Breaking Character by Lee Winter

Nobody writes an ice queen like Lee Winter. She truly is the queen of the ice queen. She builds up their walls, fortifies their heart and brings in the perfect lady to thaw all that ice. I live for her writing. Over the past few months I have hit a major wall with reading, nothing really piqued my interest and the books you thought would be knockouts were just meh. Happens right? Well, I am so glad I picked this one up because I don’t care how big your funk is this book is stellar.

Elizabeth Thornton is dubbed as the “British Bitch”. As the lead interest on a medical television show, you would think Elizabeth relishes her stardom and careers rise. In truth, she hates the television show she stars in. The stories are mundane and overly dramatic with plot twists that are too ridiculous to describe. Her fame has made her withdraw into herself, putting on a mask not even her closest friends can penetrate.

Summer Hayes is the newest cast member on Elizabeth’s TV drama. As a childhood actress Summer has grown up in Hollywood, she knows how the business works. As cutthroat as the entertainment industry is, Summer has the heart of gold. She’s sweet, kind, perpetually happy and has a strong moral fiber. She believes in doing the right thing and damned the consequences. She is adorable! Summer has had a long-time crush on Miss Thornton. Seeing Elizabeth perform Shakespeare years ago in London captivated her and Summer has held Thornton in the highest regard since, with a mega crush as well.

This book takes its time. It builds fabulous characters, our two mains are delightful. The story builds and has so many layers. You really get the full effect of the chemistry between the leading ladies. Just enough angst to pull on those heart strings and keep you turning the page. This is a book you will come back to and read again. I loved it in case you couldn’t tell.

5 out of 5 stars

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Media Darling by Fiona Riley

Once again Fiona Riley has written an amazing book. I relished in the journey of our two leading ladies. The push and pull of the relationship was absolutely delightful. Once I started reading this one there was no putting it down.

Hayley Carpenter wants more out of her career, a hell of a lot more. This Ivy League grad has ambitions to be a Hollywood screenwriter but to pay the bills she works as a gossip columnist. She loathes her job! At a red carpet event, Hayley sees an indecent by two of Tinseltown’s leading ladies. This info would be a hot ticket but Hayley is honorable and keeps the info to herself, drawing the attention of Emerson Sterling.

Emerson has been a successful actress since childhood. Her dream role is just wrapping, one that will catapult her career to the next leave, but that doesn’t mean her life is peachy. It’s rocky as hell with a mega secret that she long ago buried are threating to leak. After Emerson and Haley meet, Emerson reaches out to Hayley to write the true story about her past and what happened with her ex co-star/lover.

The chemistry between these two is fabulous. It pushes the story and is really the touchstone of the book. Riley is a master of weaving a story but always keeping the focus on the prize, the romance. She builds their relationship and lets the sparks fly. A fabulous read filled with chemistry and fabulous dialogue. As always Fiona Riley brings the heat.

4.5 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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Just for Show by Jae

Jae, she does it every time. What does she do? She writes a damn good book, that’s what she does. Every single time I am just floored by the work she puts out. I loved her newest novel, Just for Show. Loved, loved, loved it. A classic romance that does everything perfectly!

Dr. Claire Renshaw has her life perfectly mapped out. Claire has a thriving career, her book is complete, she is next in line to take over the counseling practice and she has a gorgeous and successful fiancé. Life according to Claire is going splendidly. Well, that is until Abby, her soon to be wife, tells her its just not working anymore. I love you but I’m not in love with you anymore. Inset mega-sized dagger right into Claire’s ego. So what would this relationship guru who needs to have her book published ASAP do? Well, hire a Hollywood actress to fill in of course.

Lana Henderson is a starving artist. She has had a well-paying acting gig in two years. Of course, during that time she has been recovering from a near-fatal car accident that has left her with mental and physical scars. Lana takes a chance on Claire’s proposal, because how the hell else is she going to pay these ridiculous medical bills that just keep coming.

The premise of this story is not new. You have seen films with Hollywood A-listers and romance books galore that have had this same idea of a relationship for hire. Not new, but so very good. What is so great about this book is that the main characters are dynamic and adorable. Not to mention the chemistry between them is sizzling hot. Its a fun read and I adored my time with it! You can always count on Jae to give a quality book. Every. single. time.

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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The Lavender List by Meg Harrington

The Lavender List is set in 1946, just a year after the Nazi regime has defeated and the Americans have left Europe. This was a time of economic prosperity for many Americans after years of tumultuous foreign affairs and finally fully recovering from the Great Depression. You also have the beginning of the Cold War and the undeniable fear of the Communist regime. Why the history lesson, cause welcome to a book that is going to tackle it all while wrapped up in a delicious story filled with spies and Hollywood beauties.

Amelia Maldonado is a starving actress working at a local diner to pay her bills. She spends her days wiping down tables, pouring coffee and waiting for her crush, Laura Wright, to walk through the door. Her dream is to finally make it on Broadway. This Brooklyn girl has spunk in spades. She knows what she wants, who she wants and has dogged perseverance of making it as an actress. Amelia also has an another side to her, a rough and tumble girl, who’s past involves robbing banks and driving the getaway car. This Brooklynn girl knows the local mob boss, well because he is her uncle. This character is one to cherish, she’s multifaceted, she has depth and she is no one’s damsel in distress. She’s pretty easy to love!

Laura Wright is an undercover spy for the CIA. Laura spent her youth in the war, fighting Nazi’s and doing whatever it takes to win the war. She’s intelligent, she gorgeous, she is literally James Bond in a skirt (minus the British accent of course). While Laura is emotionally distant, Amelia is the one person that can crack her ultra-tough exterior. Amelia can see who she really is, and notices just the slightest of changes in her demeanor that cue her into to how Laura truly feels. She sees past the character she often plays and often calls her out on it often. My perspective is that Amelia is the one person who is Laura sees as her equal.

As serious as the issues of war, McCarthyism and a litany of others the book at is core is not really about that. As serious as those issues were the book has a lighter tone. The book is more a fun action packed adventure with two leads that have serious chemistry. This story is unique in so many ways. The best part though is it grabs your attention and your heartstrings, it doesn’t get much better than that. 5 stars

**I have been borderline obsessed with the presidential election for months. Needless to say, my mind was blown and my heart was broken when I realized that Mr. Trump would be our 45th president. My emotions have been all over the place, and still are, to be honest. I picked up this book as a way to escape the turmoil. So if you read this review, Meg Harrington, I just wanted to thank you for giving me a great book to escape into during really shitty week.

5 out of 5 stars

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

The Lavender List by Meg Harrington