Early Bird Review | Barrel Proof

Barrel Proof

About the Book: FBI agents Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker can’t get a moment’s peace. Their hunt for the terrorist Renaud seems to be nearing an end, until a fire allows him to slip through their fingers—and puts Jamie’s life in danger. When Jamie is nearly killed, Aidan learns how many forms loss can take. 

Aidan says I love you just moments before learning that Jamie’s been keeping a devastating secret about Aidan’s late husband. How quickly trust and love can go up in flames. When Aidan requests a solo undercover assignment, Jamie hopes Aidan will find a way to forgive him. 

But the explosions are far from over. Aidan’s cover lands him in the heart of the terrorist’s conspiracy, and Jamie will have to put his life, his career and his freedom on the line to save the man who has become his entire world. Partners, always is a promise he intends to keep.

Agents Irish and Whiskey #3
M/M Romantic Suspense
Carina Press | August 7, 2017
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I liked this trilogy.  It was fun and the characters were interesting.  I even liked the sweet romantic moments.  Unfortunately, I thought sometimes it was a bit overdone.  For instance, these are two FBI agents and we’re told that they’re not allowed to date each other, particularly because they’re work partners which creates a conflict of interest.  They have keep it on the down low.  Yet, they’re at a bar and Aiden is nuzzling Jamie’s face.  He nuzzled his face a lot.  There was a lot of public face nuzzling.  Basically, I’m saying that the sticky sweet romance was too thick, especially these specific characters in this specific setting.  Barrel Proof felt like it was written how the author fantasized a romance rather than working toward making that romance as believable as the plot.

I’m not a fan of putting people into boxes based on their race, gender, or sexuality.  There is no one way to be Hispanic, or a man, or Gay. Personality and whether or not you’re touchy-feely varies greatly person to person, regardless of how someone identifies. This isn’t about it being an M/M book.  It’s because, these two men would have had to be more discreet, and they weren’t.  They were as obvious as two people could be, even while they were out on the job with their coworkers!

That is a big complaint, as evident by how much I talked about it, but it is my only complaint.  Again, I really liked both Aiden and Jamie.  I enjoyed their family and friends, and never wanted to quit reading.  All in all, this was a good solid 3 star read.

I’m bumping it up to 3.5 stars because what this author did get right was not sacrificing their work ethic and the ‘case’ for the sake of the romance.  I always think of Cut & Run when I think of poorly written law enforcement.  I know it’s a beloved series, but when I read it all I could think about was how little actual work the main characters did.  Every time they ‘went to work’ it felt like they were immediately stopping to eat, or finding some excuse to not actually work.  That wasn’t the case in this Irish & Whiskey trilogy.  Both Aiden and Jamie were focused on the job, and neither of them let their feelings for the other interfere.  Maybe some people dislike reading about the job, but I find that it brings authenticity to the story.

For that reason alone, I’d likely read more by Layla Reyne.

Thank you to Carina Press for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.

3_5 feather

About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

3 Responses

  1. Not too crazy about romance novels, but if you like reading about new relationships, you might like my political mystery thriller, “Identity Check” and the two leading characters, Scott and Jessie, falling in love, solving Scott’s mother’s murder, and discovering his true father. Available on amazon.com as Kindle or paperback version.


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