To the Moon and Back by Melissa Brayden

Melissa Brayden, her books just bring me happiness and joy. Happiness and joy! Sometimes it is the little things in life like a fantastic run, a smile from a stranger, or a really good book that make the world seem just a little bit better. While reading To the Moon and Back that’s how I felt, just a little bit better, and you know what I’ll take it.

Brayden takes us to the theater in her latest novel. Carly Daniel is a successful actress in Hollywood. She’s made her mark out in LA, had a run of successful movies but now her star power is in trouble. A few antics here and there and her image and reputation has been tarnished. She has been labeled a diva who makes trouble on and off set and now her job prospects have all but dried up. Carly is given an opportunity to do theater work in the world-renowned McAllister Theater in Minneapolis. She has to take the gig, even if she really doesn’t want to because this may be her last opportunity to get her reputation back on track.

Lauren Prescott is the stage manager at McAllister. She has worked her tail off for weeks on end and is now scheduled for a vacation. When her boss lands Carly Daniel for their next play, Lauren’s plans for sunshine and relaxation are put on hold to make sure Ms. Daniel stays out of trouble and preforms to her highest potential.

Carly and Lauren have immediate chemistry. They know it, and better yet we as the reader know it. Add in some fabulous banter, fun stage antics and you have the recipe for a fantastic read. Melissa Brayden does what she does best, she delivers amazing characters, witty banter, all while being fun and relatable. I loved this book, and I loved the distribution and escape from the real world it offered. You cannot go wrong with this book.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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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Eyes Like Those by Melissa Brayden

I have a handful of favorite authors who I will read anything they write. What is glaringly apparent to me and my biased little heart is nothing, nothing, comes close to a Melissa Brayden book. (Well, there is one other writer, but we will leave her nameless for dramatic effect). How is she this good? Each book captivates me, her characters, their dialogue, it gets me every single time in the best possible way. I mean really, how is the dialogue so good? It just reads so well! I would give up coffee on a cold winter morning for this lady’s books. They are just that amazing!

After the reading slump of all reading slumps, knowing that this was on the horizon gave me hope for an amazing story with protagonists I couldn’t help but love. Did she deliver? Oh hell yes! Goodness gracious that was fantastic. Do you know a moment when you’re reading along and your heart stops, and you start talking out loud trying to get the character to listen to you? You are so immersed in a story you can feel every emotion radiating off the page. This happened to me with this book! How great is that?

The story starts off with Isabel Chase losing yet another terrible job and fretting how she was gonna pay the bills. Being a waitress is not a fit for Isabel but she keeps doing the job to keep her cat fed and force herself to continue to write, her one true passion. As lady luck strikes just at the right moment, Isabel gets the chance of a lifetime and heads to Hollywood to interview for a staff writer position on a hit television family drama. This is her big break if only she can keep her fears and anxiety at bay.

Taylor Andrews is the executive producer for said TV show. At 32, Taylor has become the It Girl in TV. Her shows have high ratings and basically, everything she touches becomes a success. Shonda Rhimes, better watch out! With five years at the helm, the ratings have dipped just a bit and it’s time to shake things up to keep the show going.

I will say both characters are fabulous. They’re fun, they’re interesting and Brayden makes them so real, with flaws and all. You can’t help for rooting for their success and romance. Not, to mention she gives you a handful of other characters that you will be chomping at the bit to hear their stories as well. I’ll wrap up my gushing, with this book is delightful. Brayden brought the heat with this one and I loved every second with it. I cannot wait for the next in the series. If you are a Brayden fan grab this one and enjoy the ride! Good Lord, it was good!!!

5 out of 5 stars

Eyes Like Those

The Butterfly Whisperer by Lisa Moreau

I read the news every day. Every day lately, I wish this was a habit I could break. As much as I try every morning at 5 AM, I’m up, back at inundating myself in the latest world crisis or political snafu. I decompress/escape by heading out for a run or grabbing a book. The Butterfly Whisperer was just what I needed after a long week of craziness that just won’t quit. A great escape, that didn’t overthink what it really was, two girls with a life-long bond that even after ten years of separation, the love was still there.

Jordan Lee owns one-half of a matchmaking company that is super successful, and super exclusive. Her clients are Hollywood’s elitist. A self-made woman, Jordan left her home at the age of 18 just months away from graduating from high school. Her father threw her out when he discovered her personal journals. Only through her writing could Jordan admit the truth. She was undoubtedly head over heels in love with her best friend Sophie.

Sophie Sanders is a lepidopterist. Her work and life’s passion is running a local Monarch butterfly sanctuary in her hometown of Monarch, CA. Sophie is a character that is ruled by her spirit, she has this great zen-like approach to life. She is literally adored by the entire town. The only thing she hasn’t been able to find is her true love. She is hobbled by the fact that Jordan took off and never looked back. Jordan doesn’t know it but she took Sophie’s heart when she ran away.

Add a bit of conflict, add a bit of angst and you have a really good read. Is this anything revolutionary, nope, but it’s not intended to be either. What this book is a great escape. A few hours or days (depending on your speed reading capabilities) to decompress for life’s craziness, and enjoy a quality story with cute characters. Not to mention butterflies, who doesn’t love those.

4 out of 5 stars

To Purchase on Amazon: The Butterfly Whisperer29502529

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

Starstruck by Leslie Davis

Hollywood actress meets fiction writer and viola love has been found. There you go, now you have read Starstruck by Leslie Davis. Just kidding! There is way more to it than that, I forgot to mention the crazy psycho stalker in on the loose.

Cassidy Hayes is a Hollywood actress on a relatively new but super popular television show. The British actress is sexy, fierce and has a fiery temper. Cassidy is also being tormented by a male stalker who wants nothing more than to make her his own personal plaything. Watch out Cassidy! This is where the book begins. Cassidy goes home to her apartment in Burbank, California and finds that the stalker has been in her home. Upon that violation she moves into a friend’s home in a gated community while said friend is vacationing is Aspen.

Enter Aiden Darrow, the handsome, noble writer/ next door neighbor. Aiden straight away rescues Cassidy form unruly automatic sprinklers and saves the day. This is a hint for the rest of the book. The nerdy neighbor has a hero complex and wants nothing more than to be Cassidy’s own personal superhero. She knows who Cassidy is, and is a HUGE fan of the actresses current sci-fi TV show, The Alchemidens.

Hollywood beauty meets stoic non-celebrity has been done before, a multitude of times. Really that’s totally fine, I’m not looking for a new concept every time I pick up a romance novel. Unfortunately when the book is middle of the road in that particular trope it is pretty noticeable. I could not help but begin thinking of past books I have read.

The story had parts that were interesting and captured my attention, but there were also times that the book came across dull and flat. Too much emphasis was put on Aiden’s being a superhero junkie. I didn’t quite buy it. I felt like this was the author speaking about her likes versus really being the character’s voice. Aiden could have been so much more, but she was never really given a lot of dimension. She spoke of her troubled past but it was done in a way that didn’t really come off a natural, I felt contrived to me.

With that being said, the book is still quite good. The pacing is right on, and the story while predictable, it was also entertaining.

3 out of 5 stars

Starstruck
by Lesley Davis
Link: http://amzn.com/B019GGBAXO

Starstruck

Just Physical by Jae

Just Physical by Jae stole my heart. This is the third novel in The Hollywood Series. While the book is a stand alone, if you have read the previous books, especially Damage Control, you meet up with some familiar characters. Just Physical is a star studded romance that you do not want to miss.

Jill Corrigan is a tough, hard headed, stubborn actress. She is fiercely independent, which is a double edge sword when you have been recently diagnosed with MS. Jill is a hard character not to fall in love with. Her strength in the face of adversity is admirable. She is a character that will undeniably pull at your heart strings.

Kristine “Crash” Patterson is a Hollywood stunt-woman. She has come onto the set of Jill’s newest film, to do all the action scenes Jill has been deemed unfit physically to do. She is a hotshot, daredevil, who is eager to do what it takes to make it in the male dominated world of stunt doubles. One thing about Crash, she has a heart of solid gold, and it doesn’t take much for that heart to be stolen by Jill.

Up until reading this book, I knew very little about MS as a disease. Jae did an outstanding job of informing me, the reader, about the struggles of living with MS. She did it in a way that only a skilled writer could. Jae applied it to her characters, and their lives, weaving this information into the story, without breaking character I guess you could say. I never felt like the author was getting on soap box, or the story becoming like a medical journal.

Oh the character development, how fine it was. This is what sets this author aside from so many. She brings characters to life in her stories. They are so well thought out, and well developed. Not only can you see them through the story, but you are able to really understand emotions, reactions and why they are the way they are.

Overall this a great book. The romance is there, the characters are fantastic, and the story evolves in way that holds your attention to the very last page. Jae hit a home run with Just Physical. She is an author that you buy the book automatically, guaranteed time an time again to produce great work.

4.5 Stars

Just Physical (The Hollywood Series Book 4)