping or beginning to like him because she feels indebted to him and Miranda isn't sure if Aden likes her or is just helping for his sister's sake. Both of these are credible angst issues but Aden's pretty quick internal “she's my lass” and admitted in love, had me missing some aspect of relationship development. Miranda's growing feelings get lost in favor of the whole grand scheme to get her out of Captain Vale's clutches.

At that moment he looked up and his gaze met hers. He took half a step in her direction before he smoothly altered course and continued with his conversation about wild berries in Scotland. That motion, though---it was the first time she'd seen him make a misstep in...well, in anything. And it had been in reaction to her.

Again, since Aden is more closed off, the two other MacTaggert brothers don't really come into the story until later; I think their relationship shined more in the first. I did think the emotional issues with his mother (she left him and his three brothers in the highlands and took the daughter with her to London, never visiting them because of animosity with husband) had more depth and he makes her work for a first step to rebuilding love and trust, more than was portrayed in the first. Captain Vale gave a very villainy villain, some harsh moments from him, and while not completely rounded out for me, his backstory and reasons gets somewhat rushed at the end, he did his job providing the danger.

Whatever disaster had led her to this point, whatever subsequent madness had seized her, nothing had ever made her feel what she felt right now as she waltzed with Aden MacTaggert.

A stirring beginning and a too loose middle that dragged, giving way to an ending that disregarded all the work of making it through the middle, made this a little bit of a frustrating read. The set-up of the series is still strong though, and I care about the characters and Enoch has the ability to create heat inducing and emotionally stirring scenes. The eldest MacTaggert still needs to find his match and I still definitely want to read about it.

His fingers tightened momentarily on her shoulder, and then his warm mouth brushed against the nape of her neck. “Ye may just undo me, lass. I look forward to that.”

50%

Scot Under the Covers - Suzanne Enoch

For a moment he thought he'd finally earned a slap after all, but then she took half a step back and he realized she'd gone up on her toes to kiss him back. And whatever else he might discover today about plots and villains, that seemed the most significant. She'd met him halfway.

#DollyPartonChallenge

Reading Update: Page 1

Scot Under the Covers - Suzanne Enoch

Sunday is for tea, muffins, doggo companions, and good books.

Really enjoyed the first in the series and now can’t wait to see another MacTaggert fall in love.
Coming out this Tuesday!

 

Scot Under the Covers by Suzanne Enoch pre-order link

 

Cinnamon Roll Muffins with Cream Cheese Frosting recipe

Since these have frosting, I know muffin purists will raise eyebrow but I swear these taste like muffins. Just better because of the light frosting on them

 

Desired by a Highlander by Donna Fletcher

Desired by a Highlander (Macardle Sisters of Courage Trilogy Book 2) - Donna Fletcher

I received this book in a giveaway. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

Captured on her way to her sister, Willow finds herself in a precarious situation. When her jailer decides to throw her in a hole with a naked man, things go from bad to worse. Slatter is currently on the losing end of his back and forth battle with a man named Beck. He's been planning to escape but when an innocent woman is thrown into his jail with him, he knows he must stay to protect her.

Willow thinks she knows Slatter but lies, revenge, and the truth are all about to be revealed.

 

A woman only belongs to a man if she’s wed to him. So if you want to leave here with her, you’ll wed her,”

 

Second in the Macardle Sisters of Courage Trilogy, I would highly suggest reading the first. The story begins right away with the action, Willow being kidnapped, and I had no idea the who and whys of the situation. There was other background information that would have been helpful, character motivations and how they were all tied together, by family or enemies. There was also an overuse of the word “poke” (sex), it was used 22 times with the second and third chapter, that became extremely tiresome and redundant to read. I personally like to see emotional/mental growth in my leads romance before the sexual occurs and this had Slatter giving Willow an orgasm within the first three chapters. This put me in the mindset that the story was going to be steamier but the tone changes and the sexual aspect actually doesn't really appear until later in the story, this made the beginning feel even more separate from the rest.

 

The war between Slatter and Beck, was confusing for me and I didn't understand their connection and animosity (maybe something I missed from not reading the first) and when the story moves on to Willow and Slatter at her brother's, it is forgotten for while in favor of a different one, involving characters thinking Slatter is a lying, adulterous, killer. The author keeps Willow and Slatter together through a forced marriage and they move to caring for each other and suddenly not wanting to get divorced very quickly. Willow and Slatter try to convince everyone that someone who looks exactly like Slatter is impersonating him and that guy is the true villain. This story thread also left me confused and not feeling it was fully fleshed out, again, characters and reasons felt left out.

 

A husband sees to his wife’s care. I am your husband and I will be your husband until I am no more.”

 

I really think if you read this series in order, you would get more out of it. You'd have the foundation for the three sisters each book centers, the hows, whys, and character relationships. The first sister isn't shown in this but the third and youngest sister, Snow, has a teased enemies-to-lovers romance with the Lord of Fire, someone wanting Slatter dead for supposedly killing one of his warriors.

 

As a new reader to the series I was lost on character relationships and didn't fully grasp storylines. There was an interesting revenge plot but with the other threads going on, especially the whole Slayer, a man who mysteriously appears when you ask for his help in killing the “unjust”, mystery that felt tagged on in the end and didn't land the shock or emotional impact it should have. I ended up feeling lost for most of the story and never really connected with Willow and Slatter's romance.

Reading Update: Page 1

Desired by a Highlander (Macardle Sisters of Courage Trilogy Book 2) - Donna Fletcher

Happy Reading and eating Friday! 

 

Desired by a Highlander by Donna Fletcher purchase link

 

BBQ Ranch Turkey Veggie Skillet recipe

I doubled the bbq sauce and think it was a bit too much, would do at least a 1/3 more

 

 

 

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh

A Madness of Sunshine - Nalini Singh

4.7 stars

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.

Anahera is going back to her hometown, a place that she never wanted to return to but somehow finds she needs the comfort of. While there, Miriama, a young beautiful girl disappears while out jogging and Anahera finds herself helping the new town cop, Will, uncover the secrets of Golden Cove and it's residents.

She returned home two hundred and seventeen days after burying her husband while his pregnant mistress sobbed so hard that she made herself sick.

In this standalone, Singh has written an intoxicating mystery suspense. The writing was smooth in a way that sucked me in and wouldn't let me go; I was lost in the beautifully dark atmosphere. Readers are pulled in with the character of Anahera, a woman who grew-up in Golden Cove. Her father was an abusive alcoholic who her mother didn't kick out until he began to turn his abuse on Anahera. While she still has friends that live in Golden Cove, it's not a place of happy memories for her. The background Singh creates for Anahera, abusive father, widowhood that surprises her with a husband who cheated on her, and a miscarriage, all perfectly shapes the character we see on the pages, steely contained, strong, and heartfelt willing.

“Everyone has secrets,” he repeated after completing the maneuver. “It's often the people who look like they have no secrets at all who turn out to have the biggest ones.”

While we're led into the story by Anahera, she gives us the lay of the land and townspeople, the emotional aspect, the new town cop Will leads the technical, murder mystery part that takes over the middle of the story. As a reader, I was emotionally locked in the story because of how Singh quickly and thoroughly created a web spun with the townspeople from Anahera's experiences and feelings about them. This made me eager to follow along with Will as he gathered evidence and tries to piece together the how and why about Miriama's disappearance. While I didn't connect as much with Will, he had his own layered backstory of how he ended up in Golden Cove and gave credence to his feelings and actions. The focus of the story is the mystery of Miriama's disappearance but for those looking for it, the bonding relationship that develops between Anahera and Will, infuses the story with a slow burn romance.

That was the thing with this town---the way the gossip flowed, you'd think you knew everything. But there were secrets here, a thick tide of lava beneath the surface.

Along with the atmosphere and emotions evoked, the details that Singh includes made this story a cut above for me. How Will goes about the investigation and the facts and alluding he finds or is told along the way kept my eyes on everyone. When Will finds out that three woman hikers disappeared from the Golden Cove area fourteen years ago too, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. If you weren't feeling the atmosphere as much as I, I could see how the middle could drag a touch, as there might be considered one too many red-herring dancing to and away reasons given out. I also thought the villain(s) reveal started to creep into info dump reveal as it went on a beat too long. The ending also felt abrupt but it could be me just not wanting to say goodbye to these characters. A Madness of Sunshine was a small town mystery suspense that showcased the good, bad, and ugly of a small New Zealand town while chilling me to the soul at times and at others, having me smile through the tears.

Reading Update: 50%

A Madness of Sunshine - Nalini Singh

I’m about halfway through this and am loving how Singh has set the atmosphere and put me in the setting. Amazing writing.
Also, pleeeeease be ok Miriama!

 

A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh purchase link

 

Spice Lemon Garlic Baked Tilapia recipe

I doubled the amount of red pepper flakes

 

Secondary romance had more spark

The Secret Mistress - Mary Balogh

For quotes, comments, and deeper review - The Secret Mistress Buddy Read

I usually love Balogh, so I don't know what happened with this one. A lot of the story is spent in the heroine and hero's head and when there were scenes in present time acted out, they were dragged on.

I enjoyed the heroine, she was sheltered from growing up in the country but her naivety, openness, and honesty felt very genuine and not Mary Sue-ish. She also made friends with who she thinks the hero loves and it wasn't done in maliciousness but because she genuinely liked aspects of the woman's personality.

The hero is thought to be dull, in comparison to his wild brother, and I honestly had to agree, he did come off dull. His character didn't get colored in until towards the ending.

There was a secondary romance that had way more spark and chemistry and I wished this had been their story instead.

70%

The Secret Mistress - Mary Balogh

"Love, Edward thought broodingly. What the devil did it mean? It meant all the euphoria of romance and all the underlying but unspoken power of lust, obviously. Perhaps it had only to be believed in to be experienced. But was there any real substance to it?"

 

More quotes and comments - The Secret Mistress Buddy Read