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

Book Description:

Published: July 28, 2015

Format: Audio/Audible

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.

Review –

It took me longer than usual to listen to this book because I had purchased it through Audible and therefore I own it and could take my time. At the same time I was listening to this book several books became available through OverDrive and I had to listen to them first because you only have them for a limited time. That being said, every time I went back to The Bourbon Kings, I was immediately back in the world of the very rich and privileged and all the problems that goes along.

The family dynamic of the of the Baldwin family(pronounced Baldwine) is dysfunctional to say the least. The Father has embezzled millions from his own company and his wife’s account, the Mother, is on drugs most of the time and stays in her suite of rooms, the oldest son, Edward, is a shell of the man he used to be due to being kidnapped and tortured for ransom, which his father did not pay, Max, another son is MIA, Lane has been in New York for the last two years playing poker and keeping his distance from the rest of the family and finally Gin, the daughter who can not live without the lifestyle she has been accustomed and therefore agrees to marry a sexual sadist and controlling man because he is very very rich.

I have not read a J.R. Ward book before but I know he’s famous for his paranormal books. This one is like a Southern soap opera with a bunch of horrible people making horrible choices.

There is a cliffhanger ending, but I expected that. Too bad there are seven people ahead of me on OverDrive for the net in the series, The Angel’s Share, but while I wait I’ll find other books to read or listen to, I always do.

Five stars *****

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris

Book Description:

Published: February 11,2016

Format: Audio/OverDrive

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

Review –

In two words, this book was SUPER CREEPY!!!!

Jack has a horribly violent past and he lives to satisfy his predilection , which is to psychologically terrorize and break women and sometimes physically hurt them.

Grace is mature beyond her years and the sole guardian of the sister, Millie, who has Down’s Syndrome. They meet Jack in the park and he ingratiates himself into their lives. To Grace he is the perfect man and she agrees to marry him. Millie is to be her bridesmaid, but on the way to wedding site Jack pushes Millie down a flight of stairs, unbeknownst to Grace. The wedding proceeds and they fly to Thailand for the honeymoon. Jack hasn’t been very sexually attentive in their relationship but Grace has chalked this up to his busy lawyer status . Jack has NEVER lost a case, the irony being that he defends battered women.

Jack disappears on their wedding night and when he does reappear he explains to Grace exactly what her life will be like. She will have no phone, no passport, no money and she will do as he says or else Millie will suffer. He locks her out on the terrace for hours at a time while he goes off and feeds her only when he feels like it.

Arriving at their new home Grace sees that it is everything they had discussed prior to the wedding but try to escape and each time a privilege is taken away until finally she is kept in black pajamas  in a small plain room with bars on the one small window. She can have no books or newspapers, no television, no writing implements , nothing to offer distraction and stimulation. 

When Millie turns eighteen the plan is for her to come live with them so Grace has to get free before that happens.

THAT is all I’m going to tell you, except to say that this book is told from Grace’s POV in Past and Present modes.

Does she get free from the clutches of her crazy, murderous psycho of a husband?  You will have to read or listen to this book for yourself. It will keep you on the edge of your seat and flipping pages or listening from beginning to end inn one sitting. (I almost did.)

Fantastic debut novel. Can’t wait to see what this author brings us next.

Five stars *****

 

Crashed (Driven #3) by K. Bromberg

Book Description:

Published: March 4, 2014

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When life crashes down around us, how hard are we willing to fight for the one thing we can’t live without, each other?

Life is full of moments.
Big moments.
Little moments.
And none of them are inconsequential.
Every single moment prepares you for that one instance that defines your life. You must overcome all your fears, confront the demons that chase you, and cleanse the poison that clings to your soul or you risk the chance of losing everything.

Mine started the minute Rylee fell out of that damn storage closet. She made me feel. Made me whole when all I thought I could ever be was incomplete. Became the lifeline I never knew I needed. Hell yes, she’s worth the fight…but how do you fight for someone you know you don’t deserve?

Love is full of ups and downs.
Heart stopping highs.
Soul shattering lows.
And none of them are insignificant.
Love is a racecourse of unexpected twists and turns that must be negotiated. You have to break down walls, learn to trust, and heal from your past in order to win. But sometimes it’s the expected that’s the hardest to hold on to.

Colton has healed and completed me, stolen my heart, and made me realize our love’s not predictable nor perfect—it’s bent. And bent’s okay. But when outside factors put our relationship to the test, what lengths will I have to go to prove to him that he’s worth the fight?

Whoever said love is patient and love is kind, never met the two of us. We know our love is worth it—have acknowledged that we were meant to be—but when our pasts crash into our future, will the repercussions make us stronger or break us apart?

Review –

This installment of the Driven series didn’t have as many steamy sex scenes as the first two, but the ones it did have burned up my iPad.

Colton was in a crash at the end of Fueled and the first part of this book evolves around his touch and go recovery and the aftermath of his fears and self-doubts.

Rylee was by his side the whole time but still Colton wasn’t sure of her affection (he can’t bring himself to believe she could ever love him since he can’t even say the word)

On top of this, Tawny, his one time sweetheart and employee, claims that he is the father of her child and he flatly denies this but Rylee doesn’t believe him and they split. During this time they are both miserable and stubbornly cease all contact. Colton has a paternity test done, gets the results and calls Rylee only to hear her scream while on the phone and to discover that Zander’s father(his killed his wife and Zander’s mother and Zander saw it all)is at the safe house making threats. He doesn’t get there in time and Rylee is beaten but in the end Zander’s father is killed.

Rylee refuses to go to the hospital later that night miscarries a baby she never thought she would be able to have. Colton doesn’t know how this makes him feel. He never wanted children because of his past and now Rylee almost dies because of him. 

Well, to make a long story short:

  • Rylee heals but is told she will probably never be able to conceive again.
  • Colton realizes how much he needs her in his life.
  • He finds out his birth mother is dead and this throws him for a loop.
  • He confesses his secret to Rylee and they have a turning point in their rocky relationship.
  • Colton can final tell Rylee in the right words that he LOVES her.
  • He proposes.
  • Ten years later, we discover that they had adopted Zander(who now races) and had a little boy of their own.
  • They finally have their HEA.

Fantastic read/listen !!!!!

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Understood (Unspoken #1) by Maya Banks

Book Description:

Published: December 19, 2006

When she breaks free from the bondage of her past, he’ll be waiting.

Jake Turner committed the ultimate mistake of falling in love with his best friend’s wife. The distance he puts between them costs both him and Ellie Matthews dearly. Jake will never forgive himself for not seeing what a bastard his friend was. Now that Ellie is free from her nightmare, Jake waits, needing and wanting. He’ll be there when Ellie is ready to spread her wings.

Review –

This is a short story of moving forward but not without obstacles.

Ellie has been divorced from her abusive husband for two years but can not bring herself to trust another man with her love even though she knows just the man she would choose.

Jake Turner has loved Ellie even before she was married and ever since her divorce has been waiting for her to make the first move.

When they do get together the sex scenes are hot but also tender and sweet because Ellie has never had a man treat her the Jake does.

They get their HEA and deservedly so.

The book has a plot story line with the sexual happenings coming second.

Great read.

Adult with explicit sex.

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Still Life (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache #1) by Louise Penny

Book Description:

Published: May 1, 2007

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montréal and yet a world away. Jane Neal, a long-time resident of Three Pines, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more but Gamache smells something foul this holiday season…and is soon certain that Jane died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

With this award-winning first novel, Louise Penny introduces an engaging hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with power, ingenuity, and charm.

Review- 

 I stumbled upon this series one day when the most recent book was offered as a choice of the day on one site that I follow. It sounded like something I’d like but I thought maybe I should start at the beginning of the series so I did.

The village of Three Pines  in Quebec is the  quaint picturesque  home to people who have been there for generators as well as newcomers. There is a Commons area, a small business district and shop keepers, bakers,bistro owners and a B&B that serves brunch.

Jane Neal was an elderly retired school teacher who hadn’t an enemy in the world, or so everyone in the village thought. She was a warm generous person who also liked to paint (like an artist) but had never shown anyone her work until one day when she decided to enter one painting into a competition. At first everyone thought is was horrible and childish but the more they  studied it the more they came to like it.  Any way long story short, it’s because of this painting that she is killed, although we don’t know that at first.

Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is in his mid 50’s. Married to Reine-Marie Gamache. They have a daughter named Annie and a son named Daniel. He is  called in from Montreal and with help from the towns people the mystery is solved. He has a reputation for being kind and always doing the right thing and it’s that very fact that hurt his career the most. We don’t know the whole story but we know that he will go no higher in rank because of a past case. His co-workers, for the most part, idolize him.

I truly loved this story and it’s characters and I was blessed to have the audio version so I didn’t have to stumble across all the French names. The narrator does a fantastic job and I can’t wait to chase down the next book in the series.

If you can’t find an audio version and read a print or e-book form, there is a pronunciation guide that can be found at http://www.louisepenny.com/

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Raising Stoney Mayhall by Daryl Gregory

Book Description

June 28, 2011

From award-winning author Daryl Gregory, whom Library Journal called “[a] bright new voice of the twenty-first century,” comes a new breed of zombie novel—a surprisingly funny, vividly frightening, and ultimately deeply moving story of self-discovery and family love.

In 1968, after the first zombie outbreak, Wanda Mayhall and her three young daughters discover the body of a teenage mother during a snowstorm. Wrapped in the woman’s arms is a baby, stone-cold, not breathing, and without a pulse. But then his eyes open and look up at Wanda—and he begins to move.

The family hides the child—whom they name Stony—rather than turn him over to authorities that would destroy him. Against all scientific reason, the undead boy begins to grow. For years his adoptive mother and sisters manage to keep his existence a secret—until one terrifying night when Stony is forced to run and he learns that he is not the only living dead boy left in the world.

Review –

I chose this book because the synopsis promised a different slant on the “normal” Zombie book and let’s be honest, Zombies have been written about to death. So, I was ready for something new. The author, Daryl Gregory, did not disappoint. He could have included the normal Zombie head decapitations and gore but did not, he could have made it about chaos and hopelessness, but he did not. Instead, the book is about family, love of family, friendships, loyalty, and doing what’s right. I cried a couple of times but mostly at the end and how many of you have ever cried for a Zombie (or should I say an LD-Living Dead?)

I rated this book 5 stars *****

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From the Trade Paperback edition.

Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death (Agatha Raisin Mysteries #1) by M C Beaton

Book Description

January 20, 2003

Putting all her eggs in one basket, Agatha Raisin gives up her successful PR firm, sells her London flat, and samples a taste of early retirement in the quiet village of Carsely. Bored, lonely and used to getting her way, she enters a local baking contest: Surely a blue ribbon for the best quiche will make her the toast of the town. But her recipe for social advancement sours when Judge Cummings-Browne not only snubs her entry—but falls over dead! After her quiche’s secret ingredient turns out to be poison, she must reveal the unsavory truth…

Agatha has never baked a thing in her life! In fact, she bought her entry ready-made from an upper crust London quicherie. Grating on the nerves of several Carsely residents, she is soon receiving sinister notes. Has her cheating and meddling landed her in hot water, or are the threats related to the suspicious death? It may mean the difference between egg on her face and a coroner’s tag on her toe…

Review –
This is the book that started the Agatha Raisin Mystery Series and it was wonderful.  I’ve read all of the other books in the series and have always been a big fan of the series but this book tells us how Agatha came to be in Carsely in the Cotwolds and how James Lacey came to be her next door neighbor.(In later books James and Agatha marry for a short time)
The characters are eccentric, fun, somethings irritating but always entertaining. If you are in a bad mood, starting an Agatha Raisin Mystery will change that.
Truly a great series. Give it a try.
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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1) by Rick Yancey

Book Description:

Published: May 7, 2013

 

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review –

OMG!!

The book was captivating right from the start and held my interest to the end and it only took me a few hours to read. Cassie is a strong female character, which YA literature needs more of, and she is devoted to finding her brother. The story is action packed, fast paced and the characters have great chemistry together(Cassie and Evan). I can’t wait to read the second in the series.  

I rated this book 5 stars *****

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The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

Book Description:

Published: November 2, 2010

Lucy Jarrett is at a crossroads in her life, still haunted by her father’s unresolved death a decade earlier. She returns to her hometown in Upstate New York, The Lake of Dreams, and, late one night, she cracks the lock of a window seat and discovers a collection of objects. They appear to be idle curiosities, but soon Lucy realizes that she has stumbled across a dark secret from her family’s past, one that will radically change her—and the future of her family—forever.

Review –

This was my second listening of this book and I liked it more this time around as is usually the case. 

The characters are well-defined and developed, locations are described vividly and the story is multi-faceted and wonderful.  If you or anyone you know is interested in genealogy or ancestry then this book is for you. Lucy discovers things about a relative that had been left out of the family history and she searches and locates all the information needed to properly do her justice. It’s a wonderful story of  travel, love, heart-break and the importance of family history.

 

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Dead Eye (Court Gentry/The Gray Man #4) by Mark Greaney

Book Description

December 3, 2013
Ex-CIA master assassin Court Gentry has always prided himself on his ability to disappear at will, to fly below the radar and exist in the shadows—to survive as the near-mythical Gray Man. But when he takes revenge upon a former employer who betrayed him, he exposes himself to something he’s never had to face before.A killer who is just like him.
Code-named Dead Eye, Russell Whitlock is a graduate of the same ultra-secret Autonomous Asset Program that trained and once controlled Gentry. But now, Whitlock is a free agent who has been directed to terminate his fellow student of death. He knows how his target thinks, how he moves, and how he kills. And he knows the best way to do the job is to make Gentry run for his life—right up until the moment Dead Eye finally ends it…
Review –

I have only experienced one other book in The Gray Man Series, THE  GRAY MAN, which was the first in the series. I really enjoyed it and made a metal note to read or listen to others in the series.  That being said , I had the opportunity to purchase DEAD EYE  for an excellent price, not realizing that it is the most current in the series.  I could tell my listening to this one that a lot had happened between the first and last books but I was still able to enjoy it as a stand alone book. I normally do not read political, assassin type adventures but the narrator of these books is so good that it made the subject all the better.  

The author writes so much action and detail into these books it make me glad I didn’t have to do the research or write it myself. I’m so looking forward to the next in the series but I’m sure it will next year at least. Oh well, I may have to go back and check out the two books that I missed. A girl can only go with some political action adventure so long.

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