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.

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

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

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Where the Wild Things Bite (by Molly Harper)

Paranormal Romance

Delivering a rare book to a valued customer is definitely part of mild-mannered archivist Anna Winthrop’s job description. You know what isn’t? Protecting her precious cargo from mid-flight theft by the very pilot who is flying her to Half-Moon Hollow…while trying to appear as unappetizing as possible to the only other passenger, a vampire. Undead bookstore owner Jane Jameson could be waiting a very long time for her book. Possibly forever.

Fortunately, Anna’s dashing fanged companion Finn Palmeroy helps her fend off the attack, but not before their plane crash lands in the forest hundreds of miles from civilization. Great, now she’s stranded with a priceless tome and a rakish vampire whose bedtime is fast approaching. Why does everyone want this book so badly, anyway? Anna just wants to get it to Jane before Finn decides to turn her into dinner –– or sweep her off her feet. Okay, the second option is really tempting. But they’re not out of the woods yet…


There are some very real challenges in writing a much loved series like this one.  As the series progresses more characters are added and the author needs to write their stories and still somehow find time to give fan service to the older characters.  Characters and stories need to evolve but good luck getting that past the diehard fans without blood being spilled.

For the most part Where the Wild Things Bite delivers.  All the old characters we love and get their moment in the sun…errr….moon without in anyway detracting from the story which belongs to Anna and Finn.

If I have a criticism it’s that the first act where Anna and Finn find themselves going all Bear Grylls in the wilderness took up too much of the book.  The last third however was superb and more than made up for it.

Position in Series: Book 5

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1 –– The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
2 –– A Witch’s Handbook of Kisses and Curses
3 –– The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire
4 –– The Single Undead Mom’s Club
5 –– Where the Wild Things Bite

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

Many thanks to Pocket Books and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC.

 

 

Boundary Born (by Melissa F. Olson)

Urban Fantasy

Something wicked is at work in Colorado’s supernatural community. Vampires are being paralyzed or killed with poison…a weapon favored by witches. This offense threatens to break apart the already-fractured alliance between witches and the undead.

The state’s cardinal vampire, Maven, summons boundary witch Allison “Lex” Luther to stop the killing before it ignites a war. Lex has barely started investigating when she gets another surprise: the biological father she’s never met arrives on her doorstep. He has answers to all of Lex’s questions about her bloodline, but getting those answers could mean betraying the life she’s already built.

Then the next vampire is poisoned—and this time it’s Maven herself. The new evil that hunts Lex is powerful and ruthless enough to stop the strongest supernatural creature in the state. In order to find such a killer, Lex will have to face down her own birthright and call on every ally—both living and dead.


With Boundary Born Melissa F. Olson has done something quite remarkable. She’s given to me a book I just can’t fault. It’s perfect in every way.  I keep expecting the wheels to fall off and this series keep surprising me.

Now I’m thinking I need to go back and give her Scarlett Bernard series a second chance.  I read book one, wasn’t impressed and walked away, but now I’m wondering how much I’m missing out on.

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Position in Series: Book 3

1 –– Boundary Crossed
2 –– Boundary Lines
3 –– Boundary Born

 

 

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

 

Thirty-Six and a Half Motives (by Denise Grover Swank)

Mystery / Suspense

Rose Gardner should be celebrating the arrest of her fiercest enemy, J.R. Simmons. But problems are like weeds—pluck one and five more spring up. Rose’s boyfriend is on the verge of leaving her for good, her best friend, Neely Kate, is grappling with marriage problems, and her sister has a devastating secret. To make matters worse, she discovers J.R. Simmons has not been neutralized. His network of allies and henchman extends further than she suspected, and J.R.’s so intent on revenge, his lackeys might just destroy Fenton County to get it for him.

But the girl who once spent her days alone and afraid is now a strong, independent woman with a network of her own, including Neely Kate, Skeeter Malcolm—the reigning king of the Fenton County underworld—and other loyal friends on both sides of the law. Racing against time, they must dig up J.R.’s empire by the roots, unmasking his allies and unearthing his secrets, both the behind-the-scenes manipulation he’s been orchestrating in Fenton County for decades and the dark stains of his personal life.

If Rose succeeds, she tells herself the quiet and peaceful life she once dreamed of will be at the end of the tunnel. But her quest to destroy J.R. will require her to explore the person she has become.


Thirty-Six and a Half Motives is book nine of the Rose Gardner Mystery series and in some ways it’s also the last book. What started out as very cute and fluffy has progressively gotten darker over the series until this final confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

As a series it’s great. It’s not like so many other mystery series’ which are basically the same book with a different cover and title –– the Rose Gardner series develops and evolves right along with the reader and that’s really what sets it apart. Denise Grover Swank might be one more Southern Woman writing about a female sleuth but there is no forgetting her, she shines a little brighter, stands a little taller. When I’m looking for a book to read hers is one of the names I type into a search engine in the hope that she has something new.

Position in Series: Book 9

roseg1 –– Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes
2 –– Twenty-Nine and a Half Reasons
3 –– Thirty and a Half Excuses
4 –– Thirty-One and a Half Regrets
5 –– Thirty-Two and a Half Complications
6 –– Thirty-Three and a Half Shenanigans
7 –– Thirty-Four and a Half Predicaments
8 –– Thirty-Five and a Half Conspiracies
9 –– Thirty-Six and a Half Motives

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

My One and Only (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

As far as Dr. Haleigh Rae Mitchner is concerned, Cooper Ridgeway is more suited to a superhero cape than mechanic’s overalls. It’s just like Ardent Springs’s most upstanding resident to rescue a pregnant, homeless teenager and bring her to Haleigh’s delivery room. When they team up to help the new mother and baby, Haleigh is determined not to cross the line with Cooper. Not only is he her best friend’s brother, he’s a guy who deserves more than Haleigh’s checkered past could ever offer.

At first glance, Haleigh is no longer the girl Cooper pined for in school. The sleek, professional OB-GYN seems more out of reach than ever for this small-town mechanic. But the more time he spends with the complicated woman, the more he wants her. Who better than Cooper to prove to her that nothing is beyond fixing? Especially in Ardent Springs, a town that’s tailor-made for second chances.


Contemporary Romance is pretty damned conservative. The protagonists nearly always follow the rules, make the right decisions. They never cheat, they always decide to have the baby, they don’t fall off the wagon and they’re always supportive and protective of their lover. The rules of the genre are all but set in stone and a writer breaks them at her peril.

And that’s why Terri Osburn is one of a handful of CR authors I keep coming back to. Her books are proper contemporary romance but she isn’t afraid to break the rules. When I pick up one of her books I know there will be a surprise or two and I know I’m going to get a few moments that will make me smile for no other reason than their originality.

Terri Osburn has become the benchmark by which I measure all Contemporary Romance.

Position in Series: Book 3 (can be read as a stand-alone)

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 6.43.51 PM1 –– His First and Last
2 –– Our Now and Forever
3 –– My One and Only

 

 

 

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

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