Monday, October 31, 2022

Halloween Giveaway - - Boo at the Zoo

 Happy Halloween!

It's the day of ghosts and goblins, little kids and candy, pumpkins, games, and animals at the zoo! I'm fortunate to have a wonderful local zoo only a few miles from me. It's on the small side, with great natural habitats, a terrific staff, loads of active volunteers, and a dedicated rescue and rehab program (they just released two rehabbed turtles back into the ocean last week). They've spent the past two weeks anticipating Halloween with their fun Boo at the Zoo celebration. Since it's become my favorite place for morning walks since moving here, I've been happily immersed in all the festivities of the pumpkin and ghostie season. As have the animals! Here are a few of my favorite photos I've taken over the past two weeks. 

My kangaroo buddy took time out from playing with his ball to pose for a photo. I'm thinking he may have a modeling career on the horizon. 

Just hanging out until dark. Siamang Ape, Sapphire says that's when the real fun begins! 

Did someone say candy? This meercat is all in for Halloween! 

This friendly macaw wins best natural costume. His colors are even more vibrant in person! 

Looks like someone got lost during last year's festivities. At least he had a bottle of rum to keep him company! 

Masaya, the jaguar enjoying a pre-Halloween treat. 

This little lorikeet thought my glasses were the treat! 

The lorikeet above stayed with me the entire time I was in the aviary but here's one of her buddies so you can see them in all their colorful glory. 

And, finally, here are the humans in some of our finery from Halloweens past. I do enjoy this if you couldn't tell!

Do you celebrate Halloween? Do you still dress in costume? If so, what will you be this year? 

Do you have a local zoo? Do you ever visit? 

What's your favorite Halloween candy? 

Four of you who post a comment by 11:00 PM, November 2 will each receive a package of books from my stash. Treats only - No tricks! 

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited

Friday, October 28, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Alaska for Christmas

Alaska for Christmas
by Jennifer Snow
A Wild Coast Novel - Book 2
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Can a hometown Christmas bring together these two polar opposites?

After traveling to all corners of the globe, Isla Wakefield has returned home to celebrate Christmas with her adoptive family. The gorgeous Alaskan wilderness is the perfect place to recharge before moving on to her next adventure—whatever that may be. Too bad that being home means once more butting heads with Chief Petty Officer Aaron Segura, Port Serenity's resident buzzkill.

Isla’s fearless spirit has always infuriated Aaron—but fascinated him, too. Having lost his sister years ago, he’s never understood how some people can live so recklessly. But after a terrifying ice-climbing accident leaves Isla with amnesia, she and Aaron both see each other in a brand-new light. Forgetting the pain of her past makes Isla fearless in a completely different way. She’s not afraid to show Aaron 
exactly how she feels, yet he can’t help but wonder…will this temporary change of mind lead to a permanent change of heart?

PJ's Thoughts:

I'm fascinated by amnesia, not that I'd want to experience it in reality or have it happen to someone I love. But in fiction I find it compelling and difficult to resist. That alone would have led me to this book but combine it with the ruggedness of Alaska (my new favorite romance setting) plus an enemies-to-lovers trope, and I'm in. 

Jennifer Snow is a relatively recent discovery for me but I've been enjoying the books of hers that I've read. Her characters are well developed, the stories flow smoothly, and her sense of place fully immerses me in the majesty - and danger - to be found in Alaska. I'm also enjoying the nod to a local legend (possibly true?) in this new series. 

One of my favorite aspects of Alaska for Christmas is how it explores the positive effects of Isla's amnesia and the impact on her life when she's in essence presented with a clean life slate. Not that it doesn't also focus on the emotional trauma - it does - but it's a much more hopeful, positive overall focus. Without the knowledge of her life history or recognition of anyone in her life, Isla is forced to slow down enough to take a closer look at her life goals, her motivation, herself. And when that new vision turns her in the direction of Aaron, something that never would have happened before, it affords the opportunity to both of them to discard their preconceived notions about the other and open their hearts to new possibilities.

Aaron is so endearing. My heart ached for what his family endured when he was in high school and the continuing disconnect between him and his parents. I love how he chooses to commemorate his sister through his Coast Guard rescue work and how that work results in leading him onto a new path with Isla. They have sizzling chemistry but they also have a sweetness between them that develops into a solid friendship with new parameters. Maybe all that pre-amnesia animosity between them was hiding something deeper that fear kept them from acknowledging all those years? Needless to say, I was in their corner cheering them on the entire way to their HEA, which came about in a grand-gesture way that was the perfect ending for a woman who, before her amnesia, had risked her life on a daily basis and a man who had embraced safety with all that he was. 

The surrounding cast of characters is solid and also well developed, giving readers insight into both main characters, both past and present. Isla's brother, Dex and his fiancée, Skylar (Sweet Home Alaska) feature prominently in this story as well as other family members, local Coast Guard teammates, and townspeople. Even with continuing characters, this book is written in such a way that readers new to Port Serenity should have no difficulty beginning the series with Alaska for Christmas. Though I recommend book one as well.

Bonus Novella

Love in the Forecast, meteorologist Monica Mallard signs up for Port Serenity’s annual navigation contest as a distraction from recent heartbreak. But when she’s paired with silver fox Captain Keith Beaumont, Monica finds the second chance she never could have predicted.

PJ's Thoughts:

For fans of seasoned characters, this romance between Monica and Keith (Skylar's widowed father - Sweet Home Alaska) is an absolute delight, proving that there may be snow on the roof but there's still fire in the soul and you're never too old to embrace new adventures...or new love. 

Have you read Jennifer Snow yet?

Do you enjoy books set in Alaska?

What do you think about amnesia as a plot device? 

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 30 will receive a print copy of Alaska for Christmas.

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

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Winner - - Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas


The randomly chosen winner of a print copy of

Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas 

by Sarah Robinson is:

 rita.navarre (at)


Please send your full name and

mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Merry Christmas Cowboy

Merry Christmas Cowboy
by Maisey Yates
Four Corners Ranch - Book 2
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

As the snow falls on Four Corners Ranch, all this untamed cowboy wants for Christmas is the family he’s never had…

Cowboy Wolf Garrett is delighted his brother is happily married—really, he is. But time can never heal Wolf’s own wounds, so being surrounded by such marital joy is a bit…much. A trip to his extended family’s ranch in Copper Ridge seems the ideal change of scenery. Until he meets local innkeeper Violet Donnelly and realizes he’s exchanged one form of torture for another—trying, and spectacularly failing, to resist their instant, wildly hot chemistry.

Violet knew Wolf was trouble the moment he walked into her inn. But it's a whole new level of trouble when she discovers that their secret nights have left her pregnant! Especially when she has six feet of gorgeous, furious cowboy demanding that she come home with him for the holidays and marry him. Wolf has lost more than she could ever imagine, but Violet believes in the power of love to heal, and she’ll do anything to give their future family a chance. Wolf has already given her so many firsts—dare she hope he’s about to become her first Christmas miracle too?
Bonus novella included!

PJ's Thoughts:

Maisey Yates never fails to bring deep feelings to her stories and this one just might be one of her deepest. It's messy, emotional, angsty, and has a closed-off hero that I -more than once - wanted to toss off a cliff. He comes around in the end (of course he does) but, wow, the journey to that point is not easy. 

Violet, on the other hand, is incredibly easy to like. She's upbeat, sweet, devoted to her family, and a loyal friend but she too has hidden emotional demons to work through. Her character growth is just as important as Wolf's and it was very satisfying to watch her take charge of her happiness. 

The physical attraction between these two is never an issue, leading to several steamy encounters. What holds them apart is fear. For Violet, it's the fear of disappointing her father and stepmother, especially as she still struggles with her mother's abandonment when she was 13. For Wolf, it's a double-edged sword. Maybe triple-edged. His mother left when he was six, choosing her family over her child. His father was a cold man who never showed affection to his children and never made a commitment to a woman. Then there was the tragic death of Wolf's teenage love, a young girl frozen forever in time who holds his heart still. There's a whole lot of "stuff" he needs to work through before he'll ever be free to offer his heart to Violet. As I said earlier, it's messy, but I appreciate that Yates never allows her characters to take the easy way out. She makes them face their demons head on, have those difficult conversations, sometimes knocks them upside the head with 2 x 4 realization boards to open their eyes before finally guiding them to their HEA. It's not always an easy journey but it is - always - a satisfying one.

Merry Christmas Cowboy is the second book in Maisey Yates' Four  Corners Ranch series, with crossover characters from her earlier Copper Ridge: The Garretts series and Copper Ridge: The Donnellys series. Fans of those books will no doubt enjoy catching up with favorite couples while readers new to Yates should have no trouble enjoying Merry Christmas Cowboy as a standalone. 

Have you read Maisey Yates?

Do you enjoy stories where the hero and heroine have messy emotional baggage to unpack?

Have you read any recently you would recommend?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 29 will receive a print copy of Merry Christmas Cowboy.

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

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Review - - Archangel's Resurrection

Archangel's Resurrection 
by Nalini Singh
A Guild Hunter Novel - Book 15
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Reviewed by Nancy

For thousands of years, the passion between Alexander, Archangel of Persia, and Zanaya, Queen of the Nile, burned furious and bright, seemingly without end. But to be an archangel is to be bound to power violent and demanding. Driven by its primal energy, Alexander and Zanaya fought as fiercely as they loved, locked in an endless cycle of devotion and heartbreak. It is only Zanaya’s decision to Sleep that ends their love story.

Eons later, the Cascade of Death wakens them both. The passion between them a flame that yet burns, Alexander and Zanaya stand together in one last battle against the ultimate darkness. But even a warrior archangel cannot win every war. Alexander’s scream shatters the world as Zanaya falls, broken and silent . . . only to rise again in a miracle that may be a devastating curse. For is it truly the Queen of the Nile who has been resurrected?
Only one thing is clear: This is the last beat of their passionate, angry dance. The final song for Alexander and his Zani . . .

Nancy Says:

Three books ago, with Archangel’s War, Singh brought the arc of the power-maddened archangel Lijuan to its cataclysmic conclusion. The two books after that showed some of the effects of that cataclysm on the characters and the world. Archangel’s Resurrection continues that thread. It focuses on archangels Alexander ( sometimes Xander) and Zanaya (Zani). The story opens in New York during the battle against Lijuan. Lijuan attacks Zani, who falls from the sky nearly dead. Zani goes into Sleep, the restorative state of angels, and the story jumps back to Alexander’s childhood, including his loving parents and older brother, Osiris. 

His family were scholars and expected him to be one too. Alexander, however, chose the way of the warrior instead. With his family’s support, he set about building that life. 

We also learn some of Zani’s backstory and her development into a warrior angel. When she and Alexander meet, intense attraction immediately burns between them, but both walk away. Alexander is several thousand years older than Zani, and he thinks he would do her a disservice if he pursued her while she’s still finding her path. Zani was raised by her mother only because her father abandoned them, yet her mother remains obsessed with him. The last thing Zani wants is an obsessive love. 

They do eventually come together about twenty percent of the way through the story. Their relationship is as intense as they both expected but fraught with conflict. He wants commitment, and she’s determined to maintain her independence. They enter a cycle of passionate reunions eventually ending in quarrels and followed by long periods apart. The story explores the ways they both grow and change during those separations. While Singh often explores a couple’s separate lives, most romances don’t. There’s a further separation while one of the couple Sleeps, over the vehement protest of the other. The sleeper awakens just before the Cascade that presaged the war against Lijuan. 

Alexander and Zanaya’s relationship has become famed among angelkind even though they’ve never been able to make it work. When Zani sleeps after Lijuan’s attack, Alexander is afraid he’s lost his last chance to resolve their conflicts. When she awakens, they’ve both changed and matured and try in a different way to make their relationship work. They face problems, though, that are not of their making. Zani still bears the effects of Lijuan’s attacks, and the evil Lijuan loosed on the world is taking a new and unexpected direction. 

Singh gradually shows us how Zani and Alexander have gained perspective through their experiences and have looked back at their relationship with new eyes.  The moments she chooses to illustrate their growth are poignant and had me cheering them on. 

Some of the most emotional relationships in the book involve family and friends. As a child, Alexander was close to his older brother, Osiris, and admired him a great deal. Osiris gradually withdraws from his brother, and Alexander eventually discovers changes in his brother that force him to make a painful choice. 

Alexander is also very close to his grandson and namesake, Xander, whose father and mother were killed by Lijuan. Zanaya is not Alexander’s mother. He was conceived when she and Alexander were not together. 

Zani isn’t close to her mother, but she’s very close to her mentor and to her two closest friends. Alexander’s closest friend in his youth is archangel Raphael’s mother, Caliane, and we see how her period of madness grieved him. He and Raphael have an interesting dynamic. 

Singh does a great job of showing the horrible effects of Lijuan’s madness in different books featuring different characters without being repetitive. The title of Archangel’s Resurrection is very clever because another archangel injured by Lijuan’s evil has an unsuspected part to play. 

My one problem with this book is that the romance feels a little disjointed. The cycle of intense passion followed by separation is handled well, but every separation interrupts the arc of the romance. The forward progression stops and then starts again. Otherwise, I thought it moved at a good pace, and I was rooting for the characters. It’s an excellent installment in the series. 

Highly recommended.

4.5 Stars



Monday, October 24, 2022

Review & Giveaway - - Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas

Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas
by Sarah Robinson
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

When sparks start flying, these total opposites discover Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year.

To raise enough money to start her own business, Nola Bennett needs to sell “The Castle,” her beloved grandmother’s historic house and get back home to the city. But Heart Lake’s most eligible bachelor is insisting she hang on to the property. He may be one of the hottest, grumpiest men she’s ever seen, but Nola has no time to pine over her high school crush.

All woodworker Tanner Dean wants for Christmas is some peace and quiet, but that’s not going to happen with infuriating, irresistible Nola Bennett back in town. How can he persuade her to keep The Castle out of the hands of greedy developers when sizzling attraction flares every time they’re together? And the more time he spends with Nola, the harder it becomes to picture a future without her—unless he can convince her, once and for all, that Heart Lake is exactly where she belongs.

Includes the bonus novella The Christmas Wish by Melinda Curtis!

PJ's Thoughts:

Sarah Robinson has created a charming, small-town romance that unrolled across my mind like one of my favorite Hallmark holiday movies. And it's set in the state where I grew up: Michigan! Romances set in Michigan are not exactly plentiful on the ground but it's a wonderful location for journeys to love, especially in winter when the snow, the frozen lakes, the outdoor activities, and small-town traditions are on full display. For me, it was like a walk down memory lane. 

Robinson populated the story with interesting characters, conflicting issues, and two of my favorite tropes: frenemies to lovers and best friend's brother. Nola and Tanner are on opposite sides of some pretty important issues in their lives with the sale of Nola's grandmother's house being at the center of their disagreements. Big city girl (Nola) comes home to sell grandmother's historic home to a developer who plans to turn it into condos for city vacationers. Local boy (Tanner) fears it will ruin the heart of his small town forever. Best girlfriends support Nola while also harboring the same fear. Will Nola remember why she loved Heart Lake so much? Will she realize her dream isn't so much about proving herself in the big city as it is finding happiness, career satisfaction, and love within herself? Will Tanner figure out that not all change is bad and that compromise can be a good thing? Will being snowed in together force both of them to confront the feelings they've hidden since they were teens? Find the answers to these burning questions and more in Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas.  

I enjoyed my visit to Sarah Robinson's Heart Lake and am looking forward to returning for more stories in this new series. If you enjoy feel-good, small-town romances with humor, heart, mild conflict, character growth, an intriguing secondary cast, and heart-tugging happy endings, give Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas a try. Robinson's next Heart Lake book is scheduled to be released in the summer of 2023. I'm eager to discover which character will be taking the lead and what the author has in store for them. 

Have you read any romances that are set in your home state?

What's your preference for holiday romance locations, a snowy winter wonderland or a tropical beach getaway?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, October 26 will receive a print copy of Dreaming of a Heart Lake Christmas.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18

*Void where prohibited

Friday, October 21, 2022

Review - - Witchful Thinking

Witchful Thinking
by Celestine Martin
Elemental Love -  Book 1
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: September 27. 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Love is the trickiest spell of all.

Lucinda Caraway loves living in Freya Grove, the mystic seaside town where charms, hexes, and magical beings of all kinds are the norm. She spends her days teaching high school history and her nights reading tea leaves and tending to her conjure garden. It’s a good life . . . but she can’t stop wishing for more.

Until one night, that wish turns into a spell, and suddenly Lucy can’t say no. Not to a public karaoke performance. Not to running a 10K. And, most alarmingly, not to her high school crush, Alexander Dwyer, who needs her help unjinxing his new house—which just happens to be right across the street from hers.

Alex has spent the last ten years traveling the world on adventures Lucy has only ever dreamed of, and he’s planning to leave again as soon as his house is safe to sell. But until Lucy can unhex herself, she and Alex are stuck together. And with so much magic in the air, maybe the next spell Lucy casts will be the one that convinces him to stay.

PJ's Thoughts:

What a charming story! I'm firmly convinced that there's a quirky seaside town in New Jersey where humans live side by side with all types of magical beings (who doesn't love a playful - when well fed - gnome?), love blossoms, and shenanigans ensue. I want to go there. I want more stories set there! 

Perfect for the witchy season, Witchful Thinking brings readers a second-chance romance that checked all of my happy reader boxes. I loved the normalcy created by the author within the town of Freya Grove; how magical beings and the magic created were accepted as a part of everyday life. Witches casting spells? No biggie. Mermen transitioning into the frothy waves off the coast? Eh, you've seen one merman tail, you've seen them all. Oh, wait. That's not true. Turns out showing one's tail is quite a big deal...but you'll have to read the book to find out why. Wouldn't want to give away any spoilers. 

This is the first book of a series so there's some world building and character introduction at play in addition to Alex and Lucy's second-chance romance. Martin weaves it all together in an organic way that not only enriches the romance in book one but also creates interest in secondary characters and potential future stories. I loved the dynamic among Lucy and her sisters and the conflict with her bridezilla cousin. I'm probably most intrigued by what the future holds for her (the cousin) because, whoa, she's a mess, and I do love a good redemption story. It will be interesting to discover what Martin has in store for her - and if she truly is redeemed.

Alex and Lucy are so sweet together. I adored them, cheering them on every step of their twisty path to a happy ending. Sure, there are obstacles, and necessary self-reflection, plus emotional growth, but there's also fun, and mischief, sweet emotion, and a heartfelt happy ending. I loved it and am already looking forward to my next visit to Celestine Martin's magical Freya Grove. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Review - - Season of Love

Season of Love
by Helena Greer
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: October 11, 2022
Reviewed by Santa

Thanks to her thriving art career, Miriam Blum finally has her decoupaged glitter ducks in a row—until devastating news forces her to a very unwanted family reunion. Her beloved great-aunt Cass has passed and left Miriam part-owner of Carrigan’s, her (ironically) Jewish-run Christmas tree farm.
But Miriam’s plans to sit shiva, avoid her parents, then put Carrigan’s in her rearview mirror are spoiled when she learns the business is at risk of going under. To have any chance at turning things around, she’ll need to work with the farm’s grumpy manager—as long as the attraction sparking between them doesn’t set all their trees on fire first.
Noelle Northwood wants Miriam Blum 
gone—even if her ingenious ideas and sensitive soul keep showing Noelle there’s more to Cass’s niece than meets the eye. But saving Carrigan’s requires trust, love, and risking it all—for the chance to make their wildest dreams come true.
Santa Says:

Season of Love by Helena Greer will light up your holiday cheer faster than you can unravel last year’s Christmas lights! I am an unabashed holiday romance reader and will gobble up new ones and revisit them year after year. Well, this one had me at Sukkot. Let me backup here for a minute. What would a Christmas romance have to do with the Jewish holiday that takes place in the fall? I’m glad you asked because that is where Season of Love starts, in the Fall at Carrigan’s Christmas Tree Farm owned and operated by our heroine’s Jewish family. And also, because it’s so much more than just another holiday story. There are so many levels of character and depth in this book and Helena Greer writes them masterfully. This debut author is one to keep an eye on. 

Miriam Blum, our main character, lives in Charleston and has made quite a name and presence for herself on the internet as an artist. Her devoted followers known as Bloomers have grown to such a degree that she is about to open her own brick and mortar storefront in Charleston. She has a lovely fiance Tara who is a successful lawyer from Charleston royalty. Cole, her best friend from college, is there for her whenever she needs him. 

Everything is as it should be until she learns of her beloved Great Aunt Cass’ death. She drops everything and flies back to New York to sit shiva for seven days.  Her aunt owned a Christmas tree farm in the Adirondacks in upstate New York. She was catapulted back ten years when she dropped all family connections and ran away to Charleston. But she had only happy memories there at the farm. Her family celebrated Hanukkah every year there. Miriam spent summers there with her aunt, her best friend, and cousin, Hannah and the Matthews who ran the inn on the property. It had been her escape from an abusive and controlling father and her enabling and, seemingly indifferent, mother. 

Her plan was to stay the seven days, avoid her parents at all costs and return to her life in Charleston. However, Carringan’s, her great aunt and the gorgeous, redhead named Noelle who manages the farm seem to all have different ideas on the matter. Her beloved aunt leaves Miriam part owner of the farm and as wonderful a woman as she was, Aunt Cass seemed to have left them in a bit of a financial bind. Miriam’s father rears his vile head, too. And it’s all hands on deck to vanquish old demons, save the farm and bring its magic into the twenty-first century with an online presence and a year round appeal. 

There is an instant visceral pull between Miriam and Noelle but Noelle is resentful of her presence even as she works to help save a farm that has been a sanctuary for Noelle, as well. Miriam’s relationship with her fiance is put to the test by her lengthy absence  and doesn’t survive. As the story develops and we learn more about Noelle and Miriam we see walls crumble and bonds reinforced as they grow as a couple.  

As I said, I am an avid holiday book lover. I am delighted to add this to my keeper shelf and will be rereading it for years to come. I hope you will enjoy it half as much as I have.


Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Review - - The Duke Alone

The Duke Alone
by Christi Caldwell
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

Lady Myrtle McQuoid has always felt a little forgotten, and this season is no exception. When her boisterous family vacates their London townhouse for the country, Myrtle finds she’s been left behind. But she just needs to stay warm, keep her belly full, and distract herself until her relatives realize their mistake and turn back to collect her. Surely that won’t take long.

Brooding widower Val Bancroft, the Duke of Aragon, has shut himself off from the world. He craves blessed solitude—a loyal dog, a silent house, and his own company are all he requires. Certainly not the nonstop chattering of the joyful, opinionated young woman next door.

But with a potential threat lurking in the winter shadows, Myrtle may need to pluck up the nerve to approach the reclusive duke. And Val is not one to turn his back on a vulnerable lady.

Amid the silent nights of London, beneath a blanket of snow, could the light of a new, warm love be kindling?

PJ's Thoughts:

If you've seen the movie Home Alone, you will in short order clue in to the fact that the movie's plot is a major influence on our heroine's story. An eighteen-year-old young woman, newly returned from finishing school, mistakenly left behind by her family in a large, empty, leaking house. No food, no fires, no servants...and two burglars casing the place. But, what have we here? A grieving, reclusive, widowed duke just across the street? The possibilities are limitless and Caldwell cannily takes advantage of them all.

I love a grumpy-sunshine pairing and, boy howdy, do these two qualify. Val just wants to be left alone but chatty, carol-singing Myrtle, with her wild curls, huge dimples, and smile that won't quit keeps showing up at his door. Again, and again, and again. It seems the grouchier he gets, the wider her smile becomes. His horse likes her. His huge, scary-looking dog who doesn't like anyone but Val is a total marshmallow in her hands. And Val? He's quickly becoming befuddled, bewildered, and thoroughly charmed. He doesn't need this irrepressible bundle of sunshine in his life. Or maybe, she's exactly what he does need. 

Caldwell brings a perfect blend of lighthearted laughter and emotional depth to this story of two people who both feel alone and out of step with those around them but slowly grow to realize they are exactly right with one another. There are hijinks and a bit of danger, plus sweetly poignant moments that tug at the heart. There's also a dog - Horace - who darn near steals the whole book. I adored him. I adored Myrtle with him. I can only imagine how he's going to be with any children Val and Myrtle have. I'm already smiling at the thought. If Caldwell has any thoughts about a novella (maybe next Christmas?) for this new family down the road, I'm all in!

A couple small issues: I loved Myrtle's constant singing but having all the lyrics included on the page got old fast. I skimmed through most of them. Also, I have a feeling some readers may be uneasy with how young and innocent Myrtle seems (she turns 18 during the book). To them, I would say, keep reading. I felt a bit of that in the early chapters of the book but found the ensuing growth and depth of her character during her journey organic and believable, leaving me happy with the balance of feelings and power within her relationship with Val. These two are meant to be. 

The Duke Alone is going straight to my keeper shelf where it will be revisited this Christmas and every Christmas to come. It made me laugh, made me cry, and left my heart overflowing with joy. 


Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Review - - The Saint

The Saint
by Kimberly Kincaid
The Intelligence Unit - Book 5
Publisher: Kimberly Kincaid Romance
Release Date: October 18, 2022
Reviewed by PJ

His partner’s most trusted informant is his only hope…and his only weakness.

When Detective Liam Hollister is assigned to an assault-turned-murder, he brings his signature three “C”s: control, calm, and composure. The “C” he wasn’t counting on? His partner’s informant, Carmen Desoto, who’s not only the key to unlocking his case.

The sexy, sharp-tongued nurse is the only person who’s ever gotten under Liam’s skin. Driven him crazy.

Made him want the one thing he can’t have.

And now they have to go undercover together to catch a killer.

Liam knows he must keep Carmen at a distance, no matter how hard it is to resist. But when the scheme they uncover puts them directly in danger, distance isn’t an option.

They’ll have to fight together if they want to make it out alive.

PJ's Thoughts:

Kimberly Kincaid is one of my go-to authors for edge-of-the-seat romantic suspense with multi-layered, fully-developed characters, and steamy romance. Once again, she's brought all of those facets together in the newest installment of her The Intelligence Unit series, a compelling story I could not put down.

I love the unexpected pairings in many of Kincaid's books with Liam and Carmen being near the top of the list. There are so many reasons these two should not be together yet I couldn't help but root for them. Kincaid expertly navigates the obstacles in their path, allowing them to work through the issues that should keep them apart and, instead, giving them reasons to be together. Their chemistry is on fire, the respect between them steadily grows, and their love deepens to the point where, together, they can face anything.

The suspense, as always, is on point with plenty of action, twists, a tightly-woven plot and more than a few surprises. I can always count on Kincaid to keep me guessing, gasping, and eagerly flipping pages to the very end. 

The Saint is book five in The Intelligence Unit series but stands well on its own. You'll meet characters from earlier books but the spotlight stays primarily on Liam and Carmen and their story is begun and concluded within the pages of this book.  

If you enjoy intense romantic suspense paired with steamy, emotional romance, I highly recommend giving any of the books in The Intelligence Unit a try. Why not begin with The Saint