Truth or Beard (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

After graduating from college, Jessica returns to her home town of Green Valley, TN to pay off her student loan and save some money before following her dreams and exploring the world.

Duane is anything but subtle. He’s honest to a fault, stand-offish and of the Winston brothers he’s the wall-flower. But he’s always loved Jessica and when she returns he sees his chance, plucks up the courage and makes his intentions known.

Unfortunately, settling down is not for her and it’s all there is for him. They grow to love each other, but with different life-goals, love just isn’t enough.

So…I was listening to an interview with the author and I think I’m going to contradict her here. One of the things I found most interesting about this book was that the typical archetypes of male and female characters were flipped. In this book Jessica was the one who couldn’t commit, the one who was going to leave while Duane was the one who wanted to settle down and have a family.

It isn’t surprising. In a genre that is dominated by books written for the lowest common denominator Penny Reid writes books that demand your attention and honestly make you feel a little smarter. She never plays by the rules and her books are better for it.

I don’t have a problem with those by the numbers romances. Honestly, I enjoy them –– they’re a bit like an apple pie bought from your local supermarket. They taste pretty damned good. But they can’t hold a candle to a homemade apple pie. There’s just no comparing the two.


Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Our Now and Forever (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

After a whirlwind romance, a Vegas wedding and two short months of marriage Snow comes to realise that marriage to Caleb is a package deal which includes his racist and malicious parents. Rather than living with people who think of her as white trash and unworthy of their son, she steals away in the night.

Eighteen months later, her life is anything but easy but she has a business in the small town of Ardent Springs, a group of friends and happiness. Then Caleb who has been searching for her ever since she ran away walks into her shop with the single purpose of taking his wife home.

She knows she can’t return to Baton Rouge and her frosty parents-in-law and she’s just as certain that he will grow bored of Ardent Springs very quickly. But Caleb is determined to win her back and is willing to do whatever it takes.

Contemporary Romance has been a bit of a wasteland for a couple of years. It’s been one rehashed plot after another and I’d all but given up on the genre. Then a friend told me about a new author who was writing great fiction –– this friend isn’t a particular fan of the genre and I thought, ‘if she’s impressed I definitely need to have a look’.

Oh boy.

Terri Osburn is a bright shining light in CR. She’s right on top of the mountain with intelligent well written stories and this one is another solid gold 5 star book. Favorite author. Favorite book. Honestly she could write a menu for her local Chinese Restaurant and I’d buy it. She’s that good.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Fangs for the Memories (by Molly Harper)

Paranormal Romance

After being used and abused by her former lover, Andrea is shy of relationships. The last person on earth she wants to have anything to do with is Dick Cheney who reminds her more than just a little of the asshat who broke her heart.

For his part Dick knows Andrea is skittish and makes every effort to woo her without frightening her. However it remains to be seen if his redneck charm, his whacky t-shirt collection and his 1973 Chevrolet El Camino are enough to win her.

Dick Cheney and Andrea have been supporting characters throughout Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson and Half Moon Hollow series’. Finally after 8 books we get the story that everyone has been waiting for. How Andrea and Dick Cheney became a thing.

Fangs for the Memories is on the shorter side of novellas coming in at just under 90 pages. It has Molly Harper’s trademark snark and wit and is an entertaining though very quick read. With books this short I always look at the price before I recommend them. The Kindle version is available for around $1.40 which in my opinion is a fair price for a novella from an author as classy as Molly Harper. An audiobook version narrated by the truly amazing Amanda Ronconi is also available for a few dollars more.

So no complaints from me. A great little book, a fair price, and I’m tempted to buy the audiobook just because Amanda Ronconi really is that good.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.26.54 PMMany thanks to Pocket Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

Look Both Ways (by Carol J. Perry)

Mystery / Paranormal

After buying an antique bureau, Lee finds herself embroiled in two murders that occurred years apart. Hours after buying the bureau she discovers the antique dealer who sold it to her dead and a priceless pink diamond missing.

It becomes apparent that the killer will do anything to get the diamond but with so many suspects the police don’t know where to look. Lee begins investigating, using her unique witch powers to puzzle out the crime, but the killer remains at large and knows exactly where she lives.


Look Both Ways is a bit of a mixed bag. There were things which were driving me to distraction. Things like the heroine would do something, then she would go home and explain to a friend what she had done in detail. Then she would explain exactly the same thing again to her boyfriend. Take out all those repeated explanations of the same thing and I’m pretty sure this book would be a third shorter.


But then there is the ending. How the killer got his comeuppance was beautiful and creepy and perfect. And everything witchy about this book is superb. In some ways it’s like two different books. The cozy mystery part of it wasn’t great, but the paranormal parts were amazing.

I think the author needs to really forget about the mystery and just focus on the witchery because that’s where her writing moves from mundane to sublime. So, it’s a 3 Star book with some 5 Star moments.

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.26.54 PMMany thanks to Kensington & Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

The Single Undead Moms Club (by Molly Harper)

Paranormal Romance

Shortly after her husband died, Libby was diagnosed with terminal leukaemia. But facing her own death isn’t the worst of it, when she dies her precocious 5 year old son will go to her parents-in-law. Her rigid judgemental dogmatic parents-in-law.

The knowledge that her son’s expressiveness and imagination will be snuffed out and he will be turned into a “man’s man” forces Libby to do something she would never have dreamed of. She puts an ad on Craigslist for a vampire to turn her into one of the undead.

But if she was expecting life as one of the undead to be easy she’s in for a surprise. Not only are her parents-in-law suing for custody, she’s being hunted down by an assassin, fending off the attentions of two very different men and dealing with life errr, death as a new vampire. Not to mention that vampirism is not an excuse to get out of organising the pumpkin patch prizes and regular PTA meetings.

Molly Harper is a talented writer. Her stories are filled with snark and humour, they’re entertaining and honestly she can’t put a foot wrong in my opinion. The Single Undead Moms Club is great from the first to the last page.

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(note: I know that love triangles are triggers for a lot of people, but the triangle in this book is very much under-played and it’s hard to see it causing offence)

Murder at Redwood Cove (by Janet Finsilver)

Cozy Mystery

When the manager of Redwood Cove Bed & Breakfast dies suddenly, Kelly is sent to fill in for him and keep the hotel running. But she quickly comes to realise that all is not as it seems and it’s possible he was murdered. With a little help from a group of elderly amateur sleuths she starts her own investigation, and as she digs she finds herself the target of a desperate criminal.


It’s difficult to review and rate cozy mysteries. They all follow a set of rules and authors break them at their peril. Murder at Redwood Cove is fairly typical in that sense. There is nothing in this book I found particularly surprising –– except the villain. I have to be honest, nine times out of ten, I pick the bad guy very early in the book, but not here. I was completely blind-sided.

So an entertaining cozy mystery which would normally rate 3 stars gets an extra star for keeping me guessing to the end.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for proving me with this ARC.

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Must Love Otters (by Eliza Gordon)

Contemporary Romance

Hollie Porter is stuck in a rut.

Her boyfriend is an EMT who thinks he’s some sort of cross between Patrick Dempsey and George Clooney. She hates her job as a 911 operator listening to the very worst of life. And she has no idea where she wants to be…but it isn’t where she is.

The thing she really loves….is otters.

So when her father gives her a gift certificate to a spa and resort in British Columbia her first thought is she can see otters.

But her boyfriend is anything but pleased with the thought of leaving his beloved Yorkshire Terriers behind.

She hates his Yorkshire Terriers.

After a bad day at work she comes home to find her boyfriend watching real-life medical procedures and finally she snaps. She kicks him to the kerb and after a night of drowning her sorrows decides to make some changes. Her first change is to head north on her own and hopefully see some otters.

The first person she meets on her journey north is Ryan. Concierge at the resort, seaplane pilot and former professional ice-hockey player. Carrying a scruffy beard and a many times broken nose he’s quite the mountain man but his gentle demeanour and friendliness immediately make her feel at home.

And then there’s Roger. A successful businessman who is staying at the resort.

With two very different men vying for her attention the holiday which was an escape from the rut she’s been stuck in has suddenly become very complicated.

I loved this book. I loved Hollie. I loved the otters. I loved the setting. It’s so much fun. At the 50% mark I started thinking I don’t want this to end, and I think I one-clicked book two not long after that. Shooting straight into my favourites.

Top Shelf! Third from the left.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Note:  There is no real violence in this book but there are one or two quite gory descriptions which is why I’ve categorised it as amber rather than yellow.