Audiobook Review: The Angels' Share by J.R. Ward

The Angels' Share
The Bourbon Kings # 2
Author: J.R. Ward
Narrator: Alexander Cendese
Reading Level: New Adult
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Released: July 26, 2016
Review Source: Listening Library, Penguin Random House Audio

Number-one New York Times best-selling 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?

This review will have some spoilers that happened in book one, so if you haven't read book one, get on it and read this review after!

I did NOT read or listen to book one so I was a little lost for a while in this book. It felt all over the place due to not knowing the characters and what they had been through previously. This book starts with the death of William Baldwine, the head of the family and highly successful bourbon business. The story takes place in Charlemont, Kentucky. William leaves the family business in complete chaos financially when he dies. Lane ends up stepping up to the plate and tries to fix the messes. This story is one mess after the other. When some gruesome evidence is found on the Easterly property, an investigation is launched to find out if William's alleged suicide, was actually a murder. Edward, William's oldest son, is looking pretty suspicious due to his difficult past with his father. Their history alone is like a lifetime movie, add to that the drama from the other family members and friends and you have yourself an epic story-line.

Oh my gosh!!! This book was full of secrets, drama, and craziness. I love J.R. Ward's ability to paint a scene. She gives such amazing detail to every single location of her books that it's like watching a movie play out in your mind as you're reading. Her writing makes you want to get on a plane and live in the place she describes/creates. Even though I did not read book one, I feel J.R. Ward did a great job with the back stories of the characters, so I wasn't completely lost the entire book. I really love Lane's character because of his strong will to right the wrongs in front of him. He doesn't give up and always tries to come up with ways for the business and family to survive. I also love Lizzie, she compliments Lane perfectly. She is down to earth and is very supportive and loving to Lane. They are the power couple of the book. I also loved Lane's friend Jeff, even though he gets dragged into the mess of the Baldwine family, by force I might add, he remains a loyal, amazing friend.

The Narrator: I really enjoyed Alexander Cendese's narration of the book. I felt he did an extremely great job with the "pompous" feel of some of the high society voices. I also thought he did a great job bringing the women to life. The southern drawl he gave to Lizzie made me smile every time she had a part in the book. He has such a range to his voice that it really sounded like different people talking the entire time I listened to the book. That in itself is amazing to pull off. I would definitely read other books narrated by Alexander Cendese.

The rating: I am rating the narration of this book 4.5 stars because I LOVED hearing the story! The audio version truly brought the story to life for me and I liked "hearing" it even more than reading it.

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