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.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  YOR-Guide

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

Grin & Beard It (by Penny Reid)

In the world of Contemporary Romance there is a lot of chaff. In musical terms 90% of it is bad 1980s karaoke. It’s your boss up there on stage belting out bad renditions of Air Supply and REO Speedwagon love songs.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the 1980s and yeah I’ll sing along even to the schmaltziest love song. I’ll admit it –– I know all the words to Moonlight Shadow by Mike Oldfield and I even sang the damned song to a girl I was keen on in Art Class. But It didn’t work! I didn’t get the girl! And rightly so because my voice is deplorable.

But that isn’t Penny Reid. In a genre dominated by hack renditions of Billy Joel and Chris de Burgh, Penny Reid is Lykke Li.

She’s Imelda May.

She’s the Avett Brothers.

5 Stars.

My One and Only (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

As far as Dr. Haleigh Rae Mitchner is concerned, Cooper Ridgeway is more suited to a superhero cape than mechanic’s overalls. It’s just like Ardent Springs’s most upstanding resident to rescue a pregnant, homeless teenager and bring her to Haleigh’s delivery room. When they team up to help the new mother and baby, Haleigh is determined not to cross the line with Cooper. Not only is he her best friend’s brother, he’s a guy who deserves more than Haleigh’s checkered past could ever offer.

At first glance, Haleigh is no longer the girl Cooper pined for in school. The sleek, professional OB-GYN seems more out of reach than ever for this small-town mechanic. But the more time he spends with the complicated woman, the more he wants her. Who better than Cooper to prove to her that nothing is beyond fixing? Especially in Ardent Springs, a town that’s tailor-made for second chances.


Contemporary Romance is pretty damned conservative. The protagonists nearly always follow the rules, make the right decisions. They never cheat, they always decide to have the baby, they don’t fall off the wagon and they’re always supportive and protective of their lover. The rules of the genre are all but set in stone and a writer breaks them at her peril.

And that’s why Terri Osburn is one of a handful of CR authors I keep coming back to. Her books are proper contemporary romance but she isn’t afraid to break the rules. When I pick up one of her books I know there will be a surprise or two and I know I’m going to get a few moments that will make me smile for no other reason than their originality.

Terri Osburn has become the benchmark by which I measure all Contemporary Romance.

Position in Series: Book 3 (can be read as a stand-alone)

Screen Shot 2016-05-16 at 6.43.51 PM1 –– His First and Last
2 –– Our Now and Forever
3 –– My One and Only

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Worth the Trouble (by Jamie Beck)

Contemporary Romance

Two years earlier Cat chose another man over Hank, a man who turned out to be violent and abusive. Now she has kicked him to the kerb but fate once again throws her a curve-ball. In quick succession she learns that for a model 28 is over the hill, and adding to her problems she is diagnosed with early onset menopause and will not be able to have children.

Despite that she is determined to forge a new path, to land on her feet. When Hank delivers a hand-made end table to her best friend, Cat sees her chance. She sets out to convince him to partner with her in a business making exclusive hand-made furniture. But with an ailing mother and a younger sister he is putting through college, money is tight and he can’t afford to risk what he has to follow his dreams.

Hank never did get over Cat, he is perhaps the only man who can see past her façade and into the vulnerable woman desperate not be a failure. He knows she is attracted to him but every time they seem to be getting closer she pulls away and she won’t tell him why.

If they are to have any chance, Cat will need to open up to Hank and risk her heart. Something she has never done before.


 

 
Jamie Beck writes fairly typical contemporary romance. She follows the rules of the genre and honestly I can name a few books that share the same basic plot as Worth the Trouble. I would also say they don’t do it as well as Jamie Beck.

The big names in Contemporary Romance, names like Jill Shalvis and Susan Elizabeth Phillips need to watch their backs. There is a new generation of writers who are making the genre their own, and Jamie Beck is one of them.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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