Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review: Unraveled by Lauren Dane

Unraveled (Whiskey Sharp book 1) by Lauren Dane
Contemporary romance released by Carina Press on January 30, 2018

Whiskey Sharp: Unraveled by Lauren Dane book coverThe sharpest ache comes from wanting what you think you can’t have…

Maybe Dolan has lived independent, free-spirited and unattached since leaving home at sixteen. Whiskey Sharp, Seattle’s sexy vintage-styled barbershop and whiskey bar, gave her a job—and a reason to put down roots. Cutting hair by day, losing herself drumming in a punk rock band by night, she’s got it good.

But a longtime crush that turns into a hot, edgy night with brooding and bearded Alexsei Petrov makes it a hell of a lot better.

Maybe’s blunt attitude and carnal smile hooked Alexsei from the start. Protecting people is part of his nature and Maybe is meant to be his…even if she doesn’t know it. Yet. He can’t help himself from wanting to protect and care for her.

But Maybe’s fiery independent spirit means pushing back when Alexsei goes too far. Still, he’s not afraid to do a little pushing of his own to get what he wants—her in his life, and his bed, for good. Maybe’s more intoxicating than all the liquor on his shelf…and he’s not afraid to ride the blade’s edge to bind her to him.

My TBR is massive, I don’t think I’ve read 40 new to me books in the last two years. I have reread several Lauren Danes though, so when thinking about what to read and review for ALBTALBS, this book from January of last year was the first to come to mind.

** TW/Spoiler: Maybe suffered severe emotional abuse at the hands of her parents and this is a main plot point in the first two books in the series.**

Maybe and Alexsei are a great pairing, they’ve known each other for two years and they have a solid friendship before they get together. Aside from working together, Maybe and her sister, Rachel also live next door to Alexsei’s aunt Irena. So there isn’t much of a getting to know the family period from Maybe’s side of things.

Maybe is a bundle of energy and she talks constantly, where Alexsei is more of an actions instead of words type of guy. This made for a great dynamic as Alexsei learns to see the world from Maybe’s point of view and Maybe finds someone stable, and learns what it means to fully trust someone. These two have great chemistry and while not as steamy as some of Ms. Dane’s other works, there are plenty of sexy times to be had! As Alexsei and Maybe come together, we get to see the amazing interpersonal relationships each of them has. This is another area where I’ve always felt that Lauren Dane excels, she makes you believe in the friendships and side characters aren’t just one dimensional page filler to get a point across via conversation.

Aside from Maybe, Alexsei, and their families, Seattle (and Pioneer Square in particular) plays a large role in the book. Lauren Dane is one of those authors that brings a city to life with her words. I found myself wishing I was walking the area as I was reading.

The main conflict in this one comes from Maybe and Rachel’s parents, and it does end on a bit of a cliffhanger. The HFN is wrapped up nicely, but the ongoing story arc with the parents isn’t resolved until the end of the next book. This series is also connected to her Delicious series, as Alexsei and Gregori (Cake) are cousins.

The only thing that bothers me about the book (besides the cliffy ending) is the way the situation with Maybe’s parents keeps unfolding. I really would have liked to have seen a more human side to the girls’ father instead of him coming off as a mentally ill person.

If you have a weekend and are in need of a series to read, I recommend this one. It won’t disappoint!

Grade: B

You can buy a copy here.

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