Thursday, September 30, 2021

Last Chance Winners


The people listed below have not claimed their giveaways 

from the month of September. To see what you've won, please

click on your name in the right sidebar under

"Unclaimed Giveaways."


Laurie G


Betsy Sp


Susan Gorman


Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

no later than 11:00 PM, October 2.

Any giveaways not claimed by that time will have 

new winners chosen.

Review - - The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane & Birthday Giveaway #30

The Inn on Sweetbriar Lane
by Jeannie Chin
Blue Cedar Falls - Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

June Wu always has it all together—only now, she’s in over her head. Her family’s inn desperately needs guests, her mother’s medical debts are piling up, and the surly, if sexy, stranger next door is driving away the customers she has left! When he asks for June’s help, though, she can’t say no. After all, his new bar could be just what the upcoming Pumpkin Festival needs to bring in more tourists. But with the fierce attraction between them, will working together be playing with fire?

Ex-soldier Clay Hawthorne prefers being on his own. He’s moved to Blue Cedar Falls for one reason—to carry out his best friend’s dream of opening a bar in the hometown he’ll now never return to. But the town’s business association is trying to stop Clay’s progress. June soon becomes his biggest supporter, and while their partnership is supposed to be only temporary, for the first time Clay wants something permanent—with June. Can two total opposites really learn to meet each other in the middle?

PJ's Thoughts:

This is a solid start to Jeannie Chin's Blue Cedar Falls series. It's a small-town contemporary romance with charm, heart, and intriguing characters but it doesn't stop there. Chin has added complexity and emotional depth to the story, exploring some weighty topics and the impact they have on the lives of her characters.

Chin has placed Asian representation front and center in this book. I especially enjoyed the dynamics of the Wu family and how they influenced June's actions and motivations throughout the course of the book. She's a flawed character I didn't always agree with but I never doubted her love for her family or her desire to protect them. As her layers - and her past - were revealed, the reasons for her fierce control and determination became more clear and understandable.  As she began to understand, and accept, the effects of her actions her character became more sympathetic. By the time the end of the book rolled around, I was convinced that the Wu family - and June and Clay - would all be moving forward with a new appreciation and understanding of one another.  

Clay is also a flawed character, with PTSD and guilt that run deep. Again, the author did a good job of exploring that aspect of his character, with gradual healing and assimilation that was both realistic and believable. I enjoyed watching him slowly open up to the military friends he had ghosted and especially enjoyed his slowly evolving friendship with Han, over dinners at the local Chinese restaurant Han's family owns (adding here that I hope we learn more about Han's history with June's sister in a future book!)

I enjoyed the friction and frisky banter between Clay and June as well as the sizzling chemistry that flared whenever they were together. But I also appreciated the fact that time was taken to explore the emotional pitfalls on the way to their happy ending. There are thought-provoking layers to both their characters and their journey. 

The secondary cast adds humor, depth, and potential for future stories in this series. There are already numerous characters, including June's two sisters, and Han, whose stories I am eager to read. Not to mention a certain grumpy feline social media star I wouldn't mind seeing more of. There's also a poignant, complex, and affirming secondary romance between June's best friend, Bobbi and Bobbi's girlfriend, Caitlin that explores coming out to one's parents, dodging parental matchmaking (with numerous eligible men) when you're gay, and finding the courage, self-confidence, and acceptance to finally be your true self. I loved the sweetness, respect, and emotional support between these two women. They made my heart happy.

If you enjoy small-town contemporary romance with a strong sense of community, solid representation, heart-tugging romance, complex emotion, and hard-won happy endings, give this one a try. I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Jeannie Chin's Blue Cedar Falls.

Birthday Giveaway #30:

Does your pet have what it takes to be a social media star?

Do you watch cat/dog/other animal videos online? What's your favorite social media account for animal videos?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 2 will receive a $15 Amazon U.S. e-gift card.

*If the winner is international and does not have access to Amazon U.S., I will substitute books of your choice from, value not to exceed $15 U.S.

*Must be 18
*Void where prohibited

Thanks so much for celebrating my milestone birthday month with me. I hope you've had as much fun as I have! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #26


The randomly chosen winner of two books

from PJ's home collection is:

cathie petke


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #26" in your email

subject line or message.

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #25


The randomly  chosen winner of two books

from PJ's home collection is:

Patty B from NY


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #25" in your email

subject line or message.

Review - - It Started With a Dog & Birthday Giveaway #29

It Started With a Dog
by Julia London
Lucky Dog - Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 5, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

All Harper Thompson wants for Christmas is the huge promotion she's worked so hard for—which she should get, as long as her launch of the hip new coffeehouse, Deja Brew, goes according to plan. Jonah Rogers is trying to save his family's coffee shop, Lucky Star, from going out of business, which will be tough with the brand-new Deja Brew opening across the street.

When Jonah and Harper meet for the first time after accidentally swapping phones, their chemistry is as electric as a strand of Christmas lights. He's a tall, handsome, compassionate hunk of engineer, and she's an entrepreneur whose zest for life is very sexy. They love all the same things, like scary movies, greasy food—and most of all, dogs. It's a match made in heaven...until Jonah finds out that Harper's the one about to put him out of business.
Only one coffee shop likely can survive, and a competition of one-upmanship ensues in a battle of the brews. The paws really come out when the local rescue shelter has a fundraiser where local businesses foster dogs, and patrons vote with their dollars for their favorite pup. Harper takes in an adorable old bulldog on behalf of Deja Brew, while Jonah fosters a perky three-legged dachshund for Lucky Star. As the excitement builds for who will be crowned King Mutt and king of the coffee hill, Harper and Jonah must decide if their connection was all steam or if they are the perfect blend.

PJ's Thoughts:

I loved this book. It was exactly what I needed. Fresh, original, feel-good, and fun, it pulled me in and kept me entertained from start to finish. The characters were well developed and likable. I was invested not only in Harper's and Jonah's relationship but in their individual journeys as well. Jonah's family was frustrating, meddlesome, and adorably sweet and well-meaning. Watching them with Jonah, and later with Harper, really tugged my heartstrings. 

I loved the set-up through the first few chapters, the initial attraction and intrigue as Jonah and Harper communicated via texts from the swapped phones and also uncovered details about one another via texts they received from others. There's a lot of humor in those chapters but also sweetness and the laying of a foundation with the potential to grow into more.

And then there are the dogs. I mean, who can resist those rescue dogs? Not this puppy! They all would have ended up going home with me. All of them. And they weren't just window dressing - although a grumpy old bulldog was quite the front window star - but were important characters in the story, adding additional incentive for self-reflection and evolution. 

If you're looking for a feel-good contemporary romance that will make you laugh out loud, cheer for happy endings, and fall in love with both two-legged and four-legged characters, give It Started With a Dog by Julia London a try. It's one of my favorites written by this multi-talented author. 

Have you ever adopted or fostered a rescue dog?

Do you have pets now? Tell me about them.

Birthday Giveaway #29:

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 1 will receive one book from PJ's home collection.

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

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Review - - How Not to Chaperon a Lady

How Not to Chaperon a Lady
by Virginia Heath
The Talk of the Beau Monde - Book 3
Publisher: Harlequin Historical
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

His childhood nemesis…

…is the woman he can’t resist!

Chaperoning Charity Brookes while she’s on a singing tour should be easy for Griffith Philpot—he’s spent his whole life sparring with her over her flighty ways! But as he discovers that she’s much more than the impetuous girl he thought he knew, a passion ignites between them… Sharing a steamy kiss leaves him torn—he’s supposed to be responsible for guarding her virtue!

PJ's Thoughts:

The final book in Heath's The Talk of the Beau Monde trilogy pairs youngest Brookes sister, Charity with her long-time nemesis, Griffith Philpot, older brother of Charity's best friend. I've enjoyed Charity's growth arc over the course of this series. She showed glimpses of hidden layers in the second book, The Marquess Next Door that made me think there might be more to her than readers had been shown. In this third book, Heath begins to unravel Charity's layers, allowing us to see the layers that make her a more complete, and complex, character than she had seemed. It was enjoyable to watch her evolve.

Griff, on the other hand, seemed stuck in a rut, both in the way he lived his life and his opinions of Charity. Even when things began to warm between them, he still treated her with condescension and disdain. I wanted to see more advancement of their communication and understanding, more of an equal footing between them. Griff does eventually come around but not before many hurtful things are said and done. It takes a monumental grovel to make amends and it takes pretty much the entire book to get there. 

I was satisfied with the conclusion of this story, and I did enjoy reading it, but I didn't love it the way I did books one and two. Still, I do enthusiastically recommend this trilogy and if you enjoy an angst-filled, enemies-to-lovers romance, with plenty of snappy dialogue and friction, give How Not to Chaperon a Lady a try. 


Charity is an up and coming opera singer. Do you enjoy opera? 

Do you like a lot of angst in your romances or do you prefer more light-hearted stories?

Birthday Giveaway #28:

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, September 30 will receive a Kindle copy of The Marquess Next Door by Virginia Heath, my favorite book of the trilogy. 

*Open to anyone who has the ability to receive a Kindle book from Amazon U.S.

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited

Monday, September 27, 2021

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #24


The randomly chosen winner of a

package of books is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #24" in your

email subject line or message.

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #23


The randomly chosen winner of 

one book from PJ's home collection is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #23" in your 

email subject line or message.

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #22


The randomly chosen winner of one book

from PJ's home collection is:

Laurie G


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please put "Giveaway #22 Winner" in your 

email subject line or message.

Seasonal Scents - - Birthday Giveaway #27


Earlier this month, I posted about my habit of decorating for the different seasons. There's something else I change with the seasons and that's the scents I use in my home. My allergies make me sensitive to many scents which is why I don't wear cologne. However, there are a handful of aromas that don't create coughing jags and watery eyes and those I enjoy to the fullest. 

My favorite summer scents are lemon and basil. For the past three or four months I've been indulging in the freshness of lemon air freshener, basil hand soap, a bowl of fresh lemons (lemonade anyone?), and a basil plant (Caprese salads for the win).

Now that we've moved into the crisp, cool mornings of autumn, it's time to change my condo's signature scent as well. In the kitchen/dining room/living room area it's all about apples. I have a bowl of apples on the counter, ready for daily snacking and maybe a pie or crisp or crumble...or two. To amplify the fresh apple aroma, I use Febreze air freshener in Fresh Spiced Apple and Mrs. Meyer's Apple Cider hand soap. In the bedrooms, it's all about Aromatique's Cinnamon Cider potpourri, probably my all-time favorite scent. It just makes me so happy!

So, tell me, do you have signature scents for each season? 

If so, what's your scent for fall? Do you use it throughout the house?

Birthday Giveaway #27:

One person posting a comment before 11:00 PM, September 29 will receive a book from PJ's home collection.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Review - - A Promise in the Keys & Birthday Giveaway #26

A Promise in the Keys
by Hope Holloway
Coconut Key - Book 7
Publisher: Hope Holloway
Release Date: September 24, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

There’s a little island magic in the air…and the promise of something brand new.

With her daughters more settled than ever, it’s time for Beck to live her life in Coconut Key to the fullest. Coquina House Bed & Breakfast is open and running, and with every new challenge, Beck and her mother discover they were born for the life of hospitality. So it’s not her new business that keeps Beck awake at night now…but the temptation of starting a new, uncharted course for her heart. Will those waters be warm and welcoming, or does she risk drowning once again?

And although she's navigating new waters of her own, Peyton is homesick for Coconut Key. Val is doing his best to keep her in Miami, though some unexpected news makes the decision even harder. While Heather and Kenny explore the possibility of blending their families, Lovely suddenly faces the biggest challenge of her life, prompting her to do the one thing she swore she'd never do again: keep a secret from the people she loves. But no matter how it all ends, there will be laughter, love, sunshine, and mimosas on the beach in Coconut Key.

PJ's Thoughts:

Hope Holloway brings her Coconut Key series to a conclusion with the same humor, heart, family, hope, and love that has been front and center in all seven books. I've enjoyed how the author has guided several characters along their journeys of love and growth while also keeping the growth, strength and importance of Beck and her family at the heart of the series. The romantic relationships are realistically portrayed, with challenges readers can relate to. The relationships among the women are both endearing and empowering. And the bonds of family may stretch from time to time but with love, communication, and understanding, they never break. 

There are three romances blossoming in this final book, and others continuing to evolve, with plenty of emotion bubbling. I was so invested in these characters that I couldn't turn the pages fast enough but, at the same time, I also wanted to pull back, read slowly, and savor each and every scene. There are so many feelings. But it's not only the romances that have obstacles to overcome. Beck's relationship with her mother is enduring some rough waters as well. Lovely is keeping a secret and the consequences could be dire. Not to fear, Holloway wraps up the book with a plethora of happy endings but the journey there elicits laughter, tears, forgiveness, healing, reconciliations, and sigh-worthy declarations. In other words, everything I hope for when I pick up a new book. 

There are seven books in Hope Holloway's Coconut Key series. I enthusiastically recommend them all. I also strongly suggest reading them in order. 

In A Promise in the Keys, one of the teen characters has a role in her high school musical. Have you ever performed on stage? What was the play/musical? What role did you perform?

Birthday Giveaway #26:

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, September 28 will receive two books from PJ's home collection. 

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

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Review - - Kissing Under the Mistletoe & Birthday Giveaway #25

Kissing Under the Mistletoe
An Anthology
by Suzanne Enoch, Amelia Grey, and Anna Bennett
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Great Scot! by Suzanne Enoch

Miss Jane Bansil knows she will never have a fairy-tale moment. Well past the marriageable age, she’s taken a position as a companion and is now stuck in Scotland for Christmas, alone even in the middle of the boisterous MacTaggert family. But when Brennan Andrews, an architect and cousin to the MacTaggerts, arrives to draw up plans for a new family home, Jane must decide if she will take a chance at a happily-ever-after, or settle into her small, safe life for good.

Christmas at Dewberry Hollow by Amelia Grey
Miss Isabelle Reed has no plans to ever fall in love. She has a perfectly acceptable life with her mother at the Dewberry Hollow Inn, thank you very much. But when Gate, the Duke of Notsgrave’s grandson, appears at Dewberry Hollow searching for a carving on a tree, Isabelle cannot help but get involved. But Gate’s charm and their instant attraction makes Isabelle question if she’s willing to take her chance at love once again.

My Mistletoe Beau by Anna Bennett
Miss Eva Tiding is determined to cheer her widowed father with the perfect Christmas gift. Even if it means breaking into the home of the rakish Earl of Frostbough who swindled Papa out of his pocket watch. But when the earl, Jack Hardwick, catches her in the act, they strike a deal: she’ll pose as his fiancĂ©e in exchange for the watch. Falling in love is not part of the plan—but with a little Christmas magic, anything is possible…

PJ's Thoughts:

The three stories in this anthology are sure to put readers in the holiday spirit. The characters are well developed, each story moves along at a good pace, and the romances are both sweet and spicy, with a sigh-worthy happy ending at the end of each. 

Suzanne Enoch's "Great Scot!" is an engaging, humorous, and heart-tugging story featuring Jane Bansil, a secondary character from Enoch's The Wild Wicked Highlanders trilogy. This trilogy is one of my favorites by Enoch and I loved joining the MacTaggerts in Scotland for this new story. Fans of those wild MacTaggerts and the women whose hearts they captured will delight not only in reading Jane's endearing journey to love but also in catching up with the couples from the three books as well as their parents. Readers new to this world, however, should have no trouble at all falling in love with Jane, Brennan, and a Highlander Christmas. 

"Christmas at Dewberry Hollow" features a heroine who will never be the demure lady her mother wishes her to be. I liked Isabelle immediately. More than that, I also admired and respected her. Her hero took me a bit longer to warm up to as did the progression of their romance. I spent much of their story thinking she deserved someone better but he did bring me around in the end and I was happy with their HEA.  

I love a good enemies-to-lovers / fake relationship story and "My Mistletoe Beau" hit all the right notes for me, from their first encounter, as Eva is caught rummaging through Jack's unmentionables after breaking into his home, to their final, sigh-worthy declaration of love. The banter is witty and rapid-fire, the chemistry sizzles, and the emotional depth is real and heart-tugging. I don't know if this story is connected to any other books by Anna Bennett but I aim to find out. I thoroughly enjoyed this cast of characters, as well as the style of writing, and am looking forward to reading more by this author. 

If you're looking for a trio of fun, engaging, and heartwarming Christmas romances, give Kissing Under the Mistletoe a try. 

Do you hang mistletoe (fake or otherwise) at Christmas?

Have you ever shared a kiss under the mistletoe?

Are you reading any of the authors in this anthology?

Birthday Giveaway #25:

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, September 27 will receive two books from PJ's home collection.

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

Friday, September 24, 2021

Winners - - Birthday Giveaway #21


The randomly chosen winners of

Birthday Giveaway #21 are:


(e-book copy of Romancing the Holidays, Volume 1)


Pamela Devereux

(e-book copy of Romancing the Holidays, Volume 2)

Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #21" in your

email subject line or message.

Review - - Wrong for Him & Birthday Giveaway #24

Wrong for Him
by Christi Barth
Love Lottery - Book 3
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: September 27, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Amelia Kirkland’s been head-over-heels for Teague Sullivan forever. Not that she’s 
ever let him know—as her brother’s best friend, he’s officially off-limits. That’s even more true once they become partners in rehabbing a historic inn. She can’t risk what she’s building with her brother and her friends just to fulfill a lifelong crush. Can she?

When Teague left the Special Forces, he didn’t know what would come next. Until his best friend, Alex, won an inn as a lottery prize and made him a partner. It’s his shot at getting everything he’s always wanted. Except for Alex’s beautiful sister. Amelia’s friendship was a lifeline while he was deployed, but that’s a line he can’t cross. He owes his friend too much to betray his trust. Now, though? Working and living with her every day? He wants more.

If their secret romance is discovered, it could ruin everything before the inn has a chance. But does their one shot at happiness require them to break all the rules?

PJ's Thoughts:

This is the story I've been waiting for since book one and I'm happy to say it did not disappoint. Teague and Amelia are my favorite couple in what has been a very enjoyable series. Friends-to-Lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes and this one has many emotionally complex layers that bring it to another level. Not only is the fact that Teague has been Amelia's older brother's best friend since they were kids enough for him to keep his distance from Amelia but there are secrets in his past that he seeks to protect her from as well. 

Amelia's brother has been more parent than sibling since their parents were killed in an accident when she was still a young girl. But she's an adult now and ready to fly on her own. If only she can convince her brother of that fact, especially when it comes to Teague. Amelia's feelings for him have been growing for years and when she and Teague end up sharing a cabin to conserve space at the Inn for guests, they both begin to realize just how strong - and real - those mutual feelings are. But are they real enough to risk the relationships of a lifetime?

This book gave me everything I look for in a romance. It's tender, emotional, humorous, and complex. I loved the witty banter and the evolving relationships among family and friends. I fell in love with a certain rescue pup. And I certainly enjoyed the sizzling chemistry that Amelia and Teague finally succumb to. I have a whole new appreciation for the term "hot shower!" 

Wrong for Him concludes the Love Lottery trilogy. It can be read as a standalone but I think readers will enjoy it more if the three books are read in order. 

Christi Barth's next offering is a contemporary, second-chance, Christmas romance scheduled to be released November 16. The Christmas Project has already been added to my holiday reading list. 

Have you read any Christi Barth books?

Do you enjoy the sibling's best friend romance trope?

Birthday Giveaway #24:

One person who comments before 11:00 PM, September 26 will receive a package of books from PJ's home collection.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Review - - A Little Christmas Spirit & Birthday Giveaway #23

A Little Christmas Spirit
by Sheila Roberts
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Reviewed by PJ

Single mom Lexie Bell hopes to make this first Christmas in their new home special for her six-year-old son, Brock. Festive lights and homemade fudge, check. Friendly neighbors? Uh, no. The reclusive widower next door is more grinchy than nice. But maybe he just needs a reminder of what matters most. At least sharing some holiday cheer with him will distract her from her own lack of romance…

Stanley Mann lost his Christmas spirit when he lost his wife and he sees no point in looking for it. Until she shows up in his dreams and informs him it’s time to ditch his scroogey attitude. Stanley digs in his heels, but she’s determined to haunt him until he wakes up and rediscovers the joys of the season. He can start by being a little more neighborly to the single mom next door. In spite of his protests, he’s soon making snowmen and decorating Christmas trees. How will it all end?

Merrily, of course. A certain Christmas ghost is going to make sure of that!

PJ's Thoughts:

Reading Sheila Roberts' stand-alone Christmas books has became an annual tradition for me. The character-driven stories are filled with humor, emotion, kindness, and hope. In A Little Christmas Spirit, there's enough complexity to keep things interesting, a meddling ghost who elicited both laughter and tears, and happy endings of the romantic, family, and chosen family kind. 

I immediately liked and empathized with Lexi and her young son, Brock. I would have loved hanging out with them, baking cookies and having fun. I was cheering for both of them to find the right people to complete their family.

Stanley about broke my heart with his broken heart. I enjoyed reading the flashbacks of his relationship with his late wife. They were so poignant but also instrumental in helping him remember the joy they had shared. That's so often forgotten amidst grief. And then there were the ghostly visits. Some hilarious, some heart-tugging, all helping Stanley to move forward. And Brock. I loved Stanley's reluctant relationship with Brock. That little boy is hard to say no to and it made me so happy to watch Stanley's heart begin to open up to both mother and son even while his crusty outer layer remained intact. This Christmas Grinch was not going down easily.

If, like me, your idea of a good time on a cold December night is to curl up with a cozy blanket, a steaming cup of hot chocolate, and a feel-good, Hallmark holiday movie, then you are going to love this book. I recommend adding it to your holiday reading list. 


Have you read any of Sheila Roberts' Christmas novels?

Have you started your holiday reading yet?

What's your favorite beverage to sip while reading on cold winter nights?

Birthday Giveway #23:

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, September 25 will receive a book from PJ's book collection.

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

Winners - - Birthday Giveaway #20


The randomly chosen winners from 

Birthday Giveaway #20 are:


(two books)

Elaine G

(two books)

Mary (Bookfan)

($10 Amazon Gift Card)


(I'm Only Wicked With You)

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Please include "Birthday Winner #20" in your

email subject line or message.

Winner - - Birthday Giveaway #19


The randomly chosen winner of

two books from PJ's home collection is:

Annette N


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.

Please include "Birthday Winner #19" in your 

email subject line or message.