The Ultimate Boss Set by Lee Winter

The Ultimate Boss Set
Author:
Publisher:
Published: 11/2022

In the Ultimate Boss Set, Lee Winter gives us The Brutal Truth, The Awkward Truth and three related short stories.  This is the ultimate set, with some of the most memorable characters in sapphic romance. I have read them all individually several times and know I will read them many times again in this collection.

Elena Bartell is one of my favorite characters ever. She is the ultimate, hot boss lady ice queen and the evolution of her relationship with Maddie Grey is absolute perfection. Maddie has the biggest heart and somehow manages to see the woman Elena hides behind that ice queen exterior.

Felicity Simmons idolizes her boss, Elena Bartell. After nearly stealing the show in The Brutal Truth, The Awkward Truth, gives us Felicity’s story. We find out where all that snark comes from, and it brings a level of understanding that makes me love Felicity even more.

This is a must for fans of Elena, Maddie and Felicity. And if you haven’t read these, there is no better time to discover the brilliance of Lee Winter. She writes ice queens like she was born to do it and her hilarious banter is unmatched.

An ARC was received from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

 

 

Something’s Different by Quinn Ivins

Something's Different
Author:
Publisher:
Published: 11/23/2022

Caitlyn Taylor thought the days of switching places with her twin sister, Chloe, were over. They aren’t kids anymore even though Chloe still acts like one. Caitlyn is coerced by Chloe and their mom to fill in for her working as Ruth Holloway’s assistant at the local university. Ruth begins to see “Chloe” in a new light when she starts actually doing her job and Caitlyn can’t deny her “boss” isn’t nearly as evil as Chloe said she was.

I have enjoyed both of Quinn Ivins other books and this one was just as entertaining.  Her sense of humor comes across so well and she always writes characters who are so endearing, I just want to reach into the book and give them a big hug. The chemistry between Ruth and Caitlyn developed gradually and was as much intellectual as it was physical. I was invested from page one and couldn’t wait to see these two find their way to each other. There is nothing sexier than two intelligent women finding someone they can connect with on every level.  This is a book I will be reading again just to spend more time with Ruth and Caitlyn.

An ARC was provided by Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

 

She’ll Steal Your Heart by Rachel Lacey

She'll Steal Your Heart
Author:
Published: 10/25/22
Midnight in Manhattan Book 4

Lauren Booker did not endear herself to me with her appearance in book one of this series, Don’t Cry for Me. She upset my girl, Josie, and I don’t forgive anyone who does that. I knew Rachel Lacey would work her magic and I would end up forgiving her, but I didn’t expect that she would touch my heart more than any of Rachel’s other characters. Maybe it’s because we have something very painful in common or it may just be because I love how Lauren is determined to make things right. And given how life has continuously knocked her down, I appreciate how she keeps getting back up and moving forward.

Mia Solano is also at a crossroads. She recently left her successful law career, got divorced and opened a cat cafe. She knows she needs to get back to living and meets up with her online friends to watch the new season of their favorite show. Mia is pretty perfect. I love how she carries herself and the calm she projects, even if internally her mind is racing. What impresses me the most about Mia is how she looks beyond Lauren’s issues and really “sees” her.

With She’ll Steal your Heart, Rachel Lacey continues to show why she is so successful and one of our best writers. In Lauren, she gives us a character I will be thinking about for quite a while. She is flawed but given her history, the fact she is still standing, shows the strength she has inside. Rachel writes her characters with such care, as if they are fragile friends, she just wants to hold close. The romance that develops is years in the making, while the two chat online about their favorite tv show and Mia reads Lauren’s fanfic. They share details about their lives and when they finally meet, the feelings that have been developing over years evolve so naturally.

This is the fourth book in the series and it was lovely to see some familiar faces make appearances. While I have a special place in my heart for Don’t Cry for Me, this is my favorite of the series. It made me tear up several times because things hit a bit close to home but more than anything it made me feel hopeful and it made me smile a lot. I love to see characters overcome adversity to find happiness and experience growth both individually and as a couple. This is a book I will revisit many times.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

 

Chemistry by Rachael Sommers

Lily Cross has returned home to the suburbs on Chicago for her first teaching job. She isn’t overly thrilled to come home but there were reasons she needed to get out of Miami. She is determined to become friends with her new co-workers but she hadn’t planned on Dr. Eva Thomas.

Eva had been a Chemistry professor at Georgetown University, but a family situation brings her home.  Teaching high school had never been something she imagined herself doing and she doesn’t have the time nor the inclination to humor the new, ridiculously peppy Biology teacher. She infuriated Eva or is that feeling something more troublesome?

I gravitate to ice queens. They are so complex and keep so much of themselves hidden away and fear is usually the cause. Eva is no exception.  When Lily gets a glimpse into who Eva is with her students, she begins to see that the icy exterior is just that, a way to keep people at bay and protect herself.

The title of the book is apropos. Eva and Lily have incredible chemistry. They balance each other out as happens in the best ice queen romances. I finished this is an evening because I wanted to witness Lily cracking the ice Eva had around her heart and I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful book to curl up with on the couch with a glass of wine.

An ARC was received from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

 

Strange Attractors by Ana K. Wrenn

Strange Attractors
Categories: ,
Author:
Publisher:
Published: 8/17/2022

If you think you know what to expect from an ice queen, you haven’t met Sonja Storey. Antarctica is a sauna compared to the North Carolina professor. I spent the majority of the book not liking her but knowing that by the end I would come to understand why she behaves the way she does.

Junior Professor Crystal Byrd is Sonja’s complete opposite. Cystal is warm, kind and for some inexplicable reason, completely drawn to Sonja. She sees something beneath the surface that no one else does mostly because Sonja has a fortress built up to protect herself.

Ana K. Wrenn has burst onto the sapphic fiction scene with an enthralling psychological drama. I don’t want to give too much away but the story centers around threats Sonja begins receiving and how she tries to navigate the situation, while projecting a control she doesn’t feel.

I always love a well written debut and this one qualifies. Wrenn gives us an unforgettable character in Sonja. She is brilliant, cold and complex. Her journey doesn’t end with a thaw, but I still find myself feeling great affection for her. I also find myself waiting none too patiently for the next offering from Ana K. Wrenn.

An ARC was received from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

The Stepmother by Melissa Tereze

The Stepmother
Published: 6/21/22

Hannah has no plans to stay in London. She arrives in town weeks after her father’s death expecting his wife to be an old, miserable sack of crap like her father.  Only Diane Astell is nothing like what Hannah imagined. She’s gorgeous, kind and her gaze lingers on Hannah longer than is considered polite. Is there a world in which her father’s wife is attracted to her as well or is it just wishful thinking?

Melissa Tereze pushes the envelope, or at least it should feel like that but one of the many things I love about her writing is she gives me a reason to overlook what should be taboo. Hannah and Diane have never met. Hannah didn’t grow up with Diane as her stepmother. Her father has only been married to her for three years. Those detail make me more than willing to embrace this storyline. Not to mention the fact that the person these two have in common was pretty awful to both of them.

I can’t blame Hannah for being attracted to Diane, I’m a bit in love with her myself. She has this playful nature that has been suppressed for so long and Hannah helps bring that out in her. In turn, Diane gives Hannah a sense of home, which she hasn’t had for years since her mother left and her father stopped taking an interest in her. They are both lost souls who exist but aren’t especially happy in their lives. It’s easy to walk through life thinking it’s good enough until you meet someone who makes you realize how much better it could be if you just take a chance.

Like my favorite of Melissa’s couples, Vanessa and Emma, their connection is physical but the emotional connection is just as strong.  That being said, this is a smokin’ hot book. Seriously, Melissa ups her sexy game with each book and if she keeps this up, and I have no doubt she will, I may have to invest in an industrial size fan.

An ARC was provided by the author for an honest review.

 

 

Embracing The Moon by Jeannie Levig

Embracing The Dawn
An Embracing The Dawn Romance

This is my first Jeannie Levig book, but it won’t be my last. I will be going back and reading Embracing the Dawn so I can get EJ and Jinx’s story. While this book brings EJ’s two best friends, Taylor and Gwen to the forefront, it can be read as a standalone.

Taylor has resigned herself to living the life of a single woman and it has been just fine. Even at 55, she can have any woman she wants.  So what if she is insanely attracted to her best friend. Gwen has been best friends with Taylor for ten years. She has always been attracted to the older woman but would never jeopardize losing her friendship. And she’s never told Taylor she isn’t as straight as everyone thinks she is.

The two women finally confess their attraction for each other and start exploring that attraction. And they really do some exploring! These two have some insane chemistry. After a few weeks of their new dynamic, things are going better than either ever could have imagined and then tragedy strikes. What follows is a long and difficult road for both to navigate,

I was completely surprised by the twist in the story. It made me love Taylor even more. I am always drawn to the player who has so many deeper layers to her and Taylor is so much more than even she recognizes.  She is a special character. I really appreciated how much she grew as the story progressed. And Gwen is the perfect complement to Taylor.

This was an enjoyable read and the supporting characters were an interesting group. Jinx fascinates me and I am looking forward to reading Embracing the Dawn to get her story.  I think we could have done without the person from one of the characters past and still had a fulfilling experience. That character was really my only issue with the book. I just couldn’t feel anything for her. Aside from her, this book is well worth the read.

An ARC was received from Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Who I Believe by Jamey Moody

Who I Believe
Author:
Published: 5/18/22

Rebekah Mathews has returned home to try to get her and her daughter’s life back on track after the death of her husband. Her daughter, Anna, is struggling to cope after losing her dad. Rebekah signs her up for art therapy completely unaware that it will bring her face to face with a woman from her past, who still has ownership of her heart.

Megan Neal was 31 when she met and fell for 19-year-old Rebekah.  They only had one summer together but Megan always wondered what happened to the preacher’s daughter she loved more anyone before or after. When the two women see each other again, those old feelings come back to the surface. Rebekah must decide if she is going to take a second chance on love or live in fear of her family’s reaction.

I’m not a religious person. It’s just not my jam. I can, however, appreciate those who have faith and the fear that goes along with wanting to live your truth but also wanting to maintain one’s relationship with God and family who may take issue. So, it was easy to see how Rebekah’s youthful fears brought about an end to her summer relationship with Megan. What I appreciated is that both women realized how special their connection, even after twelve years apart and how rare it is to get a second chance at love. And that a love like that is worth it because it only comes along once.

Jamey Moody always writes relatable characters that you want the best for. I’m a sucker for a second chance love story and throw in an age gap and I’m all in. Rebekah’s daughter Anna is adorable and her bond with Megan and her adorable dog was lovely to see and helped her so much in being able to smile again after losing her father.

My only issue was that I wished that the two women would have courted each other a little more but that’s just me nitpicking because I know Jamey well and I know that she felt the two wasted enough time. And when you know who you are meant to be with, you don’t need fancy dinners out to confirm what you already know. This is a feel good second chance story about love, the love between two women, between a mother and daughter, and the love that comes from believing in a higher power. I think it’s Jamey’s finest work to date and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

 

 

Truth & Measure by Roslyn Sinclair

Truth & Measure
Publisher:
Published: 4/20/22
Truth and Measure is the first part of a two-book series. This slow-burn office romance is a steamy story of fashion, passion, and the power of the unexpected.

Jules Moretti is a very good assistant. She anticipates what fashion editor Vivian Carlisle needs before she says it. She has to or she would be unceremoniously fired like so many before her. When Vivian finds herself unexpected expecting, Jules finds herself become far more involved in her bosses life than she ever anticipated.

This is one of the most eagerly anticipated books of the year and it was well worth the wait. Roslyn Sinclair has adapted her Devil Wears Prade fanfic into two books.  The second, Above All Things will be released in May. In Jules we get the overachieving girl next door, trying to make a go of her writing career while working for the iciest of fashion editors. Jules has a bit of hero worship for her boss and who can blame her. Vivian takes no shit, she’s ridiculously hot and has power that most people can only dream about. That hero worship turns into something more when Vivian allows Jules to see her vulnerability.

Roslyn Sinclair is an incredibly gifted author. I really loved The X Ingredient and The Lily and the Crown. I liked this book and am looking forward to the second book, Above All Things. She excels at writing the ice queen. The only way the ice queen trope works is if the sweet character manages to thaw the queen. In this instance Vivian is thawed as much by the shocking situation she finds herself in as by her interaction with Jules. This makes for a very effective character arc. Her vulnerability comes through so beautifully I couldn’t help but falling for her as well. Sinclair is also incredibly gifted at writing scenes that nearly set my Kindle ablaze. When things heat up, they heat up quickly and there is no turning back for either of them.

My only complaint is that I wish the romance would have been developed a bit more but I’m hoping we get more romance in book two. The book ends with a bit of a cliff hanger so I can’t wait to dive into the second book and see what Roslyn Sinclair has in store for us. I am fairly certain it’s going to be hot, emotional and with some twists I won’t be anticipating and what more could we ask for.

An ARC was received from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

 

 

 

With A Trist by Georgia Beers

With A Twist
Published: 4/12/22
A Swizzle Stick Romance Book 3

Amelia Martini is a mess. At 49, she’s divorced and being hit hard by menopause. She’s retired from her government job and has started a dog walking/sitting company. When she takes a job house sitting for one of her father’s friends, she never expects Kirby Dupree to turn her life upside down. Kirby’s a housepainter and starts a job at the house Amelia is housesitting. Kirby is drawn to Amelia despite her less than pleasant disposition.

This is the third book in Georgia Beers Swizzle Stick series. The first two featured Amelia’s cousins, Julia and Vanessa, who also play a part in this book, along with their respective loves. The three cousins are more like sisters and are always there for each other, but Julia and Vanessa can’t really understand what Amelia’s going through. Kirby, on the other hand, even though she’s 14 years younger than Amelia, she shows such understanding and compassion to Amelia, which is exactly what she needs. Maybe because I’m the same age as Amelia and have started perimenopause, I felt a lot of empathy for her. There is nothing worse than feeling like a stranger in your own body and it takes someone with the compassion and patience of Kirby to help Amelia realize that the way she sees herself isn’t at all how everyone else sees her. I really like Kirby and Amelia together. They complement each other beautifully.

I have enjoyed most of the Georgia Beers books I have read. She always creates entertaining characters, and this is no exception. Kirby and Amelia are both extremely likable. This story has lot of humor but also deals with a subject that doesn’t get enough attention in lesfic, a woman dealing with menopause. Amelia’s plight is one we will all have to deal with, maybe not to the severity she does but I can only hope we all have someone like Kirby to help us get through it.

An ARC was provided by Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley for an honest review.