Rhythm and Bluegrass (by Molly Harper)

Contemporary Romance

As an historian working for the Kentucky Commission of Tourism, Bonnie Turkle lives a transient life.  She spends a few months in a town, before moving onto the next town and the next job. When she hears about an old music hall which is slated for demolition to make way for a factory, she immediately goes to Mud Creek to try and save as much of the heritage as she can.

Mud Creek is a town fallen on hard times and desperately needs the hundreds of jobs the factory will bring. The mayor of Mud Creek, Will McBride will do just about anything to ensure the factory is built so when Bonnie threatens the very future of the town they butt heads. And when they aren’t butting heads, they’re fighting to keep their hands off each other.

Rhythm and Bluegrass is cute a quirky romance with characters that you want to get to know. It’s a laugh out loud funny story, which occasionally delves into the more serious issues facing small towns across the U.S..  A lot of love for this book.

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

Down and Out in Beverly Heels (by Kathryn Leigh Scott)

Cozy Mystery 

Meg Barnes was once an A-List actress. She lived the glittering Hollywood lifestyle and had everything she could ever desire. Then her con-man husband swindled her of everything she owned. Now homeless, penniless and living in her old Volvo she is desperately trying to hold onto her dignity and to find a job. But her husband didn’t just steal from her, he stole from some very dangerous people and Meg finds herself in the firing line of the the Russian mafia, while the FBI continue to suspect her of being a part of her husband’s schemes.

When I picked up this book I had some preconceived ideas of what I was getting. I was expecting a ditzy and clueless Hollywood starlet who bumbles around, makes a bit of a mess of things but still manages to solve the crime. Three chapters in and I was well and truly put in my place.

Meg is a woman who despite finding herself in difficult circumstances manages to make the most of things. She is homeless but still manages to hold onto her dignity. She is intelligent and independent. Honestly in a genre where Stephanie Plum clones abound, she is a breath of fresh air.

I loved this book. It had me from beginning to end. I can’t think of a bad thing to say about it.

The Secret of Everything & The Garden of Happy Endings (by Barbara O’Neal)

Chick Lit

The Secret of Everything.

Tessa is a professional guide. Tourists who want a little more adventure than they can get at a five star resort pay her to lead them on hikes. After tragedy strikes on a hike she was leading, Tessa is left broken both physically and emotionally. With all consuming grief and despair she returns to Las Ladronas, the New Mexico town where she spent her earliest years.  Years she can’t remember.

As she starts to pull at the threads of her past, she discovers things about herself and those closest to her. With the help of a man and his young daughter she finds the strength to move forward.

The Garden of Happy Endings.

After a young girl in her congregation is brutally murdered, Reverend Elsa Montgomery has a crisis of faith. Depression consumes her and she returns to Pueblo, Colorado, to the parish she left behind many years earlier and the man who abandoned her to join the priesthood.

While there she finds herself working in the poor community to create a community garden, and as she works in the garden her broken heart finally starts to heal.




It’s hard to avoid superlatives when talking about these books.  Barbara O’Neal writes honest books about depression, grief and PTSD. Her books are unconventionally spiritual and about finding healing and the strength to keep living.

Mr Strangeway (by Karina Cooper)

Steam Punk Novella

After the death of her parents Cherry St. Croix found herself for a time working as a pick pocket.  While on the street she became addicted to Laudanum, a tincture of opium and alcohol. After being plucked from the street by the executor of her father’s will she finds herself living in a beautiful home where her every need is provided except for her laudanum.  Wanting to get more of her drug of choice than the pitiful drizzle she is allowed she decides to become a bounty hunter.

It’s difficult to know what to say about this book. It’s a novella on the shorter end of novellas and it’s very much the warm up act for book three in the St. Croix Chronicles which is due out on September 23rd.  If this were a free gift for the diehard fans I think it would have worked. As it is, I’m not a diehard fan, I haven’t read the first two books in the series and I paid good money for this.  There isn’t much story or character development…to be honest the heroine of the story Cherry doesn’t do all that much.  For me it was a waste of time but I think people who have been reading the series will enjoy it, I don’t know if they’ll enjoy paying for it, only time will tell.