Berlin Hungers by Justine Saracen

When you pick up a Justine Saracen novel you know that you will undoubtedly finish the book with a respect for her historical detailedness and more knowledge than you had before. I love that her stories are so intricate and well, smart.

The Berlin Hunger takes us to the direct chaos that directly followed World War II. The horrors that took place in “peacetime” are tragic and hard to stomach. There is blatant brutality and at times it is hard to read.

Gillian Somerville was a pilot for the Air Transport Axillary during the war. She loved flying for her country but when the war ends Gillian suddenly finds herself with no work as a pilot. The women are not needed for that duty anymore. Unable to just go home, her whole family has passed, she decides to join the WAAF to become an air traffic controller.

Erika Brandt was a musician before the war. Now as the Russians have control of Berlin, she is scavaging for food to keep from starving to death. The Russians men portrayed in this book are animals and Erika faces unspeakable horrors to survive in this desperate time.

Erika and Gillian meet by chance a couple of times in the book and strike up a friendship born out of kindness. As the book progresses more feelings develop. This is a star-crossed lover romance though. These two have a lot going on and cannot see each other often for a multitude of reasons. So a lot of longing from afar.

Overall, I loved the historical aspect of the book. I felt as if Saracen dropped my in Berlin post-war and I was right there with the characters. The romance wasn’t my favorite. I loved the characters don’t get me wrong, and I was absolutely rooting for their happiness. I just felt like it dragged a bit. This is more historical fiction than your hot burning romance. Still a very good read!

3 out of 5 stars

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Playing the Spy by Maggie Brown

Lies and deception is never a good way to start a relationship. It is a damn good way to start a romance novel though. Add in chemistry and a whole lot of sexiness and you have a book by Maggie Brown you just won’t want to put down.

Eleanor Godwin is a mega-star in Hollywood and beloved by many. As a household name, Eleanor has very little privacy and the small amounts she does have she guards fiercely. After wrapping up a punishing role, Eleanor is exhausted and ill from the toll she reeked on her body to get into character. She decides to return to her birth country of Australia for some much needed rest out of the public’s eye.

Our other main character is a journalist on the political beat. Sophie Marsh is forced by her editor to take an undercover role, as a housekeeper/cook to infiltrate the life of Eleanor Godwin. Sophie has no interest in Hollywood or reporting on entertainment news. Her sexist boss forces her to take the role or hit the unemployment line. The young journalist reluctantly agrees knowing that this is so wrong on so many levels and decides upon arrival at the private island she will not do harm to Eleanor Godwin’s reputation no matter what.

This adorable and sweet relationship blossoms from a reluctant friendship to an all-out burning love affair. The two main characters are delightful and you love them for their kindness and strength as well as the many missteps they make on their journey to happily ever after. You root for their success all the way through. A fantastic read!

4 out of 5 stars

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After The Glitter Fades by Diane Marina

Soooo, I love Hollywood love stories. This is totally one of my favorite tropes in romance. After The Glitter Fades by Diane Marina gave me just the Fix I needed with two Tinsel town starlets with that great push-pull relationship.

Siena Armetta is one of Hollywood’s darlings. As one of the most sought after and influential film stars, Siena has a reputation to uphold. She guards her privacy fiercely, only a few friends, family and her ex-husband are allowed to know the real Siena and know that she is a lesbian. Siena sees no way out of the closet, she left her adoring husband because of her sexuality but since that step, she’s lead a lonely life of work and little else.

Julia Westbrooke is the most out celebrity women in America. Julia is an entertainment TV journalist, whose career has blossomed since she announced her sexuality to the world. She is known for fair and honest interviews that get past the gossip and go to the heart of the story. She is very well respected by her audience and the celebrities that she interviews.

Siena immediately wants nothing to do with Julia upon meeting her with mutual friends. She is even more dismayed at why her circle of friends keeps including the journalist. No matter how down to Earth they say she is, Siena wants nothing to do with her. Push Pull! Julia of course breaks down the walls Siena has erected and what unfolds in a dazzling story.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with this romance. If you are a Kindle Unlimited reader this is by far one of the better stories you will pick up and it is worth the $7 price tag if you are not.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Bring Holly Home by A.E. Radley

A.E. Radley knows how to deliver a great story. Her newest book, Bring Holly Home is one of her best yet! A great ice queen romance gets me every single time.

Victoria Hastings is one of the world’s most influential people in the world of high fashion. As the editor-in-chief of an international fashion magazine, Arrival, Victoria is busy, demanding and an absolute ice-queen. Her assistants are known for fleeing, and if they don’t get away first they are often times fired for inconsequential reasons. Under all of her tough exterior, there is a sweet woman who loves fiercely. You just have to break down the massive concrete barriers around her heart.

Holly Carter is one of the few assistants that handled working with Victoria with ease. Victoria threw every challenge her way and Holly met expectations with ease and excellence. So when Holly up and walked away during Paris Fashion Week, Victoria was surprised and unbelievably hurt. Twist! Holly didn’t leave to quit, somehow she was injured and developed amnesia. The young assistant has been living in Paris for a year now.

This ice queen age gap romance will keep you on your toes all the way to the end. Radley keeps the tension taut all the way through the last chapter. My only grievance with this book is that I wish there had been more one on one interaction between the two leading ladies. A little more dialogue would have launched this book into the next stratosphere. With that being said, this book is a really great read, and I sincerely hope that we get another book featuring Victoria and Holly.

3.75 out of 4 stars

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The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley

There are books out there that you love, 5 stars all the way, you read the book, you love it and depending if you are like me you will most likely read them again. There are some books though and these are the truly great ones. You know these books, The Blind Side of Love, How Sweet It Is, and And Playing the Role of Herself. The books that are truly in another realm of greatness. Outstanding books that pull emotion from you, that the story wraps you in a cocoon and all you see and hear is the characters on your page. Those books are the ones when you find them you treasure them forever. I found one!

The Music and the Mirror by Lola Keeley isn’t good, it isn’t great, its next level amazing. This book is exceptional in every single way. No flaws, no lags, no character misses. Nope, it is phenomenal. Yes, I used my thesaurus for adjectives. You cannot just say awesome eleventy billion times, come on now.

Anna Gale is a new dancer at the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. She has been a ballet dancer all her life, she lives and breathes it. Coming to New York from Dubuque, Iowa to studying and dance under the greatest ballet dancer of the modern era is her dream come true. Anna embodies this wholesome rock solid nature. She’s one of these really good people that others cannot dislike because she is just a noble person. She cares for others, even when it’s in her best interest not too. She works harder than everyone else without complaint and eager to do so. Ballet literally fuels her soul.

Victoria Ford is known as the greatest ballet dancer in modern times. When she danced audiences were captivated by her skill and artistry. An injury to her knee has sidelined her from dancing so now she choreographs and runs the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. Victoria is not an easy woman to please, she is beyond tough, she expects excellence from everyone around her and when it’s less than that you can expect biting, caustic remarks intended to sting. She is truly the emotionally detached ice queen.

This is a dialogue-heavy book, with lots of exchanges between characters. Lola Keeley takes her story and layers it. There is no skipping ahead or fast-forwarding through life moments, hell no. This author takes her time and draws out the story and the tension The sub-plots are done with craftsmanship and skill. She creates supporting characters that are distinct and authentic. The banter between Anna and Victoria, oh the banter, well its legendary and they talk like real honest to god people. The key to real-life characters is nuance. Lola Keeley could teach a class on it because her characters have it and it is glorious. As the reader I thank you.

It’s bittersweet when this book ends. This is a story that I adored, absolutely cherished. I miss it already, but know without a doubt will visit many times again. Lola Keeley made true love jump off a page like a ballerina in a Grande Jeté. Her first book by the way. Yeah, WOW and that wow is the understatement of the year.

All the stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • To Purchase: https://www.ylva-publishing.com/product/the-music-and-the-mirror-by-lola-keeley/

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Pride and Porters by Charlotte Greene

Pride and Porters by Charlotte Greene is a modern-day adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The amiable, financially struggling brew master meets the ultra-rich ice-queen. It’s a dynamic that I love for the start.

This story is solely told from the perspective of Erin Bennett. Erin is the brewmaster and part owner of Bennet Sisters Brewing (BSB), a small, but well-respected brewery in western Colorado. BSB is turning out great beers but they need financial support to expand and keep up with the demand for their product. Erin keeps the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her business is seriously struggling, her relationship with the father is poor and the mounds of stress are only going to get bigger when Charlie Betters and Darcy Fitzwilliam walk into her life.

Darcy is, as you may have already guessed it, rude and snobbish. She immediately shoots her mouth off running down both Erin and her sister Jen. Therefore, Erin has a massive issue with the woman and wants zero to do with her. This aversion to Darcy is hard since Jen and Charlie begin dating. Darcy and Erin are forced to interact with each other both women she each other in a new light.

Overall the book is well written. It is an interesting story with great details and sets the scene perfectly. I could almost feel myself sitting in a taproom ordering a beer and enjoying the beauty of Colorado. My one issue and it’s a big one is I didn’t feel the connection between Erin and Darcy. They have constant missteps that cause issues between them. What you don’t feel is emotion. I needed more dialogue between the two leading ladies. You get a lot of what Erin is struggling with but none of that was what draws her to Darcy other that she is gorgeous. More than anything I wish these two had a conversation. Great dialogue is what can set a book apart from all the others. This one just needed some great conversations.

3 out of 5 Stars

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Blend by Georgia Beers

I really like the way Georgia Beers writes. I love the way she develops characters that are interesting, dynamic and well, hot. It’s been a while since I have read her stuff, the reasoning, I have not a clue why, but I am so glad I picked up her latest novel, Blend. This is a fantastic romance novel. So good, fabulous!

Lindsey Kent is the general manager of a wine bar, Vineyard. Lindsey is likable, cheerful and always has something positive to say. She loves her job. She lives and breathes wine and has an amazing relationship with Ellen Bradshaw, the owner of Vineyard. When Ellen tells her she is taking a sabbatical to explore the world, Lindsey is truly excited for the widow. What is is not excited about is learning that she will need to run all of Vineyard’s business decisions through Ellen’s youngest daughter, Piper.

Piper Bradshaw is the direct opposite of Lindsey. She is an ice queen with a hard, no-nonsense personality. Her job is in the financial sector, and she has learned to be hard-nosed and closed off to thrive in this male-dominated field. Piper’s work and the loss of her father two years ago has hardened Piper’s heart. She is a closed off control freak. Having to work with Lindsey throws her orderly world off-kilter.

These two get off on the wrong foot. Neither is excited about working with the other. Lindsey has big ideas of how to take Vineyard to the next level and draw in a younger hipper crowd. Piper is hesitant to change anything, not wanting to change anything her father created when opening the business. The butt heads, but as their time together increases the begin to see each other in a new light. The walls fall, and perceptions fall away. The chemistry between these to is dynamic and sexy.

You know a book is good, first when you don’t want to put it down. Second, you know its damn good, when your reading it and thinking, I’m totally going to read this one again. Great read and is absolutely a 5-star romance.

5 out of 5 stars

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