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Karola – :
Yes, Lee Winter knows how to write a fascinating book. When fire meets ice there‘s alot of steam, so true! The dialogues between Amelia and Kai are great, but Milly and Quinn are the icing on the cake. Without them there would be something missing. A book that had me from the start, really great
stephasselin – :
Hotel Queens by Lee Winter
When Kai Fisher meets Lia Hanson sitting at the bar, ordering a Negroni to a newly hired bartender in one of the prestigious Hotel Duxton, both find their match in boldness and chemistry.
Lia Hanson aka Amelia Duxton, Vice President of Hotel Duxton International: Europe is smart, driven, beautiful and as honest as one can be. That is the thing that makes her both stand up in a crowd and thrive in most aspects of her life. (And it is one of the characters I think Lee Winter wrote best so far). Kai Fisher aka The Closer is bold, ambitious and as described by the author, charming and chaotic.
Their meeting, as unplanned as it gets, sets the pace for an intriguing ‘’Fire meets Ice’’ kind of story. I loved how challenging Kai’s character is and the fact that she dares to challenge Lia Hanson right away to go undercover in Hotel Duxton Vegas, so she could learn more about the staff turnover mess.
As expected from any of Lee Winter’s book, the dialogues are precise, funny as hell, and the storyline is so good it is impossible to put the book down once started. The universe around them is set up to every little detail, and all there is left for the characters to do is interact in it.
To this day, I still can’t even choose which character I loved the most, since they all had a little something different to offer to the story. From Amelia’s confidence to Kai’s hate-history with the Duxtons, put in the mix Milly and Quinn’s awfully cute storyline and just about all characters we meet along with the book. Except for most of the Duxtons, everybody is written to perfection and all have an important goal to accomplish all book long.
I appreciate the fact that Winter slightly touched the subject of homophobia, by making Amelia’s father as homophobic and misogynist to an extent as they get. It is pleasant to see it exists in the book, and that characters overcome the hurt it causes, while still staying fragile and not making the whole book about it. I loved how it becomes more evident in the emails Amelia’s mom has been sending for years and the post scriptum it contains. I feel that in some books it becomes so present that it takes the magic out of the story, while in this case, it mostly adds to Amelia’s strength and resolutions to fight for the CEO position meant to be hers.
I also loved how intense Kai is about the deal she is meant to get for the Mayfair Palace and how she fights for it. She did not get her name ‘’ The Closer’’ for nothing. As frustrating as some of her lines and analysis of people can be, it’s fun to see how hard it was for her to analyze Lia when they meet.
It is always a pleasure and really great to see two strong woman lead (I’d even go as far as saying 4, including Quinn and Milly), that are both pretty much on the same level, whether be it professionally and personally. The story plays itself to perfection. From their ups to their situation turnover. From trusting to doubting. From chasing to loving.
I’ll be looking for those characters again maybe in another of Winter’s book because they were really loveable. I will also be waiting for the Audiobook copy of it, which will be narrated by Angela Dawe, coming out in early 2021 (I can’t wait to listen to that book over and over again, and see how well the dialogue come out it the audio version).
In the meantime, I would suggest you all grab your copy of the book.
It will be out on Ylva Publishing’s website on November 18, and everywhere else on December 2.
I’m giving it a 5/5 and could even give more since it was perfect up to every detail.
*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*
Ana Leamaro – :
This is another great book from this author. I’m still deciding if this has become my favorite. Strong and “they know what they want” characters. I really love this book, it kept me awake until I finish it, which is something it hasn’t happened for a long time. So 5 of the brightest stars for this one. You will not regret it.
KJ – :
Hotel Queens – Lee Winter
Amelia Duxton, the CEO of the European division of Hotel Duxton, is logical, precise, orderly, completely honest to the point of being blunt, and not known at all as a ‘people person’. In fact, she’s intensely private, thanks very much, and sees no need to engage in anything other than efficiency, competency, and data. Irregularities are disturbing.
Kai Fisher, a deal-making, hotel-buying executive with Grand Millennium Hotels, is about to become a rather disturbing irregularity in Amelia’s life. Kai is chaotic, passionate, persuasive, and possesses a set of such finely-tuned social skills that she brings them into play even when a deal isn’t on the table. Reading people is her thing, because once you understand people, you get the deal.
So, what happens when the deal is the prestigious Mayfair Palace hotel? Both Amelia and Kai want the hotel for their respective chains, and yet neither has any inkling of their rivalry.
Lee Winter writes strong women. She writes about strong women who have to dodge, weave, or deliberately stomp all over societal expectations to move forward in their careers. She writes about strong women who have to blend, and pretend. Lee Winter writes queens. And in Hotel Queens, we are blessed with two; fire and ice.
Speaking as someone who has never written a queen-like character—icy or otherwise—I have absolutely no authority to discuss one at all, let alone two. But I do know this… an elemental queen should have more than one layer. She must be multi-dimensional, otherwise her element (ice/fire) is her entire person, when all it’s supposed to be is her mask.
As with all characters (and in real-life, if we’re going to get properly psychological), mask-wearing is about protection. Amelia’s mask is her barrier against family expectations, and a moat between public and private relationships. A wall. Kai’s mask is bold and persuasive and fluid, like those shimmery, oblique images that change depending on which angle you view it from. It prevents others from probing too closely for the truth.
In Hotel Queens, we are presented with two characters who are at odds. We know that they are destined to connect romantically (it says so in the blurb) but for most of the book, Amelia and Kai connect poorly or simply don’t connect at all. Yet, they seem to be a reflection of each other. Like a really pissed off yin-yang symbol, where fire and ice equals steam. But this is where Lee Winter’s assemblage of very specific plot points turns this story into a journey, rather than a states of matter science experiment.
Fiction is a wonderful medium for ripping off masks. A delicious amount of self-examination needs to occur for the character to understand their person, their space, their connection, and then to allow another person to witness it.
Amelia and Kai are top executives in their respective companies. They’re on top of things, being all executive-y, yet Lee Winter likes to take us on twisty journeys, and she forces the main characters to confront the hard truth that what protects them might ultimately hinder their ability to see the secrets that emerge.
Ah, secrets. Another element of the human psyche in fiction. Lee Winter does human psyche well. In Hotel Queens, secrets emerge, and they’re credible secrets. They make sense. The magnitude of the threads that start to unravel match the importance of the Mayfair Palace deal. It would have been a travesty if Kai and Amelia’s common goal was picked apart and blocked by an issue that could be solved in a paragraph. But the secrets that are revealed are weighty, important, lifetime dramas that impact on their decisions. It’s really good. Well-researched, meaty stuff. I loved it.
And! Along with all the other awesomeness, Lee Winter mentions, just ONCE, the theatre of Kabuki. I wanted to leap on a plane and fly to Lee’s magical author island and hug her. So, Kabuki theatre, just like a novel with a really meaty, well-researched, secret-revealing plot (see my reviewer-gushing bit above), is a Japanese performance style where what is on show is often only part of an entire story. Kabuki is about showmanship. It’s about wearing a mask to hide secrets until the secrets become too large to hide. This! Masks flying off everywhere in Hotel Queens. Not just off the characters, but off family histories, and toxic relationships, and business praxis, and…this is what Lee Winter does. She writes PLOTS.
Then, to set the entire story in Las Vegas, a city which has been an unintentional monument to Kabuki theatre since its inception, is wonderful.
There are some fabulously funny lines and moments in this novel. The lines are more Amelia’s and the moments are more Kai’s, and this matches their cerebral / exuberant physicality contrast.
Amelia’s —‘…people were less likely to create legal problems when you gave them a fair hearing before pointing out they were a waste of skin and oxygen.’
Kai’s—‘…Goddamnit! She hurled her coffee cup away. Adrenalin spiked her throw, and the cup slammed into the back of the cyclist, who’d just braked hard for a wayward pedestrian. Brown liquid spattered up his ass, legs, and bicycle. Kai blinked.’
I’ve deliberately chosen examples from the first 42 pages of the novel because they were published early on the Ylva website (the teasers!) and I don’t want to spoil any more of the book.
I enjoyed this book immensely. The secret-revealing is a drip-feed of intrigue, allowing us to process and apply the revelation to our developing understanding of the characters. Then we are given a picnic basket of information and then we have to herd metaphorical kittens of revelations along with Amelia and Kai. It’s a ride.
Hotel Queens. A lot more goes on behind the front door.
AuAddicted (verified owner) – :
I was up half the night reading Hotel Queens, and finished tired and satisfied. Rare for me, I didn’t even guess the plot twist. Lee Winter delivered as my favourite author of the genre, I can always find something to resonate with in the characters, who have all the insecurities and baggage of the real world.
Word Saviour (verified owner) – :
I just finished reading “Hotel Queens” a book I was eager to read for months now and yesterday it was finally released.
Once I’ve seen that gorgeous book-cover I was drawn into a story of which I’ve only known a few plot points.
Now that I’ve read it, I want to gush about it till every owl on this planet has shown their knees (you’ll understand that line if you read the book 🙂 )
I won’t go into story details, because I’m afraid I can’t restrain myself and spoil it for readers who are interested in picking up this novel and picking it up you should definitely do!
You’ll meet one of the most interesting, intelligent, witty and loveable MCs. The character development is perfection transformed to believable, three-dimensional human beings on paper you actually want to meet in real life (and maybe crush a little on them)
# Amelia’s eyes narrowed. She did not “suck” at anything. Well, all right, people skills, perhaps, but nothing important.
# Amelia took a moment to examine the view. She stared down at the garish mess of blinking marquees and neon signs, feeling her life force draining from her body.
Look at me! the lights shouted. Must I? she wanted to shout back.
# Closure felt a lot like peace— twined with regret and relief.
# “You’re a chameleon.”
“I prefer ‘covert fulfiller of unspoken needs.’ ”
# One thing I’ve learned as The Closer is how often people see what they want to see. We project onto others our own feelings and thoughts.
# Life’s meant to be lived, loved, swallowed whole.
Lee Winter is an author who puts a great deal of work into details – and I love this about her books.
As an example go and google the meaning of the names she gave her leading ladies 😉
Her romance novels are also never “only” about the romance aspect, she always puts a layer of social criticism on it without being moralizing and that’s an art in itself.
I learned a lot about the hotel business, marketing strategies, negotiation skills and what working for a big hotel chain could look like and the beauty in that is, it’s well-researched information you’ll get on the fly.
So if you want to know how Amelia and Kai get from strangers to lust-interests to enemies to lovers you’ll have to read their adventurous story – also if you’ve ever wondered:
# Do fish know they’re in a tank? And if they don’t know, how does anyone? I mean what if WE’RE in a tank? And don’t just say we aren’t, because how would you know-know? We could be
Betty Harmon – :
Lee Winter has done it again. With her latest novel, Hotel Queens, she has created a story worthy of this award winning author.
This is a novel that will grab you on the first page and won’t let you go until the last. It is a tale of intrigue in the corporate world of luxury hotels. It is also a story of lust, love, and betrayal with two stunning main characters. The best way to describe Kai and Amelia is with the words fire and ice. Amelia Duxton is the perfect ice queen with Kai Fisher as her fiery counterpart. They are opposites who are totally attracted to each other even as they are working against each other to clinch a massive deal for their separate companies.
The plot of this story is complex and weaves itself into the romance between the two main characters. The intrigue is well-written and keeps the reader totally interested. There is no lag in this book. In fact, there were many times I found myself commenting, “I didn’t see that coming.”
This is an enemies- to-lovers, opposites attract romance, and it fits perfectly into the corporate intrigue of the plot. The chemistry between these two is scorching and worthy of two such strong characters.
I absolutely loved this novel. It is definitely one of my favorite books of 2020. It has my highest recommendation.
I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.
Patricia Iserman – :
Lia and Kai are engaging ,intelligent and quick witted women.They both love their jobs ,and are ambitious /obsessed with advancing their careers.Lucky for each of them,they have amazing assistants who carefully steer them in the right direction.
This is a wonderful book,full of twists and turns.Well worth your time and money.
dragonquillca – :
In this enemies-to-lovers tale, the author introduces us to the cut-throat world of hotel management and acquisition. Two rivals meet in a bar…sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, doesn’t it? But this is a tale that will always keep the reader guessing. Will they figure out who the other woman is? Will they figure out the mystery of the swarthy man and why things seem to be going sideways? Will they ever get a good drink? Will they combust with the attraction that slowly builds between them?
And what a pair they are! Fire really does meet ice in this book. Both the main characters are savvy, intense, driven and competitive. Highly intelligent and with a butt-ton of baggage between them, Kai and Amelia are admirable pillars of business. In fact, they’re so well written that I found myself adding them to my list ‘Fictional Characters I’d Like To Have Dinner With’. Dinner conversation would be fascinating, I think! They each had their secrets as well, with complicated backgrounds that made them each more compelling.
But let us not ignore their seconds, Quinn and Milly. They too shared fierce attraction, and I’d love to see their story continued at some point in the future. They each had an interesting history and a lot of future potential. I can’t go too much more into them without giving anything away.
There is a clock ticking away in the background of this story, and it gives the whole plot a sense of urgency that keeps one reading just as much as the secrets and sparks!
This is perhaps one of Lee Winter’s best books, definitely top-of-the-list worthy. It is smart, sexy, tense and urgent while being extremely well written and satisfying. Absolutely a MUST READ!
pharridge – :
I have to say that Lee Winter is one of my favourite authors. Love her characters and storytelling, especially when the ice Queen has met her match.
Hotel Queens has a strong, interesting and well developed storyline with characters that make you want to both love them and be frustrated by them. What more could you ask!
The fire and ice between Amelia and Kai held me captive and I became vested in their lives and overall happiness. Happily lost a few hours sleep with this book.
I received an arc in exchange for an honest review.
konika (verified owner) – :
WOW! I enjoyed it so much! I just love Lee Winter’s book! Especially, ice queens and enemies to friends love stories! I can’t wait for the audiobook, even better if the narrator is Brittni Pope (who has the sexiest voice Ever) or Angela Dawe!