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)

 

Blood Gamble (by Melissa F. Olson)

Urban Fantasy

When vampire celebrities start performing a show in Las Vegas that puts the entire old world at risk Dashiell sends Scarlett to investigate.

What she discovers is two vampire factions at war and vampires disappearing without a trace. Someone is using the weakness of the Las Vegas vampires to hide their own sinister agenda and Scarlett with the help of a very old cowboy are the only ones who can stop them.


I struggled a little with the Scarlett Bernard books.  They were good, well written urban fantasy but for one reason or another I just didn’t connect with Scarlett in those books and it’s hard to enjoy a book when the main character leaves you feeling nothing. So when I picked up Midnight Curse I wasn’t expecting much –– and I loved it.

I’m not sure why but I’m loving Scarlett in this series.  Blood Gamble is another solid entry in the series.  It’s not perfect, I skipped through all the romance and I think the ending felt a little rushed but there are some truly spectacular urban fantasy moments in this book.

The grieving vampire cowboy –– Best. Character. Ever.

Many thanks to 47North and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

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

Dog Friendly (Books for Lovers of Dogs)

Atlanta Burns (by Chuck Wendig) Young Adult

Armed with a single-barrelled shotgun and a can of bear mace Atlanta Burns fights bullies, white supremacists, corrupt police and the local criminal underworld.

Her trusty partner is a Dogo Argentino she rescued from a dog fighting ring.

 

 

Beautiful Bad Man (by Ellen O’Connell) Western Romance

After her husband is murdered by a wealthy cattle rancher with designs on her land Norah can do little except wait to join him.

When Cal is sent to get her off the land one way or another he sees something more than a broken and starving woman and switches sides.

Ellen O’Connell writes proper romance but still manages to imbue her books with gritty realism.

 

The Search (by Nora Roberts) Romantic Suspense

After surviving a serial killer, Fiona escaped to a remote island off the coast of Seattle. There she trains Search and Rescue dogs and lives a quiet life.  But the killer she thought she had put behind bars is killing young women again and he’s coming for her.

Honestly, it’s Nora Roberts. It’s derivative. It’s like every other RS she has written. But there are the dogs and it’s worth it just for them.

 

Midnight Curse (by Melissa F. Olson) Urban Fantasy

Scarlett Bernard is a Null, around her vampires, witches, werewolves all revert to human. She is despised in the Old World but she is also uniquely useful as a supernatural problem solver.

Together with her beast of a dog –– some sort of demon hound ––  she investigates a murder which someone is trying to pin on her old room-mate.

 

Dog Crazy (by Meg Donohue) Cute, Quirky Romance

Maggie is a grief counsellor with a whole shopping list of issues not least of which is she’s a recluse who can’t leave her house. She meets Anya, a young woman whose dog has gone missing. Anya is insistent that her dog didn’t run away but was stolen and she somehow convinces Maggie to help her search.

There isn’t much to this book. It’s cute and quirky and it has a big heart. And that’s enough.

 

 

 

 

Accidental Sire (by Molly Harper)

Paranormal Romance

After being mortally wounded in a freak ultimate frisbee accident, Meagan finds herself the newest vampire at the University of Kentucky. But she’s not just any vampire. Someone has messed with her DNA and made her into some sort of super-vampire. She’s faster and stronger than the average vampire and unfortunately she’s also managed to turn her would be boyfriend on her very first undead day.

With two super vampires and no idea how it happened the head of the vampire council, Jane Jameson steps in and takes them under her wing. They just need to survive scientific curiosity, someone who is up to no good at the University of Kentucky and Jane’s very huggy friends.


The Accidental Sire is an entertaining book, a book that is fun and funny, but I wouldn’t describe it as a good book. It is a little rushed in the first and last chapters and in some ways it feels like it’s “by-the-numbers” Molly Harper.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s good and well worth the effort. It’s not a 5 Star book but it well deserves the 4 Stars I’m giving it.

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

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

The Alabaster Hip (by Maggie Fenton)

Regency Romance

On a mission to rescue his daughters from a fate worse than death — the West Barming School for Recalcitrant Young Ladies — Viscount Marlowe stumbles into the room of Minerva Jones and is discovered there on top of her with his hands in places his hands have no right to be.

His next encounter with her is when his carriage sends her flying into a muddy ditch as he and his daughters are making haste to return home to London.

His daughters rather like Miss Jones and are unimpressed with Marlowe. Minerva who was dismissed from her employment after the Viscount fell on her isn’t all that impressed either.

Killing two birds with one stone, Marlowe employs Minerva as the governess for his two girls. As the months go by she finds herself more and more attracted to Marlowe but the daughter of a sailor has no place in the life of a Viscount.


The Alabaster Hip is a complete hoot. I can’t think of a single bad thing to say about this book. It’s a laugh out loud funny historical romance with characters you can’t help but love. Maggie Fenton writes women you wish you knew.

Position in Series: Book 3

Book 1 –– The Dukes Holiday
Book 2 –– Virtuous Scoundrel
Book 3 –– The Alabaster Hip

 

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

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

 

 

 

The Last in Love (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance 

Life has given Abby a whole truckload of lemons. She lost her husband, is alone and lonely while all her friends have found love, she’s lost her job and to top it all off her kitchen has been gutted after a fire. Things just aren’t going well.

Justin has returned to Ardent Springs after a development he was involved with went south and he was left holding the can. He’s just killing time in Ardent Springs and working as a volunteer firefighter.  When he attends Abby’s kitchen fire he suddenly sees his second chance. He left Ardent Springs years earlier after Abby chose someone else. This time he’s determined to be the one she chooses.


There is something special about Contemporary Romance. Alfred Hitchcock once quipped that, “A good story is life with all the boring bits taken out.”  He was right and for me that’s the attraction of CR.  It’s not about explosions, bigger and badder villains, or finding the most gruesome ways to kill someone. It’s life. An idealised version of life but life none-the-less.

And The Last in Love is all of that. It’s a good story, well told. It’s positive and life affirming. It’s everything I want from CR and truthfully it’s everything I want from reading.  Returning to Alfred Hitchcock he also said, “A good movie isn’t a slice of life, it’s a slice of cake”, and that’s this book. It’s a giant slice of the best cake ever made.

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy. 

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