The Corner Office by Katerina Baker

The Corner Office by Katerina Baker, 236 pages, June 23rd 2017, Genre: Contemporary Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

Review by Leigh Holland.

The Corner Office is about how modern women don’t take care of ourselves and our needs the way we should. All too often, we allow our ambition and need to compete in work spaces traditionally dominated by men to run our lives. Ambition and hard work are positive values, but not if they come at the expense of everything else. If we want to have it all, we have to create balance.

Tara Johnson is a single woman trying to rise in a male-dominated office. She tries to set an example for the women in her workplace, that they can have it all and succeed. While the women perceive her as a cold, hard ice queen, they also admire her dedication and drive. Tara realizes she’s a hypocrite- she only has her work, yet here she is telling them they can have it all. By the time Tara goes against her own advice and has an affair with Aidan, her “bad boy” employee, she’s accepted there’s something missing from her otherwise accomplished life. As Tara competes with the handsome Richard for a promotion, sparks flare between them as well. Should Tara risk her promotion for personal romantic happiness? Which man is the right man for her?

I had difficulty relating to the main character at various points of the book. Tara’s mother, who requires a nurse due to gaps in her memory, is looking forward to a concert. Tara spends time planning it and is looking forward to it herself. Her mother will probably wonder why her husband isn’t there and might forget all about it afterwards, but Tara considers it important to do this with her mom. When she learns of a business trip happening at the same time, she must choose between possibly being out of the loop on the job and losing the promotion, or going ahead with plans with her mother. She chooses to take the business trip. As the women ask questions about how to be wives and mothers to their small kids while putting in twelve hour days at the office, Tara tows the company line, suggesting they get nannies or take work home with them. She tells them to never have an affair with a fellow employee while she is having an affair with someone under her command.

The sex is steamy, especially since it’s “taboo” in their workplace. The romantic relationship develops in the last half of the book. The challenges in the corporate workplace facing parents are real. It’s interesting how Tara tries to mold the women into versions of her idea of success, yet in the end, she is influenced to make changes in her own life. The writing is good. The pacing was steady. I enjoyed watching her transform into a more laid back, relaxed, happier working woman, even if I couldn’t always agree with her choices along the way.

This book can be found at The Corner Office.

Book Description:

Tara Johnson’s sacrifices are about to pay off: a senior executive at thirty-five at a Fortune 500 company, she’s one of the two finalists in line for a Managing Director position. Unfortunately, her rival of fifteen years, the charming, infuriating Richard Boyd, is just as qualified, and unlike her, he’s willing to cross pretty much every line to get what he wants.
Of all the things Tara stored in the attic to make it to the top, it’s her personal life she misses the most. That is, until she starts a steamy affair with sex god Aidan, her direct report. Interoffice relationships with a subordinate can mean the end of a career, and when Richard finds out, it’s the perfect opportunity to take his high-heeled nemesis out, especially since he’s still nursing a grudge against Tara for rejecting him years ago.
But Tara’s increasingly domineering lover has his own dark secrets, endangering more than just her career. As her liaison spirals out of control, salvation will come from the man she always thought she hated, and perhaps the only one to truly understand her.

 

Author Bio:

Katerina Baker is a lucky gal who still attempts to have it all: full-time project management job that she enjoys, crazy family of four (with the ongoing threats of getting a pet to upset the family equilibrium) and writing.

Although on some days she is much more successful at managing her life than on the others, she still claims that she doesn’t want it any other way.

Katerina is represented by Sharon Belcastro from Belcastro Agency, and has a contract with Lachesis Publishing, who will be publishing her Romantic Suspense novel Under the Scrubs.

Check out other reviews at:

The Corner Office at Just Love My Books

The Corner Office at The Loaded Shelf

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Dating in The Apocalypse: Sarah “The One” by Christopher John Chater

Tougher than Tinder!

Dating in The Apocalypse: Sarah “The One” by Christopher John Chater, Chater Publishing, 62 pages, July 8th, 2016, Genre: Dystopian/Science Fiction/Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

by Leigh Holland

Dating in The Apocalypse is the first novelette in a series. Each book focuses on the protagonist’s experiences with a different woman, or “date”. Dating in the modern age was already rough, trying to find love in the apocalypse is well-nigh impossible.

Human beings became immunosuppressed to the point they could no longer fight off basic diseases. Influenza wiped out huge swaths of humanity. Some remained immune and survived. The majority were men. Women are so scarce, they’re traded, fought over, and kidnapped as if they were oil. Most men would give up on love, but not Tom Collins. He’s determined to find “The One”. He’s sure she’s out there and isn’t “irradiated, diseased, or had anything amputated”. As Tom puts it:

“I’d made a list of her qualities and kept it taped to the door. I looked at it every day before I left the house.

Blonde hair. (Natural, of course. I’ll be checking roots, girls.)

Green eyes. (The color of Fenway grass, or those old 7UP bottles.)

Smart. (Coupled with the natural blonde part, this is indeed a rare specimen.)

Strong and independent. (She doesn’t shed too many tears over something as silly as an apocalypse. Can’t tell you how many drink dates turned into a bawling, apocalyptic catharsis: “Then we had to saw off papa’s leg…” Gets a little depressing.)

Caring. (Hoping this whole apoc thing hasn’t jaded her. Plenty of fish in the sea, but they shouldn’t be as cold as one.)

Worthy. (There are women these days who would whore themselves for a cheeseburger. A worthy woman knows she at least deserves fries with it.)”

Tom finally meets a woman who matches his description: Lady Sarah. There are just three problems. One, she’s entered negotiations to wed his rival, a marauder clan leader named Darryl who kidnapped his last three dates. Two, Sarah resides in an area forbidden to men. And three, Sarah thinks Tom is a bit of an idiot.

After escaping many dangerous situations during their “dinner date”, Tom extracts a promise from Lady Sarah that she will date him again if he can find a way to keep the marauder clans from raiding her city. The story ends on a cliffhanger which will set the stage for the next novelette in the series.

Although Dystopian, it is highly humorous. It’s a fast-paced, fun ride. I never imagined the apocalypse could lighten my mood and make me laugh. Chater juxtaposes a fool-for-love, reluctant hero whose primary weapon is his witty repartee against a surreal backdrop of a post-apocalyptic city. The characters were quirky and interesting. My favorite character was Lillith, Tom’s mother, a formerly frustrated fashion designer whose fifteen minutes of fame has finally arrived.

Witty and amusing, Dating in The Apocalypse wasn’t what I expected, making it a delightful read. It’s currently on sale for .99 cents at Amazon. It’s followed by three more books in the series. I’d recommend this novelette to anyone looking for an entertaining romp through the apocalypse that can be read in a single sitting.

You can find it at Amazon at Dating In The Apocalypse.

September Sky by John A. Heldt

Journey Through Time!

September Sky (American Journey Book One) by John A. Heldt, 585 pages, January 1st, 2015, Genre: Time Travel/Historical Romance/Victorian. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

by Leigh Holland

September Sky is a novel combining elements of mystery, adventure, romance, time travel, and the historical American Victorian era all in one book. It’s hard to pin a genre down for this book and John A. Heldt combines these elements in a refreshing and unique manner. Although we begin in 2016, we quickly find ourselves traveling back to Galveston, Texas at the turn of the twentieth century. The author’s research into events and places of Galveston in 1900 seemed thorough and added a deeper enjoyment to the story.

This is the story of a father, Chuck, and his adult son- two travelers in life who have lost everything suddenly. Chuck was so obsessed with his work he failed to see what truly mattered. Once he is laid off, and his ex-wife and her parents killed in a tragic accident, he is filled with regret over his choices. Meanwhile, Justin’s life feels empty and hollow to him, and he has dropped out of college. Both men are at transitional periods in their lives, searching for meaning and purpose. Chuck wastes no time bonding with his son Justin on a cruise where they attend a lecture on time travel by Professor Bell. Later, Bell invites them to his home where he offers them the chance of a lifetime- to travel through a time tunnel beneath his house to a specific time in the past. They are given devices to help them return once their journey is complete. Once in 1900, they ignore Bell’s rules and plans, and instead head to Galveston to try to stop an innocent ancestor from being executed for a crime he didn’t commit. Chuck believes righting the injustice will restore his sense of purpose. What neither Chuck nor Justin could have foreseen was falling in love with Charlotte and Emily, Victorian women of 1900 Galveston.

Chuck’s initial experiences in the past mirror his beginning state- a lost soul looking for meaning. He and Justin are both honorable men who come to care deeply about the town and its people. Aware of an impending natural disaster set to wipe out thousands, they must decide whether to interfere in the past and if so, how much they are willing to change it. While helping his great uncle avoid an unjust fate is noble, Chuck realizes righting the wrong won’t give him long term happiness and a sense of purpose. When both men fall in love, they seem to harbor the unrealistic expectation that their lady loves will leave everything behind and follow them back to 2016. Selfishly, they both proceed with romantic, meaningful relationships knowing the turmoil they may bring into the women’s lives. But perhaps that’s part of the theme- the ties that bind us inspire us to make radical, life altering choices in the name of love. Love gives our lives meaning and purpose.

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. The writing style is very good; although there were a few sections of dialogue that perhaps could have been condensed. People often choose to obsess over other aspects of their lives, such as career, and we often take those we love for granted, imagining we’ll always have more time with them. The depiction of the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 was dramatic, nail-biting, and reminded us that we can lose everything and everyone at any moment. The romantic elements weren’t graphic and were flirtatious and sweet. I’d recommend this novel to readers who enjoy time travel, mystery, and adventure novels.

This book is the first in a five book series. You can purchase this book at Amazon at September Sky.

The Trouble with Seduction by Victoria Hanlen

Fiery Passion!

The Trouble with Seduction by Victoria Hanlen, Harper Collins Publishers, Carina, April 25th, 2016, Genre: Regency/Victorian/Historical Romance. Warning: May Contain Spoilers.

by Leigh Holland

            Set in London, England in 1855, The Trouble with Seduction is a fun and engaging historical romance. Many romance novels I’ve read are character driven and short on plot; Hanlen weaves her plot and characters together expertly. Victoria Hanlen combines humor, mistaken identity, mystery, intrigue, and intense passion in an engrossing read I’m not likely to soon forget.

Straight from the outset, we’re introduced to Sarah, a financially independent, twice-widowed, respectable young woman, still sporting frumpy black attire after two years in mourning for her deceased inventor husband, Edward. Sarah is under pressure from her brother to marry his best friend and is inundated with workmen hired to help renovate her mansion. A discovery is made on her property, leading Inspector Hooker to accuse her of murdering Edward. Meanwhile, Cornelius “Cory” Ravenhill is in a coma after being beaten within an inch of his life by thugs. Seeking justice, Cory’s older brother Damen, a close enough match to pass as Cory’s twin, pretends to be Cory and retraces his steps across Mayfair, Liverpool, and St. Giles. As the plot thickens, Damen forms an alliance with Sarah to clear her name and discover who was behind the attack on “him”, i.e. his brother Cory. Cory’s supposed mistress instructs Damen to seduce Sarah to get to Edward’s engine design, but the trouble with seduction, as Damen learns, is that often the seducer falls head over heels in love.

While I admired Sarah’s devotion to her family and their image of respectability, this proved to be a strong barrier against Sarah giving in to her romantic desire for Damen. Sarah’s social work at the mission and compassion for those in need was moving and endearing. Sarah proved herself brave as well as intelligent in several serious situations. Damen’s recurring feelings of unworthiness and his guilt at having lied to her about his identity initially made it difficult for him to accept Sarah’s love. Romantic scenes were fiery, passionate, and draw the reader in. The sparks flew between Sarah and Damen in an electrifying, riveting way. Both characters were well developed and their unusual courtship was a delight to read.

I had a great time reading The Trouble with Seduction. I especially enjoyed the additional elements of mystery and humor, as well as the interesting inventions of Sarah’s late husband. If you love historical romance, be cautious about what time you start reading- it takes about four hours to read and you won’t want to stop once you start. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves historical romance novels. It’s a treat!

You may find the kindle version at The Trouble With Seduction. The other book can be found at The Trouble With Misbehaving.