Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Coming Attractions

I don't know about the rest of you but, to me, it feels like we were just celebrating the New Year a couple months ago and here it is, December again. Would somebody please slow things down? I have too many books to read and not nearly enough days to do it in! We have a festive month planned here at the Romance Dish. I hope you will all join us as we count down the final days of 2016.

Suzanne Ferrell kicks off the month with a guest blog on Thursday, December 1. Suzanne's newest Westen series novella, "Close to Santa's Heart" can be found in the multi-author holiday anthology, Under the Kissing Bough.

Susanna Craig will join me for a Q&A on Thursday, December 8. Susanna's second book, To Tempt an Heiress will be released December 6 and her debut, To Kiss a Thief is currently on sale in e-book format for only $0.99. This new historical romance author is one to watch!

Friday, December 9 brings Janga's review of FALL: A Rock Solid Romance by Karina Bliss and an Q&A with the author. This book follows last year's RISE which was one of Janga's top books of 2015.

Deb Marlowe will blog with us on Monday, December 12. Deb has a new novella, The Earl's Hired Bride (Nov. 21) and a holiday novella, Lady It's Cold Outside (July 2016), both stories in her Half Moon House series.

Miranda Liasson returns to Mirror Lake, Connecticut with her emotional, second chance, contemporary romance, Can't Stop Loving You (Dec. 6). Miranda will be blogging with us on Tuesday, December 13.

Have you been keeping a list of favorite books this year? Be sure to stop by on Wednesday, December 14 when we share the titles that made our Best of 2016!

Don't miss Janga's On Second Thought review on Thursday, December 15.

On Friday, December 16, we're turning our spotlight on Gena Showalter's The Darkest Torment tour. The 12th book in Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, The Darkest Torment was reprinted in Mass Market Paperback on November 22.

Looking for a few new recipes to try this Christmas? B.J. Daniels and the Harlequin Winter Holiday Recipes (+ reads!) tour stops by on Monday, December 19 to tempt your taste buds and Western romance appetite. Daniels' brings readers intrigue for the holidays with Cardwell Christmas Crime Scene, the newest addition to her Harlequin Intrigue Cardwell family saga.

Enjoy the upcoming holidays and happy reading! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Book Blitz Review - - Duke of Pleasure

Duke of Pleasure
By Elizabeth Hoyt
Publisher: Grand Central
Release Date: November 29, 2016

The Duke of Kyle is on the hunt for the Lords of Chaos, a secret society of lords who dress in masquerade and live in excess, known for raping, killing, and pedophilia; and his interest has earned him a price on his head. Kyle hires the enterprising St. Giles urchin, Alf, for his expertise in finding out information, namely who tried to kill him and nearly succeeded. In fact if it wasn’t for the timely rescue of the Ghost of St. Giles—a woman!—he wouldn’t be able to hire anyone to find out anything. 

Alf, also known as the Ghost of St. Giles, is nervous when Kyle approaches her for her assistance. After all, after she rescued him, she kissed him—a kiss she can’t forget—did he know? It soon becomes apparent he is unaware she’s a woman, let alone the Ghost. She agrees to his request to find the men who tried to kill him; however, her questions soon bring down the same men on her and she barely escapes for her life and runs to Kyle’s house.

Kyle takes her in, feeling guilty he put a child in danger, and soon after, he discovers Alf is the St. Giles Ghost…and more importantly, a woman. He cannot keep her out of his mind or his bed as they work together to find out all the men who belong to the Lords of Chaos. The problem is can he let go of his past and allow himself to fall in love with the one woman most perfect for him?

This novel in the Maiden Lane series is welcomingly lighter than its predecessor. Although the arc regarding the Lords of Chaos is a dark one and has been featured in a book or two already—and is going to feature in the book coming after this one (Duke of Desire), the action scenes felt much lighter than in previous books. It is also refreshing to have a woman action-hero whom the hero trusts to do the kind of work that is ultimately dangerous, but that he knows she is capable of handling. The hero and heroine felt very much like equals, even though he is the illegitimate son of the king and she is a guttersnipe; and the reasons for keeping them apart do not have to do with her believing she is not good enough for him (or vise versa).

I love this series. Ms. Hoyt always keeps this series fresh and sexy, dark and emotional. As always, I want to go back and reread all the books in the series and fall in love with all the characters again. (I’m not sure who inspired Kyle for this story I know Tom Hiddleston—squee!—was the inspiration for the Duke of Sin; and I believe Jason Isaacs was the inspiration for Lord Caire, the first hero of the series. But I wonder if Ms. Hoyt has been watching some episodes of Poldark with the rest of us, because Kyle’s black hair, black eyes, and smiles remind me of Aiden Turner. A reader can dream, yes?)



************SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT*****************

The ebook edition of WICKED INTENTIONS, the first book in Elizabeth Hoyt’s bestselling Maiden Lane series will be FREE from November 28th through December 12th. On December 13th the price returns to $5.99.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Kate Noble Winner

The winner of a full set of Kate Noble's

Winner Takes All series (three books) is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all of our U.S. readers a very 

Happy Thanksgiving!

May your holiday be filled with

love, blessings, good food, and great books.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Today's Special - - Kate Noble Review & Giveaway Tour

The Dare and the Doctor
By Kate Noble
Publisher: Pocket
Release Date: November 22, 2016


The Dare and the Doctor, the third novel in Kate Noble’s Winner Takes All series, appears to be an epistolary novel in the first chapter as the reader shares in letters between Miss Margaret Babcock, the socially awkward daughter of Sir Barty Babcock, and Dr. Rhys Gray. Margaret grew up helping her mother make things grow in the garden and in the greenhouse. Her mother died when Margaret was sixteen, and four years later Margaret finds making things grow is both rewarding for its own sake and as a way of feeling connected to her mother. A skilled amateur horticulturalist, Margaret is particularly pleased with the results of hybridizing her mother’s cherished China rose with a sturdier English variety. Her excitement increases when Rhys writes to tell her that he has shared the news of her hybrid rose with a member of the Horticultural Society of London who extended an invitation to Margaret to present her hybrid to the society. Margaret is leery of change and of society beyond her limited circle, but the chance to present her rose and to see Rhys prove temptation enough to lure her from her Lincolnshire greenhouse to London for a visit.

Rhys is delighted that Margaret has agreed to visit London. Even as he assures himself and his friends Phoebe and Ned, the Earl and Countess of Ashby (The Game and the Governess), that his correspondence with Margaret had been academic in nature and that their relationship is strictly platonic, Rhys is making plans to spend as much time as possible with Margaret. He has all but forgotten his mother’s scheme for a marriage between Rhys, her dependable doctor son, and Sylvia Morton, the pretty daughter of a neighbor, a marriage that will end a feud and restore the reputations of Rhys’s father and elder brother sufficiently to allow them to return to England from their exile on the Continent. Despite Rhys’s repeated insistence that he has not agreed to the marriage, everyone else acts as if the betrothal is a certainty.

As Margaret and Rhys spend more time together, a growing attraction adds to their firm friendship, but a romance between them seems hopeless. Rhys may be reluctant to do his duty to redeem his family’s standing in society, but clearly he cares for them and cannot ignore the problem that is within his power to remedy. Margaret understands his dilemma and is eager to return to her father’s estate and the safety of her greenhouse. When Rhys continues to postpone acting, someone else acts for him. Has his own indecision separated him and Margaret forever, or will he find a way to free himself from a deceiver’s trap?

I am one of the readers of The Lie and the Lady (Book 2, Winner Takes All) who longed for Margaret and Rhys’s story. I loved both these characters in that book and believed that the relationship between these two science-obsessed introverts contained the seeds of an HEA. The Dare and the Doctor satisfied all my expectations and offered a friends-to-lovers tale in which both the friendship and the romance are persuasively developed. The opening chapter shows a year in the lives of Margaret and Rhys through the letters they exchange. The growth of their friendship is documented through these letters, moving from genuine liking and respect based on mutual interests to the intimacy of deep friendship. The reader is prepared to see the friendship progress to romantic love when the two are reunited in London. The elation both Margaret and Rhys experience at the thought of seeing one another reveals that feelings other than friendship are present even if they are too shy to admit to them.

This is a quiet book, and some readers may find Rhys and to a lesser degree, Margaret too passive. However, if you prefer your romances character-driven and appreciate a story in which the protagonists are more at home in environs related to professional interests than in ballrooms and other sites of social gatherings and if you have an affection for romances that are more tender than tempestuous, I think you will like this book as much as I did. As a Kate Noble fan since her first historical romance, I recommend the full series, but The Dare and the Doctor can be read as a standalone. I recommend you add this one to your TBR list.



To celebrate the third in the Winner Takes All series, The Dare and the Doctor, we are hosting a giveaway and the WINNER will TAKE ALL books in the series: The Game and the Governess, The Lie and the Lady and The Dare and the Doctor

Please note, you can enter at all participating blogs but you can only win once. The Romance Dish winner will be announced November 26th from all comments posted before 11:00 PM, November 25th. (US addresses only)

Do you enjoy stories that are, as Janga notes in her review, "more tender than tempestuous?" 

Are you reading Kate Noble's Winner Takes All series?

Kate Noble
Pocket Books
Pub date: November 22, 2016
ISBN: 9781476749402
Price: $7.99
Mass Market Paperbound
A Winner Takes All Novel (#3)

National bestselling author Kate Noble’s THE DARE AND THE DOCTOR lures readers back to the dazzling, irresistible Winner Takes All Regency Romance series. Margaret Babcock has always been content with her quiet life in the country. But every now and then, she feels the urge to spread her wings. Her late mother used to whisper, “What’s the worst that could happen?” at the start of an adventure, and now Margaret’s continuing the tradition. So when Dr. Rhys Gray, her longtime correspondent on matters botanical, invites her to speak to the London Horticultural Society about her new rose hybrid, she accepts. She’s excited about her first visit to London, but even more so about getting to see her friend Dr. Gray. When she arrives, Rhys is eager to show her the wonders of the city, and the two spend many happy hours together just as friends, of course! But would friends miss each other quite as fiercely when they’re apart; or feel such a spark when they’re together? Margaret finds that friendship with Rhys is much more complicated than she’d imagined…especially when it turns out her friend has forgotten that he may be promised to another woman.

Kate Noble is the national bestselling author of The Lie and the Lady, The Game and the Governess, third in the witty, sexy Winner Takes All Regency Series, and the critically acclaimed, RITA Award-nominated Blue Raven series. Under the name Kate Rorick, she writes for television, as well as novels based on the Emmy Award-winning web series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, for which she is also a writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles. Visit Kate at katenoble.comFacebook, and Twitter.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Theresa Romain Winner

The randomly chosen winner of copies of

A Gentleman's Game and Fortune Favors the Wicked 

by Theresa Romain is:



Please send your full name and mailing address along with your choice of print or Kindle to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Sabrina Jeffries Winner

The randomly chosen winner of an autographed copy of

The Danger of Desire by Sabrina Jeffries is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to us at:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, November 18, 2016

Review - - The 24 Days of Christmas

The 24 Days of Christmas
By Linda Lael Miller
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Release Date: November 8, 2016
(originally published in
Jingle All the Way, Zebra, 2004)


Once upon a time Addie Hutton was the daughter of a wealthy, widowed judge, and the two most important people in her world were Eliza, the Huttons’ housekeeper, and Frank Raynor, the lost, young boy whom Eliza invited into her heart and her home. Addie and Frank grew up together, fell in love, and planned to marry. But when Addie went away to college, they grew apart, and Addie broke the engagement. She and Frank went on to build separate lives and to marry other people.

More than a decade later, Frank, now chief of police in Pine Crossing, Colorado and a widower, owns the big house where he lives with his seven-year-old daughter, Lissie. Her goal in life is to be an angel in the Christmas pageant at St. Mary’s Episcopal School. Divorced after her husband left her for a younger woman, Addie is broke and jobless, blacklisted as a journalist because she trusted a lying source. The day after Thanksgiving, she returns to Pine Crossing, but this time she will be renting the garage apartment where Eliza and Frank lived all those years ago. Addie has hardly arrived when she is joined by Henry, the six-year-old step-son whom she loves as if he were her own. Henry has been placed on a bus by his irresponsible father and sent to live with Addie for an indefinite period.

Lissie and Henry bond over an old, homemade matchbox Advent calendar, the same calendar that Addie and Frank once shared many holidays ago. What follows is a bit of history repeating itself as a motherless girl and a lost, frightened boy become fast friends and a man and a woman, battered by the slings and arrows of grown-up lives, renew the tie of friendship that once bound them together. Amid Christmas decorations, children’s dreams, and a caring (mostly) community, Addie and Frank fall in love again. With a little seasonal spirit, their story could end not only with a happy Christmas but with a happy ever after for all--including Floyd, the chubby beagle.

This Christmas novella is a digital reissue, so it is not a new book. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorites among this year’s holiday offerings. I have a soft spot for reunion romances, I love believable kids in Christmas stories, and I am always looking for a new Christmas keeper that offers more than tinsel and frolics under the mistletoe or elsewhere. This one met all criteria, and it even has a tiny redemption story for a mean teacher. It is a gentle, sweet, heartwarming story with a home-for-Christmas theme that works on multiple levels. I think it’s just what Santa ordered for readers who love a sentimental, feel-good Christmas romance as much as I do.


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Today's Special - - Theresa Romain

I'm delighted to welcome Theresa Romain back to The Romance Dish today to blog about her charming, witty, and thoroughly sigh-worthy new historical romance novella, My Scandalous Duke. This story is another winner from one of my favorite authors.    

Theresa Romain is the bestselling author of historical romances, including the Matchmaker trilogy, the Holiday Pleasures series, the Royal Rewards series, and the Romance of the Turf trilogy. Praised as “one of the rising stars of Regency historical romance” (Booklist), she has received a starred review from Booklist and was a 2016 RITA® finalist. A member of Romance Writers of America® and its Regency specialty chapter The Beau Monde, Theresa is hard at work on her next novel from her home in the Midwest. To keep up with all her book-release news, please visit her online at, where you can sign up for her newsletter.

Twitter: @TheresaRomain

“I want to be loved. I don’t think there could ever be too many people in the world who love me. Certainly there are not too many now.”

So says our heroine to our hero in my new historical romance novella, My Scandalous Duke. In this friends to lovers romance, young widow Lady Eleanor Palmer is giving an earful to Nicholas, Duke of Hampshire. It’s not the first time. Spoiler: it’s not the last, either.

Nicholas is one of her oldest friends, a rock on whom she can lean, and who leans right back when he needs someone to put his head on straight. Eleanor wants to remarry; Nicholas is prepared to wed for the first time. With her first marriage an adventurous disaster, Eleanor is looking for a calm and sensible husband. Nicholas, a warmhearted but careless duke, does what he wants to and worries about the consequences later. To him, the perfect wife would leave him alone to pursue his own interests in Parliament—which, in 1801, was going through the growing pains of unifying the Irish government with Great Britain’s.

Being friends of such long standing, Nicholas and Eleanor agree to help each other find the perfect
spouse. But an unusual card party, a surprise pianoforte, a punching bag and a slippery slope later, they both realize that what they thought they wanted isn’t what will truly make them happy. They’ll both have to change and grow before they can reach their HEA together. Spoiler part 2: they will. :)

In this contentious election year, I’ve drawn great comfort from reading and writing romance. In romance novels, HEAs are for everyone, and love wins. To paraphrase Eleanor, I don’t think there could ever be too much love in the world. Writing a friends to lovers story was particularly fun, because characters who already know each other well get to know each other in an entirely new way. Neither of them is perfect, but they always find something new to love in each other anyway.

Today I’m curious to know: do you have a favorite romance plot, like friends to lovers? Or have you ever gotten to know someone in an unexpected way—friend, family, or significant other? Or if those questions don’t float your boat, just tell me about your favorite dessert. I’m eager to get to know all of you a bit better.

One random commenter will receive print or Kindle copies of two of my backlist books: A Gentleman’s Game and Fortune Favors the Wicked. (Winner gets to choose format.) International entries welcome.

One good friend deserves a lover…

Lady Eleanor Palmer, a practical young widow, wants a family of her own. Her first marriage was an adventurous disaster, so this time, nothing but the most proper sort of man will do. Absolutely not who she’s looking for? The impulsive, roguish Duke of Hampshire…even though she has secretly loved him as long as she can remember.

Nicholas Langford, the Duke of Hampshire, has always relied on Eleanor’s humor and good sense. Who else would guide him through a scandal with laughter and grace? He would do anything to ensure his old friend’s happiness—even help Eleanor find a suitable new husband.

As Eleanor makes plans for a new life without him at its center, Nicholas realizes the depth of his own feelings. But he can offer Eleanor nothing that she thinks she wants. How can he convince her that he is everything she truly desires?

Book order links:

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Today's Special - - Sabrina Jeffries' The Danger of Desire Excerpt and Giveaway

The third book in Sabrina Jeffries' The Sinful Suitors series releases on November 22nd and I am counting the days! The first two books, The Art of Sinning and The Study of Seduction (read my review) were keepers for me and have me eagerly anticipating Warren's story in the upcoming The Danger of Desire. To celebrate her new book, Sabrina Jeffries is sharing an excerpt of The Danger of Desire and giving away an autographed copy to one lucky Dish reader. (details at the end of this post)

The Danger of Desire
By Sabrina Jeffries
The Sinful Suitors - Book 3
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: November 22, 2016

To root out the card cheat responsible for her brother's death, Miss Delia Trevor spends her evenings dancing her way through high society balls, and her late nights disguised as a young man gambling her way through London's gaming hells. Then one night, handsome Warren Corry, the Marquess of Knightford, a notorious member of St. George's Club, recognizes her. When he threatens to reveal her secret, she's determined to keep him from ruining her plans, even if it means playing a cat-and-mouse game with the enigmatic rakehell.

Warren knows the danger of her game, and he refuses to watch her lose everything while gaining justice for her late brother. But when she starts to delve beneath his carefully crafted fa‡├žade, can he keep her at arm's length while still protecting her? Or will their hot desires explode into a love that transcends the secrets of their pasts?

The Danger of Desire

Luncheon was nearly finished, and Warren had done what he’d come to do. So after a few more moments of polite conversation, during which Delia glared at him rather fetchingly, he told them he regretted that he had more calls to make.
When he rose to leave, Delia stood, too. “I’ll see his lordship out.”
“Why, thank you, dear girl,” her aunt said. “I’m sure he would get lost otherwise.”
Ignoring her aunt’s tart remark, Delia led him from the room. As soon as they were in the hall and out of earshot, she muttered, “That was a dirty trick.”
“You mean, like the dirty trick you played last night by dumping a bottle of wine into my lap? You ruined a perfectly good shirt, you know.”
“Is that why you’re tormenting me today? I can pay you for the shirt.”
“I don’t doubt you can. Given the rumors I heard at Dickson’s, you must have acquired a tidy sum by now. You ought to quit before you’re caught.” He shot her a quelling glance.
Judging from her scowl, she wasn’t the least bit quelled. “Is that a threat? If I don’t quit, you’ll tell my aunt?”
“Don’t tempt me.”
She glanced about, saw no one near, and tugged him into the parlor they were passing. “What do I have to do to ensure that you allow me to continue my activities? I’m sure I have something you want.”
He raked his gaze down her fetching form. “Oh, you have plenty I want, but nothing I can have.”
Though she colored at the innuendo, she met his gaze evenly. “That’s not true.” There was a hint of desperation in her tone. “I know you probably don’t find me that pretty, but you did seem to enjoy our kisses in the garden and . . . well . . . I would be willing . . . that is . . .”
God help him. “I do hope you’re not implying what I think you are,” he clipped out.
Her cheeks shone scarlet now. “I’m just pointing out that if you wanted to, as you put it, ‘satisfy’ your desires ‘without marrying’—”
“I would go to a bloody brothel.” Anger roared up in him that she would even consider selling herself to keep him quiet. Or think him the sort to gleefully accept such an offer. “You may not believe this, but I am a respectable gentleman. I do not blackmail young women into giving me their virtue. Good day, Miss Trevor.”
When he turned for the door, she caught his arm. “It wouldn’t be like that. I’d offer myself freely.”
He glared down at her. “Would you, indeed?” She clearly actually believed that nonsense. Either that, or their dalliance in the garden had filled her head with moonbeams. Time to shatter that delusion.

Giving her no warning, he pushed her against the wall behind the open door and crushed her lips under his. This time he took her mouth with merciless disregard for her stunned response. And when, to his mingled shock and delight, she let him, he went a step further . . . 

Do you enjoy books where the heroine infiltrates male-only establishments in disguise?

I'm looking forward to the release of The Danger of Desire. What upcoming books are you looking forward to?

Have you started reading Sabrina Jeffries' Sinful Suitors series yet?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment will receive an autographed print copy of The Danger of Desire
US/Canada addresses only.
Deadline to enter giveaway is 11:00 PM (EST), November 20, 2016.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Second Thought - - Sweetest Regret

Sweetest Regret
By Meredith Duran
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: November 28, 2016
(Originally published 2015)

Georgina Trent is the daughter of a diplomat and accustomed to playing hostess to her widowed father’s guests. Even so, she is not thrilled to be instructed to entertain a houseful of foreign diplomats and their wives with a proper English Christmas plus searching for a sensitive letter one of the guests has stolen. And all this must be accomplished while her father is out of the country dealing with an international crisis. To make her holiday perfectly miserable, her father orders Lucas Godwin, a rising star in the diplomatic corps to assist her. Two years ago, for one month in Munich, Georgina allowed herself to dream that the feelings the good-looking, charming, ambitious Godwin stirred in her heart were returned, but when he left for a new post in Paris without even a goodbye, she knew how foolish she had been. However, Georgina is determined that her pride will sustain her, and Lucas will never know that she mistook a flirtation for courtship.

Lucas Godwin is no happier to be spending the holiday at Brisbon Hall than Georgina is to receive him. He has his own reasons for returning to England. His father, the younger son of an earl, married the daughter of a servant, a misalliance so shocking that neither his family nor the ton ever forgave him. Lucas grew up the loved child of a happy marriage, but he also grew up poor and socially unacceptable, knowing that society considered him a mongrel and held him to a standard that allowed for no misstep. Ironically, after fighting his way to his present position and just as he is poised for the promotion toward which he has aimed, he now stands one question mark away from his grandfather’s title. If his recently widowed aunt gives birth to another daughter, Lucas will become Earl of Lilleston. The last thing Lucas wants for Christmas is a meeting with the woman who dismissed him as unworthy of her. But for now, he must obey the orders of Sir Philip Trent and help to find the missing letter.

Will Georgina and Lucas forget their pride long enough to clear up the misunderstanding that separated them and risk their hearts on a match that could be almost as costly as the one for which Lucas’s father gave up his world?

Sweetest Regret was published last year in the anthology What Happens Under the Mistletoe along with novellas by Sabrina Jeffries, Karen Hawkins, and Candace Camp. Duran’s novella was one of my favorite historical holiday reads then, and I found it even more delightful rereading it as a solo release this year. Duran, another of my auto-buy authors, does her usual superb job of crafting characters that win a reader’s heart. Just the words “Big Misunderstanding” are often enough to send me running from a book, but, in this case, it works. Georgina and Lucas are young and vulnerable. She is convinced that she is plain and bookish and unappealing, and he is always conscious of his provisional acceptance by those around him. They are manipulated by a man skilled in the art of persuading people to accept his view of things. Their separation is physical as well as emotional, and thus, they are not in one another’s company with easy opportunities to talk things out. All these elements make it easier to accept the misunderstanding.

It also helps that the misunderstanding is wrapped in a lovely Christmas reunion story with a twist on the cross-class romance. I enjoyed all the Christmas customs that were woven into the story, particularly the well-trained “Christian” ox who kneels at precisely the right time. The best part is watching Georgina and Lucas progress from wounded feelings to a duel of words to communication to declaration. If you are looking for a quick historical romance treat this holiday season, I highly recommend this novella. It’s sweet and tart, sensual and romantic--and finally villainless. It’s a story I know I will be rereading other Christmases.