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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

A Knight of Her Own
Oberon Wonch
Forbidden
Helen Kirkman
Progress: 35%

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

60%

A Devil in the Details: A Jesse James Dawson Novel   [DEVIL IN THE DETAILS] [Mass Market Paperback] - By (author) K A Stewart

Ivan cursed, using words and terms I didn’t want to understand. “You and this honor of yours. Sometimes, honor must be put aside!”

“And that’s usually when you need it the most.”

Reading Update: 20%

A Devil in the Details: A Jesse James Dawson Novel   [DEVIL IN THE DETAILS] [Mass Market Paperback] - By (author) K A Stewart

A samurai who turns his back on those in need is no better than any other common thug. He should protect the weak and advocate for good over evil. Shirking that duty would be a great act of dishonor. And that’s just not who I am.

35%

Forbidden - Helen Kirkman

She had placed her body between him and his target. She had no weapons. None but those that women had. Words and looks. And the hidden thoughts of the mind.

More comments and quotes - Buddy Read Forbidden

Reading Update: 15%

Forbidden - Helen Kirkman

Weakness. The weak got trampled on. The weak were killed. And they brought death where they should have been able to protect. She would never walk that road again.

Intrigued by heroine,enjoying atmosphere created so far

More quotes,comments - Buddy Read Forbidden

Reading Update: 30%

Midnight Kiss - Rebecca York

"What mythical creature has cloven hoofs and walks on two legs?" Matthew suddenly demanded.

Jessica's head snapped up.  "Pan.  The Greek God of the Forests.  Or the... the devil."

Stray Magic by Kelly Meding

Stray Magic - Kelly Meding

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.

Shiloh is a U.S. Marshall in the Paranormal Investigation Unit. Her have to be available at all hours job makes relationships difficult, to say the least. However, her current boyfriend Vincent has her wondering if maybe more could be on the horizon, until a Vampire decides to take over a trailer park.
It is all on Shiloh as her boss goes missing, black magic is creeping around, and enemies and allies get switched around. 
 
First in a new Urban Fantasy series, Stray Magic doesn't mess around in dropping you into the world, so much so, I felt a bit lost and overwhelmed in the beginning. This is the first in the series but I couldn't help feeling I was missing some background in regards to character relationships. There are some info dumps for the world building but with references to super computers and advanced technology alongside a video rental store and flip phones, it was hard to set the story in a time and place. The acknowledgment of some supernatural and paranormal beings, being known to the world, is just that, a brief acknowledgement. I would have liked a more thorough explanation of the world; this feeling was tied into feeling like this wasn't the start of the series. 
 
Told in first person from our heroine Shiloh's point-of-view, she is our leader through the story. She is half djinn half human with abilities to grant three wishes and has Quarrel pheromones that are hard for her to control. She is tough, snarky, and fun to follow along with but it was hard to feel her emotional connection to the other characters, thus, making secondary characters feel vaguer. 
 
This story is basically Shiloh trying to solve a mystery with supernatural beings and seemingly involved in, not a love triangle, but love quad. Shiloh has her boyfriend Vincent, who, she keeps saying, she wants more with, the vampire Tennyson who she spends the most time with and while it seems there may be more on his side, there are leanings from her, and her co-worker and ex, Jaxon. What we get from her thoughts about Jaxon are mostly, her observations about how hot he looks, how pretty his eyes are, and remembering how much she liked him in the bedroom; it doesn't feel deep. There seems to be or was a deeper relationship between them but we never see it and I never felt it. 
 
The mystery/thriller angle of investigating who is behind the necromancy and black magic was fun to follow along with but we barely got to know the villain and the wrap-up of that part was rushed. There are some shocking twists along the way but some felt unsupported making the plot threads feel wild and loosely thrown about. 
 
Shiloh was a solid character but emotional connections to secondary characters helping us get to know them and create a setting and world was lacking. There was an outline of the supernatural world but random components (Shiloh's quarrel pheromones, Crux sexual transport) were thrown out there and never really integrated with the story and characters. There are loose ends at the end of the story with part of the mystery not solved and the quad love angle getting a twist. If looking for a female lead urban fantasy with supernatural beings running amok, this would fit the bill, just be prepared for this to feel more like a dry first reading and hope for emotional connections/understandings/payoffs to come in the second.

Reading Update: 50%

Barely A Bride - Rebecca Hagan Lee

“You read too much,” Lady Tressingham said flatly. “And you think too much. It puts silly notions in your head.”

More quotes and comments - Buddy Read Barely A Bride

Scattered

Risky Business - Melissa Cutler

Some parts were 2 stars and some 4 stars. This felt very scattered with injured in some way former military members playing for a hockey team (Bomb Squad) who win a chance for an exhibition game against Russians. The hero is Theo, French Canadian who lives with TBI (traumatic brain injury), and he has been running and trying to buy a boat rental business.
Heroine is Allison who has filed for divorce, is pregnant, and husband just got busted for embezzlement. Boat rental business is only thing free from embezzlement so she shows up to run it. 

They clash!

It was a little cringe at times with "he's mean to her because he likes her" but the author would also throw in things like hero thinking "No means no" and other very clear great boundary lines. He's gruff but also very shout-y with some anger management issues, he never crossed a line for me but at the same time, he's lucky his butt is in fictionland.
There's a big cast of characters that are obviously going to get their own books and the author did a good job drawing you into their stories. 

Just a ton of working parts to this, it makes it feel very scattered and a good amount of storylines end up feeling useless. Maybe first in series syndrome or maybe we should have just had military dudes and left the hockey out (I can't believe I said that but really all you get is some menacing on ice looks from hero). 

I did enjoy how the heroine's baby felt like a purse or accessory in the way she was included in the story, lol.

Will be reading the next in the series because there was some humor, great female relationships, and main couple interaction that was enjoyable. Hopefully, the next one doesn't feel so scattered and be more focused.

Reading Update: 20%

Risky Business - Melissa Cutler

He wasn’t going to stand on the dock embracing his boss while they had a philosophical discussion on the Darwinian importance of fear.

Not usual Milan magic

After the Wedding - Courtney Milan

“I could not have been more lucky in my choice of women to not be married to” he said. 

A road romance that lacked in the romance/chemistry between couple and a bit of a tangled plot. The middle sagged a bit and as this was where our couple spent the most time together and was supposed to shine, it definitely hurt my enjoyment. 

They are forced to marry and the hero spends the majority of the story thinking annulment and I know that is supposed to be the angst, him falling in love subconsciously or what have you but I never felt this and as a consequence, they ended up lacking chemistry. 

Hero was a very trusting, honest to a fault, and gentle man; I almost wonder if Milan consciously had him lean heavily in this direction as a contrast to usual aggressive black male more typically portrayed. I warred with myself if my personal like of more assertive or gruff heroes colored my liking of Adrian or if Milan ended up making him very benign. Which, I guess, nothing wrong with benign but in my fiction reading tastes, it makes them a bit boring. 

Heroine got locked into showcasing pretty much only one aspect of her personality, the desire and need to be chosen; would have liked to have seen more of her. The fight she had with her sister that kept them separated also felt a bit overdone, she really would never had tried to contact Judith? 

The whole story just felt a little directionless and a bit listless. There are of course wonderful Milan moments and characters, which I'm not sure I fully agree with some reviews that say there were too many issues tackled in this. The varied and diverse cast of characters didn't feel like Milan inserting issues, they just felt like characters. The woman gregariously stating her favoritism for women over men, who was a complete stranger to Adrian and Camilla, felt a bit out of place but out and proud had to start with someone.

Overall, the Milan magic was missing for me with this one, Camilla wasn't a standout heroine, the romance was lacking, and the plot with warring Reverends and Bishops was tangled. Looking forward to Adrian's brother Captain Grayson (dare I hope for some sweet high seas action??) in the next book and Camilla's sister Theresa as she searches for her half-sister (more high seas action??) in a future installment.

60%

After the Wedding - Courtney Milan

Instead, she reached out and took Kitty’s hands impulsively. “None of us have to be Half-Price anything anymore, you hear?”

 

Milan is a master at writing seemingly innocuous lines that one, two seconds after reading have my eyes watering. 

Reading Update: 30%

After the Wedding - Courtney Milan

Being told that she’d ruined herself so thoroughly that prostitution was her best option would not have been Camilla’s conversation of choice on the day after her wedding. 

Hate the hero

The Courtesan Duchess - Joanna Shupe
For more quotes and comments - Buddy Read Courtesan Duchess



Hero marries young heroine, leaves before they even consummate wedding night and stays away for YEARS. Why? His father made him get married because he wants to make sure hero continues the family line. Hero does not want to continue line because he hates his father. Why hero didn't just leave before getting married? I don't know. 

Heroine is left to the horrible mother-in-law who doesn't live in their home and gets a stipend controlled by the cousin who wants the dukedom to himself. Realizing she has to do something to insure her and her aunt aren't left destitute in the streets by the getting worse cousin. Heroine decides to get hero's friend, who she has becomes friends with too, to bring her to hero in Italy and pretend to be a courtesan and get pregnant, with hopefully a boy so she can gain control of the dukedom's riches. 

What follows is a bunch of sex that I skimmed because the insta-lust was immediate and I didn't feel connected or that I knew the hero and heroine to let alone feel connected to them as a couple. I honestly felt the hero was trash and he never redeemed himself. After he finds out the courtesan he was hot for was his wife, he calls her a whore and then thinks she was pregnant by some other dude and was trying to pass it off as his. He stays away from her as we get massive month jumps and only shows up when she goes into labor. He was staying away because if she gave birth too early he would know the baby wasn't his. He never grows to trust the heroine's word. 

I do like the set-up of the abandoned wife taking charge to get hers or what seems like in this case, survival but the hero was just absolutely trash. The writing fundamentals were good but wasn't a fan of the plot or characterizations.

 

Reading Update: 35%

My Seductive Innocent (A  Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 2) - Julie Johnstone

“It’s lucky you met me, then. You have the power to make me a lady, and I have the ability to soften your heart.”

Reading Update: 50%

The Courtesan Duchess - Joanna Shupe

 

Not sure I'm liking this hero. I haven't seen tags for it but this just about reads as an erotica.

For more comments/quotes - Buddy Read Courtesan Duchess

Personal dislikes

The Viscount and the Vixen - Lorraine Heath

I thought I could do this one because I enjoy Heath's writing but my personal dislike issues got in the way. Not a fan of secret trying to pass off as hero's baby angst, insta-lust, or first chapter starting off like this:

Leaning forward, he dug his elbows into his thighs. “I’m simply striving to determine why a woman as young and lovely as yourself would be willing to lie on her back so a man as shriveled as my father can slide on top of her.”
“Locke!” his father bellowed. “You’ve gone too far. Get the hell out.”
“It’s quite all right, my lord,” she said calmly, never taking her challenging gaze from Locke’s, not flinching, not blushing, not so much as arching a thinly shaped eyebrow at him. “I don’t see that your father’s preferred position for coupling is really any of your concern. Perhaps he will take me standing while coming in at me from behind. Or on my knees. Or upside down. But I assure you, he will not be shriveled.” 
Then she slowly lowered those damned whiskey eyes to his lap, and he cursed his cock’s betrayal. With startling detail, images of him with her in all those positions had flown through his mind. He’d grown so hard and aching that he couldn’t have gotten up and walked out if he wanted.
 


In a contemporary, would love this heroine's response, in historical, just not what I am personally looking for.