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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Rocks and Stars by Sam Ledel

Kyle Lindsay is heading off to college in central Texas to begin her first days of college as a D-1 soccer player. Kyle has been out to her bestie for a bit now but as she heads to college she wants to experience dating and as well as thriving in the classroom and on the pitch.

Kyle meets two ladies that have a major impact in her first year in school. One is another freshman, Joey Carver, a goalkeeper that lives on the same floor. Joey is fun, easy going and immediately befriends Kyle. There is some heat there too. These two fit together easily, one big problem though, Kyle doesn’t know what she is ready for it and a relationship with Joey would be big.

The other character that has a big influence on our leading lady is Jax. Jax is a junior on the team and an enigma to many. No one knows much about her family or her past, she doesn’t talk too much but she makes enough overtures to Kyle to let her know she has eyes for the newbie. Kyle has an overcoming sexual attraction to Jax even though she knows virtually nothing about her off the field.

Is this a romance, I have to lean towards no. There are romantic elements but this is more a coming of age story of Kyle finding her footing while navigating school as a college athlete. She struggles with sex, love, family, alcohol, grades, and athletics. I think Sam Ledel told a great story. I adored Kyle even though a few times I wanted to shake her and say enough girlfriend. I wish the ending was a bit longer, but that’s the romance addict in me. I look forward to Ledel’s next book.

3.25 stars out of 5

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Up on the Roof by A.L. Brooks

Slow burns are one of my favorite tropes in romance. I love that will they or won’t they, the delicious pull that both characters keep denying for whatever reason. Totes love it! What you need though to make this work and really pull in the reader is that dazzling chemistry and allow the characters to really develop over the course of the book. Not an easy feat!

Megan Palmer is a new tenant to a Victorian conversion in London. Megan is a fitness trainer who is laid back and loveable but easily rolled over by dominating personalities. Enter her neighbor, accountant, Lena Shah. Lena is the direct opposite of her new neighbor. She’s a loner by nature, easily irritated and has OCD. Megan and Lena get off on the wrong foot and Megan does everything in her power to appease Lena, except with every forward step she takes she then will make another mistake in the eyes of her neighbor. A leaky roof forces these two to cohabitate and this changes the dynamic of their relationship.

I think what grabs me the most about this book is Lena’s character. She’s bitter, at times cold and prickly. She is not easy to love when she feels embarrassed or out of sorts she is quick to lash out. Megan takes a lot of lashes that would be hard for anyone to take. She has redeeming qualities, they just tend to be overshadowed by her other personality traits. She teeter-tottered right on the edge of unlikeable. What I did like about her is that she does have a great amount of self-awareness in regards to her behavior. She knows what she had done wrong she is a work in progress on changing her quick reactions.

More than anything I wanted more dialogue and a little less repetitiveness in regards to Lena and Megan’s daily interactions. A slow burn that just needed a bit more.

3 out of 5 stars

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It’s Not a Date by Heather Blackmore

It’s Not a Date by Heather Blackmore is a love story set in the fast-paced world of venture capitalism. There is no doubt the Blackmore has a business background. Her wealth of knowledge sets up a romance that crosses into professional boundaries.

Kade Davenport is a young entrepreneur that has had a lot of success at a very early age. Into her thirties, she has sold multiple companies for a wealth beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. For all of Kade’s success, she is a loner who for the most part is closed off to the rest of the world. She’s known for her business acumen and rigid ways but few people know anything else about Kade Davenport.

Kade meets Jennifer Spencer in the Maui airport. Jennifer is the CEO of a small start-up company that pairs caregivers for hire with families that have elderly loved ones. These two hit it off immediately and decide to spend one perfect day together in paradise. Funny thing is one year later, Kade finds herself on the board of Jenn’s company and these two have to find a way to work together and fight their attraction.

Overall, I thought this book had a great premise and the story was interesting and fun.

3.5 out of 5 stars

It's Not a Date

Dangerous Waters (First Responders, #7) by Radclyffe

Colonel Sawyer Kincaid is called in the middle of her beachside vacation to come back to work early. The governor of Florida has called the National Guard to be ready for the imminent arrival of a large and deadly hurricane headed directly at the sunshine state. Sawyer is very aware of the danger Hurricane Leo is going to bring. Having survived Hurrican Andrew in the early 90s taught her that lesson well and let scars that would last forever. Now her main objective is to keep the people of Miami and the Keys as safe as possible.

Dr. Dara Sims is the head of the ER at Memorial Hospital in the heart of Miami. Dara is used to being in charge so when the military shows up in the form of Colonel Kincaid she is determined to keep the reins. What she doesn’t expect is immediate comradery and someone who can read her like a book.

I loved the details of this book. The story has urgency and danger at every turn. You can literally feel Sawyer and Dara racing the clock and mother nature. That part of the books is great. However, the romance feels a bit rushed as there is so much other stuff going on. I loved the characters they are fantastic, strong characters but I would have loved them having more one on one time together.

You know unequivocally you are going to get your money’s worth when you read Radclyffe. This is no exception, not my favorite but a quality read nonetheless.

3 out of 5 stars

Dangerous Waters

Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren

Basically, I started writing this blog as a cathartic way of getting my feelings out about what I. So many times, especially after Kindle Unlimited unrolled, I would read a great review, purchase a book and then go WTF. So many bad book suggestions by Amazon and so much money wasted. A few months ago, I get nailed by a reader on the blog, just ranting at me about a bad review and how mean and awful of a person I was. That book was special to her and how dare I claim that it was not an amazing, fabulous read. It wasn’t that bad a review either, 3 stars actually. To me, the book was not to my taste and I pointed out the reasons, always trying to be fair but honest. Why I’m saying this is in such a convoluted way is that it’s funny, awesome and so fascinating to me how some books can be one person’s treasure and another person was like blah, next, please.

Bait and Switch by Blythe H. Warren is one of those books that I went in with high hopes and came out on the other side wondering what did I miss. By no means a lacking book, but I did not resound with me personally. My biggest reason, I did not really connect with the main character, Liv. I for the life of me could not see why Mira would be interested in her, other than being good at her job, character wise she was flat and uninteresting. I felt like as the reader I was supposed to already get and like Liv. Other than working at an aquarium, and a love for beer, I don’t know much more about her. The book is told from her POV so I would hope to have more understanding of this character and what makes her tick.

Just because Bait and Switch wasn’t my cup of tea and Liv wasn’t the protagonist of my dreams doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t read this author again. I absolutely would. Thanks for reading my rant!

3 out of 5 stars

The Secret Pond by Gerri Hill

Gerri Hill is a phenomenal writer. I love her books and have read almost everything she has published. What I love most about Hill’s writing is she sets the scene perfectly. In The Secret Pond, I felt as if though I could truly see the landscape of Leakey, Texas. She described it perfectly, Hill transported you right into one of the most beautiful places in the vast state of Texas.

There’s going to be a but now. While the setting for the book was perfect, the romance was not. Our two main protagonists in the story have been dealt horrific losses. Lindsey McDermott, an architect from Dallas, has lost her entire family to a plane crash. I’m talking everyone, parents, grandparents, both siblings, siblings spouses and their children. Hannah Larson lost her husband to a fifteen month battle with a brain tumor. She watched her husband deteriorate as cancer ravaged his body. So when these two ladies meet, they have so much backstory and pain to navigate through.

The majority of the book is spent with Hannah’s son Jack, playing in the Frio River or a secret pond on the McDermott ranch. Lindsey meets Jack, and they see a bit of themselves in each other, grief recognizing grief. They fish, swim and enjoy summer, finally including Hannah on their adventures. That takes you through almost 75% of the book. After halfway, I could not see any way for these Hannah and Lindsey to have a romance. They do, but it feels less than and rushed.

I will continue to read every book Hill writes, this one just was not my favorite. It felt long, a bit repetitious and the romance felt like an afterthought.

3 out of 5 stars

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