Under Your Skin by Lee Winter

Under Your Skin by Lee Winter is the sequel The Red Files. If you loved The Red Files, you are going to go out of your mind for this one. If you have never heard of The Red Files, stop her and go buy both of these. You will thank me because these are two of the very best in the lady-loving romance genre.

This time around Lauren King and the Caustic Queen, Catherine Ayers are residing in DC planning their wedding and looking for the next big scoop. Of course, they are going to stumble on to a monster story, one with all kinds of nooks and crannies to keep you on your toes and breathless with anticipation. The best part though is their other moments when planning a wedding that at times seems doomed all the while out of their element in Lauren’s Iowa hometown. It is fabulous to read about Catherine so out of her element in the mid-west.

I loved this book even more than the first one. These two have an amazing banter, witty repertoire and the love just jumps right off the page and melts your heart. This book gives you the feels. I cannot recommend it enough.

5 out of 5 stars

The Princess Deception by Nell Stark

Nell Stark is back with another book in her Princess series. Deception is the name of the game here. Based on William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, we have a princess pretending to be her brother and a journalist trying to uncover the sordid tale.

Viola is the Princess of Belguim. An accomplished artist who prefers to stay out of the family’s limelight. Unfortunately for Viola, her twin brother Sebastian overdoses on heroin right before Belguim begins its rally to win the bid on the next FIFA men’s World Cup. As in the Twelfth Night, Viola takes on pretending to be Sebastian to fool everyone into believing everything is on the up and up. She doesn’t want to let her family or her country down.

Missy Duke was the face of USA women’s soccer. Her career was ended before she was ready with a catastrophic knee injury. Duk” doesn’t know what to do with herself, emotionally she is a mess and now she has settled for a job she really doesn’t want because she has no idea what to do not being on the pitch. Taken a job as a gift from a brother of a teammate, Duke sets off to cover Belguim’s bid for the cup.

Unlike in the Twelfth Night, Viola doesn’t totally sell her alternate identity as her twin. Duke picks up on it pretty quick by seeing little tells Viola has. Tucking her hear behind her ears, little things here and there. So a good portion of the story is the newbie journalist trying to figure out the why and see if it’s newsworthy. Of course, she is attracted to Viola so this makes her problem even larger.

Overall the book is q good read, Nell Stark always delivers a quality product. My only hangup is that I wish our two mains spent more time together. The reuse of pretending to be Sebastian takes up so much of the storyline that you don’t get enough Duke and Viola time. The relationship/romance portion of the book is smaller than I would have liked. Still a great read!

3 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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Lucy’s Chance by Jackie D

Lucy’s Chance by Jackie D 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 ladies with a life-long bond that even after twelve years of separation, the love was still there.

Lucy Rodriguez made a terrible decision at the age of twenty. Caught up in the razzle-dazzle of undergrad she decided to break up with her girlfriend to see what dating life was all about. She has regretted that decision every day thereafter. She broke her true love’s heart and has spent every day thereafter paying the price. She works and she works with very little else in life. A renowned journalist who covers the crime beat for San Diego and has Pulitzer for her stories from the Middle East, her works is her lifeblood.

Erica Chance is a small town police officer in Northern California. Erica has spent the last decade of her life trying to repair the hole in her heart Lucy left behind. She doesn’t let any woman close to her heart anymore. Four months of casual dating and then that relationship must end. Erica’s regimented life is thrown out of orbit when dead college-age women appear in rapid succession. It also brings Lucy Rodriguez back into her life.

Add a bit of conflict, add a bit of angst, a derail killer and you have a really good read. Is this anything revolutionary? Not so much. What this book is a great escape. You have a few hours to decompress from real-life’s craziness, and enjoy a quality story with interesting characters. Well minus the psychopath murderer, but you know what I mean.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Lucy's Chance

The Brutal Truth by Lee Winter

What is it about an ice queen that makes a story so delectable? I mean truly, I have a thing for this character trope. Judge away, I do not care! I am always intrigued by that main character with that frosty alpha bitch exterior. When you think about it, or at least when I do, some of my most beloved characters and books in the lesbian romance genre have that ice queen that will thaw only for her one true love theme. Why am I rambling on, because Lee Winter writes ice queens like nobody else.

Elena Bartell is a downright shark, this media mogul has a reputation taking no prisoners. You are either excellent or you are gone. She owns newspapers all over the world, waiting for them to go almost belly-up then she swoops in and either turns them around or liquidates everything. She does this all the while running a renowned fashion magazine. Elena comes off as she has tolerance for no one, even her husband she keeps at arm’s length. Everything is business and she keeps her mask firmly in place. This woman will absolutely eviscerate anyone who gets in her way. That is until she is “pestered” by her newly acquired night beat reporter.

Maddie Grey hates New York City. She begrudgingly admits it to everyone except for her Aussie friends and family back home in Sydney. Maddie won the green card lottery and had her dream opportunity to move to NYC and try her hand at becoming a crime reporter. Now, living the “dream” she hates, her only opportunity to be a journalist is working the night beat writing obits and rifling around for stories that someone on the day shift will get to flesh out. Then Elena Bartell shows up and Maddie is almost certain she’s getting a pink slip, especially when they get off on the wrong foot almost immediately.

From the get-go, these two characters challenge each other. Maddie fires back at Elena like no one else would dare and it almost endears the woman to her. No one ever dares talks back to her, I mean this woman is dismissive and vicious almost all the time. The two protagonists clash in so many ways but also have so much in common. In a way, they see the loneliness in the other. Elena is struck by Maddie wanting nothing from her but a friendship of sorts, while Maddie the ever curious journalist finds Elena downright fascinating. She wants to scrape the boss’s exterior mask to find out the heart of the cold and ruthless businesswoman.

Winter keeps the tension taunt for the majority of the book. A long, long slow captivating burn. The tension in this one is like pulling a rubber band till it will stretch no more. Angst galore and it to me it absolutely works. If you loved the Red Files, I promise you this is right up your alley. (If you haven’t read that one, pick it and this one up. You will not regret it!) Everything about this book is done right. The writing is crisp, the characters, well they were amazing and the dialogue could go from biting to amusing at the flip of a page. A damn fine read.

Who’s your favorite ice queen?

5 out of 5 stars

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Fake It Till You Make It by M. Ullrich

M. Ullrich is a fantastic writer, one of the best, in my opinion in the f/f romance genre. I think when we pick up a book we are looking for a few key factors. Developed characters, yup Ullrich gives us those in spades. Good dialogue, once again we have that too, thank goodness. A strong balance between showing and telling, again we are good. Lastly the originality element. Is this another recycled plot line, and if it is you better bring it better that the predecessors. This factor Ullrich owns easily, her books have a uniqueness that we don’t always see in this particular genre. Her stories go a bit outside the box and they do it in the best possible way. Fake It Till You Make It is no exception.

Our main protagonist is Genevieve Applegate. Gen is your small town girl, from rural Pennsylvania. She has had the same friends since birth, knows every soul in town. Unlike everyone else, Gen feels this need to get out and do more. She feels as though her wings have been clipped both professionally and personally. So she scours the employment ads for a newspaper or magazine journalist position that will take her anywhere outside of Milan, Pennsylvania.

Harper Davies is the editor/owner of Out Shore Magazine. Harper who has been burned by love once does not see that in her cards anymore. She pours her heart and soul into the magazine and that takes precedence in her live above everything else. Everything changes when she interviews, the adorable girl next door, Genevieve Applegate. For the first time in a very long time, Harper wants to get to know a woman in more than a professional aspect.

There is a big problem, Gen has no clue she just accepted a position at LGBT publication. She also digs herself in a big ol’ self-inflicted hole by allowing everyone to believe she is a lesbian. This is especially a problem since she has a fiancé, a man, named Jeremy who she has been dating for a decade. EEK! You can see the dilemma, the drama from a mile away. You also get the see the amazing chemistry Harper and Gen have. A sweet romance, that is eye-opening for both of our leading ladies.

My only complaint is I wish the book when have been longer. This one is definitely on the shorter side than I usually prefer. Overall this is a really good book, and you can count on this author giving you a fantastic story time and time again. I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Blinded by Kim Pritekel

Kim Pritekel is one of the first authors I stumbled across in the lesbian romance genre. Her stories are always well thought out with interesting characters. Going into going into her stories you know you are going to get a slow burn romance and a bit of craziness.

Burton Blinde is an investigative reporter for a local Denver new station. When we first meet her she is on her way to being a star, courted by CNN, she slated to be the next Barbara Walters. Days away from her move to New York, Burton is still tracking local stories, one including the juicy gossip of a Colorado senator being blackmailed by his former lover. As Burton is questioning the politician all hell breaks loose and a madman throws a grenade into the car, killing everyone but the reporter. Suffering horrific injuries Burton closes her friends out and retreats to the wilderness to live in near isolation.

Years later, after going through some of her old boxes from her reporter days, Burton comes across cryptic postcards. Her inquisitive mind will not let it go so she begins trying to find the old clues as to what the anonymous postcards were trying to clue her in on.
Okay so up until this point right here, I am digging this book. A great foundation is been laid out and I’m like oh yeah where we going with this. Then it kind of went haywire. So to make it quick, a small country, Chilvokia, near Russia is under attack, total warfare and has been for years. Dr. Lilli Novikoff, while studying medicine in Denver was the one trying to reach out to Burton to tell her of her country’s strife. First off, just tell her, she’s a reporter they are always looking for a story. Second, maybe contact the UN or NATO, just a thought. I think they would like to know if there has been coup, slaughtering person in the streets.

So any who Button goes to Chilvokia, it’s damn war zone, meets back up with Dr. Lilli, saves the king, falls in love…and goes home a hero. I can’t give you more because I was lost in the second half of the book numerous times. I wasn’t always sure who was who, and what was happening. What was the point of the war, I am still not sure, and something about selling women, kids and weapons, maybe. I was swimming in muddy water. It was fun and I enjoyed it but sometimes I had no idea my left from my right if that makes any sense at all. Also, I needed way more time with Burton and Lilli the couple, the romance part of Blinded was lacking.

Blinded is good, not great like Pritekel’s other books. I felt like she needed more chapters to explain what was happening. I think if the story had been longer, it could have cleared up the confusing pieces. Her characters definitely had chemistry I just needed more time with them together to solidify a stellar romance.

2.75 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing
  • www.sapphirebooks.com

To Purchase on Amazon: Blinded

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Heart of the Game by Rachel Spangler

I am not a huge baseball fan, I am sure that is blasphemy to many Americans, but I am just not. Now don’t get me wrong I can enjoy baseball, it’s great to go to the ballpark grab a beer and sit back and watch the pageantry of any sport. I love sports! I also have become a great fan of Rachel Spangler’s books, and I was intrigued by the vastness of this books ratings.

Sarah Duke is a female sportswriter. This is no easy feat. This particular career is heavily dominated by men. A female will have to work twice as hard if not harder to break into this field. Sarah, who really only goes by Duke, has just landed her dream job working for majorleaguebaseball.com, Duke is working as the sports commentator for her beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Baseball is her life, literally and figuratively.

Molly Grettano is a single working mother of two boys. By day she waits tables and any other moment she has is dedicated to her children’s happiness. Her oldest child, Joe, is somewhat of a baseball savant. Joe’s childhood is not playing sports or video games. No, he is a lover of baseball. He doesn’t excel at rounding bases or catching pop flys, no, Joe loves the statistics and math of the game. He knows batting averages, win-loss averages, which pitcher is needed for which opponent. So, Molly fosters that love and takes her sons to any Cardinals game she can. A chance meeting with the journalist Sarah Duke is a treasure for Joe, she fills his heart with more of his passion of baseball. This accidental run-in brings Duke into the lives of Molly and her two sons.

The third character in this book is baseball. Yup, this book is heavy in baseball, quotes, stats and life lessons learned from America’s pastime. Duke and Joe’s obsession with the game is heavy and it reflects as much in the book. In my opinion the third character takes over much of the book, leaving the main characters progression towards romance rather thin. You can only have so much of one subject before it becomes overwhelming.

I had a hard time believing that Sarah Duke would ever get out of Molly Grettano’s friend zone.  Don’t get me wrong Duke is nice and sweet, she is great with the boys but she is more like a teen than a thirty-something woman. Her singlemindedness was frustrating and I could not believe Molly would fall for someone who would put her so far second behind her career. She only spoke in baseball metaphors for goodness sake, who would find that attractive. Cute for a while maybe but after time it would be grating! I did not believe this happy ever after.

I love Rachel Spangler’s writing style. I liked this book, but it is definitely not my favorite of Spangler’s. If you are a baseball junkie, you will love this one. If baseball is not your thing, you may struggle a bit. For me it wasn’t a strike out, but it wasn’t a home-run either.

3 out of 5 stars

Heart of the Game
by Rachel Spangler
Link: https://amzn.com/B00TOXIUNS

Mackenzie’s Beat by Maggie Brown

A serial killer is on the loose. He is targeting young blond women. Yikes! Mackenzie’s Beat by Maggie Brown is a fast paced crime story with a side of romance.

Mackenzie “Mac” Griffith is a war correspondent. She has spent the last ten years traveling the world seeing and reporting on unspeakable horrors. Mac is known for speaking the truth and never letting government’s get away with anything by looking the other way. Currently she has pissed off a government official in Afghanistan, and the police are under orders to bring her back to Kabul over an article she wrote. Another problem for Mac is as she arrived in Brisbane to reconnect with her twin sister, Dana. The only problem is Dana is missing and no one can seem to locate her.

Detective Rachel Anderson is searching for clues. Why do blond prostitutes keep turning up dead? This hard-nosed cop operates strictly by the book, she is the job. She has no time for games, and she is super annoyed when Mac keeps showing up is the most peculiar locations, even the morgue!

This book for the first 30% was fantastic! It was interesting in regards to Mac and her past, throw in a missing persons and a no-nonsense cop we had the makings of a great story. Literally the works were flying off the page and I couldn’t get enough. Then it jumped the shark. Reality turned it to pure unbelievable chaos. The story became so unrealistic! I wanted to yell COME ON!

One big problem is how quickly Rachel and Mac fall into love and declare it. You go from two women who have dedicated their lives to their work to gooey I need you, why didn’t you call me on my cell phone mush balls. No, I just didn’t buy it! Plus we have a serial killer on the loose and your sister is missing (she’s blond PS)! Now I get that this is a romance but seriously is has to be somewhat of authentic human reactions. Their reactions to love did not fit how the characters were originally presented.

Overall a nice story and I enjoyed it. I like how Maggie Brown writes and I have been pleased with her book thus far. I don’t think you will be disappointed with this one but you may have to let your imagination fly a little bit.

3 out of 5 stars

Mackenzie’s Beat
by Maggie Brown
Link: http://amzn.com/B00U7XTUJW