Saturday, October 31, 2020

Review & Giveaway - - My Last Duchess

My Last Duchess
by Eloisa James
The Wildes of Lindow Castle - Prequel
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Every Duke needs a Duchess...

Hugo Wilde, the Duke of Lindow, has a drafty castle, eight naughty children—and no wife. Ophelia, Lady Astley, has a fine house, one well-behaved daughter—and no husband. 

Hugo takes one look at Ophelia and loses his heart, but she doesn’t want more children or a castle. She takes one look at him and heads for her carriage. 

Desperate to find a duchess, Hugo identifies an appropriate lady to woo. Yet when he meets Ophelia again, the duke realizes that he will marry her, or no one. 

Now he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

He must convince Ophelia that their blazing sensuality, his exquisite castle, and his eight charming children add up to a match made in heaven. 

When a duke finds his duchess, can he win her heart?

PJ's Thoughts:

My Last Duchess is a fun, fast, warm hug of a book that checked all of my happy reader boxes. If you're a fan of the Wildes series, you've seen glimpses of the Duke of Lindow and his duchess in the background of the stories. We know they are madly in love, we know they're good parents, we know she's his third duchess, but we really don't know much more...until now.

I adored this story. It's like a special treat you weren't expecting. I loved the witty banter, heart-tugging romance, and castle-full of children determined to have a say in the selection of their father's next wife. I so enjoyed the fact that Hugo, determined to find an "appropriate" wife but not looking for love, saw Ophelia and was instantly smitten. Even better that Ophelia looked at him, his title, his castle, and his eight children and wasn't! It made the ups and downs of the story that followed so much fun. I enjoyed getting to know Hugo and Ophelia individually and following them through their rather unconventional but oh-so-romantic "courtship." I loved that James included the children in the story too. They're energetic, inquisitive, and mischievous; it was so much fun to see glimpses of the unique characteristics they would carry with them into adulthood. Meeting their younger selves made me want to go read their books all over again. Fans of the Wildes are sure to enjoy this look back at some of their favorite characters but if you're new to the series, My Last Duchess is a great place to start. 

If you're looking for a quick read (255 pages) that will make you laugh, sigh, and bubble over with joy, pick up a copy of My Last Duchess. It has my enthusiastic recommendation. 


What's the last book that had you feeling like you had unwrapped a joy-filled surprise?

Have you read any of the books in the Wildes of Lindow Castle series? Do you have a favorite?

One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, November 1, 2020 will receive a print copy of My Last Duchess and a Wilde teddy bear from this year's Buns and Roses Tea for Literacy at which Eloisa James was the keynote speaker.

*Must be 18 or older

*U.S. addresses only

Friday, October 30, 2020

Review & Giveaway - - Lady Lilias and the Devil in Plaid

Lady Lilias and the Devil in Plaid
by Julie Johnstone
Scottish Scoundrels: Ensnared Hearts - Book 2
Publisher: Darbyshire Publishing LLC
Release Date: October 30 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Free-spirited Lilias Honeyfield has a secret. She’s certain the rich and powerful Duke of Greybourne is meant to be hers. He just needs to reappear in her life and stop denying his love for her before she’s forced to wed another. Though it’s been seven years, she has never forgotten the beautiful but tormented man hiding behind the mask of moody boy, nor does she believe she imagined the searing passion between them. But the day Nash Steele finally reappears in Town, the rogue destroys her hope by claiming he never returned her affection.

Nash Steele is haunted by his mistakes and the memories of the impetuous, headstrong beauty who breached his heart and soothed his soul years ago. But innocent Lilias was never meant to be his. And if he ever doubts it, he reminds himself of the tragic accident he caused soon after they met. His life is now, and will always be, one of penance. Unable to have the one woman he wants, the easiest thing to do is to flee. So when duty eventually forces him home, he intends to keep his distance from the ravishing creature. Yet when danger threatens her, he cannot sit by and allow her to be harmed. Every moment in her presence is sweet torture, and soon the need he has kept caged for years refuses to be contained any longer.

Swept together by burning desire but ensnared in a tangle of secrets and guilt, Lilias and Nash must fight to turn tragedy into triumph and the past that threatens to destroy them into the very thing that heals their hearts.

PJ's Thoughts:

When I pick up one of Julie Johnstone's books I know I'll be fully immersed in the hearts and minds of her well-developed characters as well as the world in which they live. From the wide open spaces of the Cotswolds to the glittering ballrooms of London to the dark and dank alleys of St. Giles, Lady Lilias and the Devil in Plaid transported me into a fictional world that Johnstone brings vividly to the page.

Lilias and Nash captured my affection almost immediately upon meeting them as youths and my heart ached for the years they were separated. Nash's anguish was almost palpable; Johnstone is a master of emotionally tortured heroes. And Lilias. I adored her adventurous spirit, her straightforward demeanor, and her kindness to others. But I ached for her yearning heart and for the heartache of betrayal that she wasn't expecting. I loved the chemistry between Lilias and Nash and was cheering them on the entire way though Johnstone sure didn't make their journey an easy one. I have to admit, there were many times when I couldn't figure out how in the world she was going to pull off a happy ending. Of course, she did, and in a swoon-worthy, heart-stopping, just in the nick of time manner that had me sighing with delight and shedding a few tears for good measure.

The secondary cast adds a richness to the story without pulling the primary focus from the main couple while offering glimpses into the lives of characters from book one, Lady Guinevere and the Rogue with a Brogue, and introducing new characters to the mix. I admit to having very strong - and mixed - feelings about some of them. As frequently happens with Johnstone, there were a few unexpected twists that completely changed my view of a few characters. I like being surprised. There's also a character who betrays Nash and Lilias who has me trying to decide if I want a hard-earned redemption or for the person to slink off to the country never to be heard from again (I don't know what Johnstone has planned for this character but, whatever it is, I have confidence that I'll be happy with her decision). On the other hand, I do know that the next book in the series will be Lady Constantine and the Sins of Lord Kilgore and I cannot wait to unravel all the secrets these two are closely guarding.

If you enjoy emotional Regency romance with well-developed characters, second chances, and plenty of twists and turns, give this one a try. It's the second book in the series with several cross-over characters but also stands quite well on its own. 


Have you read Julie Johnstone yet?

Do you enjoy romances with twists that keep you guessing right up to the conclusion?

One person who comments before 11:00 PM, October 31 will receive an e-copy of Lady Lilias and the Devil in Plaid

*Must be 18 or older

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review - - The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas

The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas
An Anthology
by Jodi Thomas, Sharla Lovelace, and Scarlett Dunn
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: October 27, 2020

In these Texas-set stories of romance and adventure, the Civil War is over, Christmas is coming—and it’s time for three rugged fighters to become lovers . . .

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Jodi Thomas
Dispirited by war, when Trapper Hawkins accepts a job hauling five little rich girls to Dallas, all he cares about is the money. He doesn’t expect they’ll awaken his spirit—or that their intriguing nursemaid, Emery Adams, will awaken his heart. And when danger strikes as Christmas Eve nears, he definitely doesn’t expect Emery and the girls to risk their lives—for him . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

Father Goose, starring Cary Grant and Leslie Caron, is one of my all-time favorite movies and Jodi Thomas is one of my all-time favorite authors so I was already pre-disposed to view this Christmas novella in a positive light before I read word one. I wasn't far into it before I realized Trapper, Emery, and girls One through Five (you'll understand the reference after you read the story) were going to check all my happy reader boxes. The brilliance of Jodi Thomas shines through on every page of this story and through each character. I couldn't help but fall in love with Trapper, Emery, and all five of the girls during their perilous, endearing, and frequently humorous, journey across Texas. I loved that Thomas gave each of the girls a distinct personality and role in the story, rather than lumping them together as a group. I enjoyed the emotional bonding as each of them found a place for themselves in Trapper's heart and as Trapper and Emery, two loners beaten down by life, gradually fell in love. It was a pitch-perfect reading experience that left my heart bursting with joy. This story has become an instant classic in my holiday reading canon. I have no doubt I'll be revisiting these characters again and again. Also, Ms. Thomas, please note that if you're ever in the mood to write grown-up stories for the Chapman sisters, I will happily buy them all!  

A catastrophic storm, an ailing herd, and a failing cattle ranch have left Texas rancher Josie Bancroft in danger of losing everything her father worked for. Still, she’d rather die than merge with her neighbor rancher Benjamin Mason, the man who broke her heart years ago, on Christmas Eve. As old sparks fly and secrets are revealed, however, Ben is determined to help Josie—and prove that this time around can be different. That the misunderstandings of Christmas past need not define their future . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

Second chance romance is one of my favorite romance tropes. Unfortunately, this story also used one of my least favorite plot twists to tear the main couple apart five years earlier, a heartbreaking, angst-filled twist that played out on the page. I read the entire novella and tried really hard to overcome my aversion to the earlier events but I just couldn't. Perhaps if the story had been longer, with more time to develop the characters and their emotions post-reunion, I may have been able to buy into their HEA. There are probably many readers who will enjoy these characters and their journey. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I will say, however, that there was a four-year-old character who was an absolute charmer and the highlight of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed her. 

Yellow Fever has hit Clint Mitchum’s Texas hometown and taken his father and siblings, leaving Clint ever more cynical. Racing homeward to be by his mother’s side, Clint finds only a note from her, asking that he help her caregiver, a young woman named Amelia. Assuming his mother has passed, in his grief Clint ventures out to search for Amelia—and finds the best of gifts—just in time for Christmas . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

What a sweet, heartwarming story. This is the first time I've read Scarlett Dunn. It won't be the last. Dunn has put together an engaging cast of characters and skillfully developed each of them. Though there is a main couple, it truly felt like an ensemble cast with all of the characters having important roles and coming to life on the page. Clint has such a good heart. I really enjoyed his character. The relationship between him and Amelia is sweet and endearing, with a few unexpected twists along the way. The relationships Clint forms with the children in the story are heart-tugging and the Christmas "miracle" he pulls off had more than few tears flowing. 

If you're looking for an anthology that will make you laugh, make you cry, and fill you with the spirit of an Old West Christmas, I highly recommend The Cowboy Who Saved Christmas.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Today's Special - - Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle Guest Post & Giveaway

Halloween is only three days away; perfect timing to welcome today's guests. Last month, Nancy Northcott and Jeanne Adams stopped by to tell us how Caynham Castle came to be and share photos of their real-life inspirations (click here if you missed that post). Today, they, and fellow Caynham Castle authors Morgan Brice and Caren Crane are here to tell us about each of their story contributions to this year's anthology: Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle. I've read the anthology and the stories are brimming with action, mystery, danger, romance, and all kind of delicious spooky goodness. Welcome to The Romance Dish, ladies!

A Spooky Halloween at Caynham Castle 

Jeanne Adams, Morgan Brice, Caren Crane, and Nancy Northcott


Hi, everyone! PJ, thanks for having us!

The four of us are part of the Caynham Castle gang (with Seressia Glass, Donna MacMeans, and Anna Sugden), writing romance novellas set in an imaginary castle on the Welsh marches. We all celebrated Christmas last year, and four of us are enjoying Halloween this year with Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle. Here’s a bit from each of us about the inspiration for our Halloween stories and the series they tie into.

From Jeanne:

Hi PJ! Thanks for having us on The Romance Dish! My story in Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle is "Trouble Under the Tower." This story stands alone, but if you--or your readers-- read Christmas at Caynham Castle, you'll recognize some of the returning characters. The secret passages I created and used in Christmas at Caynham Castle were the inspiration for this spooky story. I figured that if they found these spooky passages, the Earl of Caynham and his fiancĂ©e, and staff, would be keen to have them authenticated and explored by an archaeologist. Enter Dr. Sebelle Turturro, who's assembled a team of grad students to explore, catalogue and preserve the spooky tunnel and rooms. With the help of an archaeological photographer, Dr. Alden MacDonald, a witch who hails from Haven Harbor, Massachusetts, they'll get it all done in record time...unless there's trouble. And of course, there's LOTS of trouble under the tower! 

This story is an extension of my Haven Harbor Witches series that began with 2016's The Witches Walk. As you know, PJ, this series has several books and six novellas and counting!

Haven Harbor was founded in 1692 when most of the real witches left Salem ahead of the witch trials. Now, in modern day, Haven Harbor is a thriving Massachusetts town with the descendants of those witches making magic, mischief, and finding love.

From Caren:

My story, "Murky Waters," was one inspired by my desire to send my hero out into nature. I made him a landscape architect, which was what the hero of my Christmas novella studied in college. So, I made the hero of "Murky Waters" an old college friend of his and tied the two novellas together. The heroine in "Murky Waters" was a secondary character in the Christmas novella. I love her because she is quite saucy!

The heroine of the Christmas novella was from my fictional town of Cross Springs, North Carolina, which tied the novella to my Cross Springs novels. But the Caynham Castle novellas seem to be developing more independently these days. There may be more ties to Cross Springs in the future, though.


From Gail:

As I was thinking about what to do for my story, the Knights Templar came up in another context. That caught my attention, and I started to do some research about their history, associated legends, locations, etc. I came upon a real cave that appeared to have been adapted and used as a Templar secret place, and built out the idea of a missing treasure and a last survivor. It also made sense because Erik’s background is art authentication, so he would be drawn toward historical items and relics, which would get the mystery rolling. 

Erik Mitchell and Ben Nolan star in their own series, Treasure Trail, set in Cape May, NJ. Erik left a high-profile role stopping art fraud after he was shot, and came to Cape May to start over by buying a high-end antique shop that also helps get rid of dangerous magical objects. Ben Nolan was a burned-out Newark cop who came to Cape May to take over his aunt’s vacation real estate company. Ben and Erik connect, and end up dealing with cursed hotels, Mafia ghosts and dangerous old scandals. All of my urban fantasy books as Gail Z. Martin and as Morgan Brice cross over with each other.


From Nancy:

My story, "Mr. Never Again," arose out of my enjoyment of reading about people who can’t quite make it work the first time but circle around to each other in the end. When my heroine, Dana Gresham, was a teenager, her mom abandoned the family. She stepped into the mom role. Years later, when she and Blaine Harris dated, her closeness to her siblings bothered him. It ultimately drove them apart. Too late, he came to regret his jealousy. Hoping for another chance, he asked for her to be assigned as his partner on this mission, protecting a weapons designer whose loyalty is in question. Throw in my passion for spies and action-adventure, and I had all the ingredients for this story.

"Mr. Never Again" is part of my Arachnid Files romantic suspense series. Arachnid is a multinational covert intelligence organization created to go around the rules that bind others. The first novella in the series. Danger’s Edge, is available as a standalone. The others are only in anthologies, the two Caynham Castle ones and Who’s Your Daddy, which Caren, Jeanne, and I did together.


PJ, thanks again for having us!

We’ll give one commenter a copy of Trick or Treat at Caynham Castle, so tell us about your favorite romance trope or your favorite legend.

Thanks for stopping by, everyone!

*Must be 18 or older

*Giveaway ends 11:00 PM, October 29, 2020

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Review - - Love is a Rogue

Love is a Rogue
by Lenora Bell
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

They call her Beastly Beatrice.

Wallflower Lady Beatrice Bentley longs to remain in the wilds of Cornwall to complete her etymological dictionary. Too bad her brother’s Gothic mansion is under renovation. How can she work with an annoyingly arrogant and too-handsome rogue swinging a hammer nearby?

Rogue. Scoundrel. Call him anything you like as long as you pay him.

 Navy man Stamford Wright is leaving England soon and renovating Thornhill House is just a job. It’s not about the duke’s bookish sister or her fiery copper hair. Or the etymology lessons the prim-yet-alluring lady insists on giving him. Or the forbidden things he'd love to teach her.

They say never mix business with pleasure. But when Beatrice and Ford aren't arguing, they're kissing. 

Sometimes temptation proves too strong to resist…even if the cost is a heart.

PJ's Thoughts:

I was excited when I learned that Lady Beatrice, the bookish younger sister of the Duke of Thorndon (hero of Bell's last book, One Fine Duke) was slated to be the heroine of Love is a Rogue and even more excited when I discovered her hero would be that deliciously handsome, but annoyingly pesky, carpenter working at their family's country estate. I'm happy to report that these two gave me everything I could have hoped for...and more. 

As the author has stated, Love is a Rogue is a gender-flipped Beauty and the Beast meets HGTV (pick your favorite renovation show) story and it totally works. It's also a cross-class romance which is one of my favorite tropes. And I'll toss one more trope in. It's a bit of a coming of age story for Beatrice. She's never been allowed to show her true self to the world, either verbally or physically. Books have been her best friends and though she has established close relationships with fellow wallflowers, her interactions with men are awkward at best. It was such a delight to watch her learn to spread her wings, stand her ground, and open her heart to the possibilities of life and love. Her masquerade party entrance may have had me cheering out loud. 

And then there's Ford. Man, did I fall hard for this hero. He's not really a rogue but he does have roguish tendencies, such as being an incorrigible flirt. But he's an honorable man. And he sees Beatrice for who she really is. He protects her, motivates her, desires her, celebrates her. I love how he doesn't allow her to push him away, how he communicates with her, and encourages her to explore all the possibilities life has to offer. 

Love is a Rogue launches Lenora Bell's Wallflowers vs Rogues series with a story that's brimming with sparkling banter, sensual passion, laugh-out-loud humor, heart-tugging emotion, and a happy ending. If you're looking for a historical romance mood lifter, don't miss Love is a Rogue


For more insight into this story, click here to read my Q&A with Lenora Bell.

Monday, October 26, 2020

Review - - Tall, Duke, and Dangerous

Tall, Duke, and Dangerous
by Megan Frampton
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: October 27, 2020
Reviewed by Santa

He needs a bride…

Nash, the “dangerous” Duke of Malvern, has always bristled against the rules of English society. Hot tempered and fearful of becoming like his brutish late father, he lives a life of too much responsibility and too little joy. And although he’s vowed to never marry, a duke has a duty—and there’s only one way to get himself an heir and a spare. So Nash reluctantly takes a look around at society’s available young ladies to see who might be willing to put up with his one-word answers and frequent glowers.

She longs for love…

After the death of her father and wicked stepmother, Ana Maria goes from virtual servant to lady-in-training, and while society life has its benefits—gorgeous gowns!—its restrictive rules stifle her sprit. And when her independent actions put her in danger, her half-brother insists Nash teach her some self-defense. While most of London’s ladies find Nash intimidating, she only sees a man who needs introducing to all the joys life has to offer. So although officially they are coming together for fighting lessons, unofficially their physical contact begins to blur the line between friendship and begins to grown into something more…

Santa says:

Tall, Duke and Dangerous by Megan Frampton is the second book in her Hazards of Dukes series. This five-star book had me eagerly turning the page. Megan writes an emotionally draining story of two people born into adverse circumstances who forge a revolutionary love story.  

Tall, Duke and Dangerous follows Nash, the Duke of Malvern and a former cinder-sweeping maid of all drudgery, Lady Ana Maria. As a friend to both her brother and cousin, Nash and Ana Maria have known each other since they were children. And their childhoods were far from happy ones. Nash’s father, a monster of a man and father, was both emotionally and physically abusive. Ana Maria, though the legitimate daughter of a duke, grew up in the shadow of a stepmother who kept her in the household as a maid! A real life Cinderella. 

Nash feels protective of her as he would feel for any of his father’s by-blows who he has managed to locate and provide for. However, he finds he feels more deeply for her than anyone else in his life but she’s his best friend’s sister. He is a loner with so many walls built around him. His father isolated him from his family. His violent nature caused Nash’s mother to flee from home when Nash was very young. There was no way he would have been allowed to go with her.  

Following the death of her father and stepmother, Ana Maria finds her new status in life difficult to accept.  She feels neither fish nor fowl as a lady in a household where she was a maid, though the ability to wear gorgeous gowns certainly is a plus. Her flare and joy in colors prompts her to really use that talent - that eye in design. Her cousin Thadeus, the new Duke of Hasford, lets her redecorate one of the parlors. She finds she loves the whole process and wants to build a business to forge her sense of independence. 

Nash controls himself and is brief in both his relationships and in how he communicates with everyone around him. It’s a safeguard which Ana Maria recognizes and accepts as no one else has ever done. Ana Maria is determined to show Nash the joy of living. This exuberance for life lands her into more than one scrape from which Nash rescues her. The truth of the matter is that they rescue one another. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Second Chance Winner - - Forever Holiday Giveaway


One of the bundles of books from the 

Forever Holiday Giveaway

was not claimed so a new winner has been randomly chosen.

Congratulations to

Trish J

"Wow. What a great bunch of books. I love Christmas stories. I read them year round. They always have heart and all the warm and fuzzy feelings to cheer you up. I love contemporary best, but I like a little suspense too."

Please send your full name and mailing address 

 with Forever Holiday Winner in the subject line  


theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

You have until October 26 to respond 

or a new winner will be randomly chosen.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Review - - Any Rogue Will Do

Any Rogue Will Do
by Bethany Bennett
Misfits of Mayfair - Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: October 13, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

For exactly one season, Lady Charlotte Wentworth played the biddable female the ton expected -- and all it got her was society's mockery and derision. Now she's determined to be in charge of her own future. So when an unwanted suitor tries to manipulate her into an engagement, she has a plan. He can't claim to be her fiancĂ© if she's engaged to someone else. Even if it means asking for help from the last man she would ever marry.

Ethan, Viscount Amesbury, made a lot of mistakes, but the one he regrets the most is ruining Lady Charlotte's reputation. Going along with her charade is the least he can do to clean the slate and perhaps earn her forgiveness. Pretending to be in love with the woman he's never forgotten is easy. What isn't easy is convincing her to give him a second chance.

PJ's Thoughts:

Filled with sparkling banter, heart-tugging emotion, sizzling passion, action-packed danger, and swoony romance, this book is an absolute delight. Bethany Bennett hooked me from the first page and kept me glued to the story until the very end. I liked these characters. I cheered for them, laughed with them, feared for them, and wept over them. Bennett brought them to life on the pages, imbuing them with realistic flaws...and feelings. I loved how Ethan and Lottie evolved from enemies to friends to a fake engagement to, finally, a happily ever after. And Bennett does not make that journey easy!

I really enjoyed the people Lottie and Ethan had become during the years between their "scandal" and their unexpected reunion, at the start of the book. They had each matured, discovered their strengths,  who they wanted to be and what was important in their lives. They were at a place in their lives where they could meet as equals. Their chemistry flared bright (balcony scene - just saying) but I also appreciated the friendship that developed between them. And I loved their genuine kindness to others. They were each a person I'd love to call my friend. 

I enjoyed the friendship between Ethan and Cal, a character who leaped from the page. I can't wait to find out more about him in his book, West End Earl, scheduled for release in June 2021. I also enjoyed Lottie's relationship with both her maid and her godmother, two characters who played significant roles in this story.

The villain of the book is one nasty piece of work and I have to admit, I derived a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction from the conclusion of his storyline. In fact, I may have cackled with glee.

Any Rogue Will Do may be Bethany Bennett's debut but it shines with the glittering polish of a seasoned author. I predict Ms. Bennett will be dazzling readers for many years to come. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Last Chance Winners - - Forever Holiday Giveaway


Last Chance!

Please contact me at 

before the deadline when new winners will be chosen. 

We have winners! 

Thank you to all of you who visited the blog over the weekend and entered our fabulous Forever Holiday Romance Giveaway. I hope you will all give one - or more - of the featured authors a try. And come back to visit again soon!

The randomly chosen winners of a bundle of 

ALL the titles featured in the post are:

Kaitlyn Seelen

"I haven’t read any of these yet, but I love Debbie Mason and Annie Rains! I always enjoy a good anthology but I love contemporary romance stories. I’m so excited to begin my Christmas reading!"


Suzanne B

"Love holiday stories. Have not read any of these authors. Seeing it's snowing outside the mood is here!"

Congratulations to our winners!

Please send your full name and mailing address 

(with Forever Winner in the subject line) to:

no later than October 22, 2020.

If I do not hear from you by that date, I will choose a new winner.

Tour Review & Giveaway - - Autumn Skies

Autumn Skies
by Denise Hunter
A Bluebell Inn Romance -  Book 3
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Release Date: October 20, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

When a mysterious man turns up at Grace’s family-run inn, it’s instant attraction. But she’s already got a lot on her plate: running the Bluebell Inn, getting Blue Ridge Outfitters off the ground, and coping with a childhood event she’d thought was long past.

A gunshot wound has resurrected the past for secret service agent Wyatt Jennings, and a mandatory leave of absence lands him in Bluebell, North Carolina. There he must try and come to grips with the crisis that altered his life forever.

Grace needs experience for her new outfitters business, so when Wyatt needs a mountain guide, she’s more than happy to step up to the plate. As their journey progresses, Grace soon has an elusive Wyatt opening up, and Wyatt is unwittingly drawn to Grace’s fresh outlook and sense of humor.

There’s no doubt the two have formed a special bond, but will Wyatt’s secrets bring Grace’s world crashing down? Or will those secrets end up healing them both?

PJ's Thoughts:

Denise Hunter saved the best for last in this heart-tugging, inspirational series about three siblings whose lives are forever changed with the sudden, and unexpected, deaths of their parents. Grace has been my favorite since first meeting her as a high school student in book one, Lake Season. From the beginning, she's seemed older than her years, determined in her focus, and dedicated to the future she envisions. In Autumn Skies, we discover the events in her past that have helped form the person she is and the unexpected connection with a mysterious guest that just may determine the course of her future.

Hunter delves into some heart-wrenching issues in this book, giving the story a more serious foundation while also balancing it with Grace's upbeat, adventurous spirit. I enjoyed the attraction between Grace and Wyatt, the low-key flirting, and the slow-growing relationship that developed between them. My heart ached for Wyatt as his difficult history - and current quest - were revealed and my admiration for Grace grew stronger as her connection came to light. These two had both suffered unimaginable emotional trauma. I appreciated the care that Hunter took to delve into their pasts and guide them toward the future and eventual healing. I loved them together and was in their corner cheering them on the entire way.

Once again, the realistic dynamic among the Bennett siblings shines bright and I was happy to see all three of them, and their partners, at the center of this book. The conclusion to the series was exactly what I had hoped and even though I know this is a product of Denise Hunter's imagination, I'm still convinced a short drive into the mountains would bring me to the doorstep of the Bluebell Inn and some of my favorite fictional characters. 

If you enjoy Christian romance with humor, heart, and realistic, engaging characters into whose lives you'll become completely immersed, give Denise Hunter's Bluebell Inn trilogy a try. Though each book can be read on its own, I highly recommend reading them in order: Lake Season, Carolina Breeze, and Autumn Skies


Do you read inspirational romance?

Do you enjoy books with plenty of chemistry but no sex on the page?

Have you read any of Denise Hunter's novels? Do you have a favorite?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 23, 2020 will receive a copy of Autumn Skies.

*Must be 18

*U.S. only

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Review - - Her Night With the Duke

Her Night With the Duke
by Diana Quincy
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: September 29, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

Desire knows no reason...

When Lady Delilah Chambers finds herself stranded at a country inn on a rain-swept evening, she’s forced to fend off a group of ruffians with the help of a handsome gentleman. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Leela and the stranger spend one reckless night in each others’ arms—and then go their separate ways. But the very next day Leela receives the shock of her life when she meets the duke who is set on wedding her beloved stepdaughter.

When it finds two destined hearts...

One night isn’t enough with a woman as fierce, fiery, and brilliant as Leela. Elliot Townsend, Duke of Huntington, cannot believe his good fortune when their chance encounter leads to an unforgettable evening of passion. Yet Hunt’s luck runs out when he is introduced to his prospective mother-in-law. Dowagers aren’t supposed to look like this... 

Leela and Hunt are determined to keep each other at arm’s length, which should be easy enough for two intelligent adults with reputations to uphold. The problem is all logic is lost when it comes to a passion that refuses to be ignored.

PJ's Thoughts:

What a breath of fresh air this novel is! With vividly depicted characters, emotional depth, fiery passion, and enough twists to keep me guessing until the very end, Quincy has penned a novel that captured my interest and kept me involved from start to finish. 

Leela is a treasure. She is the heart of this book and one of my favorite romance heroines this year. I love her strength, her intelligence, and her hard-won independence. I love her adventurous spirit, her confidence in her value, and her refusal to accept less than she is worth. I especially enjoy how Leela embraces the heritage of her Arab mother that was denied her while growing up. This is an "own voices" novel with Quincy exploring the history, culture, and cuisine of the heritage she shares with her heroine. 

I also love how Leela embraces the passion between Hunt and herself during their agreed upon night together, but places a higher value on the bond of love and trust she shares with her stepdaughter, Tori, once she discovers Tori is to become Hunt's betrothed.  

Hunt is stunned by the passion he shares with Leela but bound to her stepdaughter by his honor, even though he barely knows the girl, as well as his determination to outrun his family's reckless reputation. His heart knows what it wants but his head, and stuffy English bias, disagree, especially after certain facts come to light. He has quite a growth arc in front of him if he has any hope of being worthy of Leela's love.

There are several colorful secondary characters who enrich the story but my favorite is Tori. What a surprise she is! Her relationship with Leela is not that of a typical fictional stepmother-stepdaughter. Instead of an adversarial relationship, these two share deep love, deep liking, and mutual respect. I love how they support one another, no matter what. It's not hard to see from whom Tori gained her unexpected independence and strength of character. I enjoyed her journey almost as much as I did Leela's.