His First and Last (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

The people of Ardent Springs never let Lorelei forget that she was born out of wedlock to a nameless sperm donor on a Spring Break holiday. She was vilified and bullied for her entire young life. So it’s no surprise that as soon as she turned 18 she blew off the town and burned all her bridges on the way out.

Now after being away for more than a decade she has returned, broke and with nothing to show for her time in LA. But the people of Ardent Springs have long memories and they’re not so quick to forgive the things she said when she left.

With her only allies her ex-boyfriend Spencer, the guy who refused to leave with her, and her grandmother, she needs to somehow find a place for herself. Spencer is determined that he will be that place, but with the town all but shunning her she might be forced to leave before he can convince her to stay.


 

I have so much love for Terri Osburn. She really is a great writer. This is fairly typical Contemporary Romance and it hums along without breaking any of the rules of the genre. But it’s just so well written that you hardly notice that you’ve read it all before. Something I sometimes say about poets like E.E. Cummings and Rabbie Burns is their poems feel good in your mouth. They just beg to be spoken, to be read out loud. It’s not something I would have ever expected to say about an author of Contemporary Romance but there you go. She’s a favorite author and this is probably my favorite of her books.

If I have a criticism, it’s only a small thing –– the cover, or more specifically the cover models. The characters in this book are in their early 30s.  I’m just not seeing that on the cover.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 7.25.29 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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The Nothing Girl (by Jodi Taylor)

Adult Fairy Tale

At the age of 13 Jenny’s parents are dead and she’s living with her evil aunt, uncle and cousins. With a stutter and low self-esteem she is a bully target at school and home isn’t any better. Then just as she’s about to end it all a magical horse appears in her room and persuades her to go on.

Thomas becomes her constant companion and her only friend. As the years go by she finds a small niche for herself in the attic with her books and Thomas the horse who nobody but her can see. Then in her late 20s Russell Checkland comes into her life and things are forever changed. She quite accidentally becomes his wife. But life with Russell is anything but easy. He is heartbroken after Jenny’s cousin rejected him and is anything but an attentive spouse. Her aunt and uncle are doing everything to get her to return to them and someone might be trying to do her in.


 

The Nothing Girl is one of the strangest books I’ve read in a while. Honestly, I had no idea what was going on for most of the book but it was quite a wonderful confusion. It felt like the hybrid offspring of Cinderella and The Day of the Triffids with maybe just a touch of Alfred Hitchcock thrown in for good measure.

Also Available…

All the characters from The Nothing Girl return for this very short story (34 pages).  The local vicar would like to borrow Jenny’s donkey for the nativity play, but with intense rivalries between the virgin Mary and the angel Gabrielle things are anything but easy.

This is available from Amazon for 88 cents, but if that seems like a lot for 34 pages, fear not.  You can pick up the audiobook for free at audible.com .

 

 

 

The Husband’s Secret (by Liane Moriarty)

Mystery

In the dusty attic, amongst a pile of tax forms, Cecilia discovers a letter from her husband ‘to be opened in the event of my death’. What is in that letter will change her life forever.


 

That’s all you get from me…

…to be honest, the secret is alluded to quite early in the book and it’s fully revealed before the half-way mark, but this book isn’t about the secret. It’s about the repercussions which are still reverberating decades later.

It’s a cleverly crafted, almost noir book about families, kindergarten, parents and children and yes, a very dark secret that affects the lives of three women.  A great book that I can’t fault.

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Dark Heir (by Faith Hunter)

Urban Fantasy

After a powerful vampire, one of the very first vampires, escapes from the sub-basement where he’s been kept prisoner serious carnage on the streets of New Orleans follows. With the residents up in arms and baying for vampire blood; the council of European vampires threatening war over the imprisonment of one of their own; and traitors working against the Master of New Orleans, it’s left to Jane to hunt down the rogue vampire and do it before seething animosities boil over.


 
Dark Heir is very much a transition book. It deals with a few things which have been bubbling away in the background of the last few books and sets the scene for the next in the Jane Yellowrock series. In that sense, it’s an important book but probably not as good as some of the other books in the series. It was entertaining, especially the climax but the stars of this series are Jane and Beast, and sadly Beast was mostly absent.

Here’s hoping the next in the series has Beast and Jane back to doing what they do best, hunting vampires together.

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Many thanks to Penguin Group and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC. 

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire (by Molly Harper)

Paranormal Romance

When Gigi accepts a job working for the vampire council, her sister Iris is none too happy. But the job pays well and has a killer benefits package. Unfortunately it appears there really is a killer benefits package. Somebody is out to get her and she has to look to her coworkers to find the culprit.

Nik is a very old vampire from Europe who is in Half Moon Hollow to do a job, though he can’t quite remember what the job is. Still it has something to do with Gigi so he makes sure he keeps bumping into her. Can he protect her from the vampire who is hunting her? Can they hunt down the person who paid for the vampire to hunt her, break a curse and live happily ever after? Well…yeah, I mean you know that when you buy the book, but getting there is still great fun.


 

I have a lot of love for these books. They’re just such great fun and this book, book three in the Half Moon Hollow series is the best yet.  Not that the first two weren’t great, they’re definitely worth reading but Molly Harper has managed to hit all the right notes with this one.

So if you want a lighthearted snarky, witty vampire book, this is the book. Molly Harper is the master of snark and wit.

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Vision in Silver (by Anne Bishop)

Fantasy

Vision in Silver is Book 3 in Anne Bishop’s The Others series and is not a stand-alone title.

As the Humans First and Last movement continue to play their dangerous cat and mouse game with the others, little do they realise the hornets nest they are stirring up. For their part, the terra indigene (Earth Natives: vampires, shifters, elementals) in the courtyard are all that stands between the human population of Thaisia and the deadlier creatures of the wild country.

As rebellion foments amongst the humans, Meg and Simon along with the other residents of the courtyard hunt down the leaders of the Humans First and Last movement in the hopes of preventing the extinction of human life in Thaisia.


I loved this book. I think I might have rated it 5 Stars but for the ending which was honestly like a slowly deflating balloon. Great book, but that ending left me unsatisfied and disappointed.

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Worth the Wait (by Jamie Beck)

Contemporary Romance

When Vivi travels with her closest friend Cat to Block Island she’s expecting a relaxing holiday and a chance to catch up with Cat’s brother David, who she has loved since she was thirteen. But almost immediately she learns that David has a girlfriend and he’s brought her along.

She’s determined to salvage her pride and make the most of her time on the island. But it’s not so easy to brush off a decade of love and making matters worse, David is sending her mixed signals.


 
Worth the Wait is great. If I have a criticism it’s only one. I think there is just a little too much going on in the book. The story of Cat and her troubled relationship, as well as Jackson and Hank didn’t quite fit and were a bit of a distraction.

Having said that, I all but abandoned Contemporary Romance a year or two ago –– the genre felt dated and most of the books I was reading felt recycled, but there are a few authors right now who are delivering fresh and exciting stories and bringing me back. Jamie Beck is one of those authors.

Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 5.42.32 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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