Friday, April 29, 2022

Review - - Wedding Season

Wedding Season
by Michelle Major
The Carolina Girls - Book 3
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: April 26, 2022
Reviewed by Santa



Mariella Jacob was one of the world’s premier bridal designers, but one viral PR disaster later, she’s trying to get her torpedoed career back on track in small-town Magnolia, North Carolina. With a secondhand store and a new business venture helping her friends turn the Wildflower Inn into a wedding venue, Mariella is finally putting at least one mistake behind her. Until that mistake—in the glowering, handsome form of Alex Ralsten—moves to Magnolia too.

Mariella ruined Alex’s wedding by announcing that his starlet bride-to-be was sleeping with Mariella’s fiancé. While he’s furious when they’re forced to work together, there’s no denying Mariella is hardworking, talented…and gorgeous. In fact, though Alex keeps reminding himself that they’re enemies, something deeper is growing…daring them to admit that a rocky past might lead to something unexpectedly wonderful.

Includes a Bonus novella! 
Josie Trumbull has rebuilt her life after her dreams were crushed by a career-ending injury. Now she teaches ballet in Magnolia and has mostly made peace with her life and future. Until her best friend, and proprietor of the bookstore next door, Stuart Madison, takes her completely by surprise.  

Santa Says: 

Wedding Season by Michelle Major takes place in Magnolia, North Carolina which is the setting of Major’s Carolina Girls series. This five star review is a guarantee that I will be visiting the other books in this series and, more likely than not, every other book she has written.  

The heroine. Mariella Jacob, is by her own admission, a train wreck and, frankly, she is not far off the mark. Mariella is a refreshingly imperfect heroine. She is flawed which, to my eye, makes her all the more relatable and lovable. She has fierce friends in Emma - the owner of The Wildflower Inn and Angi - its chef and caterer who have her back. She is business partners with both. She has her own shop in town aptly named A Second Chance. 

Mariella is giving herself a second chance after her life spectacularly imploded three years before. She hit rock bottom in both her personal and professional careers after she  drunkenly interrupted a high profile wedding by revealing that the bride was having an affair with her boyfriend. The bride, gorgeous in a gown designed by Mariella, was a Hollywood starlet whose PR machine managed to spin the affair making Marcella and the groom to be villains in the story. Mariella’s love life was shattered. Drummed out of her own wedding gown design company, substance abuse landed her in rehab. Magnolia welcomed her and allowed her to start anew.  

However, with a runaway bride and the arrival of Alex Ralsten in town all her insecurities and failures rear their ugly heads. Alex isn’t just some incredibly handsome, successful CEO. He is also the groom whose wedding she put to a screeching halt.  

Alex barely missed out on making a huge mistake when Mariella ruined his wedding. However, he did not miss out on any of the fallout from that day. His “bride’s” PR machine also turned the story around to make him a villain, too. As a result, his personal and professional integrity and honor were blown apart. 

Magnolia was a logical choice for spearheading a new company. A company that will put Alex back on top. It is sheer coincidence that they both would land here. They cross paths again and again and Alex finds himself drawn to Mariella who wants nothing to do with being in a relationship with anyone, least of all Alex. She still sees herself as damaged goods but Alex sees her as something so much more. 

This book had so many twists and turns in it. And history threatens to repeat itself spectacularly but not if the good people of Magnolia and Mariella’s partners and best friends have anything to say about it. There were times when I gasped out loud, yelled and cried at the pages. And there were times when I laughed joyously. Any book that can make you experience all these emotions makes it a book to run out and buy. Oh, and to explore other ones in the series. I see myself glomming Ms. Major’s backlist as well while I am at it! Happy reading!

 


Thursday, April 28, 2022

Second Chance Winner - - Eloisa James

 



The original winner of the signed hardback copy of

Wilde Child by Eloisa James did not claim the book.

The new winner is:

Robin B

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Winners - - Sunday Giveaway

 



The randomly chosen winners of

a package of books are:

Katie Chapman

SusanLovesBooks

Martha Lawson

Diana mack

Trish J

Natasha Persaud

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Winners - - Hope Holloway

 



The randomly chosen winners from the

Hope Holloway giveaway are:

Patoct

petite

Please send an email to 

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

with your choice of A Secret in the Keys or

Sanibel Dreams and your choice of

Kindle copy or print.


Last Chance Winner - - Eloisa James

 



The previously chosen winner of a 

signed hardback copy of Wilde Child is:

Nicole B

Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

no later than 11:00 PM, April 27.

After that time, a new winner will be chosen.


Review - - Rules for Engaging the Earl

Rules for Engaging the Earl
by Janna MacGregor
The Widow Rules - Book 2
Publisher: St. Martin's
Release Date: April 26, 2022
Reviewed by PJ


Constance Lysander needs a husband. Or, so society says. She’s about to give birth to her late husband’s child—a man who left her with zero money, and two other wives she didn’t know about. Thankfully, she has her Aunt by her side, and the two other wives have become close friends. But still—with a baby on the way, her shipping business to run, and an enemy skulking about, she has no time to find the perfect match.

Enter Jonathan, Earl of Sykeston. Returned war hero and Constance’s childhood best friend, his reentry into society has been harsh. Maligned for an injury he received in the line of duty, Jonathan prefers to stay out of sight. It’s the only way to keep his heart from completely crumbling. But when a missive from Constance requests his presence—to 
their marriage ceremony—Jonathan is on board. His feelings for Constance run deep, and he’ll do anything to make her happy, though it means risking his already bruised heart.

With Constance, Jonathan, and the new baby all together, it’s clear the wounds—both on the surface and in their relationship—run deep. But when the nights come, their wounds begin to heal, and both come to realize that their marriage of convenience is so much more than just a bargain.

PJ's Thoughts:

I adored Constance and Jonathan. I would even go so far as to say they are my favorite MacGregor couple. They, and their journey to love, captured my imagination, held my attention, and touched my heart. This one is going to my keeper shelf where I have no doubt I'll be revisiting them more than once.

MacGregor's depiction of Jonathan made my heart ache. Here was a man who desperately needed the love and support Constance was offering yet couldn't bring himself to accept it...or believe that he was worthy of it. Yet there were glimpses of the man he had once been and ached to be again, even if he wasn't yet ready to admit it. I enjoyed how MacGregor used not only his evolving relationship with Constance but his relationships with his dog, the new baby, and his matchmaking butler to underscore the gradual opening of his heart. 

There was so much to admire about Constance. I loved her strength, her determination, and her huge heart. I appreciated her independence and business savvy, the respect she commanded among her workers. I loved that she held Jonathan to account for his actions, not settling for less than she deserved, less than they both deserved. 

The chemistry between this couple sizzled but there was also plenty of tenderness well, with lively banter and more than a few humorous moments to light the way. And MacGregor tempered those lighter moments with an emotional depth that infused their relationship with layers, complexity, and the hard-won happy ending that convinced me these two would endure any obstacles life threw their way. 

This is book two in MacGregor's The Widow Rules trilogy. While it could be enjoyed on its own, I think readers will enjoy it much more if they begin with book one, A Duke in Time


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Sunday Giveaway

 



My office is empty, the bookshelves are gone, and I have six packages of books ready to be rehomed. I've entered the final countdown to my new adventure. In less than two weeks my condo will be sold and I'll be heading south with all my worldly possessions (mostly books - is anyone surprised?). 

I've worked hard these past few weeks. There's nothing like a long-distance move to encourage a person to get rid of non-essential "stuff." Difficult decisions have been made but, you know what? As tough as they were to make in the moment, with each item I chose to toss, donate, or sell, my spirit has felt more free. There really is something to be said for living with material "lightness." 

I've now entered the phase of the moving process I like to call my Farewell Food Tour (FFT). It actually began last Monday and will continue through this week and into the next, my final week in North Carolina. It's been a mix of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and coffee dates with dear friends who have been rays of sunshine in my life. There's been laughter, reminiscing, and, yes, more than a few tears. This is the bittersweet portion of moving but these friendships will endure. I'll make sure of it. 

Though my schedule has been packed (see what I did there?), I've still found time to lose myself in some good books. Watch for reviews over the next few weeks. Now it's time to get back to packing (I'm on my final room) then get ready for tonight's stop on the FFT. 


What's going on in your life this month?

What are you reading?

What are you looking forward to reading?

Are you a "live light" person or do you enjoy being surrounded by material memories?

SIX randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, April 27 will each receive a package of books.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited


Friday, April 22, 2022

Review - - Sand Dollar Lane

Sand Dollar Lane
by Sheila Roberts
Moonlight Harbor - Book 6
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: April 26, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
 



Brody Green is finding it hard to recover after being dumped by his fiancée, Jenna Jones, then watching her walk down the aisle with someone else. Jenna is determined to make up for her love defection and find him the perfect woman, but Brody is done with love. First a divorce, then a broken engagement. From now on he’s keeping things light, no commitments. Luckily Brody’s business is booming. Beach Dreams Realty is the best real estate company in town. And the only one. Until…

Lucy Holmes needs a new start. In business, in love, in

Lucy Holmes needs a new start. In business, in love, in…everything. If ever there was a cliché, it was her life back in Seattle. She was a real estate broker working with her husband until she caught him trying out the walk-in shower in a luxury condo—with another agent. She’s always been the more successful of the two, and with him gone, she’s determined to build a business even bigger than what she had. Moonlight Harbor is a charming town and it has only one real estate agency. Surely there’s room for a little competition.

Or not. Looks like it’s going to be a hot market in Moonlight Harbor. And maybe these two competitors will make some heat of their own.


PJ's Thoughts:

Sheila Roberts takes readers back to Moonlight Harbor for an enemies-to-lovers story filled with her own special blend of humor and heart. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this book, seeing as Brody had failed to win my heart in the earlier books. I can see Roberts was biding her time until his own story to unveil all the messy emotions and layers that I found missing earlier. And it all began with the arrival of Lucy Holmes.

One of my favorite facets of this series is the community that Roberts has created. All of the characters flow seamlessly in and out of the story, as friends and neighbors would in real life. It lends authenticity to the events, emotions, and challenges that play out across the pages. It makes me feel as if I too am a part of that community.

Lucy is one of my favorite characters of this series. When her life is upended, through no fault of her own, and she strikes out to forge her own path, I was with her every step of the way. I loved her determination to succeed on her own terms, especially when faced with Brody's determination to stop her. The friction - and chemistry - between these two was so much fun! 

Adding the younger generation (Lucy's daughter and Brody's son) to the cast of characters brought another layer of emotional depth to the story that only added to my enjoyment. I especially enjoyed the evolution of Lucy's relationship with her daughter, as they found their respective footing following Lucy's divorce, redefining their relationship and moving forward into a loving, productive, adult partnership, both learning and growing through the process. 

Sand Dollar Lane is the sixth book of the Moonlight Harbor series but you don't need to read all of the books to enjoy this one. However, I do think readers will have a better understand of Brody if they at least read book five, Sunset on Moonlight Beach before beginning Sand Dollar Lane. However, if you want to start with book one, pick up a copy of Welcome to Moonlight Harbor and let the fun begin. 



Thursday, April 21, 2022

Review - - Birds of California

Birds of California
by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: April 26, 2022
Reviewed by Hellie




Former child actor Fiona St. James dropped out of the spotlight after a spectacularly public crash and burn. The tabloids called her crazy and self-destructive and said she’d lost her mind. Now in her late twenties, Fiona believes her humiliating past is firmly behind her. She’s finally regained a modicum of privacy, and she won’t let anything—or anyone—mess it up.

Unlike Fiona, Sam Fox, who played her older brother on the popular television show Birds of California, loves the perks that come with being a successful Hollywood actor: fame, women, parties, money. When his current show gets cancelled and his agent starts to avoid his calls, the desperate actor enthusiastically signs on for a Birds of California revival. But to make it happen, he needs Fiona St. James.

Against her better judgment, Fiona agrees to have lunch with Sam. What happens next takes them both by surprise. Sam is enthralled by Fiona’s take-no-prisoners attitude, and Fiona discovers a lovable goofball behind Sam’s close-up-ready face. Long drives to the beach, late nights at dive bars . . . theirs is the kind of kitschy romance Hollywood sells. But just like in the rom-coms Fiona despises, there’s a twist that threatens her new love. Sam doesn’t know the full story behind her breakdown. What happens when she reveals the truth?



Hellie's Heeds:

I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked this book–mainly I thought the title sounded interesting and I like rom coms and California. When I later saw the phrases “smartly sexy” and “whip-smart romantic comedy,” I felt a pang of trepidation. Those are phrases sometimes used by those who don’t actually like romance novels–especially romantic comedies–because they’re “too frothy” and “too precious.” They’re the people who loved 500 Days of Summer* as a romantic comedy over say, 13 Going on 30. If it ends too neatly, if we like everyone at the end of this story–well, was it really a story worth reading? Yes, yes it is, damnit.  

Fortunately both Fiona and Sam are likable people; and the secondary characters in their lives are hilarious and even more likable than they are. They don’t start off as particularly likable. In their own ways, by themselves, they’re great, but put them together and it felt as if it brought out the worst in both of them. Eventually they seemed to bring out the best in each other–but In The Beginning, it was a slog. The author was sufficient in motivating her characters so their actions/reactions felt authentic and realistic to the storyline. (I.e. they were jerks, but you understood why they were–and I was fine to keep reading about them. So character driven storytelling–yes, this story was compelling.)  

Underneath the romance plotline was a shark-like plot-point that kept swimming up to the reader, though it was not “seen” until almost the end of the book. I knew I was in danger; I knew I wouldn’t like when this plot point was finally revealed because I knew it was ugly and horrific. And the villain who instigated this behavior keeps cropping up in the book like some creepy Gene Wilder-Willy Wonka. Keep your golden ticket, jerk, we don’t need it. I also understand that this topic is kept under such shame that it is hard to read about and only by writing about it, do we shed light and bring it out to the open, release the shame from those who do not deserve it. I just don’t necessarily like my rom-coms to be the place to set these types of stories. To me, it feels a bit deceptive, like a bait and switch. It’s why I look for context clues in blurbs like “whip-smart romantic comedy” to go, “Hmmm, is someone going to die? It’s not a dog is it?” I’m not sure why this wasn’t published under “women’s fiction”, like what Kristan Higgins did with her more recent books. Before? Total rom-com. Recently? Definitely trickier situations and not everything is a neat and happy ending.  

Lastly, I am not a fan of 3rd person present tense writing. 1st person present tense–okay–I loved Divergent and the Hunger Games series. Present tense anything is not my preference but in 1st person I can immerse myself in the character and story fine. 3rd person present tense–not so much. However, I did finish this book and once I could get used to it, I would read for a while and be caught up in the story–so the author did a good job at using it. I just think the story might have worked better if it wasn’t both a difficult topic/romance AND a difficult writing style. You know who likes 3rd person present tense? The people who love 500 Days of Summer*.  

The ending is…well, more of an Okay, for Now rather than a Happy for Now ending. (It’s definitely not a HEA variety.) It’s the kind of “realistic” ending that some readers would prefer their romances to have. For me, that only makes me go, “Wait, where’s the rest of the book? This book isn’t done until they’re happy forever–or at least 20 years and they get an amicable divorce.” I’m a traditionalist, as Terri Osburn would call me, then roll her eyes. I’m one step away from yelling at people to get off my lawn; I may not have been the perfect match for this particular book. Overall, the book is good and the characters are real–I would just have termed the story as a women’s fiction over a rom-com.  

*To those of you who loved 500 Days of Summer, I promise I’m not yucking on your yum. I’m truly glad they make a wide variety of romance in books and movies so everyone can enjoy what they love. I only dislike when it feels like some romances are pitted against others as “being better and smarter.” We should all love our romance and celebrate it.





Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Winner - - Sabrina Jeffries

 



The randomly chosen winner of an

advanced copy of 

A Duke for Diana by Sabrina Jeffries is:

Laurie

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Winner - - Eloisa James

 




The randomly chosen winner of a 

signed, hardback copy of

Wilde Child by Eloisa James is:

Nicole B

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com



Spotlight on Hope Holloway - - Giveaway

 


One of my favorite reading discoveries last year was the Coconut Key series by Hope Holloway. This women's fiction / contemporary romance blend immersed me in a tropical world of humor, heart, conflict, and emotion that checked all my happy reader boxes. Holloway created a family (biological and chosen) of intriguing, multi-layered characters whose lives played out across seven books, pulling me deeper into their lives with each story told. I was sad to say good-bye but excited to discover what this very talented author had planned next. Turns out, what came next was only a few hours up the Gulf coast and, after two books, looks to be just as addictive as Coconut Key.




Sanibel Dreams
by Hope Holloway
Shellseeker Beach - Book 1
Release Date: March 11, 2022




When 53-year-old Eliza Whitney loses both her beloved husband and her high-powered job in the same month, she’s uncertain what the next chapter of her life will look like. Then her estranged father’s widow contacts her and asks her to come to Sanibel Island to help settle his affairs. Eliza sees the trip to a place called Shellseeker Beach as a distraction from her loss, and maybe a way to get some closure on the difficult relationship she'd had with her father.

For seventy years, Theodora Blessing’s sole purpose on this earth has been to heal the hurting, and to run Shellseeker Cottages, a cozy beachfront resort that has been in her family for decades. But Teddy no longer owns the gorgeous property, and Eliza is her only hope to get it back. Will Eliza help Teddy and save the family business…or claim it as her own and sell it to developers?

Together, the two women begin to unravel the mystery of Eliza’s father, the late, great “Dutch” Vanderveen, an enigmatic pilot who led multiple, secretive lives. With the help of Teddy’s healing heart, Eliza discovers a family she never knew she had, a purpose she never knew she needed, and a life she never dreamed was possible.



Appropriately named, Holloway's new Shellseeker Beach series is set on Sanibel Island, just off the southwest coast of Florida. As with the previous series, Holloway sets the stage with the sights, scents, and sounds of this particular location, immersing the reader in all of the details that make Sanibel a popular tourist destination. Having lived in Southwest Florida for many years, losing myself in the atmospheric details of Holloway's writing felt like going home. 


Sanibel Treasures
by Hope Holloway
Shellseeker Beach - Book 2
Release Date: April 15, 2022




New arrivals to Shellseeker Beach prompt Eliza to extend her trip…and fall deeper under the spell of Sanibel Island. The group of close family and friends are determined to settle the ownership of the beachfront property once and for all. But it seems there are forces outside of their control determined to shatter all their dreams.

As she takes time to reconsider her career, Eliza’s daughter finds herself in the middle of conflicting feelings for two very different men. Balancing what she wants with what she needs, this shrewd businesswoman discovers that sometimes the best decisions are made with the heart, and not the head.

These resilient women face new challenges, build lasting friendships, and find a second chance at love, all while they fight to save Shellseeker Beach’s greatest treasure of all…the family that they’ve finally found.


The new series launched last month with Sanibel Dreams and continues this month with book two, Sanibel Treasures. Setting the stage for the series, the first book focused primarily on Eliza Whitney and Theodora "Teddy" Blessing, two women who will figure prominently in the series. But their stories will be intertwined with others as the series progresses. I love the theme of chosen family that prevails in these books. Already, we have met several characters whose stories I hope will be told in more depth as time goes on. In Sanibel Dreams, we learned of a mystery involving a deceased character whose actions have brought several characters, including Teddy and Eliza, together. Continuing in Sanibel Treasures, facts continue to come to light with ensuing consequences - and surprises - that impact more than a few people. 

As with Coconut Key, it only took one book in the Shellseeker Beach series to fully hook me. I am already invested in these characters, curious to discover where Holloway will lead them next, and eager to meet those who have not yet appeared. I love the wide array of characters who inhabit Holloway's fictional world, bringing different life views to the overall story. And I appreciate seeing the series anchored by women in their fifth and seventh decade, though characters of varying ages and with different backgrounds will be featured in the seven books within the series. 

Holloway writes with an approachable, smooth style, welcoming the reader into her world with comfort and ease. She isn't hesitant to tackle difficult subjects but, overall, her books are filled with hope, heart, humor, and positivity. I enthusiastically recommend them but fair warning: once you start, you may very well binge the entire series. If you're headed for the beach, the pool, or just the backyard, these are great books to take with you. 

Have you read Hope Holloway yet?

What constitutes a good "beach read" for you?

Southwest Florida's beaches are some of my favorite beaches in the world. What beach is your favorite or which one would you most like to visit?

Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, April 23 will receive a copy of their choice of A Secret in the Keys (Coconut Key - Book 1) or Sanibel Dreams (Shellseeker Beach - Book 1).

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

~~~~~~~~~~

Both the Coconut Key series and the Shellseeker Beach series are available on Kindle Unlimited and for purchase in e-book and print. 

The Coconut Key series celebrates older heroines, second chance romance, entangled families, and lifelong friendships.

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)



Shellseeker Beach: for lovers of riveting and inspirational sagas about sisters, secrets, romance, mothers and daughters…and the moments that make life worth living.

Sanibel Dreams - book 1
Sanibel Treasures - book 2
Sanibel Mornings - book 3 (May 13, 2022)
Sanibel Sisters - book 4 (July 15, 2022)
Sanibel Tides - book 5 (August 19, 2022)
Sanibel Sunsets - book 6 (not yet scheduled)
Sanibel Moonlight - book 7 (not yet scheduled)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Review - - The Marquess Makes His Move

The Marquess Makes His Move
by Diana Quincy
Clandestine Affairs - Book 3
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: March 29, 2022
Reviewed by PJ
 


The new footman doesn’t seem to know his place…
 

London’s most renowned mapmaker is a woman...but nobody knows it. If anyone discovers that Rose Fleming is the power and talent behind the family business, the scandal could ruin them. Rose’s secret is tested by the arrival of a handsome new footman who shows far too much interest in his new mistress. Rose battles an intense attraction to the enigmatic servant, but maintaining a proper distance isn’t easy when you and temptation live under the same roof. 

She makes him forget he has a score to settle…

Few have met the reclusive half-Arab Marquess of Brandon, who is rumored to live with a harem of beauties among his mother’s people near Jerusalem. Brandon couldn’t care less what society thinks of him, or that his fellow peers are disdainful of his common blood, but he won’t stand for being robbed. That’s why he's disguised himself as a footman in the home of a respected mapmaker who cheated Brandon out of his land. But the nobleman's plans for retribution are complicated by his growing attraction for the secretive lady of the house.

When Brandon uncovers the shocking truth about Rose’s role in his stolen birthright, can a love born of deception really conquer all?


PJ's Thoughts:


I didn't discover Diana Quincy until 2020 when Her Night with the Duke, book one in her Clandestine Affairs series was released (click to read my review). Since then, I have eagerly awaited each of her books, stories that have further reinforced her standing as one of my go-to historical romance authors. 


I love stories where the hero has a singular goal from which nothing will deter him. Until the heroine appears on the scene. Suddenly, that clear-cut goal is a little...well...maybe not quite so clear cut. Such is the case with Alex and Rose and I lapped it up like a kitten with a saucer of milk. These two were so good together. And the swoony, sensual heat they generated. Yes, please! 


My heart ached for Rose's situation. The villain and what he did to her! Oh, the curses I rained over his head! It was wonderful to watch her evolve and take control of her life. The kindness, friendship, and support Alex offered had me sighing with so many good feels. He wasn't perfect - because, reasons - but I was still in his corner, cheering him on. I had no idea how these two would ever find a way to be together that was honorable and right. But the author had a few twists up her sleeve that, wow, I did not see coming. 


As with the first two books in the series, this one is rich with cultural representation, honoring the author's own heritage. I enjoyed how the characters' Arab culture was woven seamlessly and naturally throughout the book, featuring the joy of language, food, and traditions that were an intrinsic part of their culture. But I also appreciated the fact that the author did not hide the biases these same characters faced within English society, or the internal conflicts they caused, even to those (like Alex) with a title. 


The supporting cast of this book is filled with characters who add humor, heart, and realism to the story. I loved the relationship between Alex and his sister (heroine of book one) which overflows with realistic, sometimes humorous, always "tell it like it is" siblings vibes. The scenes featuring his three-year-old, scene-stealing niece are adorable. And then there's the staff at Rose's home who often had me laughing out loud. Quincy is quite skilled at creating fully-developed characters who come to life on the page. 


If you have not yet discovered Diana Quincy, I enthusiastically recommend The Marquess Makes His Move. The couples from books one and two do appear in this book but I don't think you lose anything if you should decide to read the books out of order. 





Saturday, April 16, 2022

Spotlight and ARC Giveaway - - A Duke for Diana

A Duke for Diana
by Sabrina Jeffries
Designing Debutantes - Book 1
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: May 24, 2022


A successful debut requires a smashing social event, and in this dazzling new series from 
New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries, the key ingredient is Elegant Occasions—a talk of the ton trio of creative, enterprising young ladies who’ve rejected working as governesses to become party planners. And if they, and their wealthy clients, happen to find love along the way, it just makes their efforts more rewarding . . .

Self-made civil engineer Geoffrey Brookhouse has unexpectedly inherited the dukedom of Grenwood. But he has a secret that could ruin his family. Hoping to save his timid sister from that fate, he seeks to marry her off to a respectable, protective gentleman. With the London Season imminent, Geoffrey hires Elegant Occasions to orchestrate her debut. Yet Lady Diana Harper, spirited fashion expert, proves more than he bargained for. Suddenly, Geoffrey’s sister is emerging from her shell, and he is beleaguered with social invitations and gossip! Worse, Diana is attempting to transform him into a presentable duke—when all he really wants is to make her his own . . .
 
Diana doesn’t know what to make of the handsome, disheveled duke. The man bristles at the very idea that his fashion faux pas might spoil his sister’s chances. Yet Geoffrey’s stubbornness simply inspires Diana to ruffle his feathers—by setting him on a course of self-improvement. Although there’s something endearing, even irresistible about his flaws, can a man who hates the 
ton
 tolerate a woman who makes her living catering to them? Little does either know that they have more in common than they suspect—and that two can create a society all their own . . .

PJ Says:

After bringing her Duke Dynasty series to a satisfying conclusion, Sabrina Jeffries is off to new adventures with a trio of Regency era party planners and the gentlemen who catch their eyes and capture their hearts. 

I have an advanced copy of A Duke for Diana and can't wait to dive into it. Geoffrey and Diana sound like they are going to keep me happily flipping pages from beginning to end! 

A Duke for Diana will be released May 24 but one lucky person will have the chance to read it early. Sabrina Jeffries has graciously offered a print advance copy (ARC) to a randomly chosen Romance Dish reader who comments on this post before 11:00 PM, April 18. 

Have you read Sabrina Jeffries?

Do you have a favorite book or series of hers?

How do you feel about makeover stories where the hero is the one in need of sprucing up?

Is A Duke for Diana on your reading radar?

Giveaway is U.S. only
Must be 18
Void where prohibited

 

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Winner - - Weather Girl

 



The randomly chosen winner of 

print copy of

Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon is:

catslady

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com