The Angels’ Share (The Bourbon Kings #2) by J.R. Ward

In Charlemont, Kentucky, the Bradford family is the crème de la crème of high society—just like their exclusive brand of bourbon. And their complicated lives and vast estate are run by a discrete staff who inevitably become embroiled in their affairs. This is especially true now, when the apparent suicide of the family patriarch is starting to look more and more like murder…
No one is above suspicion—especially the eldest Bradford son, Edward. The bad blood between him and his father is known far and wide, and he is aware that he could be named a suspect. As the investigation into the death intensifies, he keeps himself busy at the bottom of a bottle—as well as with his former horse trainer’s daughter. Meanwhile, the family’s financial future lies in the perfectly manicured hands of a business rival, a woman who wants Edward all to herself.
Everything has consequences; everybody has secrets. And few can be trusted. Then, at the very brink of the family’s demise, someone thought lost to them forever returns to the fold. Maxwell Bradford has come home. But is he a savior…or the worst of all the sinners?

I think the fact that the author got past all the introductions, history and back story in The Bourbon Kings, is the main reason that I liked The Angels’ Share even better than the first book in the series. Either that or the Bradfords are starting to grow on me.

On the surface, it was easy to form opinions on all the Bradford siblings, but once you got to know them, you realized there was much more to them than what was on the surface. The more I got to know them, the more I sympathized with them.

There were twists, turns, secrets and more than a few revelations. The deception and the pure… well I’m not sure how to describe exactly what drove the head of the Bradford family to do what he did to pretty much everyone he should have cared about. The more that was revealed, the more that I had no problem cheering on whoever put an end to his reign – as long as they got away with it. In the end, I’m still not sure that the right person was brought to justice.

There’s so much more to come, which means that since Devil’s Cut is the last book in the Bourbon Kings series, it has a lot of ground to cover. The are more than a few loose ends, at least one person that needs to be taken down a notch and a mystery or two that needs to be solved.

A Wicked Song (The Brilliance Trilogy #2) by Lisa Renee Jones

Kace August: famous, intense, dark, addictive. Aria Alard: a woman with secrets, passion, and a dangerous past. Passion. Secrets. Mystery. Aria fell hard for Kace. She trusted him. But did he deserve that trust? And where is Gio?

The good news is that A Wicked Song takes up exactly where A Reckless Note left off. The bad news is, the second book in The Brilliance Trilogy ends in another cliff hanger that leaves readers stunned. So much so that my initial reaction when I finished was simply “Gah!” Articulate, I know, but sometimes there are just no words…

I’m going to apologize ahead of time for the vagueness of this review. I usually gush over books that I love as much as I’ve loved both books in this series, but there are some pretty crazy turn of events in A Wicked Song. So many that I’m afraid if I say too much, I’ll inadvertently give something away. What I can say is that the writing in A Wicked Song was just as lyrical as in A Reckless Note. Not flowery or over the top, but the style fit the subject of the story as well as the characters.

Once again, readers only got Aria’s POV, but that was enough, even though it was frustrating at times. Having Kace’s POV would have totally changed the feel of the story – especially in the beginning. The supporting characters were great (I’m kind of in love with a certain body guard BTW.) Most of them made me want to go in search of their own personal stories in previous books. Although I think I’ll wait until I’ve completed The Brilliance Trilogy first. There’s a certain mystery behind them from Aria’s POV that makes them even more intriguing. 😉

The end of A Reckless Note was shocking as well as heartbreaking. The end of A Wicked Song? Shocking pretty much covers it along with “Gah!” and the fact that September 22 can’t come soon enough for the release of A Sinful Encore. ❤

A Reckless Note (Brilliance Trilogy #1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Passion, seduction, and my family’s secret that could change everything. I went looking for my missing brother, but instead, I found him: Kace August. He’s dark. He’s dangerous. He makes me want things I can’t have and brings me into a world of forbidden seduction. But I just can’t seem to walk away.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the vagueness of this review. Mostly because I absolutely refuse to give any spoilers and so much happens, so many little secrets are revealed along the way that I don’t want to take a chance on giving anything away. *sigh*

This book is told from Aria’s POV and as much as I love stories that are told from alternating POVs, there’s a reason for not getting inside Kace’s head. Aria doesn’t reveal her secrets, even to the reader, right away. She’s kept them close for as long as she can remember. She was taught at a young age how to keep herself safe from those who might want to harm her and her family. Kace makes her want things that she never dared to even wish for. He makes her want to let her guard down, but he seems to be hiding some secrets as well…

It’s fitting that this book and series are centered around music because the writing has the same kind of flow. It wasn’t flowery, but it as close. I found myself getting lost in the story. It was hard to put down and before I knew it, it was over… for now. It’s a good thing that there isn’t a long time span between A Reckless Note and A Wicked Song because the signature cliff hanger was brutal.

Just a FYI – there are a lot of references and characters from previous series, but I didn’t find it confusing or distracting. If anything, those references made me want to go back and discover what I’ve missed from this author. If anything, I think the fact that Aria didn’t know any of the characters added to the mystery behind them.

The Somerset Girls by Lori Foster

No one knows you quite like a sister…
Summer in Sunset, Kentucky, means long, hot days—and sometimes surprising new beginnings. Through it all, the ties of sisterhood will be there, guiding Autumn and Ember to the lives, and loves, they need…
When they’re running the animal-rescue farm they inherited from their grandparents, Autumn and Ember Somerset are perfectly in sync. At all other times, not so much. Dependable Autumn would rather curl up with a good book than paint the town red with Ember. After the disaster that was Autumn’s last relationship, it’s pure self-protection. But when her high school crush comes back to town with his adorable young daughter, igniting memories best left forgotten, there’s only one person Autumn can turn to…
Beneath Ember’s free-spirited facade is a layer of deep hurt. She’ll gladly nudge Autumn toward a second chance. But risk her own heart? Not likely. The closer Autumn gets to her own happily-ever-after, the more Ember wonders what she might be missing—and if it isn’t her time to be bold, too.

I’ve been a fan of Lori Foster for a while now. The first book that I read by her was A Perfect Storm, which happens to be the last book in her Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series. I know, I know – not the best way to dive into a series, but it got me hooked and I’ve recently started at the beginning of the series, so there is that. What I’ve discovered is that although I love the sweet romances, I think I get wrapped up in the romantic suspense more. For the record, I knew that little tidbit before I picked up The Somerset Girls. My reading’s eclectic, remember? So I won’t turn down a book from pretty much any genre, especially when it’s written by an author I love and this author definitely falls into that category. 😉

Which brings us to The Somerset Girls… It follows two sisters and their search for love… even if they didn’t realize they were looking. Autumn and Ember are almost total opposites. The one thing that they have in common is their fierce love of each other and animals. They’ve also experienced their own share of heartbreak and it’s pretty much turned them off romance – at least they thought that it had. Ember is determined to make sure that Autumn gets another chance at love and Autumn is determined to make sure that Ember gets that same chance. With well-meaning yet clueless parents; a precociously adorable, yet heartbroken little girl; an old flame that knows exactly how much he screwed up the first time around and a farm hand determined to prove he cares and can be trusted to help mend a broken heart, The Somerset Girls was a sweet story filled with love and hope. Aren’t those the best kind?

Flying Gold (American Heavy Metal #2) by Vanessa North

American Heavy Metal is Tiffani Ellis’s sanctuary, or at least it was before her dad died. Being in charge means her own dreams are firmly on the back burner. Now she spends as much time fixing problems as she does the cars she loves. She’s already struggling to find her feet; the last thing she needs is the man who broke her heart showing up at her shop with a car he doesn’t deserve to touch, much less own.
Matt Adams left town, moved to the west coast and became a big shot. But his passion for cars never waned, and neither did his regret over how things ended with Tiffani. Now he’s back, his dream car in tow. He’s gearing up for a big race, he needs help and he knows exactly where to find it.
Tiffani won’t turn down a paying job, but working with Matt stirs up feelings best left buried. What was left behind them is irresistible, but it doesn’t take long to realize that a few hot nights will never be enough. Sex is easy, but forgiveness is not…

It was nice being back in Royal with all the Ellis crew. Readers were introduced to all of them in Hard Chrome, the first book in Vanessa North’s American Heavy Metal series, but we didn’t get to know Tiffani very well. Although I think I enjoyed the first book a little bit more, there was still a lot to love about Flying Gold.

This book was told from both Matt and Tiffani’s POV, which was a good thing, because the Ellis’ opinion of Matt was more than a little bit biased. Even though he broke Tiffani’s heart when they were both in their teens, seeing him again brought back all that pain. Without Matt’s POV, readers wouldn’t have known how much he regretted hurting his first love and how much he still cared.

Flying Gold was also about grief and how each of the siblings were dealing with the loss of their father, but especially Tiffani. She wasn’t exactly self destructive, but she was a thrill seeker, especially when it came to cars and speed. As much as she didn’t want to face Matt, her sister reminded her that they couldn’t afford to turn business away. Plus, she couldn’t resist working on his car. That car was what initially brought them together, but their continued attraction brought them closer.

It took a while for Tiffani to start to trust Matt and there were a couple of bumps along the way. Matt was determined to prove himself, because he didn’t want to let her slip away again. The big thing he had on his side was that he was always honest with Tiffani, even if that honesty hurt. Even though she still loved him, she had to decide if she could learn to trust him again with her heart.

The next book in the American Heavy Metal series is Salvaged Steel and from the sneak peek that readers were given at the end of Flying Gold, it should prove to be an interesting read. 😉

 

 

The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings #1) by J.R. Ward

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.
For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.
As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

You could say that I’ve read a couple of books by this author. When I found out that J.R. Ward was branching away from vampires, angels and other supernatural beings, I was curious. I honestly can’t remember when I purchased the first book in The Bourbon Kings series, so let’s just say it’s been a while. Since I’ve been making a concentrated effort to pick up more of my neglected physical books in the past few months, it was only a matter of time before this one fell onto that reading list. Now, I’m wondering why it took me so long and when I can get my hands on the next book.

Okay, so The Bourbon Kings didn’t blow me away, but it kept me interested. In true Ward fashion, there was a lot going on in The Bourbon Kings with a lot of different people. That’s bound to happen in any series opener, but it’s also something that I really like about reading a book by this author. (Which is one thing that drives other readers crazy, so it’s worth mentioning.) In this case, Lizzie and Lane are the focus (their story is far from over BTW), but there are a couple of other Bradford siblings that readers learned just a little bit about. Enough for this reader to want more of Edward and Gin and the mysterious Max. There is a LOT of drama going on and things that need to be fixed, but I have no doubt they’re going to be going through a lot more heart break before things get any better.

There was a lot to love in The Bourbon Kings and a lot to hate. As a matter of fact, the more I learned about one particular character, the more I loathed him. My heart broke for the Bradford family *sigh*. I can’t wait to see how things progress in the rest of the series. The Angel’s Share is next so stay tuned.

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Temper (Knights of Fury #3) by Chantal Fernando

Every year, the hot, tatted biker comes into Abbie’s bar, orders whiskey and asks her out. Every year, Abbie turns him down. After all, dating a man that goes by Temper seems like a really bad idea, no matter how attracted she is to him.
But this year is different. Abbie’s different. Older, wiser and tired of being stuck behind the bar in a sleepy town. This year, she’s ready for whatever adventure the sexy but sweet biker has in store for her.
Or so she thinks…until an elegant candlelit dinner ends with a dead body.
Now Abbie finds herself on the ride of her life, whisked away to the big city in Temper’s protective custody. She should be scared, but—despite his nickname—it’s clear the last thing Temper would ever do is hurt a hair on her head. And when danger catches up with them, Abbie soon realizes that holding tight to her man while straddling a Harley may be the safest place of all.

Not exactly enemies to lovers, but pretty close. Abbie and Temper had a standing non-relationship that was good. Temper would ask her out, she would say no and they would part – on good terms. That all changed when Abbie finally said yes – after the one time he didn’t ask her at all. They spent one of the most romantic nights of Abbie’s life, until it ended with her being held hostage – for her own safety.

Minus the kidnapping and obvious danger, this was one of the more fun reads so far in the Knights of Fury series. It was nice seeing how the previous couples were doing and watching the “girls” take Abbie under their wing. It helped Abbie understand the MC much better and gave her someone to vent to – and she needed to vent – a lot!

There were also a lot of twists and turns in Temper along with some pretty surprising revelations that I didn’t see coming. Also, this story was told from Abbie’s POV, which was great, but there were times that I wanted to know what was going on in Temper’s head too… or maybe not? And yeah, these guys are still growing on me – to the point that I’m actually hoping that there’s more. And no, I didn’t see that coming either. 😉

American Sweethearts (Dreamers #4) by Adriana Herrera

Juan Pablo Campos doesn’t do regrets. He’s living the dream as a physical therapist with his beloved New York Yankees. He has the best friends and family in the world and simply no time to dwell on what could’ve been.
Except when it comes to Priscilla, the childhood friend he’s loved for what seems like forever.
New York City police detective Priscilla Gutierrez has never been afraid to go after what she wants. Second guessing herself isn’t a thing she does. But lately, the once-clear vision she had for herself—her career, her relationships, her life—is no longer what she wants.
What she especially doesn’t want is to be stuck on a private jet to the Dominican Republic with JuanPa, the one person who knows her better than anyone else.
By the end of a single week in paradise, the love/hate thing JuanPa and Pris have been doing for sixteen years has risen to epic proportions. No one can argue their connection is still there. And they can both finally admit—if only to themselves—they’ve always been a perfect match. The future they dreamed of together is still within reach…if they can just accept each other as they are.

I have to be honest, this wasn’t my favorite book out of the four, but I still consider it the perfect ending the Dreamers series. Readers who have followed the Dreamers already know Juan and Pris. I suppose that you could read this as a stand alone, but there was a lot of build up to this point.

Juan and Pris have been in a love/hate relationship forever. They grew up together and couldn’t get away from each other, whether they wanted to or not. Their families were too entangled with one another – which is one of my favorite parts of this series.

The main thing that separated them emotionally was Pris’ job. It was their “dream” to go into the police force together, until Juan did an about face. After that, everything centered around the choices that they had made when they were younger. They both moved on, but they kept gravitating toward each other. The attraction and sexual tension between the two of them was off the charts. When they were forced together at a family gathering to celebrate a wedding, that attraction became too much to ignore. Pris thought she was prepared to keep it casual and walk away. What she didn’t know was that Juan had made a concerted effort to make himself worthy of Pris’ love and he wasn’t about to give up.

The Ethnic background of all the characters in the Dreamers series was a huge part of each of their stories. The individual books centered around each character’s dream, but it was more than that. Each character was determined to make their parents proud – because giving each of them the opportunities that they didn’t have was each of their parent’s dreams for their children. I personally loved that aspect. There’s a definite message there…

Off Limits (Kings of Mayhem MC #5) by Penny Dee

RUGER
I was sixteen when she was born.
The niece of my best friend.
An angel with bright blue eyes and hair the color of night.
Through the years I’ve seen her grow from an adorable dimpled cupid into a strong, independent beauty.
Into a goddess.
A temptress.
Fate has brought us together.
But she is off limits.
I’ve got no business wanting her.
No business at all.

CHASTITY
For years I’ve crushed on him.
An older man who makes me tremble.
A biker King whose arms I want to get lost in.
Whose body I can only dream about touching.
Whose lips I’m dying to taste.
I shouldn’t want him.
But I do.
I shouldn’t lust after him.
But tell that to my poor hopeless heart.
I should stay away.
But I won’t.

Well, this was fun. It was pretty easy for me to get past the age thing, especially given the way that Chastity had grown up. No one had a harder time than Ruger though, which was pretty much the center of this story.

Ruger couldn’t stay away from Chastity, but he had to, for his own sanity. Then he did the craziest thing ever – invited her to live with him while her apartment was being repaired. He knew it was crazy, but he couldn’t help it. Having her that close, getting to know her even better, proved to be even more temptation than he expected.

It would have been easier on Ruger if Chastity didn’t any qualms about getting closer to Ruger. Time alone was just what she wanted and she was determined to use that time to her advantage. Watching Ruger squirm was what made this one so much fun.

This is one of those series that has grown on me. I loved the supporting characters, mainly because readers had already been introduced to them and it was fun learning more about them and the interactions between them. I’m kinda hoping we’re going to see more of them in future books.

Hell on Wheels (Kings of Mayhem MC #4) by Penny Dee

I left here a man but came back a beast
CHANCE
A shoulder-fired missile broke my body.
But betrayal obliterated my heart.
For months I lingered in and out of hell until my body healed.
Now I’m back in town with my club brothers. They think I am ok. But I am still fighting a war of darkness in my head and I can’t see a way out.
Then she comes into town like a summer breeze and makes me feel things I didn’t know existed.
She has the voice of an angel and the body of a goddess.
But she is running from her own demons. From the Devil himself.
He’s coming to town and she’s scared. But I’ve walked through hell and survived, and I’ll walk through it again to protect her.

CASSIDY
I’ve spent years running from my past.
Town to town.
State to state.
Never putting down roots.
Because I am running from the Devil himself and if he finds me he will drag me down to hell again.
Then I meet a beautiful, scarred beast of man who makes me feel something for the first time of my life…hope.
He makes me want to stay but thats an impossibility.
Because the Devil is coming for me and when he arrives I won’t stand a chance.

I’ve pretty much liked all the books in this series, even though I put off reading them. Don’t even ask me why, because I have absolutely no idea. Having said that, I think that Hell on Wheels has been my favorite out of all 4 books. All the brothers in Kings of Mayhem were a little bit broken, but Chance was the most broken of them all. Not even those who were closest to him knew exactly how much he had lost in combat. The physical scars were visible, but the emotional ones he kept well hidden. No one could heal those, until Cassidy.

I wanted things to work out for both Cassidy and Chance because they both deserved a break. Even when Cassidy did something stupid that put her in unnecessary danger or when Chance wouldn’t open up. As frustrating as those moments were, they kept the pages turning. The next book in the series is Off Limits and I’m going to try really hard not to put that one off as long as I did the rest of the books in the series.