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The Brutal Truth This book made me feel good I still have a smile on my face as I type this review Every time I read a Lee Winter book I say to myself “this is a damn good book” I just love the way Winter writes it just clicks for me I’m happy to say this book was right on par with all her others; it was a great read Maddie Grey has moved to New York City from down under to fulfill her dream of being a reporter Things are not going well She is not fitting in and works the graveyard shift for obits and crime When the small newspaper she works for is taken over by media mogul and notorious shark Elena Bartell Maddie knows her days might be numbered Will Maddie be able to survive in her job? And what happens when she notices a few cracks in the shark’s outer layer?Like many romance readers out there I love a good ice ueen storyline This book has a Devil Wears Prada feel I’m not sure if this was based on a fanfic but rest assured either way this does not have a recycled feel what so ever I loved the storyline and was hooked on page oneWinter always writes likeable main characters A lot of time they are opposites but they still just fit perfectly Elena was as ice cold as Maddie was warm They just complemented each other so well and made a possible relationship that much believable This is a very slow burn romance I prefer slower moving romances but at times I wanted to give this a kick start But the way the characters were written and what was going on in their lives the story would not have been believable if it was sped up It was just me being impatient I enjoyed how the chemistry slowly started to build And eventually I was rewarded with a very steamy sex scene for my wait Only small complaint of the whole book I could have used just a little relationship time I loved these two together and just wanted a hint This is an easy book to recommend to romance fans If you are a DWP fan a Winter fan or are looking for a feel good romance don’t pass this one up Winter is very high up on my authors to automatically read list and she absolutely deserves it I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on another Winter book An ARC was given to me by YLVA for a honest review There's just something about Lee Winter's writing style that appeals to me Every time I read one of her novels it ends up capturing my full attention and for just a few hours I feel like I'm a part of the storyI mean this was a straight up DWP plot rip off in many ways but Winter still managed to make it fresh and enjoyable I could have used a tad bit romance but this was still a great read My next read is seriously going to have to step it up to match this levelSolid 5 stars THIS IS THE FF ROMANCE I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR ALL MY LIFEthe tension the slow burn the yearning it was perfection devil wears prada but make it gay Something about this didn't click for me Yes it's competently written and there are good parts to it but the rhythm was all over the place There's a getting to know you phase estrangement a move across the world estrangement a severe estrangement a platonic wooing estrangement again one sided romantic interest conveyed another move across the world then both romantically interested but separated another move across the world and finally a coming together with very little time of the couple being in a relationship romantically | The two leads were okay and of the two I preferred Maddie but I found the most interesting characters to actually be the supporting cast especially the fashionista mother and daughter duo Felicity was a close runner up Maddie and Elena weren't bad characters by any means but I didn't buy the dual chemistry Yes I got Maddie's side of it but Elena wasn't even ice ueen so much as stiff I was really looking forward to this read but found myself disappointed because the romance never really got off the ground I think all of that estrangement and pretending not to care just threw the romance and chemistry for me It took forever for Elena to 1 show blatant interest or 2 for Maddie to pick up on Elena's subtle interest which in truth she couldn't really help because it wasn't written either Elena's romantic interest in Maddie occurred off the page out of sight from the reader And then the acknowledged mutual romantic interest didn't last long because the book ended shortly after they get togetherThat said the book is entertaining enough Lee Winter has a journalism background and I think like her other books it helped keep the story line accurate and interesting I particularly liked all of the scenes with Natalii The sexual harassment sub plot was a topical element that happens to coincide with the #metoo movement going on right now Thankfully it's a slow burn instead of an insta love romance though it veered too far on the slow burn side I think And in general there's a feel good tone to the book For whatever drama that occurs nothing is too dark or heavyCompetency wise I put this book in the 4 star range and do think others may it enjoy it than I did But for me liking it wise I give it a 35 Australian crime reporter Maddie Grey is out of her depth in New York miserable and secretly drawn to her powerful twice married media mogul boss Elena Bartell who eats failing newspapers for breakfast As work takes them to Australia Maddie is goaded into a brief seemingly harmless bet with her enigmatic boss—where they have to tell the complete truth to each other It backfires catastrophically A lesbian romance about the lies we tell ourselves108000 wordsThemes Australia · media mogul boss · New York · newspaper · reporter This book is an unabashed homage to that most intriguing of character tropes the uber successful all powerful untouchable ice ueen No doubt inspired by the two most famous ice ueens in lesfic fandom Miranda and Regina And of course where's the fun in thawing ice ueens if the thawer isn't one of the lowliest and least powerful underlings around?I've noticed that the author loves to explore these kinds of relationship dynamics featuring such extreme power imbalances Newbie vs Pro The Red Files Prey vs Predator Reuiem for Immortals and now PA vs CEO I've also realized how much I love such stories no wonder all the books got 5 stars from me and never get tired of it I don't knowthere's just something so incredibly compelling and satisfying about the whole idea of having an ordinary nobody finding the key to catchingtouchingturning these cold emotionally unavailable superstars into the well less cold and human versions of themselves The sheer impossibility of the task the obstacles the little triumphs the setbacks even struggles and then the final victory the whole journey is an adventure no less exciting than if they'd gone on a pirate treasure hunt Yeah I love these stories andI'm rambling Let's just say if you're a fan of ice ueens or of any powerful women in general the synopsis alone will prove irresistibleElena Bartell is a self made billionaire publishing mogul And she didn't get there by being nice After being pushed out of a job that was rightfully hers by merit she knows not to play fair Keen business sense and a touch of ruthlessness has seen her sweep up failing publications and turn them into either thriving media or cold edificesemployees be damned To them she is a soulless tiger shark but the stockholders love her and that's all that matters at least to her Actually that's pretty much the norm in many corporations where CEOs are paid to the high heavens for increasing shareholder value so if she were a man she'd probably be celebrated and admired instead of being stuck with a nickname AnywaysMaddie a recent NY transplant originally from Sydney finds herself working the graveyard shift crime beat pulling double duty doing obits for a metro paper When Bartell Corp buys the paper everyone is put on notice to shape up or ship out Ice ueen Elena sets up office in the building right next to Maddie's desk And the dance and endless battle of wills beginLike Tarantino's homage films the author takes a campy over the top approach to drawing her characters almost all of them familiar stereotypes either they were inspired by the iconic 'Devil Wears Prada' movie or this was a former fanfic take your pick and imbues and magnifies them with the kind of larger than life personas that make them so memorable And so delicious The book is best enjoyed from this angle as some situations feel contrived or preposterous But ice ueen fans would fall head over heels in love with the book and ElenaAs I mentioned earlier the main characters are all pretty stereotypical But the reason why I loved the book is how deeply the author explores their psyches and the lengths she takes to make her characters' connection realistic Imagine that gap a CEO and a lowly night shift grunt It's not gonna happen overnight Or even over time It's going to take a lot of exploration a ton of character growth and a huge dose of fairy godmother dust to make it happen And that's what differentiates an exceptional author from a good one Lots of lesfic authors can do the first two but the sprinkling of fairy dust? Only a handful can weave the kind of plot magic that makes the cynical reader go 'why didn't I think of that' or 'hell yeah' or 'awwwww' No matter how unrealistic the plot is the author makes it seem at least plausible And it's highly entertaining to bootIt goes without saying that one of the things that make the author's characters feel so authentic is that they never become someone they're not There's change and it can be huge and life changing but you don't undo 40 years of someone's personality completely and have it last further than the honeymoon And yeah I love that she gets her characters idiosyncrasies and lets them be But not after freeing the real woman trapped inside the iceIt's important to note that this isn't a typical romance where 'romantic development' involves sweet endearing dialogue or PDA displays or whispered sweet nothings or even the protagonists showing special care for each other Every lesfic writer does that already Don't look for it here For a good deal of the book it was either an awkward dance around each other tension filled exchanges downright snark and talking in circles Hence the need for 'the brutal truth' In fact the most romantic parts of the book are when they're actually thousands of miles apart How weird is that? More often than I could count their relationship was moving frustratingly one step forward and two steps back The chemistry is off the charts but there is just so much emotional and balance of power distance between them not to mention the multiple layers of masks the ice ueen wears I figured it was going to take Maddie a lot to uncover those firmly welded on protective masks I didn't figure it would take almost the entire book Well most of it anyway As the masks had to be lifted off layer by layer Well I guess that's ice ueen for you And Elena is the toughest of them all They'll never admit to emotion willingly Least of all that most unspeakable emotion of all love That one word signals the ultimate 'melt' and no ice ueen worth their salt will ever utter it if they want their reputation intact Towards the end when Maddie was trying to wrangle that declaration I kept wishing her a mental 'hah good luck with that' In terms of how much I enjoyed the book I should give this book a solid 5 stars especially for putting my faith back in lesfic's ability to 'make my day' But then there's The Red Files and then there's Reuiem Ranged against such formidable opponents a 495 will have to doBut still Elena Bartell earns a permanent place in my pantheon of earthly goddesses joining the likes of Jessica Maddox Mallory Spencer Victoria Willoughby Genevieve Fornier Jennifer Lamont Catherine Ayers and a few others whose names escape me for the moment but who live beyond the books they inhabit and whose exploits and personalities still manage to fill my thoughtsWomen who focused on themselves and their dreams rather than love who had to suppress a good part of their inner selves and acuired a discipline a coolness and even a bit of ruthlessness sometimes even losing a part of their humanity in the process all in the name of success and doing it on their own terms It was such a joy to see them come in from the cold their long suppressed selves unlocked and how love is the secret key to it It's justmagical495 starsARC from YlvaPS Is it sheer coincidence that a crucial part of the plot involves a sexual harassment case very similar to whats happening in the news including even the fallout from it This is one subplot that felt incredibly realistic and totally grounds the whole book The Brutal Truth 108000 words is a rewrite of a DWP fanfic of the same name 54505 words The fanfic version was great but this published one is just brilliant5 starsFeb 17 2018 This is my first book by Lee Winter I'm a sucker for a May December romance so I knew this book would be right up my alley It's a well written slow burner but it's worth the wait This is one of those books that definitely leaves you feeling good and I'm looking forward to reading from Lee Winter What is it about an ice ueen that makes a story so delectable? I mean truly I have a thing for this character trope Judge away I do not care I am always intrigued by that main character with that frosty alpha bitch exterior When you think about it or at least when I do some of my most beloved characters and books in the lesbian romance genre have that ice ueen that will thaw only for her one true love theme Why am I rambling on because Lee Winter writes ice ueens like nobody else Elena Bartell is a downright shark this media mogul has a reputation taking no prisoners You are either excellent or you are gone She owns newspapers all over the world waiting for them to go almost belly up then she swoops in and either turns them around or liuidates everything She does this all the while running a renowned fashion magazine Elena comes off as she has tolerance for no one even her husband she keeps at arm's length Everything is business and she keeps her mask firmly in place This woman will absolutely eviscerate anyone who gets in her way That is until she is pestered by her newly acuired night beat reporterMaddie Grey hates New York City She begrudgingly admits it to everyone except for her Aussie friends and family back home in Sydney Maddie won the green card lottery and had her dream opportunity to move to NYC and try her hand at becoming a crime reporter Now living the dream she hates her only opportunity to be a journalist is working the night beat writing obits and rifling around for stories that someone on the day shift will get to flesh out Then Elena Bartell shows up and Maddie is almost certain she's getting a pink slip especially when they get off on the wrong foot almost immediately From the get go these two characters challenge each other Maddie fires back at Elena like no one else would dare and it almost endears the woman to her No one ever dares talks back to her I mean this woman is dismissive and vicious almost all the time The two protagonists clash in so many ways but also have so much in common In a way they see the loneliness in the other Elena is struck by Maddie wanting nothing from her but a friendship of sorts while Maddie the ever curious journalist finds Elena downright fascinating She wants to scrape the boss's exterior mask to find out the heart of the cold and ruthless businesswoman Winter keeps the tension taunt for the majority of the book A long long slow captivating burn The tension in this one is like pulling a rubber band till it will stretch no Angst galore and it to me it absolutely works If you loved the Red Files I promise you this is right up your alley Everything about this book is done right The writing is crisp the characters well they were amazing and the dialogue could go from biting to amusing at the flip of a page A damn fine read Who's your favorite ice ueen? 5 StarsWhen I read the synopsis and the reviews I thought this sounds familiar and definitely an uber Devil Wears Prada DWP fanfic When I bought it and put it in my Calibre Library I realized I actually read the fanfic about two years ago and it was written by RedCharcoal who I found out is Winter's pseudonym I sorta remember that it was OK and never reread it I decided to not look at the fanfic before reading the published novel After finishing the novel I went back to re read the fanfic version Wow Now this is how you convert a fanfic into a published novel Winter took the fanfic as the backbone but really filled it in with character development In the DWP the readers do not need an introduction to the main characters Miranda Andy Emily and Niles so Winters jumps right into the story and in the Chapter 1 she writes about the wager between Miranda and Andy A bet that if Miranda wins Andy will have to tell the Brutal Truth for 1 day if Andy wins Miranda will have to tell the truth for a week In the novel the bet doesn't take place until Chapter 11 The fanfic is 16 chapters 52k words the novel is 36 chapters 113k words The novel does not feel long at allThe first 10 chapters of the book Winter's tells us about Elena Bartell Miranda a beautiful 40 year old who was already the head of a publishing empire of magazines and newspapers Nicknamed Tiger Shark for her ruthlessness and gobbling up companies and spitting them out Madeleine or Maddie Grey Andy is a 26 year old Australian who relocated to New York City to become a journalist She is working the graveyard shift at a small failing newspaper She considers herself as a crime journalist but is floundering in NYC and is missing her hometown of Sydney Australia She so wants to return but not as a failureOne addition I really loved is the blog Maddie writes Aliens of New York by Maddie as Hell which opens each of the first 10 chapters It is beautifully written as Maddie describes NYC through her eyes her loneliness her homesickness the people she encounters riding the subway etc I so wished it could have been continued for the whole book but I understand why it couldn't I can't fail to mention Felicity Emily She is all Emily in the novel her snarkiness and loyalty to Elena is there but so much She works for Elena but as she reminds Maddie she is not Elena's PA Great character I decided to have a Best of 2017 shelf This will be going on it

About the Author: Lee Winter

Lee Winter is an award winning veteran newspaper journalist who has covered courts crime news features and humor writing for almost three decades around Australia Now a full time author and part time editor at Ylva Lee is also a two time Lambda Literary Award finalist and a triple Golden Crown Literary Award winnerWant to get in touch Email LeeWinterAuthorgmailcomShe is not the children

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