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Whiskey in the Jar Romance

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Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

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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

Meant to Be Mine by Lisa Marie Perry

Meant to Be Mine (Guilty Pleasures) - Lisa Marie Perry

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.

Sofia hasn't been back to Eaves ever since her father moved them away but it’s never been far from her heart. Leaving behind her Aunt Luz and bestfriend Burke was hard but with her heart transplant issues, she felt it needed to be done.
Burke had a turbulent home life and turned to drugs and alcohol but Sofia made him want to be better. When she left, he went into a downward spiral but eventual managed to get himself clean.
When Sofia comes back to town, old feelings that were never really buried come back to the forefront.
 
The first in a new series, Meant to Be Mine, focuses on Sofia. In a little bit of a women's fiction feel we get more about her dealing with all aspects of her life than a straight romantic relationship building with Burke. There aren't a lot of flashbacks to them and their highschool days but they discuss their highschool relationship to give the reader a good feel for it. With Sofia's heart issues, she eventual ends up getting a heart transplant, and her mother leaving her, father resenting her and being in jail for awhile and Burke's father blaming him for his mother's death and abusing him, it definitely showed how they were too young to process everything, including their feelings for one another. They were each other's rock in highschool but when Sofia does her best to push Burke away and then leaves town, they don't speak for many years.
 
The beginning of the story had a pretty rough and disjointed start, which I, unfortunately, felt last throughout the story. There is more than one pov and the secondary characters that consisted of Sofia's friend and townspeople, are obviously being set up for their own books. The secondary characters had interesting stories and who they are going to be paired up with made them enticing but the way they were inserted into the story made it feel off kilter. It also felt as if the author was trying to hit every single popular trend, motorcycle club guy, lumberjack looking guy, secret parental abuse, and the list goes on, there was even a mention of a Navy SEAL who I imagine will eventual make an appearance. Our two lead characters had extensive background stories on their own but then add in the secondary characters' drama and the story ended up feeling extremely overstuffed.
 
With so much going on, I never felt like I got to connect with Sofia and Burke, and with them already knowing and basically falling in love with each other in highschool, there wasn't a lot of building blocks to their relationship. They're hot for each other, they make-out, and they say hurtful things to one another, and rinse and repeat for 90% of the story, when we do get to see them together. Although, I did like how Burke's addiction and recovery from alcohol and drugs was shown to be a lifetime battle and not a mere mention that he just decided to get clean one day, it provided a realism and depth to the character.
 
Overall, this story was a bit too schizophrenic for me and the structure felt disordered. If you're looking for less of a focus on a single romantic relationship and wanting to invest in more than one couple, then this series looks like it has a few set-ups for you.