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

The Summer Seaside Kitchen (by Jenny Colgan)

Women’s Fiction / Romance

As she was growing up, Flora dreamed of escaping her life as a farmer’s daughter in a small village on Mure Island. Then when her mother died she railed against her well meaning neighbors and burnt all her bridges along the way. She left the island and moved to the city.

Three years later she is working as a paralegal for a prestigious law firm in London.

But life in the city is anything but perfect. Her job is a grind, her coworkers are hard and don’t get her and she is secretly in love with a senior partner who treats women like disposable commodities.

Then Joel, the senior partner, takes on a new client who is building a resort on Mure Island and wants to stop a wind farm spoiling his views. Flora is sent home to try and bring the locals on board but in returning she is crashing into her past. Her grief for her mother. Her father who is barely holding onto the farm and her brothers who are bitter that she left.

After discovering her mother’s journal, a hand written recipe book, she starts cooking and in doing so begins to heal the wounds of the past.


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The Summer Seaside Kitchen is one of those rare books that heals the heart. It’s a gentle love story about broken people who somehow manage to patch things up and move forward. Everything about this book is 5 Stars.

Many thanks to Hachette Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this review copy.

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

Summer Harvest (by Georgina Penney)

Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance

In the space of a few months, Beth’s sister dies of breast cancer, she herself is diagnosed, and after a double mastectomy her husband leaves her. She returns to live with her grandmother and withdraws into herself, only venturing out for her job as a dog trainer.

When her grandmother gives her a trip to Australia for her birthday she is reluctant to leave the austere life she has built for herself after the divorce. But despite her misgivings a week later she finds herself driving along a dry dusty road in the Margaret River wine making region of Western Australia, her destination a small cabin on a working farm.

As she settles in, she makes new friends, among them Clayton who runs a vineyard in the area. Their attraction is immediate but her scars run deeper than the surgeons knife, and for his part Clayton’s mother died of cancer and he is terrified of starting a relationship with Beth only to have her taken from him.


Summer Harvest is something of a hybrid. It combines the best elements of Contemporary Romance with what is essentially Women’s Fiction and it manages to effortlessly avoid the pitfalls of both. I wouldn’t call it a fun read, it’s serious and occasionally emotionally fraught but ultimately it’s emotionally satisfying and I loved it.

Screen Shot 2015-11-09 at 4.24.20 PMMany thanks to Penguin Books Australia and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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

The Comfort of Favorite Things (by Alison Kent)

Contemporary Romance

After escaping an abusive relationship, Thea returned to her childhood home of Hope Springs with a suitcase full of money and ragtag group of women, other survivors of domestic violence. She immediately bought a decrepit old house and a shop with plans on turning the house into a shelter for women on the run from their abusers and the shop as a place to get them working and earning a few dollars.

Then her boyfriend from high school walks in the door and she finds herself dealing with her past as well as her present.

The last time Dakota saw Thea was the night before he was dragged off to prison for beating up his sister’s rapist six ways to Sunday. After his release he hit the road and it’s only now with the birth of his niece and his sister getting married that he has returned to Hope Springs. But despite everyone wanting him to hang around, the road is calling him and once he finishes the renovation for Thea he plans on moving on.


Such a beautiful, sweet book. It’s about damaged women who are getting their lives back and I really found myself engaging with all of them. While it sits comfortably in Contemporary Romance there are definitely some elements which I would describe as Women’s Fiction. Truthfully the romance didn’t really start till the last 30% of the book and that’s fine. Everything about this book is great.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

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

Dog Crazy (by Meg Donohue)

Women’s Fiction

When Maggie moves across the country it’s for a fresh start and to open her own practice as a grief counselor specialising in the grief of losing a beloved pet. Then her dog suddenly dies and her fresh start comes to a shuddering halt and she is crushed with anxiety. Agoraphobia, mysophobia, fear of heights and social anxiety have all worked together to make her a prisoner within her home.

Then Anya, a surly young woman meets her at the insistence of her older brother. Anya insists that her dog didn’t run away but was stolen and she is searching the streets of San Francisco for him. Maggie knows she can help Anya and that Anya desperately needs her help, but she won’t accept it unless Maggie helps her look for her dog.

Together they search, Maggie battling her anxiety every step and Anya finding the friendship she needs.


I have so much love for this book. And it’s not just that I love dogs and anyone who knows and loves dogs will see their dog in this book. It really is a book with a big heart. It’s simple. Cute. Quirky. And had me from the very beginning.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.07.24 pmMany Thanks to William Morrow Paperbacks and Edelweiss for providing me with this ARC.

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

The One Plus One (by Jojo Moyes)

Women’s Fiction

Jess is a single mother, working two jobs, and struggling to earn enough money to raise her two children. Despite her difficult circumstances she is relentlessly optimistic and honest to a fault. But when she finds £500 belonging to Ed, a company director whose house she cleans, she finds the temptation too difficult to resist and pockets the money.

Nicky was abandoned by his father and mother and despite not being related by blood finds a mother in Jess. But despite her relentless optimism, there are some things she can’t solve, and as the target of town bullies he struggles with depression and withdraws into himself.

Tanzie is a math prodigy and desperately wants to attend St Mary’s Private School where her talents will be nurtured, but despite receiving a generous scholarship money is still tight and they desperately need to find a way to make up the difference.

When Jess hears about a math olympiad with a prize of £5000 she sees an answer to their problems. She will solve Tanzie’s problem and get Nicky out of town and the bullies for a while. But before they have even left town, they are pulled over by police and she finds herself in even more hot water for driving an unregistered and uninsured car.

Then Ed steps in.

Ed is a founding director of a software company, but he has been suspended from work and is being investigated by police for insider trading. Everything he has built is crashing down around him but then he sees Jess who has nothing but still manages to be optimistic and he decides to help.

As they all cram into his Audi, along with the dog, they begin the road journey to end all road journeys.  Travelling to Scotland by back roads because Tanzie gets violently ill if the car exceeds 40mph.  As they travel they manage to forget their problems and Ed finds in this odd-ball family a place where he manages to fit in. But as their time on the road draws to its conclusion all their problems come crashing back in on them and it becomes apparent that a happy ending might not be possible for them.


There is a beautiful ache to The One Plus One. At times it makes you want to cry for this family who do everything right but still get beaten down.  It’s sad and beautiful, ultimately life affirming and just a really beautiful book.  Highly recommended.

Screen Shot 2014-02-16 at 4.32.33 pmYellow, Orange, Red –– what it means: http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l

Bird After Bird (by Leslea Tash)

Women’s Fiction /  Contemporary Romance

After the death of her father, Wren returns to her childhood home in Indiana. Her plan is to sell the family home as quickly as possible so she can return to her life in Chicago. But when she discovers a journal her father left her, a journal which calls into question the path she has chosen for herself, she is forced to make some choices.

Laurie is carrying the guilt over two deaths. His fiancée, a dog handler who died while on a search and rescue, and a friend who was killed by a road side bomb. When he meets Wren he finds a chance for redemption, a chance to move forward with his life. But Wren has her own issues and finds herself pushing him away even while she knows he is exactly what she wants.

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Bird After Bird is something of an odd bird. It doesn’t quite fit into the contemporary romance genre and it isn’t quite women’s fiction. It’s written with a measured pace from alternating points of view and honestly for the first 20% or so of the book I struggled. But that initial effort paid off and by the half way mark I was well and truly sucked in.

Laurie is a returned serviceman. Contemporary Romance would demand that he be a Navy SEAL. Thank you Ms Tash for making your hero a motor mechanic!!! I bang my head against the metaphorical wall every time I read a romance hero is a SEAL. That’s just one refreshing thing in a book which somehow manages to be both whimsical and show very real human emotions. A lot of love for this book.

DISCLOSURE: I am a friend of the author on both Facebook and Goodreads.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 6.07.24 pmMany thanks to Leslea Tash for providing me with this ARC.

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