Her Hopes and Dreams (by Terri Osburn)


Contemporary Romance

Carrie survived a relationship with a violent and abusive husband. She lives a simple life in a single-wide trailer on a small parcel of land she was able to buy. She has her job working for a local construction company, a few close friends and her daughter. She doesn’t need or want anything more.

Noah survived the violence of war. His wounds are in his mind. In his memories of war. He suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, struggles with crowds and sleep. He has moved into the ramshackle farmhouse next to Carrie’s single-wide wishing for nothing more than to live the life of a hermit.

But somehow, despite their issues, despite all the reasons a it’s a bad idea, they take the first tentative steps towards a relationship. But it’s a long way from a sure bet.


Terri Osburn writes some of the best contemporary romance around. Her stories are light and whimsical, not particularly challenging but entertaining from start to finish. Once you pick up one of her books it really is hard to put it down all the way to the very last page. And this book is no exception.

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Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Officer Elvis (by Gary Gusick)

Crime Fiction

When she accepted a job with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation Darla thought that would be the last she ever saw of Tommy Reylander.  But when a car bomb takes out Reylander’s pink cadillac with him inside, she finds herself back in Jackson, looking for his killer and hopefully bringing him to justice.

As she investigates she discovers other Elvis impersonators have met untimely ends and she is forced to consider that they may have a serial killer on their hands.


These aren’t chiseled in stone but I have a few rules I tend to follow when I pick up a book.

  1. I don’t often read male authors.
  2. I don’t like it when authors write about cultures other than their own.
  3. I avoid true crime, thrillers and other books with strong violence.

Well, Gary Gusick has well and truly sent that list down in flames.  I love this book. Darla Cavannah joins my favorite heroines and Gary Gusick joins my favorite authors.  He writes books that are occasionally gutsy.  His first book was about a woman’s health clinic in Mississippi that provided abortions.  His third book which I will review next week is about the lynching of a young African American woman. So he’s an author who bravely goes places that are guaranteed to get half of any audience he has storming out in anger.

But setting all that aside his books are in the end well crafted and entertaining crime fiction and I’m completely addicted.

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Grin & Beard It (by Penny Reid)

In the world of Contemporary Romance there is a lot of chaff. In musical terms 90% of it is bad 1980s karaoke. It’s your boss up there on stage belting out bad renditions of Air Supply and REO Speedwagon love songs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the 1980s and yeah I’ll sing along even to the schmaltziest love song. I’ll admit it –– I know all the words to Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield and I even sang the damned song to a girl I was keen on in Art Class. But It didn’t work! I didn’t get the girl! And rightly so because my voice is deplorable.

But that isn’t Penny Reid. In a genre dominated by hack renditions of Billy Joel and Chris de Burgh, Penny Reid is Lykke Li.

She’s Imelda May.

She’s the Avett Brothers.

5 Stars.

Unraveled (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Ever since taking over as boss of Ashland’s underworld Gin has had every two bit hood gunning for her, now to top it all off she has learned that an insidious criminal organisation has been manipulating her from the shadows. She really needs a holiday so when her brother Finn inherits a wild-west theme park and hotel she joins him as he travels south to scope out the joint and hopefully catch some long overdue R&R.

But all is not as it seems and they quickly realise that the whole inheritance was a sham to get Gin and her friends down to the park where they can be taken care of.


Unraveled is great fun. Jennifer Estep fills her pages with brash, almost cartoonish heroes and villains. They are larger than life and occasionally over the top….but they’re always good fun.

It’s not perfect, she gets some technical details wrong (e.g. when the last shot of an automatic pistol is fired, the breech locks open, and yet we get the “click, click, click” you expect in a 1950s matinee). But in some ways, those little foibles make her books better. It’s like she just wants to pound out the stories, entertain her readers and couldn’t be bothered with the small things.

And after 15 books it still works. I keep waiting for the series to lose it’s appeal but here I am eagerly awaiting book 16.


Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC

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

In the Barren Ground (by Loreth Anne White)

Romantic Suspense 

After her lover committed suicide, Tana fell into a deep dark depression during which she found comfort in the beds of random strangers. Finding herself pregnant to a married superior and unwilling to get an abortion she accepts a transfer to Twin Rivers, a remote town in the Barrens close to the Arctic Circle. As the only police presence in a town that’s often cut off from the outside world she finds herself isolated and untrusted.

When two biologists are killed, everyone is convinced it’s a tragic animal attack, everyone except her. She immediately notices that things aren’t quite right and begins to investigate. And as she pulls at the threads and tries to unravel the mystery a serial killer has decided that Tana needs to be dealt with before she gets too close to the truth.


Writing good romantic suspense is not easy. Even the best writers of the genre often dip into clichés and caricatures. But thankfully, not so here. The story isn’t particularly original, but it’s written with a deft hand, the characters are interesting and the location pushes in on all sides with an almost palpable atmosphere making what could easily be average into something great.

It feels a lot like the best from Linda Howard and Karen Rose but dare I say it, this is a little better.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

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The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl (by Kate McKinley)

Historical Romance

Miss Gwendolyn Wilbraham is far more skilled at needlework than she is at kidnapping. But when her best friend begs her to distract the new Earl of Hastings, she reluctantly agrees. Regrettably, the earl is just as clever as he is handsome and before long, he is free of his restraints and not at all pleased…

As one of London’s most notorious rogues, Matthias Hart often finds himself in curious situations. Though he has never woken up drugged, bound, and hidden away in a remote Scottish cottage. Normally, he would welcome such a diversion, but his beautiful captor is young, witty and all-too-innocent. When he finally frees himself, all he wants is revenge and her complete surrender…


The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl is Book Three in the series. There is a back story and I don’t know it. But it’s not a problem, the book is in many ways stronger because you’re just thrown straight into the story without too much explanation. It’s a regency romp and fans of the romping will be happy. There is quite a lot of it (maybe not the best choice for the Christian Women’s Association Book of the Month).

So, The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl doesn’t have all that much in common with a BBC production of Pride & Prejudice, it’s a lot more fun than that.

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Position in Series: Book 3

1 –– How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days
2 –– So I Married a Highlander
3 –– The Care and Feeding of Your Captive Earl

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Many thanks to Kate McKinley for providing me with a review copy of this book. 

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

Blood of the Earth (by Faith Hunter)

Urban Fantasy

As a child growing up in a polygamous cult, Nell escaped the constrictions of cult life and marriage to the evil cult leader by agreeing to become the second wife of John Ingram. After his first wife died and then later he died, she found herself alone on a parcel of land that borders the land owned by the church.

She has lived on her own, with shotguns at every window always fearing the day the men from the church came for her. But she has more than just shotguns. It’s her land, through the earth and the trees she knows every inch of it. She controls who comes and goes and with just a drop of blood, she even has the power of life and death.

Now after many years things are changing. Some young women, town people have been kidnapped and PsyLED and the FBI are nosing around. They enlist her help to infiltrate the church and what she discovers is a creature so evil even the experts from PsyLED don’t know how to handle it.


Blood of the Earth is incredible. Nell Ingram is a heroine you’ll instantly love. The book is set in the world of Jane Yellowrock with a few crossover characters, though thankfully only a few. Nell’s world, her gifts, her background, her land –– there is so much fertile ground for great stories and I want more of it. If I’m totally honest, the part of it I find least interesting is the PsyLED aspect.

Book 2, Curse of the Land is coming out November 2016

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