FIRST LINES FRIDAY 56: It Started Out With a Kiss, How Did It End Up Like This?!
“First Line Fridays” is by Hoarding Books and is all about the first line of a current/upcoming read. Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda’s Voice, where you turn to page 56 (or 56%) in what you’re reading a find a snippet that jumps out at you. The idea to combine the two came from Kat @ Here There Be Dragons“
I found this meme on The Writerly Way. And I’m doing this on a Thursday just to be difficult.
REVIEW: Noble Hops by Layla Reyne
Trouble Brewing: Noble Hops – Layla Reyne
Everything Dominic Price has worked hard to uphold is about to come crashing down on everything he holds dear.
So much for the quiet life. Just as assistant US attorney and brewery owner Dominic Price is settling into a comfy new chapter with his partner, FBI agent Cameron Byrne, the sudden death of Nic’s father puts their happily-ever-after in jeopardy. Nic immediately suspects foul play, his prime suspect a notorious gangster his father was indebted to—only now the loan shark is out for blood.
Cam has been longing for Nic to finally let him in on this very personal case. But when Nic’s belief that he’s the sole Price heir is upended, the line between personal and professional starts to blur, leaving Cam unsure of where he stands.
Nic is depending on Cam’s kidnap and rescue expertise to save his recently discovered family member before it’s too late. But with a dangerous threat closing in, the ghosts from Nic’s past cast long shadows. Any relationship could crack under the pressure, but for Nic, finding his family might mean losing the love of his life.
I want some of that Fighting Boston Irish Stout!
Noble Hops wraps the Trouble Brewing series with a lot of suspense, action and that much awaited HEA. This third installment is focused on Nic. We get some answers to burning questions, such as why Vaugh was so hell-bent on hassling Nic when he had already cut ties with his father and who is this GS tattooed on Nic’s back.
Cam and Nic is rock-solid and nothing could come between them, not even Nic’s first love, though Cam had his insecurities. I love how in sync they were with each other and nothing underscores their deep connection than when Nic wholeheartedly said Cam would find him. He always does.
Like any MM reader, I love a good love story but Noble Hops is my kind of MM book in which there’s a whole lot of plot going on and the romance is on the side. An important person was kidnapped and Cam was in charge of the rescue operation. The search and rescue and the case against Vaugh took up most of the book. Vaughn was one tough bastard to nail. Waiting for him and Bowers to get their comeuppance kept me turning the pages. Nic’s family secrets were exposed but on the upside, his family expanded. Also, I have been waiting for it!, Nic doing his AUSA magic in the courtroom. Go get that bastard, Counselor!
I highly recommend Trouble Brewing. It’s an addicting romantic suspense series with well-written story arcs, lovable cast of characters, exciting romance, also, great beer.
And please, do we get a wedding novella? A spin-off for Eddie and G?
I received a copy of Noble Hops from Carina Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soundtrack: Falling In Love Is A Suicide Mission
Artist: Our Krypton Son
Album: Fleas & Diamonds
REVIEW: Craft Brew by Layla Reyne
Trouble Brewing: Craft Brew – Layla Reyne
Assistant US attorney Dominic Price is staring down the barrel of his father’s debts. The bull’s-eye on his back makes him a threat to everyone he cares about, so when his lover wants to go public with their relationship, he bolts. Not because he isn’t in love—he can’t stomach the thought of putting Cam in danger.
Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne is determined to figure out what trouble Nic is running from, but devastating news from home brings him back to Boston and to the cold case that has haunted his family for two decades. Shoving aside his pride, he calls Nic for help.
Together they search for answers, navigating the minefield of Cam’s past. But when they get too close to the truth, Cam must use every skill in his arsenal to save the man he loves…before it’s too late.
Cam and Nic start my 2019 with Craft Brew, the second book of Trouble Brewing. This is a Cam-centric book. Cam, together with his bestfriend Jamie, goes back to Boston after his mom had a heart attack. We delve into his past when his 12 year old sister, Erin, went missing 20 years ago and his mom requested he give them all closure by finding out what happened to her. This is quite a painful experience for Cam and his family as once again, they open old wounds that never truly healed. Nic flew in to help and he meets the Byrne family but Cam hasn’t come out as bisexual to them so they keep their relationship low key.
I liked how Nic fit right in the Byrne family even though at first, they had to keep their relationship secret. When the case wrapped up and the dust settled, I gave a little cheer when they finally decided “no more hiding” and they both came out to Cam’s family and to the public.
My favorite part was at the end when Cam was so exhausted he fell asleep in the car. Nic didn’t have the heart to wake him up so he carried Cam up to their hotel room, causing complete strangers to almost swoon and declare them as “relationship goals.” Squee~ (∩˃o˂∩)♡
Agents Irish and Whiskey and Trouble Brewing are big on family. Aidan and Cam both had huge Irish families, Jamie and Cam were brothers in everything but blood. And then there’s Nic, slowly admitting to himself that these guys, who always had his back, were his family.
Another thread in the series is the case of Vaughn and Curtis Price, Nic’s dad. Aidan and Lauren were on hand to help with the investigation, along with Mel. I love the entire gang! Only Danny was missing. Majority of the characters who appear on both series felt very real to me and I think one of the strengths of the series is the great chemistry among these characters.
As I have mentioned in my review of the first book Imperial Stout, I liked Cam and Nic’s series better than Aidan and Jamie’s (sorry ヾ(_ _*)) and this second installment cements that status. There is just the right balance of police procedural action and romance with both aspects executed really well. The climax was full of suspense and the peace and relief at the end was very palpable. This is a solid second book that puts the past behind and moved a lot of things forward.
Recommended for those who love FBI action with a whole lot of drama and romance.
Craft Brew is not a standalone. This is best read after book 1, Imperial Stout. To get a better picture of the group dynamics, also read Agents Irish and Whiskey first.
Review of Imperial Stout here.
Review of Agents Irish and Whiskey here.
4 Stars – minor quibbles but I loved it to bits
Soundtrack: Orange Sky
Artist: Alexi Murdoch
Album: Time Without Consequences
Trouble Brewing: Imperial Stout – Layla Reyne
Layla Reyne spins off from her pulse-pounding Agents Irish and Whiskey books with Imperial Stout , the first installment in the Trouble Brewing series
It’s a good thing assistant US attorney Dominic Price co-owns a brewery. He could use a cold one. Nic’s star witness has just been kidnapped, his joint operation with the FBI is in jeopardy, his father’s shady past is catching up with him and the hot new special agent in San Francisco is the kind of distraction best handled with a stiff drink.
Kidnap and rescue expert Cameron Byrne has his own ideas about how to handle Nic, but his skills are currently needed elsewhere. The by-the-book FBI agent goes deep undercover as a member of an infamous heist crew in order to save Nic’s witness, break up the crew and close the case before anyone else gets hurt. Nic in particular.
Things heat up when Cam falls for Nic, and the witness falls for Cam. As the crew’s suspicions grow, Cam must decide how far he’s willing to go—and how far into his own dark past he’s willing to dive—to get everyone out alive.
I liked Aidan and Jamie but their series, Agents Irish and Whiskey, as a whole was wonky. I am glad to say that Imperial Stout was much better.
Nic Price, who dated Aidan briefly, piqued my interest before for being sartorially correct and him hooking up with Cam Byrne was something of a pleasant surprise when it was revealed in Blended Whiskey.
Imperial Stout takes you immediately to where the action is as several teams stake out the bad guys. Slight niggle on the part where Nic is part of the stakeout team and started shooting people himself. I agree with one GR reviewer who mentioned that lawyers usually come in after the fact and not while the Feds are in an operation. I also wanted to see Nic doing lawyerly things so a courtroom scene would have been nice.
Cam goes undercover and did what he did best, rescuing kidnapped victims, namely Nic’s star witness, Abby. For this job, Cam digs into his not so stellar past and tries not to get involved in a threesome with Abby and her girlfriend, the main antagonist, Becca who both found him attractive. All the while dancing around his attraction to Nic and the memory of their kiss.
The book could be read as a standalone but I still recommend reading Agents Irish and Whiskey since most of the characters there play significant roles in Imperial Stout. The group dynamics is still as enjoyable as ever and I am happy that Lauren had more page time. She is fast becoming my favorite female character along with Mel. And for some reason, I might be seeing sparks that weren’t there because I was shipping Lauren with Percy Hunter, the B&E guy they nabbed.
Suspension of disbelief is still necessary at some instances but the story as a whole was entertaining. One of my issues before with Aidan and Jamie, aside from the plot holes and long drawn out investigations, was that they were too emotionally compromised to do their jobs properly as working partners. With Nic and Cam, there was less of that complication since they were from different departments. Overall, their book was simply better written compared to the original series.
Meh ratings on Agents Irish and Whiskey here.
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love