Tag: Chrystal’s Reviews

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

Posted July 27, 2015 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. WardReviewer: Chrystal
The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward
Series: The Bourbon Kings #1
Also in this series: The Bourbon Kings, The Angels' Share, Devil's Cut (The Bourbon Kings, #3)
Published by Penguin Publishing Group
Publication Date: July 28th 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 434
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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.

J.R. Ward is known for writing paranormal novels set in worlds that are all their own, and she is good at it. So when I first picked up The Bourbon Kings, I was a little skeptical. It’s a contemporary romance set on a Kentucky Bourbon Makers property. I never in a million years thought I would enjoy a book so much!

Bradford Bourbon Company (BBC) is the largest and most successful Bourbon distillery this side of the Mason-Dixon line. And when you’re a member of Kentucky’s most successful bourbon family, well things can get a little crazy. Lane Baldwine is the second eldest son of William Baldwine and Virginia Bradford Baldwine. After getting a call that “his mama” was dying, Lane drops everything to fly to a home he hadn’t been to in two years. That’s where he runs into Lizzy King, his family’s head horticulturalist and his former lover. But she’s not the only female he runs into. Chantal Baldwine, Lane’s wife, is also there.

When money and liquor are involved drama is bound to happen.

Lane’s father gets the most joy when he sees his children suffer. Lane’s mother, Virginia, is heavily medicated and bed ridden. Lane’s siblings are no better. Edward, the eldest, is a recluse and a physical and mental mess after surviving a horrific kidnapping in South America. Virginia (Gin) has so many self-esteem and daddy issues, she sleeps with anything that has a cock. Maxwell, the youngest of the Baldwine boys, has gone off the grid, and no one knows where to find him. After some sketchy moves by Lane’s father, Lane and Edward discover the giant skeleton in the family closet. Lanes father has financially ruined the family. He was running the BBC into the ground.

After having his wretched wife served divorce papers, Lane tries to rekindle the romance he let go two years before with Lizzy.
Lane will do whatever it takes to win Lizzy back and save his family legacy.

In short, this family is a hot mess; a hot sexy mess that you can’t wait to dive into.

Ward’s many-faceted characters are so well written. They’re easy to relate to. I found myself thinking many times ‘I know someone like that’.  I wanted to be friends with Lane and Lizzy. Shoot, I wanted to be them! Even Chantal Baldwine, by the end of the book,I almost felt pity for. I could see her misery and a part of me wanted to pity her and try to understand why she is the way she is. I felt their pain as they experienced it, and wanted to yell at them when they were being idiotic. Ward has a knack for writing her characters to feel so real, so alive. I love that about her work.

My favorite character though, is Gin. She’s fantastic! She isn’t perfect. She has real insecurities, real issues. She’ll give up everything, even herself, to save her family. I felt like I knew what she is going through. Almost as if I’d walked in her shoes.

We have yet to meet Max, and I’m still holding out hope for Virginia coming around to help pick up the pieces of her broken family.
It wouldn’t be a J.R. Ward novel without the wonderful pop culture references that remind us what time period we are in. And as she mentions many times, this is a modern day Sabrina, without the happy ending.

I love how the world she builds is tangible. As a reader, I felt as though I could buy a plane ticket and travel to these places and be there with the characters, in the moment.

By the time I finished The Bourbon Kings, I wanted to go to the store just to see if I could find a bottle of Bradford Bourbon Company’s No. 15. J.R. Ward brought fantasy to reality with The Bourbon Kings. I would have to say this is possibly the best book she has written. I can’t wait for the next one!

5 out of 5


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Guest Review: Captivated by You by Sylvia Day

Posted December 24, 2014 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

captivated by you by sylvia dayChrystal‘s review of Captivated by You (Crossfire, Book 4) by Sylvia Day

Gideon calls me his angel, but he’s the miracle in my life. My gorgeous, wounded warrior, so determined to slay my demons while refusing to face his own.

The vows we’d exchanged should have bound us tighter than blood and flesh. Instead they opened old wounds, exposed pain and insecurities, and lured bitter enemies out of the shadows. I felt him slipping from my grasp, my greatest fears becoming my reality, my love tested in ways I wasn’t sure I was strong enough to bear.

At the brightest time in our lives, the darkness of his past encroached and threatened everything we’d worked so hard for. We faced a terrible choice: the familiar safety of the lives we’d had before each other or the fight for a future that suddenly seemed an impossible and hopeless dream….

Captivated by you is the fourth book in the Crossfire series by Sylvia Day. It is an aptly named book as both Gideon Cross and Eva Tramell have held us captivated from the beginning of Bared to You, the first book in the series.

It picks up not far from where Entwined with You left off, but…. from Gideon’s point of view!  Can we pause for a fan girl squee?! We’ve all wanted into the head of that mega mogul super hottie since we first read about him. How he made Eva melt right then and there in the lobby of the Crossfire Building!

Well, inside that head is a past as dark as the gorgeous hair that crowns it. One thing I absolutely love about this book was that we were able to get into Gideon. His fears and pains were opened up to us. Not just through the eyes of Eva but through his own thoughts and fears; His needs and wants.

Sylvia Day also kept a good balance when jumping from Eva to Gideon. We were able to feel with her as she picked up the pieces of Gideon after he confessed everything to his stepfather.  Our hearts broke right along with hers.There isn’t much more I can say without giving away all the wonderful details, but I can say this:

Sylvia Day is an amazing author. She is talented in ways not many writers are.

She has an ability to make a person feel. To take some of the most taboo subjects, pains and experiences most people try not to even think about, and write them. She gives hope for people who feel so damaged they don’t believe there’s someone out there for them. She let’s us all know and believe there is someone to slay our dragons. There will always be someone to help us fight our demons and chase away the darkness.

I loved everything about this book and can not wait to read the next one!

5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it from here or here in e-format.

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Guest Review: Taken By A Vampire by Joey W. Hill

Posted June 16, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Taken By A Vampire by Joey W. HillReviewer: Chrystal
Taken by a Vampire (Vampire Queen, #9) by Joey W. Hill
Series: Vampire Queen #9
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 7th 2013
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 466
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Joey W. Hill’s Vampire Queen novels keep the pages turning, your imagination running, [and] your dreams carnally vivid” (Bitten by Books). In her newest installment, a servant sentenced to death is sent into hiding and finds a passion she never expected in her new protector…

Groomed from birth to be an Inherited Servant and serve only the most powerful vampire Masters, Alanna never resented her destiny. Then she did the unthinkable: she betrayed her Master to the Vampire Council. Now death is her future, but until her Master is captured, she must be protected. The Vampire Council assigns her to Evan, a vampire whose wandering lifestyle makes him the perfect guardian…

Alanna’s training was for a vampire of power and ambition, not for someone like Evan who lives in mountainside shacks and caves. Even his servant, Niall, is rough mannered. But these two men are about to teach Alanna something her rigorous training never did: how to feel, how to desire …perhaps even how to love.

Then the Council captures her Master, and Alanna has no choice but to accept her destiny. But Evan and Niall are no strangers to defying fate—and they will stop at nothing to make Alanna theirs forever…

I have to first say this was the first Joey Hill book I have read. And I absolutely loved it! So its pretty clear I haven’t read any of the other books in this series.I was surprised to be able to jump right into the 9th book in The Vampire Queen series and not be confused or lost. In all honesty, I hadn’t realized it was so far into the series until chapter two when I was giving my eyes a rest and staring shamelessly at the cover.

I immediately fell in love with the characters. From the very first sentence, Alanna broke my heart. I have never read a book that made me so attached to the characters so quickly. The way Alanna is so innocent and vulnerable all the way to the end where she is so strong in spirit regardless of how weak her body was.

Evan and Niall were freaking awesome! And the three together were just breathtaking. The way the males helped to teach and create an individual in Alanna was so well written it was easy to connect with them and feel what they were all feeling.

I loved how the sex scenes made sense to the storyline. She didn’t just throw in a sex scene for the sake of having a sex scene. Each one was so perfectly placed into the storyline and so well written. Same with the bdsm scenes. There was no kink, just to have kink. It all went in together perfectly.

Rating: 5 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley Trade. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Lover At Last by J.R. Ward

Posted May 2, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Crystal’s review of Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood #11) by J.R. Ward

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another….

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: The male has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young—just as Qhuinn has always wanted for himself. It’s hard to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. As he’s learned firsthand.

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions… but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together… finally become one.

As with all Black Dagger Brotherhood fans, I was excited to finally be able to read Qhuinn and Blay’s story. Until I read it. I loved the start, the Prologue actually brought tears to my eyes. Ward builds an amazingly beautiful but violent and passionate world in this book, just like the books before it. She has a beautiful way of seamlessly integrating new characters, and setting the scene for future story lines. But this book wasn’t supposed to be about Assail and Sol, or Trez and his arranged betrothal to the Shadows queen.  It was supposed to be about Qhuinn and Blaylock.

I have to honestly say this was the weakest part of the storyline. It was very disappointing to read the few parts that were meant to be the key elements to this book. They were so few, and felt very forced. One minute they hate each other, the next they are screwing like there is no tomorrow, then again they hate each other. At one point at the very end I began to question if this book was going to give us a happy ending (seriously it was the last chapter!) they finally worked things out!!!!!!!

I wish I could say I loved the book. Qhuinn is after all my absolute favorite character in the series. But I almost feel that their story would have been better off as a novella. At least that way the two would have been given the attention they deserved. I’m not opposed to books building up a story line for other characters for future books, but this time the main story line suffered greatly. There was too much anticipation and build up for a book that had very little to do with the main characters. It was, in my opinion, anticlimatic when you think about this book in comparison to the build up for it in the previous books.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Series:

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1)Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2)Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3)Lover Revealed: A Novel of the Black Dagger BrotherhoodLover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5)Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 6)Lover Avenged (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 7)Lover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger BrotherhoodLover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 9)Book Cover

This book is available from NAL Hardcover. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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Guest Review: Primal Bonds by Jennifer Ashley

Posted February 6, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Chrystal’s review of Primal Bonds (Pride Mates, Book 2) by Jennifer Ashley

When half-Fae, half-Shifter Andrea Gray flees an abusive would-be mate, the only way she is allowed to relocate to the Austin Shiftertown is if a Shifter there claims her as mate.

Sean Morrissey, the Guardian of his clan and all of Shiftertown, is mateless, lonely, and has a tough job–to send the souls of deceased Shifters into the afterworld. He volunteers to claim her, sight unseen, but doesn’t realize that one look at the gray-eyed, dark-haired Andrea will stir the mating frenzy in him. Even though the mate-claim isn’t finalized, official, or yet blessed, Sean will do anything to get Andrea into his life and keep her there, forever.

Primal Bonds was probably the most refreshing paranormal romance I have read. It seemed so real in the aspects of how the human world would react to the knowledge of shape shifters and fae in the world.

Its the second book in a series, but most definitely holds up well as a stand alone book. There is just enough back story for the world and characters that you don’t need to read the first book. Although when I finished Primal Bonds I had to start Pride Mates (#1 in the series) right away.

Each character is very well written. I loved the quirky nuances that were in each character. The maturity level of the characters were refreshing as well. I loved that the adults acted and sounded like adults.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

The Series:

Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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