Saturday, July 31, 2021

Spotlight & Giveaway: Nancy Northcott's The Arachnid Files

Some of you might know her only as Nancy, the Romance Dish reviewer. For those of you who may be unaware, Nancy Northcott is also a multi-published author writing in a variety of genres. Today, I'm shining a light on one of those genres - romantic suspense - and on one of Nancy's series: The Arachnid Files. Nancy's Arachnid is a private, multi-nation espionage organization. Think CIA but with services available to multiple countries. And yes, they're the good guys. 

Three standalone Arachnid Files novellas, originally published in multi-author anthologies, have been updated and are now available for purchase individually in e-book. Filled with pulse-pounding suspense and emotional romance, they are all quick reads that kept me eagerly flipping pages right up until the satisfying conclusion. Let's take a look.

DANGER'S EDGE: An Arachnid Files Novella
by Nancy Northcott
*Previously published in an earlier version as part of the Capitol Danger anthology. The anthology is no longer available.

When terrorists disrupt the inaugural ball, new Arachnid Agency operative Kelsey Mitchell tables her planned undercover operation and works to bring help into the hotel. Her only ally is Greg Reed, an FBI agent on medical leave after being shot during a robbery. Kelsey dreads making a novice mistake, and Greg is afraid he’s lost his edge.

Attraction flares between them though Kelsey knows the Feds disapprove of people who work for her freewheeling agency. Together, she and Greg must fight their demons and the terrorists to gather intel for the FBI and create a safe landing zone for a rescue force. Can they succeed against overwhelming odds, or will the battle cost one or both their lives—or their hearts?

THE LAST FAVOR: An Arachnid Files Novella
by Nancy Northcott
*Previously published as part of the Christmas at Caynham Castle anthology.

Grayson (Gray) Kane comes to Caynham Castle at Christmas to pick up an award for his late father. Dealing with his loss amid the families celebrating the holiday makes him question his solitary life as an covert agent. His partner, Laurel Whitney, joins him to protect Gray from an assassin. As the long-suppressed attraction between them flares anew and a killer closes in, she must decide whether she has the courage to seize what she has always wanted.

WORTH THE WAIT: An Arachnid Files Novella
by Nancy Northcott
*Originally published as part of the Who's Your Daddy: A DNA Anthology. The anthology is no longer available.

A burned-out spy goes home for a holiday and re-encounters the woman he never dated but never forgot. As he and she grow closer, she realizes her niece, his ex-girlfriend’s child, bears an uncanny resemblance to him. When the truth comes out, it will alter three lives.

Each of the three novellas is a standalone story, set within the Arachnid Files series but with a separate cast of characters and a clear start and finish. They can be enjoyed in any order. 

Nancy is a self-described history geek and Anglophile, with a passion for British history, who has enjoyed traveling extensively in England. She also loves comic books, fantasy, and science fiction and is a regular attendee/contributor at Dragon Con. All of those passions contribute to her creative imagination in the suspense, paranormal, fantasy, and science fiction books she writes. Check out her website for more information about her published novels and links to connect with her online. 


Have you read Nancy's books yet?

Nancy would probably choose to travel to England over just about any other country. What country is highest on your travel wish list?

Have you had your DNA tested? Was your ancestry as expected or did the results reveal surprises?

One randomly selected person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, August 1 will receive a Kindle copy of one of the three novellas spotlighted above (winner's choice).  

*Amazon US only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

Friday, July 30, 2021

Review - - The Duke Goes Down

The Duke Goes Down
by Sophie Jordan
The Duke Hunt - Book 1
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Reviewed by Santa

The Bastard Rogue...  

Peregrine Butler’s privileged blue-blooded world is rocked to the core when it is revealed he was born before his parents’ marriage and therefore is not the legal heir to the dukedom. Facing ruin, Perry must use his charm and good looks to win an heiress—all the while ignoring his fascination with the one interfering and alluring chit who is intent on sabotaging his efforts.  


The Lady Vicar...  

Everyone knows Imogen Bates, the virtuous daughter of the senile vicar. She can write a sermon in a day and spot a rogue in a second, so she sees right through Perry’s seductive façade. But Imogen’s plan to protect the heiresses of her beloved Shropshire from the erstwhile Duke of Penning, the bane of her existence since childhood, soon turns into something altogether unacceptable for the proper lady … who suddenly finds herself longing to keep his heated glances and tempting kisses all to herself. 

Santa Says:

The Duke Goes Down by Sophie Jordan is as provocative a read as the title cheekily suggests and was a five star read for me. This is the first book in what promises to be a very enjoyable series. It is an enemies-to-lovers story that brings together the vicar’s daughter, Imogen Bates, and Peregrine Butler, the Duke of - actually he’s no longer the Duke of Penning - he’s plain, old Mr. Butler now much to Imogen’s delight. 

Peregrine, or Perry, was the bane of Imogen's existence when they were growing up. When Perry loses the Dukedom due to an accident of birth - it seemed that his parents anticipated their vows and made it to the church a bit behind schedule - he finds himself in a financial bind and must marry an heiress as quickly as possible. Shunned in London as a bastard he returns to what was his home seat of Shropshire to find himself an heiress. Imogen will not stand for it! To have one of her friends who happens to be an heiress live with such a boorish, though decidedly handsome, man is out of the question. Imogen starts off a volley of rumors about Mr. Butler. 

Perry figures out who has been starting the rumors and confronts Imogen. He finds himself enchanted by a beauty that she tries to hide. They call a truce and find themselves drawn to one another. Imogen starts to see the good in him. And Perry starts to look at his once privileged life and what his life now could really be. Does he need a young woman who is an heiress that would enrich his coffers or the lady right in front of him that would more than enrich his life?  

The Duke Goes Down is filled with witty banter, some pretty steamy scenes and will touch your heartstrings. I highly recommend this delightful read and look forward to more in the series. Remember how Perry lost his dukedom? Well, we still have yet to meet the new duke and Shropshire has a number of interesting characters that I, for one, would love to read more about.


Thursday, July 29, 2021

Winner - - Not the Kind of Earl You Marry


The randomly chosen winner of a print copy of

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry by Kate Pembrooke is:

aaea cat


Please send your U.S. mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please put Kate Pembrooke Winner in the subject line.

Tour Review and Giveaway - - The Highlander's Irish Bride

The Highlander's Irish Bride
by Vanessa Kelly
Clan Kendrick - Book 4
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Miss Kathleen Calvert may be the daughter of an Irish aristocrat, but she has no intention of acting like one. All she desires is to return to her family’s estate to raise horses and manage her father’s magnificent gardens. But when a scandal threatens her reputation, her parents order her to a remote Scottish estate, hoping she will finally learn to behave like a proper lady. To make matters worse, her escort is a handsome Highlander who just happens to be the most boring man in all of Scotland . . .

After a youth of dangerous and wild escapades, Grant Kendrick surprised his family—and himself—by becoming a successful businessman and the most respectable Kendrick brother. But does that matter, when the beautiful and free-spirited Kathleen deems him a stodgy bore? Luckily, he gets the chance to prove her wrong when their carriage is ambushed by thieves. But it will take all his ingenuity to protect the beautiful lass who has stormed her way into his heart—and to convince her that a life with him will be a love-filled adventure . . .

PJ's Thoughts:

Vanessa Kelly takes readers back to Scotland for another adventure with her boisterous, meddling, and loving Kendrick clan. This time, it's twin Grant who finds himself on an unexpected journey to love with an Irish lass with a penchant for finding trouble. 

When Kelly's Kendrick family is involved, I can be assured the story will be overflowing with adventure, mischief, humor, family, romance, and fun. This fourth book certainly has all of that. I enjoyed the slow-burn relationship between Kathleen and Grant. The progress of their relationship is very gradual, allowing them the time to move from acquaintances to friends to more. I liked the way they challenged one another and how each of them evolved over the course of the book. There's a sweetness to their love, along with the fire. They bring out the best in one another as, together, they are finally able to grow into their authentic selves, the people they were meant to be. 

There is a rather large secondary cast of characters in the story, featuring many of the Kendrick family, which is always fun for fans of the series, as well as secondary characters from Graeme's book, The Highlander's English Bride, and new ones including an especially nasty villain.  A special treat for me was the appearance of Gillian (My Fair Princess), one of my favorite Kelly heroines. She always livens up a story! Unfortunately, there was also a prominently featured character I did not enjoy: Kathleen's sister, Jeannie, an annoying, self-centered, sixteen-year-old who acted more like a spoiled, selfish child than a young woman. She dominated the story with her antics, to the point where, for me, every scene she was in overshadowed the other characters and not in a positive way. She finally redeemed herself but by then I didn't care. Others may feel differently about her but, for me, every appearance by her drained more of my pleasure from Grant and Kathleen's story. I understood her character's purpose in the overall story but I just wanted her gone. 

The mystery was well plotted and even though I guessed the villain pretty early on I was still kept in suspense as to how it would all play out. The first half of the book was a slow build but the pace really picked up in the last half with both the action and romance racing to another satisfying Kendrick conclusion. 

While I don't think you have to read the entire series to fully enjoy The Highlander's Irish Bride (though I loved them all), I do recommend reading at least The Highlander's English Bride as the characters, setting, and storylines from that book feature prominently in this one. 

There are two Kendrick brothers left and I am eager to discover what kind of adventure, laughter, and romance Kelly has in store for them. 

The Highlander's Irish Bride



Vanessa Kelly is a USA Today Bestselling, award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated in a number of contests, and she has won multiple awards, including the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her books have been published in nine languages.

Vanessa’s first Clan Kendrick book, The Highlander Who Protected Me, was a USA Today, Barnes & Noble, and BookScan bestseller. The Highlander’s Christmas Bride, her latest book, hit the top 50 on both the Barnes & Noble mass-market bestseller list and on BookScan. The Renegade Royals Series was a national bestseller, as was The Improper Princesses Series. My Fair Princess was named a Goodreads Romance of the Month and is a USA Today and BookScan bestseller.

When she’s not dreaming of plots for her next Regency novel, Vanessa is writing USA Today Bestselling books with her husband, under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

You can find Vanessa at or at For all of Vanessa’s latest news and contests–and to receive a free story–please sign up for her newsletter on her website.


Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Review - - The Runaway Heiress

The Runaway Heiress
by Meg Tilly
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Sarah Rainsford has been on the run for more than three years. She's changed identities yet again in hopes of throwing her violent estranged husband, a police lieutenant, off her trail. Since she's still legally married to him, and he is willing to bend any laws to get his hands on her inheritance, he'll stop at nothing to locate her.

With a new name and fake ID papers, she lands a job as a personal assistant to none other than Hollywood's golden boy director Mick Talford. He's a difficult client but she senses hidden depths to him. Once Mick and Sarah combine forces in a desperate attempt to keep Sarah out of harm's way, they build a strong bond . . . but with danger trailing them, is it enough to keep them both alive?

PJ's Thoughts:

I recommend clearing your schedule before beginning The Runaway Heiress. Once I started, there was nothing that was going to pull me away from this book until I reached the final page. Meg Tilly lured me in with fully-formed, vividly-depicted characters in whom I quickly became invested. Then she threw them into a fast-paced, increasingly escalating, life-or-death journey that engaged all of my emotions. Finally, she wrapped it all up in a tightly-constructed plot, with numerous unexpected twists, that had me on the edge of my seat, trying to guess what would happen next, until the very end. What a ride!

Tilly is a gifted writer, one who can bring words on a page to life as stunning visuals in my mind. I could so clearly see everything play out like a film reel as I read the story; could feel the deepening emotions, the escalating danger, smell the fear, anger, and frustration of the characters, both good and evil.  

While the compelling, suspense portion of the book kept me on edge, it's nicely balanced by what turns out to be a very sweet romance, with plenty of sizzling chemistry, snappy banter, and emotional vulnerability. I really liked Mick and Sarah together. They were both good people, hiding their true selves for different reasons. I loved that they could see one another so clearly, almost from the first time they met. Their relationship was surprising in some ways, endearing in others, and definitely sigh worthy. I loved the foundation of friendship that developed between them, the emotional support each offered the other, the chemistry that finally refused to be denied, and the hard-earned, happy ending they both deserved. 

The Runaway Heiress is loosely connected to Tilly's Solace Island series but this thriller can be fully enjoyed on its own without having read the earlier books (though I recommend those as well). 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Tour Review - - Return of the Scot

Return of the Scot
by Eliza Knight
Publisher: Knight Media
Release Date: June 21. 2021
Reviewed by Hellie 

Scarred by the brutal ravages of war, Lorne Gordon, Duke of Sutherland returns to the Highlands to discover that his clan thought him long dead. His greedy half-brother has assumed his title, sold his family seat and disappeared with the fortune. Once he engineers the return of his title, he must convince the new estate owner to reverse the wholly legal sale with the promise that his half-brother, and the funds, will be found. However, that goal seems impossible when Lorne discovers the buyer is none other than his ex-betrothed’s sister.

After several humiliating attempts at securing a husband, Jaime Andrewson gives up on marriage and throws herself into her father’s business. She burns with vengeance towards the entire Sutherland family after their chieftain caused her sister’s fall from grace. Although she’d thought the man who betrayed her sister was dead, acquiring his property had been her main goal since taking over her father’s company. But with Lorne Gordon alive, vengeance is all the sweeter, for she desires only to watch him suffer.

Despite Lorne’s fury, he has to find a way to convince her to return what is rightfully his—even if he has to go so far as to marry her. Though out of practice with the arts of flirtation, there is one thing he does not lack—determination. With his pockets empty and a snarl on his lips, Lorne is determined to win her trust and her hand. When unexpected family secrets on both sides are exposed, Lorne realizes that wooing Jaime will be a bigger challenge than any of the other battles he’s ever fought, but it is one he refuses to lose.


Hellie’s Heeds 

Jaime is a very successful shipping businesswoman who has a reputation for being a sharp-tongued shrew and doing the opposite of what society expects of her, including: not marrying the first man who would have her, nor shunning her ruined sister, nor even giving particular deference to those in society with better standing than her like the Duke of Sutherland, the man who ruined her sister and left her with child. In fact, Jaime acquires the Duke’s castle when it is determined he is dead as a fitting act of revenge and rightful inheritance for her young nephew. However, her revenge is short-lived when the Duke of Sutherland comes back from the dead and is rather annoyed to learn his castle has been sold out from under him. 

Lorne, the Duke of Sutherland, has his hands full trying to get his rightful property back while working with the shrewish younger sister of the woman who tried to betray him with another man. He is understandably not keen to keep associating with this particular family due to prior history, but Jaime seems keen to make sure Lorne doesn’t get any advantage--and seems to think he took advantage of her sister and left her. However, being Lorne doesn’t have the money to pay back Jaime for the original purchase of his property, his other option is to woo and marry Jaime to get his castle back.  

As the two are forced to interact with each other and also work together to find the whereabouts of their siblings who could solve several mysteries that keep popping up, Jaime finds herself very attracted--once again--to Lorne; and Lorne finds that wooing Jaime would have less to do with getting his property back and more about getting Jaime in his arms forever. If only they could trust each other…. 

This story is very tightly written, well-detailed, and immersive with likeable main characters as well as fun and amusing secondary characters (aside from the villains, obviously). Sometimes the scenes showing a natural progression of the intimacy between the main characters felt a little choppy or perhaps slightly out of step with the emotions or behaviors of the main characters in the prior scene--like how sometimes in an action movie, something dangerous happens and they’re running for their lives, then they decide to kiss each other and you’re like, Is now the time? There was a little of that here for me--it didn’t feel as smooth as it might have been. However, I think this is a frequent issue with “enemies to lovers” storylines--they’re so busy fighting, I sometimes get confused why anyone is kissing. If this is a trope you enjoy, you may not find the same issues with it that I did.  

I think this is a good start to the series (Scots of Honor) and I look forward to reading the others in this series (since I suspect they are likely the secondary characters who will be coming out to play.) And I think Eliza Knight will give each of these men of honor a heroine worth fighting for--and I have no doubt each of these women will be bold, tart-tongued, and brilliant. If you enjoy reading Scottish set historicals with sassy heroines and glowering dukes, I believe you will find this an enjoyable read.


Monday, July 26, 2021

Winner - - A Secret in the Keys

The randomly chosen winner of a 

Kindle copy of

A Secret in the Keys by Hope Holloway is:

Anita Yancey


Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Review & Giveaway - - Not the Kind of Earl You Marry

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry
by Kate Pembrooke
The Unconventional Ladies of Mayfair - Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

The one woman in London who doesn’t want to marry him is now his fiancée.

William Atherton, Earl of Norwood, is as shocked as the rest of London to discover his betrothal via an announcement in the morning paper. Furious at what appears to be a shrewd marriage trap, William tracks down his alleged fiancée before her plans can affect his campaign for a coveted political post. But then William realizes an engagement, however fake, may benefit them both . . .

Miss Charlotte Hurst may be a wallflower, but she’s no shrinking violet. She would never attempt such an underhanded scheme, especially not with a man as haughty or sought-after as Norwood. Yet his suggestion to play along with the betrothal has its merits . . . and the longer they pretend, the more undeniably real their feelings become. But when the true culprit behind their engagement is revealed, can their newfound happiness survive the scandal?

PJ's Thoughts:

A fresh new voice on the historical romance scene, Kate Pembrooke brings readers a debut novel filled with witty banter, fun chemistry, a bit of a mystery, and one of my favorite tropes. I love a fake engagement story and this one - with an intriguing twist - pulled me in from page one, promising a fun ride that kept me smiling and happily flipping pages. 

Charlotte and William are both good people; interesting, likable characters who are well formed and easy to root for. I appreciated William's willingness to quickly apologize and take responsibility for misguided actions. I enjoyed the delicious friction that developed between him and Charlotte as their fake relationship progressed and, eventually, feelings came into play. And I loved how the author used well-placed splashes of humor to unveil more of William's and Charlotte's personalities, especially in the notes they exchanged and their interactions with William's aunt (she's a hoot).  

I liked that William's feelings began to deepen first while Charlotte remained determined that their "relationship" would be temporary. I  found Charlotte's evolution to be very realistic, appreciating that Pembrooke kept her on a gradual growth path, dealing with conflicting emotions along the way. It made her eventual decisions that much more realistic. I also enjoyed the female friendships she found with William's sisters, Serena (our next heroine), and the ladies of the Wednesday Afternoon Social Club. I want to be a member!

Not the Kind of Earl You Marry is a sparkling debut by Kate Pembrooke and a promising start to this new historical romance author's career. I recommend adding it to your summer reading list. I'm already looking forward to book two, Say You'll Be My Lady, scheduled to be released in February 2022. 


I love both writing and receiving handwritten letters but it seems to be a dying art. Do you still write letters? 

What's your favorite romance trope? 

What books are on your reading schedule this week?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, July 28 will receive a print copy of Not the Kind of Earl You Marry.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

Friday, July 23, 2021

Review - - Devil in Disguise

Devil in Disguise
by Lisa Kleypas
Ravenels - Book 7
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: July 27, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

“The devil never tries to make people do the wrong thing by scaring them. He does it by tempting them.”

Lady Merritt Sterling, a strong-willed young widow who’s running her late husband’s shipping company, knows London society is dying to catch her in a scandal. So far, she’s been too smart to provide them with one. But then she meets Keir MacRae, a rough-and-rugged Scottish whisky distiller, and all her sensible plans vanish like smoke. They couldn’t be more different, but their attraction is powerful, raw and irresistible.

From the moment Keir MacRae arrives in London, he has two goals. One: don’t fall in love with the dazzling Lady Merritt Sterling. Two: avoid being killed.

So far, neither of those is going well.

Keir doesn’t know why someone wants him dead until fate reveals the secret of his mysterious past. His world is thrown into upheaval, and the only one he trusts is Merritt.

Their passion blazes with an intensity Merritt has never known before, making her long for the one thing she can’t have from Keir MacRae: forever. As danger draws closer, she’ll do whatever it takes to save the man she loves . . . even knowing he might be the devil in disguise.

PJ's Thoughts:

As a long-time Kleypas fan, I have to say that these second-generation stories are giving me all the joy. Merritt embodies qualities passed down from both of her parents (American Lillian Bowman and Marcus, Earl of Westcliff from It Happened One Autumn) and puts them to good use both in business as well as her personal life. She's strong, independent, stubborn, and about to fall for a man who is all wrong for her. But, what if he isn't?

If Merritt doesn't want Keir MacRae, she can send him my way. A gruff Scotsman with a mysterious past, a whisky distiller with the weight of his clan on his shoulders, a man who matches wits with Merritt during the day and sets her body aflame after dark? Yes, please! 

Kleypas uses danger, passion, family secrets, humor, sparkling banter, heart-tugging emotion, and unexpected twists to bring this story to life and I was with her every step of the way. It is perfect? No. Do I care? Not in the least. Devil in Disguise is one of those books I'm going to turn to in the future when I need a good comfort read. It's everything I love about Lisa Kleypas and the characters she brings to life. I hope she has more second-generation stories in the works because I am here for them!

Though this is the seventh book in the Ravenels series, it stands exceptionally well on its own. Long-time fans will enjoy the cameo appearances of first-generation heroes and heroines from the Wallflowers series but readers new to Kleypas should be able to jump in here without any confusion. I enthusiastically recommend adding this one to your summer reading list.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

Review & Giveaway - - A Wedding in the Keys

A Wedding in the Keys
by Hope Holloway
Coconut Key - Book 6
Publisher: Hope Holloway
Release Date: July 23, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Will there be blue skies and happy lives for the wedding day…or is change in the forecast again?

The bonds of love that have formed and grown over the past year in Coconut Key reach a culmination of white lace and champagne…for some. For others, things may not turn out as they expected.

New arrivals on the island turn plans and lives upside down, testing the strength of relationships. Everyone has to make major decisions about life, work, and love. The future may look different for Beck, Savannah, Peyton, and Jessie…but whatever it is, with family and friends, it will be warm, happy, and dappled in sunshine.

PJ's Thoughts:

A few weeks ago, I discovered A Secret in the Keys, the first book in a new series set in the Florida Keys. I love the Keys, liked the sound of the story, and decided to give it a try. It's a 7-book series but the first five books had already been published so I figured if I liked book one I could read a book every couple weeks over the summer and finish about the time the final book is published in September. I finished book one in a day and by the time I reached the mini-cliffhanger at the end I was so fully immersed in the lives of these characters that I had to know what happened next. I read books two - five over the next four days. I couldn't help myself. This series is just that good. Book six, A Wedding in the Keys, continues the story threads surrounding Beck and her family that have evolved over the course of the series and is another emotional journey that I could not put down. Once again, I was immediately immersed into the lives of these characters, eagerly flipping pages from beginning to end. Holloway's writing is engaging and compelling, tackling real-life issues with humor and hope, while aiming straight for the heart. I spent a lot of time laughing, crying, gasping, and cheering throughout the series. I also love that she continues to surprise me in each book. After reading book five, I had doubts about one of the relationships. In book six, Holloway confirms those doubts but she also throws in a surprise twist that I did not see coming. I love it when an author does that and I cannot wait to find out where she takes it in book seven.  

It's hard to place the Coconut Key series into a specific category as these books are filled with an abundance of delicious storylines and a variety of tropes. It's a multi-generational family saga, with a women's fiction vibe as well as emotional romantic threads (for both young and mature characters). There's plenty of chemistry among the couples but the on-page heat factor is mild. There are also family secrets, betrayals, emotional losses, second chances, and new beginnings, all wrapped up in strong bonds of family and friendship, with the strength, resilience, determination, and growth of intriguing and inspiring women at its core. I guess if I had to name a category, I'd label it "Delicious Must-Read Summer Fun." I'm hooked on Hope Holloway, counting down the weeks until the release of book seven, A Promise in the Keys, in September and already excited about whatever she has planned for readers next.

This is one of those series where I strongly recommend reading the books in order. They are:

A Secret in the Keys (Book 1)
A Reunion in the Keys (Book 2)
A Season in the Keys (Book 3)
A Haven in the Keys (Book 4)
A Return to the Keys (Book 5)
A Wedding in the Keys (Book 6)
A Promise in the Keys (Book 7)

Have you discovered Hope Holloway yet?

Is there a new author, book, or series you've found this summer that you recommend?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, July 25 will receive a Kindle copy of book one, A Secret in the Keys

*Must be 18

*U.S. only

*Void where prohibited

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Review - - Sisters in Arms

Sisters in Arms
by Kaia Alderson
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Grace Steele and Eliza Jones may be from completely different backgrounds, but when it comes to the army, specifically the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), they are both starting from the same level. Not only will they be among the first class of female officers the army has even seen, they are also the first Black women allowed to serve.

As these courageous women help to form the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, they are dealing with more than just army bureaucracy—everyone is determined to see this experiment fail. For two northern women, learning to navigate their way through the segregated army may be tougher than boot camp. Grace and Eliza know that there is no room for error; they must be more perfect than everyone else.

When they finally make it overseas, to England and then France, Grace and Eliza will at last be able to do their parts for the country they love, whatever the risk to themselves.

Based on the true story of the 6888th Postal Battalion (the Six Triple Eight), Sisters in Arms explores the untold story of what life was like for the only all-Black, female U.S. battalion to be deployed overseas during World War II. 

PJ's Thoughts:

This was a part of WWII history I was never taught in school and I enjoyed learning about it through Sisters in Arms. Alderson did a good job of bringing these characters to life, illustrating the challenges and inequities they faced, both as women and as women of color. And those challenges didn't only come from the Caucasian military. The obstacles they had to overcome in order to serve their country originated in their Black families and communities as well. They truly were trailblazers. 

Overall, I thought the author did a good job of showing both the overt as well as the subtle racial aggressions these women were subjected to - at boot camp, after being commissioned, and when out in the communities - and how that impacted the evolution of these characters. Knowing many of the incidents were based on actual events and people made them all the more raw, realistic, infuriating, and heartbreaking. They also provided the opportunity to explore the resilience, strength, and evolving maturing of Grace and Eliza throughout their journey. The women who returned home following their service in Europe were vastly different from the girls who impulsively applied to serve their country.

While the pace of the story was steady and kept my interest engaged, I eventually grew a bit tired of the petty personal differences between Eliza and Grace. There were more than a few times when I wanted to tell them to grow up (they do...eventually). Also, the ending seemed rushed and open ended. By that time, I had become invested in these two women. I wanted more information about their lives following their return. Though hints are dropped and the ending is hopeful, I guess I wanted that package wrapped with a big bow of details. Overall though, Sisters in Arms was a solid read detailing an important chapter in our history and putting college-educated, hard-working, vulnerable, but determined, Black female faces to the historical facts. I recommend it.