Sweet Tea and Sympathy (by Molly Harper)

Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance

As a high end event planner Margot can handle just about anything. But after her crowning glory in the Chicago event planning scene goes horribly awry she finds herself unemployed and unemployable. So when her aunt who she has never met offers her a job in the family business in Georgia she has little choice but to accept.

She quickly discovers the family business is a Funeral Home and Bait Shop, she has dozens of relatives and a father who abandoned her as a child. With spotty internet and cell phone reception, no Starbucks or even a shop that sells fruit, Margot is well out of her comfort zone but with the help of a brooding school principal, his two young daughters and her crazy family she gradually finds a place. The only problem is Lake Sackett is a dying town. The tourists have abandoned them, businesses are closing and there isn’t much of a future for someone with her skills.


I read a lot of books and honestly I’ve read pretty much every story before, usually more than once. There aren’t too many books I wished would just keep going. There aren’t too many authors I’ll buy just because their name is on the cover.

But this is that book and Molly Harper is that author.

I loved everything about this book. I wanted more of every single character. So much love for Sweet Tea and Sympathy

Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck (Southern Eclectic 0.5)

Marianne returns to Lake Sackett, GA and runs right into Carl whose heart she broke when she left town. As she reluctantly settles into a summer with the family she does her best to avoid Carl but the old spark is still there and if they can just deal with their past, they might have a chance at a future.


Save a Truck, Ride a Redneck is a quick enjoyable prequel novella. It’s well worth the effort but I think it would be better to read book one first. After Sweet Tea and Sympathy I can almost guarantee that you’ll want more, and this little novella will fit the bill perfectly.

Many thanks to Pocket Books and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

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

Flame in the Dark (by Faith Hunter)

Urban Fantasy

A mysterious creature is targeting a senator and PsyLED are racing against time to not only save him and his family but find out what the creature is and why it’s attacking. Adding to their problems Nell is the only one who can sense the creature … and she can’t be everywhere at once.


Flame in the Dark is everything this series can be. It’s brilliant. It’s Nell on her land…using her magic to hunt and take down evil. I enjoyed the first two books. They were straight up Urban Fantasy. Well written but I’ve seen it before. From the beginning I’ve wanted these books to be about Nell and her Soulwood. In this book Faith Hunter delivers and then some. It’s outstanding, unique, mysterious…far and away the best in the series.

Position in Series: Book 3

Book 1 –– Blood of the Earth
Book 2 –– Curse on the Land
Book 3 –– Flame in the Dark

 


Many thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with this Review Copy.

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

Beard in Mind (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

There is a story about the disciple of a famous master of the Tea Ceremony. He had made a beautiful bowl and when his master visited one day he served him tea in it. The master didn’t comment on the bowl, didn’t even seem to notice it and the heart-broken disciple threw the bowl into the garden after his master left, smashing it.

He immediately regretted his actions and collected the pieces, then sent them to the pottery repairer to fix.

The next time his master visited, he served him tea in that same bowl, now with visible cracks and staples where it had been repaired.

After finishing his tea the master carefully examined the bowl before saying, “Now it is perfect.”

(Bowl repair from the movie The Road Home starring Zhang Ziyi)


That’s all. If you want to know what that story has to do with anything, you’ll have to read the book and find out for yourself.

5 Stars

Appointed by Fate (by Skye McNeil)

Romantic Suspense

Cameron is a mob soldier who has been sent to Iowa to sort out some rival gangsters. When he wakes up in a park with a knife and a gun and a dead body beside him he finds himself charged with murder and dragged into the legal system.

Joci was Cameron’s first love and now she is his lawyer. As the case progresses she finds herself drawn to him but with two other suitors in the wings and mobsters circling her life is both complicated and dangerous.


Have you ever read a good book that just didn’t work for you?

Appointed by Fate is that book for me. I know it’s good. It’s gritty Romantic Suspense. It’s a well written Courtroom drama. Honestly, it’s a great book for the right reader. I’m not that reader and all cards on the table I’ll explain why.

The main character has an intimate relationship with all three men in this book. I really don’t mind women or men who have multiple sexual partners, I’ve read and enjoyed plenty of erotic fiction. The very first review on this blog is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. But books about sex and books about romance are very different things and I don’t want that in a romance novel.

So it’s a great book that went places that make me uncomfortable.

Many thanks to Skye McNeil for providing me with this Review Copy.

Yellow, Orange, Red – What it means. 

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (by Karina Van Glaser)

Young Readers / Young Adult

The Vanderbeekers live in an old three storey brownstone in Harlem, NY. Two weeks before Christmas they learn that their curmudgeonly landlord, The Beiderman (Mr Beiderman) won’t be renewing their lease and they will have to leave their beloved home.

Not only will they have to move, they might have to leave New York. The five Vanderbeeker children have just 11 days to convince him to let them stay.


The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street is completely charming. It’s obviously written for young readers (10~13 years old) but I loved it and I’m not too far away from 50. Kids will love it, parents will love that their kids love it and it’s a great book for reluctant readers.  There isn’t really anything bad I can say about the book.  I’ll be buying a few copies for stocking stuffers.

5 Stars.

Rising Star (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

Charley is living her dream. As a DJ spinning records at a Country Music station in Nashville she’s behind the microphone and away from the crowds that terrify her.

But that all changes when she meets Dylan. He’s the eponymous Rising Star of country music. He’s not interested in the trappings of stardom, the women and the parties –– but he is interested in her.

Charley is determined to not follow in her mother’s footsteps and give up everything for a man, and Dylan has the future of an entire record label riding on his shoulders. Both have their careers and lives pulling them in different directions. And with a relationship that is only weeks old he is on tour and away from her leaving her to face the end of her career alone.


I love music. All music. I listen to everything from Patsy Cline to Bad Religion. I love it all. But I don’t like books about the music industry. For me the song is the story. I don’t want to look behind the veil. Calling a spade a spade, I find the ‘business of fame’ vacuous and empty.

So when I picked up this book I wasn’t expecting to love it. Hell, I was worried I wouldn’t even like it.

I shouldn’t have worried. Rising Star is everything I want from Contemporary Romance. It’s everything I want from a book. It’s perfect in every single way.  It’s one of those books you don’t want to end.

Solid Gold 5 Stars!

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this Review Copy.

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

For the Birds (by Denise Grover Swank)

Mystery 

When Skeeter Malcolm’s brother disappears, he is convinced it is the work of his main rival in Fenton County’s criminal underworld. But Rose is not convinced. With help from her partner Nelly Kate they set about finding Scooter and hunting down the real kidnappers.


Denise Grover Swank is a favorite author but I’m the first to admit that not all of her books are winners.  When she hits, she hits that ball right out of the park, but she’s also written one or two books that haven’t really worked.

For the Birds is well and truly out of the park. It’s over the freeway and in the river on the other side. I’ve read pretty much everything Denise Grover Swank has written and I think this book has taken the top spot.  I loved it. 5 Stars.

Position in Series: Book 3
Note: Rose Gardner Investigations and Neely Kate Mysteries should be read together.

Book 1 –– Family Jewels (Rose Gardner Investigations #1)
Book 2 –– Trailer Trash (Neely Kate Mystery #1)
Book 3 –– For the Birds (Rose Gardner Investigations #2)