!Free Book ♂ The Brutal Truth ♞ 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 Ourselves, WordsThemes Australia Media Mogul Boss New York Newspaper Reporter
The Brutal Truth 108,000 words is a rewrite of a DWP fanfic of the same name 54,505 words The fanfic version was great, but this published one is just brilliant.5 starsFeb 17, 2018 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 story.I 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 bitromance, but this was still a great read My next read is seriously going to have to step it up to match this level Solid 5 stars This book is an unabashed homage to that most intriguing of character tropes the uber successful, all powerful, untouchable ice queen No doubt inspired by the two most famous ice queens in lesfic fandom Miranda and Regina And of course, where s the fun in thawing ice queens 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 Requiem 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 know.there s just something so incredibly compelling and satisfying about the whole idea of having an ordinary nobody finding the key to catching touching turning these cold, emotionally unavailable superstars into the, well, less cold andhuman versions of themselves The sheer impossibility of the task, the obstacles, the little triumphs, the setbacks, evenstruggles 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 queens, or of any powerful women in general, the synopsis alone will prove irresistible.Elena 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 queen 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 queen fans would fall head over heels in love with the book, and Elena.As 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 boot.It 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 ice.It 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 queen 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 queen 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 queen 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 Requiem Ranged against such formidable opponents, a 4.95 will have to do.But 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 acquired 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 justmagical.4.95 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. What is it about an ice queen 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 queen that will thaw only for her one true love theme Why am I rambling on, because Lee Winter writes ice queens 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 liquidates 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 acquired night beat reporter.Maddie 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 noAngst 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 queen 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, asevere 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 queen 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 together.That 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 heavy.Competency wise, I put this book in the 4 star range and do think others may it enjoy itthan I did But, for me, liking it wise I give it a 3.5. 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 readingfrom Lee Winter. 5 Stars When 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 all.The 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 failure.One 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 muchShe 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. 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 queen 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 one.Winter 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 muchbelievable 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 littlerelationship time I loved these two together and just wanted a hintThis 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. Fun interaction I was walking to a burrito place for lunch today while listening to this audiobook, and much to my delight the sex scene came on I slowed my steps, obviously super pleased Get to said burrito place and hit pause as I order my naked burrito tee hee, blush blush, wink wink when all of a sudden a delivery guy leans down over my feet and goes GIIIIRRRLL.YOUR SHOES Your shoes are AMAZING We call that HEAT YOU GOT THE HEAT GIRL Damn Then walks into the kitchen with his wares Best compliment ever Kinda felt like a rock star.Speaking of rock stars, THIS AUDIOBOOK WOW I had read this book awhile ago, but hearing it was a whole other experience Angela Dawe did a fantastic job with the voices and accents I can t get over how nuanced and detailed these characters were, and still shake my head in awe The MCs, Elena and Maddie, were so solid I loved to hate Elena, her aloofness and cool demeanour, ready to fire anyone on a whim, business first attitude in her fashion forward wardrobe though, I still can t get behind steampunk chic, sorrynotsorry Yet we get glimpses throughout the book of the underlying compassion lying beneath her surface, which of course, the gem that is Maddie Grey was able to see Maddie who you couldn t help but adore, made no bones about being herself and had the unique ability to connect with others in a way that drew people from all walks of life These two sizzled and burned and aggravated and did all the flippy things to my whole being Maddie was very relatable and I connected deeply with her self deprecating humour, honesty and openness I really enjoyed the slow burn of the pair, richly woven in amongst the interesting plots of the story Boy does Ms Winters ever make us wait for the payout though, with intimacy not happening until the very end It s good when it happens, but I could have used just a wee bitWhen can t we though, amiright ladies Not only the MCs, but the author also tucked into her secondary characters like delectable desserts Felicity, Perry, and of course Veronique and Natalii, French fairy fucking godmothers they were God I loved them all None of these were throwaway characters at all, but rather added to the fullness of the MCs personas Being able to hear all of these voices was so much fun, even if the French accents soundedlike the rough French Canadian I hear often, rather than the smooth as silk France French that I wish told me bedtime stories each night sigh Some parts did drag on and didn t add much to the story, and I felt some chapters could have been edited That s my only reason for knocking back half a star Don t do yourself any disservice by comparing this to the cringe worthy DWP Just read it with a fresh mind and fucking love it.