The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter

What is it about an ice queen that makes a story so delectable? I mean truly, I have a thing for this character trope. Judge away, I do not care! I am always intrigued by that main character with that frosty alpha bitch exterior. When you think about it, or at least when I do, some of my most beloved characters and books in the lesbian romance genre have that ice queen that will thaw only for her one true love theme. Why am I rambling on, because Lee Winter writes ice queens like nobody else.

Elena Bartell is a downright shark, this media mogul has a reputation taking no prisoners. You are either excellent or you are gone. She owns newspapers all over the world, waiting for them to go almost belly-up then she swoops in and either turns them around or liquidates everything. She does this all the while running a renowned fashion magazine. Elena comes off as she has tolerance for no one, even her husband she keeps at arm’s length. Everything is business and she keeps her mask firmly in place. This woman will absolutely eviscerate anyone who gets in her way. That is until she is “pestered” by her newly acquired night beat reporter.

Maddie Grey hates New York City. She begrudgingly admits it to everyone except for her Aussie friends and family back home in Sydney. Maddie won the green card lottery and had her dream opportunity to move to NYC and try her hand at becoming a crime reporter. Now, living the “dream” she hates, her only opportunity to be a journalist is working the night beat writing obits and rifling around for stories that someone on the day shift will get to flesh out. Then Elena Bartell shows up and Maddie is almost certain she’s getting a pink slip, especially when they get off on the wrong foot almost immediately.

From the get-go, these two characters challenge each other. Maddie fires back at Elena like no one else would dare and it almost endears the woman to her. No one ever dares talks back to her, I mean this woman is dismissive and vicious almost all the time. The two protagonists clash in so many ways but also have so much in common. In a way, they see the loneliness in the other. Elena is struck by Maddie wanting nothing from her but a friendship of sorts, while Maddie the ever curious journalist finds Elena downright fascinating. She wants to scrape the boss’s exterior mask to find out the heart of the cold and ruthless businesswoman.

Winter keeps the tension taunt for the majority of the book. A long, long slow captivating burn. The tension in this one is like pulling a rubber band till it will stretch no more. Angst galore and it to me it absolutely works. If you loved the Red Files, I promise you this is right up your alley. (If you haven’t read that one, pick it and this one up. You will not regret it!) Everything about this book is done right. The writing is crisp, the characters, well they were amazing and the dialogue could go from biting to amusing at the flip of a page. A damn fine read.

Who’s your favorite ice queen?

5 out of 5 stars

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Set the Stage by Karis Walsh

I really adored this book. From the characters to the setting and the slow burn romance, I was in it for the long haul with this one. Karis Walsh to me is an expert in creating interesting characters that often have to face some type of adversity. While this book was no different, it felt like the author changed up her game a bit. There something new, something fresh about this book from Walsh.

When we first meet Emilie Danvers, Emilie is saving every cent she gets from her fast-food gig to save up enough capital to start over with her new career as an actor in an Oregon Shakespeare Festival company. Emilie has one a coveted lead role and is about to get her acting career back on track after a long hiatus. Nothing will deter her from her passion for acting. She’s learned this the hard way after giving up promising roles to travel with her ex-girlfriend. A relationship that left more scars than happy memories.

Arden Philips is a gardener at the nearby park from the theater festival. While Arden has had dalliances with the performers over the years, but she carefully guards her heart knowing that they are just passing through Ashland on the way to the next career move. Arden is unknowingly kind of stuck in a rut. Abandonment issues from childhood have caused her to settle for a career she likes but doesn’t truly love. When she meets Emilie, these two have an instant connection and draw each other out of their proverbial shells.

I have always enjoyed Walsh’s work. I think you are guaranteed a solid read each time you pick up one of her stories. This one felt different, it gave more, it felt like more. It’s not a page burner but a slow fulfilling story with beautiful characters that had a deep connection. You have an amazing backdrop that is laid out perfectly that just pushes the story to flourish even further. I absolutely enjoyed my time with this one. It is a great book to escape with!

4.25 stars out of 5

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Picture Perfect by Lisa Moreau

A great book will steal your heart forever. A good book will capture your attention for its duration. I’m always looking for that amazing book heart-stopping story, but I will always take a good solid read when I can get it. I think a good book is what you can easily say for Picture Perfect by Lisa Moreau.

Not world-shattering, not overly memorable, but a nice story to kick back and enjoy your downtime.
It was a fast and easy read that was relatively lighthearted. The author has a beautiful way of describing the scenery and the story flowed seamlessly. A nice way to spend a few hours!

3.25 out of 5 stars

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Love After Hours (A Rivers Community Romance, #4)

This book is good! Damn good, to be quite honest. This book is Radclyffe at her very best. She weaves a story with strong characters that have heart and soul and just enough angst and tension to keep you captivated. This is hands down the best of the Rivers Community Romance Series.

Carrie Longmire is back and in the forefront of this one. Carrie is super-efficient at her job and basically everything she does. Not wanting to settle for anything than true love, Carrie patiently awaits for the one to show up. She fine to flirt and casually date, but anything more is out of the question unless love is in the air.

Gina Antonelli had one tragedy turn her life upside down. An accident, when she was a teen, took the life of her childhood friend and first love. Gina bears the weight of that moment every day and has basically shut down. She exists to work for her father’s construction company, and the job is all there is for her.

Carrie and Gina totally get off on the wrong foot and that makes for a tumultuous start. No this isn’t a love to hate romance, but they do spend some time trying to get their footing around each other. Add into the fact that they are both ridiculously attracted to each other, and you have for a fabulous beginning. There is heat, there is tension and its drawn out perfectly.

Add in the other fun and fascinating characters of Rivers and you have an amazing story. I am partial to Blake and Margie myself and I delighted that story weaves a bit of them into it as well. If you loved the Rivers series so far, this one is for you. This book has it all! If you haven’t read this series yet, well, I am a bit jealous of you because get ready for a great set of books.

5 out of 5 stars

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The Price of Cash by Ashley Bartlett

Last year when I read Cash Braddock I was floored by the story’s paradox. Cash is a drug dealer with a heart of gold. You cannot help but love her soft heart, funny quips and bucket loads of sarcasm. Her career of choice is reprehensible, absolutely. The thing about this character is she makes you care deeply for her and the predicament that she finds herself in knowing that it is wrong but finding ways to justify her actions. This year, Cash Braddock is back in the Price of Cash. Life has changed immensely for the character and her growth is palatable.

Warning: If you haven’t read the first book and you are thinking that you might. Stop reading this review!!! I’m about to spoil a big reveal in Cash Braddock. Go read it. It’s amazing, I totally promise!

Cash comes back in the Price of Cash heartbroken, pissed and despondent at the curveball life has thrown at her. 100% in love with Laurel all those feelings have to be pushed aside because her dream girl is actually an undercover police officer and now her handler. Cash must also take a good hard look at where her life is going. Is selling soft drugs any better for society as opposed to heroin or cocaine? A moral dilemma of epic proportions and one she will wrestle with throughout the story. Add to it that college students and former customers of Cash’s are now dead thanks to a new drug on the street.

While the book is written through Cash’s POV Laurel remains our other main character. As much as I love Cash, Laurel is the one I am most drawn to her. A stoic, tough law enforcement officer, Laurel struggles with her feelings for Cash. She absolutely wasn’t faking her feelings for her mark, more than anything she struggles with what to do with her attraction and love for Cash. She absolutely should not have these feelings but she cannot stop herself.

The chemistry between Cash and Laurel is fantastic. This match has tension, heartache that pulls you deep into their dilemma. You want them to go for it and damn the consequences. It is so good! The whole book is fantastic, the love story, the crime, supporting cast, really top notch. Ashley Bartlett has written a fabulous follow-up. I cannot say enough good things about this one. I am absolutely hooked on this series!

5 out of 5 stars

Twice In A Lifetime by Clare Lydon

Twice in a Lifetime by Clare Lydon takes us on a journey of meeting up with the one that got away. Not just the one either, the first one. That sweet first love that was perfect in every way except for being too early and life came crashing in.

Sally McCall is returning to Chicago to visit her zany, eccentric aunt. Her aunt has a business proposal for her, and Sally being a starving artist cannot refuse anyone’s help even if that is exactly what she wants to do. At the airport baggage claim, something crazy happened, her bag disappears. Apparently, someone had the exact same bags as her, even down to the orange ribbon she had ties on the handle.

Harriet Locke’s life is her work. Her job, introducing artists to retailers has its benefits for sure but that is all her life is. Meetings, emails, and more meetings. After a long flight, deliriously tired Harriet grabs the wrong case. Unbeknownst to her, the case belongs to her first love, Sally. The girl she broke up with when the pressure of college became too much. The girl she regretted letting go for seventeen years.

The book has a mix of backstory and present day. Not too much flashback, though. The chemistry between the Harriet and Sally is fantastic, their dialogue and thoughts are fun and witty. Aunt Paula is a riot, as are all the supporting characters that are nicely incorporated into the story.

The quality of the book is high and I found the likeability of both main characters to be the overall appeal of the story. When I finished the book my thoughts were how adorable was that. Cute, fun, a light read when you just want to zone out and enjoy yourself. There is depth mixed with this happy ever after, don’t you worry. As always Clare Lydon gives you a solid read and leaves you with a smile on your face. I adore her writing!

4 out of 5 stars

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All the Ways to Here by Emily O’Beirne

Every time I pick up an Emily O’Beirne book I am spellbound on how she delivers amazing storylines, dazzling dialogue, and characters that you treasure long after the last page is turned.

Emily O’Beirne is the very best at what she does for a variety of reasons. Each book captivates me. Her characters are so developed you feel as if you personally know them. Their dialogue sounds and feels real. To me, dialogue is the make it or break it for a book. You can either write it or you can’t. To make it flow and feel real the whole way through, that takes a mega amount of skill, and this is a skill O’Beirne has in spades.

There are two authors that stand at the very top of this genre. Every single one of their books is fabulous. O’Beirne is one of the two. Am I biased? Yeah, I guess I am for the fact that I know when I open one of her books that I am going to be blown away by its awesomeness. I could read one of her books every single month and it still wouldn’t be enough. She writes the kind of books that you want to finish just so you can re-read it. Finish that baby and start right back at it again.

If you read Future Leaders of Nowhere and adored it as much as I did, this one is for you. Willa and Finn are back navigating the waters of demanding school work, home life, and their new relationship. What a great read, but even more so what amazing characters. Once again Emily O’Beirne steals your heart with another beautiful read.

5 out of 5 stars

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