Payback by Charlotte Mills

Oh wowzers! Payback is a solid whodunit with smart twists and turns that keep you turning the page. You are working just as hard as the detectives to keep up with this one. Charlotte Mills has written a delightful police drama filled with romance, banter, and suspense. Did I mention this book was smart?

Detective Constable Kate Wolfe has been sent to Warner, a small rural town as punishment for a screw-up. We don’t know what Kate did but it must have big enough for the brass to send her away far away from London. She super sullen about being sent away and her attitude towards everyone speaks volumes about her level of pissed off. Kate’s arrival just happens to coincide with an unexpected rash of crimes. So she might be mad but she’s also busy.

Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor had her time in a big city. For years she worked in Manchester but decided to leave the urban epicenter for the laid back life of Warner. While Kate is sullen and prickly, Helen is cheeky and fun-loving. She knows Kate is mad and she prods her with humor and sass until she finally chips away at the walls of the new detective. From the moment these two formidable ladies meet there is heat and attraction. How Mills writes the interactions between Kate and Helen is skillful and dynamic. It keeps you on your toes much as the crimes everyone is trying to figure out.

You really feel like you are in the investigative process of two highly skilled detectives juggling multiple cases. Often times in crime based novel the romance is a lesser part of the whole story. Not this one! Charlotte Mills does a fantastic job of balancing both the romance and crime aspects and weaving them together to make an excellent story. Not to mention there is a monster holy moly guacamole moment. Damn, I never saw it coming and that was awesome. This is a great book you will not regret picking up.

4 out of 5 stars

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Calendar Girl by Georgia Beers

Georgia Beers writes a dang good story. You know that when you pick up one of her books you are going to get a quality story with interesting characters that have dynamite chemistry. I would be hard-pressed to find a Beers book I’ve not adored but this is quality stuff that every romance junkie will love.

Addison Fairchild is the runs one of the three branches of the Fairchild Empire, Fairchild Rentals. She is an absolute ice-queen that is cold and aloof. Trained from birth to run her mother’s real estate corporation she has learned to become hard-nosed and closed off. Since her mother has decided to retire, Addison has increased her workload with no breaks, zero fun, and life that is nothing but work, emails and phone calls. What this does is takes a toll on her health and leaves everyone who loves her petrified.

Katie Coper is the exact opposite of Addison. She has a magnetic personality that draws people to her. She lovable, cheerful and radiates positivity. Katie has every reason to be down on her luck but she still has that sunny disposition. Katie recently gave up a job she loved in the tech sector to take a part-time nanny position watching pre-school twins. Her father had been diagnosed with early onset dementia and Katie put her career on hold to move in with her parents to help be there for both of them during this trying time. After a while, the bills pile up and Katie needs to help with the financial load, when her bestie at Fairchild offers her a well-paying personal assistant job to the distant Addison, Katie has no choice but to jump at the opportunity.

These two get off on the wrong foot, mostly because Addison is a control freak who is being forced by her mother/boss to have a PA. Katie has big ideas of how to help her new boss but Addison is hesitant to change anything. These two butt heads, but as their time together increases they begin to see each other in a new light. The walls fall, and perceptions fall away. The chemistry between these two is seriously dynamic and sexy.

I adored this book. The two mains were written beautifully and the whole opposites attracts thing is always a winner in my book. Loved the amped up tension with some angst! The connection between Addison and Katie is palpable. You can feel the chemistry coming right off the page. Loved it!

4.25 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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Against All Odds by Kris Bryant, M. Ullrich & Maggie Cummings

Against All Odds takes on a journey of finding love in the aftermath of a disaster. A mass shooting takes place at a local bridal boutique and through that carnage, two amazing women find love in its aftermath. Bryant, Ullrich, and Cummings come together to weave a fabulous story or strength, love, and survival.

Peyton Clarke is an off-duty police officer who is finally getting her dress fitted for her sister’s upcoming wedding. A bit hungover after a night out with friends Peyton is struggling with a pounding head. Another customer also in the boutique for a bridesmaid dress fitting takes pity on her and offers her water and some friendly banter. Tory Stevens, a real-estate agent is immediately taken by Peyton. She cannot help but flirt with the gorgeous stranger. Minutes away from asking each other out these two ladies encounter a worst-case scenario.

Bradley Richter is going to steal away his ex-fiancée. She left him, destroyed his life and now is planning to marry another. Bradley is going to steal her back and make everyone pay for ripping them apart. He is a nutcase in every sense of the word. Bradley arrives at the bridal boutique and opens gunfire on everyone, killing eleven and leaving Peyton fighting for her life.

The three authors take the voice of Peyton, Tory, and Bradley and weave a story full of love, survival and well, in Bradley’s case disturbed. Our two leading ladies have an adorable chemistry and a sweet love story. This isn’t as heavy as a story as it could have been. Which I liked. The main focus is on their romance and coming together in the aftermath of a disaster. A lovely story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Love Like This (Seven Shores, #4) by Melissa Brayden

In Love Like This series favorite, Hadley finally has her shot at true love. The fourth and final book in the Seven Shores series has been one I have anxiously awaited. My overall thoughts are pretty simple, I liked it, I didn’t love it.

Hadley is one of those characters who just draw you in and you cannot help love her. She’s super nice, genuine and has a uniqueness that just jumps of the page. I truly believe that her character has made this series have that little something extra that sets it apart. She’s just fun!

Hadley is introduced to an old high school friend of Elle’s, Spencer Adair. Spencer is an up and coming fashion designer who is seeing a lot of success selling her design’s through social media. With the help of Hadley and a few tweaks to her designs, Spencer has just landed a huge account selling her pieces on Rodeo Drive.

Hadley and Spencer have an instant connection. They notice each other right from the start and are on an unexpected first date by their second meeting. This relationship evolves easily. I think that’s maybe why it didn’t pull me in like all the other Brayden books. It’s just so easy there isn’t any angst, drama, denial, nope nothing but an easy transition that is sweet and nice, but kinda lackluster as well. To me, Spencer never really evolves into a spectacular character. She is great at what she does, fashion-wise. I felt as the story progressed Spencer never really pulled me in. She was always kind of flat and just didn’t have that magnetic quality that other love interests in this series had. I liked her but I didn’t love her.

This is the lowest I have ever rated a Brayden. I have always rated them a five with the exception of two before this one. This may just me being off this time. I want to say that this book is absolutely worth your time. It is good and I imagine that to a lot of folks it will be a great book. What holds me back from rating it higher is I just go no feels from it. It was missing that spark that I have come to expect from this series and Melissa Brayden.

Let me know what you thought of this one! 

3.25 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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Shadowboxer by Jessica L. Webb

If you start by just looking at the front cover of this book, you’ll notice a few things. Now sometimes a cover doesn’t do the book justice, this is absolutely not the case for Shadowboxer. The cover is dark and gritty. The focus is on heavy boxing gloves that have been battered and bruised, much like the kids that face life in the foster care system, on the street, and in abusive homes.

Jordan McAddie was raised in a home by two parents who abused alcohol. Her father was an emotionally abusive drunk. He took is abuse out on the mother of his children and well as the kids, finally going so far that Jordan was removed from her parent’s custody. We meet Jordan as she is well into her career as a child advocate and social worker in Halifax. Jordan uses her past experience as a professional boxer as a way to connect with the local kids. After working grueling hours she spends all her free time opening up her boxing gym to local kids interested in the sport and needing a place they can feel wanted.

When new funding for her gym comes available from a large corporation, Jordan is faced with a face from her past. Ali Clarke is back in Halifax as a representative for Centera Corporation. Her job is to learn from the youth at Jordan’s gym and create some good PR for her company. Ali is the one Jordan let go of so long ago. Her first and only love is back in Halifax. To see Ali again is a blessing, but also brings back all those old feelings. These two have a new chance at love if they are willing to risk it.

As heavy as the subject is about kids that are in desperate need of better representation and social services this book gives you lightness and hope as well. Ali and Jordan have a fabulous chemistry and it’s a delightful slow burn romance. At times this book is heavy but the counterbalances are done well. The secondary characters add so much to the book but never out shadow the mains. That is hard to pull off and Webb did it flawlessly. More than anything this one keeps you hooked.

4.5 stars out of 5

  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Purchase: https://www.boldstrokesbooks.com/books/shadowboxer-by-jessica-l-webb-2675-b

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