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July 17, 2015

Loved It: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

Series: The Bourbon Kings Saga 1
Format: Hardbound
Release Date: July 28, 2015
Publisher: NAL
Source: Author
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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.




8 Things About The Bourbon Kings

  1. THE BOURBON KINGS is a dynastic Southern family drama set in Kentucky about the Bradford-Baldwines. This family is nothing short of royalty, filthy rich, stinking with old money from bourbon and horse racing. They also put a new spin on the term dysfunctional.

    William Baldwine: current patriarch and asshole extraordinaire. I love his retors though, a very clever, but hateful man.

    Edward: eldest son, kidnapping survivor, and very broken. He reminds me of Zsadist and also my favorite in the cast. His storyline is the most interesting to me at this point.

    Tulane (Lane): the lead of the novel. Honorable, loyal, and heir apparent to the Bradford empire.

    Maxwell: MIA in this novel except for the flashbacks. He sounds messed up too.

    Gin: The Heiress. Promiscuous, and a stereotypical, entitled, brat, she's putting these social media kittens to shame with her antics. Not an antagonist, but she haven't shown any redeeming qualities yet. 

  2. Lizzie King might be the leading lady here but I didn't warm up to her. She has a HUGE chip on her shoulder and I wish there's more to her than Pride. I love Miss Aurora though, the Bradford-Baldwine's "Momma"/Governess/Nanny, the person who really raised the siblings. She's the voice of reason here and has the most touching lines and scenes.

  3. THE BOURBON KINGS is very reminiscent of that defunct TV series, Dirty, Sexy Money in that there's an over arching arc involving the family business. That combined with some pretty awful stuff that William has done,  I'm sure it's going to get real messy and ugly in the coming books.

  4. Don't expect the wheel to be reinvented here. There's a certain degree of predictability in THE BOURBON KINGS, lots of common plot devices wherein you can sort of figure out early on what's happened/going to happen. It's not a negative per se, the novel is both plot and character driven, and I think it was a conscious effort as Ward focused more on the Bradford-Baldwines, and the muck they're in to, which will force the characters to grow as the saga moves along. The radius of the story might be small right now, but trust me the current is strong and it runs deep. You can say that this series debut is an elaborate stage setting of sorts, THE BOURBON KINGS reek of money, dysfunction, & intrigue, it's impossible for anyone not to get hooked.

  5. That said, expect a lot of character stereotypes here, which I wasn't a fan of. There's also a few situations where it's so cliche I can't help but snort and roll my eyes.

  6. THE BOURBON KINGS is filled with opulence coupled with a few "rich folks problems" that we, the bourgeoisie, find intriguing, and would at times find laughable. I mean Gin got so flustered because she doesn't know how to pack a suitcase or drive a stick-shift Porsche, Ferrari, or Jaguar. And God forbid, she can't be seen in a Mercedes sedan! So she settled for a Phantom Drophead instead because it's push and play *rolls eyes*. Don't worry, it's not going to be like Black Dagger Brotherhood where the label dropping is getting ridiculous. The stress on these people's affluence is to contrast how rotten things are beneath the glitz and glamour. Still, expect a good eye work out and not just from reading.

  7. THE BOURBON KINGS is not as funny or witty as BDB and/or The Fallen Angels

  8. Last but not the least, THE ROMANCE. Ladies, let me preface this last item by saying that THE BOURBON KINGS isn't as sexy as The Black Dagger Brotherhood. There's no explicit sex scenes, no drawn out love making, no homo-erotic tones, no toys or any weird proclivities. It's a very tame NC-17 IMO. What this novel has though are powerful emotional relationships involving the siblings. There's no love at first sight as all the pair-ups so far have history together. I guess the novels serve as romantic conclusions to the relationships that were formed many years ago.

THE BOURBON KINGS is a happy medium between the Jessica Bird books and Ward's PNR novels. It's not formulaic HEA and not as dark as Black Dagger Brother or The Fallen Angels... yet (?). It's very contemporary but compelling nonetheless. Right now I'm not as invested in the characters as I was with the Brothers and Jim Heron. I'm more interested in the overarching arc and what sort of fate will befall the Bradford-Baldwines. Ward really got me with that hook at the very end, which totally changed a lot of things for me as far as THE BOURBON KINGS is concerned. Overall, I'm happy to read something else by Ward, BDB has gotten a bit stale for me. This is a good change from the usual and it goes without saying that I want more of this saga, and very curious about the upcoming Black Dagger Legacy series.








Talk Supe



57 comments:

  1. Eh, maybe, more than I wanna read BDB at least

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    1. The Legacy sounds like a reboot, let's hopee it's going to be a good spin-off

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  2. Love the cover and good to hear it was a nice and welcome change

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  3. I haven't given up on Ward but honestly I'm not all that interested in her books anymore either. I'll live vicariously thru you guys reviews ;)

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    1. The Shadows is gathering dust on my shelf, this renewed my interest in her work.

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  4. I'm glad that you enjoyed this book. I don't think I'm going to try it. I've been getting tired of Ward's writing and I'm not a big fan of contemporary romances either. I might even quit BDB. Great review.

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    1. Will you try the Legacy books?

      I haven't decided over BDB yet, but the excitement isn't there anymore.

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  5. I just finished this yesterday and I agree, I really enjoyed it. It was like reading a soap opera!

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  6. Aww I was all excited about this one. I'll just borrow it from the library. It sounds good, but not as omg amazing as I thought it would be.

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    1. It's a very improved version of the JBird books

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    2. Haven't read those, I want BDB!

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    3. Go BDB! Although I started losing interest after book 9 I think? Jessica Bird books are contemporary romances.

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  7. Thanks Braine, I've wondered about this new series and Penguin didn't let go many review arcs so I think I'll wait until a friend buys it and I'll borrow it or get it from the Library
    Great review

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    1. You're not missing much aside from this being her first contemporary under this name.

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  8. I gave up on Ward years ago and I'm not sure this book is enough to lure me back. It makes me sad because she was one of my favorites but I'm glad to hear that this mostly worked for you!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. Will you be trying the BDB Legacy? I think it's her last ditch effort to revive the BDB fandom

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  9. Lucky duck! Ack. I don't care. I want this book so much. I got an email from Net Galley about this so I jumped on it right away, but then it took them days to get back to me just to say, "you can't sit with us" *sobs* Oh well.

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    1. Ooh I hate it when that happens! Such a horrible tease that leaves us with nothing but blue balls!

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  10. Well, I did put it on my list, but dang if I found the time yet. What's not to like in a soap-opera-like plot? I can't imagine a better beach read :)

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    1. This will make you want to ride a horse on the beach with a bottle of boubon in your hand. Whew!

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  11. Ehh.... I am not sold on this one. I have never read this author, and I keep meaning to try her, but this doesn't sound like a good place to start, I am not a fan of soap opera drama.

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  12. This sounds like a fun book. I sort of treat all her books that way. Not surprised at the formula or the stereotypes. Still, she is usually something fun to read.

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    1. I guess it's good to go with "the usual" sometimes...

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  13. I have this one up on the the blog next week. I was just middle of the road with it. It was compelling and kept me reading and was entertaining but can't say I really liked any of them or was all that head over heels wow-ed by it. I'd really expected more ooompf from it I guess?

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    1. There's a lot of expectations when one picks up Ward. But give it a chance, it might win you over towards the end.

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  14. I've only read Ward's BDB and I haven't finished that series...but Zsadist is my fav! I've been really curious about The Bourbon Kings - so I'm glad that you enjoyed your introduction overall.

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    1. It's a good one, I tried to not the name J.R. Ward get to me too much.

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  15. I have yet to read a Ward book. Shocking, I KNOW!! *hangs head in shame*

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    1. Really?!?! Wow, you're a rare find :P

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  16. Kind of sounds like a cross between Gossip Girl and Pride and Prejudice, when I got to the end I was surprised there were PNR elements lol.

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  17. I've been so curious about this! I think this would be a great escape book, a little family drama and great setting to get my mind off the heat :)

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    1. I am a sucker for family dramas. It's a guilty pleasure of mine :D

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  18. Oh wow... I like the sound of this book. I am yet to try a JRW book. Should I try this series first or BDB? I need a good read to pull me back into the world of reading! Great review :)

    Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

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    1. Go with BDB first not unless you want contemporary.

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  19. Well, in comparison to BDB it sounds only okay, but in general it sounds really good. I have this to read soon.

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    1. If one puts this side by side with other contemporary novels it is really good. I'm just not sure if BDB fans will be impressed by these. I guess a few of us have been spoiled lol

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  20. I hate cliche stereotypes. Those get really annoying. I've read so many mixed reviews on this. It has a cool looking cover but it doesn't sound like it's for me. Glad to see that you loved it though even if you had some problems with it.

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    1. I can't wait to read other reviews!

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  21. I've got it to read and plan to, but I'm really glad to get your thoughts first. I had no idea what this series was going for so its nice to have a clue. Great breakdown, Braine!

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    1. Thank you, I hope you enjoy it as well

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  22. Ah one day I'll really really have to try the author, I have her BDB series but haven't read it yet. I should!

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  23. Oh I have been on the fence with this one, but I think I might have to give it a shot! I haven't read any of her other work, but I have heard good things. Great review!

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    1. You too?! I'm surprised you haven't read at least one of her books yet!

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  24. You know I really, really want to read this, and while you loved the story, it also seems like it could have been a little more?
    Plot and characters moving the story forward is a good thing, but I do need to have at least one characters I feel something strong for. We shall see, only a little over a week until release day, and I have it on pre-order :)
    Great review, Braine!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. I hope you like it at least. I love family dramas, it's a guilty pleasure of mine, and one with rich folks? Sign me up! These people seem to be more messed up than the normal peeps it seems lol

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  25. I am reading this now and loving it.

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    1. Good to know I'm not the only one!

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  26. I really need to read this series.

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    1. It's brand new so no backlog to catch up with :)

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  27. Good to see you enjoyed this one. I was wondering how Ward would go in the contemporary genre. I did enjoy Dirty Sexy Money when it was on TV, so I'd like to try this one!

    Naomi @ Naomi’s Reading Palace

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  28. I started this book weeks ago, but sadly I haven't been able to finish it. I just got bored and put it away. Since then, I have picked it up couple of times, but just after few pages I have to put it down again. I don't know if it's me or if it's just too "soap opera" for me. :(

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  29. I'm actually more drawn to this because it's cleaner. The sex was one thing that kind of turned me off her books. But I'm the weirder that wants LESS sex. So this might work for me. I'm thinking this might be a good one on audio though. I might have to look it up and see if it's listed as an audiobook yet and sample it.

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