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

The Angels’ Share (The Bourbon Kings, #2) by J.R. WardSeries:
two-half-stars
The Angels' Share
The Bourbon Kings #2
J.R. Ward
Romantic Suspense, Contemporary Romance
NAL ~ Penguin Group (USA) LLC
July 26, 2016
paperback
426

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?

Like with book 1, I was bored and hoped the action would develop faster. I was waiting for something huge to occur.

This book started right where book 1 ended. Lane and Lizzie were enjoying their reunion while Lane was stressing out about the financial disaster his father left them. According to their accounting , the Baldwine Family were in the red about $68million.
Older Brother Edward was still struggling physically and emotionally from his kidnapping which was setup by his father. When he’s sober, he still pines for Shelby, the daughter of their family rival.
Little sister Gin doesn’t seem to comprehend their family’s financial dilemma and continues with the marriage to the wealthy Richard. Her relationship with her daughter was another source of strain.
The Baldwine Matriarch was clearly suffering from Alzheimer’s because she had no clue whom anyone was, or what’s going on. This Baldwine family was just a big dramatic mess.

I was most curious to know if the father committed suicide or was murdered. That mystery was intriguing. The answer left me feeling a bit disappointed. The rest of the story about protecting their family legacy and reviving their financial situation was of no interest to me.

I was not entertained nor engaged. There isn’t a single character that I enjoyed. I was a tad hopeful that Edward would rise like a Phoenix but he was still depressing to the end. This series isn’t for me.

*Special Thanks to First Reads by Goodreads for the paperback which I won as a giveaway.

Happy by Chris Scully

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

HappyLGHappy by Chris Scully
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Pages: 147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon • ARe

Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.

four-half-stars

 

Chris Scully is an author I have come to associate with comfort, a really sexy comfort. Her stories are so easy to slip into and fall in love with the characters, and Happy did just that for me.

What would that be like? To do what you wanted? What made you happy?

We meet Peter as he is struggling at a party, he is struggling with life decisions and struggling to not perv on his best friends as they make out under a window.  You see, Peter is not out to anyone in his social circle, his family or even to his girlfriend.  Yup, you read that right, Peter has a girlfriend who he has zero sexual interest in but their Greek mothers set them up and when you are a good boy… sigh.

We get to meet Louie soon after as his sister, and Peter’s “girlfriend” ask him for a favor… to pick up Peter from said party. The best thing about Louie? He used to crush hard on Peter in High School and when he sees adult Peter, the crush comes back full force.

I adored the hell out of Peter and Louie. I loved that there was an instant attraction but Louie figured Peter for straight, I mean he IS dating his sister, and that Peter had to deny the attraction to Louie for a number of reasons. None of the reasons I was happy with, because they were so cute from the get go,  but happy is the name of this book and I would wait for us all to get there.

Louie, how could I not love a man who still holds unrequited love for the sexy football player from high school with the mullet? That description of Peter could well be MY husband in high school, complete with a mullet and holding the attention of boys and girls as he strutted his stuff on the field. But Louie, his crush on adult Peter is swoon worthy though maddening because Louie thinks Peter is with his sister and you don’t crush on your sister’s boyfriend, unless…

Mmm Hmm.

You know how it can be with family—they mean well, but sometimes you get so tangled up in it, in what they want, that you can’t ever get free.

I get that some readers will not understand Peter’s choices though for me, they weren’t that overly dramatic. I guess it’s my self-proclaimed love for boys in the closet that make it not a big deal for me but I adored Peter. I loved being in his head as he tried to figure out a way to be himself and not hurt his family. I am married to man whose family is not as dramatic as Peter’s Greek one but still a family that loves their ethnic traditions and attempt to demand the family live as per the “rules”.  So, I got that too with Peter coming home after his father’s heart attack, leaving the life he was building for himself to take care of his family, to do what is expected and what is right. Ugh. I respected him for that because it takes a strong person to do so, a coward would stay away and not deal with it at all.  I loved that there was character growth with Peter, that he took chances and that when it meant something to him, when he found someone who meant enough to him, the laid it all on the line and took a chance.

ACK! I loved seeing Adam and Joe again. It took me a bit to realize exactly who they were though I spent the each moment they came on page thinking, “Why do they seem SO familiar?” and then it hit me. Inseparable was my first book from Chris Scully and I was thrilled that Adam and Joe showed up and that they are still so damn in love with one another.

But anyway.

Happy is a moderately angsty love story about two men who have both left their lives to come home and start over in one way or another. There is a  line from The Wizard of Oz that kept playing in my head as I read Louie and Peter deal with their romance and while these two live a few blocks away, the sweet sentiment is present in this story and it has made me on hell of a happy reader.

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there….then I never really lost it to begin with.

–Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

 

About Chris Scully

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Chris would love to hear from readers at: cscully@bell.net.

Lay it Down by Mary Calmes

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

LayItDownLGLay it Down by Mary Calmes
Release Date: March 16, 2016
Pages: 126 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner AmazonARe

Paradise can be hell.

Most people would say being stranded in the villa of Spanish shipping magnate Miguel García Arquero on the beautiful isle of Ibiza wasn’t such a bad deal. But Hudson Barber isn’t one of them. To him, being stuck without a passport in a foreign country far from home is a nightmare, made worse by the fact that the person who did the stranding was his flighty twin brother.

Unwilling to turn Dalvon in for identity theft, Hudson is forced to wait, but meanwhile he discovers the chance to rehabilitate Miguel’s failing local businesses—enterprises left to Dalvon’s inexperienced care. The flagging ventures are a badly wrapped gift from heaven, and if Hudson can turn them around, he might be able to leverage the experience to finish his MBA.

Then Miguel returns to Ibiza, and instead of finding a boy toy, he discovers Hudson has turned his cold villa into a warm, welcoming home. Miguel’s path is clear: convince Hudson to lay down his defenses and let love in.

four-half-stars

 

Now my only choice was to lay everything down and surrender.

I adore the stories from Mary Calmes, so very much.

This was exactly what I needed after an emotional read. I needed to get lost in a book and feel all the gooey feelings, because goo is good.

We meet one Holden Barber (a fellow ginger) as we wakes to a distraction outside and below his bedroom window. Holden quickly handles the situation, with the attitude only a Calmes leading man can pull off and then we learn a bit about Holden.

You see, Holden has been stranded in a gorgeous villa on the island of Ibiza. He’s been stranded by his weenie twin brother Dalvon who has taken away any quick escape Holden could have to get off the island. Dalvon was supposed to be marrying one Miguel García Arquero Spanish shipping magnate and um also, sugar daddy, but weenie twin brother has bailed and wants Holden to clean up the mess he’s left. It’s a good thing Holden is a man of integrity and knows how to get things done.

Hopefully, if I do a good job until Miguel gets here, maybe he’ll buy me a ticket home.

I love how we begin the book smack down in the middle of this situation. It lent to the story and to the character of Holden. We see straight away how he handles a stressful situation and his ability to not only do damage control but to acclimate himself to the employees and people of importance to Miguel and his businesses.  It was interesting that we see Holden doing all of this and know that Miguel won’t be back for some time and despite the “engagement” to his twin brother, Holden and Miguel have never met.

“We don’t run with the same crowd, Miguel and I. We’ve never actually met.”

“But now he has a rare opportunity to change his life.”

I was so anxious for these two to meet. Being told that Miguel likes his men to be submissive and from the looks of Dalvon, a bit of a boy toy, I was jonseing for Miguel to see the strong, strapping Holden kicking ass, taking names and though he won’t admit it, becoming part of this eclectic family at the villa and on Ibiza.

And then when it happened? I giggled, squirmed, smiled and hugged the hell out of my Nook because this is the reason I love Mary Calmes. The instant attraction. The instant lust. The instant OMG I WANT YOU AND I DON’T CARE WHY!! Yeah, this is my kinda Calmes.

In seconds, the need was there, pounding and insistent, to have those eyes on me all the time, forever and ever. How crazy was that?

I am too frigging happy right now to go into detail but I can without a doubt tell you I loved the hell out of Holden and Miguel. So so so much.  Le sigh. I’m a happy freaking ginger right now.

Lay it Down has everything you could ask for from Mary Calmes, as it’s the classic story telling that has me and my friends jumping on the MC train and never getting off. There are shenanigans, there is the alpha male, there is insta-lust, there is hot sex, there are the flutters of emotions and yeah, there is romance. Ah, the romance.

About Mary Calmes

Mary Calmes lives in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and two children and loves all the seasons except summer. She graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, with a bachelor’s degree in English literature. Due to the fact that it is English lit and not English grammar, do not ask her to point out a clause for you, as it will so not happen. She loves writing, becoming immersed in the process, and falling into the work. She can even tell you what her characters smell like. She loves buying books and going to conventions to meet her fans.

Trial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

TrialByFireLGTrial by Fire by B.A. Tortuga 
Series: Dreamspun Desires
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Pages: 228 Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon ARe

One Aussie. One Texan. One baby. One hell of a fight.

When his sister and her husband are killed in an accident, Aussie cattle station owner Lachlan McCoughney rushes to Texas to rescue their infant daughter, Chloe. He expects to find his niece living in squalor with the Sheffields, a rodeo family.

Instead, Lachlan finds Holden Sheffield, a salt-of-the-earth cowboy running a huge business operation. They want to explore their mutual attraction despite the many problems thrown their way, and together, they must find a way to give Chloe a new family and find a love that spans thousands of acres and two continents.

four-stars

I reckon I should tell y’all how sweet this story is and it was. So sit back and lend this ginger your ear for spell.

I am not going to go into great detail with my review on this book. I am a firm believer that telling you what happens in the book, things that made me surprised should be left to each individual reader so I am gonna hit a few points and let sleeping babies lie in the arms of adorable, rugged and sexy cowboys. You ready? You best get your aww faces on…

When Holden’s twin brother Landon and sister in law Addie die in a plane crash, Holden becomes the one to care for his niece Chloe being left guardianship over the little baby.  But as much as Holden loves his niece,  he is a bit in over his head with running his cattle business,  taking care of a baby, dealing with his aging parents and then a fast talking Aussie comes into the picture with a punch or um,  yeah.

Lachlan, said Aussie, has been searching for his sister Adelaide who ran away from the oppression that comes with the family business only to be met with bad news. She died in a plane crash with her husband, leaving behind one baby girl. When Lachlan arrives in Texas determined to meet his niece and take her back with him, he realizes this family he judged on reputation alone, might not be the worst place for Chloe.

No one knew how he felt but this man right here.

Now, I know I said to get your aww faces on, which is true but this was also a bittersweet story when you remember the catalyst that has brought Holden and Lachlan together with Chloe between them. There is loss here, for both men and both families and that loss, it’s presented in a lovely way that allows the reader to feel and also heal.

This is a story about family and a story about doing what’s best for the greater good and that good is baby Chloe. I loved how she was front and center for the story and how much love she draws to her. Holden is a great daddy, he will move the world for his niece and make sure he does everything in his power to do right by her late parents, even if that means pushing away her relatives from the Land of Oz.  And then you have Lachlan who has come to Texas, determined that Miss Chloe needs to be with her mother’s family, that they have lost so much of Addie already, they cannot miss out on being a part of her daughter’s life.

The men have a rough beginning with one another and yet they are able to put that all behind then and focus as much on the now but not letting go of the past that has brought them together. During a argumentative family moment,  a storm hits that leads to an acknowledged shared grief, where a small touch ignites more than either man know was there and sets the barn on fire… Mmm Hmm. But then, you know things happen and regardless of guilt or innocence, these two cowboys are put to a painful task that makes them lean on each other in more ways than one.

Trial by Fire, or as I like to call it, two cowboys and a baby, was a sweet, steady and yet wild ride that teaches you about second chances and the true meaning of family. Get your aww faces read to watch an Aussie and a Yank fall head over spurs for a tiny baby girl as they fall into each other’s arms.

“Do you think it’ll ever be less odd? Life, I mean.”

“I think we’ll find a new normal.”

 

 

About BA Tortuga

Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.

Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head.