Review of ‘Under your skin’ by Lee Winter.

Lee Winter’s ‘On the record’ series consists of ‘The red files’ (book 1), ‘Flashbang’ (a short story, part 1.5) and the sequel ‘Under your skin’. I highly recommend to read them in order. You could do without ‘Flashbang’ as it’s a bonus erotica story based on the series main characters but I still suggest to read it to have a better glimpse of their relationship.

Lauren King and Catherine Ayers are both journalists who met while investigating a news story in ‘The red files’. In this book we get a better view of their relationship and even though there is investigative journalism involved, the plot mainly revolves around their personal relationship and with their respective families.

Lauren and Catherine couldn’t be any different. Lauren is in her thirties, with a middle class upbringing and a loving – though sometimes overzealous – family. Catherine is in her mid forties, with an absent upper class family. Lauren wears her heart on her sleeve and Catherine is well renowned as the Caustic Queen, distant and sarcastic. This might be the most at odds lesfic couple ever but, boy, how opposites attract.

While ‘The red files’ was written in third person from the point of view of Lauren to showcase Catherine’s distant personality, this novel alternates both characters’ perspectives. As we get into Catherine’s headspace we start to tie loose knots from the previous book. Catherine is a complex and multi layered character and the author slowly brings her out in a different light, making her more human and realistic. It’s interesting to see a sweet, vulnerable side of her and funny to realise that she is also sarcastic in her thoughts. Lauren’s extended family is loving, hilarious and each character of the numerous relatives have a distinctive voice. The plot presents them in Lauren’s Iowa homeplace which comes to life through the beautiful descriptions of Ms. Winter. All in all, this is a very well written and entertaining series for both intrigue and romance fans.

Overall, another very good book in this series. Hopefully it won’t be the last one. 5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Breakthrough’ by Kris Bryant.

Romance story with the beautiful setting of Alaska. Kennedy Wells is an LA based showbiz journalist sent to Alaska to write an article on fishing after a scandal almost finished her career. Feeling completely out of her comfort zone, she gets into trouble almost immediately and is saved by sexy ranger Brynn Coleman who introduces Kennedy to the vibrant wildlife and breathtaking landscape of the 49th state. Kennedy slowly falls for both Brynn and Alaska but her home and career are back in LA. Will they have a happily ever after?

Written in first person from the point of view of Kennedy, Brynn appears as the epitome of the stoic butch and enigmatic knight in shining armour ready to save Kennedy from her blunders but at the same time, unwilling to open up to her. Ms. Bryant plays well with a few contrasts such as butch – femme, outdoors girl – city girl, hot LA – cold Alaska, all done with wittiness, humour and sizzling chemistry. Nature takes a big role in this book sometimes acting as a beautiful background of the romance, other times at the forefront raising issues such as illegal hunting, wildlife conservation or environment protection. Even though this is mainly a romance novel, there is a mystery subplot that adds a bit of fast-paced action that keeps the reader turning pages. Add a cute atypical “puppy” to the mix and the result is a very enjoyable story.

Overall, a very entertaining romance with a bit of fast-paced action. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review of ‘Happily ever after’ by Jae.

This is a collection of thirteen short stories by Jae with the common theme of a happily ever after ending. Some of these stories are stand alone (for example, ‘The midnight couch’) and others act as an epilogue of published books (i.e. ‘Seduction for beginners’ it’s a catch up of ‘Something in the wine’). All these stories were previously published but it’s good to have them together in one book and definitely more value for your money.

It’s hard to rate such a compilation as the themes are very different (Christmas, writers, radio programme, etc). Additionally, the book sequels are more enjoyable if you are familiar with the stories. However, if you’ve never read anything by this author, ‘Happily ever after’ is a good start.

Overall, a very good compilation of short stories for Jae fans and new readers alike. 4 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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