Snared (by Jennifer Estep)

Urban Fantasy

Gin Blanco has a lot on her hands. She is not only the unpopular boss of Ashland’s criminal underworld but she has discovered there is a rival and perhaps even more insidious organisation called The Circle that is pulling strings from the shadows.

She really doesn’t have time to track down a missing person but when one of her lieutenants calls in a favor she finds herself doing just that. A serial killer is on the loose in Gin’s patch and she’s determined to hunt him down and save his latest victim.


In Snared Jennifer Estep runs with the same tried and true formula that has made her one of the biggest names in Urban Fantasy. This whole series is like buttered popcorn. There isn’t much to it but it’s so much fun that you won’t be able to stop until all that’s left are those few sad unpopped kernels sitting in the bottom of the bucket.

Position in Series: Book 16

screen-shot-2017-02-22-at-6-53-19-pmYellow, Orange, Red: What it means.  YOR-Guide

Many thanks to Pocket Books 

The Sun Is Also A Star (by Nicola Yoon)

28763485Young Adult / Contemporary Romance

In the last desperate hours before she and her family is deported, Natasha goes to the INS office in the hope her appeals have been heard and she can stay in the US. As her day progresses she touches the lives of many different people some in small ways and some in life-changing ways.

Daniel is supposed to be attending an interview to discuss his application to study at Yale, but when he sees Natasha, eyes closed and headphones on dancing to some unknown song and oblivious to the world around her, he is immediately captivated.

They spend their day, her last day together, and as the day progresses grow closer.


The Sun Is Also A Star is one of those very rare books that is perfect in every way.  It is achingly beautiful, poetic, heart breaking…and life affirming.  There isn’t a single bad thing I can say about this book, and it’s Young Adult, normally I would have lists. 5 Stars

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The Legacy (by Gary Gusick)

Crime / Suspense

After a young African American woman is found lynched on the grounds of Ole Miss, the governor of Mississippi asks for Darla Cavannah by name.  Together with her partner Rita she flies into Oxford and takes over the investigation.

But it quickly becomes apparent that there is more to this than just a hate crime. Darla and Rita find themselves dealing with sororities, white supremacists and secrets that have remained buried for twenty years.


Gary Gusick books are never easy.  He takes issues that people don’t really want to talk about and crashes into them head first.  He will offend some….and for that I want to thank him.

Honestly I want to gate-crash the Crime Fiction Writers of America Thursday night poker game, wave around a copy of this book, and bellow, “This is what you should be writing!!!”

OK, maybe Jo Nesbo and James Patterson would crash tackle me before dragging me from the premises but it would be worth it.

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-01-24-pmPosition in Series: Book 3

Book 1 –– The Last Clinic
Book 2 –– Officer Elvis
Book 3 –– The Legacy

 

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

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

 

 

 

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.

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

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