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

My Kind of You (by Tracy Brogan)

Contemporary Romance

Twelve years ago, Emily left Wenniway Island. She ran off with her summer romance, and burned all her bridges on the way. Now divorced and with a twelve year old daughter she is flat broke and back on the island. Her grandmother has offered her a lifeline, a job renovating one of her cottages and turning it into high end tourist accomodation.

Ryan is a project developer who finds himself on Wenniway Island when his recently widowered father takes up with a woman. A woman he is convinced is a gold-digger. When he meets Emily there is an immediate attraction but his home is Sacramento and her home is San Antonio. And as they get to know each other the complications just keep piling up.


Contemporary Romance is very much a safe place for me. But in the sub-genre that is CR there is both good and bad. Tracy Brogan is well and truly in the good camp. Her stories are about family, relationships, love and home. She always delivers exactly what I want from CR.
Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

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

The Sun Is Also A Star (by Nicola Yoon)

28763485Young Adult / Contemporary Romance

In the last desperate hours before she and her family is deported, Natasha goes to the INS office in the hope her appeals have been heard and she can stay in the US. As her day progresses she touches the lives of many different people some in small ways and some in life-changing ways.

Daniel is supposed to be attending an interview to discuss his application to study at Yale, but when he sees Natasha, eyes closed and headphones on dancing to some unknown song and oblivious to the world around her, he is immediately captivated.

They spend their day, her last day together, and as the day progresses grow closer.


The Sun Is Also A Star is one of those very rare books that is perfect in every way.  It is achingly beautiful, poetic, heart breaking…and life affirming.  There isn’t a single bad thing I can say about this book, and it’s Young Adult, normally I would have lists. 5 Stars

Screen Shot 2015-11-01 at 10.26.54 PMYellow, Orange, Red. What it means.  YOR-Guide

Her Hopes and Dreams (by Terri Osburn)


Contemporary Romance

Carrie survived a relationship with a violent and abusive husband. She lives a simple life in a single-wide trailer on a small parcel of land she was able to buy. She has her job working for a local construction company, a few close friends and her daughter. She doesn’t need or want anything more.

Noah survived the violence of war. His wounds are in his mind. In his memories of war. He suffers from anxiety, panic attacks, struggles with crowds and sleep. He has moved into the ramshackle farmhouse next to Carrie’s single-wide wishing for nothing more than to live the life of a hermit.

But somehow, despite their issues, despite all the reasons a it’s a bad idea, they take the first tentative steps towards a relationship. But it’s a long way from a sure bet.


Terri Osburn writes some of the best contemporary romance around. Her stories are light and whimsical, not particularly challenging but entertaining from start to finish. Once you pick up one of her books it really is hard to put it down all the way to the very last page. And this book is no exception.

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Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC