Monday, May 21, 2018

Winner - - BVW18

The randomly chosen winner of a prize package from the 

Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Review - - The Sugarhouse Blues

The Sugarhouse Blues
By Mariah Stewart
Publisher: Simon and Schuster / Gallery Books
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Mariah Stewart revisits the Hudson Sisters in this book. The three sisters are still engaged in restoring the historic theater their father left them. The restoration has become more than a means of gaining the fortune Hollywood agent Fritz Hudson left his daughters. It has gained an appeal of its own based on its history and its importance to Hidden Falls, the Pennsylvania town where Fritz and his sister grew up. The money Fritz provided for the restoration is running low, and expenses keep mounting. Thus, the sisters find their challenge growing greater as they look for ways to make money.

Cara and Joe, the focus of The Last Chance Matinee, book one in the series, are present in this one with an HEA strongly suggested, and the uptight Allie is mellowing a bit and beginning to find herself. However, the focus in this second book is on Desdemona, the middle sister and former child star. Des had built a life for herself in Cross Creek, Montana, where she found her calling in the dog rescue shelter she funded, and she is still finding it difficult to be so far from her home. However, she also likes life in Hidden Falls and getting to know Cara, her half-sister, and Barney, her father’s sister, neither of whom she had known before her father’s death. Her friendship with Seth MacLeod, the three-time mayor of Hidden Falls, is becoming more intimate and more important, but Des is convinced that he is not her type. She stubbornly ignores the zing that Seth’s presence evokes until she can’t ignore it any longer. Meanwhile, an old friend of Fritz’s has returned to town, and the blushes he calls forth in Barney, whom he calls by her given name Bonnie because he thinks it fits her better, persuades the sisters that their beloved aunt may have a second chance at romance. However, Des cannot stop wondering about the identity of the woman in her father’s past, and strong hints of a mystery surrounding the death of Aunt Barney’s first love suggest trouble on the horizon.

The second book in Stewart’s Hudson Sisters series continues the development of the relationships among the three sisters and the effects their time in Hidden Falls is having on each of them. All the sisters are interesting, complex characters. The semi-estrangement between Des and Allie is excavated in this book, and healing has begun. I loved the romance between Des and Seth. He is an immensely appealing character, and the contradiction between his appearance and his teddy-bear beta character is a large part of his appeal.

He was tall, had a totally shaved head, and was dressed in a pair of worn jeans and a faded red T-shirt that had Born to Ride emblazoned over the Harley Davidson logo that did little to hide his broad chest. Deep brown eyes set off by long dark lashes drew her gaze. . . . Tattoos covered both well-toned arms. . . .”

Allie and her relationship with the wounded Ben Haldeman promise greater complexity, angst, and eventual satisfaction in the next book as well as more of the delightful Nikki, Allie’s teenage daughter and one of my favorite characters.

Readers who like romance/women’s fiction hybrids as much as I do will likely find this an engaging read. Those who missed the first book should follow this story with no difficulties since the author provides sufficient summary of what happened in the first book. In fact, those who read the first book may feel bogged down in summaries that are not needed for them. But this is a minor flaw in a strong novel that leaves the reader eager for more of the Hudson sisters and the people in their lives.

Friday, May 18, 2018

BVW18 - - Readers, Authors, & Fun...Fun...Fun

I love reader-author events. Big ones. Small ones. In-between ones. What's better than an opportunity to spend time with my tribe, chat about favorite stories and characters with fellow readers and bask in the glow of the authors who create them? Well...not much in my book. ;-) 

I'd been aware of the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation event since its inception but scheduling conflicts always prevented me from attending until last year. I had so much fun that I decided to repeat the experience. A couple weeks ago, I flew to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for #BVW18 where I thoroughly enjoyed three days filled with author bingo, romance jeopardy, hilarious mad libs, a fabulous author luncheon, a more casual author breakfast, raffle baskets galore, a terrific book signing, and more...more...more. Here are a few of the highlights:

Danica Favorite & Julie Moffett

Sheldon joined the festivities, courtesy of author Julie Moffett. Geek Girls - - and guys - - rule!

Rose Lerner

Historical Romance author, Rose Lerner came all the way from the West Coast for another fun weekend with happy readers.

Lenora Bell & Eloisa James

Prepping for the Royal Wedding? Lenora Bell and Eloisa James looking elegant in their fascinators!

I loved the centerpiece on Elicia Hyder's luncheon table. Lights Out Lucy, the first book in her new Music City Rollers contemporary romance series is so much fun!

Marina Adair & Nancy Naigle

Nancy Naigle had a fun Christmas theme at her luncheon table in honor of her book, Christmas Joy which will be part of Hallmark Channel's 2018 holiday movie lineup. How exciting is that! Here she is with fellow contemporary romance author, Marina Adair whose St. Helena's Vineyard books have already been made into movies and aired on Hallmark. Lots of talent at this table! (I still can't believe I managed to catch Nancy's antlers mid-blink!)

Eloisa James, PJ, Kim Castillo

With two of my favorite people: historical romance author, Eloisa James and her assistant, Kim Castillo. Have you started reading Eloisa James' new series: The Wildes of Lindow Castle? The first book Wilde in Love is already out and book #2, Too Wilde to Wed will be released May 29. They're so good!

PJ & Mary Burton/MaryEllen Taylor

If you love edge of your seat romantic suspense, you'll want to check out Mary Burton's novels. But if you enjoy emotional, contemporary women's fiction with mysteries from the past, check out her books written as Mary Ellen Taylor. Either way, she's an author you don't want to miss!

Nancy Herkness & PJ

Local reader, Karen Grage is a magician with a needle. This is the quilt she made for this year's raffle. Isn't it fabulous? All proceeds of the raffle were donated to a wonderful organization in the Milwaukee area that supports women battling breast cancer. Admiring the quilt with me is contemporary romance author, Nancy Herkness. Have you read her books yet? So good!

PJ & Karen Hawkins

With historical - and contemporary - romance author, Karen Hawkins. If you enjoy humor in your romance, you'll definitely want to check out Karen's books!

Lenora Bell, Pintip Dunn, PJ

You find the nicest people in the bar at romance events. I wonder what that says about us?  lol!

There's a whole lot of awesome in this photo. Lenora Bell is a 2014 Golden Heart® winner and a 2018 RITA® finalist who, in her day job, has lived and worked on five continents. New York Times bestselling YA author, Pintip Dunn is a three-time Golden Heart® finalist, 2016 RITA® award winner, and the 2018 RWA Golden Heart® Awards Emcee. She's also a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University and a graduate of Yale Law School. If all that isn't enough, these women are two of the most genuinely nice people I've ever met. Like I said...awesome.

Jade Lee/Kathy Lyons

This is what happens when authors who have been tucked away in their writing caves are set free. 

Sonali Dev

The always beautiful, always hilarious, superbly talented, Sonali Dev. 

Janna MacGregor & Kim Castillo

Here come the brides! Janna MacGregor and Kim Castillo before the author luncheon. Janna's tablemates had great fun dressing as brides to celebrate her wonderful The Cavensham Heiresses historical romance series.  

Lady Fury

Elicia Hyder brought along roller derby star, Lady Fury to help readers celebrate her new roller derby contemporary romance series. She was great fun!

Chefs at work! Tracy Solheim's table had so much fun celebrating her new Men of the Secret Service novel, Recipe for Disaster. Check out my recent review of the book here

Adorable Mary Poppins themed gifts for readers at Lenora Bell's luncheon table.

Shirley Hailstock

I have no doubt that the readers at contemporary romance author Shirley Hailstock's luncheon table all felt like Cinderella. And Shirley (in addition to being one of the kindest people around, that woman has mad skills) made all the decorations! 

I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse into this year's Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend. Visit my Facebook page for more photos from the event.

More small reader-author events are popping up around the country. Would you attend if one came to your area?

Which authors would you most want to meet?

Are any of you attending the Wild Deadwood Reads weekend in Deadwood, South Dakota June 7-9?

How about the RWA Literacy Autographing in Denver, Colorado on July 21st? 

Have you heard about Avon's KissCon in Atlanta, GA on October 20th?

Did you know Avon's also planning a KissCon 3-day weekend in Chicago April 5-7, 2019 with 20-30 authors in attendance?

One randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before 11:00 PM, May 20 will receive a package of books and swag from this year's Barbara Vey Weekend. 
(U.S. addresses only)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Review - - The Secret Ingredient for a Happy Marriage

The Secret Ingredient for a Happy Marriage
By Shirley Jump
Publisher: Grand Central / Forever
Release Date: May 15, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Shirley Jump focuses on thirty-year-old Nora O’Bannon Daniels in the second of her O’Bannon Sisters novels. Nora is the sister who has always done everything right, the responsible sister, the one with the happy marriage and two terrific kids. What none of her family or friends realize is that Nora’s perfect life is falling to pieces, and Nora herself is a heartbeat away from a meltdown. Her husband Ben has gambled away the family’s reserves and run them so far into debt that the bank is foreclosing on their home. Her once cheerful, lovable daughter is in trouble at school and distancing herself from her mother. Even her work at the family bakery is not problem free since Nora maintains the lie of her happy life with her mother and sisters. Nora is ready to give up on her marriage. She just has to decide how she will manage to support herself and her children. When the youngest O’Bannon, the wandering Margaret, affectionately known as “Magpie,” the sister to whom Nora has always been closest, calls with an invitation for a beach weekend, it gives Nora a reprieve from her troubles, albeit a temporary one.

Meanwhile, Ben is doing his best to make amends. He sought help for his gambling addiction, and it has been a year since he last gambled. But it may be too late to save his marriage. Nora has lost her trust in him and her belief in them as a couple. Her beach weekend offers temptation in the form of a charismatic artist neighbor. Magpie has problems of her own, but neither sister can quite decide to confide fully in the other. Nora returns, having found a place for herself and her children to live in her grandmother’s home, but with her basic problem unresolved.

Nora’s need for control and her obsession with being the perfect daughter, sister, wife, mother are rooted in her childhood experiences. Readers may grow impatient with Nora initially, but as she comes to understand herself better, they will likely find her more sympathetic. This complex tale is set against the background of this Irish-Catholic family’s faith, which adds another dimension to the novel. Secondary threads add more tension to the story. Magpie has a vital decision she must make.  Also, the friendship of O’Bannon mother, Colleen, and Roger O’Sullivan is moving into romance, but Colleen must change her perception of herself as the wife of Michael O’Bannon, the husband who has been dead for two decades, if she is to move forward with her life.

Jump again blends romance and women’s fiction with a deft touch as she continues the story of the O’Bannon women. If you like novels that are a mix of women’s fiction and romance with the heroine’s personal journey and female relationships as important as her romantic relationship, I think you will enjoy this book. It can be read as a standalone, but those who have read The Perfect Recipe for Love and Friendship will have a more nuanced reading experience. After two books, I am invested in these characters and eager for the next book that I expect to provide a conclusion to Magpie’s story.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Romantic Times - - The End of an Era

Kathryn Falk, founder of Romantic Times, now known as RT Book Reviews, announced today at the 2018 RT Booklovers Convention in Reno, Nevada that she is retiring and bringing RT to an end. I've never been to a RT convention but I've subscribed to the magazine for 18+ years and have discovered many favorite authors and books within its pages. It's the end of an era...but, possibly, the beginning of a new one.

A note from RT founder, Kathryn Falk:

Dear Readers,

After 38 years, I am retiring and ending my participation in publishing. It was a great privilege to have a lifetime experience in the book industry and specifically women’s fiction.
When I wrote Love’s Leading Ladies and published the first issue of Romantic Times in 1981, I tapped into a new emerging market. As a longtime reader, especially of historical novels, I was curious about the new Romance genre that was selling millions of books to readers who craved more sexually explicit books.
I began reading contemporary books as well as historical to research my book of 65 profiles, Love’s Leading Ladies. It included Bertrice Small, Barbara Cartland, Janet Dailey, Rosemary Rogers, Kathleen Woodiwiss, Virginia Henley, Janelle Taylor, Danielle Steel, and other bestselling female authors.
I became more curious about the industry and decided a newsletter was needed to alert readers to all the books being published. Readers like me want to know when new titles from their favorite authors were coming out, reviews of the top reads, profiles of authors and cover illustrators, and how to write a romance and get it published.
The first issue of RT, as it became known, arrived at the bookstores in June of 1981 and was an immediate success, even though it was in tabloid format on newsprint. White glossy paper was too expensive for my budget in those early days, and one had to paste down galleys for copy since computers and desktop publishing had not arrived on the scene. One of my neighbors was skilled in layouts and we produced an issue every two months.
By 1983, I had written How to Write a Romance and Get it Published, which went from hardcover to paperback (3 editions) for the next decade and inspired new writers to enter the Romance market. The next expansion came with our annual RT Booklovers Convention, attracting thousands of readers, writers, booksellers, librarians, literary agents, and publishers over the years. Recently, we celebrated the 35th convention in Reno, Nevada.
I want to thank the staffs of RT Magazine and RT Booklovers Convention, the editors and reviewers, and all who participated over the years. My appreciation to the publishers includes Avon, Harlequin, St. Martin’s and Kensington, who are still producing romance novels.
I offer my everlasting gratitude to all those who have been with me for much of the journey: Carol Stacy, Kathe Robin, Nancy Collazo, Kate Ryan, and Jo Carol, and, of course, my husband, Ken. They have contributed so much.
A special salute goes to my friends in the publishing industry for giving me the opportunity to create so many innovations for the Romance genre and to meet many lovely people and handsome men!
And to our many thousands of Dear Readers, thank you for your support and participation with us all these years! Whether you joined with us at the beginning or along the way.
May You Always Have Romantic Times,
Kathryn Falk

NOTE: will remain live for about a year with its 70,000 blogs, reviews and 37 years of awards available through the search function. After a year the site will go dark.

Following Falk's announcement, it was also announced that at least one of the people behind the RT conventions is involved with a new reader-author convention called BookLoversCon that is scheduled to launch May 15-19, 2019 in New Orleans.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

On Second Thought Review - - This Rough Magic

This Rough Magic
By Mary Stewart
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Release Date: May 26, 2011 (Made available in U. S
by Hachette in 2017; original U. S. publication by William Morrow, 1964)
Reviewed by Janga

Lucy Waring, a young actress who is “resting” after the play she was in folded, accepts the invitation of her three-years-older sister Phyllida Forli, wife of a Roman banker, to join her at the family villa on Corfu, the Greek island rumored to be the island on which Prospero and his daughter Miranda take refuge in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Phyllida, heavily pregnant with her third child, is delighted to have Lucy’s company, and Lucy, although disappointed that her first London role ended so soon, is enjoying time with her sister and the beauty of the island. She is intrigued when Phyllida tells her that the Forlis’ tenant at the Castello dei Fiori, the ancestral castle of Phyllida’s in-laws, is none other than the legendary British actor, Sir Julian Gale, who has ties to the island.

Lucy’s first encounter with a Gale is not with Sir Julian but with his son Max, a well-known composer. They meet when someone shoots at a dolphin who has first terrified and then delighted Lucy during a solo swim in the bay. Lucy confronts Max when she sees him in the shadow of the pines above the bay, thinking he is the gunman. He denies her charge, questions her veracity, and rudely suggests that she leave the way she came. It’s no surprise that she sees him as totally lacking in the charm his father exudes.

The episode with the dolphin is soon overshadowed by the presumed death of Spiro, twin brother of Miranda, Phyllida’s maid. According to the account of Godfrey Manning, the English author/photographer who employed the young man as an assistant and model, Spiro was washed overboard during a night-photography boat trip. When Lucy discovers a drowned body, she thinks it is Spiro’s, but when it turns out to be a shady local who is believed to be involved in a smuggling operation. Lucy feels sympathy for Godfrey, but her feelings for Max remain mixed until a midnight seaside meeting involving saving a beached dolphin and finding a lost diamond leads to a kiss that changes everything. Once it is clear that Max is the hero, the mystery moves at a rapid pace to its conclusion, but not before an unexpected swim, a scary motorcycle ride, and Shakespeare-worthy lines shock Lucy and the reader.

If you follow romance writers and readers on social media, you probably read some of the gleeful posts last fall when Mary Stewart’s many fans in the community exulted over their one-click purchases of Stewart’s books at long last available in digital format for American readers—and at bargain prices. I was one of those posting. Perhaps you were too. Stewart (1916-2014), credited as the founder of modern romantic suspense, holds a spot in the history of romance fiction that is equaled only by Georgette Heyer. She was not only immensely popular, but she was also a major influence on two generations of writers.

Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? (1954) was followed by Wildfire at Midnight (1956), Nine Coaches Waiting (1958), My Brother Michael (1959), The Ivy Tree (1961), and several others. I read—and reread them all and then reread them again and again. Stewart became the standard by which I measured other authors. I can’t count the times I concluded my comments on a book I had read with the words “It’s not as good as a Mary Stewart.” When I went on a marathon rereading after my purchases last fall, I found that Stewart’s storytelling was as powerful and her characters as engaging as they were when I first read these books more than half a century ago. I enjoyed all the books, but my favorites continue to be:

3. My Brother Michael (a Delphi-set story featuring a quiet Classics professor as the hero),
2. Wildfire at Midnight (a creepy Gothic tale set in the Hebrides), and
1. This Rough Magic.

Simon in My Brother Michael was among the first beta heroes with whom I fell in love, I date my fondness for the reunited lovers trope to my investment in Gianetta and Nicholas Drury in Wildfire at Midnight, but This Rough Magic was the one I pulled off the shelf to reread most often. It epitomizes for me all the things I love in Mary Stewart’s books.

She makes the settings in which her characters move so real I end the book feeling as if I have been to Greece or Scotland or England. That’s the feeling I get when I read this description of the bay in This Rough Magic:

The bay was deserted and very quiet. To either side of it the wooded promontories thrust out into the calm, glittering water. Beyond them the sea deepened through peacock shades to a rich, dark blue, where the mountains of Epirus floated in the clear distance, less substantial than a bank of mist. The far snows of Albania seemed to drift like clouds.

Her heroines (typically the first-person narrator) are intelligent but susceptible to errors, courageous (physically and morally) but capable of fear, and confident but with credible insecurities. Her heroes are strong but not invulnerable, proud but able to admit mistakes, and honorable but flawed. Her villains are not abstractions of evil but human creatures who have compromised their morality or who are twisted in some way—sometimes heartbreakingly so. Her secondary characters serve a purpose and add dimension to the story. My favorite scene in This Rough Magic is Lucy’s meeting with Sir Julian as the two actors, one famous and one unknown, speak lines from The Tempest to one another. (The literary allusions are another Stewart quality that I love.) Finally, her books may rank low on today’s sensuality scale, but they do not lack in sexual tension. Take this scene between Lucy and Max, for example:

For the second time that night I felt myself gripped, and roughly silenced, but this time by his mouth. It was cold, and tasted of salt, and the kiss seemed to last forever. We were both soaked to the skin, and chilled, but where our bodies met and clung I could feel the quick heat of his skin and the blood beating warm against mine. We might as well have been naked.

If you haven’t read Mary Stewart, you really should give her a try. If you have but it has been a while, download your favorite (Prices are still low), and settle in for a wonderful reread. I assure you the Stewart magic has not faded. If you were one of the one-clickers like me, how many did you buy? (Fourteen for me.) What’s your favorite?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Blog Tour Review - - The Good Luck Sister

The Good Luck Sister
By Jill Shalvis
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

Jill Shalvis returns her readers to Wildstone, California, ten years after Lost and Found Sisters for the story of Tilly Adams, the teenage sibling who almost stole the earlier book. Life has not turned out exactly as the teenage Tilly dreamed. Instead of creating a sensation in the art world, she has made a small splash at local art fairs and is beginning her career as a teacher of art at the local community college. Instead of being with her best friend turned love of her life, Dylan Scott, she is single, and the main male in her life is Leo, her six-pound “possible Maltipoo.”

Dylan left town eight years ago because he thought his leaving was best for Tilly. He joined the marines, and having survived some close calls in Afghanistan, although not without scars—physical and psychic—he has returned to Wildstone where he and his buddies Penn and Ric are the proud owners of Wildstone Air Tours. He has also registered for one of Tilly’s art classes.

Tilly is shocked to see Dylan in her class, and she insists that all she has to say to him is goodbye. But Dylan is tenacious, and he is committed to persuading Tilly that they deserve a second chance. The volatile chemistry between them helps to make his argument. This is a novella, so the reward of the HEA is not long delayed.

Although Quinn and Mick (who are about to become parents for the second time) provide a link to The Lost and Found Sisters and Penn and Ric tease readers with the possibility of new stories, the focus in this novella is solidly on Tilly and Dylan. Shalvis shifts between their past as best friends/first loves and their present. Readers who have not read the earlier book can follow their story without difficulty, but the novella will be a special treat for those whose hearts were won by the teens in the first Wildstone story.

No one is better than Jill Shalvis at creating characters with smart mouths and tender hearts. I can pay her no greater compliment than to say Tilly and Dylan as adults fulfilled their promise as teens, both as individuals and as a couple. They are likable, sympathetic characters with enough baggage to be interesting and enough living to be credible as adults.

I was pleased to see that the excerpts from “The Mixed-Up Files of Tilly Adams’s Journal” continued for their cleverness, for what they reveal about Tilly, and for the continuity with the novel. If you are a Shalvis fan, you will not want to miss this novella. If you like contemporary romance with humor, heart, and heat, The Good Luck Sister is a great appetizer for the books of an author with an extraordinary backlist. Add this one to your TBR.


Excerpt from The Good Luck Sister
Chapter 1

“I’ve finished my free trial of adulthood and am no longer interested, so please cancel my subscription.” From The Mixed Up Files of Tilly’s journal. 

     Tilly Adams sat in the vet’s office staring at the doctor in shock. “Say that again?”
     Dr. Janet Lyons smiled. “I think Leo faked being sick. Probably so you’d stay home from work today.”
     Tilly looked down at Leo. “You do know he’s a dog, right?”
     All six pounds of him smiled up at her. About a month ago, she found him on a street corner hiding beneath a bus bench; wet, dirty, cold, hungry and matted. He’d been Dobby meets Gremlin meets neglected, abused Care Bear. Tilly had looked around for an adult, and then had to remind herself that at twenty-five years old, she was legal herself. So then she’d searched for an adultier adult, but she’d been the only one in sight.
     So she’d scooped the little guy up and had brought him to the SPCA, who’d said he was about five weeks old, a possible Maltipoo, which meant he came by his care bear look naturally. He was malnutritioned and suffering from mange. They’d said they’d do what they could, and Tilly had turned to go. That had been when she’d seen all the eyes on her from an endless row of cages … and she’d realized her care bear would soon be sitting in one too. Then she’d heard herself offer to foster him until they found him a forever home.
     They’d found him one too. Tilly had signed the adoption papers last weekend in spite of the fact that just that morning he’d escaped his crate, eaten her favorite sneakers, destroyed her favorite pillow, and then yakked up the stuffing from the pillow.
     He was a destructo of the highest magnitude, and something else too. He had no idea how small he was. He went after her sister Quinn’s twenty-plus pound cat and her neighbor’s hundred pound black lab with the same fierce, fearless gusto. Turned out, the little guy had a bad case of small-man syndrome, which was how he’d earned his name.
     Leo, short for Napoleon.
     And now on top of Leo’s impressive chewing skills, his escape artist skills, and his ability to get up on her bed and yet still not understand why stepping in his own poop was annoying, he had a new skill.
     He’d faked being sick.
     Proud of himself, Leo smiled up at her. Smiled. An hour ago he’d been coughing and limping and acting all sorts of odd. Now he just kept smiling up at her while sending her meaningful glances at the open dog biscuit bin between her and the doctor.
     Dr. Lyons laughed and gave him one.
     “Dogs can’t fake sick,” Tilly said while Leo inhaled the biscuit whole before licking the floor to make sure he got all the crumbs. “Can they?”
     Dr. Lyons scooped him up and gave him a kiss on his adorable snout. “Yours did.”
     Tilly sighed. It was too early for this. She’d had a crazy late night. Not hanging at Whiskey River, the local bar and grill. Not at a club with friends. Not working on her designs for he upcoming graphic art showing.
     Nope, she’d been on a serious stress bender -- a marathon of Game Of Thrones. She hadn’t fallen asleep until after two and her alarm had interrupted her in the middle of a really great dream starring Jon Snow.
     Dr. Lyons handed Leo over. He immediately snuggled into the crook of Tilly’s neck and dammit, her cold heart melted on the spot and she hugged him close. “You’re sure he’s okay? He was coughing. And then he limped funny. And then he wouldn’t eat.”
     “But he hasn’t coughed once that I’ve seen. And he’s not limping either. And you said all his food vanished while you took a quick shower.”
     “Yes,” Tilly said.
     Dr. Lyons waited for her to catch up.
     Tilly sighed. “He really did fake me out.”

Have you read any Jill Shalvis books?

Tell us about your favorite Shalvis book or couple.

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment before 11:00 PM (eastern), May 16 will receive an e-book copy of The Good Luck Sister from the publisher. (U.S. / Canada only)

New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website,, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill
Facebook: @JillShalvis
Twitter: @JillShalvis

Barnes & Noble:

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Review - - The Luck of the Bride

The Luck of the Bride
By Janna MacGregor
Publisher: St. Martin’s
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Reviewed by Janga

March Lawson was just shy of her seventeenth birthday when her life took a radical turn. With her parents dead of influenza, instead of preparing for her debut in society, March found herself responsible for her younger sisters, Julia, ten, and Faith, eleven, and for her one-year-old brother, Bennett, the new viscount. Knowing that her father has left substantial trusts for all his children, March never imagines that finances will be a problem. But when the men left in charge of the trusts ignore her letters asking for help, March is pressed to meet the basic needs of her small family. Eight years later, Faith and Julia having reached the age to make their debuts and the lordly young viscount in need of male influence and tutoring, March is desperate. She resorts to forgery in order to access her own funds to care for her home and family. When the marquess in charge of the Lawson funds summons her to London, March is certain that her sins have found her out.

Michael Cavensham, Marquess of McCalpin, has his own problems. He feels woefully incompetent to deal with all the matters that fall to him as the heir of the Duke of Langham. Only the expertise of his large staff and the assistance and loyalty of his younger brother allow him to do so and protect the secret he has guarded for most of his life. When his bookkeeper informs him of the suspicious withdrawals from the Lawson trust and the marquess acknowledges that his signature has been forged, he realizes how little he knows about the Lawsons and decides to investigate, beginning with a summons to March.

March doesn’t expect to be rendered breathless by the handsome marquess. Michael does not expect to be charmed by the lovely March. Neither does he expect to find the conditions he uncovers at the Lawson estate. Despite the attraction that sparks, these two are not predisposed to trust one another. Michael believes that March is dishonest, and she believes him indifferent to his responsibilities. But as their knowledge of each other grows, their relationship changes. Just as it seems unexpected happiness lies in the future of all concerned, multiple plots threaten the couple. Michael is given evidence that causes him to doubt March and always there is the fear that his dreadful secret will be exposed.

The Luck of the Bride is the third book in MacGregor’s Cavensham Heiresses series. The protagonists are both interesting characters who are refreshingly different from the usual hero and heroine. Young as she is, March shows admirable strength in functioning as the head of her household and providing the love her young siblings need. Michael is likable and sympathetic, and his problem is one that I don’t recall encountering in historical romance before, although I have some experience with it in real life. The secondary characters are mostly appealing, especially March’s siblings and Michael’s parents. Fans of the earlier books in the series will be pleased to see Michael’s cousin Claire and her husband, the Marquess of Pembrook (The Bad Luck Bride) and his sister Emma (also a good friend to March) and her husband, the Earl of Somerton (The Bride Who Got Lucky) play minor roles.

There is much to like in this book, and I did enjoy it. However, Michael’s lack of trust in March disturbed me, and her quick forgiveness of his doubts bothered me even more. I’m not a vengeful reader who demands her pound of grovel from every erring hero, but I needed more here. Even a sweet HEA did not make up for the lack. My disappointment was not enough to spoil the book for me, but it did prevent my classifying it as a keeper. Regardless, I remain eager to see what MacGregor does in the fourth book, The Good, the Bad, and the Duke, scheduled for release in early December. I do recommend the series, and if you like a credibly strong heroine and endearing secondary characters and have a higher tolerance than I for distrustful heroes, The Luck of the Bride may prove to be your favorite.