Tennessee Whiskey

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

It took me a long time to write my review. I really wanted to love this book but I didn't. I had a hard time connecting with the characters and the storyline. Usually one or the other will keep me interested enough until the other one kicks in. Sadly, for me, this never happened. I liked the premise of the book but just didn't feel like it all fit or came together the way I personally would have liked. I have very much enjoyed this author's other books and will continue to read her. Nothing is everything to everyone all the time. I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This had me at Tennessee  and whiskey just add romance and life is good. This was my first from Donna k. Ford I have to say I will definitely read more from this author. This was fast read  for me and worth my time.
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Would have been 4 stars.

At the end, I’ll say why it would have been 4 stars.

There is a lot to like about this book. Top for me was the one MC not being self-conscious about the burns and scars on parts of her body. The writing, especially and oddly during the more violent parts was so well done. The description of the incident where she acquired the scars and burns - well done.

There was satisfying depth to the characters and the descriptions of scenes.

Here’s what I didn’t like - really didn’t like - the one MC was, euphemistically, coming on to the other, even when the other was saying no. Especially the first scene, she had absolutely no indication her favor was wanted or reciprocated. Even later, when she was trying to get the other MC to give in to her desires. Look, you can want and not want, at the same time. And you have the right to not reciprocate if you decide not to. There are ways to persuade that may be acceptable, but not her ways.

Hopefully, the author’s other books don’t have this kind of problematic behavior, because I would love to read them.

I received this copy via Netgalley and the publisher.
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A solid, believable lesbian romance. The main characters were both likable and their relationship was written well. I struggled more with the rest of the story about the drugs and the unpleasant family that had been left behind but overall it was a readable book that I enjoyed.
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🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤‍👩📚⚢ ⛰📷🥃👩‍🌾🏔👩‍❤‍💋‍👩📖👭🏳️‍🌈

That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of « Tennessee Whiskey » by Donna K. Ford from BSB (via NetGalley).
So, here it is !!!

It’s actually the first time I’m able to read one of Donna K. Ford’s books …

My rating : 2 ⭐️ (and God knows I wish I could have rated this novel a lot higher …)

The story mainly sets in Jellico, somewhere in the Smoky Mountains, in the Appalachian chain and focuses on Dane Foster a photojournalist who starts to spiral out of control after losing her job. … And … Emma Reynolds a farmer / bar owner with trust issues who looks after her younger brother, Curtis, and puts her heart and soul into keeping her parents’ bar alive.
Dane travels to Jellico in the hopes of finding family and a place to belong. Curtis befriends Dane shortly after she set the foot in Emma’s bar. He convinces Emma to rent a room to Dane, like she does sometimes for other people in needs of a place to stay.
And, then, Curtis gets in too deep with drug dealers and … to know what comes next, well, you’ll have to read by yourself …


The Pros :
° the around 40 years old MCs
° Dane not being perfect-bodied due to what happened to her 18 months ago
° some good touches of humor which made me chuckle more than once
° the erotic (&, BTW, very hygienic 😊) first intimate encounter under the shower …
° Samson the dog

The Cons :
° the lack of real character development. Yeah, we’ve got some info but all is disjointed.
° because of the crual lack of time markers it’s often very difficult to follow the time line and know how much time really passes between events, so, it makes it even more difficult appreciate the quite slow building (which seemingly lasts several weeks …) of the MCs’ relationship (which I don’t buy, BTW)
° the apologia of alcohol consumption /addiction as a way to (try to) cure PTSD and survivor guilt
° the MCs’ « superhero/savior » syndrom … Gosh, that was tiring !!!
° some redundancies : in the ideas, in the phrasing about some situation, in the descriptions of a couple of « actions » … sometimes just a few pages apart and sometimes … in the same page, just a few lines apart.
° some inconsistencies : for example …
- in a prison , how on earth could there be a « personal contact » with an inmate if (like the guard says in the same sentence) there’s a glass divider between the inmate and the visitor ???
- How could Dane call Samson and obtain a reaction from the dog since he is supposedly old and … deaf ??
° somes stories need to be LONG to be good (or even great) … This book is way to short to be good. Since Dane is a photoJOURNALIST, it would have been great to have her actually act like that … a journalist digging some info and taking some pictures, both to discover her family history full of secrets that people who’d have prefer staying buried and to find the truth about the drug circle. A bit like if she had played the undercover fed investigator that the bad guys thoughts she was …
Here, it seems there have been a lot of cuts, and, because of that, the remaining story is sometimes at the edge of the total nonsense… Too many important things happen too close one of the other … It’s a shame ‘cause it makes a potential great novel become like the scenario of a bad B rated series …


If I had to make a very short and quite different version of my review, it’d be something like this :
- Did I enjoy this book? => Sadly, no … I found myself feeling disconnected from almost everything this novel
- Did I find the characters believable? => Nope …
- Is this book now included in my « must be re-read »-list? => Nope
- Will I purchase the paperback? => Nope
- Would I read another book by this author? => Since, at least, I liked her humor, I think I’ll give this author another try, someday …
- Would I recommend this book => Sorry, I can’t !!


Hey guys and gals, you know that now it’s your turn to visit the Smocky Mountains, drink (with moderation) some Tennessee whiskey and chase the drug dealers … So … Grab your own copy and make your own opinion …

Enjoy (or not) your reading … 😉

🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤‍👩📚⚢ ⛰📷🥃👩‍🌾🏔👩‍❤‍💋‍👩📖👭🏳️‍🌈
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I couldn't finish this.  For one thing-it's just depressing.  For another, it just never grabbed me.  I tried several times to pick it back up-but just never could.

I received and ARC of this book from the publisher via net galley in exchange for an honest review.
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Dane Foster is at a crossroads – she has been in a downward spiral for months after the death of her best friend and has just lost her job as a photojournalist. She returns to Tennessee, where she was raised by her emotionally distant father, to trace her mother’s roots. She arrives in Jellico, a small, economically depressed and close-knit community where strangers are viewed with suspicion and questions are not encouraged.

Emma Reynolds is a careworn but fiercely independent character – with the death of her parents she had to leave college and her dreams to take on the responsibility of running her father’s bar, maintaining the farm and raising her brother, Curtis. Pragmatic and just a bit jaded, she grudgingly agrees to rent a room to Dane as the extra money will help but she is hesitant at first to trust or accept any help.

As Dane digs deeper into her mother’s past, she also becomes aware of how deep Curtis seems to be getting into the local drug scene – his naivety making him gullible enough to think he’s just doing favours for his “friend” but is really being set up as the perfect scapegoat. This same friend is also trying to coerce Emma into allowing him to deal out of her bar – something she has resisted up to this point but his pressure tactics have increased. Dane is drawn into the conflict as her relationship with Emma and Curtis begins to dovetail with her search for answers to her own past.

There’s a darker tone to the book – Emma is constantly fighting an uphill battle to keep the bar and the farm above water even as her guileless brother is being being drawn deeper by the local drug dealers and, as Dane digs deeper into her her mother’s family, the secrets reveal the increasingly sad and sordid history. There’s definitely a careful what you wish for sense as the information that Dane learns causes her to question even more of her life and choices.

Ms Ford paints a compelling picture of the region and the people. There’s a grittiness and realism with the pervasiveness of drugs and violence where there really isn’t much else to support the town. At the same time, there’s a strong sense of family bonds – for better or worse – where blood is truly thicker than water and how family will close ranks to protect their own. With Emma, her family is primarily Curtis who she stands by regardless of the reckless decisions he makes – almost to the point of enabling him by not putting her foot down and forcing him to take a more active role in the bar or the farm – but there is an undeniable love for her brother. On the flip side, the family secrets that Dane uncovers conceal a much uglier set of family bonds. As the bloodline family she hoped to find becomes more dysfunctional and grim, she becomes more connected to Emma and Curtis – finding that sense of family and belonging that she had been searching for all her life.

From a romance standpoint, the connection between Emma and Dane is a slow burn with Dane slowly breaking under Emma’s natural defensiveness and independence and convincing her to take a chance to accept that she doesn’t have to do everything alone. The setting and circumstances of the book was different enough from a lot of the standard lesfic narratives to make this an interesting read.

Thank you to Netgalley and BSB for advance copies for review.
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I read this surprisingly quickly considering how much reading has slowed recently. A three day power failure helped because I wasn’t able to work. Dane is a war photographer haunted by the death of her best friend. Her relationship with her father is tense at best and when he once again refuses to give her any information about her mother she decides she’ll find it herself. Meeting Emma in Jellico gives her a place to stay but not much information because the townfolk are very wary of strangers.

The story is fast-paced and riveting even though there are gaps in the plot that tested my suspension of disbelief. Some stuff appeared out of nowhere while other bits had me wondering how the information wasn’t common knowledge.

The romance, odd as it was, worked. In the end I enjoyed it.

Book received from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
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I was given this book in exchange for an honest review

The book has all the emotions of complicated family, friends and lovers dynamics.  Bad memories, new and old love, angst, jubilation in a small, depressed town.

Two friends united in purpose become lovers... kind of quickly but then when there's passion and shared purpose, that happens.

Can they save Curtis from bad or limited choices and still nurture their own friendship, love?

I reccomend this author.and book.
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I decided to read this book because I like whiskey, I know it’s rather superficial thinking. I am sorry to say I like whiskey more than I like this book.

There is something about the characters that don’t really sits well with me. Dane, a war torn photographer, meets Emma, a small town bar owner, and Curtis, Emma’s brother. Dane has scars from her past that make her come looking for her mother’s family in a small town in Tennessee. She is haunted and seem s a bit superficial. Emma has trouble taking care of Curtis, who I suspect struggles with some sort of mental disability. I feel the main story is trouble that Curtis is in with the local drug dealers. How Emma and Dane find their way together and out of trouble is some sort of after thought. 
I didn’t really like how Emma and Dane ended up together for the first time, so many thing so wrong about that situation.

I did like the writing style of Donna Ford. It was a pleasant read and I was eager to find out what was going on with Curtis and the mess he got into, but it wasn’t what you’d expect from a book like this.
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It was a great read. This book is full of descriptions concerning the depressing location, the lack of jobs....
My favorite book by this author is unquestionably Love's Redemption, book, completely blew me away, 
Would I recommend it? Absolutely.
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I did not love this book unfortunately. It began with a slow start and never picked up. I didn’t find our main characters to be particularly likable so I was not able to connect with the storyline. The premise gave me high hope but in the end this was a miss for me.
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Latest novel by Donna Ford is a welcome distraction.  Dane Foster, a strong, compassionate woman travels to a very small town in East Tennessee, after losing her best friend in a horrible accident.  Dane is seeking information about her family, particularly her mother and any other relatives she can find.  The town of Jellico, however, doesn't like to share their secrets with outsiders.  She befriends Curtis, sweet, misguided brother to the lovely Emma who owns and runs the local tavern.  Dane rents a room from them while researching her roots.  

Ford describes the Smoky Mountains, the mists, the area and people so well, I half expected to see the dirt under my feet.  Really well written and enjoyable romance/thriller.  Thanks to Bold Strokes Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review.

GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/3054792052?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1
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Dane Foster lost her loving mother way to early so when her father decided to remarry shortly after, the life Dane was used to came to an end. She and her step-mother didn’t get along and her father just wasn’t there for her. She goes to college and makes her living as a photographer travelling  around the world. When she loses her best friend she’s overwhelmed with guilt and decides to return home, not to see her father but to try to find out more about her mother's life.
    Emma Reynolds runs the bar left to her and her younger brother, Curtis after the untimely death of their parents. Emma, at the time had already made a life for herself. She lived in the city with her girlfriend but everything changed when she felt she had no choice but to move back to Jellico to look after her much younger brother. She’s  making a go of it but doesn’t  have time for a relationship with Dane or anyone else.
    It’s Curtis who brings the women together when it looks like his friends are trying hard to lead the childish Curtis to a life of crime.
    Sounds like a good story but at times Ms Ford seems to be just trying to get the writing over with. While fast paced, which I like, too much of the story just doesn’t work. As I read the book, it seemed the two women had just met then it was like they were together for a longer time, to go back to they’d just met. While I have read and enjoyed Ms Ford’s earlier works, this one was too disjointed for me. Having said that, I still look forward to her next book  because usually I really like her writing. I guess if you like a book like this you will enjoy reading it. For some this will be a nice read.
ARC via NetGalley/ Bold Stroke Books
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1.Star. Dane Foster loses her job and is unsure what to do with herself. She has not been the same since her best friend had died in front of her. Dane tries to find where she is from, as her mother died when she was very young. She goes to the town of Jellico, where her mother grew up. In the town, she meets Emma Reynolds and her younger brother Curtis. Emma decides to rent out a room to Dane, a mysterious good looking stranger. Dane does not seem like trouble and Curtis seems to like him. Dane and Emma both start to get to know one another and really start to enjoy each other's company. Dane also digs farther and father into her mother's past and finds somethings she should have left buried. 

To be honest, I really disliked this book. The story from the beginning was convoluted and hard to follow. There was a story line with Curtis and him selling drugs that seems to only sort of make sense and I did not care enough to follow.  I could not get involved in any of the characters to really care what happened to them or care about the story line. Dane's family history was also hard to follow and understand. At some point, I really stopped caring as much and just skimmed the book until the end as I wanted to finish it. Dane's story line involved some members of bad people in the area and connected to Curtis' story line. Dane and Emma's interactions were okay and only sort of realistic. I do not recommend this book.
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Dane is a war photographer who has been shaken to the core after the death of her beloved friend. She's given up her high paying job as a war photographer to find out more about her mother. She goes to her mother's hometown, the tiny town of Jellico, Tennessee, where she meets the fierce Emma and her brother Curtis. Emma is wary but allows Dane to stay at her house while Dane is in town, but Curtis immediately latches on to Dane. Dane runs into a wall of problems, including realizing that her mother's family should have stayed in the dark.

It took me awhile to get used to this one, but once I hit a certain point in the book, everything took off and I just couldn't put it down. I enjoyed both Emma and Dane, even if both women fought hard to keep Curtis out of trouble while he just kept getting stuck in it. Curtis may have either a cognitive disability or an intellectual disability, which seems to have turned off his ability to sense dangerous people and situations. He plays a fairly large role in the story, especially since Emma's whole life revolved around taking care of him when their parents died. It gives a bit of hopelessness to Emma's situation, because he is dragged around by people who mean to do harm, and ultimately Emma pays for it more. Dane's presences helps alleviate that, but even as she uncovers the little she could about her mom, it circles back around to hurt Emma. This isn't to say that Emma is hopeless, she is fierce, runs a clean bar, and is basically one of the few people in town who aren't dirty. I can see why Dane was so drawn to Emma.

I feel like this would appeal to an audience that likes some harder hitting dark plot lines. Some of these lines involve Dane, and even though I could see some of the revelations about her mom from a mile away, the execution was nearly flawless. This is a fascinating and frustrating (in a good way) read, but overall very much worth the time.
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While I was drawn to the premise of this book and I really liked the characters and where they were coming from, I'm sad to say didn't particularly enjoy this read. The author can definitely write, the prose wasn't a problem, but the story lacked fluidity and left me a bit confused at times. I would definitely give the author another chance though.
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Tennessee Whiskey by Donna K. Ford is an interesting story. Dane is a photographer recently let go from her job.  She has seen the worst of the world and feels she needs to become grounded and find a place where she feels she can belong.  She decides she wants to connect with her dead mother’s family.  She travels to the mountains in rural Tennessee, but soon finds that this small town is not very welcoming and is hiding many secrets. She meets Emma and her younger brother Curtis.  Emma works hard to keep her brother out of trouble, and to maintain her late parents bar going.  When Curtis gets into a lot of trouble with drug dealers, Emma and Dane work together and begin to fall in love.

This book is full of descriptions concerning the depressing location, the lack of jobs, and a view into a different world.  It was a bit dark, and a bit depressing, but includes a full heart felt story in addition. The characters are interesting, dramatic, and a little rough.  The story starts a bit slow but then keeps a steady pace.  It was well written, and it keeps your attention trying to discover what is going on.

I received an advanced copy from Net Galley for my honest opinion.
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Dane has lost her job and her best friend and is spiraling a bit. So she decides to go home to Appalachia in Tennesse and try to find out more about her mother's family. Her father has never been forthcoming about anything about that side of her family, and she thinks that maybe if she learns more about them that she'll learn something about herself as well.

Her journey takes her into Emma's bar where she and Emma get off to quite a rocky start, but, Emma rents a room to Dane anyway and Dane and Emma's brother Curtis get a little close as well. Curtis was a cool character, he was written in a really amazing way, right on the border of adult and just a tiny teeny bit childlike, but, not in a straightforward way. I'm probably explaining the character wrong, but, it was something that I'd never quite read before, and, it tickled me to read about him after I'd just recently gotten done with reading the Stumptown books with Ansel in them, and the awesome new TV show with Ansel as well.

Curtis is the main thrust of the book because he always seems to be in trouble and his sister always seems to need to be getting him out of trouble. But, this time he may be in more trouble than even he .... and Dane can get him out of. And, it doesn't help that Dane is asking questions about her family and the people in the area do not like that since they're a very closed community.

It was an interesting story and a fun read. It didn't surprise me a lot in its twists and turns, but, the characters were all unique and amazing.

 I received this book via Netgalley thanks to Bold Strokes Books.
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A nice enough read I just think wasn’t what I was expecting, nice characters, story and pacing. I’m sure lots of others will enjoy but it just was missing something for me.


Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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