Monday, January 31, 2022

Cover Reveal & Giveaway - - The Rake's Daughter

Anyone who's been here for more than a minute knows that Anne Gracie is one of my favorite historical romance authors. Her humor, witty banter, emotional depth, and brilliantly-crafted, character-driven stories are always on my must-buy radar. Last summer, Gracie launched a new series with the release of The Scoundrel's Daughter, another keeper overflowing with passion, fully-dimensional characters, and feel-good romance (click to read PJ's 5-star review). This coming summer the second book in the series will be released and judging from the blurb below, it looks like I'll be once again reading late into the night. Take a look. 

The Rake's Daughter
by Anne Gracie
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens - Book 2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Available for pre-order at your favorite book-buying site, including:

An earl is forced to play matchmaker for the daughters of a rake in a smart and witty new Regency romance from the national bestselling author of The Scoundrel’s Daughter.

Recently returned to England, Leo, the new Earl of Salcott, discovers he's been thrust into the role of guardian to an heiress, the daughter of a notorious rake. Even worse, his wealthy ward, Clarissa, has brought her half-sister, the beautiful but penniless Isobel, with her. Leo must find Clarissa a suitable husband, but her illegitimate half sister, Izzy, is another matter. Her lowly birth makes her quite unacceptable to London’s aristocratic circles.

However, the girls are devoted to each other and despite the risk of scandal if Izzy’s parentage is discovered, they refuse to be separated. To Leo’s frustration nothing will convince them otherwise. Even worse, sparks fly every time Leo and Izzy interact.

Called away to his country estate, Leo instructs the young ladies to stay quietly at home. But when he returns, he's infuriated to discover that Izzy and Clarissa have launched themselves into society — with tremendous success! There's no going back. Now Leo must enter society to protect Clarissa from fortune hunters, and try not to be driven mad by the sharp-witted, rebellious, and intoxicating Izzy.

Have you read Anne Gracie's books yet? Do you have a favorite (book or series)?

How much does a cover influence your decision to buy a book?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, February 2, 2022 will receive a print copy of The Scoundrel's Daughter

*Open internationally
*Must be 18

Saturday, January 29, 2022

Winner - - Lightning in a Mirror


The randomly chosen winner of a

hardback copy of

Lighting in a Mirror is:

Martha Lawson


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, January 28, 2022

Review - - The Valentine Wager

The Valentine Wager
by Nan Reinhardt
The Lange Brothers - Book 1
Publisher: Tule
Release Date: February 1, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

He’s a notorious flirt, so she lays down a challenge she’s sure she’ll win.

When playboy police lieutenant Ryker Lange stops Kitt Boynton for driving on the wrong side of the road, his attraction to the feisty Irish lass is immediate. Yet, despite the sizzling chemistry between them, Kitt quickly turns him down.

Kitt has moved to River’s Edge for a fresh start and is ready to focus on her new marketing job at her cousins’ winery. She’s done with players, and vows she won’t let the local sexy cop distract her, but Kitt, a flirt herself, is definitely tempted. To keep her sanity as she prepares for several Valentine-themed winery events, she and Ryker make a bet: for the next three weeks, neither of them can flirt with the other.

The game starts out lighthearted, but when the town takes sides, Ryker and Kitt must choose between winning a wager or finding lasting love.

PJ's Thoughts:

Nan Reinhardt takes readers back to River's Edge, Indiana (site of her popular Four Irish Brothers Winery books) with a new series that brings the fun, charm, and endearing romance I've come to expect from this author.

The initial meet-cute between Ryker and Kitt sets the tone for these two that immediately had me eagerly and happily flipping pages throughout their journey. Their banter is fun and flirty but there are also layers to each that the author takes the time to explore. I loved the foundation of friendship that formed during their three-week bet but also the self-exploration that occurred. Rye, in particular, when not being his charming, flirtatious, woman-loving self, was forced to look deeper into his past and the fears that had guided his actions for years. And Kitt, with the help of secondary characters, was given the chance to get to know the whole man without the pressures and expectations of dating, especially critical for her after the devastating betrayal she suffered at the hands of the ex-boyfriend whose actions sent her fleeing from her home in Ireland. 

Reinhardt has expertly blended charming fun with emotional depth to create a reading experience that both tugged at my heartstrings while also tickling my funny bone. She's created a community of characters who make me want to hang out with them at the winery, the bakery, a middle-school basketball game or the local bar. I feel like I know them, know their town, and am already looking forward to seeing them again. As a fan of the Four Irish Brothers Winery series, I loved catching up with all of the brothers and their families but if you're new to River's Edge, you can absolutely begin with The Valentine Wager. I've already marked my calendar for the second Lange Brothers book, Falling for the Doctor, due to be released June 7, 2022. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Review - - Alaska Dreams

Alaska Dreams
by Jennifer Snow
A Wild River Novel - Book 6
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Is she making the right decision…for her career 
and her heart?

Following a near-death experience, Selena Hudson is finally going after the career she wants. And since casting directors won’t see her as anything but a rom-com queen, Selena signs on to produce and star in her own movie—an edgy psychological thriller. But just as the cast and crew arrive on location in Wild River, Alaska, the leading man drops out of the production.

Reporter Gus Orosco is not hiding out in Wild River—he’s waiting for the dust to settle after his on-camera “overreaction” triggered by watching his ex-fiancee get engaged to a superstar hockey player. Gus doesn’t want to be anywhere near the film crew shooting at his family’s campgrounds, but Selena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: she’ll snag Gus an interview with Sports Beat if he’ll be her leading man. All Gus has to do is learn his lines, hit his marks and somehow ignore the sparks flying between them…even though they’re hot enough to melt the Alaskan snow.

PJ's Thoughts:

Three years ago I stumbled upon An Alaskan Christmas, the first book in Jennifer Snow's Wild River series. That was all it took to hook me on Snow's writing, her small Alaskan town, and all of the interesting people who call it home. 

Gus and Selena are both at a crossroads in their lives, let down by the people they loved, and struggling to forge new career paths. Well, Selena is forging ahead. Gus is still in the wallowing, I've lost everything stage. They should have a lot in common, and they do, but it will take a while for them to realize that. First, they'll have to move beyond their preconceived notions and instant animosity towards each other. And doesn't that turn out to be eye-opening fun!

I love these two together, their snappy banter, sizzling chemistry, and how their respect for one another slowly grows while they work together on Selena's film. I love Gus's innate goodness and the decisions he makes to protect and promote Selena. He doesn't always get it right but his heart is in the right place and I appreciate that he's willing to listen and learn. 

I was in Selena's corner, urging her on as she sticks to her determination to call her own career shots after being "herded" into movie roles by others since she was a child. She's finished being taken advantage of and that applies to her personal life as well. But, like Gus, she also is in want of emotional growth. Snow does a good job of moving their relationship, as well as their individual evolution, forward slowly and realistically, with a satisfying amount of steam, and a few potholes to test them along the way. By the time they reached their story's conclusion, I was fully confident in their future happiness and their professional success. 

As a fan of the series, it's always fun to catch up with former main, and secondary, characters from the earlier books. In this one, I especially enjoyed watching a certain almost-teen gradually coming into her own while helping on the movie set. She was an absolute delight. For readers new to Wild River, however, you should feel comfortable jumping in at any point in the series. Give this one a try. I enthusiastically recommend it. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Review - - His Lessons on Love

His Lessons on Love
by Cathy Maxwell
A Logical Man's Guide to Dangerous Women - Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: January 25, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Lesson #1: A man, even titled and handsome, cannot be careless forever.

The Earl of Marsden—better known as Mars to all—has lived his life by his own rules…until he is presented with a very big problem in a very tiny package—a baby girl, his daughter cast off by his ex-mistress. Mars won’t let his child be cast adrift, except he doesn’t know the first thing about babies.

Panicking, he turns to a woman for help. Not just any woman, but Clarissa Taylor, village spinster, matron-in-training, and Mars’s greatest critic. Still, who better to tend a motherless child than a woman who was abandoned as a babe herself?

Lesson #2: Life always plays the upper hand—especially when it comes to love. 

Clarissa desperately wishes to not to be beholden to anyone. She has spent a lifetime being pitied by the village. Her plan is simple—to use what the intolerable earl will pay her to become her own woman. It all sounds so straightforward until the threat of scandal sends her and the one man she can’t abide toward . . . marriage?

Mars and Clarissa are about to learn the greatest lesson of all—that sparks always fly when the iron is hot

PJ's Thoughts:

Witty dialog, laugh-out-loud humor, emotional depth, and the blending of some of my favorite tropes - marriage of convenience,  enemies to lovers, and opposites attract - make this third book in Maxwell's A Logical Man's Guide to Dangerous Women (don't you just love that title?) series my favorite. 

This book can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone but for those of us who have read the first two books, the pairing of Clarissa and Mars comes as no surprise. These two have been walking a fine line between animosity and attraction for the entire series. Maxwell skillfully guides them from loathing to co-conspirators, to protectors of Mars' daughter, to friends, and finally, to love. I happily cheered them on the entire way as they both learned that appearances don't always tell the whole story, that people can change, and that love sometimes grows where least expected. 

The book's title is certainly appropriate as Mars has much to learn, not only about love but about himself, his priorities, and the importance of focusing on the future rather than the past. But he isn't the only one who evolves. I appreciated the growth of both main characters as their stories were slowly unveiled to one another. There are some twists I saw coming, and others I didn't, that impacted each of them, contributing to how they viewed themselves as well as one another. I liked that the author didn't sugarcoat the difficult decisions that needed to be made and didn't give them any easy answers. Their HEA is one they have to work for which made it all the more sweet in the end. The secondary cast of characters add humor, conflict, and motivation to the overall story, some surprising me and others proving they are exactly as heartless as they appear. I may have cheered a few "just desserts" that are dished out. 

If you enjoy well-crafted historical romance with complex characters, snappy banter, perfectly-placed humor, great chemistry, and life lessons that lead the way to a sigh-worthy happily ever after, pick up a copy of His Lessons on Love. I'm not sure if this book ends the series but wherever Maxwell decides to take readers next, I'll happily follow. 

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Review - - Ice Planet Barbarians

Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon
Ice Planet Barbarians - Book 1
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: November 30, 2021
Reviewed by Nancy


You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women—including me—on an ice planet.

We’re not equipped for life in this desolate winter wasteland. Since I’m the unofficial leader, I head out into the snow to look for help.

I find help all right. A big blue horned alien introduces himself in a rather . . . startling way. Vektal says that I'm his mate, his chosen female—and that the reason his chest is purring is because of my presence. He’ll help me and my people survive, but this poses a new problem.

If Vektal helps us survive, I’m not sure he’s going to want to let me go.


Nancy’s thoughts: 

Some elements in this book worked very well for me. Others, not so much, but that’s where subjective tastes come in. What didn’t work for me might be the very thing you like best. With all that said, let’s start by looking at the things I liked. 

The lead characters, Georgie and Vektal, are strong, smart, empathetic, and responsible. I liked them both a lot. Georgie becoming the de facto leader of the women from Earth was believable, and she’s an easy character to root for. When the alien kidnappers dump their cargo on the ice planet, Georgie ventures out to see whether there’s any help available. 

She finds rather more than she bargained for when she encounters Vektal. He’s the chief of a tribe that’s dying out because of its low female birth rate. We learn a bit about their history in a way that fits the story well, adds to it, and doesn’t slow things down. His intense devotion to Georgie fits with the way his tribe is established. I tend to prefer that fated mates not be so all-in about it immediately, but that’s a matter of personal taste. 

The story moves at a good pace with solid action scenes and alternating points of view. I’m not a huge fan of first person present tense, but it worked fine for me here. The stories after the end of the novel are a nice bonus. 

The supporting characters are not developed extensively, but giving them a lot of page space would take away from the main story. I was content to have Liz and Kira spotlighted among the Earth women and to have a general sense of each of the others. The same goes for Vektal’s tribe, with the healer, Maylak having the most attention.

The language differences and resulting communication problems are handled logically. The scene where the women scavenge clothing to protect Georgie in the icy wastes is well done though understandably unpleasant in places due to the state of the clothing and the reason it’s available. The tribal men’s longing for mates and their resulting eagerness to meet Georgie’s comrades makes perfect sense in context. The cultural differences about nudity and sex are well drawn and believable.

But those bring me to the biggest things that didn’t work for me, again matters of personal taste. 

This is a little bit of a spoiler, so I’ll try not to be too specific. 


I don’t like it when the hero or heroine has sex with a stranger. I doubly don’t like it when either one initiates sex with said stranger who is unconscious or asleep, and I triply don’t like it when the unconscious or sleeping one wakes up and decides this is all good. I also dislike frequent use by heroes and heroines of the P and C words for female anatomy. 

I found those aspects of the story really off-putting. I also realize other readers may be fine with them.


The ice planet is well drawn, and the references to Hoth from Star Wars are cute. While I generally like the worldbuilding, I have some issues. There are trees but not much else in the way of plants. This is not a climate hospitable to agriculture. So are all the animals carnivores? If people are drinking tea, what’s it made from? 

I found it odd that people deciding whether to leave their homes and lives behind forever don’t have more regret and grief over that, especially ones who refer to friends and family. It wouldn’t take more than a few sentences to cover that. Despite a different hard choice necessary for survival, I think actual people would be a little more freaked out about that result. Again, a few sentences would’ve dealt with that. 

Reviewers should judge a book on what it intends to be, not compare it to some other kind of book the reviewer has read. This book isn’t marketed as science fiction, where readers pore over worldbuilding details. It’s marketed as science fiction romance, where readers care much more about the character relationships than the world or, in many cases, plot details. 

Rating the book, I considered my qualms about character and choices, downplaying the four really-off-putting-to-me factors, and balanced those against the things I liked. If the four I mentioned early on are deal breakers for you, this book won’t appeal to you. If they’re not, I think you could enjoy it immensely despite my character issues. 

Overall, I recommend the book to readers who don’t consider those four factors deal breakers.



Friday, January 21, 2022

Review - - The Case of the Missing Botticelli

The Case of the Missing Botticelli
by Marilyn Baron
A Massimo Domingo Mystery - Book 1
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Release Date: January 24, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

In this cozy mystery, American art history major Hadley Evans joins an art detective agency in Florence, Italy, working for Massimo Domingo, once a major player, now the Inspector Clouseau of the art world.

Determined to save the flailing agency and prove her worth, Hadley and her sexy carabiniere boyfriend, Luca Ferrari, take on a mysterious client behind her boss's back. While hot on the trail of a missing masterpiece, they discover a hidden cache of stolen Nazi art in a Venetian villa and encounter a dangerous enemy with a link to an evil past.

PJ's Thoughts:

It's been almost five years since my last visit to Italy, the country of my soul. Once I discovered that Marilyn Baron had set her new book there, it went straight to my must-read list. Situated primarily in Florence and Venice, with side trips to Lake Como and Milan, reading this story was like visiting my favorite places from my sofa. It's clear that Baron is both knowledgeable about and holds deep affection for Italy. The scenic, architectural, and cultural richness of the country shines through on every page. 

Something else that shines through is this author's appreciation for art, around which the mysteries in the book are centered, in particular, art with ties to WWII, Germany, and the Holocaust. I was fascinated by the blending of fiction with the obviously well-researched facts surrounding treasured paintings by European masters that were confiscated (stolen) from Jewish families in the 1930s and 1940s, some of which have been recovered and others that are missing still, as well as the ongoing struggle of surviving family members to reclaim their rightful property. I want to know more. 

There is a romantic thread that weaves through the story as well, featuring Hadley, the (American) main protagonist and Luca, an Italian carabiniere (police officer). It's entertaining and does continue to evolve throughout the story with Luca assisting Hadley in her art detective role. This is the first book of a new series so, if Hadley continues to have a leading role in future books, I'm hopeful we'll see her romantic relationship progress as well. There are already plenty of opportunities for both conflict and humor in cultural expectations as well as those of Hadley's and Luca's American and Italian families. Italian mamas and Southern Belles (Hadley's mother) do tend to have opinions and aren't hesitant to voice them. 

If you enjoy cozy mysteries, "traveling" from the comfort of home, engaging characters and fascinating historical facts, all centered within the high-stakes world of stolen art, give this book a try. I enjoyed it and will be looking forward to the next Massimo Domingo mystery. 

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway - - Lightning in a Mirror

Lightning in a Mirror
by Jayne Ann Krentz
Fogg Lake Trilogy - Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Olivia LeClair's experiment with speed dating is not going well. First there was the nasty encounter with the date from hell who tried to murder her and now the mysterious Harlan Rancourt—long believed dead—sits down at her table and tells her she's the only one who can help him locate the legendary Vortex lab.

This is not what Olivia had in mind when she signed up for the Four Event Success Guaranteed package offered by the dating agency.  She doesn't have much choice, though, because her psychic investigation firm works for the mysterious Foundation and Victor Arganbright, the director, is adamant that she assist Harlan. There's just one problem—no one knows Harlan's real agenda. His father once ran the Foundation like a mob organization, and Harlan was destined to be his heir.  There's a real possibility Harlan has returned to claim his inheritance. 
For now, however, it's a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend because others are after the secrets of the long-lost lab. Unfortunately for Olivia, the one thing friend and foe have in common is that everyone is convinced she is the key. Her unique psychic talent is required to defuse the ticking time bomb that is Vortex.
Neither trusts the other but Olivia and Harlan soon realize they must work together to survive and unlock the Bluestone Project's most dangerous secrets before more innocent people die.

PJ's Thoughts:

Immersive. Compelling. Addictive. Those are the first three words that came to mind as I sat down to record my thoughts about Lightning in a Mirror, the third and final book in Jayne Ann Krentz's Fogg Lake Trilogy. 

As with the first two books in the trilogy, Lightning in a Mirror engaged my interest right from the start and then quickly engaged my emotions as well. Krentz's characters are complex, intriguing, and fully developed. They could be anyone you meet on the street except, of course, for their finely-tuned psychic talents. It's those talents that make them unique, highly sought after, and in some cases, very, very dangerous. 

What makes this story so addictive is the same thing that also makes it so compelling: the author's ability to create a world where paranormal talent is plausible. When I read a vampire story, I'm fully aware that what I'm reading is fiction. But when I spend time with Krentz's characters, the prevailing thought in my mind is that their abilities, and the dangerous situations they could lead to, are within the realm of possibility. At least, possibilities that I'm willing to be open to. The world within our present world that she has created is so vividly and realistically portrayed that I become completely immersed in it, watching it unfold across my mind as if I was sitting in a darkened theater, seeing it play out on a huge screen. I believe in that world. 

Once I began reading, there was no way I was going to be able to put this book down until I reached the end. I had to know what was going to happen on the next page...and the next...and the next. I cared about Olivia, her search for her mother's killer, and her stubborn resistance to her psychic destiny. I cared about Harlan and, believe me, after reading the entire trilogy, that came as a big surprise. And that wasn't the only surprise Krentz had in store for readers. I love it when an author keeps me on my toes with a variety of twists, turns, and unexpected detours. From start to finish, I was excited to discover what would happen next. This thrilling conclusion to the Fogg Lake Trilogy was all I could have asked for. I can't wait to find out what Krentz has in store for readers next. 

Each of the books in this trilogy can stand on its own but there is an overarching story that runs through all three books. For maximum enjoyment, I recommend reading the three books in order: The Vanishing, All the Colors of Night, and Lightning in a Mirror



Lightning in a Mirror

“If I disappeared tomorrow would you walk into hell to find me?” Olivia asked.

She did not look up from her phone. She wasn’t supposed to be on it. The rules of the speed dating event were quite specific about that. All phones, watches and assorted tech were to be powered down for the evening. But she had concluded the event was a waste of time, so she had palmed her phone from her handbag. She was now holding it under the edge of the cocktail table, where the event coordinator could not see it.

The knee-length burnt orange wool coat she was examining was stunning, but, sadly, the color was over-the-top for Seattle. Most of the outerwear on the city’s streets came in shades of gray, black, navy and forest green. If she were to stroll down Pine Street in a burnt orange coat, she might as well carry a sign that shouted tourist.

The man who had just sat down on the other side of the small, round table did not respond to the question. With a sigh, she looked up. It was obvious from his uncertain expression that he thought she was texting.

“I said, if I disappeared tomorrow would you walk into hell to find me?” she said.

“Excuse me?” He looked around and then leaned forward. He lowered his voice. “I think they said that we should turn off our phones.”

“Sorry.” She dropped the phone into her large handbag, wedging it between her turmeric-yellow wallet and the vintage camera. She took a closer look at her new date. The name tag stuck on his shirt identified him as Nathan.

“Hi, Nathan. I’m Olivia,” she said, going for bright and sparkly. “I’ll repeat my question. If I disappeared tomorrow would you walk into hell to find me?”

“Uh.” Nathan got a deer-in-the-headlights look.

She recognized the expression. Nathan was rapidly coming to the conclusion that she was weird. Within the next thirty seconds he would do what the previous dates had done—excuse himself and take off to find the restroom, where he would hide out until the bell rang.

It was not Nathan’s fault she had signed up for the Four Event Success Guaranteed package offered by the speed dating agency. So far most of the people she had met had been nice. A bit boring—but nice. The experiment had been a disaster for her, however.

She had purchased the package because it was 20 percent off. The first event had been a washout, but she had told herself to be optimistic. You couldn’t expect immediate success. But now she was midway through the second event and the prospects were looking even more dismal.

“I’m not sure exactly what you mean,” Nathan said.

He did a quick, furtive glance around the room. It didn’t take any psychic talent to know he was searching for the restrooms

She gave him another shiny smile. “The matchmaker said we are supposed to ask each other questions. That’s my question.”

“Oh.” Nathan cleared his throat. “Well, uh, I guess it would, you know, depend.”

At least Nathan was considering his answer, not running for the restroom. That was promising.

“What would it depend on?” she asked.

“How well I knew you. Whether or not you and I were, you know, close.”

“And if we were close?” she pressed. “Then would you walk into hell to find me?”

Panic sparked in Nathan’s eyes. He glanced at the table where the event coordinator sat. When he realized there was no salvation coming from that direction, he made a heroic effort to move forward.

“My turn,” he said, bubbling with artificial enthusiasm. “My question is, where do you like to go on vacation?”

“Hawaii. My turn. If I went missing would you walk into—”

“I guess I’d call your friends first,” Nathan said. He sat back in the booth, putting a little more distance between them. “See if they knew where you were. Then, uh, maybe call the cops. Hey, I like Hawaii, too. Do you snorkel?”

“No.” She leaned forward, closing the space he had just made. “How hard would you look for me?”

“Well, uh, I’m not an expert when it comes to search and rescue work. Don’t you need a dog for that?” Nathan shot to his feet. “Excuse me. Gotta hit the restroom. Be right back.”

And another one bites the dust. No, that wasn’t right, Olivia thought. I’m the one who just bit the dust. Again. She realized she didn’t care. The speed dating experiment was a failure. If she hadn’t bought the Four Event Success Guaranteed package she would leave right now. But she had made an investment, and the fine print was firm—no refunds.

From LIGHTNING IN A MIRROR published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Have you read any Jayne Ann Krentz books?

Are you reading the Fogg Lake Trilogy?

Have you ever had any psychic experiences?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, January 23 will receive a hardback copy of Lightning in a Mirror.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited 

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Tour Review - - Wishing Under a Starlit Skye

Wishing Under a Starlit Skye
by Lisa Hobman
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Release Date: January 13, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Glentorrin bakery owner, and lone parent, Caitlin Fraser, is single and finally ready to mingle.

With her daughter, Grace, about to become a teenager, and her friends all settling down, Caitlin decides she deserves a shot at happiness too.

Resisting the pull of dating apps, Caitlin embarks upon a series of disastrous singles events where she bumps into fellow villager, and astronomy buff, Archie Sutherland, who is nursing his own past secrets.

When Grace’s best friend’s father, handsome Lyle Budge, asks Caitlin to dinner, things progress quickly and she has a taste of what their future as a family could be, much to both their daughters delight! But when Archie makes a shocking discovery, and he turns to Caitlin for help, she soon discovers Lyle isn’t the sharing type, meaning prickly ultimatums loom for everyone.

Will wishing upon the stars over Glentorrin help Caitlin to figure out her way forward? Or is her hunt for romance like a once in a lifetime comet, easily missed in the blink of an eye?

PJ's Thoughts:

Lisa Hobman's village of Glentorrin on the Isle of Skye has become one of my favorite fictional places to visit. With each new book set there I feel like I'm catching up with old friends, meeting a few new ones, and welcomed back with warm hugs. It was fun catching up with couples from the first two books and meeting new villagers with future story potential. 

I've been looking forward to Caitlin's story and it did not disappoint. I loved the development of the characters in this book as well as the evolution of Caitlin's relationships. It's true that sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs before finding your prince. Also true that sometimes that prince isn't the one you were expecting.

Caitlin's forays into dating at 40 were frequently humorous, sometimes awkward, and very relatable. I enjoyed the twists and turns her journey took. Of course, nothing you do in Glentorrin is done in a vacuum which means everyone feels they have a stake in the outcome of Caitlin's new adventures, including her friends and her 13-year-old daughter, Grace. All of it comes from a place of love though and they all have Caitlin's best interests at heart.  

I really enjoyed Grace, an evolving character who has a journey of her own. She and Caitlin have always been a team of two. Allowing new people into their family requires changes and the way those changes unfold (with some surprising twists) were both heart-tugging and uplifting. 

Archie stole my heart with his generous, caring nature. This is a man anyone would be blessed to have for a friend. I was surprised by a twist that occurred as a result of friendship but wouldn't have expected any less from this character. I really enjoyed his slowly-deepening friendship with both Caitlin and Grace. He's a gem and I was in his corner, cheering him on the entire way. 

If you enjoy close-knit communities, mature characters, plenty of humor and heart, some surprising twists, and well-deserved happy endings, check out Wishing Under a Starlit Skye. It can be enjoyed as a standalone but I also recommend Dreaming Under an Island Skye and Under an Italian Skye. Characters from both of the earlier books figure prominently in this one. 


Lisa Hobman has written many brilliantly reviewed women’s fiction titles – the first of which was shortlisted by the RNA for their debut novel award. In 2012 Lisa relocated her family from Yorkshire to a village in Scotland and this beautiful backdrop now inspires her uplifting and romantic stories. Her first title for Boldwood Dreaming Under an Island Skye was published in February 2021.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Review - - Must Love Books

Must Love Books
by Shauna Robinson
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: January 18, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Meet Nora Hughes—the overworked, underpaid, last bookish assistant standing. At least for now.

When Nora landed an editorial assistant position at Parsons Press, it was her first step towards The Dream Job. Because, honestly, is there anything dreamier than making books for a living? But after five years of lunch orders, finicky authors, and per my last emails, Nora has come to one grand conclusion: Dream Jobs do not exist.

With her life spiraling and the Parsons staff sinking, Nora gets hit with even worse news. Parsons is cutting her already unlivable salary. Unable to afford her rent and without even the novels she once loved as a comfort, Nora decides to moonlight for a rival publisher to make ends meet...and maybe poach some Parsons' authors along the way.

But when Andrew Santos, a bestselling Parsons author no one can afford to lose is thrown into the mix, Nora has to decide where her loyalties lie. Her new Dream Job, ever-optimistic Andrew, or...herself and her future.

PJ's Thoughts:

Must Love Books is a thought-provoking, well-written debut novel that, even though it made me uncomfortable in places, kept me turning pages. Sometimes, being uncomfortable is a good thing. Readers should be aware that this is not a classic romance though there are romantic elements and the potential for a HEA. I would classify it as contemporary fiction or even women's fiction as it centers on the life, struggles, and evolution of Nora, a twenty-something woman of color, unfulfilled, and underappreciated, searching for her path in life while stuck in what she thought was her dream job. 
Nora is similar to some of the young women in my life who have graduated from college, landed dream jobs, then discovered those jobs weren't all they had hoped. In addition to the downward spiral of her career dreams, Nora also struggles with her identity in a predominantly white working world, her self-worth, her ability to financially support herself, and her mental health. These lead her into some dark mental places and questionable decisions. While some of those decisions made me uneasy, and I could see the repercussions coming, I understood why she made them and appreciated the fact that she struggled with the morality of those decisions, both before and after. 
I found Nora to be very realistic in light of her circumstances and also a relatable as well as a sympathetic character. I applaud the author's open, honest look at mental health and the self-sabotaging actions that can follow in the path of anxiety, depression, and low self-worth. I also appreciated that she didn't give Nora any easy answers. Instead, we see a realistic portrayal of someone suffering the consequences of their actions, learning from them, and arriving at the point where they are ready to put in the hard work, with professional assistance, to move forward. I have high hopes for Nora and her potential for happiness - and love - moving forward. 
If you're in the mood for an introspective, thought-provoking novel of a young woman's journey of self-discovery, give this one a try.