Monday, July 20, 2015

ARC Review: The Bourbon Kings (The Bourbon Kings, #1)

The Bourbon Kings: J.R. Ward
Publication Date: July 28th, 2015

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.

I used to read J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but I stopped after the 4th one I believe because I didn't really have much of an interest in any of the remaining characters. However, the books I did read I really did enjoy. When I found out J.R. Ward was writing a new book, I immediately put it on my TBR list. I just had to find out what it was all about. This book ended up majorly exceeding my expectations, and I really can't wait for the next one! I don't think the description of the book gives it enough justice. The description basically only covers Lizzie and Lane, which are not the only main characters in the book! The book is kind of majorly about Lizzie and Lane, but the secondary characters are just as amazing and I can't wait to see forthcoming books about them. All of the characters had so much chemistry with each other, it was easy to root for them together. 

Lizzie is not just the lead gardener, she has a masters in horticulture and it seems like she is a very important worker at Easterly. She's always busy preparing for parties and she really doesn't go around looking for drama. When her old flame, Lane comes home from NYC she tries to avoid the shit out of him. She's been hurt once by him, and she doesn't want it to happen again. So obviously, she runs into him and he begs for her forgiveness. Lizzie is tough and nails and doesn't rely on anybody to help her.  Lizzie doesn't really buy it - and why should she? He got married! 

Lane is coming home from NYC because his mom is sick. Well really it's the chef of the house, but she's always been more of a mom to him than his actual mom. When he comes home, he also has to see his bitch wife who lives at Easterly while he's been in NYC. Chantal pretty much ruined his life to serve her own personal needs, so he's ready to serve her with divorce papers pretty much immediately. Lane wants to get back in Lizzie's favor, which is a lot more difficult than he initially thought. And he soon finds out that he also has a lot of family troubles to worry about. 

“Don’t be ridiculous. Besides, she’s black— ”
Lane grabbed Chantal’s arm and yanked her up close. “Don’t you ever talk about her with that kind of attitude. 
I’ve never hit a woman before, but I guarantee I will beat the shit out of you if you disrespect her.” 

Edward is the damaged one of the family. He reminds me a lot of Zsadist from BDB, who I happened to really love! Edward has been taking hostage a few years prior in South America, and was almost killed during that time. His world changes when an old friend's daughter comes to him looking for work with his horses. It just so happens that Edward owes him a favor, so he gives Shelby a job. But then Sutton, another old flame, comes back into his life under very strange circumstances. I'm wondering if this is going to be a love triangle of sorts in the upcoming books. 

“I’m not lookin’ for no handouts. I need a place to stay and work to do. 
I’m good with horses, just like my father, and bad with people— so you’re warned up front on that one.
 I got no money, but my back is strong and I’m not afraid of nothing. When can I start.”

Gin was my freaking favorite character! Living in a house with 3 older brothers, she is kind of the neglected one. She had a child as a teenager, who won't come home for holidays or birthdays since she's been at school. Gin also has never told the father that her daughter belongs to him. She kind of has an on again - off again relationship with Samuel T., who happens to be a long time family friend/attorney. In my opinion, they had the most chemistry in the entire book! I couldn't get enough of Gin and Samuel T. The next book better be about them because J.R. Ward didn't end Gin's part of the story favorably enough for me! 

I love books that take place in the south. The culture and attitudes just astound me, The Sookie Stackhouse series and Wicked by JLA are a few of my favorites that take place below the Mason Dixon Line. I was so immersed in TBK that I literally felt like I was from the south, too. J.R. Ward accomplished the setting, family drama, and fashion effortlessly. It made this book SO addicting. I really couldn't put it down, which happened to be a major problem for me because I had school stuff to do! TBK isn't as sexual as BDB, but there is some. The sex is just put in there sporadically and it really fits with the story. This book is kind of more of a fiction about family drama than just a romance. Another side note: I could seriously see this book as a TV show! 

Lovers of mature YA, NA, and fiction will all enjoy this book. You guys have to read this book if you're a fan of family drama, romance, or the southern culture. It was seriously amazing! I wouldn't steer you guys wrong! 

- Jocelyn 

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