Between The Lines by K.D. Williamson

KD Willamson knows how to write a smoking hot book. Girl can get those fires started! Super hot slow burn that keeps you reading a frantic pace. This is a fire you want to jump into.

Haley Jordan is a rookie on the New Orleans police department. Right out of the academy, Haley is sentenced to work with a less that awesome, Tang (a nickname derived from poontang is never, ever a good sign, NEVEREVER). Tang is, as you probably guessed 100% inappropriate. He makes remarks that would give an HR department a heart attack. Haley sucks it up for the greater good and focuses on being a good cop, one she knows the people of NOLA need. Haley knows that the past haunts this police force, corruption was rampant and the citizens of this great city do not trust them for a lot of good reasons. She wants to change that perception with small steps in the right direction.

Dr. Tonya Preston is a psychiatrist. While helping other people with their darkest demons, Dr. Preston has a pile of them herself. A product of a mother with severe bipolar depression and a father that just wanted to sweep it under the rug, Tonya turned to medicine to greater understand her mother’s disease. Her father’s indifference to her holds her back from really spreading her wings. She has chosen to exist rather than flourish even though professionally she has been quite successful.

When Tonya meets Haley in the direst of circumstances a bond is formed. Haley comes to the doctor’s rescue as she was being carjacked and possibly much worse. Haley stepped in, and yes, she helped save the day, but she also treated Tonya, with the utmost respect and kindness. This moment of dire circumstances and human kindness set up the beginnings of a connection. Upon running into each other at a local bar a short time later, Haley makes no bones about wanting to date Tonya. Tonya, however, has reservations, not because she’s not undeniably attracted to the young officer, but because of how much baggage she’s currently carrying. Tonya needs to be in a better place emotionally before she can begin seeing someone. Haley doesn’t let this speed bump stop her, she takes Tony up on her offer of friendship and they take their time getting to know each other before taking it to the next level. Let the tension build and build.

My only complaint and it’s just a tiny one (I don’t mean it that way 🙂 is I personally thought too much time was spent on what Haley was packing. I felt like it was almost a character in itself. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I loved how KD Williamson built up both characters and then brought them into a relationship. You felt as though you knew both of the mains individually and as a couple. Even the sub-characters were well-fleshed out. I appreciated southern slang done right. Only someone true to the south can pull it off. Perfect touch! Great story, great characters, lots of tension and it was fan the flames hot.

4 out of 5 stars

33831074

Strawberry Summer by Melissa Brayden

Melissa Brayden is to me one of the very best writers in the lesbian romance genre. She has set a very high standard, you know like Mount Everest high. Each and every book a met or surpassed the quality and awesomeness of the previous book. That’s unbelievably difficult to achieve, to time and time again bring just the best of the very best. There is a but! With that being said Strawberry Summer is not my favorite of hers. Don’t get me wrong it’s good, totes is, it’s just not great.

Strawberry Summer spends a lot of the story in a flashback. When we meet the two main characters Courtney Carrington has just moved from Chicago to a small picturesque farming community just outside of Santa Barbara. The first day at her new high school, she meets and has her a-ha moment with Margaret Beringer. Margaret is kind of a loner, not unpopular, just keeps to her small group on the fray of popularity. She’s a strawberry farmer’s kid who spends her days hanging out with nature and reading Hemingway for fun. Courtney, a strikingly beautiful department store heiress is immediately smitten and doesn’t hold back her admiration. This is a story of first loves in a star-crossed lover kind of way. Time and distance keep pulling these two apart but they spend most of their late teens and early 20’s as a couple.

There inlays one big issue. You know as the reader a shoe is going to drop, you are waiting for it the whole time. This is a romance novel, they must break up to get back together, and they met as teens for God ’s sake. You know it’s going to happen! Right! So, there many stories that have done this exact same format and have done it very well. Poppy Jenkins is probably the biggest standout. To me, this particular book spends too much, like 75+% of the book in flashback mode. You just keep waiting for the younger days to be over and get to the now. Well, at least I did.

The other issues. It’s not fun! I know I can’t believe I wrote that, but it wasn’t. There just isn’t that great dialogue between the mains that you expect from a Brayden book. Up until know, you had amazing witty banter and wordplay. You just don’t see it in this one, maybe because Margaret is a more serious character and humor isn’t her go to language. I was missing it, I wanted it back! I also wanted that amazing tension Brayden is the queen of ratcheting up. Again, not there! I didn’t feel that the transitions were as seamless as previous books either, I kept thinking, another summer and they are still together, where are we headed, why is this not moving along at a faster pace. So much of the book was in the past, I just kept wishing more of it would have been focused on the present.

There are good moments too. Moments that are so sweet you smile and moments so tragic your heart breaks. Overall it is a good book, it really is. There are going to be people that adore this one, promise. To me, this one was somewhat, formula wise, reminiscent of Waiting in the Wings, but without the tension and amazing interchange between characters. Even the supporting cast was cute but lackluster. This feels harsh, and I don’t mean it to be. It is a good book, I totally promise. I liked you, Strawberry Summer, I do, but I don’t love you.

3.75 out of 5 stars

31213312

Sins of Our Fathers by A. Rose Mathieu

Attorney Elizabeth Campbell is a fearless legal badass. Born into privileged upper crust family, Elizabeth was set to follow in her father’s footsteps. Much to her parent’s dismay, Elizabeth decided to work in a nonprofit legal clinic arena instead of corporate law. This character follows her heart, even when it leads her to scary dark basements chasing killers in the dead of night. She is a Sherlock Holmes with a side of Perry Mason. I’m not kidding when I say she is fearless! I will also say she is a character that steals your heart because she is so inherently good even when she is bending/breaking the law.

Assigned to review old cases for the mayor’s office, Elizabeth comes across one particular conviction that just doesn’t add up. A special needs man, Raymond, was imprisoned for the brutal killing a Catholic priest. Elizabeth follows her gut and digs for clues, demanding justice for the perceived innocent man. As Raymond’s case is re-opened as the murders start again, same modus operandi only this time Raymond was behind bars.

I’m not giving you anymore, the twists and turns in this story are fabulous. Sins of Our Fathers is well written and focused. This does not read like the work of a first-time author. Mathieu builds up the tension and throws you into the action. You feel your heart pounding right along with Elizabeth. This heroine needs no saving but there is the occasional help of a super cute but cantankerous police detective, Grace Donovan.

A romance this is not, oh it’s there, it’s just ultra-light. I feel like we may be building this relationship in a future book. What this is, is a well throughout mystery, with great details and enough curveballs to keep you guessing to the end. I’m hoping this is the first of many times we see Elizabeth and Grace in action.

4.25 out of 5 stars

31212948

Secret Hearts by Radclyffe

A classic Radclyffe is what Secret Hearts is. A sweet story, with well-developed characters and enough chemistry to keep you 100% committed to the end. You know what you’re getting with this author and she doesn’t let you down.

Catherine “Kip” Kensington hails from a very prominent, well to do New York family. Her last name and the work she does for the Department of Defense forces her to keep a low profile. Unfortunately her brother, Randy does not follow her lead. Addicted to drugs and “borrowing” cars, lands not only himself but Kip in lockup. A childhood tragedy shaped both Kip’s and Randy’s life, and the young man has taken refuge in nefarious activities as a way of masking his pain. Kip plays the mother role and tirelessly tries to help Randy out of jams even though the price she pays is a criminal record and a ton of heartache.

Jordan Rice is developing a community garden project in the heart of Manhattan. She works tirelessly to plant her crops and make contacts to supply her produce to the city’s restaurant industry. With a heart of gold, and an iron will to succeed, Jordan doesn’t make room for anything else but work in her life. She’s given up on meeting anyone and fills her time with making the world a better place.

Jordan and Kip meet in a super awkward way. Kip is assigned by the courts to do 400+ hours of community service for driving a stolen vehicle (thanks Randy!). This caring do-gooder takes her licks and heads over to the community garden, unbeknownst to Jordan that the garden was getting a helper. Tension increases as the office building has just been broken into, which causes Jordan to almost attack Kip, the perceived thief.

This age gap romance has a lot going for it. You have two level-headed, intelligent leading ladies who really work well together. Life throws them some curveballs sure, but these to have a synchronicity and a natural flow. They just work well together in all sense of the word. Even though Kip is used to holding a bit of herself back, Jordan has a way of looking past that and finding out who Kip really is. Through Jordan, Kip learns to let Randy stand for himself, even if it’s a painful process, to watch someone you love take the hard road. This is a feel good story that is most definitely worthy of your time.

 4 out of 5 stars

31213182

The Sniper’s Kiss by Justine Saracen

Justine Saracen writing is very in-depth. You know going into them they are superbly well researched and you most likely will be a bit smarter by the time you finish. Saracen’s attention to detail and an inclusion of historical facts in her novels, help make the stories and characters riveting.

Mia Kramer immigrated to the United States as a young girl. Mia, 29, comes into the story with a lot of baggage. She was raised by an emotionally abusive father, upon his highly questionable death, (was it murder or suicide), Mia takes control over her life and flees her father’s home to work for the government to support the war effort. Her vast knowledge the Russian language and culture ends her a prime job as an accountant for the Lend-Lease program under Harry Hopkins and right inside the Whitehouse.

The other main player in the book is Alexia Vassilievna Mazarova. A former teacher, Alexia enlists in the Red Army to help her country anyway she can. Striking good looks leads her to a plush assignment guarding the Kremlin and or course, Joseph Stalin. This is how she meets the Mia, and they strike up an unlikely friendship.

This book is a fascinating tale of history and friendship’s born out of horrifying circumstances. A historical fiction with just a hint of romance, while at times a bit unrealistic, overall this was a fantastic read.

4 out of 5 stars

31212897

 

Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane

Tread Lightly by Catherine Lane is an absolute delight. You have fairy godmothers, guardian angels, and a whole lot magical moments. Not only are these ladies fighting demons from another dimension but they also have to dance to the tune of self-absorbed millennials.

Claire is a fairy god-mother, who has been helping to create the greatest love stories. She helped Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Kate Middleton all find their perfect match just to name a few. Lately, it hasn’t been so easy, her charges aren’t as interested in their soulmate as past princesses. They have demands and want proof you say who you really are. They also want Jimmy Choos!

Claire becomes entangled with a guardian angel, Tamiel on a case that has a ton of red flags. First off the fairy godmothers are strictly prohibited for fraternizing any way with a guardian angel, who knew! Of course, this just adds to Tamiel’s intrigue. Together these two fight not only demons but alternative facts that both of their organizations have been peddling for centuries. It’s a grand adventure!

This book is light, it’s fun and features one bad ass wand. Yup, you heard it here, a wand! Who knew an inanimate object could steal the show, but it does. This novella was a little gem.

4 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

33969149

Rook Takes Queen by Em Stevens

Rook Black has lost her way in the world. She perpetually pissed off and has no outlet for her emotions. The thing about Rook that sets her apart from any other loner fueled on too much caffeine and surliness, is she is a Grandmaster chess player. She gave up chess as a way to break free and find herself outside of the game, but with limited skills, Rook’s options are pretty limited. A trip to the clink for public gambling ends up killing her already limited finances. So Rook ends up taking the only job available, a chess tutor.

Carmen Barnes is the current Miss USA. This beauty Queen takes her role seriously, with three months left with the crown, she wants to go out with a bang and raise some serious money for a cause that is very dear to her. Carmen sets up a major chess tournament to benefit a local homeless shelter that caters to young people. The money she raises will make serious improvements to the shelter and prove to all the naysayers that she is more than a pretty face.

When Rook and Carmen meet to discuss the tutoring position it’s a combination of sexy fireworks and sticking your foot right in your mouth. Comical and cringe worthy! Initially, Rook falls back on her frostiness and defense mechanisms when she feels backed into a corner, Carmen never lets her get away with it, though. As time progresses and they spend more time with each other you, as the reader, really see how these two characters just fit. They see each other without all the pretenses, being judged by their titles rather than who they really are. It really makes for great reading and the chemistry is very apparent.

The chess aspect of the game was thoroughly entertaining without being too heavy handed in the technical aspect. You found out just enough about the game to keep it interesting. Rook and Carmen are delightful characters and their romance was super cute and at the same time sexy as hell. Em Stevens writes a fantastic story that is entirely entertaining and I was thoroughly hooked to the very end.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Rook Takes Queen
by Em Stevens et al.
Amazon Link: http://a.co/iCmSZXj

34235574