Thursday, 13 October 2016

Release Day Blitz, Review & Excerpt ~ A Love Letter to Whiskey by Kandi Steiner

Title: A Love Letter to Whiskey
Author: Kandi Steiner
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: October 13, 2016

Book Description:

It’s crazy how fast the buzz comes back after you’ve been sober for so long.

Whiskey stood there, on my doorstep, just like he had one year before. Except this time, there was no rain, no anger, no wedding invitation — it was just us.

It was just him — the old friend, the easy smile, the twisted solace wrapped in a glittering bottle.

It was just me — the alcoholic, pretending like I didn’t want to taste him, realizing too quickly that months of being clean didn’t make me crave him any less.

But we can’t start here.

No, to tell this story right, we need to go back. 

Back to the beginning.

Back to the very first drop.

This is my love letter to Whiskey. I only hope he reads it. 

Buy Links:

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 5 stars
***ARC received for an honest review***

“…no one warned me that once a whiskey girl, always a whiskey girl.”

This was my first read by Kandi Steiner and it definitely won’t be my last, in fact, this book is one of my favourite reads of the year. Anyone that follows my reviews know I am an emotional reader, I relish an emotional read that will make me cry, I crave that emotional connection to a book, to characters, to their story as a whole and Kandi Steiner delivered this in spades, boy did she deliver.

“Words don’t get written from a heart that’s never felt. They come from pain, from love, from unspeakable depths – and they were my only release.”

Character connection, man did these characters come to life, from the first few lines Kandi Steiner held me captive for an entire book. I had been in a funk, I had tried to read for a fair few days, nothing caught my attention and for a girl that reads a book a day this was seriously bad, but I picked up A Love Letter to Whiskey and Kandi Steiner brought my mojo back with a vengeance. I devoured this book, I cried A LOT, I was frustrated A LOT but most of all, I loved A LOT. This is one angsty ride, one of the most angst filled books I have read in a while and I needed it. Those tears were cathartic, this story consumed me and for the first time in a while I escaped and these characters are ones that have a permanent place in my heart. They earned it.

“Jamie was never officially mine, but I had always been his – ever since the first taste.”

This book is filled with raw emotion, thoughts, feelings and actions that hit exactly where the author intended. Where two people that were destined to be together were their own worst enemy. The time was never right, their minds were never in the right place, but their hearts were, their hearts belonged to one and other. This story spans a decade, a decade of friendship, of love, of heart ache. A decade of hiding feelings and depriving the heart of who the heart wants, a decade of miscommunication, a decade of fear, a decade of tangible desire, lust and love seemingly unreciprocated by either party. Their frustrating walls that they both had erected were the biggest obstacle, one that I wanted to rip down brick by brick, but I needn’t have bothered, because Kandi Steiner did it for me, eloquently, beautifully, perfectly, frustratingly, agonisingly, tortuously slowly. But, this book was perfect, this was B and Jamie’s story.

“But sometimes, even when we know something is bad for us, we do it anyway. Maybe for the thrill, maybe to cure our curiosity, or maybe just to lie to ourselves a little longer.”

B and Jamie first become friends in high school, it was unusual for best friends to be the opposite sex, but these two just worked. Their friendship was tangible but you always knew that the chemistry they shared blurred the lines of friendship but these two were stubborn. A love born from friendship though is extremely special, you know that person inside out, you love them for their strengths and you love them for their weaknesses, you love them for their flaws and you love them fiercely and these two definitely did that. Sometimes too much love can be a bad thing and for me their fear of crossing that line and tarnishing what they had was the one thing that held them back rather than being the bungee cord that bound them together.

“It turned out a Whiskey stain was just as permanent as ink, and I wondered if I would every truly was myself clean. Or if I even wanted to.”

This book is brutal, emotionally brutal, my heart felt decimated so many times throughout but this was an honest portrayal of one of the most epic love stories I have read. The characters were real, their actions were real, their thoughts were real and it was this that made it that much more relatable. Their actions were not out of the realms of possibility, it could happen to anyone, it does happen ALL THE TIME and knowing this is what really captures your heart and pulls at every single heart string. I lived this book, I breathed this book, I felt everything in this book, these characters totally consumed me for hours. I had palpitations, I screamed, I wanted to batter these two but most of all, I loved them, wholly and implicitly. Both were adorable, both were pig headed, both annoyed the hell out of me at times, but both of them loved each other. Their love was at the end of the rainbow, neither chancing to find its end, they get there but will it all be too late?

“I’m sorry that up until now, I saw you as something I should quit instead of something I should fight for.”

I loved the references to Whiskey, for B, Jamie was Whiskey and the references to B’s love of Jamie and its connection to Whiskey the drink made for some truly memorable quotes. I cannot say anything negative about this book, for me it was perfection, in truth I could say I want more, but that is a good thing, I didn’t want to let these characters go. I wanted to stay in my B and Whiskey bubble.

“Sometimes we’re more terrified of the good things in life than we are of the bad. We feel we don’t deserve them, or that they aren’t real, that they’ll disappear quickly and easily and we’ll be left in the ruins.”

So in summary, if you want an emotional, angsty, beautiful, frustrating, epic read, then this is your book. Have tissues and a large glass of your favourite tipple to hand, bubble wrap your kindle, kick back and enjoy, I did and I still haven’t recovered.


The first time I tasted Whiskey, I fell flat on my face.


I was drunk from the very first sip, and I guess that should have been my sign to stay away.

Jenna and I were running the trail around the lake near her house, sweat dripping into our eyes from the intense South Florida heat. It was early September, but in South Florida, it might as well have been July. There was no “boots and scarves” season, unless you counted the approximately six weeks in January and February where the temperature dropped below eighty degrees.

As it was, we were battling ninety-plus degrees, me trying to be a show off and prove I could keep up with Jenna’s cheerleading training program. She had finally made the varsity squad, and with that privilege came ridiculous standards she had to uphold. I hated running — absolutely loathed it. I would much rather have been on my surf board that day. But fortunately for Jenna, she had a competitive best friend who never turned down a challenge. So when she asked me to train with her, I’d agreed eagerly, even knowing I’d have screaming ribs and calves by the end of the day.

I saw him first.

I was just a few steps ahead of Jenna, and I’d been staring down at my hot pink sneakers as they hit the concrete. When I looked up, he was about fifty feet away, and even from that distance I could tell I was in trouble. He seemed sort of average at first — brown hair, lean build, soaked white running shirt — but the closer he got, the more I realized just how edible he was. I noticed the shift in the muscles of his legs as he ran, the way his hair bounced slightly, how he pressed his lips together in concentration as he neared us. 

I looked over my shoulder, attempting to waggle my eyebrows at Jenna and give her the secret best friend code for “hot guy up ahead”, but she had stopped to tie her shoes. And when I turned back around, it was too late.

I smacked into him — hard — and fell to the pavement, rolling a bit to soften the fall. He cursed and I groaned, more from embarrassment than pain. I wish I could say I gracefully picked myself up, smiled radiantly, and asked him for his number, but the truth is I lost the ability to do anything the minute I looked up at him.

It was an unfamiliar, warm ache that spread through my chest as I used my hand to shield the sun streaming in behind his silhouette, just how you’d expect the first sip of whiskey to feel. He was bent over, hand outstretched, saying something that wasn’t registering because I had somehow managed to slip my hand into his and just that one touch had set my skin on fire.

Handsome wasn’t the right word to describe him, but it was all I kept thinking as I traced his features. His hair was a sort of mocha color, damp at the roots, falling onto his forehead just slightly. His eyes were wide — almost too round — and a mixture of gold, green, and the deepest brown. I didn’t coin the nickname Whiskey until much later, but it was that moment that I saw it for the first time — those were whiskeyeyes. The kind of eyes you get lost in. The kind that drink you in. He had the longest lashes and a firm, square jaw. It was so hard, the edges so clean that I would have sworn he was angry with me if it weren’t for the smile on his face.He was still talking as my eyes fell over his broad chest before snapping back up to his sideways grin.

“Oh my God, are you fucking blind?!” Jenna’s voice snapped me from my haze as she shoved Whiskey out of the way and latched onto my hand, ripping me back to standing position. I’d barely caught my balance before she whipped around to continue her scolding. “How about you brush that long ass hair out of your eyes and watch where you’re going, huh champ?”

Oh no.

I didn’t even have time to call dibs, I couldn’t even think the word, let alone say it, before it was too late. I watched it, in slow motion, asWhiskey fell for my best friend before I even had the chance to say a single word to him. 

Jenna was standing tall, arms crossed, one hip popped in her usual fashion as she waited for him to defend himself. This was her protocol — it was one of the reasons we got along. We were both what you’d call “spitfires”, but Jenna had the distinct advantage of being cripplingly gorgeous on top of having an attitude. She flipped her long, wavy blonde ponytail behind her and cocked a brow.

And then he did, too.

His smile grew wider as he met her eyes, and it was the same look I’d watched fall over guy after countless guy. Jenna was a unicorn, and men were enamored by her. As they should have been — she had platinum blonde hair, crystal blue eyes, legs for days and a personality to boot. Now, before you go thinking that I was the insecure best friend - I had it going on, too. I worked hard, I was talented - just not at the things traditional high school boys valued.

But we’ll get to that.

“Hi,” Whiskey finally said, extending his hand to Jenna this time. His eyes were warm, smile inviting — if I had to pick the right word forhim, just one, I’d say charming. He just oozed charm. “I’m Jamie.”

“Well, Jamie, maybe you should make an appointment with the eye doctor before you run over another innocent jogger. And you owe Brecks an apology.” She nodded to me then and I cringed at my name, wondering why she felt the need to spill it at all. She always called me B — everyone did — so why did she choose the moment I was face to face with the first boy to ever make my heart accelerate to use my full name?

Jamie was still grinning, eying Jenna, trying to figure her out, but he turned to me after a moment with that same crooked smile. “I’m sorry, I should have been watching where I was going.” He said the words with conviction, but lifted his brows on that last line because he and I both knew who wasn’t paying attention to the trail, and he wasn’t the guilty party. 

“It’s fine,” I murmured, because for some reason I was still having a difficult time finding my voice. Jamie tilted his head just a fraction, his eyes hard on me this time, and I felt naked beneath his gaze. I’d never had anyone look at me that way — completely zeroed in. It was unnerving and exhilarating, too. 

But before I could latch onto the feeling, he turned back to Jenna, their eyes meeting as slow smiles spread on both of their faces. I’d seen it a million times, but this was the first time I felt sick watching it happen.

I saw him first, but it didn’t matter.

Because he saw her.

About the Author:

Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer. 

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order. 


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