Review of ‘Bring Holly home’ by A.E. Radley.

Fashion magazine editor Victoria Hastings discovers while staying in Paris that her former assistant Holly Carter, who allegedly abandoned the job, is in hospital with amnesia. Victoria is adamant to bring Holly back home and help her recover but, in the process, both women will undergo a journey of mutual discovery of their feelings.

This is another novel based on the Devil wears Prada trope which normally features an age gap relationship and an ice queen against a more lively character. The peculiarity of this novel is that Holly suffers from amnesia which brings additional conflicts to the plot.

The novel is written in third person from the point of view of three characters: the leads Victoria and Holly and Victoria’s friend Gideon. While the main characters are well-rounded, I didn’t feel their chemistry until the very end maybe because the reader is told about the characters’ feelings more than shown by their actions. The secondary characters are a bit stereotyped and Victoria’s children sometimes act too mature for their ages.

All in all, the story is entertaining with some funny and humorous moments and a good twist at the end. Depite some situations feel a bit far-fetched, it’s a good read if you don’t take things too seriously.

Overall, an entertaining read based on the Devil wears Prada trope. 3.5 stars.

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Review of ‘Media darling’ by Fiona Riley.

Emerson Sterling is a famous actress with a bad-girl reputation. Hayley Carpenter is a celebrity gossip journalist whose dream is to be a screen writer. When their paths cross in an awkward situation, they start to form a bond which evolves into something deeper. But Hayley soon learns the high price to pay behind the apparent glamour of celebrity life.

I have to admit that I don’t care much about celebrity lifestyle but this book got me hooked from the start because it’s so much more than a relationship between a celebrity and an ordinary person. This is a sweet romance with the addition of a critique of the media role in their portrayal of celebrities. Both main characters, Emerson and Hayley, are multi-layered with their personalities well defined. Their chemistry is absolutely off the charts, Ms. Riley has done a great job at building their attraction slowly but surely. Some of the scenes of them together are cute and others are very sensual, that variety makes the romance even more enjoyable.

The secondary characters are well rounded, specially both mains’ best friends, Alison and Tremont. The setting of the story is very well written, the descriptions of the places in both LA and Maine are beautifully portrayed. The dialogues are very well written, sometimes funny and witty, others seriously deep and moving.

The plot is tightly woven, Ms. Riley has got the ebb and flow of the tension perfectly. Even though there is a good deal of drama, the conflict doesn’t feel contrived or artificially created, on the contrary, it makes sense and seems the logical consequence of the chain of events. Many readers are going to like the fact that the author takes her time to finish the book after the conflict is solved. The story has a perfect length, neither is rushed nor stretched.

Overall, an entertaining, poignant and romantic story with a side of social critique to celebrity culture and the media. 5 stars.

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

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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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