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

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Shades of Blue (The Loudest Silence, #2) by Olivia Janae

I have held off writing this review for a few days. I needed to let my thoughts marinate on just how to say exactly how I feel about this one. When I finished The Loudest Silence, I wrote in my review that “I was glad this wasn’t over, I need more of this in my life”. I needed this sequel. I had to see where the two characters go. While reading the sequel, I cannot say this thought continued. I confusing statement but let me explain.

Is the book well written? Absolutely, Olivia Janae is an amazingly gifted author. There is no question about that. Where I got hung up, is that in the first book, I loved the time that Kate and Vivian spent together. Whether they are fighting, friends or lovers their interactions were spellbinding. In Shades of Blue, the two characters don’t for a large portion of the book, even see one another. Over the course of reading the book, I was struck by the coldness of the book. I could hash this out in detail but I don’t want to ruin it for would be readers. You can gather that there is a break of some sort and it’s rather harsh.

While in the end, the two main characters come back together, this is a romance, you know it’s all but guaranteed. I’m going to be honest here, and I will probably be in the minority, I felt like the ship had sailed. It felt final, I felt like the reunion was grasping at straws. Again this is just my take on a very good book. Is it worth reading? YES! Did it hurt my heart, again a yes, but isn’t why a good book is hard to beat.

Overall a solid 4 stars

  • Publisher: Heartsome Books
  • heartsomebooks.com/the-loudest-silence

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Close to Home by Rachel Spangler

Redeeming a character can be a tough sell. How do you make a character, which said the character was downright terrible in a previous book your main character? Add into the fact that this is a romance novel, and your reader needs to have the feels. Tough, so tough, but Rachel Spangler does it like a boss.

If you read The Long Way Home you will remember, Kelly Nolan. Kelly was Beth’s longtime lover when Beth meets Rory. (side note: you can totally read this a standalone, but I would recommend ready both, just so you can see how far this character comes, and both of these books ae really good. Don’t short change yourself). Kelly is sort of the villain in The Long Way Home. She loses Beth because of her paranoia of anyone finding out they are lovers. She’s’ not a great girlfriend to Beth and her restrictions, her closet become too much for the relationship to withstand.

So now, we meet up with Kelly again. Kelly is still single, a little heart broken, lonely and above all else sill striving to be perfect. Tax season is around the bend and as a CPA, Kelly has a million things workwise to take care of. Add onto the heaping pile, her dad (her mentor, her hero) has just has a massive stroke. Beth, still in the picture as the supportive friend, encourages Kelly to take on an intern to help lighten the load.

This is where Elliott Garza comes in. Elliott is a lot like Rory, which isn’t a plus in Kelly’s book. She’s Kelly opposite, she is out, she’s a feminist, she is ready to take the world be storm and smash social injustices. Personality wise Elliott is the direct opposite of Kelly in almost every way

For all their differences, together they work. Elliot exposes Kelly’s softer sides, the one she has buried long ago to avoid be the whipping post for the small town of Darlington. Kelly learned long ago as a child, that because her mother walked out on them, that she would always be subject to the town’s gossip. Elliot brings out Kelly’s true nature and it was quite honestly mesmerizing to read. These two have a dynamic relationship. Fantastic read!

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Pursuit by Jackie D

Super short summary: This book is a dynamic fast-moving adventure that keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time.

Pursuit is the second installment of the After Dark series by Jackie D. If you haven’t read the first one, Infiltration, you don’t have to read it, but I would strongly suggest it. Why? First off, both books are really good. Secondly, you’ll miss some of the character and plot backstories.

Tyler Monroe and Brooke Hart are now officially an item, when we meet back up with them they have been together about a year now and recently moved into a new apartment together. In addition to this couple, we also have two new mains as well. Right, so four leading ladies in total for this one. I promise you it totally works.

Caden Styles and Jennifer Glass have a love hate relationship. Their two besties (Tyler & Brooke) are dating and they work together so basically always in each other’s space. This tends to create a heavy amount of tension because these two love to gibe at each other. They land little hits and ramp up the tension. Like a magnet all they need is flip and boom you have one hot couple.

Of course other that two hot romances you have an action packed adventure of good gals hunting down bat-shit crazy right-wing terrorists. I loved that there is a good balance between the two, enough romance for you to swoon and enough action to keep you fully engaged. Great read, you don’t want to miss this one.

4 out of 5 stars

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Under Parr (Norfolk Coast Investigation Story #2) by Andrea Bramhall

Kate Brannon and Gina temple are back in Under Parr. We pick back up with these two amazing women about 6 weeks after the conclusion of Collide-O-Scope. For Kate, there is another crime to investigate. This time around, a skeleton has been found in an abandoned WWII bunker. From the reader’s perspective, we already know who the crime was committed and why the elderly man ended up where he did and how is life ending injury occurred. From the beginning, we know the details of why the killer kills and how they do it. We stand back and watch Kate and her team figure out the clues.

This already in the know aspect of the book, while an interesting concept, to me at times became a tad bit tedious. We know most of the details, and while of course there are still clues to uncover, it has a lot of detective talk, to finally get to oh yeah, it was that person, totally already knew it. It was great to see Kate back in action, but I felt like this piece of the story was too much the focus, when Gina’s part is so much more powerful and interesting.

Gina and her daughter Sammy are living with the aftermath of what happened in Collide-O-Scoop and the havoc Ally Robbins reeked on their lives. Life after does not go on with rainbows and butterflies. These two have now become the pariahs of Brandale Staite. Not to mention both are suffering from PTSD. I think the challenges that the Temple’s face was endearing and fascinating. I like that Bramhall didn’t gloss over the trauma both Sammy and Gina went through.

My guess is this book, is a big set-up for the third book in this series. At the end of this one, the investigation of the skeleton is easily wrapped up but there are still big issues facing Gina and Kate as both individuals and as a couple. There is also an unknown element that briefly appears and is left unresolved. Overall, I look forward to the next installment of this series.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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Grounded (The Flight Series, #2) by A.E. Radley

Olivia is back, Olivia is back! If you liked or loved Flight SQA016, just get ready because Grounded is a sequel that completely surpasses its predecessor. I know, this is a rare feat, law of diminishing returns and all, but I am here to tell you it has been done.

Well, you know Olivia is back. She is also a bit broken. Where we left her in Flight SQA016, she has just royally screwed up with Emily. Remember, she railed Emily for being a neglectful parent for putting her son in a coach seat on a transatlantic flight. She was an ass and she knows it. Where we pick up a few months later in Grounded is where you start to see some of her character development begin to really flesh out. She accepts her mistake but her heart has been filleted. Losing Henry and Emily in one fell swoop has taken her down several pegs and given her more humanity. She is in emotional pain but has resounded herself that her misstep with Emily has lost her chance with them forever. She totally deserves whatever heartache she must endure. Life has a funny way of bringing folks back together and when her plane crashes into the tarmac, yup it crashed, a set of events unravels to bring these two leading ladies back together.

When we meet back up with Emily, she’s blocking her emotions about Olivia out. Unfortunately for her, sticking your head in the sand ostrich style doesn’t really work with five-year-olds. Henry wants his friend back, and to say he is persistent is an understatement. Her life hasn’t got any easier either. The debt is only growing exponentially, and even with a new day job, she not putting a dent in it. You got it! Emily is no longer serving drinks to the high fliers. Henry’s less that scrupulous grandfather has come into the picture demanding visitation for himself and his wife with the young boy. Emily, not wanting another drawn out custody battle, acquiescingly agrees to his request and in return is awarded a desk job with one of his cronies. Strings attached, boy are they attached, and it gets ugly!

No worries though for all the drama surrounding the two leading ladies their chemistry is still off the charts. It takes a bit for out two mains to come back into each other’s lives, no too long, but once they do you have that epic back and forth dialogue that makes you fall in love with them all over again. Olivia’s quirkiness is still infuriating and adorable to the quick-tempered single mother. Henry and Simon, of course, are there to give the story more depth and lightheartedness.

If you were worried on how Radley would seem the two book together after Flight SQA016’s unsatisfying ending, I’m here to tell you she did it better than I could have ever imagined. Grounded has fantastic pacing, and the layers of the story build to give you an amazing love story. Oh, you’re worried about the ending? Well, don’t be, I promise this one will leave you with a smile and some tiny butterflies.

5 out of 5 stars

  • Publisher: Ylva Publishing
  • www.ylva-publishing.com

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