Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Devil's Cut (The Bourbon Kings #3) by J.R. Ward: ARC Review


In #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward’s thrilling finale to her Bourbon Kings series, the Bradford family dynasty teeters on the edge of collapse after the murder of their patriarch—and a shocking arrest.

At first, the death of William Baldwine, the head of the Bradford family, was ruled a suicide. But then his eldest son and sworn enemy, Edward, came forward and confessed to what was, in fact, a murder. Now in police custody, Edward mourns not the disintegration of his family or his loss of freedom . . . but the woman he left behind. His love, Sutton Smythe, is the only person he has ever truly cared about, but as she is the CEO of the Bradford Bourbon Company’s biggest competitor, any relationship between them is impossible. And then there’s the reality of the jail time that Edward is facing.

Lane Baldwine was supposed to remain in his role of playboy, forever in his big brother Edward’s shadow. Instead he has become the new head of the family and the company. Convinced that Edward is covering for someone else, Lane and his true love, Lizzie King, go on the trail of a killer—only to discover a secret that is as devastating as it is game-changing.

As Lane rushes to discover the truth, and Sutton finds herself irresistibly drawn to Edward in spite of his circumstances, the lives of everyone at Easterly will never be the same again. For some, this is good; for others, it could be a tragedy beyond imagining. Only one thing is for certain: Love survives all things. Even murder.

Click to Buy The Bourbon Kings Series on Amazon:


About the Author:

J.R. Ward is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than 15 million novels in print published in 25 different countries around the world. The books in her popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series have held the #1 spot on the New York Times hardcover, mass market, eBook, and combined print/eBook fiction bestseller lists and have debuted in the top 5 on the USA Today bestseller list. Prior to her writing career, Ward worked as a lawyer in Boston and spent many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard’s world-renowned academic medical centers. Ward currently lives with her family in Kentucky where she has learned to enjoy and appreciate all things Southern. Connect with her online at,, and

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Review by Michelle:

When you anxiously await the finale of a series for over a year, there is no better feeling than that sweet satisfaction of finding everything you could possibly ask for in its conclusion. Then again I don't remember ever being disappointed by a J.R. Ward book so this complete and utter happiness and gratification you find in this last book should really come as no surprise. Nowhere near the scandal of the first two books, you can never get too far from shock and drama when it comes to the Baldwine family. In Devil's Cut there may not be an abundance of sordid behavior, but this time around our curiosity of the family's most confounding siblings, Gin the fiercely independent, proudly promiscuous vixen with a backbone of steel and Maxwell the black sheep, bad boy that everyone, his own family included, has yet to figure out, is finally satisfied. With still plenty of surprise, this book becomes almost a murder mystery as we have still another sibling sitting in prison after confessing to murder and more than a few people lobbying for his innocence and trying to piece together the real story.

When you say drama the first Baldwine name that should come to mind is definitely Gin and this time we have the privilege of learning more about the immensely complicated relationship she has had for years with one Samuel T. After some much needed insight into the inner workings of their connection, their feelings, and their secrets, we begin to see a, dare I say, softer, more maternal side to Gin that is sure to win over even her biggest hater. If you are a lover of the bitchy heroine, you are going to love Gin as she has been in the previous books and fall head over heels for the vulnerable, caring, reformed woman she begins to evolve into.

If I had one inkling of disappointment it would be that I needed way more Max. But while I loved getting to know him a bit better, understanding more about him and the way that he is as well as where he came from and what has molded him into the detached rebel he has become, I actually quite enjoyed the hint of mystery we are left with in his case. It seems only fitting to still have unanswered questions about the man that was absent for most of the story and is still an enigma to even his closest family.

One can never stray too far from Lane though, and while this book does not have the slap-you-in-the -face, knock-you-off-the-edge-of-your-seat type of shockers that the last two books did, it certainly has its fair share of struggle, angst, and revelation especially where Lane and those he cares the most about are concerned.

A book written partially out of pure love of the author's home state of Kentucky, the vibrant and eloquent description of the sprawling stables atop rolling fields covered in Kentucky bluegrass, the craggy cliffs of the vast estate overlooking the city and the Ohio River, and the majestic Appalachian Mountains is guaranteed to give you a whole new appreciation of the state. While I would be extremely wary of the heat and near tropic humidity that is described so vibrantly I found myself wiping my brow more than once, at times this emotional story reads like a tourism guide beckoning you to fall just as madly in love with this regal state as the author once did.

Not at all the ending I was expecting for this sinful, sexy, scandalous journey, yet I can't think of a single thing that was missing or that could make me feel even the tiniest bit more fulfilled. Devil's Cut is packed with liars and cheats, sinners and saints, love and war, hostility and forgiveness, triumphs and turmoil. So much more than a sensational and salacious story, this conclusion is full of heartache and heartbreak, new leaves and total transformation, passion and adoration, hope and joy. With an unlikely savior and growth everywhere you turn, this is truly a culmination of epic proportions.

*complimentary copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 5 Stars

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