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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

Our Now and Forever (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

After a whirlwind romance, a Vegas wedding and two short months of marriage Snow comes to realise that marriage to Caleb is a package deal which includes his racist and malicious parents. Rather than living with people who think of her as white trash and unworthy of their son, she steals away in the night.

Eighteen months later, her life is anything but easy but she has a business in the small town of Ardent Springs, a group of friends and happiness. Then Caleb who has been searching for her ever since she ran away walks into her shop with the single purpose of taking his wife home.

She knows she can’t return to Baton Rouge and her frosty parents-in-law and she’s just as certain that he will grow bored of Ardent Springs very quickly. But Caleb is determined to win her back and is willing to do whatever it takes.


 
Contemporary Romance has been a bit of a wasteland for a couple of years. It’s been one rehashed plot after another and I’d all but given up on the genre. Then a friend told me about a new author who was writing great fiction –– this friend isn’t a particular fan of the genre and I thought, ‘if she’s impressed I definitely need to have a look’.

Oh boy.

Terri Osburn is a bright shining light in CR. She’s right on top of the mountain with intelligent well written stories and this one is another solid gold 5 star book. Favorite author. Favorite book. Honestly she could write a menu for her local Chinese Restaurant and I’d buy it. She’s that good.

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

His First and Last (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

The people of Ardent Springs never let Lorelei forget that she was born out of wedlock to a nameless sperm donor on a Spring Break holiday. She was vilified and bullied for her entire young life. So it’s no surprise that as soon as she turned 18 she blew off the town and burned all her bridges on the way out.

Now after being away for more than a decade she has returned, broke and with nothing to show for her time in LA. But the people of Ardent Springs have long memories and they’re not so quick to forgive the things she said when she left.

With her only allies her ex-boyfriend Spencer, the guy who refused to leave with her, and her grandmother, she needs to somehow find a place for herself. Spencer is determined that he will be that place, but with the town all but shunning her she might be forced to leave before he can convince her to stay.


 

I have so much love for Terri Osburn. She really is a great writer. This is fairly typical Contemporary Romance and it hums along without breaking any of the rules of the genre. But it’s just so well written that you hardly notice that you’ve read it all before. Something I sometimes say about poets like E.E. Cummings and Rabbie Burns is their poems feel good in your mouth. They just beg to be spoken, to be read out loud. It’s not something I would have ever expected to say about an author of Contemporary Romance but there you go. She’s a favorite author and this is probably my favorite of her books.

If I have a criticism, it’s only a small thing –– the cover, or more specifically the cover models. The characters in this book are in their early 30s.  I’m just not seeing that on the cover.

Screen Shot 2014-03-19 at 7.25.29 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Yellow, Orange, Red. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

More to Give (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

Callie is a specialist in renovating hotels. It’s her job to take a fading beauty and breath new life into it. But until now she has always had to play second fiddle, done the work and then sat back to watch someone else take the credit. When a job comes up on Anchor Island it seems like the perfect fit. A hotel that will lift her to the next level in the industry. The only thing standing in her way is her past history with the owner.

When Callie walks into his office, Sam immediately knows hiring her to manage the renovations of his hotel is a bad idea. But seeing her desperation, he gives her the job and resigns himself to avoiding her for the duration. Unfortunately for Sam, Callie is not someone to be ignored.


 

Every now and then an author comes along who revitalises a genre. They manage to bring back the excitement and give you a glimpse of where the genre is heading. Terri Osburn is one of those authors. In the past few years she has owned Contemporary Romance in my humble opinion.

More to Give is a proper CR, it follows all the rules of the genre, and it still manages to be refreshing and current. It’s one of my favorite books of the year from one of the few authors that leave me so happy I could jump.

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: http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Home to Stay (by Terri Osburn)

Contemporary Romance

Willow was forced into a life on the run by her violent and abusive ex. Having arrived on Anchor Island a little over twelve months earlier, she has taken on every cash-in-hand job the small tourist town can give her and found herself a measure of peace with a small group of friends. But with her ex still looking for her, she can never get too comfortable and needs to be ready to run at a moments notice.

Randy owns the town’s gym and like Will’s ex, he is a big guy. Her nervousness around him is obvious to all, but despite the similar stature, he has a gentle and protective nature. With a little persistence he manages to break down her walls and they tentatively begin to explore their attraction.

When a travel reporter visits Anchor Island and recognises Will, her safe harbour is suddenly threatened and she realises it might be time to hit the road. Randy is determined to protect her and build a life with her, but for that to happen she will need to trust him.

There aren’t too many new ideas in this genre and I’ve read stories similar to this one before, but I don’t think I’ve read one that’s as good as this. The characters, especially the female characters really are kind of wonderful. I even found myself rereading a couple of sections because they were such great fun.

Honestly there are a handful of authors who just make me so happy I could jump. Laini Taylor, Carolyn Crane, recently Marilyn Pappano, Faith Hunter…and Terri Osburn.

So yeah, this book gets 5 well deserved stars.

Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 6.08.18 pmYellow / Orange / Red –– What it means. http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Many thanks to Terri Osburn for providing me with this ARC.