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dragonquillca – :
I thought the book that preceded this one was great, and its follow up is even better!
We’re taken along for the ride as Lauren and Catherine investigate an intriguing mystery that will affect thousands of people in Iowa, and millions more with a ripple effect.
All while planning their wedding.
Lee’s development of secondary characters we met in The Red Files continues here, and by the time I was done the book, I wanted Joshua as my new gay best friend. We get a better look at his boyfriend Tad, too. And by the end of this book, he was just as real to me as Josh. We also see the relationship between Catherine and Lauren evolve and grow but in a real way. Right down to their argument the day before they get married.
Lee has also made Lauren’s hometown, and especially the house and her Dreaming Tree, so vivid that the two places were practically characters in themselves. And how can I not discuss MeeMaw. That woman is an opinionated, blunt and warm powerhouse I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of!
I hope there is another Catherine and Lauren tale because I’d love to see them match wits again. They’re intelligent, funny, sarcastic, loving forces to be reckoned with. And if I could have coffee with them, I’d be there with bells on!
qhabib (verified owner) – :
Lee has managed to create a wonderful followup to her first novel with these two leads. She has managed to work with a relationship in progress (not an easy feat) and making us fall in love with them even more. Adding all the secondary characters and letting us get under Catherine’s skin was an added bonus and certainly not something I expected going into this novel.
A funny, intelligent, witty, heartfelt and smart novel.
I do feel cheated on Elena’s wedding though. Perhaps we can get a novella or a followup story on the ice queen of fashion and her warm, fashionably challended and extremely down to earth ex personal assistant?
MaryD – :
I just loved this book. Loved EVERYTHING about it. The storyline, the characters, the plot. EVERYTHING. I’m a huge fan of Lee’s writing style. It flows well, the dialogue is believable. The character’s voices are unique and the secondary characters were interesting and multi-layered. This is a great follow up novel to The Red Files and, in my opinion, is better than the first novel. Having said that, The Red Files was an exceptional novel so the bar was set very high (in my eyes).
Should you pick this book up? Absolutely. You won’t want to put it down and it’s a definite page turner. Lee Winter has written an OUTSTANDING novel. Do you need to read The Red Files before diving into this novel? You don’t have to because Lee does a great job of bringing the reader up to speed pretty quickly but I would recommend that you pick up The Red Files because it’s a great novel and you will be introduced to the characters and see their growth.
Bugs – :
Finally, we get to take another ride, thanks to Lee Winter, with our beloved ice-queen-turned-romantic Catherine and the love of her life, Lauren, in this sequel to “The Red Files,” as they turned the page from their current relationship status to…Do I hear church bells?! Yup, the big M plunge! More interestingly, their I-Do’s would take place in Lauren’s hometown in Iowa..(gulp!) And yes, you’ve guessed it. Chaos, troubles, drama ensued….what with Catherine meeting Lauren’s huge so-called “hick” family with FOUR younger but big-sized brothers and one larger-than-life Meemaw (Wait ’til you read all about her and Catherine! YUP!), one would think that should be plenty, right? Nah, we’re talking about Winter, here. Twisty turn of events emerged just when both lovebirds thought planning their big day and meeting family were enough drama and intrigue! So buckle up, readers!
Of course, planning a wedding wasn’t the only thing that Catherine and Lauren got themselves into whilst in Iowa. There was this curious case that piqued their interest. A new technology being pushed by an Iowan politician. A microchip. A tiny device inserted under the skin. Hence, the title of this book, I reckon (although the title yielded other meanings for me apart from the obvious as the story unfolded in several fronts).
Believe it or not, this microchip innovation IS a reality right now. Google “microchip under skin” and you’ll find out just how Orwellian we’re moving towards now!!! Crikey! Imagine when it’s finally being utilised globally. It’s not gonna be long now. Data scooping, data mining are already a common practice today. The latest way of data gathering? Facial recognition. Fingerprints are already mined in a massive scale. Without any resistance because – these so-called new tech marvel have been marketed as convenience, access, security, entertainment (social media, apps, devices). Nobody cares that individual privacy has been violated via indirect consent.
Back to the microchip, it can also be used for pre-emptive strike purposes – could be for good. But then, the good always comes with the bad, innit? Remember “Minority Report?” I’ll just leave it at that. So, what’s the harm of being injected a teensy-weensy little microchip if it means easier access, time-saving, cost-saving convenience, right? It will definitely be dubbed “COOL!” because hey, one little wave of your hand, you get access! Futuristically cool, right? There you go. George Orwell would be shocked and that’s saying something because virtually everything he mentioned and included in his prophetic novel, “1984” has come to fruition as we speak. And we’re not stopping. We’re beyond “1984” now.
And, as if that’s not “dystopian” enough, Winter also included ROBOTS! Yup, food delivery robots, to be precise! Hullo, “I Robot”! Hey, “The X-Files”! “Person of Interest,” you were right all along! Artificial intelligence. Singularity.
*OOPS!! Sorry! I’ve gone off the rails there because Winter’s plot device has obviously unleashed the fury in me!! Pardon me! Anyway, moving on….
Back to my favourite caustic tongue, aloof, devilishly gorgeous ice-queen Catherine. Ahhh…I simply ❤ her!! Ever since she graced the 1st book, spewing sarcastic remarks at poor Lauren to no end! 🤣 I was extremely pleased to find that in this sequel, Winter delved into Catherine’s character at a deeper level – her dilemma, struggles, secrets (that inevitably came to light as she and Lauren began snooping around the case involving the mysterious push for the microchip), her past catching up to her, so to speak.
I loved Winter’s depiction of Catherine’s vulnerability in the face of adversity. It was written with such poise, structured in such a way that I was on the same wavelength as Catherine’s at every stage of her mindset as events surrounding her evolved – personally and professionally. I could feel just how difficult of a time she was having, trying hard to stay above it, putting on a brave face for Lauren and their impending wedding, which had its own set of drama – obviously! Isn’t every wedding planning awash with drama and dysfunction, eh? Well, Catherine and Lauren didn’t escape that cliché, unfortunately! Of course, hilarity ensued as these two ill-prepared lovebirds tried to get it done with as little hassle as possible. But, who were they kidding, right? 😜
Did I mention that I LOVE THE BOOK COVER? Well, I do, especially because it’s so meaningful! (not many lesfic book covers have that effect, see.) Oh, the lovely tree! You’ll know its significance when you read the book. I thought it was delightfully symbolic, utterly romantic, sweetly idyllic and oh-so endearing! 😍 Ahhh.. those utterly sensuous silhouettes…..❤👩❤️💋👩👩❤️👩
One of me favourite moments of the book was the spirited interaction between Catherine and Meemaw. They were like two cats – defiant, distrusting, frightfully obstinate at first but gradually receding their claws as they familiarised wih each other in time, eventually arriving at the heart of the truth. Great chemistry, loaded verbal exchanges yet deeply heartfelt between these two strong forces. And oh, Miss Chesterfiled and Catherine….!! 😃 Absolutely divine! 😄
As out of place as Catherine was amongst Lauren’s family and the town itself, whether she felt it or vice versa, it was very interesting to see how she coped and attempted to adapt to an environment that was totally foreign to her. But her determination to bond with Lauren’s family regardless of how she felt was truly heartwarming yet heartbreaking at times. I could feel just how in love and committed she was with Lauren, regardless, and would literally do anything to make her wife-to-be happy. *sigh* 😍
Winter’s terrific ability to tap into Catherine’s psyche and emotional roller coaster at different stages of her mindset (battling her inner conflict of staying emotionally aloof and detached as a defence mechanism but inevitably showing her true warm, sensible, sensitive side as her walls began to crumble), was simply remarkable to experience! I ❤ Catherine even more as additional layers were peeled off of her hard shell! 😍
Also, Catherine and Lauren’s ever-deepening love and commitment for each other was tested this time, with some hard-to-break emotional habits, making their relationship ever so realistic, poignant and utterly compelling to read! Aaarghh…they truly are one of me favourite lesfic couples, thanks to Winter! 👍
Anyway, the intensity of the case that Catherine and Lauren were working on that intertwined with some truly unexpected elements, the drama involving Lauren’s family and Catherine, Lauren and Catherine’s own issues, plus their wedding plans, were so well-paced and structured throughout the story, I was literally out of breath after all were said and done. Phew! What a rush, indeed!
Despite the acuteness of everything that was going on, there were some glorious humour that was simply hilarious. Bagpipes, anyone? 🤣 And let’s not forget the always deliciously sensual and sexy chemistry that oozed out of Catherine and Lauren whenever they were alone…😍😍😍
And, then, the wedding vows….BLIMEY!! Winter really knows how to tug at our hearts with such incredibly impassioned words, doesn’t she! Devastatingly romantic, emotionally stirring, and oh-so moving!! 😭😍 Ohhhh…Catherine!!! ❤😍😘
Side note: I was pleasantly surprised about that little shout out to me other favourite ice queen, Elena!! Oooo…sneaky, Winter! 😉 Now I know they’re from the same universe! Wicked!! 🙌 **You can read me commentary on yet another must-read “The Brutal Truth” here
All in all, this was a fan-bloody-tastic, utterly satisfying & thrilling ride of a book! READ IT!! And if you’ve read the 1st installment, “The Red Files,” you definitely MUST read this! But if you haven’t…..WHY THE BLOODY HELL NOT?!? 😱 (You can read my commentary on “The Red Files” here)
Speaking of “The Red Files,” after having read the sequel makes me wanna go back to re-read the genesis of Catherine and Lauren’s romantic journey toward everlasting love and then re-read how they reached their marital bliss, back-to-back! See! 👍😍
Karola Meyer – :
What a great read that was. Lee Winter writes and describes things and places like you think you know that place, gives you a feeling of real. Catherine and Lauren are like fire and ice, but undoubtedly meant for each other. The way their minds work together, how they develop a story is brilliant. How the other characters are mentioned in the story and how they come along with Catherine is another great way of Winters writing.
This book is a really great sequel to „The Red Files“.
stephasselin – :
Once again Lee Winter strikes hard with this amazing novel. If you are as passionate as I am and couldn’t drop the first book, then I can guarantee you will not be able to drop this one either. Under Your Skin is the sequel to The Red Files.
This book is my favorite in between the both I’ve read mostly because of Catherine character’s evolution. She is the one who grew the most in between the two books and it is astonishing to read her putting her heart out on the line for Lauren’s benefits. It is also refreshing to read how their story unfolds and being able to read the extent of their powerful love through the pages of the novel. Bonus point: their vows. Every part of the book is worth reading but the wedding itself couldn’t be more beautiful than it is.
Lee Winter has a way with words and the subject she navigates with in the series is something to convince anyone to read it. Both books are a sweet mix of a love story, mixed with intricate and detailed treason made by the states against its people in the identity theft battle.
I suggest you read The Red Files before starting this one, since most characters present on the first one are back again on the second one. I would suggest this story to anyone looking for something refreshing with an intricate storyline.
For the full review, head over to https://rainbowmoosesreviews.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/under-your-skin-by-lee-winter/
pharridge – :
The Red Files and Flashbang introduced us to the great characters of Lauren King and Catherine Ayers. I loved this follow up story and finding out what these two are up to! Now planning their Iowa wedding, they manage to get caught up in a linked investigation between a stolen robot and a military microchipping scheme for veterans.
Washington DC bureau chief Caustic Queen Catherine Ayers and small town Iowa now more experienced journalist Lauren King have survived previous obtacles and take their families, the military / FBI and to some extent themselves in a page turner of a book. Family politics, secret agenda’s, a wedding, protective brothers, a haughty cat named Miss Chesterfield and an investigation – what could possibly go wrong?
I really enjoy Lee Winter’s writing style and the interesting, intelligent, funny and somewhat scheming characters she incorporates into her stories. I highly recommend not just this book but the other two stories that Lauren and Catherine are in.
I received an arc in exhange for an honest review.
Betty Harmon – :
This is the perfect sequel to The Red Files. In this book we get to revisit all of our beloved characters, from our favorite Ice Queen, Catherine, to her loving partner, Lauren and some of the most memorable secondary characters I’ve read this year. I loved MeeMaw! I’ve met MeeMaw in real life, so I know there are MeeMaws out there just like Lee wrote. Ms. Winter is brilliant at creating and fleshing out her characters. They become real people that I’d love to sit and eat with. Lee has created a story that is intriguing, captivating, enjoyable and fun to read. You could read this book as a stand-alone, but you’d get more enjoyment out of it if you read The Red Files first — and I encourage you to get both.
Velvet Lounger – :
A great follow up to “The Red Files” where we met Lauren and Catherine as the bickering reporters stuck in the gossip and entertainment section – rivals who fell in love over a hot story. Now an established in DC Catherine has returned to her cutting stories of political intrigue while Lauren struggles to find some meaning in the local interest pieces she is writing. Off to Iowa to plan their wedding when a world changing story drops into their laps and brings all Catherine’s issues with her family crashing into their lives.
Another witty, intelligent and clever book, well balanced between the deepening romance and understanding of our main characters, the exploration of family, and the investigation of another corporate/government wrongdoing involving corruption, greed and threats to individual freedoms.
Lee Winter is an excellent writer, using the smallest of side stories to great effect. The bagpiped Amazing Grace and Star Wars Imperial March is a classic example of how a great storyteller can drop something completely unexpected into a scene and not only make you chuckle while you read but smile about it for a long time after you finish. Thoroughly enjoyed this one and hope there will be another in the series. Wonderful reading.
Word Saviour – :
I don’t like sequels. They dissapoint most of the time, you have high hopes and expectations in the story (because you really loved the first one, otherwise you won’t be reading the sequel) and then your anticipation gets shattered by an “eh” storyline and pale characters who seem tired and lost –
NOT SO in “Under Your Skin” this is the perfect continuation of “The Red Files” !!!
You will immediately fall in love with Iowa, you will want to plant trees -anywhere possible – ’cause youn want/need to have a “dreamplace” of your own, you will be questioning (even being a huge nerd…) the rise and importance of computer technology (maybe even get a little paranoid in using your smarthone…) you will constantly compare your parents to the ones presented in the story (there might be an uncomfortable phone call afterwards…) you will dive in, in layers over layers of emotions and personal growth presented to you mainly by Catherine and everytime you think “so that’s it” believe me, there will be another twist another revelation – but most of all there will be fun and a real good time.
So go, get a copy and enjoy it!
P.S.: am I the only one showing empathy towards Michelle. This character is very intriguing and somehow I want to read more about her….just sayin’…