Friday, April 28, 2023

Review & Giveaway - - Royal Caleva: Gabriel

Royal Caleva: Gabriel: Duke of Bencalor
by Nancy Herkness
Royal Caleva - Book 1
Publisher: Tabby Brothers Press
Release Date: April 25, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Honor, passion, danger. A modern-day duke and an American computer hacker must confront all three.

Honor. Gabriel, Duke of Bencalor, allows himself to be kidnapped to save his cousin, the Prince of Caleva. He pays a price—a mutilation that damages his brilliant career as a Flamenco guitarist—yet he would not hesitate to do it again.

Passion. Quinn Pierson is hired to track down Gabriel’s abductors. As she follows the trail, she and the sexy duke spend more and more time together until a spark ignites between them. Quinn fights her feelings every inch of the way because she knows there can be no future between a royal duke and an American commoner with an ugly past.

Danger. The criminal mastermind who carried out Gabriel’s abduction travels to Caleva to threaten Quinn. Yet even he is less dangerous than the mysterious figure who set the kidnapping in motion.

Opposites attract in Caleva, where the royals are hot and the criminals are twisted.

PJ's Thoughts:

If you enjoy fast-paced books brimming with danger, emotional turmoil, mystery, heart-tugging romance, and complex characters you can't help but root for, do not miss Royal Caleva: Gabriel, book one of a new series by Nancy Herkness. I couldn't put it down and these characters - especially Gabriel - are still lingering in my mind days after I turned the final page.

There are so many things I loved about this first book in the new Royal Caleva series. First is the worldbuilding. Caleva is a fictional island - I know this - but the vivid descriptions, geographic details, history, and traditions Herkness incorporated into this book are so realistic that I actually Googled the island to make sure it didn't exist. Full disclosure: I was hoping I was mistaken about its existence because I was already planning a trip in my mind.

Next are the characters and not only Quinn and Gabriel. The author has populated this story with a variety of well-developed, fully-dimensional characters that pulled me into their world and made me care about them. Secondary characters about whom I want to know more. And a complex, multi-layered main couple I can't stop thinking about. Especially Gabriel. This man. It's been a while since the hero of a novel has had such an impact on me. His strength, vulnerability, honor, anguish, and courage. How could I not root for him to overcome what was done to him and claim his happiness? How could I not love him as deeply and completely as Quinn, a kick-ass heroine who deserves happiness just as much - if not more - than Gabriel and is laser-focused on making sure the bad guys don't derail it.

And finally, we come to the suspense portion of the story. Herkness has created a fast-paced, twisty mystery of greed and betrayal that kept me flipping pages, all the while wondering what new twist was lurking around the next corner. Happy to say she kept me wondering until almost the end when all was finally revealed. I love it when that happens.

I've read pretty much everything Nancy Herkness has written and, for my money, this is one of her best. I can't wait to discover what she has in store for Caleva's royal family next!

Because I loved this book so much, I'm giving away three Kindle copies today.

Have you read any books by Nancy Herkness?

What's the last book that kept you guessing right up until the reveal?

What fictional location in a book you've read would you like to visit?

Three randomly chosen people who post a comment before Midnight (EDT) tonight (April 28) will receive a Kindle copy of Royal Caleva: Gabriel.

Update: Great news! Nancy Herkness has graciously offered a giveaway for The Romance Dish readers. One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 30 will receive a signed, print copy of Royal Caleva: Gabriel.

*U.S. only

*Must be 18


  1. Thanks for the wonderful review. It does sound like a terrific book. I am a fan of adventurous and mystery stories. You have made this sound like a book I would love.
    I love stories which absolutely make me hang on until I find out who the villain is. Recently, a book by T E Kinsey, A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball was such a book for me.

    1. I read it two weeks ago and Gabriel is still living in my mind. :)

  2. Excellent review which sparked my interest. A fictional location which interests me greatly and I would love to visit is Narnia. A novel that kept me guessing is Bombay Monsoon. Nancy Herkness books are enjoyable and special.

  3. What happens in the ballroom by Sabrina Jeffries. Who Joselyn was to the Earl was a twist.

  4. I haven't read any of Nancy Herkness' books yet. As far as visiting fictional locations, Sarah Morgan writes some nice contemporary fictional locations, while Julie Anne Long's Pennyroyal series was a great historical fictional setting.

  5. So far, I have only read one Herkness book, but I did enjoy that one. I will definitely add this one to my wish list on Amazon. Do you recommend another special favorite of hers?

  6. I have never read her books, but after your review I so want to read. Darby Kane’s books are hard to put down and keeps you guessing!

  7. Great review, PJ! It sounds like there will be some major angst in this! I'm generally not a suspense reader, but I have definitely read some romances that had me wondering if they could make it to the HEA and how. Beth O'Leary's The No Show was interesting, in that you really didn't know if you should like the hero, right from the start. I wanted to see what happened and how he could be redeemed.

  8. Great Review! I have not read any of her books so it sounds like I need to change that. I love Bree Baker has a aptly named small town of Charm in North Carolina that would be fun to visit if it existed. Her Seaside Cafe Mysteries always keep me guessing as well.

  9. Nancy is a new to me author and one I am definitely going to have to find. A good, tense, twisty suspense is my favorite type of read. Gabriel is the type of hero I like: wounded, honorable, and determined. I appreciate authors that develop their characters well and keep me guessing to the end.
    I really can't remember the last book that kept me guessing until the end but on 3 hours' sleep, my memory isn't that great. I know there have been some good ones.
    There are many settings for books I would like to visit and some I already have visited. As far as I know, most locations for books I've read have been real with just fictional names, like western historicals set in a real area in an imaginary town. Of course, I haven't checked many settings to see if they were real.
    Thank you for the review and recommendation for a book I will be looking for.

  10. I have not had the pleas of reading any of Nancy’s stories. After your review I definitely want to read Quinn and Gabriel’s story. Wow! What a sacrifice! Two thrillers have stuck with me White Lies by Linda Howard and Walking After Midnight. Y Karen Robards. Good vs Evil lots of twists and turns!

  11. This book sounds wonderful! I haven't read anything by Nancy Herkness yet, but I will definitely do so now. I finished the last book that kept me guessing 'til the end just a few hours ago; it was the incredible "Falling" by T.J. Newman. And I think Trish Doller's Off the Map's descriptions of the Irish countryside had me ready to book a trip!