Thursday, November 15, 2018

Review - - Rancher Untamed


RANCHER UNTAMED
By Katherine Garbera
Publisher: Harlequin Desire
Release Date: October 1, 2018
Reviewed by Hellie
 



For Pippa, what should have been a simple one night stand before she takes her life back turns into something much more complicated. She’s been in hiding for four years until she comes of age and can return to inherit her place as head of a global jewelry corporation and finally be out from under her father’s thumb and insistence for the right man (read: hand-picked husband) to guide the helm. On her last week in hiding, she finally decides to have a fling with her temporary home’s Most Eligible Bachelor, Diego Velasquez. Diego is also the head of his family’s multi-million dollar corporation, and he has had eyes for Pippa since he first met her--though she’s been determined to evade him. Until now.

Pippa buys Diego at the charity bachelor auction, and they go out on a whirlwind date, which of course, ends up with the whirlwind whisking off their clothes and there being lots of happy, naked fun times. Until the morning after. Diego has no idea of Pippa’s other identity, though he does know she’s a secretive woman; and Pippa is dismayed to find that her carefully laid plans to be casually laid blows up in her face. The rationale was simple: a relationship with Diego would never work, but having a little bit of pleasure is better than none at all, right? Except now she’s questioning the future she was so sure she was getting; and the possible future she’s leaving behind.

Both the hero and heroine are very likeably flawed and the conflict was real and deep enough that I did wonder how such a long distance relationship could work out. However, as promised, Ms. Garbera does make it work--and Diego and Pippa get their much deserved happily ever after. For me, the story felt a little thin. This story lives up to all the expectations of a Harlequin Desire (200 pages, lots of sex, HEA)--I’m afraid my lack of enthusiasm stems more from the constraints of those expectations than the characters themselves.

If you love quick sexy reads with heroes who are conscientious, kind, and smoldering in that “consent is sexy” way, throw this book in your cart and take it for a spin. If, however, you prefer more story to sexy times, more high-leg to thongs, and more probable HEA to possible HEA, maybe find a longer book set in a period before g-strings.




Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Winner - - Maggie Robinson








The randomly chosen winner of a signed, hardback copy of

Nobody's Sweetheart Now is:

Katie Chapman

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com




Winner - - Vanessa Kelly







The winner of a prize package from 

Vanessa Kelly is:

Lil

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Review and Q&A - - Unmask Me if You Can by Shana Galen


Unmask Me If You Can
By Shana Galen
The Survivors Series - Book 4
Published by: Shana Galen
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Reviewed by PJ
 




This masked lord... 
Lord Jasper, younger son of a marquess, suffered horrible burns fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He wears a mask to hide his face from the stares and screams and finds comfort in the shadows. Jasper is an exceptional bounty hunter, so when a woman summons him to her deathbed and asks him to find her runaway daughter before she passes away, he doesn't refuse. Jasper is close to his quarry when he's knifed by an assailant. Imagine his surprise when he regains consciousness in the arms of the woman he seeks. Except she's not at all what he expected.

Is not the only one with scars.
On a remote cliff on the sea, Olivia Carlisle calls her five-year-old son in from an approaching storm. But the little boy is more interested in the man he's found on the trail to their hidden cottage. Olivia fears men and wants nothing more than to leave the injured man where she found him. But his knife wound is severe, and with the approaching storm, she knows leaving him will condemn him to death. As Jasper begins to heal, Olivia acknowledges her attraction to him, even though such emotions terrify her almost as much as returning to London. Jasper must convince her that her only chance at safety is to challenge the man who pursues her. They must travel into the lion's den—he to face his vulnerability and she to face her worst fears.


My thoughts:

I've enjoyed all of the books in Galen's The Survivors series but Jasper and Olivia's story is my favorite. They both carry deep emotional trauma that has led them to hide from others. For Olivia, it meant running away from everything and everyone she knew while Jasper hides his burns beneath a silk mask and his emotional vulnerability even deeper. I liked that the first half of the book takes place in Olivia's secluded cliff-side cottage with the only human interaction between Jasper, Olivia, and her five-year-old son, Richard. It gives this wary couple the necessary time and seclusion to let down their guards enough to become friends, and possibly more, before they have to face the challenges that await in London. I admired Olivia's strength, the tough decisions she made to protect her son and herself, her determination to take back control of her life once the decision to finally confront her attacker is made, and to fight for both happiness and love. I appreciated Jasper's patience and care in light of Olivia's fears, his gentleness with both her and Richard, and his determination to protect them at any cost to himself. These three belong together and I was cheering them on the entire way. 

Speaking of Richard, I love that kid! He's an energetic, inquisitive, scene-stealing, heart-grabbing sweetheart. Many of his scenes are infused with humor (he is a five-year-old boy, after all) but there are some between Richard and Jasper that are so tender and poignant I was almost brought to tears. Theirs is a love story of a different kind and it captured my heart just as surely as the love between Jasper and Olivia.

There are nine more books planned for Shana Galen's The Survivors series. Based on the quality of the first four, I need to make more room on my keeper shelves! 


~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I recently had the opportunity to interview Shana Galen. I hope you enjoy our Q&A below. Don't miss the giveaway at the end!


Welcome to The Romance Dish, Shana! Unmask Me If You Can is your fourth Survivors story. How many more books are planned for this series?

Initially, I’d planned 12 books, but then I realized I had to write a book for Benedict, the leader of the troop. So there are 13 planned now—9 to go!

What can you share about the next book and when do you expect it to be published?

The next book is about Benedict Draven, the leader of the Survivors (aka Draven’s Dozen). At the start of the war, he saved a young woman by marrying her in a Catholic ceremony he considers completely illegal. He didn’t expect to ever see her again. The Claiming of the Shrew is what happens when Catarina shows up in London after the war, wanting an annulment so she can marry another man. It will be out in April 2019.

I'm already eagerly anticipating Draven and Catarina's story based on their brief interaction in Unmask Me if you Can

I have loved the characters in this series. Will we have an opportunity to catch up with any/all of the couples before the series comes to an end?

That’s going to be a lot of couples! I don’t know that I could do that in a book and still have it focus on the main characters. Maybe I’ll do an epilogue like I did for the Jewels of the Ton series.

A series epilogue! I like that idea!

What was your favorite scene to write in this book? What was the most difficult?

My favorite scenes to write were those with Jasper and Richard, the heroine’s 5-year-old son. Jasper wears a mask and avoids kids, who are generally afraid of him. He doesn’t know what to do with this kid, who thinks scars are cool and asks all those questions we adults aren’t quite sure how to answer.

The most difficult to write were the intimate scenes with Jasper and Olivia. They’ve both faced so much trauma, and I really wanted to respect that and also show that love can overcome anything.

I thought you did an outstanding job of crafting the intimate scenes between Jasper and Olivia with great care. And the scenes between Jasper and Richard were some of my favorites in the book. 

I’m currently enjoying the crisp, clear days, cool nights, and hearty soups and stews of fall, not to mention the football. I love football! What’s your favorite season? What makes it so? Is there a favorite food or activity that reminds you of it?

My favorite season is spring. I love the warm (but not too warm) weather, the flowers blooming, the baby animals, and dining al fresco. I always feel like it’s really spring when all the St. Patrick’s Day activities kick off. My daughter does Irish dancing, so we do a lot of parades and shows around St. Pat’s.

Let's do a fast five!

Hot cider or Hot chocolate? Hot cider

Dresses or jeans? Dresses

Mountains or ocean? Ocean

Christmas decorations before or after Thanksgiving? After, of course

Must-have Thanksgiving side dish? Mashed potatoes

I shouldn't have asked that last question. Now I'm hungry for mashed potatoes! lol

Thanks so much for visiting with us, Shana. Do you have anything else to add? Would you like to ask my readers a question?

Readers, I’m about to start having my cover designer work on the cover for The Claiming of the Shrew. All the series covers feature women in beautiful dresses. What color should Catarina’s dress be? (PJ, jumping in to add that the colors of the dresses on the first four covers have been pink, light blue, peach, and mint green.)

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM, November 14 will receive their choice of one of the following books: Third Son's a Charm, No Earls Allowed, or An Affair with a Spare. (print or digital; open internationally)





Monday, November 12, 2018

Helping Julie Anne Long






You all know how much I love Julie Anne Long's books. Whether she's writing lush historical romances or humorous and heartfelt contemporaries, her words always lay bare my every emotion, leaving me laughing out loud or mopping up tears, or doing both, often at the same time. 







Julie lives in Northern California and I knew she was in the vicinity of the Camp Fire that began last week. Thursday night, after the fire had unexpectedly exploded in scope, she posted on her Facebook page that she, her sister, and her sister's family had evacuated and by that I mean they ran for their lives with little more than the clothes on their backs. Julie had enough time to grab her cat, her laptop, and some paper files. That's it. This is the photo she posted Thursday, taken from her car as they inched out of town while surrounded by roaring flames. 





Today, Julie's worst fears were realized when it was confirmed that her house - and everything in it - is gone. What once was a lifetime of memories - photos, books, her guitars, her RITA® award, everything - is now a pile of ash. 

I've had the opportunity to get to know Julie Anne Long over the years. She's a funny, kind, multi-talented, and fiercely independent woman. She would never ask for help for herself so others in the Romance community are asking for her. If you would like to help, here are a few ways:

All About Romance has set up a GoFundMe account. Click here for details.

A gmail account has been set up for anyone who would like to send an e-gift card to help. Visa gift cards, as well as Walmart and Amazon have been suggested.

If you would like to send a message of support to Julie, you can do so my posting at her Facebook page (link here) or comment on this post and I will see that it's forwarded to her. 

Thank you for keeping Julie and everyone who has been, and will be, impacted by these fires in your thoughts and prayers. 


Tour Review - - On Magnolia Lane


On Magnolia Lane 
By Denise Hunter
A Blue Ridge Romance - Book 3
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: November 6, 2018
Reviewed by PJ




Pastor Jack McReady has secretly carried a torch for Daisy for two long years. She’s a member of his congregation, after all, and she’ll never see him as more than a trusted counselor. Jack’s best friend Noah has taken every opportunity to encourage his lovesick friend, but when Noah catches wind that Daisy has joined an online dating site, he takes matters into his own hands and orchestrates a meet-cute of the most unconventional kind.
Owner of the local flower shop, Daisy Pendleton is content with her small-town life, but she’d sure like someone to share it with. After several disastrous first dates, she’s about to give up—and then she finds a seemingly wonderful man online. Daisy gets to know TJ through a series of messages but finds herself spending more time with Pastor Jack outside of the church at the same time. What she doesn’t know is that her online prospect and Jack are one and the same.
Just as Daisy’s love life starts to look promising, a mysterious woman appears in town. Daisy is faced with a revelation about her family that turns her world upside down, and she looks to both TJ and Jack for help.
Jack must find a way to reveal himself as her online suitor without breaking her heart and losing her trust. As Daisy faces Jack’s betrayal, she’ll have to learn to extend grace to herself, her family, and the man she’s grown to love.

My thoughts:
This is a sweet, humorous, and heartwarming Christian contemporary romance set in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains of northern Georgia. It's the third book in Hunter's Blue Ridge Romance trilogy but, while characters from previous books make appearances and I'm guessing Daisy and Pastor Jack have evolved over the course of the series, I had no difficulty reading - and enjoying - this third book on its own. 

One of the things that brought this story to life for me is Hunter's depiction of Daisy and Jack. Both are fully dimensional characters, rooted in their faith, but oh, so human, with all the insecurities, challenges, frustrations, and errors of judgment that encompasses. Jack, in particular, is such an endearing character. I liked him so much that I found myself giving him encouragement and advice as I traveled his journey with him, especially during those scenes where his shyness with women - Daisy, in particular - is on display. It took me a little longer to embrace Daisy. In the beginning, I wondered if she and Jack really could be a good match but the growth she exhibits during her journey, especially as it relates to an unexpected obstacle life throws her way, brought me into her cheering section as well. In the end, I happily embraced them both, individually and as a couple, with the confidence that their HEA will be filled with laughter and love - of each other, of their families, of their small community, and of their Lord. 


~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you enjoy pastor heroes in the books you read?

Do you have any favorites you'd recommend?

Click to follow the rest of the TLC tour for On Magnolia Lane.






Thursday, November 8, 2018

Today's Special - - Vanessa Kelly





I'm happy to host one of my favorite authors today and especially excited because it's in celebration of her new book, The Highlander Who Protected Me. I have to say, I really do love that cover! Vanessa Kelly introduced her Kendrick brothers in her last book and I am all in with this fiercely loyal, somewhat dysfunctional, rowdy, but loving, group of highlanders just begging for happy endings. Welcome back, Vanessa!








Make ‘Em Laugh
Vanessa Kelly

Hi, everyone, and my thanks to PJ for hosting me. The Romance Dish is one of my favorite places on the world-wide-interweb, and I love being here!

I’m particularly thrilled to be celebrating the release of THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME, the first book in my new Scottish historical romance series. The series features the brawny and sometimes rambunctious brothers of the Kendrick Clan, who were first introduced in THE HIGHLANDER'S PRINCESS BRIDE (Improper Princesses 3).

THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME is Royal and Ainsley’s book. For me, it’s very close to what authors call “the book of the heart.” Both Royal and Ainsley are emotionally wounded—Royal, from his wartime experiences, Ainsley, from the result of an assault. But they are fierce survivors, each of them battling the circumstances and people trying to hold them back. I love these two because they never, ever give up—even when they’re fighting with each other! And I also have to admit I cried more while writing this story than with any of my other books.

So, THE HIGHLANDER WHO PROTECTED ME has lots of
feels but it has quite a bit of humor, too. Over the years, I’ve discovered that much of the humor in my books comes from secondary characters. In this book, it’s Royal’s grandfather, Angus. He’s an old-school Highlander curmudgeon who was first introduced in THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE, and he’s been trying to take over the series ever since (I’ve had a few stern discussions with him about that). Angus is crusty as heck, but he’s devoted to his family and clan, and will do anything to protect them—including insulting Ainsley on a regular basis, since he’s absolutely convinced she’s not good enough for his grandson. Ainsley being Ainsley, she doesn’t take it lying down, and the two have a fairly lively relationship.

And let me just say that Angus has a way with words. His favorite label for Ainsley is Sassenach saucebox (which she kind of is), but he really hits his stride when it comes to nicknames for the villain of the book—Lord Codpiece is the first that comes to mind, and it goes from there.

Here’s a short snippet from the book, which takes place on Royal and Ainsley’s wedding night. They’ve retreated to Castle Kinglas, the family estate in the Highlands, hoping for some quiet time for themselves, and Ainsley’s infant daughter, Tira. Royal has been desperate to get Ainsley alone, and he finally achieves his goal.

**

They were just about to sink down onto the plump cushions of the chaise when the library door flew open and thudded against the wall. Ainsley jerked back, her foot tangling around his boot, and they almost tumbled to the floor as Angus stomped into the room.

“Oh, my God,” she gasped as Royal set her upright.

His grandfather scowled at them. “I’ve been lookin’ all over the bloody castle for ye.”

Ainsley leveled an accusatory glare at Royal. “You promised your family would leave us alone. You promised.”

“I bloody well didn’t ask him to come,” Royal protested. “Why the hell are you here, Grandda? It’s practically the middle of the night.”

“Och, it’s not that late,” Angus replied with a casual wave. “I’ve been here for at least a half hour, after a nice ride up from Glasgow. And that glad I am to be away from the stinkin’ city and back home.”

Royal felt like the top of his head was about to fizz up like an exploding squib. “But why are you here?”

“I couldna sleep knowin’ that the little lassie would be missin’ her grandda. So here I am.”

“Oh, my God,” Ainsley repeated, sounding utterly appalled.

“Do Nick and Victoria know you rode up?” Royal demanded.

Angus hunched his shoulders and gave him a placating smile. “Dinna fash yourself, lad. I left them a grand little note to explain.”

“Grandda, this is our wedding trip.” Never had Royal been closer to throttling Angus than he was at this moment.

“Aye, that’s the point. I can watch out for Tira while ye and the missus have a wee bit of private time. Ye’ll hardly even know I’m aboot the place.”


Ainsley switched her Medusa glare to Angus. “You are so irritating. I’m supposed to be looking after my daughter, in case you’ve forgotten.”

“Aye, and ye can bloody well use all the help ye can get,” the old man retorted, “especially since the puir wee bairn is feeling poorly. I could tell Tira was off her feed before ye left. It’s no wonder I decided to follow ye.”

When Angus tapped the side of his nose, trying to look wise, Royal had to hold back a scoff. The excuse sounded like complete bollocks to him.

Ainsley went from irate to anxious in a matter of seconds. “What do you mean poorly? I was with her an hour ago, and she was asleep.”

“She’s not sleepin’ now. That’s why I came down to fetch ye.” He flashed her a toothy smile. “As ye say, yer her mother. I knew ye’d want to be with her.”

Ainsley picked up her skirts and pelted out of the room.

Sighing, Royal followed in her wake, Angus falling into step beside him.

“Is Tira really sick, or was that just an excuse to come to Kinglas?” he asked his grandfather.

Angus shrugged. “Probably just another tooth coming in, but ye never know.”

Royal shot him a dirty look. “One of these days, Grandda, I will kill you.”

Angus snorted. “Laddie, none of ye would know what to do without me, least of all yer new missus. Even for a Sassenach, she’s bloody hopeless.”

**

You can read longer excerpts from the book on my website: https://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/books/the-highlander-who-protected-me/

I often find secondary characters easier to write than my main characters. As a reader, I think a great secondary character can really add texture and color to a book. Sometimes, those characters are so strong they even demand their own stories!

Who are some of your favorite secondary characters in novels, romance or otherwise? 

One person who comments will win signed, print copies of THREE WEEKS WITH A PRINCESS and THE HIGHLANDER’S PRINCESS BRIDE (Improper Princesses 2 & 3), plus some fun book swag.



Lady Ainsley Matthews, heiress and darling of the ton, was expected to make a magnificent match. Instead she’s hiding on a remote Scottish estate, terrified that her vicious former fiancĂ© will use her pregnancy to force her into marriage. One man can help her—Royal Kendrick, son of a distinguished Highland clan. Though a mistake drove them apart long ago, Royal is the only person Ainsley trusts to protect her baby—even if that means agreeing to never see either of them again . . .
 
Scarred in body and soul by war, Royal suddenly has a purpose—caring for an innocent babe and thereby helping the woman he can’t stop loving. But when Ainsley ultimately returns to Scotland, determined to be a real mother to her child in spite of the risk, there’s only one solution: marriage. And only one likely outcome: surrendering to the desire that’s simmered between them for so long, no matter how dangerous it may be . . .




Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review - - Archangel's Prophecy


Archangel’s Prophecy (A Guild Hunter Novel)
By Nalini Singh
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Reviewed by Nancy




Archangel’s Prophecy is the latest installment in the story of Raphael, the Archangel of New York, and Guild Hunter Elena Devereaux. The story opens with ominous signs, odd behavior from birds, a lava sinkhole in the Catskills, and an unfamiliar voice in Elena’s mind warning that she must die.  The Cascade, the uncontrolled power that changes angels and archangels, is surging.

On top of that, her angelic abilities are fading.  She suddenly has difficulty flying, injuring herself performing a maneuver she mastered long ago. Other physical problems manifest, and the angelic healers can’t explain why. They think her problems may be due to her unique situation as an angel Made by the ambrosia Raphael fed her as they fell from the sky over New York with Elena mortally wounded. Legends of angels of such making are ancient, but no one can find any records. Meanwhile, the physical changes and problems are accelerating.

The events of the Cascade claim much of Raphael’s attention, and he is also manifesting strange new abilities.  Elena worries that he’ll change so much that he’ll lose the bit of humanity loving her has given him, that he’ll become cold and remote and completely other. He grows increasingly concerned and frustrated by the changes in her and the lack of information and solutions.  As though all that weren’t enough, developments in China, the former domain of the megalomaniac archangel, Lijuan, hint that she may be causing trouble even though she is supposed to be deep in angelic Sleep.

Against the background of all these worries, Elena pursues the unknown assailant who almost killed her newly-Made-vampire brother-in-law. The investigation leads her to the murders of other vampires, acquaintances of his, that are apparently motivated by vengeance. The deterioration in her immortality accelerates, but she’s determined to solve this case before the mysterious assailant makes good his threat to kill her sister and niece.  A confrontation with the killer brings the changes in Elena to a crisis point. Desperate to save her, Raphael makes a drastic choice that endangers his life.

This is a powerful and wrenching story, clearly leading to a new phase in Elena and Raphael’s love. Although the ending is a cliffhanger in that we don’t know the result of Raphael’s choice, a bit leading into the end offers reassurance. Some readers will find that more satisfying than others.  Those who dislike cliffhangers in all their forms may want to wait and read Archangel’s Prophecy back to back with the next book. Those who just want to see what happens to this beloved pair and are fine with not knowing the details will not be disappointed.

Highly recommended, 5 stars

~Nancy




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Today's Special - - Maggie Robinson & Nobody's Sweetheart Now



Nobody's Sweetheart Now
By Maggie Robinson
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Reviewed by PJ




A delightful English cozy series begins in August 1924. Lady Adelaide Compton has recently (and satisfactorily) interred her husband, Major Rupert Charles Cressleigh Compton, hero of the Somme, in the family vault in the village churchyard.


Rupert died by smashing his Hispano-Suiza on a Cotswold country road while carrying a French mademoiselle in the passenger seat. With the house now Addie's, needed improvements in hand, and a weekend house party underway, how inconvenient of Rupert to turn up! Not in the flesh, but in - actually, as a - spirit. Rupert has to perform a few good deeds before becoming welcomed to heaven - or, more likely, thinks Addie, to hell.


Before Addie can convince herself she's not completely lost her mind, a murder disrupts her careful seating arrangement. Which of her twelve houseguests is a killer? Her mother, the formidable Dowager Marchioness of Broughton? Her sister Cecilia, the born-again vegetarian? Her childhood friend and potential lover, Lord Lucas Waring? Rupert has a solid alibi as a ghost and an urge to detect.


Enter Inspector Devenand Hunter from the Yard, an Anglo-Indian who is not going to let some barmy society beauty witnessed talking to herself derail his investigation. Something very peculiar is afoot at Compton Court and he's going to get to the bottom of it - or go as mad as its mistress trying.


My thoughts:

This book is so much fun, which seems a weirdly odd thing to say about a murder mystery. Nevertheless, it's true. For her first foray into English cozy mysteries, Maggie Robinson has hit it out of the park - or whatever the English equivalent would be - with this expertly crafted whodunit. From beginning to end, it's an absolute delight.

With impeccable timing, and wit, Robinson guides somewhat naive Addie as she explores her newly acquired independence, so rudely interrupted by her dead husband's ghostly presence, as dead bodies keep turning up during her house party. The story flows beautifully with perfectly placed twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to the identity of the killer or killers. There are several plausible suspects and Robinson drops clue crumbs here and there, keeping me - and everyone at her house party - wondering. All of the characters, primary and secondary, are well developed and contribute to the progression of the story in some way. Dev, the Scotland Yard Inspector, in particular, is one I hope we'll be seeing more of in future books. He and Addie have chemistry stirring between them that I'd love to see explored. Rupert, less than exemplary in life, shows great promise in death. The scenes between him and Addie are rife with humor and also a bit poignant. I don't know if he'll continue to be present in future books but I hope so. 

If you're in the mood for a roaring-twenties cozy mystery set in the bucolic English countryside with sparkling wit and banter, a well-crafted mystery, a likable protagonist, a charming, but meddlesome, ghost, a handsome inspector, and a house filled with potential murderers (could it be the school chum in the library with a candlestick?), then Maggie Robinson's Nobody's Sweetheart Now is just the book for you. It has my enthusiastic recommendation.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Welcome back, Maggie! I’m so excited to celebrate the release of Nobody’s Sweetheart Now, the first book in your English cozy mystery series. What a fun story! Please tell our readers what they can expect from this new series.

Well, I’m trying to conquer a new decade and a new genre, the 1920s classic mystery…with a touch of the paranormal. The book comes out next week, on November 13. I’ve written historical romances set in the Regency, Victorian and Edwardian eras, but I challenged myself to try something a little different. I’ve had more fun than should be legal. My heroine, Lady Adelaide Compton, is a widowed marquess’ daughter. She thought she was rid of her unfaithful husband Rupert, but finds out to her shock he hasn’t quite left this astral plane. He has to make up for his many sins before he can go in a heavenly direction, and discovers his talent for detection. A real detective inspector from Scotland Yard, Devenand Hunter, has no idea he’s being assisted by a ghost!

How many books are planned for the series?

The second, Who’s Sorry Now?, comes out next May, and I’m halfway done with the third, tentatively titled Make Believe. The book titles come from popular songs—it was a fabulous decade for timeless music, and there are a lot of songs! I’d like to write them to infinity…but all those bodies building up might give me pause, LOL. I never realized how enjoyable it is to kill characters rather than make them kiss.

Nobody’s Sweetheart Now is set in 1924 England, a time and place that I find fascinating. What is it about this era that inspired you to set your series there?

When I was in high school, I dressed as a flapper for a youth fellowship musical, and Charlestoned the night away—the seed was planted! The twenties were years of wild extremes, which provide lots of plot bunnies. I chose England, specifically the Cotswolds and London, since I’ve been a frequent visitor. I’m trying to follow in the footsteps of those Golden Age of Mystery authors, who were my first reading loves.
The aftermath of the Great War was particularly poignant; a whole generation of young men never returned. My antihero Rupert was a flying ace who became bored by peace time, and is even more bored by death!

I love the vintage autos and fashion described in this book. Please tell us about the car you’d be driving and clothes you’d be wearing if you could time-travel to the 1924 English countryside for a day. With money being no object, of course.

I just so happen to have a Pinterest board which brings me great pleasure and inspiration. Here’s the link: https://www.pinterest.com/maginme/lady-adelaide-series/ so you all can drool too! If my arms were not so flabby, I’d be wearing a sleeveless, sequined flower-embroidered teal silk crepe dress with as many diamonds and aquamarines as I could slap on. I would be chauffeured in a Bentley Landaulet, of course.

Will Addie be helping to solve cases on both sides of the pond?

In the second book, she’s just returned from America, where no one she knew was knocked off during her visit. I think I’ll keep killing off British people so Dev and Scotland Yard can get involved.

What was your favorite scene to write in this book?

For a while, poor Addie thinks she’s losing her mind every time Rupert turns up. Here’s the first page of Chapter 14:
“What are you doing snooping around?” Addie hissed into the bushes.
“Not snooping. Until fairly recently, I was the lord of this manor. Let’s just say I was surveying the property. And checking up on your welfare, too. You were unchaperoned. I don’t trust that foreign fellow.” Rupert stepped out from behind the hedge and brushed his suit off. For something that he’d worn now for six months under unusual conditions, it was holding up well.
“For heaven’s sake—not that you’d know anything about that—Mr. Hunter is not foreign! He was born in Chelsea.”
“Details. Nevertheless, that Sergeant Bob Whosis should have been there looking like an earnest bulldog, scribbling away. Or your maid Beckett, if you could convince her to get her nose out of Movie Weekly long enough. ”
“You pressed your nose against the glass, crossed your eyes and waggled your tongue at me while I was talking to him!”
“See? I don’t understand how you could call that snooping. Snooping requires stealth. Tip-toeing. Near invisibility. There I was, plain as day.”
Rupert always had an answer to everything. Addie wanted to slap him, but reminded herself he wasn’t really there.
Or was he? Could it be possible that she was really, truly being haunted by the ghost of her husband?

Fast five:

Hot tea or hot chocolate?
Hot tea. With too much sugar and a slice of lemon.

Dresses or jeans?
Yoga pants, though I don’t do yoga!

Christmas decorations before or after Thanksgiving?

While the kids and grandkids are home, we drag the tree and decorations up on Thanksgiving Day evening, then spend Friday puttering around. The tree is pre-lit, so there are no tangled strings of lights or cursing involved. The grandkids hang all their favorites in a bunch on basically one branch, and then when they’re gone, I redistribute them more evenly. I am a bad grandmother.

Ghosts: Yes or No?

Rupert seems pretty real to me now, LOL. I can’t rule them out.

Thanks, Maggie! Do you have anything you'd like to ask my readers today?

I’m going to turn your last question around—has anybody had a ghostly encounter or odd feeling in an old house or a woo-woo Ouija board experience? 

I’ll give away a signed hardcover book of Nobody’s Sweetheart Now to a random commenter even if you say no!


Monday, November 5, 2018

Tour Review - - Kiss Me at Christmas



Kiss Me at Christmas
By Valerie Bowman
A Playful Brides Novel
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Reviewed by PJ
 



A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe in Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman.
Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman...
Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?


My thoughts:

Daffin and Regina captured my attention while I was reading Bowman's last book, A Duke Like No Other. By the time I finished that book, I immediately went searching to find out if their story would be the next to be told and was thrilled to discover it was. I'm happy to report that it more than lived up to my expectations.

These are two characters I had no trouble pulling for. They're both likable, honorable, and despite being of different social classes, have a great deal in common. Their physical attraction is clearly evident though it's the friendship that forms between them that deepens the strength of their growing emotional bond. I love that in addition to falling in love they genuinely like each other. I enjoyed how Bowman gradually unveiled facets of their characters through their thoughts, actions, and interactions. I loved the banter between these two. There's plenty of humor, emotion, and action in this tale. 

I like a blend of mystery and romance and Bowman is an author who crafts this mix well. The mystery in this book is one that keeps the story moving forward and kept me guessing through most of the book. My only disappointment in regards to the mystery was that the person behind the threats wasn't made to pay for their actions. Though I understand the logic behind the author's decision, I really wanted justice for a character in whom my emotions were invested. Perhaps there will be an update in a future book?

If you're looking for a fast-paced historical romance with likable characters, humor, emotion, sensual chemistry, and a mystery that helps open our hero and heroine's eyes to the love that's within their grasp, all wrapped up in a festive happy ending, pick up a copy of Kiss Me at Christmas for your holiday reading. 




Saturday, November 3, 2018

Winners - - 9th Anniversary





Thank you to everyone who stopped by to help celebrate
The Romance Dish's 9th Anniversary!

The randomly chosen winners from the
9th Anniversary Giveaways are:

Linda Watson
(Package of books from 2018 post)

Mary Preston
(Print copy of Marry in Scandal from bookdepository.com 
from 2018 post)

Natasha Persaud
(Hot in Hellcat Canyon, The Forever Christmas Tree, and 
Dirty Little Secret from 2017 post)

Robin Brock
(Kindle copy of ONE of the following: Dirty Dancing at Devil's Leap, The Woman Who Couldn't Scream, The Duchess Deal OR Montana Heat:Escape to You from 2017 post) Winner's choice.

LSUReader
(Kindle copy of The Laird's Willful Lass and 
The Laird's Christmas Kiss from 2016 post)

Karen T (Nat's mama)
(Signed print copy of Born to be Wilde and 
Chasing Lady Amelia from 2015 post)

Patoct
(Signed copy of Sit...Stay...Beg from 2014 post)

Carol L
(Package of books from 2013 post)

Alina P
(Kindle copy of Deception OR Claiming Her 
from 2012 post) Winner's choice.

kelly mann
(Package of books from 2011 post)

Patty B43
(Package of books from 2010 post)

barbara johnson
(Kindle copy of Best Man and the Runaway Bride 
from 2009 post)

If you've won a Kindle copy of a book, please
send your email address to:
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

If you've won print books, please send
your full name and mailing address to:
theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

All winners: Please include the giveaway you've
won in either the subject line or the body
of your email.

Thanks!