Category Archives: Contemporary

Review: Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman

perfect girlTitle: Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman
Publisher: Notting Hill Press
Genre: Contemporary, Humor/Satire, Fiction
Length: 326 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Cinderella meets Falling Down in this wickedly funny tale about having it all

Carol is perfect… at least that’s what everyone thinks. In reality she’s sinking fast – her family treats her like their personal assistant and her boyfriend is so busy with work that he’s got her single-handedly running their relationship. Not that her job is any easier. As the only woman on the bank’s trading floor she spends twelve-hour days trying not to get sworn at or felt up by colleagues who put the “W” in banker.

How long can she go on pleasing everyone else before she snaps and loses it all?

With humour and empathy, Perfect Girl lays bare the balancing act that working women face in a man’s world

The Review:

If you have ever felt pulled in far too many directions, then you do not want to miss Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman. Heartfelt with (mostly) charming characters, this novel provides a humorous but realistic perspective that is sure to resonate with anyone who has found themselves overcommitted due to other people’s expectations.

Carol Colbert is in her mid-twenties and while she is extremely likable, she lets everyone take advantage of her. With a high pressured job as an investment analyst, her boss and co-workers are sexist, condescending and refuse to give her credit for her hard work. Carol’s family is just as bad-her mother and sister are incredibly demanding and they browbeat her into the tasks they do not want to be bothered with. Her boyfriend of two years is working long hours and overall, he is neglectful, forgetful and leaves the planning of their social life in her capable hands. Adding to Carol’s already hectic schedule is her friend Harriet’s foray into online dating and with her abysmal track record, Carol finds herself vetting Harriet’s perspective dates for her. Stretched way too thin, it is only a matter of time before Carol snaps and discovers that perfection is not only exhausting but extremely overrated.

Carol is the perfect daughter, friend and employee. Although she has little free time, she finds it impossible to resist the requests from her family and friends. Throughout the course of the story, Carol halfheartedly tries to refuse everyone’s increasingly outrageous demands, but she has learned it is easier to give in rather than say no. It is frustrating watching her give in time and again, but that makes it all the more gratifying when she finally says enough is enough. Carol takes the time to examine how she reached this point in her life and most importantly, she takes full responsibility for allowing herself to become everyone’s doormat.

Perfect Girl is a fantastic novel that is fast-paced and engaging. Carol is an endearing protagonists and it is impossible not to like her despite how exasperating she is at times. The plot is well-executed and although Michele Gorman takes a humorous approach to a serious topic, she raises valid points that readers will be able to relate to. I highly recommend this vastly entertaining and thought-provoking novel to anyone who enjoys contemporary fiction.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Michele Gorman, Notting Hill Press, Rated B+, Review, The Perfect Girl

Review: Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray

loving himTitle: Loving Him Off the Field by Jeanette Murray
Santa Fe Bobcats Series Book Two
Publisher: InterMix (Penguin Group)
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 255 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sometimes the best defense is a good offense…

Aileen is a sports reporter trying to make a name for herself without relying on her looks, And what better way to do that than to break a scandal about one of the fastest rising stars on the Santa Fe Bobcats? Killian seems too good to be true, so she knows he must be hiding something…

It’s hard enough breaking into the NFL—even more so when you’re a single dad. Killian isn’t proud that he’s keeping his son a secret, but his ex has a reputation that could tarnish his squeaky clean image for good. So when Aileen starts sniffing around, Killian decides to distract her by any means necessary.

But Aileen is more than capable of giving as good as she gets…

The Review:

Loving Him Off the Field, the second installment in Jeanette Murray’s Santa Fe Bobcats series, is a very engaging love story between an up and coming journalist and a publicity shy pro football player. This wonderful novel features a slow-burning romance, a refreshing storyline and genuine, likable characters, and it is an positively delightful read.

Killian Reeves is quiet and unassuming, and he keeps his private and professional lives completely separate. Unlike the typical highly paid athlete, he does not have an over-inflated ego nor is he interested in groupies or the limelight. Instead, he leads a quiet, solitary life and although he likes his teammates, he keeps to himself. Much to Killian’s surprise, he is intrigued by reporter Aileen Rogers, but he is dismayed when she begins to dig into his background in pursuit of a story.

Aileen is an excellent reporter but she is frustrated that her boss won’t assign her to any stories except fluffy human interest pieces.  She is thrilled to finally get a serious assignment, but she soon discovers that getting Killian to consent to an interview is next to impossible.   Aileen’s tenacity quickly pays off and he agrees to co-operate with her, but their professional relationship is soon complicated by their unexpected attraction to one another.

Killian and Aileen are both wonderfully developed protagonists and neither of them are the stereotypical characters. Killian is not the typical jock with an over-inflated ego. Instead he is very humble and down to earth. Aileen has integrity and she does not use sleazy tactics to get ahead. She is upfront and honest and she is always respectful of everyone’s right to privacy.

The sparks fly between Killian and Aileen right from their very first meeting but neither of them is looking for a relationship. They try to ignore their attraction, but once Killian kisses Aileen senseless, it is difficult for them to maintain a professional distance. They give in to their passion, but he has a few skeletons in his closet that he does not want her to uncover. When Aileen does finally learn Killian’s secrets, will their relationship survive Killian’s lack of trust?

Loving Him Off the Field is a steamy, sweet and humorous romance between two delightfully charming characters and I absolutely loved watching them fall in love. The plot is well-executed and the characters are easy to like. It is a fun, flirty and sexy addition to Jeanette Murray’s Santa Fe Bobcats series that old and new fans are sure to enjoy.


Filed under Contemporary, InterMix, Jeanette Murray, Loving Him Off the Field, Rated B, Review, Romance, Santa Fe Bobcats Series

Review: Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand

huck christmasTitle: Huckleberry Christmas by Jennifer Beckstrand
The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series Book Three
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary, Amish, Christian, Romance
Length: 353 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Now that they’ve happily married off two of their grandchildren, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next matchmaking challenge. What better way to celebrate the most heartwarming of seasons–and make Huckleberry Hill, Wisconsin, the place for unexpected love. . .

A difficult marriage has left the Helmuths’ widowed great-granddaughter, Beth, finished with wedlock. She’s content to live with them and make a life for herself and her toddler son. But once she turns down handsome Tyler Yoder’s proposal, it seems only fair to encourage him to find a suitable wife. Trouble is, his gentleness and generous ways are showing her how joyous a real meeting of hearts can be. . .

After a failed courtship, Tyler thought the best he could hope for in a wife was mere companionship. But spirited Beth is the one he longs to protect, and hold close. Earning her trust is the hardest thing he’s ever had to do. And soon, both will discover that forgiveness and understanding are gifts that only rekindled faith–along with the happiest of holidays–can bring.

The Review:

Huckleberry Christmas is the third heartwarming installment in Jennifer Beckstrand’s charming Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series. In this outing, matchmaking grandparents Anna and Felty Helmuth are pairing up their widowed great granddaughter Beth Hostetler with Tyler Yoder.

Beth and her young son Toby are living with Anna and Felty after her return to town following her husband’s death. Her marriage was far from idyllic and she has absolutely no plans to remarry. Beth is prickly and she fiercely guards her newly found independence. She is a little hot tempered, but once she cools off, she is quick to admit when she has made a mistake. Beth uses humor to deflect attention from her past but behind her cheerful facade, she is trying to put the ghosts from her marriage behind her.

Tyler is serious, even-tempered and unflappable. Having had his heart broken when his engagement ended, he is not looking for love when he meets Beth. He respects her need for independence but he finds ways to work around her objections to accepting some of his assistance. He takes her temper in stride and he is quick to forgive.

Tyler and Beth’s romance begins as friendship and their relationship evolves slowly over several months. Their interactions are light-hearted and laced with humor. As their friendship deepens into love, Beth is quick to push Tyler away but it is not until her past collides with the present, that she truly begins to heal. As she begins to let go of her anger toward God, Beth is finally able to recognize the blessings in her life.

Huckleberry Christmas is a wonderful novel of love, family and friendship. Once again, Jennifer Beckstrand’s gentle lesson of faith is thought-provoking and easy to relate to. The storyline is refreshingly unique with richly developed and likeable characters.   Old and new fans are sure to enjoy this heartfelt and engaging addition to The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series.

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Filed under Amish, Christian, Contemporary, Huckleberry Christmas, Jennifer Beckstrand, Kensington, Rated B+, Review, Romance, The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill Series, Zebra

Review: No Ordinary Home by Mary Sullivan

ordinary homeTitle: No Ordinary Home by Mary Sullivan
Publisher: Harlequin Superromance
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Author


She’s not who she seems…

Gracie Travers has a secret. She’s not the down-on-her-luck drifter she appears to be. Once America’s sweetheart, Gracie needs to keep below the paparazzi’s radar until she’s thirty. Then she’ll get her money and get off the street.

But one small mistake brings Deputy Sheriff Austin Trumball into her life. He’s attractive and oh-so-dangerous. If he learns who she really is, her anonymous days are over. Worse, Austin’s hard to resist, and their connection is terrifying. Soon he makes her want what she can’t have—a lover, a family and a home of her own.

Purchase Links: Amazon * B&N * Harlequin

The Review:

No Ordinary Home is a sweet contemporary romance by Mary Sullivan. Although it is an angst-free read, that is not to say the characters do not have problems to overcome. These issues are handled quickly which adds to the story’s overall enjoyment.

No Ordinary Home opens with Deputy Sheriff Austin Trumball crossing paths with Gracie Travers as he and his friend Finn begin their much anticipated vacation. Against Finn’s strenuous objections, Austin takes Gracie under his wing and she hitches a ride with them to their next destination. There, they meet up with Finn’s childhood friend, Melody Chase, and everything is quickly complicated when she recognizes Gracie and threatens to write an exposé that will thrust Gracie back in the media spotlight she has spent the past six years avoiding.

The characters are well-developed and they all have their share of emotional baggage. Gracie is hardened by her years spent on the road but her edges begin to soften as she finally finds the courage to face the past she has been running from. Melody is trying to come to terms with new information about the reasons why she and her mother spent so many years evading the father she never knew. Finn is mostly well-adjusted but he has a few hang-ups that threaten to destroy his burgeoning romance with Melody. On the surface, Austin seems to have escaped his dysfunctional childhood, but as he and Melody try to plan for their future, his issues become apparent.

The main storyline focuses on Austin and Gracie while the secondary story arc features Finn and Melody. Finn and Melody’s portion of the story is resolved fairly quickly but Austin and Grace’s issues are a little more serious so it takes longer for them to work through their individual problems. There are a few tense moments between Melody and Gracie, but they take the time to work through their differences as well.

No Ordinary Home by Mary Sullivan is a heartwarming novel of love and friendship. The characters are facing real life problems that readers can relate to ans the characters are well-developed. While they might not be as easy to like in the beginning of the story, their personal growth helps turn them into well-rounded, likable individuals by the novel’s conclusion. All in all, No Ordinary Home is lovely, easy to read story that fans of contemporary romances are sure to enjoy.

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Filed under Contemporary, Harlequin, Mary Sullivan, No Ordinary Home, Rated B, Review, Romance, Superromance

Review: The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield

missing placeTitle: The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Set against the backdrop of North Dakota’s oil boom, two very different mothers form an uneasy alliance to find their missing sons in this heartrending and suspenseful novel from the Edgar Award–nominated author of Garden of Stones.

The booming North Dakota oil business is spawning “man camps,” shantytowns full of men hired to work on the rigs, in towns without enough housing to accommodate them. In such twilight spaces, it’s easy for a person to vanish. And when two young men in their first year on the job disappear without a trace, only their mothers believe there’s hope of finding them. Despite reassurances that the police are on the case, the two women think the oil company is covering up the disappearances—and maybe something more.

Colleen, used to her decorous life in a wealthy Massachusetts suburb, is determined to find her son. And hard-bitten Shay, from the wrong side of the California tracks, is the only person in town even willing to deal with her—because she’s on the same mission. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, these two unlikely partners question each other’s methods and motivations, but must work together against the town of strangers if they want any chance of finding their lost boys. But what they uncover could destroy them both…

Sure to please fans of Sandra Brown and Gillian Flynn, The Missing Place is a moving chronicle of survival, determination, and powerful bonds forged in the face of adversity.

The Review:

The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield is an utterly heart-wrenching mystery that is so compelling, I found it impossible to put down. The novel is a starkly honest portrayal of two very different women who are united in their search for their adult sons who have inexplicably vanished from a remote North Dakota town. Set against the backdrop of brutal winter, their investigation uncovers disturbing information about the oil company both men work for but yields very few clues about their sons’ whereabouts.

The only thing that Colleen Carroll and Shay Capparelli have in common is their missing sons. Colleen is wealthy, uptight and married and she and her husband have given their son Paul every advantage that money can buy. Shay is a laid back single mom, devoted to her children and while money is scarce, she provided her kids a happy, stable life. Shay is quick to anger and she often acts before she thinks. Colleen is completely out of her depth, but her ability to smooth over difficult situations is particularly useful during their investigation.

Shay’s son, Taylor is outgoing, friendly and well-liked. Despite Taylor’s move to North Dakota, the two remain very close and they talk almost daily. In sharp contrast, Colleen’s son Paul is shy and quiet but he has a bit of a troubling past. His relationship with his parents is volatile and Paul shares very little information with them. Despite these differences, Taylor and Paul are close friends and their disappearance on the same day certainly seems to indicate foul play.

Colleen and Shay reluctantly join forces to search for their sons and they are immediately stonewalled by the local authorities and Hunter-Cole Energy, the oil company that employs Paul and Taylor. Their progress is slow and while they uncover alarming information about unsafe working conditions, workplace accidents and outright corruption, it is impossible for them to link the oil company to the disappearances. Further clouding their investigation is the discovery of Hunter-Cole’s unfair land leases on the nearby reservation, but again, Colleen and Shay are frustrated by the tribe’s unwillingness to discuss their sons’ disappearances.

As a mom with a son the same age as the missing men in The Missing Place, I can completely relate to Shay and Colleen’s frantic need to do whatever it takes to find their children. As someone who has lived in a small isolated town far from most modern conveniences, I think Sophie Littlefield does an excellent job of capturing not just the loneliness but the desperation to escape an area with limited resources. And since I have lived in areas with similar weather, I can safely say Ms. Littlefield’s depiction of the harsh winter conditions is incredibly accurate.  This close attention to detail greatly enriches the overall story, and brings the entire novel vibrantly to life.

The Missing Place is an incredibly complex and intriguing novel with a well-developed and diverse set of characters. The mystery surrounding the boys’ disappearance is captivating and the novel does not end once the truth is finally revealed. Sophie Littlefield provides readers with a glimpse of what happens after the key players return to their regular lives. While the loose ends are mostly wrapped up, everything is not all pretty and perfect but the conclusion to the story is realistic and true to the characters and their various relationships.

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Filed under Contemporary, Gallery Books, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Sophie Littlefield, The Missing Place