Back To The Start by Monica McCallan

Back To The Start by Monica McCallan

Back To The Start was an honest surprise. It was my first time reading one of Monica McCallan’s book and I can now say that I will happily be waiting for her next projects to come to life. I was pleased by her talented writing.

The story is about two broken-hearted best friends who lost each other after an unfortunate situation who left Remy felt like she has been played by the girl she loved, and Fallon frozen, unable to stand for herself and her friend. A decade later, we meet Remy, whose grandmother recently passed away and is the one having to clean her house and make it available on the market. Right from the start, it’s evident that she still is troubled by her past and she still has a lot of issues who needs dealing with. We don’t know much about what happened between them, but we know she is nervous about seeing Her again. By Her, I mean Fallon who gets categorized as the ‘’b*tch’’ of the story if we only see Remy’s point of view at first, when in fact, Fallon is probably the sweetest most honest and caring person alive, whose own heart has also been broken by the past events. A series of miscalculated events finds them as rivals, playing a game of pool with the winning prize being that Fallon finally gets the chance to say what she has to say to her old best friend, or Remy gets left alone for the remaining of her stay. And the rest after that is history.

I was impressed by the switch between the past and the present. Usually, writers lose me when they start going back and forth between different moments in their books, but in this case, it was so fluent that no explanations were needed to know where you were in the story. It all flows perfectly and always adds the parts of history you were missing at those given points.

After reading it, I can admit that I had a sweet spot for Fallon from the very first moment we meet her, even if she is at first portrayed as a mean person who has apparently done so much wrong, while Remy is portrayed as the lesbian who got her heart broken by her former best friend. The author wrote her character so genuine, it was impossible for me to see her the way Remy was seeing her and learning the complete story that happened between them both confirmed and broke my heart to pieces.

This book was a pleasant and fast read that I enjoyed more than I thought I would.
The story has a nice progression, in which we see both characters evolve, learning more about the adult they became. Bonus point to Claire, who never shy away from calling Remy out on her bad behaviors and choices.

I recommend this book as a light, fun and complete read. It’s a great addition to the ‘’Friends to Enemies to Lovers’’ category that should be owned by every Lesfics reader there is.

*I received an ARC in exchange of an honest review*

RainbowMoose’s Reviews
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The Red Files by Lee Winter

The Red Files by Lee Winter

What does a bus filled with 34 prostitutes, missing pink champagne and a launch party have that is intriguing enough to trigger a journalist’s inquisitiveness?

Lauren King is a journalist for The Daily Sentinel. Her focus? Going to hundreds of parties with A-list celebrities, relaying parts of what she learns while being there. She is good at it, but always knew she deserved more than those crazy parties and useless columns in the paper. Aiming to reach the goal she had set years before as she left her small Iowa country to get a first page article, she pushes the limits of what is expected of her, bringing golden stories to her ungrateful boss.

Catherine Ayers is the Ice queen reigning over The Daily Sentinel. Her favorite activities include engaging into feisty discussions and keeping everyone away from her. Everyone except an Iowa girl, who isn’t impressed by the persona that Catherine is. Intrigued by the story her nemesis is working on, Catherine pushes aside their differences for the greater good. Their paths get quickly interlaced and the scoop they are after might cost them more than what they are ready to sacrifice. But what threat is scary enough to keep two driven journalists away from their leads when their motto is ‘The story comes first’ .

It was one of the first suspense-like stories I’ve ever found myself intrigued by. The story is well written, the characters are well developed. It is clear from this story that the writer had a certain background in journalism because the situations and characters are relatable.

I started this book without even thinking there could be a bit of a romantic side to it, but there it was. Lauren and Catherine are the best example that opposites attract each other. At first, their relationship is like cold water on a burning fire. There isn’t much to it. Add oil to the mix, in this case the 34 prostitutes and the pink champagne, and you’ve got yourself an unstoppable situation on your hands. You can see both character’s evolution all through the story, you can see them work hard and with brilliant minds to get the complete story out of the people they meet along the way. Their determination and quick thinking is amazing and only a mind as brilliant as Lee Winter’s could pull it off. I was impressed to see all the little details coming together perfectly. I must admit the quality of this book kept me captivated all book long, even though I haven’t been a suspense-mysteries lover.

Having read this perfectly written book, I am more than excited to start reading the second book of the series coming out on June 20th. If it’s anything like the first one, it will blow my mind just as much.

I would recommend this book to any given soul who reads this review. It was one of the greatest book I’ve read this year and it left me completely astounded.  Lee Winter just grabbed herself a spot as one of my favorite writers with this book and I cannot wait to read more.

Rainbow Moose’s Reviews
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Under a Falling Star by Jae

Under a Falling Star by Jae

Did you ever wish upon a falling star? I know I did more times than I can count, and I sometimes still do. I do believe it is everybody’s dream to make a wish and to see it come true. It adds to the magic every child still inside of us believes in and it’s that kind of mysterious magic that brought two amazing characters together.

Austen Brooks is a newly employed assistant to Mr. Saunders and since no one wants to take charge of decorating the office’s Christmas tree. Part of her decorations is insisting that everyone writes down a wish to hang on the tree.

Dee is the company’s second in command, therefore, everyone she ever met in her life is usually either afraid of her or being nice only to get something from her. Dee ‘s brother writes a simple Christmas wish for her to put up in the tree. To find a girlfriend. A lucky misfortune that happens leads her to spend a day with Austen Brooks, her brother’s new assistant.

Being new to the company, Austen doesn’t know who Dee really is and doesn’t care about voicing her unjustified opinion about the woman she named Attila after hearing rumors about her. Unlucky for her, she doesn’t know Dee’s real name is Daniella Saunders, aka Attila. Leaving Austen in the dark regarding the real identity of her new friend gives Dee an option she never had before, to see who she is truly dealing with, to get a glimpse at Austen’s intentions along with getting chance to meet someone she would’ve never ever considered speaking with before. Maybe there really is some magic in wishing upon a falling star.

I had this book in my Wishlist for longer than I could remember. If I had known it would be that good, I would’ve pressed the little ‘’Buy’’ button way before. I feel like I am repeating myself but as usual, Jae’s writing is flawless, her characters are so real and honest, you can’t stop reading. Even the most complex of them has an intriguing history and it pushes you to keep on reading through. It was another buy I will not regret. The research Jae has put in is once again perfect. You can see from the high writing level that Jae knows what she is doing.

Dee’s character was my favorite. As much as people are trying to make her feel like a mean and horrible character, she strikes me has an unforgiven, but impartial and loyal boss. She is married to her work and would do anything she needs to prove to her family and herself that she has what it takes to get the lead of the company eventually. Being a woman in a male dominated family forces her to outshine herself and is making her truly the best, regardless of her feelings she keeps hidden. Meeting Austen brings out the best in Dee and her emotional journey is amazing to follow.

This book is the proof that sometimes the most expected pairing is the truest of them all.

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Who’d Have Thought, by G Benson

Who’d Have Thought, by G Benson

 

We all live our lives thinking that we know what the limits to what we would do for people that we care about is. What would you be willing to do to get enough money for your family and yourself? Hayden is facing this challenge in G. Benson’s book, Who’d Have Thought.

Hayden is a passionate nurse who loves her job and her cat more than anything. She is struggling to meet both ends most of the time and must work a lot to be able to send enough money home to her family and it is leaving her with less than what would be adequate to survive. On one of her many sleepless night, she stumbles upon Sam’s mysterious ad, who is searching for a fake wife who’d be able to stay available for a year, offering a great compensation. After dismissing the ad thinking it was a joke and when her financial situation reaches its limit, Hayden must fall for that offer which might as well change her whole life along with Sam’s.

I was positively surprised by this book, since I had started it looking for a story that would last me a few days, but ended up reading it all in one sitting, unable to move and get my attention elsewhere. This book is both captivating and infuriating at times. The story is well written, and the characters are unique in their ways to act and react to diverse situations given to them. The background of both main characters is complete, and you can easily understand who they are by the way they act, Sam being more reserved, harder to understand and grown up, as Hayden is a little bit more sarcastic, impulsive and easily approachable.

The mix of them both is an honest charm, since Hayden wasn’t afraid to share her dislike and impressions of Thompson right from the start.  Reading the first chapters, it is hard to see them ever selling their relationship to the world, but they still managed to pull it off enough that the line between ‘’what is supposed to be’’ and ‘’what is’’ gets blurry enough for the reader to believe the whole thing easily.

There is enough drama and misunderstandings in their relationship to fuel the reader’s appetite but somehow it all made me push further into story. I had already read another one of G. Benson’s books, but I must admit this one is my favorite so far. I’ve read it twice in a week since I bought it and will probably re-read it again next week. I suggest you all invest a little to be able to own this wonderful book.

 

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Up on the Roof by A.L. Brooks

Up on the Roof by A.L. Brooks.

There is always a motivational rush when you are moving into a new apartment. It is the thrilling mix of possibilities, of bigger spaces, new decorations, and new neighbors. Everything about it can be exciting. A little scratch on an adjacent door while moving a big couch can surely put a dent in all the excitement. It is exactly what happens when clumsy Megan finally gets to her new apartment. She and her friend Jen are taking furniture and boxes inside and by misfortune, scratch the door of her new neighbor, Lena. The whole meeting could all have been a simple mishap in itself but sadly for Megan, Lena is a little over herself with all the cleaning in her life and order around her place, and the little scratch, along with a few of Megan’s unwanted mistakes and loud gathering make their relationship impossible.

They get the rug pulled from under their feet one day when a major storm hits town and Lena’s flat gets destroyed, leaving Megan in a delicate position of letting her unfortunate neighbor live in her apartment while the repairs gets done. Can their edgy relationship survive the time it takes to fix what has been broken? Will it force them to understand the other more? Is there ever a chance for them to become friends, maybe more?

I was really surprised by this book because it took me a few chapters to really start loving it but once I did, I couldn’t drop it. What hit me the most is that the beginning of the book is centered on Lena’s character and all her special quirks and multiple OCD tendencies, which makes it harder to fall into it right away.

Looking at it from another point of view though, I can now praise the writer because of it. I don’t know if it was meant to or not, but I could clearly understand and feel how cold and difficult Lena could be as a person and as Megan’s new neighbor. It made the story more relatable because I was warming up to Lena’s character at the same pace Megan was.

I am new to A.L. Brooks writings, having only read two of hers yet, but I like the way she writes her stories. Most of her characters have heavy relationship backgrounds that stick with them into their new lives. It makes the stories more relatable because most of us have been hurt by previous relationships and their actions somehow still manage to explain our reactions to various situations. I have to give a mention to the really different coming out stories, both more than realistic, giving the reader the possibility to feel closer to one of the character because of similar coming out stories.  My favorite character was Megan, mostly because I could relate to her in many aspects of her life.

It was overall a pretty good book that will make you smile, laugh and think at different times.
I am looking forward to reading more of this talented writer.

RainbowMooses Reviews
@RainbowMReviews

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 Miles Apart by A.L. Brooks.

 Miles Apart by A.L. Brooks.

Did you ever have your whole life planned ahead of you?  In your forties, a nice home, a great person to share your life with, an amazing job…. But what happens when your other half breaks your heart with a drunken one-night stand? Can you forget what has been done and try to keep your five year long relationship alive? Or should you just let go and hope to find something better?

Miles Apart is a great book filled with a lot of questioning, misunderstandings, hope and regrets. The tale itself is a journey that I loved; it captivated me in multiple occasions, even if the main subject of the book is infidelity and its aftermaths while the main characters are rebuilding themselves and who they are, their confidence.

At first, we get to learn a little bit about Alex and Terri’s lives and relationship in London as it is barely holding on because of Terri’s affair. The writer did an amazing job in the scenes when Alex and Terri almost have intercourse. The line between what your body physically wants and what your heart cannot give is so perfectly written that the reader can feel the emptiness that the protagonist feels. The opposite feeling as well is perfectly relatable, when your heart and body connects with someone but your head gets the best of you and your feelings.

There is also Justine’s story, from Montreal, who has also been cheated on and her way of coping with what Nadia has done in a really different way than how Alex does. This book puts into perspective all the reactions possible if your lover find herself in someone else’s bed for a night and how rightly wrong it feels when two broken hearts find themselves.

I feel like there isn’t much I can say without spoiling too much since the book is unpredictable but I will say this, A.L. Brooks knows how to make the readers feel the chemistry between its main characters, it was so strong and well written that every words I read felt like a tangible pull between them.

It was also nice to see Montreal and its streets in the book. I had rarely read any books mentioning the area and it was a nice change.

The internal turmoil of Alex and Justine are really worth reading the book for. I also like the pace of the book, going slow at times while having many time jumps ahead to allow a lot more from the story. The line between what is and what should be expected from a relationship is being walked on, making the reader navigate through different emotions, some highly positive and others really tormenting.

I recommend this book to readers who love deeper stories and strong emotional rollercoaster.

Rainbow Moose’s Reviews
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The Music & The Mirror by Lola Keeley

The Music & The Mirror by Lola Keeley.

 

Did you ever read a book that is so well written that all the words are flowing just like moves to a well choreographed ballet?

Lola Keeley’s debut novel is filled with so many dance moves that you might even find yourself searching through YouTube videos to watch different ballets and technical terms in order to picture the story’s moves perfectly. I know I did. The Music & The Mirror is captivating and as soon as you pick the book, it’s hard, almost impossible to drop it. Even if like me, you know almost nothing about ballet.

The story of a passionate Anna Gale, who has always dreamed of becoming a Prima (The most important female in a ballet company), or at least be featured in an elite company’s production who gets her chance and is trained by Victoria Ford. After a misfortune at her first rehearsal under the demanding Ms. Ford, she has to prove to her idol and to herself that she has all that it takes to become what is expected of her and even more. The story basically revolves around Anna learning to master her art and technique while Victoria is pushing her to become even more than what Anna believes she can be.

What happens when Victoria wants to shake up the ballet convention by using Anna as a Prince, a role usually filled by a man? Can the newcomer handle the challenge and all the press around this possible role? Can she prove to her bosses that she has all it takes to get great critics for the company? It’s about finding your inner power and using it to achieve all the goals and dreams you always had in your life.

The story is believable on every aspect possible, the unexpected romance, the hard, competitive side of ballet crews and jealousy within it is well portrayed.

The character that impressed me by its multiple facets was Victoria’s one, mostly because of all the different emotions she was able to get from me. Hard as hell at times, soft as a peach in others, I was torn between loving and hating her character and somehow, it was what kept me going in the book. The complexity of Anna‘s character is not to be forgotten though. I wish there was a little more detail about her youth, I think it would’ve added to the characters personality, though the mystery it creates instead is not to be forgotten.

The native French speaker in me has to give bonus points for the integration of a few French words; it was nice to read them throughout the story. The book remains a mystery and everything happening is highly unexpected, which is rare to see in a book. Every time I was convinced I knew what was bound to happen, the writer surprised me with total unexpected events.

I recommend this book to every reader out there; it will surely become a hit and I look forward to reading more of this talented writer. Lola Keeley showed with her debut novel that she has all it takes to dominate the sales with this great success.

Buy it on Amazon:  http://a.co/cCIr11G
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