Monday, March 25, 2019

Review - - Lady Derring Takes a Lover


Lady Derring Takes a Lover
by Julie Anne Long
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Reviewed by Santa




Lady Derring Takes A Lover by Julie Anne Long is a five dish read for me. I can’t say enough about this book and, truth to tell, I am writing this review with a smile on my face. It’s the same smile I had while reading the book. Lady Derring Takes A Lover is the first book of Ms. Long’s newest The Palace of Rogues series. Coming off the wildly popular and successful Pennyroyal series and her Hellcat Canyon series, you gotta wonder if a new book can stand up to muster. The answer is a resounding YES! This book is chock full of unique personalities, witty dialog and an interesting mystery or two. 

Lady Delilah Derring, a proper wife and daughter who knew her place in the world and what to do there finds herself a destitute widow thanks to her slightly neglectful husband with a penchant for statuary and cigars. The only bonus from his demise is the loss of those hideous statues, along with everything unentailed from larder to attic, except for the only thing he owned outright - a building on the docks. That was a surprise. Her second surprise came when Derring’s mistress, Mrs. Angelique Breedlove, barged in to see what pittance he had left her. As it turns out Derring, never generous in life, was equally so in death. Left destitute as well, she strongly advises Lady Derring to sew what jewels she may have into her clothes and leave the bare bones of her life and get away as fast as she can.

Lady Derring is astounded that Derring seemed to owe everyone but managed to secure a building and mistress. That seals it for her. No more the meek and mild one, Delilah takes her endearingly inept maid and goes to the docks to see about this building she now owns. Gently bred or not, whatever it holds is her future now. She ventures into the pub next door and finds Mrs. Breedlove in the back contemplating her own future which includes stones in her pockets and a walk into the Thames. Angelique went from innocent miss to a misled venture into ruin to becoming a mistress to Derring. Delilah convinces her to put whatever jewels she has into her pockets and join her in making the building next store a kind of boarding house where people can reside and join in evenings of music and conversation after being fed delicious meals from the chef she hopes to lure back into her employ.

Interest piqued, they join forces to make the building over from what seems to have been a brothel in years past but whose recent history remains a mystery. It turns out they are not the only ones interested in the building. Captain Tristin Hardy and his men have been tracking smuggling operations of a Blue Rock gang. This gang has been smuggling a number of items, among them cigars, but their trail lingers around that same building and at the same time runs to the ground at Derring’s death.

Determined to solve this mystery, Hardy finds himself renting a room at the building formerly known as The Palace of Rogues. However, the newly refurbished Grand Palace on the Thames requires that he follow a number of rules including mandatory nights in pleasant company in the parlor after dinner and frequent donations to a swear jar. The Grand Palace becomes the residence of an interesting assortment of guests, even the quiet sisters who take to sitting in the darker corners. Though none proves as intriguing to Captain Hardy as Lady Derring and the same could be said for her. Tired of being the gently bred nice girl the idea takes hold in her head to take a lover. Captain Tristan Hardy seems like just the ticket.

I loved this book. The dialog, the intrigue. I would have liked to rent a room there myself. And I look forward to her next book in the series which features Angelique and the mystery man whose man of business secured rooms he never came to occupy.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Winners - - 2019 RITA Finalists Post







The two randomly chosen winners of a package of books are:

petite

and

emily

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address (U.S. only) to:

thromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com




Friday, March 22, 2019

Review - - When a Highlander Weds a Hellion


When a Highlander Weds a Hellion
by Julie Johnstone
Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts - Book 8
Self-Published
Release Date: March 22, 2019
 




How far will he go to belong?

Fierce, famed Highland warrior Broch MacLeod has always been a bastard—until one day he isn’t. And now that he’s discovered his real family, he intends to do whatever it takes to carve a place for himself in it, including wedding the lass known as the Hellion of the Highlands.

What will she do for vengeance?

When strong-willed, independent Katreine Kinntoch is forced to wed her sworn enemy’s son, she vows never to surrender her body or heart to the wickedly handsome, too-cocky Scot. Instead, she intends to make him dislike her so much that he’ll gladly send her back to her home.

How long will it take them to see they are each other’s only hope?

Danger and treachery unexpectedly bring Broch and Katreine closer, but can they trust each other enough to choose love over the ties that bind and the revenge that burns all around them?


My thoughts:

When I'm in the mood to travel to Medieval Scotland through the pages of a book, Julie Johnstone is one of the first authors to whom I turn. Time and again, she creates intriguing, complex characters who capture my interest and my heart then skillfully guides them along a tumultuous, frequently dangerous, always emotional journey to the love and happiness they so richly deserve. Her ability to bring the Medieval era, Scottish countryside, and people of that time to life through her words never fails to immerse this reader deeply into the lives of her characters as they battle the forces standing in the way of their HEA. 

I adored Broch. My heart ached for the boy inside the man who had always stood just outside the circle of his chosen clan and rejoiced when he finally found his rightful place. I admired his tenacity, his loyalty, his sense of honor, and his patience. And I fell hard for his tender heart. He needed a strong woman to challenge him and, boy howdy, did Katreine fit that bill! She's more than earned her "hellion" status but the reasons for her fierceness are those to which anyone who has lost a loved one to tragedy can relate. And it's that very quality that draws Broch to her. The banter between these two is all that is wonderful but the tenderness, respect, and trust that slowly develops and gradually opens their hearts to the possibilities of love is all that and more. 

There's much more to this story involving clan feuds, deception and betrayal, mysterious murders, and sibling rivalry but going into detail would reveal spoilers that are better discovered within the pages of the book. I will just say that there are multiple secondary characters who I sincerely hope we'll be seeing more of in future stories. 

When a Highlander Weds a Hellion is the eighth book in Johnstone's Highlander Vows: Entangled Hearts series. While readers of the series will recognize Broch from appearances in previous books, this book stands completely on its own. However, if you're in the mood for a fast-paced, adventurous, and deeply emotionally Medieval romance, you can't go wrong with Julie Johnstone. I highly recommend all eight books in the series. 


Have you read any of Julie Johnstone's books?

Do you enjoy Medieval romance?

Who are some of your go-to Medieval romance authors?




Thursday, March 21, 2019

RWA: The 2019 RITA and GH Finalists Are...


2013 RITA Winners Sarah MacLean & Eloisa James


I look forward to this day every year. Today is the day Romance Writers of America® announces the finalists for the Rita® and Golden Heart® awards, honoring the best published books and unpublished manuscripts of 2018. Winners of the 2019 Golden Heart® will be announced at an awards luncheon Thursday, July 25, 2019 at the RWA national conference in New York City. Winners of the RITA® will be announced at an evening awards ceremony on Friday, July 26, 2019, also during the national conference.  

I'll be posting the names of the finalists as they are announced throughout today. All finalists will be revealed by 3:00 PM (Eastern).



What books do you hope to see on the 2019 list?

Which category or categories are your favorites?

Share your thoughts about the finalists. For which books will you be cheering this July?

Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM (Eastern), March 22 will each receive a package of books. (U.S. addresses only)



2010 RITA Finalist Tessa Dare



RITA 

Contemporary Romance: Long

Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that are 84,000 or more words.  

A TALL, DARK COWBOY CHRISTMAS by Maisey Yates
BAD BACHELOR by Stefanie London
BEST OF LUCK by Kate Clayborn
LONG SHOT by Kennedy Ryan
MELT FOR YOU by J.T. Geissinger
THE HEARTLESS BOYFRIEND by Erika Kelly
LUCK OF THE DRAW by Kate Clayborn

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that are between 56,000 and 84,000 words in length.

PART-TIME HUSBAND by Noelle Adams
GIVE AND TAKE by Lee Kilraine
LENNON REBORN by Scarlett Cole
KNOCKED-UP CINDERELLA by Julie Hammerle
LOVING A WARRIOR by Melanie Hansen
NOT QUITE CRAZY by Catherine Bybee
CELEBRITY SPIN DOCTOR by Celia Mulder
RELAY by Layla Reyne
SERGEANT SEXYPANTS by Tawna Fenske
SLEEPOVER by Serena Bell
ADVANCED PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY by Susannah Nix


Contemporary Romance: Short
Novels that are set from 1950 to the present that are between 40,000 and 56,000 words in length.


A BABY TO BIND HIS BRIDE by Caitlin Crews
CLAIM ME, COWBOY by Maisey Yates
FAIR GAME by Amy Andrews
TANNER'S PROMISE by Kaylie Newell
THE MILLION POUND MARRIAGE DEAL by Michelle Douglas
THE CAPTAINS' VEGAS VOWS by Caro Carson
THE BACHELOR'S BABY SURPRISE by Teri Wilson
A SAFE PLACE TO LAND by Dee Ernst
A FOOL AND HIS MANNY by Amy Lane
  


2014 Rita Finalist Courtney Milan


Erotic Romance

Novels in which strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may contain elements of other romance subgenres (such as paranormal, historical, etc.).

THREE-WAY SPLIT by Elia Winters
PICTURE PERFECT COWBOY by Tiffany Reisz
SINFUL GAMES by Shelly Alexander
TOTAL EXPOSURE by JA Huss

Historical Romance: Long

Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are longer than 89,000 words.

A WICKED KIND OF HUSBAND by Mia Vincy
AN EARL LIKE YOU by Caroline Linden
A SCANDALOUS DEAL by Joanna Shupe
LADY IN WAITING by Marie Tremayne


Historical Romance: Short

Novels that are set prior to 1950 and that are between 40,000 and 89,000 words.

HELL'S BELLE by Annabelle Anders
NEVER DARE A WICKED EARL by Renee Ann Miller
THE DEVIL TO PAY by K.C. Bateman
A DUKE IN THE NIGHT by Kelly Bowen
WHAT ALES THE EARL by Sally MacKenzie
WITH LOVE IN SIGHT by Christina Britton





2018 Rita Finalist Wendy LaCapra

  

Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Mainstream Fiction novels in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline.

A GIRL DIVIDED by Ellen Lindseth MORNINGS ON MAIN by Jodi Thomas
BELLEWETHER by Susanna Kearsley
FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force 
HOW TO KEEP A SECRET by Sarah Morgan 
MORNINGS ON MAIN by Jodi Thomas 
  

Paranormal Romance

Novels in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

DEBRIEFING THE DEAD by Kerry Blaisdell
TO CATCH A ROGUE by Bec McMaster
THE LAST WOLF by Maria Vale
HAUNTED HEARTS by Kimberly Dean
OUT OF BODY by Suzanne Brockmann
DEAREST IVIE by J.R. Ward
WRETCHED by Cara Crescent
  



Romance Novella

Novellas are between 20,000 and 40,000 words.

CATCHING IRISH by Katy Regnery
BAD BLOOD by M. Malone
DRAGON LORD by Dana Marton
"Lead Counsel" by Aurora Rey in THE BOSS OF HER:OFFICE ROMANCE NOVELLAS
LOVING THE SECRET BILLIONAIRE by Adriana Anders
SAVED BY THE COWBOY by A.J. Pine 
"The Dragons of Summer" by Jeffe Kennedy in SEASONS OF SORCERY 
  

Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

A MOTHER FOR HIS FAMILY by Susanne Dietze
HOME ON HUCKLEBERRY HILL by Jennifer Beckstrand
THEIR AMISH REUNION by Lenora Worth 
THE SATURDAY NIGHT SUPPER CLUB by Carla Laureano
  

Romantic Suspense

Novels in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

BEFORE WE WERE STRANGERS by Brenda Novak

CUT AND RUN by Mary Burton
FEARLESS by Elizabeth Dyer
RELENTLESS by Elizabeth Dyer
RECKLESS HONOR by Tonya Burrows
CONSUMED by J.R. Ward
THE BASTARD'S BARGAIN by Katee Robert




2018 RITA Winner Kelly Bowen

  

Young Adult Romance

Novels in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.

MY SO-CALLED BOLLYWOOD LIFE by Nisha Sharma
CRY BABY by Ginger Scott
LIKE NEVER AND ALWAYS by Ann Aguirre
NOT IF I SAVE YOU FIRST by Ally Carter
  

Best First Book

A Novel entered in another contest category. To be eligible, the author (or authors in the case of a writing team) shall not have had any other novel or novella previously commercially available in any format.

A WICKED KIND OF HUSBAND by Mia Vincy
LADY IN WAITING by Marie Tremayne
THE LAST WOLF by Maria Vale
CELEBRITY SPIN DOCTOR by Celia Mulder
WITH LOVE IN SIGHT by Christina Britton





GOLDEN HEART

Contemporary Romance

Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are greater than 65,000 words.

THE CINDERELLA FACTOR by Elly Kate
FOCUSED ON A COWBOY by Makenna Lee
HE OWNS MY HEART by Evie Drae
HOME TO YOU by Sandra Marine
HOT RAIDER by Joy Adare 
NEVER HAVE I EVER by Rosie Donan
PAGE SIX by Alexis De Girolami
ROUGH AROUND THE EDGES by Margot Pierce
SALT + STILETTOS by Janet Walden-West
TEMPTING TALK by Sara Netzley
THE TO DO LIST by Denise Williams
 

Contemporary Romance: Short

Manuscripts that are set from 1950 to the present that are less than 65,000 words in length.

BILLIONAIRE FOR HIRE by Melanie McCarthy
CHASING HOME by Priscilla Cook
LOVE ON THE BOOKS by Betsy Gray
MURPHY'S DEBT by Becke Turner
WOUNDED MARTYR by Courtney Maguire
YOU'LL NEVER LOVE IN THIS TOWN AGAIN by McKinley Reed




Historical Romance 

Manuscripts that are set prior to 1950.

A DANGEROUS AFFINITY by Emily Sullivan
A SEASON FOR SCANDAL by Mary Baumhoer
DANGEROUS PURSUIT by Ann Cheney
INTRIGUING THE IRISHMAN by Emily Sullivan
TEMPTING THE HEIRESS by Emily Sullivan
AN UNLOVED EARL by Eileen Emerson
EVERY TIME YOU'RE NEAR by Shannon Gallagher 
WYLDE AT HEART by Elizabeth King


Mainstream Fiction with a Central Romance

Mainstream Fiction novels in which themes or elements other than the romance are integral to the story even though a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic resolution to the romance are still present. This category is intended for romances that do not fit neatly into any other category due to their mainstream fiction nature but where the central romance could not be removed without damaging the storyline.

BROKEN WHITE LINES by Melissa Wiesner
EVERYTHING COMES BACK TO YOU by Melissa Wiesner
JANE DARLING'S RULES OF INHERITANCE by Megan McGee
LEARNING CURVE by Sharon M. Peterson
LOLITA'S MUSE by Claire DeWolf
PLAYING NICE by Evi Kline
RESURRECTING ANNIE WOLFF by Anna Collins
THE SODA FOUNTAIN SISTER AND THE FLOWER LADY by Sheri Taylor-Emery


Paranormal Romance

Manuscripts in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot.

BLESS YOUR HEART AND OTHER SOUTHERN CURSES by Heather Leonard
INHERENT LIES by Alicia Anthony
TOUCH 3.3 by Valen Cox
THE TRANSFORMATION OF ALEXIS DOE by Jilly Wood
WARRIOR OF EDEN by Fenley Grant
WITCH WAY DOWN by Chelly Pike


Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements

Novels in which religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline. These novels may be set in the context of any religious or spiritual belief system of any culture.

COUNTERFEIT LOVE by Crystal Caudill
THE INN AT MILL CREEK by Kellie Parker
THE PROMISE OF SPRING by Mary Hutchens
  

Romantic Suspense

Manuscripts in which suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot.

ALL YOUR BROKEN PIECES by Evie Drae
DIRTY MONEY by Monique Headley
FREE MY HEART by Diane Wiggs
HIGH HEELS AND HANDGUNS by Lisa Heartman
THE HUSTLER by Angie Hockman
DEADLY AIM by Tracy Brody
  

Young Adult Romance

Manuscripts in which young adult life is an integral part of the plot.

AFTER I BID YOU ADIEU by Sammi Spizziri
DRAGGED! by Susan Lee
SONG OF THE SOPHOS by A. Y. Chao
THE NASCENT BLOOM by Janet Raye Stevens
THE WALLS BETWEEN by Christine Gunderson


  

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Packing My Bags...With Books!





Spring is just around the corner which means it's almost time to launch this year's Romance conference season. Whether large gatherings or small, romance conferences offer readers the opportunity to meet some of our favorite authors. I'll be attending three events this year: Avon's KissCon, Book Lovers Con, and RWA.  Book Lovers Con (think Comic Con for romance readers) is in New Orleans this May while RWA (Romance Writers of America's annual conference) will be in New York City in July but more about those later. First up on my schedule is KissCon.



With Eloisa James at KissCon Atlanta

Avon has hosted one-day KissCon events in various venues around the country over the past few years. I attended one in Atlanta this past fall. Typically, these events include a Q&A or other fun ice-breaker activity with the 8-10 Avon authors in attendance, followed by a book signing, then a reception where you can chat with the authors as well as meet other readers. This year, Avon has chosen to expand that format with a full weekend of events like pajama party movie screenings, dance parties, panel discussions, and more. Excited romance readers from across the country will converge on Chicago for three days of fun with 31 Avon and Harlequin authors. I can't wait! 




With Beverly Jenkins at KissCon Atlanta






Of course, I'll be taking lots of photos to share with you all when I return along with bringing home books and swag for giveaways. That's where you can help. I've listed below the authors who will be attending KissCon Weekend. I'll have limited space in my luggage to bring back signed books for Dish giveaways so, tell me, from which of these authors would you most like a signed book? Thanks for your help!

 





Tessa Bailey
Alyssa Cole
Sonali Dev
HelenKay Dimon
Jennifer Estep
Lorraine Heath
Lori Foster
Megan Frampton
Jeaniene Frost
Sophie Jordan
Brenda Jackson
Eloisa James
Beverly Jenkins
Tracey Livesay
Julie Kagawa
Eva Leigh
Caroline Lendin
Julia Quinn
Vivienne Lorret
Sarah MacLean
Charis Michaels
Jill Shalvis
Alisha Rai
Jennifer Ryan
Cat Sebastian
Sally Thorne
Nisha Sharma
Joanna Shupe
Mia Sosa
Marie Tremayne
Lori Wilde 

There are still a few tickets remaining for the KissCon Weekend Affair. You can choose from the Saturday only ticket at $75, Friday + Saturday at $150, or Friday, Saturday, Sunday at $185. Ticket sales end March 29 or when capacity is sold out. Visit the KissCon website for more information about tickets, authors, and weekend events. 

*Note: The deadline to book hotel rooms at the KissCon discounted rate is March 15. 


Have you ever attended a reader-author event? 

Do you plan to attend one this year?

Which author(s) would you most like to meet?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Review - - Heartbreaker


Heartbreaker
by Inara Scott
Bad Angels - Book 1
Publisher: Entangled:Amara
Release Date: February 25, 2019
Reviewed by PJ





Dropped out of high school? Check. Ran away with loser boyfriend at age sixteen? Check. Fell for every line from every guy? Sadly, check. But now, Tess Paplion has started over. Juggling multiple part-time jobs while finishing her college degree, she’s not letting anything get in her way. Especially not a sexy angel investor with “one-night disaster” written all over him.
Mason Coleman just inherited a 200-pound invalid Mastiff—and an intriguing, unusual, and thoroughly infuriating dog nanny who turns his life upside down the moment she steps through his front door. No matter how she makes him feel Mason doesn’t do commitment—so what happens when he falls for her? And worse, what happens when she wants nothing to do with him?


My thoughts:

Heartbreaker was my first contemporary romance by Inara Scott and, already, I'm counting the days until the next one. Fun, flirty, and filled with surprising emotional depths, it grabbed my attention from the get-go and held it throughout.

Tess, in particular, is such an intriguing character with a multitude of layers. With the childhood she endured, it's a wonder she's not more of a mess. I really admired her grit and determination to succeed despite the obstacles of the hands she's been dealt by life but appreciated her vulnerabilities as well. They make her a much more realistic, and complex, character. I also love how she's not swept away by Mason's charm but, instead, holds him to account, challenging him at every turn. I was in her corner the entire way.

I adored Mason. I mean, really, how can I not fall for a guy who, knowing nothing about dogs, takes a 200 pound untrained, misbehaving (but lovable) Mastiff who has to pee practically every hour into his immaculate home to help out his sister? It doesn't hurt that he's also gorgeous, successful, and sexy. But I really love his kindness, how supportive of Tess he is, and the depths of his character that he's only now beginning to acknowledge. He really is a lot more than a pretty face. He captured my heart. Oh, and Tess's too...eventually. But that's going to take a while when you have a guy who is just as relationship-averse as the woman he's slowly falling for. 

There's plenty of humor, sizzle, tenderness, and emotion to find in this story. The chemistry between Tess and Mason is great and the banter is so much fun. But I also enjoyed the tenderness and caring that develops. Scott allows us to really get to know these two characters by slowly growing their friendship before upping the stakes for each of them individually as well as a couple. We're also introduced to an interesting group of friends who I can't wait to discover more about in future books. 

If you're in the mood for a fast-paced, contemporary romance, with plenty of humor and heart, likable characters (both two and four legged), and a satisfying, heart-tugging, happily-ever-after, I enthusiastically recommend Heartbreaker by Inara Scott. 


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Review - - American Duchess


American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt
by Karen Harper
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Reviewed by Hellie 




Exquisitely written, meticulously researched, and brimming with larger than life characters, AMERICAN DUCHESS tells the story of Consuelo Vanderbilt, one of the “Dollar Brides” that married into the British aristocracy. Consuelo--beautiful, rich, and kind--is forced to marry the Duke of Marlborough, even though she loves another. As a product of her time and upbringing, she follows through with what is soon apparent to be a disastrous marriage, providing the “heir and the spare”; however, her struggle for belonging, love, and companionship in her new surroundings is constantly thwarted by her husband, who is both jealous of her popularity with his people and family and resentful he had to lower himself to marry an American at all.

The novel sweeps across the majority of Consuelo’s life, starting at her marriage, all the way to 1943 when she is reunited with her true love, Jacques Balsan. In 368 pages, a lot of things happen--I don’t believe the author wasted any pages because each page was gripped with conflict, suspense, and drama--with an acceptable amount of triumph to keep me from putting the novel aside. (Admittedly the Duke of Marlborough was rather tough to handle.) I don’t want to go into too many details because I think like me you don’t know all the history of Consuelo Vanderbilt either, except that as the daughter of the aggressive and scheming Alva Vanderbilt, she was married to a British duke. (Basically I knew her mother--quite famous in her own right--made her marry someone she didn’t want and that their relationship as mother and daughter was very contentious.)

The story starts at exactly the right place--on the day of her wedding--with this brilliant hook: “Everyone was calling it the wedding of the century. I was calling it the worst day of my life.” I mean, how can you not keep turning pages to find out what is going on with a line like that? It certainly challenges my dreams as a reader of what marrying a young handsome duke would be like. (In fact if you love typical historicals with dashing dukes, this duke may be a bit of a struggle for you. He barely has any redeeming qualities.) But Consuelo is a dream as a heroine: she’s brave, she’s kind, she stays true to herself even when forced to marry. She is easy to root for--and while I knew (because I wikipedia’d it) when she actually died, there were scenarios in the book where I was like, “OMG, is she going to make it?”

Karen Harper ends the book in the right place as well--with the reunion of Consuelo with her beloved husband Jacques (you’ll have to read the road to that happening, my friends--it’s worth it) during World War II. It ends with them together, happy, and with several years before them content. (I don’t think I really gave anything away with that--because as I said, you can google it for that info.) All in all, a wonderful read and a thrilling ride. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Monday, March 11, 2019

TLC Tour Review - - California Girls


California Girls
by Susan Mallery
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: February 26, 2019
Reviewed by PJ
 


The California sunshine’s not quite so bright for three sisters who get dumped in the same week…
Finola, a popular LA morning show host, is famously upbeat until she’s blindsided on live TV by news that her husband is sleeping with a young pop sensation who has set their affair to music. While avoiding the tabloids and pretending she’s just fine, she’s crumbling inside, desperate for him to come to his senses and for life to go back to normal.
Zennie’s breakup is no big loss. Although the world insists she pair up, she’d rather be surfing. So agreeing to be the surrogate for her best friend is a no-brainer—after all, she has an available womb and no other attachments to worry about. Except…when everyone else, including her big sister, thinks she’s making a huge mistake, being pregnant is a lot lonelier—and more complicated—than she imagined.
Never the tallest, thinnest or prettiest sister, Ali is used to being overlooked, but when her fiancĂ© sends his disapproving brother to call off the wedding, it’s a new low. And yet Daniel continues to turn up “for support,” making Ali wonder if maybe—for once—someone sees her in a way no one ever has.
But side by side by side, these sisters will start over and rebuild their lives with all the affection, charm and laugh-out-loud humor that is classic Susan Mallery.

My thoughts:

Susan Mallery is one of the best authors out there for creating flawed characters woven into complex family dynamics as evidenced in her newest novel, California Girls. These three sisters, and their self-absorbed mother, could not be more different yet beneath their differences runs a strong bond of connection that, while stretched to its limit, is never broken. It's those contradictions, and connections, that pulled me into this story and held my attention throughout.

Infusing their journeys with humor, heartbreak, selfless generosity, and poignant reflection, Mallery brings each of the sisters to life on the page and in my heart. I suffered, and rejoiced, with them as they gradually evolved and cheered them on as they began to take control of their present, their future, their relationships, and their eventual joy. And, if I was hoping for a happily-ever-after for their mother for the sole reason of getting her off her daughters' backs, I'm okay with that. 

If you're looking for a novel that will make you laugh, make you cry, make you want to string certain men up by their unmentionables, lavish others with affection and praise, and celebrates the special - and complicated - bond of sisters, don't miss California Girls by Susan Mallery.  




Friday, March 8, 2019

Winner - - Tracy Solheim





The randomly chosen winner from Tracy Solheim's

Shot in the Dark post is:

LSUReader

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com