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22gigantes.com - #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward delivers the second novel in her Bourbon Kings series—a sweeping saga of a Southern dynasty struggling to maintain a façade of privilege and prosperity, while secrets and indiscretions threaten its very foundation… 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?From the Hardcover edition.
Best Review of The Angels' Share (the Bourbon Kings):
Most helpful customer reviews 12 of 13 people found the following review helpful. ‘The Bourbon Kings’ is suffering from a lack of clear direction and an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ saga-syndrome By Alpha Reader ‘The Angels' Share’ is the second book in a new family saga and contemporary fiction series by J. R. Ward. It’s following on from the events of first book, ‘The Bourbon Kings’ – which is also where the series takes its title name.I didn’t mind last year’s first book in this new contemporary series from J. R. Ward, who is branching out from her insanely popular romantic urban fantasy vampire series’ ‘Black Dagger Brotherhood’ (the 14th book of which is also out this year), and her gritty angel series, ‘Fallen Angels’. But I was suitably forewarned ahead of my reading ‘The Bourbon Kings’, not to expect a romance. As such, I came away from that first book thinking it had a lot of problems, but had also laid some interesting enough foundations for me to come back for the second instalment … unfortunately ‘The Angels' Share’ is a hot mess. Or, rather, not even a hot mess; as the problems of the first book seem to have carried over and been exacerbated to an almost unreadable point in this second foray. Let me see if I can explain …Partly why I was keen to come back for round two with Ward’s Bradford Family, was the hopes that the lacklustre semi-protagonist and HEA pairing in the first book wouldn’t pull such a focus in the second. Middle-son Lane and his Sabrina-esque romance with landscape gardener Lizzie was a total snooze-fest in ‘Bourbon Kings’. A lot of their romance was about alluding to their love affair of two years prior, and asking readers to believe that they really were as hot n’ heavy as they kept saying they were.I was keen, from reading the blurb of ‘The Angels' Share’ that this second book would follow a similar series structure to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, and only allow Lane and Lizzie to pop in for cameos, but would otherwise let eldest and broken brother Edward take the story reigns and so on with each subsequent instalment, alternating character-focus … unfortunately, that’s not the case. Lane still gets majority page-time, and as he’s taken over the declining family business we still get a lot of him. Except this time it’s a lot of him crunching numbers with family lawyers, blackmailing his accountant buddy from New York to keep crunching numbers, and just generally being a snooze-fest. That extends to his still lacklustre relationship with Lizzie – the two of them don’t even get sex scenes, instead they get this scene that ends with Lizzie and Lane having sex (that we don’t read about) on Lizzie’s desk, but not before Lane suggests carefully placing Lizzie’s laptop on the floor instead of pushing it off in the heat of passion :-/Edward’s storyline from the first book had him in unrequited love with the daughter (and CEO) of a rival business family. But when we first meet up with Edward in ‘The Angels' Share’, there’s no mention of Sutton and instead he’s playing with fire (in a halfway titillating way too!) with his new stable hand, Shelby. Unfortunately this goes nowhere, and Shelby as a character joins the rank and file of about 20 others who don’t really make a whole lot of sense in this series, and roughly 18 of them should probably vamoose off the page …Look, I know Ward thinks she’s writing Dallas meets Downton Abbey. I get it. She even has Lizzie allude to the fact. But it’s not working here. And her trying to cover all manner of upstairs/downstairs commentary has made for a fractured series in which I don’t end up caring or even liking any of the Bradford Family, I speed-read through the scenes of Master Distiller (I’m not even kidding) Edwin “Mack” MacAllan and wonder what the heck Lane’s NY accountant buddy is even doing here if there’s not going to be an inkling of set-up for him in future books beyond a minor plot-point in ‘Angels’ Share’ …I only slogged through reading this book (and then speed-reading a far chunk of it) for Bradford sister (and Daisy Buchanan-wannabe) Gin, and her broken romance with family friend/lawyer, Samuel T. Gin had a violent encounter resulting in rape towards the end of the first book, at the hands of the man she convinced herself she needed to agree to marry because Samuel T. wouldn’t have her, and she was running out of money. Gin’s storyline is the only one with high stakes and interest for me, and it’s not that I want to read her being repeatedly abused (the scenes are mostly alluded to in this book, not as graphic as in the first) but it’s also that she and Samuel T. have been set up with believable back-story that’s the only one I’m invested in … in the form of Gin having been a pregnant teenager, giving birth to Samuel T’s lovechild, Amelia, whom Gin seems to have neglected throughout her young life and Samuel T doesn't even know is his.I was purely reading ‘The Angels’ Share’ in the end, to get caught up on the Gin/Amelia/Samuel T. saga. That’s it for me – and though it was especially unsatisfying in this book (again: Amelia who actually makes sense as a character loses page-time to the likes of accountant buddy, stable hand and Master Distiller) I will probably come back for the third, only in the hopes that their fractured family pull focus, and J.R. Ward at least attempts to correct the course of this train-wreck series.‘The Bourbon Kings’ series is not good, let’s just put that out there. It’s actually pretty awful … if you like the idea of a Bourbon Family Legacy in the genteel South, then I suggest you pick up Tiffany Reisz’s new book ‘The Bourbon Thief’ for a good bout of mystery-erotica too. Because right now, J.R. Ward’s ‘The Bourbon Kings’ is suffering from a lack of clear direction and an ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ saga-syndrome. It’s refusal to be a romance is also clearly hindering the scope of possibility, and direction for many characters. 6 of 6 people found the following review helpful. Slightly Bummed By Amazon Customer I love J.R. Ward"s work and think her books are amazing. I was so excited for this book and had super high expectations and perhaps that was part of my problem. I felt a lack of direction with this book and was so bummed when I realized it would not be Edward and Sutton's story. I thought perhaps each book would follow suit of the first novel where you have a clear romance thread and at the end of the novel, one of the other main characters has some level of resolution. That really did not happen here, we have endless drama and confusion with the storyline but no sense of where this all could be heading or how many books we are looking at. There are still three siblings that really haven't been discussed much and I'm not sure if Ward is doing a book on each or if there stories will be combined, but I really would really like to see where they all end up going in this saga. Overall, the writing is great and the drama is sky high, but I really just miss the romance and hope so badly that this is not going to be a series like a soap opera on TV where the storyline has no conclusion and they stretch it out forever for profit. 10 of 12 people found the following review helpful. Not what I was looking for By Jen (Red Hot Books) I enjoyed the first book this series in an indulgent night-time soap sort of way. And I had even higher hopes for this second installment. After all, I love a good scarred, tortured hero, and Edward definitely fits the bill. In The Bourbon Kings, JR Ward clearly set up the romance between him and Sutton, the daughter of the rival distillery. Or did she?I think one of my big problems with this book was its total failure to meet my expectations. Maybe that’s my fault. Perhaps I should not have assumed this was Edward’s book. Heck, maybe I shouldn’t have assumed that there would be a romance in each book. Because (SPOILER ALERT) there’s not. Edward is not the hero of this book at all. It’s still largely from his brother Lane’s POV. And what time we did spend with Edward frustrated me utterly. Because he seemed to be getting involved with two woman. He’s kissing and snuggling with one, having sex with another, and I just don’t want to read that.I’m trying to be fair and judge the story not for what I thought it was supposed to be, but rather for what it really was. But based on the first book and based on the fact that JR Ward is the author, I think most people are going to expect the same things I did. They will be disappointed too.What this book does do is focus on the death of the Bradford family patriarch and the mess he left behind. He bankrupted the company. He sired illegitimate children. He destroyed Edward. And pretty much no one mourns his death. But the family and the business must go on. The book follows Lane as he steps up in his growing role as head of the family, as he tries to track the money, and as he figures out how to save everyone he loves –and the Bradford legacy—from ruin.We do get to spend some time with his siblings. The prodigal son Max returns, but it’s barely a cameo. As I mentioned, Edward gets some page time, but he left me frustrated and confused. And Gin returns to both fascinate and repulse me with her overwhelmingly self-destructive behaviors. I essentially liked no one.I was interested in the story, because Ward can reel me in. But this is twice now she has let me down and left me wholly dissatisfied with one of her books. (Let’s not even talk about that BDB debacle.) I expect certain basic things from a romance author, not the least of which is romance… at least somewhere in there. It doesn’t have to be the A-plot. But it should be somewhere. Here, it’s just not. See all 78 customer reviews...
Praise for The Bourbon Kings “Get ready for summer’s most sinful indulgence. The drama never stops in this tale of family secrets, lost love found, rivalries, delightfully nasty villains, and deliciously appealing heroes. The clothes, the whiskey, and the gorgeous Kentucky backdrop will sweep you away. The privileged and the downtrodden never had it so good. Put on your derby hat and join in the fun.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Wiggs “Breathless fun! J. R. Ward moves her trademark dark and sexy from the world of warrior vampires to the halls of the Kentucky elite, where the family members’ claws are just as sharp and the consequences just as deadly. I couldn’t stop turning the pages!”—New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner “The setting is 80's TV soap opera Dallas meets Downton Abbey...This is high drama, and it’s mesmerizing.”—Fresh Fiction “I want my Bourbon in bed! J. R. Ward delivers a sweeping saga where family roots run deep and passion sizzles hotter than a Kentucky summer. Potent and heady, one taste just isn’t enough.”—New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter “The drama and dark secrets behind the Bradford family’s empire propel this irresistible story of high-society scandal . . . a read that’s rich, smooth, and satisfying as a glass of Kentucky bourbon.”—New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips “Soapy elements abound in this Dynastyesque tale, from lavish wealth to feuds, dirty secrets, and forbidden love…Ward is a master of pacing and world building, and readers will love that the cliff-hanger ending guarantees at least a second helping of the Bradfords.”—Booklist (starred review) About the Author J. R. Ward is the author of more than twenty previous novels, including those in her #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Black Dagger Brotherhood. She is also the author of the Black Dagger Legacy series, and The Bourbon Kings. There are more than fifteen million copies of Ward’s novels in print worldwide, and they have been published in twenty-five different countries around the world.
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