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.

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

molly

 

 

 

 

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