Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

Julia Finch is running away from life. The destination is 100% unknown. How can you run away totally from your past and self-hatred? She tries like hell too, that is until her beat-up old clunker of a car finally gives up on her journey in a teeny tiny Colorado town. With little money, she has to make a deal to work off her automobile repair debt by lending a hand at a large cattle ranch.

Julia spends her days shoveling manure and bonding with the ranch’s horses. Her immediate connection to these beautiful working animals endures her to the ranch’s owner, Elena Bennett.

Elena Bennett spends her time working her ranch and being perpetually pissed off. Her heart has been broken too many times and she cannot shake off her anger. Her wife was killed in an automobile accident breaking her heart the first time, the second women she trusted with it decided to up and leave her with little warning. Now she’s just angry and a bit broken. When she first meets Julia she is hard bitter and has very little patience for the new ranch hand.

I like the premise of the story. Two characters overcoming past tragedies to find their way to love, trust and respect. For the most part, I enjoyed this book. I will be honest I thought the ex-girlfriend showing back up after her disappearing act was a bit contrived and made to story slow way down and become a bit too contrived. I mean if your ex-lover dumps you with no word, disappears out of town and now you have a new lady you are just pining for you’re going to hang out with said ex when she shows back up. Hell no! Penn showing back up was a monumental waste of reading space. It would have been infinitely better spent on dialogue between the two mains.

Overall a good book that I am happy that I spent some time with.

3 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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Lost for Words by Andrea Bramhall

Lost for Words by Andrea Bramhall will run you through a gamut of emotions. At times I was tickled, frustrated, crying and then again laughing. This is a well-written story that delightful and sweet.

Sasha Adams moved home years ago to take care of her mother as she battled cancer. After her move home to become a caretaker Sasha kind of stopped living her life. Her mother’s health gradually improved but Sasha just kept on getting by. She has given up on trying to find love and spends most of her time working a job she at best tolerates. Har true passion is writing books and screenplays, but never letting anyone but her mother and best friend Bobbi read her work. Unbeknownst to Sasha her mother and bestie enter her into a film company’s screenplay contest. She wins before they ever tell her about it and that is where she meets film producer/director, Jac Kensington.

This story takes you on a ride. Bramhall weaves you into her story and endears you to the characters. A heartwarming story of love, family and friendship.

3 out of 5 stars

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Ask, Tell by E.J. Noyes

When you see a book get rave reviews, over an over again, you rush to read it right. Shoulda, coulda, woulda! I have had this book on my list of to-reads for months now, why the delay, I am not sure, but I am so glad I finally read this one. It was an amazing way to get 2018 started.

Captain Sabine Fleischer is an Army surgeon currently deployed in Afghanistan. Her days are filled desperately trying to save the wounded men and women that are serving in the war. When we meet Sabine she is struggling to fight her crush on her superior as well as navigate a nine-year relationship that is sinking fast. Her longtime partner is tired of military life. Vic, her girlfriend, was never a being a fan of the Army and the years of separation have created a crater that cannot be fixed. Sabine is trying to get through this deployment and navigate her life back in the States. No easy feat, and it’s all begging to crumble around her.

Colonel Rebecca Keane is Sabine’s superior as well as the object of her massive crush. She’s a gifted surgeon who is rock solid under pressure, respected by her peers and all around a good person. Sabine is drawn to Rebecca even though she knows there is no way they can ever be together. Everything is against them especially her relationship status and military policies. I won’t ruin the story for you, just know that Sabine and Rebecca have a magnetic chemistry together, and love always conquers all.

Reading this book, you feel the horrors of war, the pain of a breakup and the utter despair our service members must have felt serving in the military under DADT. This book was amazingly well written, I cannot say that enough! EJ Noyles transported me to the medical camp and put me right there with the main characters. The story is heart-breaking, romantic, sexy as hell and shows the resilience of the human spirit. It’s hard to believe that DADT only ended in 2011. Thank goodness it did! A great read well worth your time.

4.25 out of 5 stars

Mine to Keep by Wendy Hudson

I like the idea of a romantic thriller, and when done right you have two amazing genres converging for those final moments to keep you riveted to your seat. Will the heroines survive the vicious maniac and live happily ever after? Gripping, right? In my very humble opinion, you need those two plots points to be really tightly woven. The romance needs to pull in the reader. That couple has to ring true, their love must conquer all. The thriller part needs to increase your anxiety level, get the blood pumping. I think for me in Mine to Keep both parts fell short of really capturing the reader’s attention on both fronts.

Erin is this stoic, enigmatic character that you want to love because she has had so little of it in her life. Abigail, the local chef, feels a bit unsettled in being the chef at her parent’s castle turned hotel. Could she have been a renowned chef like her ex if she had left this sleepy little town? So you have two interesting characters and the beginning starts off so well, then just meh. Meh, because once they admit their attraction out loud, there was no more push/pull until you introduce the ex, who just happened to show back up after being gone years. Come on! How much more contrived can you get. The romance between Erin Carter and Abigail Miller felt bit flat and uninspired.

The thriller, you could see coming from a mile away. No twists and turns, you knew what was going to happen and the book just stayed the course. I wanted so much more, anything, just a tiny swerve would have made a huge difference. Not to mention the character decisions that just didn’t totally add up. The thriller was flatter than the romance and the ending was way too glossed over.

I thought Wendy Hudson had an amazing first book. This one is a good one, it just needed more thriller or more romance. Neither was done to full potential. I left me wanting more.

3 out of 5 stars

Definite Possibility (Bay West Social #3) by Maggie Cummings

I so loved Totally Worth It and was super excited for the sequel to the lesbian Sex and the City-esque story. I did, however, pump the breaks when I found out from a few fellow reviewers that the sequel left you with a broken heart (Meg & Sasha forever). So finally when the third part of the series came out, I am ready to do some power reading and zip through two and three back to back.

I am a fan of this series. I like the style, the pacing, the friendships all tied around cute and sexy romances. For me, this book was all about redemption for Sasha. She let the girl get away and she sure as hell better get her back. Who is this Reina and why is she still here? The story also re-introduced Sam and added a new character, Lucy. If you loved the first one, were frustrated with that disastrous ending of the second, well let me tell you the third one will give you nothing but joy and happiness.

4.25 out of 5  stars

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The Loudest Silence (Part One) by Olivia Janae

A great book to me usually has a few key elements. Dialogue is first and foremost the most important aspect. The dialogue in a story is absolutely crucial. Second, interesting characters. I want them to captivate me, I want to love them or loathe them, but please have them be amazing one way or the other. If I can get some tension and angst thrown in I will love you forever. So when you have it all wrapped into one delicious story, if you are me, your heart sings with happiness. The Loudest Silence has it all and sooooo much more. This book captivated me from the start and you couldn’t have pulled me away if you tried. I loved it!

Kate Flynn has just arrived in Chicago to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a fill-in for a fellow cellist who had an unfortunate accident and will need an extensive recovery time. This is the first time in forever that Kate and her three-year-old son, Max will be able to put down some roots for longer than a handful of months. Kate is loveable, she’s down to Earth, an amazing mom and she doesn’t hold anything back. If something needs to be said, you can count on Kate to let you know exactly what she thinks.

Vivian Kensington is the ice queen of all ice queens. She is gorgeous, formidable, intimidating, abrasive, rich and above all else, she is the boss. Vivian, who lost her hearing is a young child, was raised by world-class musicians. Unable to go into playing music herself she went into the business side of the music world. You do not want to cross this woman, and of course, that is exactly what Kate does in their first interaction.

The ladies are opposites and it totally works. They butt heads until they realize neither is as bad as the other one has made her out to be. An unlikely friendship strikes up and the love of young Max solidifies this bond. Of course, nothing is easy and there is the not-so-sane, bass player Ash Campbell for their romance to deal with.

I know that this at one time was a SwanQueen fanfic. I know that I read it, but it doesn’t feel the same, and I mean this in the best possible way. I felt like I was getting a new story that was so fantastic just every once in a while I had an, oh yeah, I remember this moment. This book is wonderfully written and will grab your attention and keep it until the last page is turned. It is part of a series with a bit of an angsty ending. So, be prepared to start counting down the days till Olivia Janae releases the next one. I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life.

5 out of 5 stars

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