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
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
Whoa, wow, awesome! These are some of the adjectives that may fly out of your mouth as you finish The Red Files by Lee Winter. What an amazing book. Ms. Winter did everything right with this one. The mystery is multi-layered, the characters are fascinating and tenacious. Oh yeah, the romance is pretty damn good too! To say I was blown away would be an understatement.
Lauren King is a journalist for the LA Centennial. She writes about the celebrities glittering the screens of Hollywood, and what parties the who’s-who are attending. She has zero desire to do this type of frivolous reporting. Lauren is an ambitious investigative reporter who is chomping at the bit to get the go ahead to report real news. Lauren is smart, thoughtful and fearless.
Catherine Ayers is a blue blooded, ex-Washington bureau chief. She has been abused by the good-ol boy club that runs politics. She was forced out of DC by a political maneuver that took her career and all her supposed friends. Ayers is now being forced to suffer out her the remainder of her contract by being the Centennial’s gossip page reporter. Catherine is vicious, cold and has a tongue that will slash her foes to threads. She is also extraordinarily intelligent, honest and at the perfect moments, she is tender.
Catherine and Lauren are like oil and water. These two get extreme pleasure out of making the other one squirm. It is delightful! They treat each other as arch rivals. Both of these women are being held back career wise, so they use the other as their scratching post. Claws out! Their banter is legendary, quick wit that is not only humorous, but also very smart. There were times the barbs they threw at each other caused me to wince, but every time they redeemed themselves.
The meat of the book is a much-layered mystery involving a start-up corporation and with a big brother complex. I won’t go to any details, I definitely do not want to ruin this for any would-be readers. The story is so good! This is fast paced novel, by a great storyteller. The book is the perfect length, I never felt like we were rushing to wrap it up and put a bow on it. This book is solid gold.
5 out of 5 stars
The Red Files
by Lee Winter