Dr Strange Beard (by Penny Reid)

Contemporary Romance

Roscoe remembers everything. He can remember conversations he had 10 years earlier, word for word. He can remember every word Simone said to break his heart.
Roscoe avoids looking at people. When you remember everything, it’s easier to just not make any new memories.
Simone is back in town and she can’t figure out why Roscoe is avoiding her.  But she needs his help and for that to happen she needs to mend some broken fences.


I always find it challenging reviewing Penny Reid’s books.
What can I say that hasn’t been said?
Hell, what can I say that I haven’t already said about her other books.
And one of the hardest things is avoiding superlatives.

So let me talk about an Alfa Romeo.

Specifically the 1960 Alfa Romeo Giuletta Sprint.

The greatest car ever made!

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OK, it wasn’t the fastest car on the road, it had an underpowered 1.3L engine under the hood. It didn’t handle like a Porsche or a Ferrari. But who really cares about any of that crap? Certainly not me. The Giuletta had charisma. You see one and you can’t help but looking again…and again. The more you look at it, the more beautiful it gets.

And that’s this book. It’s brilliant, it’s sublime, I wanted it to go on forever.

Falling Star (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

Chance is a recovering alcoholic and a country music star who has been given a second chance in the business. But the oil for his music was always the bottle and now that he is dry the songs aren’t coming.

Naomi was betrayed by Chance years earlier and is determined it will not happen again. But she is his publicist and both their careers depend on him writing a hit album.


Terri Osburn has been a favorite author since a friend pointed me to her first novel and told me to check it out. Back then, she was in a small group of writers who were reinventing the romance genre which, to be honest, had grown a little tired –– I had all but walked away. It took Penny Reid and Terri Osburn to get me reading Contemporary Romance again and I’m still reading it largely because of these two fine writers.

Falling Star is great. It feels like a more personal book for some reason and I’m not really sure why. But I love these characters and I love where this series is heading.

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

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

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

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

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

North to You (by Tif Marcelo)

Contemporary Romance

In the cut-throat world of street food, it’s not just about serving great food, it’s also about having a great spot, loyal customers and impressing the food critics. Camille owns Luciana’s, a popular but not famous food truck in the Bay Area of San Francisco.

She has loyal customers, a good spot and it’s only a matter of time before the critics start to pay attention. Then she refuses to serve a rowdy customer who just so happens to be a local sporting hero and overnight she finds herself no longer welcome in her prime location and on the receiving end of a social media backlash.

With little choice she moves out of the Bay Area and into the suburbs and sets up on the Great Highway overlooking Ocean Beach. But she finds a whole new set of problems. A local restaurant doesn’t appreciate her presence and is making life difficult for her.

With a month off before he deploys to Iraq, Drew has returned home to patch up his relationship with his dad. Then he runs into Camille, his high school crush at the Bay to Breakers and he jumps at the chance to rekindle the old spark. Unfortunately things are never that simple, his father owns the restaurant that is causing Camille problems and he finds himself having to choose between his family and Camille.

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North to You is just great. It’s original and buzzes along with an electricity I don’t often come across. It’s not perfect, I think the whole Lois not knowing Clark Kent is Superman was a little overplayed but what the hell! It’s a debut and honestly it’s so much fun that I don’t really care.

This is a book I will be thinking about for weeks and maybe even months. 5 Stars!

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

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