Thursday, December 7, 2017

Book Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Pages: 400
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Personal Copy
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Lizzie King is a gardener at the colossal estate, Easterly, own by the esteemed Bradford family from Kentucky.  The Bradford family owns one of my most popular bourbon distilleries in the US.  Lizzie loves her job, but when Lane Bradford returns to Easterly, she starts to get a bit anxious. You see, Lane and Lizzie had a hot and heavy affair two years ago and it didn't end well. In fact, her heart is still broken and she can't help but remind herself that she is "hired help" and not a potential girlfriend for Lane.  Lane is dealing with his own issues. He has been hiding out in New York City away from his crazy family life.  His father is abusive, his mother is sick,  and his siblings have more issues than Vogue.  Plus, Lane is married and hasn't seen his "wife" in a long time, which is fine by him, because their relationship is a sham and he plans to end it officially. When home, sparks ignite again between Lane and Lizzie, but there are more pressing issues.  Lane's father is hiding some major secrets. Secrets that could destroy the family.  J.R. Ward's soap-opera-ish tale, The Bourbon Kings, is simply so, so, so much fun; I was immediately hooked and loved the wild ride.

Lizzie is the type of character that I like in The Bourbon Kings. I could understand where she was coming from and while I didn't always agree with her decisions, I get her attraction to Lane.  But man, the course of true love never did run smooth, right? Welp, that goes for Lizzie and Lane as well. Once you think maybe, just maybe, they have another chance, the other shoe drops and disaster is looming. I actually liked these two together once I figured out exactly why Lane skipped town and why he is married.

Lane is a fantastic protagonist in The Bourbon Kings. He's the type of hot male lead that you like in a TV show....the good looking bad boy who breaks hearts left and right, but has a deeper side that not many get to see.  I imagined he was living the high life in New York while was away from his family, but that wasn't the case.  The more time Lane stays at Easterly, the more he discovers about what his family has been up to while he was gone.  Things come to head when he confronts his father and boy, it gets good, especially when he asks for help from his older brother who has also left the family business. Can you say scandal?

Oh, the drama in The Bourbon Kings. It was like watching my favorite episodes of Dallas, which, if you know me, is a compliment. You know when you are in the mood for a good soap-opera and you don't care if sometimes it's a tad unbelievable or melodramatic? Well, that's the case here with The Bourbon Kings. I didn't mind all the fluff, because Ward brought it with her storytelling. It was addicting in the same way that my favorite TV shows are.  So, if you are looking to be entertained and you love all the family drama, romance, secrets, and scandals, definitely give this series a try.  I, for one, am excited to start book two soon.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday: Save the Date

This is a weekly meme hosted by Jill from Breaking the Spine.  "Waiting on Wednesday" spotlights upcoming releases that I'm eagerly anticipating.

Save the Date by Morgan Matson
Pub. Date: June 5, 2018

Goodreads says, "Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.  The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster. There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge. There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo. Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute. Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future."

How fun does this book sound? I always enjoy Morgan Matson's novels and I look forward to this summertime read. I love books involving weddings; there's always drama! What do you guys think?

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

What I'm Reading Next (5)

The holidays can be so hectic, but I try to make sure I find time to read by the fire with a hot beverage in hand all while admiring the Christmas decorations.  I have a few books I'd love to read this month if I can find the time.  Here they are:

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - I really liked These Broken Stars and while sci-fi can be hit or miss with me, I think these two authors do it really well.  This book has been described as Indiana Jones in space, which sounds really intriguing and fun!

Christmas in London by Anita Hughes - I love a good holiday read this time of the year.  I have always wanted to visit London during Christmastime, so I'm sure this book will provide me with some great armchair traveling. How gorgeous is this cover?

The English Wife by Lauren Willig - I have always enjoyed Willig's novels and I think this one sounds perfect for the winter season. It takes place during the Gilded Age and there's secrets and murder!

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green - I will read anything he writes. I am a huge fan! Hopefully I can find the time to at least start this book.  Have any of you read it yet?

What do you hope to read this December? Let me know in the comments below. 

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Stacking the Shelves (53)

Book Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly
Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter TBR List

I'll be sharing what I hope to read this month. Let's hope December is a much better month for me reading wise, because I went through a major reading slump in November.  I also will be sharing my thoughts on The Bourbon Kings, which was the start to a very, very fun series.  

The Summer Wives by Beatriz Williams - Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow
My Dear Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Lauren Kamoie - Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow

Beneath the Haunting Sea by Joanna Ruth Meyer - Thanks to Page Street
The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton - Thanks to Sourcebooks and NetGalley

The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang - Thanks to Delacorte
The Darkling Bride by Laura Andersen - Thanks to Ballantine and NetGalley

Have you read any of these books? Are they on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for visiting. This meme is hosted by Kimberly at Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Friday, December 1, 2017

November Confessions

Guys, this is not good. I have hit a reading slump. A major one. Not because I am uninterested in what I am reading, but because this month has been so hectic. I was really sick twice (TWICE!) thanks to my son sharing all of his preschool germs with me and my sons were sick a lot with just about everything...fevers, stomach bugs, and various colds. The worst part was the fact that once I got a child healthy, the next child was hit. It was a crazy month! I was feeling like such garbage that I wasn't able to read.

Plus, I don't know about you, but when I am sick, I like Netflix. I started and finished the show Mindhunter and absolutely LOVED it! I also finally started Stranger Things (season one). Am I the last person in the world to watch it? Even though scary stories aren't my thing, I am still really hooked.

I hope December is not only a healthier month for my family, but I hope I am able to read more! I miss it! What have you guys been up to?

1.  The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel - 3.5 out of 5 stars -Adult Fiction 
2.  No Good Deed by Kara Connolly - 3.5 out of 5 stars - YA Fantasy 
3.  The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward - 4 out of 5 stars - Adult Fiction - Review to come!

Early Reader/Chapter Books:
1.  Revolutionary War on Wednesday by Mary Pope Osborne 
2.  Twister on Tuesday by Mary Pope Osborne
3.  Earthquake in the Early Morning by Mary Pope Osborne

I'm not going to do a November Top Five, because I didn't read my usual amount and that wouldn't really be fair. However, you can clearly see that The Bourbon Kings was my favorite read of the month! Such a fun book! 

What I'm Loving This Month:
* doTerra's Serenity
* Honest Company's Organic All-Purpose Balm
* Peppermint ice cream
*Yankee Candle's Mulling Spices

I can't believe it's December! I am so excited for the holiday season! Let me know if you are planning on reading any holiday books. I hope to tackle Christmas in London this month; hopefully it will put me in a festive mood.  

Happy Friday,

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Book Review: No Good Deed by Kara Connolly

Pages: 352
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "Ellie Hudson is the front-runner on the road to gold for the U.S. Olympic archery team. All she has to do is qualify at the trials in jolly old England. When Ellie makes some kind of crazy wrong turn in the caverns under Nottingham Castle—yes, that Nottingham—she ends up in medieval England.  Ellie doesn’t care how she got to the Middle Ages; she just wants to go home before she gets the plague. But people are suffering in Nottingham, and Ellie has the skills to make it better. What’s an ace archer to do while she’s stuck in Sherwood Forest but make like Robin Hood? Pulled into a past life as an outlaw, Ellie feels her present fading away next to daring do-gooding and a devilishly handsome knight. Only, Ellie is on the brink of rewriting history, and when she picks up her bow and arrow, her next shot could save her past—or doom civilization’s future. "

Ellie Hudson is an experienced archer who is hoping to qualify for the Olympics. She is currently competing in Nottingham, England. While competing, she sees a strange man wearing all white walking around during her competition. This distracts her; thus, impacting her performance. Later on while exploring England, she sees him again and ends up following him into a cave.  Boom... she ends up in the Middle Ages.  Nottingham during the Middle Ages is in trouble for a variety of reasons; plus, the sheriff is on her tail. Will her archery skills get her out of this mess and can she make it back to her own time?  Kara Connolly's No Good Deed is a fun tale with a kick-butt heroine, but it's not without its issues.

I really liked the character of Ellie. She's everything I could want in strong heroine.  She was constantly escaping bad situations and to top it off, she is an incredible archer.  I love how she sort of assumes the role of Robin Hood in this modern retelling. In fact, if you are a fan of Robin Hood, you'll enjoy some of the familiar characters, like Prince John, Much, and Will Scarlet who also play a role in No Good Deed.

My issue with No Good Deed is the pacing. At times, it felt really uneven and while I love a time travel book, I really wasn't fully sold on how Ellie got into the Middle Ages. Connelly definitely needs to explain her time travel theory a bit more as it wasn't really believable. In fact, there were many events in No Good Deed that required too much supsension of disbelief.

Nonetheless, if you enjoy the mythology surrounding Robin Hood, give this book a try.  It's definitely fun to re-imagine Robin Hood as a strong female.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Winter TBR List

And here we are. Somehow we are talking about our winter TBRs for this week's Top Ten Tuesday. Time sure is flying. Although I love reading on a warm beach (there's nothing better!), I will admit there's something special about being cozy and reading by the fire as snowflakes fall outside.  Here's what I plan to read this winter season.

Adult Fiction:

1.  The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah - I don't know much about this story, but after reading The Nightingale, I'll read anything she writes.
2.  This Love Story Will Self-Destruct by Leslie Cohen - It's being described as a reimagined When Harry Met Sally - one of my favorite movies!

3.  Island of Sweet Pies and Soldiers by Sara Ackerman - I love the setting of 1944 Hawaii. It should be interesting! How gorgeous is this cover?
4.  As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner - The setting of this book is also intriguing. It's Philadelphia (which is not far from where I live) during the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918.

YA Fiction:

1.  Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner - I love a good YA sci-fi and am excited to check this one out. I have enjoyed these two authors working together in the past.
2.  The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert - I am always on the hunt for a new YA fantasy.

3.  The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton - The premise for this YA fantasy sounds really interesting.
4.  Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross - Another YA fantasy that sounds really promising!

5.  The Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - I've had this book on my TBR pile for awhile now and I really need to make time to read it as I really enjoy this series.
6.  The Final Six by Alexandra Monir - I have enjoyed Monir's books in the past and am excited to check out this. I believe they are in the works to turn this book into a movie!

Are any of these books on your TBR list? Let me know what you plan to read this winter in the comments below.  This meme is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

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