The Best Medicine (by Tracy Brogan)

Contemporary Romance

When Evelyn turns 35 she smashes right into the ticking time bomb that is her womb. With the help of her two closest friends and aided by a list of attributes the perfect guy should have she begins her quest to find Mr Right. But the dating world is turning out to not be all moonlight and roses.

When Tyler lands in the Emergency Department after an accident on a stolen Jet-ski Evelyn feels an immediate twinge in the pants department –– but on her perfect match meter he rates an absolute zero and adding to his dismal prospects, he’s 10 years younger than her. But the pants will want what the pants will want.

The Best Medicine is pretty damned classy contemporary romance. Those of us who read a lot of the genre can recognise a trope from a mile away, but Tracy Brogan has delivered a surprisingly refreshing story about two people from different worlds who are attracted to each other despite their differences. It’s an entertaining and upbeat story, and a great book to read on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.08.18 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters (by Laini Taylor)

Young Adult / Fantasy

(this review may contain minor spoilers for Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

The Seraphim (angels) and the Chimaera (monsters) have battled for dominance in Eretz for more than 1000 years. After a forbidden love between Akiva (a Seraphim warrior) and Karou (a chimaera woman) is discovered, both are sentenced to death. But Akiva escapes and when his love is killed he embarks on a path of revenge. Using the knowledge he gained from Karou he sets into motion a plan which will finish the Chimaera forever.



Days of Blood and Starlight

The Chimaera have been destroyed. Their resurrectionist who was the only one who stood between them and defeat has been killed.

But what follows war isn’t peace but genocide. The Seraph set about killing the fleeing chimaera, defenceless civilians.  When Akiva discovers that Karou survived he is wracked with guilt over what he has done. With a small band of Misbegotten Seraph warriors he sets about righting a wrong and protecting the fleeing refugees.


Dreams of Gods and Monsters

The last of the Chimaera find themselves allied with a group of Seraph warriors, the Misbegotten.  But mistrust and enmity follow them with every step.  If they are to have any hope of standing against the Seraph armies arrayed against them they will need to learn to trust –– but 1000 years of mistrust is difficult to overcome.

Akiva and Karou also need to overcome the mistrust that has replaced their love because of what Akiva did. But they need to find that love if their audacious plane to defeat their enemies and usher in an age of peace is to succeed.

This series is difficult to review. I finished it well over a week ago and the words have simply eluded me.  Honestly this entire series is so beautiful that anything I say just won’t be enough.

I’m a bit of a collector of tattoos on Pinterest, and every now and then I see a tattoo that just makes me shake my head and think, ‘are people really that dumb’.  One which immediately springs to mind is the guy who was tattooed with an F-14 Tomcat with “Iceman” underneath…I just thought to myself ‘you idiot’.

Well, I was thinking to myself, if you are going to tattoo yourself with words, they might as well be beautiful words.  I’ve seen quite a few tattoos inspired by this series, mostly on women, and every time I just think to myself, ‘well done, that’s cool’.  And that’s about all there is to it, these books are so wonderful that they deserve to be tattooed onto people’s skin, so let me leave you with this.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pm

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Round One (by Lucian Bane)

Erotic Fiction

Tara and Lucian meet in the queue for an audition for a pay per view TV show in which doms compete against each other until only one couple remains. Thrown together as a team Lucian needs to quickly show Tara the ropes (lol).

Lucian is a dom of his own making. He eschews the type of dom lifestyle depicted in erotic fiction. He doesn’t use whips or bondage, preferring to dominate in other ways.

Tara isn’t in the lifestyle and is only there because she desperately needs the money, but despite her naïveté her black belt in Ju Jutsu and her smart mouth make her someone to watch…but she needs to get over her modesty in the bedroom if they are to have any chance at winning.

As they explore their sexuality, they grow closer and eventually are able to help each other move on from a difficult past.

The very first book I reviewed on this blog, perhaps the reason I started it was The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. Since then I’ve dabbled with erotic fiction, read maybe a dozen books in the genre. Some were good, most disappointing. This book is one of the shining lights. It’s short, at 131 pages it’s only just a novel and there are some editing issues as you would expect with an independently released book but there is quite a refreshing honesty to this book. And despite a very simple story which is mostly about sex, there is quite a lot of emotional depth. My good friend Michele has been hounding me to read this book, and now I can see why. It’s very good.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 7.49.54 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Resisting the Rancher (by Roxanne Snopek)

Contemporary Romance

When Celia returns to her home town to open her veterinary practice, she brings with her a world of trouble. While studying vet science, a family tragedy caused her to fall behind. Headed for failure she found a helping hand from the wrong guy and now she is being blackmailed and the family business is being threatened.

She turns to Jonah, the guy who she followed around when she was a kid. Now he’s a lawyer who goes out of his way to avoid sticky legal situations, but he’s always been attracted to Celia and before he knows it he’s helping her with her legal problems. As Celia pushes Jonah’s buttons, Jonah struggles to come to terms with the now grown up and very sexy woman he swore to always protect.
Resisting the Rancher is pretty good contemporary romance. It occasionally loses its way, some aspects of the story were a little under done, and the resolution was quite sudden but those problems are outshone by the main character Celia who is really kind of cool and saves this book from mediocrity.

She’s so cool that I wish the book was all about her. It didn’t really need the blackmail subplot and in some ways that detracted from the best part of the story.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Roxanne Snopek for providing me with this ARC

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Bird After Bird (by Leslea Tash)

Women’s Fiction /  Contemporary Romance

After the death of her father, Wren returns to her childhood home in Indiana. Her plan is to sell the family home as quickly as possible so she can return to her life in Chicago. But when she discovers a journal her father left her, a journal which calls into question the path she has chosen for herself, she is forced to make some choices.

Laurie is carrying the guilt over two deaths. His fiancée, a dog handler who died while on a search and rescue, and a friend who was killed by a road side bomb. When he meets Wren he finds a chance for redemption, a chance to move forward with his life. But Wren has her own issues and finds herself pushing him away even while she knows he is exactly what she wants.


Bird After Bird is something of an odd bird. It doesn’t quite fit into the contemporary romance genre and it isn’t quite women’s fiction. It’s written with a measured pace from alternating points of view and honestly for the first 20% or so of the book I struggled. But that initial effort paid off and by the half way mark I was well and truly sucked in.

Laurie is a returned serviceman. Contemporary Romance would demand that he be a Navy SEAL. Thank you Ms Tash for making your hero a motor mechanic!!! I bang my head against the metaphorical wall every time I read a romance hero is a SEAL. That’s just one refreshing thing in a book which somehow manages to be both whimsical and show very real human emotions. A lot of love for this book.

DISCLOSURE: I am a friend of the author on both Facebook and Goodreads.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.07.24 pmMany thanks to Leslea Tash for providing me with this ARC.

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.

Guidebook to Murder (by Lynn Cahoon)

Cozy Mystery

When Jill Gardner moved to South Cove, CA she was looking for a fresh start after her divorce and a quiet life running a café / bookshop. But then one of her close friends, Miss Emily tells her the council and a developer are trying to bully her into selling out and shortly thereafter she turns up dead. Jill knows there is something hokey going on and convinces the town’s detective to investigate.
Adding to her woes, Miss Emily left everything to her except the family bible which she left to her greedy relatives. Now the family are threatening to sue, council is threatening to condemn the house, someone is stealing from Miss Emily’s estate and a murderer is on the loose. Throw into the mix Aztec gold and expensive art works and the scene is set for a bit of a mystery romp.

Guidebook to Murder isn’t perfect, then again nobody really expects this genre to be considered for the Man Booker Prize. The story is quite straightforward, entertaining without ever being particularly challenging. But Jill is pretty damned awesome (what’s not to love about an amateur sleuth who runs a book store?) and even if the male characters don’t light up the pages, the female characters who inhabit her world are really quite delightful and set this book a little higher than most in the genre.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Kensington and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Yellow / Orange / Red –– What it means.