Carsen Taite is one of my go-to authors. If she writes I’m going to read it and read at that exact moment I will. I know when I pick up one of her books I am going to get a top-notch story. Her newest book Practice Makes Perfect we begin a new series focused around an Austin based law firm owned three besties, Campbell, Grace, and Abby. I knew within the first couple of chapters of Practice Makes Perfect that Taite had written something truly special. I was dazzled!
I am a romance junkie. I love a good medical drama, legal drama, insert trope here, but what truly makes my heart sing for joy is the relationship between the two leading ladies. I want, I need the romance to be the standout. Catch the bad guy, save the life, win the gold, sure, but let’s get back to the love story. Taite in this one brings the romance front and center, and damn it’s good!
Campbell Clark is spontaneous. This character trait serves her well at times. Her spontaneity convinces her overworked besties to quit their well-paying jobs at large established law firms to venture out on their own and open a boutique law firm. This is Campbell’s big idea and now she has to land the client’s to keep her best friends bank accounts in the green and their dream viable.
Wynne Garrity knows all about being over-worked. She is on track to being a partner at her Austin based law firm. She just has to keep killing herself to get there. Her boss is a maniacal jerk, she has zero social life and spends all of her time surrounded in paperwork. It will all be worth it, right?
Wynne and Campbell know each other from law school, Campbell popular and charismatic, Wynne hyper-focused and solitary. There two come back into each other’s life when both of their law firms are trying to woo a Facebook-like company’s account. These two are pitted against each other for the business until the proprietor decides to throw them together to work on a lawsuit. They have to work on this case all the while being the competitor. Not to mention, and this is big, they are wildly attracted to each other. Let the sparks fly!
This book has two fantastic leads, an attention-grabbing plot and that sizzling chemistry that great authors can make jump off the page. While all of Taite’s books are fantastic, this one is on that next level. This is a damn good book and I cannot wait to see what is next in this series.
4.75 out of 5 stars
Give me some angst every day of the week, not in real life, hell no, but in a romance, I live for it. Add that into a good old-fashioned romance and you will have me every time. That’s exactly what M. Ullrich does with her latest novel, Love at Last Call.
Lauren Daly’s life is a hot mess. Her relationship is off-again, a nightmare situation, because she is forced to continue to live with, said ex because she and her roommate cannot afford the house they currently rent without that extra income. Lauren’s a paralegal but her salary and rent doesn’t leave a whole lot extra for the serious student loan debt she faces. Add onto that heap that her boss is a tyrant who blames everyone for his ongoing memory failures.
Berit Matthews owns the hottest lesbian bar in New Jersey. Berit has no trouble attracting women, she oozes charisma and has the looks to stop traffic. This good-natured bar owner loves her craft, is a savvy businesswoman and knows when to turn on the charm to keep her patrons coming back for more. Berit has a way with the ladies and isn’t opposed to casual hookup but she definitely has one eye opened looking for that special someone to settle down with.
Lauren meets Berit one evening after an especially brutal day at the office. Her bestie drags her out for drinks and she meets Berit who rubs her the wrong way almost immediately. Berit is not phased at all, more than anything she wants to no more about the sad yet dynamic paralegal. Let the romancing begin!
Lauren and Berit have a dynamite chemistry. Lauren pushes back at every move Berit puts on her. Their romance, the little bit of angst and hesitation keep you on your toes and the pages turning. This is a book I highly recommend to anyone looking for a great romance. Loved it!
5 out of 5 stars
Welcome back Grace Donovan and Elizabeth Campbell, two characters who I have missed. These two badasses have a murder to solve in Secrets of the Last Castle and unfortunately this time around they are on opposite sides. Drama, suspense, betrayal all with smoldering hot tension, you really cannot ask for more. A. Rose Mathieu comes out swinging with her sequel to Sins of Our Father.
Elizabeth is asked to take the case of a young African American male that is accused of murdering an elderly Caucasian woman in an alleyway. The young man swears he didn’t do it and Elizabeth has full faith in his denial. Grace is on the other side of the coin. What evidence the police do have unfortunately points right to Elizabeth’s client. They are both in a rock and a hard place and this case will take its toll on their romantic relationship. It’s and tense and bumpy ride for these two leading ladies.
This book has twists and turns all over the place. This is a fascinating story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. This mystery has tons of history woven throughout this who done it. You will be so glad you read this one. Oh, and if you have not read Sins of Our Father, don’t skip it. You can read these out of order, but really you don’t want to. Both are fabulous reads.
5 out of 5 stars
Carsen Taite always delivers a great read. She is consistent in giving you a lot of legal drama with characters who are insightful, well thought out and noteworthy chemistry. You know when you pick up one of her books you are getting your money’s worth time and time again. Love’s Verdict is no exception! This story has a cloud of mystery, did he really do it, with a side of I think you’re so hot but I can’t date you.
Carly Prachett is a fifth-year associate at Sturges and Llyod, a boutique law firm in Dallas. She excels at negotiations but is has trouble loosening up and bringing in high-dollar clients. She wants to make partner more than anything. This driven young lawyer has put work before everything else.
Landon Holt is the daughter to one of the wealthiest families in Texas. While Landon is one of the heirs to the Holt dynasty she wants to make her own way without her father’s help or influence. When her law firm forces her to return to Dallas for a big case involving a Dallas Cowboy, Landon reluctantly agrees but it only the lure of being Sturges and Llyod next partner that she agrees.
Right from the bat Carly and Landon are pitted against each other. Their boss gives them the reins on this high-profile murder case with the caveat of working together but only one will come out as partner. The stress is high, the tension is high but so is the attraction.
This book has legal drama in spades, a developed love story, and charming characters. You can’t help but like this book, it’s solid on all fronts and well worth your time. My only complaint is that I wish we had just a dash more time between the two main characters. A few more down moments of them with dialogue would have been fantastic.
3 out of 5 stars
Carsen Taite is one of those authors if she writes I’m going to read it. At this point, I’m sold on her stories so much, I don’t even need to read the synopsis, not necessary, I know without a doubt it’s going to be a quality book. Sidebar is no exception, I knew within the first couple of chapters Taite has written something special with this one.
If I think back over all the books I have read by this author, one always stands out to me. It Should Be a Crime, to me has always been my favorite of Taite’s. It was special. That book had bucket loads of chemistry, angst and two very intelligent, strong female leads all wrapped with a well thought out and interesting plot. What more can you ask for, right? I guess at this point you can ask for Sidebar. It has that same magic. This is book swings for the fences and delivers a bases-loaded home run.
Camille Avery is a newly appointed federal judge. After a controversial case cost her re-election at the county level, Camille is ready to start over and get her career back on track. A kink is thrown into her plan of all business, no fun when her new clerk arrives. West Fallon is everything Camille usually stays always from. She’s a fierce, social crusader who is ready to change the world. Chemistry is one thing you can’t fake and these two have it in spades. No matter how much they try to dance around it, the magnet of attraction is just too much. Neither was looking for this, but there is no denying it either.
This book has it all, two fantastic lead characters, an interesting plot and that sizzling chemistry that great authors can make jump off the page. While all of Taite’s books are fantastic, this one is on the next level. No critiques, no criticism, you only need to know one thing…this is a damn good book.
5 out of 5 stars
I loved Bianca’s character in Above the Law, so I was super excited to see that she was the headliner for Letter of the Law. Bianca Cruz is a federal prosecutor who works diligently to keep the bad guys off the streets of Dallas. She works hard and when she isn’t saving the world she is the mother to a pre-teen girl. Bianca is spunky, this a ball of energy in a beautiful package has a sharp mind and holds nothing back. If she thinks it you can bet she is going to say it. I’m totally smitten with this character.
Our other main is tall and broody, Jade Vargas. If you have been following this series, you know the name Vargas is synonymous with her two uncles and their crime syndicate currently evading the law. Jade doesn’t associate with her uncles, their business is well known and she stays far away. What she does is spend her time breeding horses.
Bianca and jade run into each other and Jade is less than thrilled to find out about what has been happening back home while she was away on business. She doesn’t want anything to do with her uncles or the federal prosecutors trying to find one. Fiery clashes and lots of chemistry, you betcha!
My only complaint is I wish more time would have been spent just between Bianca and Jade. There is a lot of story, crime wise we are working through and I felt their buildup was a bit cheated. Overall a good story as always by Carsen Taite.
4 out of 5 stars
Benched is a sequel. If you haven’t read Barring Complications, well I am kind of jealous of you because goodness, that book is amazing and to read it for the first time… let’s just say to me that the book is enthralling. You cannot put it down! So a sequel is tricky business, it’s either an amazing chance to reconnect with characters you have invested in or worst case scenario…a dud! Benched is no dud my friends, this is a fantastic book. It every bit holds its own with its predecessor.
Barring Complications was unique in a way in the two mains, Victoria and Genevieve had this pull towards each other. Even when they couldn’t communicate verbally, because of a pending case, they had this undeniable connection. I loved that about that book, it really drew me in and I was amazed by how well Rippon was able to connect that with the reader.
Where Benched comes in is Victoria and Genevieve have had their whirlwind romance and real life is settling in. Two very powerful players in D.C. whose paths have crossed in a monumental court decision that changes the political landscape of America are destined to meet again professionally. How do they navigate these new waters now that they have become lovers? EEK, problems arise, and neither of them handles it very well.
This is where I think their differences in personality really become fleshed out. Victoria has always struggled with being out while Genevieve is the cover of Advocate. So they struggle and they make missteps that make them wonder if they can forge ahead a cohesive unit or do they need to go separate ways. Is love always enough? I’m not going to lie there were a few moments that I thought, Holy mackerel sapphire what is happening, why are they doing this to each other, but in the end romance prevails.
4.25 out of 5 stars
Attorney Elizabeth Campbell is a fearless legal badass. Born into privileged upper crust family, Elizabeth was set to follow in her father’s footsteps. Much to her parent’s dismay, Elizabeth decided to work in a nonprofit legal clinic arena instead of corporate law. This character follows her heart, even when it leads her to scary dark basements chasing killers in the dead of night. She is a Sherlock Holmes with a side of Perry Mason. I’m not kidding when I say she is fearless! I will also say she is a character that steals your heart because she is so inherently good even when she is bending/breaking the law.
Assigned to review old cases for the mayor’s office, Elizabeth comes across one particular conviction that just doesn’t add up. A special needs man, Raymond, was imprisoned for the brutal killing a Catholic priest. Elizabeth follows her gut and digs for clues, demanding justice for the perceived innocent man. As Raymond’s case is re-opened as the murders start again, same modus operandi only this time Raymond was behind bars.
I’m not giving you anymore, the twists and turns in this story are fabulous. Sins of Our Fathers is well written and focused. This does not read like the work of a first-time author. Mathieu builds up the tension and throws you into the action. You feel your heart pounding right along with Elizabeth. This heroine needs no saving but there is the occasional help of a super cute but cantankerous police detective, Grace Donovan.
A romance this is not, oh it’s there, it’s just ultra-light. I feel like we may be building this relationship in a future book. What this is, is a well throughout mystery, with great details and enough curveballs to keep you guessing to the end. I’m hoping this is the first of many times we see Elizabeth and Grace in action.
4.25 out of 5 stars
This is an amazing book that captures your attention and doesn’t let go to the final chapter. A story if two strong women fighting for justice, rekindling an old friendship and finding true love all the while uncovering one of the biggest scandals in South African history.
Imogene Frost is a barrister in London. She grew up in South Africa, but after her mother was brutally murdered she was sent to boarding school by her wealthy land-owning father. Bitterness and contempt have filled her heart and she swore to never return to her birthplace, but the death of her father forces her hand.
Amahle, the daughter of Mr. Frost’s maid, was Imogene’s dearest childhood friend. These two were inseparable until Imogene was forced to move. Amahle has grown up to be a successful politician, fighting for the injustices of the South African people. Her causes include women’s right and public HIV treatment, she has made life’s mission to be a champion for those who have been horribly suppressed.
At times this story can be gut wrenching, chaotic and gritty. The stories of rape and torture are harrowing, my stomach turned on more than one occasion. What Bramhall does is throw you headfirst into the story. You feel the character’s pain as much as their triumphs. This captures your attention and blazes right through chapter after chapter. Fair warning you will not and cannot put this book down. Good news is there is a happy ending and hopefully many more adventures for Amahle and Imogene.
4 out of 5 stars
The Chameleon’s Tale
by Andrea Bramhall