Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Coming Attractions - - June 2023



First up, on Thursday, June 1, is my review of The Cafe on Amelia Island. This second book in Hope Holloway's newest series takes readers on a heartfelt, humorous, and sometimes mysterious journey as members of the Wingate family continue to navigate life - and love - in the aftermath of their father's stroke. 

Friday, June 2 brings a review of Best Men, a M/M rom-com by debut author (and screenwriter) Sidney Karger. When the bride's gay best friend/man of honor and the groom's gay younger brother/best man meet, well, it's a bit awkward, for reasons.  Things are about to get super complicated...or super steamy...or super fun. Or maybe, all three. 

Stop by Monday, June 5 for my review of It Had to Be You by Tracy Solheim. This newest installment in Solheim's southern, small-town Chances Inlet series features a sexy Australian golfer (who suddenly finds himself responsible for a child), a new-to-town woman who has sworn off men (for good reason), her estranged father (who happens to be the local sheriff), and an adorable little girl who captures everyone's heart. 

Josie Blake launches her new Philadelphia Tyrant Hockey, contemporary romance series with Beauty and the Bruiser: a Single Dad Grumpy Sunshine Hockey Romance. Skate on by Tuesday, June 6 to check out my review. 

Thursday, June 8 brings a tour review of A Little Ray of Sunshine by Kristan Higgins to the blog. I'm eager to dive into this story about a reunion between a biological mother and the 18-year-old son she gave up for adoption at birth, and the ramifications on both adoptive and biological families. 

Join me on Friday, June 9 when I share my thoughts about Second Chance at the Orchard Inn by Heather McGovern. This contemporary romance features a second chance at love for high school sweethearts reunited several years later along with a possible change in career direction for both. It's a heart-tugging journey filled with family, food, emotional connections, humor, and happy endings.

Stop by for a review and giveaway of Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly by Marie Bostwick on Monday, June 12. I'm looking forward to reading this story about family, friendship, and finding your true path in life. 

RaeAnne Thayne
's The Cafe at Beach End is another emotionally satisfying tale of relationships gone wrong, starting over later in life, and romance you never saw coming. Join me for my review on Tuesday, June 13.

Join me for a review and giveaway of The Sweetheart List by Jill Shalvis on Wednesday, June 14. This newest installment in Shalvis's Sunrise Cove series (all stand-alone books) is filled with the promise of new connections, second chances, found family, and the possibility of love. 

Join us on Thursday, June 15 for a tour review of Famous in a Small Town by Viola Shipman. Since discovering Shipman through last year's A Wish for Winter, I've been eager to return to his quirky, small-town Michigan locales for this new, magical tale with mature characters, family lore, and discovering your destiny at the age of forty.

Anabelle Bryant returns to Vauxhall Gardens for Magic In His Kiss, the second book in her Vauxhall Voices, historical romance series. Stop by on Friday, June 16 when I share my thoughts about this new journey for Italian tumbler Sofia Gallo and the joys - and dangers - of forbidden love.

She had me at Bookshop Cinderella. I can't wait to start reading Laura Lee Guhrke's new historical romance about an unmarried woman who runs a quaint bookshop in London and the duke who strolls in one day with a proposition. This one has My Fair Lady/Cinderella vibes plus...a bookshop. Need I say more? Stop by for my review on Tuesday, June 20.

Dylann Crush takes readers back to Paradise Island for Make Me Yours, Cowboy, the second book in her Cowboys in Paradise, contemporary romance series. This time, it's a romance between a world-famous country music singer and a woman hiding (for reasons) from any type of media. I'll be sharing my thoughts about this book on Tuesday, June 27.

Nobody breaks my heart then stitches it back together stronger than before like Lorraine Heath. Stop by on Wednesday, June 28 for my review of The Notorious Lord Knightly, book two in Heath's The Chessmen: Masters of Seduction series. This second-chance, enemies-to-lovers story checked all my happy reader boxes. 

Rounding out the month on Thursday, June 29 will be a review of The Cottage on Glass Lake by Amy Pine, a story of friendship, starting over, redefining yourself (at 37), taking risks, and letting go. This one is filled with humor, emotion, and just plain fun. Did I also mention wine, skinny dipping, and the hot, naked, younger houseboy man?

That's it - so far - for the month of June here at The Romance Dish. 

What are you looking forward to this month?

Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, June 2 will each receive a package of books from my stash. 

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Tour Review & Giveaway - - Marrying Off Morgan McBride

Marrying Off Morgan McBride
by Amy Barry
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 30, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

As the oldest of the McBride siblings, Morgan had to be protector and shepherd since Ma died and Pa ran off. It hasn't always been easy, especially when his heart longs to roam on the trail. But now that his brother Kit is married and settled, the time is right for Morgan to leave Buck's Creek. Little does he know that his hellcat of a little sister Junebug is dead set on keeping him at home and getting more help around the house – all with one honest advertisement in The Matrimonial News.

Epiphany Hopgood has always had a gift for doing the exact wrong thing. She’s too tall, too loud, too opinionated, and too contrary for her family and community. Staring down the barrel of spinsterhood, she and her grandmother answer a seemingly straightforward ad for a bride.
But when Pip shows up to Buck’s Creek, she finds that Morgan McBride is not the husband she expected. In fact, he doesn’t even want to be a husband. But maybe there’s a way to make everyone happy out on the Montana frontier…

PJ's Thoughts:

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is one of my favorite musicals. As I was reading Marrying Off Morgan McBride it was hard to miss those wonderful Seven Brothers vibes. Then, after writing this review, I went back to see what Hellie had to say about book one in the series, Kit McBride Gets a Wife (read Hellie's review). No surprise, those same vibes came through loud and clear for her too. 

First, I have to talk about Junebug McBride, Morgan's "hellcat of a little sister," as described in the book's blurb. She's a wily one, our Junebug. She may be the youngest of the family but as the only surviving sister she's been relegated to the duties she rightfully figures should belong to a wife. Plus, she knows Morgan is itching to hit the dusty trail again and the only way she knows to keep him home is to do the same thing she did with Kit: find him a wife. Things don't go quite according to Junebug's plan...

Man, did I ever feel for Pip, a woman nobody in Nebraska appreciated, including her family. Well, everyone except her spitfire of a grandmother. That woman knew Pip's worth...and her own worth as well. Pip's self-worth has been beaten into the ground so many times she has no idea she has so much to offer. I loved watching her take charge of her future, slowly begin to realize she has "the goods" to bring the boys to the yard, and finally stand up for herself, refusing to settle. 

Morgan may be stubborn, blunt, and prone to talking rather than listening but his prickly exterior hides a well of deep emotions. He's convinced himself he needs to leave Montana to break free of the grief that's dogged him since his mother died and left him to raise his younger siblings. But maybe what he really needs is a straight-talking woman with stubbornness to match his own, the ability to cook melt-in-your-mouth meals, and a body that brings him to his knees. But, once he realizes Pip is the whole package he didn't know he needed - or wanted - what does he do? He runs in the opposite direction! ::Sigh:: Nobody said this was going to be easy.

I loved this book! It's exactly the type of laugh-out-loud story that keeps me grinning from beginning to end. It's light and breezy, with snappy banter, well-developed main characters, richly entertaining secondary characters, and enough emotional depth to keep it from being all fluff. Not that there's anything wrong with fluff. I just like a nice balance of the two and Marrying Off Morgan McBride has it. 

I don't know if Barry has plans to write stories for all of the McBrides, but I'm hoping she will. The brothers all deserve happy endings, I have my fingers crossed that missing brother Charlie will return home, and I am beyond giddy to discover what will happen when Cupid's arrow finally finds Junebug. 

If you're looking for a humorous, feel-good, western historical romance that will have you laughing uproariously and possibly wiping away a heartfelt tear or two, pick up a copy of Marrying Off Morgan McBride. It's a fun ride.

Do you enjoy western historical romances?

Have you read Kit McBride Gets a Wife or Marrying Off Morgan McBride?

What recent books have had you laughing out loud?

Do you enjoy musicals? What's your favorite?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, June 1 will receive a print copy of Marrying Off Morgan McBride.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Last Chance Winner - - Summer Reading


Elizabeth Stinger

You have until 11:00 PM, May 29, 2023 

to claim your copy of

Summer Reading by Jenn McKinlay.

Please send your full name and

mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.

If I do not receive an email from you by that time

a new winner will be chosen.

Winner - - The Duchess Takes a Husband


The randomly chosen winner of 

a print copy of

The Duchess Takes a Husband is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Review & Giveaway - - The Duchess Takes a Husband

The Duchess Takes a Husband
by Harper St. George
The Gilded Age Heiresses - Book 4
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Despite her illustrious title, Camille, Duchess of Hereford, remains what she has always been—a pariah. Though her title means she’s technically accepted by London Society, the rebellious widow with her burgeoning interest in the suffrage movement and her American ways isn’t exactly high on every hostess’s guest list. But Camille starts to wonder if being an outcast is not without its perks when the tantalizing answer to her secret fear appears in the shape of Jacob Thorne, the illegitimate son of an earl and co-owner of London’s infamous Montague Club.

Jacob is used to making deals with his club members—he’s just not accustomed to them being beautiful women. Nor have the terms ever been so sweetly seductive as Camille’s shocking proposition. To finally buy his own club and gain the crucial backing of investors, Camille offers Jacob the respectability of a fake engagement with a duchess. In return, the tempting widow has one condition: she wants Jacob to show her if it’s possible for her to experience pleasure in bed.
The lure of such a bargain proves too delicious to resist, drawing the enterprising rogue and the wallflower duchess into a scandalous game and an even more dangerous gamble of the heart.

PJ's Thoughts:

I've been hoping for a happily ever after for Camille since the first book of this series. I am so happy St. George decided to write a story for her and delighted with how it all played out.

Where the first two books of this series featured American heiresses finding their happy endings with a British peer, Camille's journey took a darker turn. Basically sold by her wealthy American parents in exchange for a title, she endured a miserable, abusive marriage, and the enmity of the ton, until her much older husband finally had the decency to die. Now a widow, Camille's book chronicles her journey to love, to the sexual satisfaction she's never known, and most importantly, to the restoration of her self-worth and agency. 

I appreciated the time and care St. George took with Camille and Jacob, as both had emotional obstacles to overcome. I loved how patient Jacob was with Camille, how he allowed her to call the shots in their physical relationship, encouraging her and supporting her throughout the process. Their chemistry was combustible and it was evident early on that both of their hearts were involved, even though it took one of them much longer to acknowledge that fact.

While her sexual awakening was a large part of Camille's evolution, and a very visible, and essential, part of this book, I equally enjoyed the growth she experienced apart from her relationship with Jacob. It was satisfying to see her confront important matters that affected her personally - such as her finances and her relationship with her mother - as well as those that affected all women of the time. She slowly grew into a confident, forthright woman ready to stand side-by-side with a man worthy of her love and her trust. I cheered her on the entire way.

This steamy, heart-tugging story brings Harper St. George's Gilded Age Heiresses series to a conclusion. I have thoroughly enjoyed all four books in the series and while it's not absolutely necessary to read the books in order, I do believe you'll have a better understanding of the characters, and greater overall enjoyment of the stories if you do.


Have you read any Harper St. George books?

Do you enjoy Gilded Age stories? Do you prefer the ones set in the UK or the USA? Or do you only look for a good story, regardless of setting?

This book is on the steamy side. Do you have a preferred heat level in the romances you read?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, May 26 will receive a print copy of The Duchess Takes a Husband.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Thanks to Berkley Romance for today's giveaway. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Review - - The Viscount Who Vexed Me

The Viscount Who Vexed Me
by Julia London
A Royal Match - Book 3
Publisher: Canary Street Press
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Daring. Darling. Determined.

Next to the Season’s newest 
diamond, Harriet (Hattie) Woodchurch feels like a plain Jane. But that’s of no consequence, since Hattie’s plan for her future is to earn enough to live far, far away from her embarrassing family.

That is until Mateo Vincente, Duke of Santiava and newly minted Viscount Abbott, arrives in London. While the shy European’s spoken English is impeccable, his writing is less fluent. The 
ton is eager to meet the handsome bachelor, and so many invitations flood in that Mateo needs a correspondence secretary.

With her perfect penmanship and way with words, Hattie is recommended, and the two bond over books and the 
ton’s eligible ladies. But when Hattie’s friend Flora becomes smitten with the viscount, things get complicated. Flora is tongue-tied in his presence. To help, Hattie feeds her information about Mateo’s interests. Soon things turn around and Flora appears on track to become his duchess. Yet for Mateo, something’s not quite right. Conversation with Flora isn’t as scintillating as it is with Hattie…

PJ's Thoughts:

I adored this story! It may just be my favorite book by Julia London and I've read a whole lot of books by her. It's filled with sweet moments, frustrating family, sparkling banter, a determined matchmaker, and a lead couple who captured my heart. 

I want to be Hattie's friend. I like her, respect her, admire her. Her so-called friends don't deserve her, her family doesn't deserve her, her louse of an ex-fiancĂ© certainly didn't deserve her. You know who does? Teo, Duke of Santiava and Viscount Abbott. He deserves her. And Hattie deserves him. It's like these two were made for one another. I loved how London brought them together then slowly guided them along the path to friendship, understanding, and, finally, love. It was so much fun to watch Hattie take life by the horns, discarding society's "rules" and fully embracing her true self. She's a talkative breath of fresh air in Teo's quiet life, engaging him as an equal, unafraid to speak her mind, and charming not only him but his entire staff. 

And then there's Teo, a quiet man who has retreated into himself after a lifetime of verbal abuse from his father. With Hattie, he comes alive. With Hattie, he finds his voice. With Hattie, he shares all parts of himself, even his secret hobby (A duke/viscount who whips up the most delicious pastries in London? Yes, please!). With Hattie, he allows himself to be vulnerable while also finding his strength. An endearing combination that capture not only Hattie's heart but mine as well. 

Are there obstacles to overcome in this cross-class romance? Absolutely. Hallie's obnoxious family and Teo's overbearing mother, just to name two. But with the unexpected help of a determined matchmaker who believes in love and a gentleman nanny/uncle/what exactly is he who seems to know everything about everyone, these two just might find their way to a happily ever after. I was with them, cheering them on, every step of the way.

Bonus: for those of you who enjoy a good epilogue, this one is an absolute delight that had me laughing, sighing, and cheering, especially over a certain "twist" pertaining to finding one's voice. I loved it! 

The Viscount Who Vexed Me is the third book in Julia London's A Royal Match series. There are a few characters from the first two books who have key secondary roles in this one (the matchmaker, for one) but Hattie's and Teo's journey is fully contained within this third book. In my opinion, it can be read and enjoyed as a standalone. However, I do recommend both book one, Last Duke Standing (read my review) and book two, The Duke Not Taken.(read my review).

The next book in this series, An Inconvenient Earl, is scheduled to be published in December of this year. I already have it on pre-order. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Winners - - Debbie Mason


The randomly chosen winners of the

Debbie Mason giveaway are:

Patricia B

(The Inn on Mirror Lake)

Martha Lawson

(At Home on Marigold Lane)


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Winner - - Summer Reading


The randomly chosen winner of

a print copy of Summer Reading is:

Elizabeth Stinger


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - The Enchanted Hacienda


The randomly chosen winner of

a hardback copy of

The Enchanted Hacienda by J.C. Cervantes is:

Cherie J


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - The Garden of Lost Secrets


The randomly chosen winner of

a print copy of

The Garden of Lost Secrets by Kelly Bowen is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - Highlanders Hold Grudges


The randomly chosen winner of 

an e-book copy of

Highlanders Hold Grudges by Julie Johnstone is:



Please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Review & Giveaway - - Summer on Sunshine Bay

Summer on Sunshine Bay
by Debbie Mason
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: May 23, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Lila Rosetti Sinclair returns to Sunshine Bay a bundle of nerves. After being gone for years, sharing the news that she’s engaged—to a man her mother has never met—is going to be difficult to navigate. But when her fiancĂ© David surprises her with an engagement party at Windemere, the upscale inn his parents recently purchased and that just may put her family’s restaurant, La Dolce Vita, out of business, Lila’s got a whole new set of problems.

     Eva Rosetti is so ecstatic to finally have her daughter home that she pushes aside her misgivings about having to come face-to-face with Lila’s father again. That is until he sweeps into town and feelings Eva thought far behind her resurface....
     With a family business to save and a wedding to plan, Eva and Lila’s reunion is more than either bargained for, but with a little luck and a whole lot of support from friends and family, it may just turn out to be the best summer of their lives.

PJ's Thoughts:

Even though this book has romantic threads (for multiple generations) and happy endings (for all), it skews more women's fiction than the contemporary romance for which Mason is known. It may center the story more on the Rosetti women and their journeys than only one couple but it still contains all the elements that have made Debbie Mason one of my favorite auto-buy authors. There's fun, thought-provoking conflict, laugh-out-loud humor, complex characters, complicated family (and romantic) relationships, emotional depth, and feel-good, happy endings. I am here for all of them.

I fell hard for this boisterous, opinionated, meddling, loving, stubborn, Italian family of independent women. They love hard, play hard, and hold grudges hard. They hold fast to the belief that they're cursed in love. At least the older generations do. Lila holds a different opinion but Lila is also about to marry a man she isn't in love with - for reasons - and fighting pesky feelings for a "local boy", now a considerate and sexy man, who sets off all the heart-tugging feelings the man she's supposed to marry doesn't. Eva, a beautiful and sensual woman, is dealing with "the menopause," hot flashes at inconvenient moments, the loss of her desire for physical relations, and the sudden and unexpected return of all kinds of sensations when her former lover, Lila's father, now a widower, shows up. Things are about to get very complicated in Sunshine Bay.

I loved everything about this book. One of the things I most enjoy about Debbie Mason - besides her multi-layered, fully-developed characters - is her willingness to tackle tough situations in thoughtful, emotionally sensitive ways. The complicated relationship among Lila, David, and two others may walk a fine line but, for me, it never crossed that line. I never felt like anyone was the "villain" in this scenario and I appreciated that. I was also very satisfied with the resolution of all the relationships and partnerships formed going forward. I'm being purposefully vague here but you'll understand once you've read the book. Oh, and I absolutely adored one very playful, affectionate, and huge Newfie who stole every single scene in which he appeared. I'm such a pushover for big, lovable dogs. 

I'm hoping Summer on Sunshine Bay won't be the last we see of the Rosetti women. Lila has two cousins and two half-sisters who have all aroused my curiosity. Plus, there's her artist aunt who already lives in Sunshine Bay and a mysterious, estranged movie star aunt nobody in the family talks about. And I can't forget David's mother, another character who most definitely deserves a happy ending. I'm nowhere near ready to say farewell to this family!  

Have you read Debbie Mason?

Do you enjoy books with storylines for multiple generations?

Lila's mother and grandmother own an Italian restaurant, which happens to be my favorite type of food. What's your favorite? 

Two randomly chosen people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, May 21 will each receive a print book (my choice) from Debbie Mason's Highland Falls series. 

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Review - - A Lethal Betrayal

A Lethal Betrayal
by Lori Matthews
Coast Guard Hawai'i - Book 1
Publisher: Wild Coyote Press
Release Date: May 22, 2023
Reviewed by PJ

Chief Petty Officer Dane Landry is injured and burning through his last chance with the US Coast Guard. His new team is tasked with finding stolen military-grade technology, but he finds himself in the crosshairs of an investigation as the prime suspect in the murder of a former teammate.
 With his career and freedom on the line, his top priority should be clearing his name while navigating the complex web of suspicion and betrayal that surrounds him. Being thrown together with the beautiful investigator is a distraction he doesn’t need.

Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agent McKenna Rankin is determined to find out who killed the Senior Chief, but it soon becomes obvious there’s so much more at stake. Her attraction to the prime suspect is an obstacle she hadn’t anticipated, but one she isn’t sure she wants to overcome. As her investigation heats up and tensions run high, Dane and Mac must find a way to reconcile personal feelings with professional obligations while racing against the clock to uncover the true culprit before it’s too late.

PJ's Thoughts:

Lori Matthews keeps upping her game with each book she publishes. A Lethal Betrayal, book one in her new (connected) series, sucked me in, taking me on a wild, pulse-pounding ride from start to finish.

I felt like I was holding my breath for at least 90% of this book. Matthews loads it up with action, danger, suspense, and enough twists to give me whiplash. Tightly plotted, the story offers intense, life or death scenarios that kept me on the edge of my seat, gasping for breath, trying my best to figure out exactly who the villains were and how it would all work out in the end. I did center in on one person from the start and added another into the loop midway through the book but, boy howdy, did she keep the others close to the vest, sending me this direction and that until all was finally revealed. I love it when an author keeps me off balance like that, guessing right up until the end. 

As superb as Matthews is at weaving together breath-stealing suspense plots, so too does she excel at crafting complex, multi-layered, fully-developed characters who engage my emotions. As important as the action and suspense are to this book, the romantic, emotional connection between Dane and Mac holds its own as a counterpoint, adding a necessary emotional depth to their life or death heroics. 

Fans of Matthews' Coast Guard RECON series will recognize a few secondary characters in A Lethal Betrayal but readers new to the author should have no trouble at all beginning with this new Hawai'i series (though I also highly recommend the RECON books). 

A Lethal Betrayal is a fast-paced, action-packed, breath-stealing romantic thriller that kept me reading way past my bedtime. This series is already as addictive as her previous ones. I'm fully engaged and excited to discover which team member will take center stage next.