Thursday, April 18, 2024

Review - - Make You Mine

Make You Mine
by Nan Reinhardt
The Walker Family - Book 1
Publisher: Tule
Release Date: April 16, 2024
Reviewed by PJ



When his family’s company is on the line, business and pleasure definitely don’t mix, but maybe they should…

Madeline Ross left the city and a career glass ceiling behind, hoping to build a new life as the crew supervisor for Walker Construction in River’s Edge. She’s qualified and experienced, but new CEO Jackson Walker hires someone else. Even as she searches for a different job and builds a life in River’s Edge, the sexy memory of Jack teases.

After a rough year, Jackson Walker’s family business is still struggling. He needs a new construction crew supervisor, and Maddie Ross is perfect, except for the first time in his life, player Jack is suddenly smitten with the curvaceous redhead. He wants her in his bed more than on his payroll.

When his second-rate new hire is a disastrous mistake, Jack humbles himself on Maddie’s doorstep with an offer she can’t refuse. Maddie could be the key to saving his company as long as he hides his heart. But does he have to?



PJ's Thoughts:


Nan Reinhardt takes readers back to River's Edge with the first book in a new trilogy set within a familiar world. If you read her Weaver Sisters trilogy, you've already met Jackson Walker but if you're new to the River's Edge books, you can easily jump in with this new book, Make You Mine.


I always enjoy my visits to River's Edge and this one is no exception. Watching confirmed bachelors fall hard is one of my romance joys and Jack, at 39, is more fun than most. This guy is hard-core single, arrogant, and independent, with a string of one-night stands behind him. To see him totally smitten, stumbling over his words, and blushing like a middle schooler was a such a joy. Of course, it takes a while for him to own up to his feelings but that's part of the fun with this guy.


Maddie is one of my favorite River's Edge heroines. I respect her for following her heart into a career considered a man's domain. She's confident, skilled, and carries a take-charge attitude that throws Jack for a loop. I appreciated the fact that she doesn't compromise who she is and how Jack begins to evolve because of that. 


In addition to Maddie's and Jack's romantic journey, this book also has a bit of suspense to it with a defining moment climax that had me cheering and gasping at the same time.


Fans of the earlier River's Edge books will no doubt be delighted with the number of character cameos in this book while, as I mentioned above, those new to Reinhardt should have no difficulties beginning with Make You Mine 





Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Review & Giveaway- - Christa Comes Out of Her Shell

Christa Comes Out of Her Shell
by Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 16, 2024
Reviewed by PJ


After a tumultuous childhood, Christa Liddle has hidden away, both figuratively and literally. Happily studying sea snails in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Christa finds her tranquil existence thrown into chaos when her once-famous father—long thought dead after a plane crash—turns out to be alive, well, and ready to make amends. The world goes wild, fascinated by this real-life saga, pinning Christa and her family under the spotlight. As if that weren’t enough, her reunion with an old childhood friend reveals an intense physical attraction neither was expecting and both want to act on . . . if they can just keep a lid on it. When her father’s story starts to develop cracks, Christa fears she will lose herself, her potential relationship, and—most importantly—any chance of making it back to her snails before they forget her completely.

PJ's Thoughts:

This was my first Abbi Waxman book so I really had no idea what to expect. What I discovered was a well-written story with well-developed characters, a fair amount of humor, dysfunctional family dynamics, emotional depth, a nerdy heroine, and an unexpected romance with her teenage crush, the one who had seen her at her rock-bottom worst. 

In a way, this was a healing, coming of age story for Christa, a woman with a tumultuous childhood in the spotlight which transitioned into wild teen years, also in the spotlight. She has finally found peace, on a remote island, with the snails she’s studying and locals who couldn’t care less about her past or her famous father. Of course that’s all thrown into chaos when her father (believed dead the past 25 years) suddenly staggers out of the Alaskan wilderness, throwing Christa back into the path of intrusive media, a complicated relationship with her mother, an estranged relationship with her sisters, a father she doesn’t remember, and a second chance romance with the focus of her teenage dreams. Complications aplenty!

The book started off a bit slow but quickly picked up speed, holding my interest through a series of twists and turns to the end. I enjoyed how the author explored the different relationships in Christa’s life, both familial and romantic, as well as her fraught relationship with the media, not to mention hordes of fans who still viewed her as a fatherless two-year-old thrust into the spotlight along with her mother. I find mother-daughter relationships fascinating and appreciated the time taken by this author to portray the evolution of the fractured one between an adult Christa and her mom. 

Overall, Christa Comes Out of Her Shell was an enjoyable journey with a good blend of women’s fiction/romance vibes, a protagonist I could root for, a genuinely good romantic interest who won my heart (as well as hers), and an array of characters (nice and not so nice) who kept things moving along and oh, so interesting. It was a fun read with surprising depth, a somewhat cynical (but well deserved) look behind the Hollywood curtain of high-powered agents and stars, a second chance at romance, and a fractured family that…well, you’ll just have to read the book to discover what happens there. 

Have you read Abbi Waxman yet?

Do you enjoy books with nerdy/STEM/scientific characters? How about dysfunctional/fractured families?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 26 will receive a print copy of Christa Comes Out of Her Shell.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18


Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Review - - The Finders Keepers Library

The Finders Keepers Library
by Annie Rains
Somerset Lake - Book 5
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 16, 2024
Reviewed by PJ
 


For a gardener blessed with a green thumb, Savannah Collins’s life sure seems like it’s all thorns, zero roses. She has no job, no relationship, and no place to live. With nothing but a car full of plants and her new rescue kitten, Savannah heads to Bloom, North Carolina, to spend the summer with her beloved Aunt Eleanor, a retired librarian.


Her aunt shares her love of literature with the Finders Keepers Library, located in her beautiful garden, where anyone can stop by to pick a book or leave a book. When a sudden summer storm destroys the library and many of the roses, it will take a village to get everything ready for the garden wedding that is planned there in just three weeks.

As the entire town joins in to make the necessary repairs, Savannah bonds with their neighbor Evan Sanders over the books that Eleanor has handpicked for each of them, helping them both find healing and self-discovery. Savannah only intends to stay through the summer, but when an unexpected job offer, a sudden health crisis, and a wayward pre-teen push her future in new directions, she has to wonder whether this is the place that she is meant to be—and the family she’s meant to be with.

PJ's Thoughts:

Annie Rains never fails to engage my emotions with her heart-tugging, small-town, closed-door romances. This one is about starting over, confronting our fears, grief, healing, and hope for the future. Once again, I was pulled into her story, into the lives of her characters, and they into my heart. 

I would love to spend the summer hanging out in Bloom. I want Savannah to teach me all she knows about plants (maybe I'll be able to keep one alive). I want Eleanor to hand pick books for me to read (I'm confident she would pick just the right one). I want to talk books with Evan's daughter in the Finders Keepers Library and cheer her on as she finds her place in Bloom. I want to watch the relationships of Evan and Savannah, Charlie and Eleanor, and Madison and Sam flourish amidst the challenges of everyday life. I want Mallory to find her happy ever after. And, I want to talk to the roses. I may not be able to grow them but I'm confident I'd have no problem divulging my deepest held secrets...and feel better for it. 

Rains made the town of Bloom, and her citizens, come to life for me. I loved how she intertwined several relationship threads together, giving multiple characters journeys without sacrificing the importance of any one person or relationship. There are themes of starting over, second chances, compromise, acceptance, healing, and love. Romantic love, family love, and love among friends. It's a story that made me laugh, made me sigh, brought forth a few tears, and, ultimately, left me with a happy, hopeful heart. How could I ask for more?

 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

Winners - - The Best Life Book Club

  




The randomly chosen winners of

a print ARC of 

The Best Life Book Club are:

Sharlene Wegner

Trish J

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

Theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com.



 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Tour Review & Giveaway - - The Kiss Countdown

The Kiss Countdown
by Etta Easton
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 9, 2024
Reviewed by PJ



Risk-averse event planner Amerie Price is jobless, newly single, and about to lose her apartment. With no choice but to gamble on her shaky start-up, the last thing she needed was to run into her smug ex and his new, less complicated girlfriend at Amerie's favorite coffee shop. Panicked, she pretends to be dating the annoyingly sexy man she met by spilling Americano all over his abs. He plays along—for a price.


Half the single men in Houston claim to be astronauts, but Vincent Rogers turns out to be the real deal. What started as a one-off lie morphs into a plan: for the three months leading up to his mission, Amerie will play Vincent's doting partner in front of his loving but overly invested family. In exchange, she gets a rent-free room in his house and can put every penny toward her struggling business.

What Amerie doesn't plan for is Vincent's gravitational pull. While her mind tells her a future with this astronaut is too unpredictable, her heart says he's exactly what she needs. As their time together counts down, Amerie must decide if she'll settle for the safe life—or shoot for the stars.

PJ's Thoughts:

I'm a total pushover for a fake dating trope and this one was a delight. First of all, he's an astronaut? Yes, please! Okay, so maybe not in real life. Like Amerie, I'm a bit of a scaredy cat when it comes to certain things like heights, twisty mountain roads, and, oh, I don't know, waving farewell to your beloved as he soars to the moon?!? But, I'm getting ahead of myself. First we have to get these two together.

Easton has crafted a fun, relatable, slow-burn romance that had me jumping into this unexpected relationship with both feet. From the coffee shop meet cute, through meeting the family, to a fake engagement, the breakup, and the reunion, these characters kept me by their side, cheering them on and flipping pages from beginning to end. I enjoyed the exploration of Amerie and Vincent not only through their one-on-one journey but through the interactions with their families as well. Those family dynamics were spot on with the parents and siblings so well developed that I felt like I had actually met them in real life. 

While the romance between Vincent and Amerie is a slow burn, I felt the chemistry between them from the start. The banter between them sparkles even before they begin to catch feelings. Once that starts, we begin to delve a bit deeper into what makes each of them tick, revealing their vulnerabilities, fears, hopes, and more. I love how smitten Vincent was and how hard he tried to hide it. It takes Amerie longer to overcome her fears but once she does, she goes after her man in grand style. It's all about facing our fears. 

If you're looking for a fun romance filled with laughter, family, slow-burn romance, one very sexy astronaut, a ride-or-die girlfriend, and a heroine you might just want to be besties with (I did), pick up a copy of The Kiss Countdown. It's sure to make you smile. 

~~~~~~~

Have you read a romance with an astronaut hero?

Would you go into space?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 26 will receive a print copy of The Kiss Countdown

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Excerpt & ARC Giveaway - - The Best Life Book Club

 

THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB

By Sheila Roberts

MIRA Books May 7, 2024 trade paperback, eBook, hardcover and audiobook

 

"[With] a set of characters so vivid we want to be their best friends, and a story that keeps us turning the pages, The Best Life Book Club is your book club book of the year. . . . A novel of pure delight! —Patti Callahan Henry, NYT Bestselling author of The Secret Book of Flora Lea



It started as a book club. It became a way to build a better life together.

Karissa Newcomb is ready for a new start in a new neighborhood, as far away as she can get from Seattle, where her husband cheated on her with the neighbor who was supposed to be her best friend. She and her nine-year-old daughter are moving on to the city of Gig Harbor on the bay in Puget Sound. She even has a new job as an assistant at a small publishing company right in Gig Harbor. Her new boss seems like a bit of a curmudgeon, but a job is a job, she loves to read, and the idea of possibly meeting writers sounds fabulous.

Soon she finds she’s not the only one in need of a refresh. Her new neighbors, Alice and Margot, are dealing with their own crises. Alice is still grieving her late husband and hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel of a car since a close call after his death. Margot is floundering after getting divorced and laid off in quick succession. They could all use a distraction, and a book club seems like just the ticket. Together, the three women, along with Alice’s grumpy older sister, Josie, embark on a literary journey that just might be the kick-start they need to begin building their best lives yet.
 

"With a dash of humor and a charmingly relatable cast of characters, Roberts smartly leans into her storytelling strengths with another heart-warming and hopeful tale."—John Charles, Booklist


An Excerpt from

THE BEST LIFE BOOK CLUB

By Sheila Roberts

 

“Envy is a waste unless you turn it into fuel to get out there and do something with your life.”

—from Where There’s a Will There’s a Way by Annie Wills

 

Gig Harbor, Washington 

Lilith’s other grandma lived in a housing development outside of town. The house was modest with a well-kept front lawn and a fence separating the backyard from the front. The roof of the promised bounce house peeked up over it, and Karissa could hear childish squeals as she followed her excited daughter up the front walk. 

Macy was clutching a wrapped box like it was treasure. If you were an eight-year-old girl and into fairies, it was. The box contained the newest book in the series the girls were reading and a feather fairy crown as well as a wishing stone—choose the one with your favorite fairy on it (great merchandising). 

Lilith’s grandma, Sylvia Peretti, opened the door and introduced herself. She smiled at Macy and said, “The girls are in the bounce house. I’ll put your present with the others, and you can go join them.” She motioned to a sliding glass door. 

“Thank you,” Macy said, and hurried to the door. 

“Thank you for inviting Macy,” Karissa said. “When should I come back for her?” 

It was the polite thing to say since the invitation hadn’t been for Macy and Mom. There were adults present though. She saw her boss, Edward, standing by that sliding door, looking out at the rockin’ bounce house and talking with an older man, Mr. Peretti most likely. A woman somewhere around Karissa’s age sat on the couch, while another woman, also similar in age, lounged in an easy chair, her feet on a footstool. Family members, perhaps? From Lilith’s mother’s family? Both of them eyed Karissa like cats, the aloof Egyptian goddess kind. 

Edward turned and waved at Karissa and smiled. It seemed that he smiled more lately, and this one reached his eyes. 

The two women kept their hands around their drink glasses, and neither one called, “Come, join us.” 

“We’ll be done by four,” said Sylvia. 

Karissa nodded, promised to return, and went back to her car, disappointed. There would be no nosy chats, no helping serve cake. And no discovering who the unwelcoming committee was. For all she knew, one of the women could have been there as Edward’s guest. Although if that was the case, wouldn’t he have been sitting with her? 

Karissa drove to Invitation Bookstore to console herself. A good book was always a woman’s truest friend. 

At the bookstore she stocked up on novels by some of her favorite writers—the two Susans (Susan Wiggs and Susan Mallery), Marie Bostwick, and Rachel Linden. One of the Friends & Fiction ladies had a book on the shelves. She loved their podcasts! Oooh, and here was a new one by Brenda Novak. And…she needed to stop before she blew up her credit card. She rationalized her book binge by reminding herself that she was supporting authors, helping them pay their bills. Look what a good thing it had turned out to be that she hadn’t been invited to the party. Look at all the imagination exercise tools she’d have missed out on. 

She settled in her car, picked up a book and opened it to the first page. She got four chapters read in Susan Mallery’s latest, and then it was time to go pick up Macy. 

This time Sylvia invited her in, and she seemed a little more welcoming. Maybe because she knew Karissa wouldn’t be staying long? 

The girls were finishing up their cake, and Karissa supposed Sylvia could hardly leave her standing on the porch. The two women Karissa had seen earlier were helping with cleanup as Karissa followed Sylvia into the kitchen. 

“These are my daughters, Arletta and Meagan,” she said, and the two women said a quick hello and then went back to stowing away leftover goodies. 

The girls hadn’t lacked for food. In addition to the fairy cakes, which had been given little cake wings, they’d enjoyed ice cream, chips, fruit, and tiny tea sandwiches. They all wore costume butterfly wings on their backs and glitter in their hair, and smiles on their faces. 

“Let’s get a picture before you all go home,” Sylvia said to the girls. “Lilith, put your cousins on either side of you.” 

Which left Macy, the best friend, on the outside of the inner circle. 

Cousins trump best friends, Karissa reminded herself. 

Macy didn’t care, she was beaming with ice cream on her chin, an arm around one of the cousins. 

Edward and the older man came into the room at that moment. “Karissa,” Edward greeted her. “I thought you’d stay.” 

Your mother-in-law didn’t invite me. “I had some errands to run.” 

He nodded. “Of course.” 

“You didn’t miss anything but chaos,” said the older man. “Come on, girls, time to scram. Grandpa’s pooped.” 

The little girls all giggled, and Sylvia shook her head at him. 

“Time to go, Macy,” Karissa said to her daughter. “What do you say to Mrs. Peretti?” 

“Thank you for having me,” Macy said. “And thank you for the fairy wings!” 

Fairy wings for all. Sylvia Peretti wasn’t stingy, that was for sure.

 “You’re more than welcome,” she said to Macy. “Nice to meet you, Karissa. I didn’t realize you were Edward’s secretary.” 

Ah, that explained the change in attitude. 

“Administrative assistant,” he corrected. 

“Administrative assistant. All these changes in terminology,” said Sylvia. “I remember when secretaries were secretaries and garbage men were garbage men.” 

Karissa wasn’t sure what to say to that. 

“Times change,” Edward said. “I’ll walk you and Macy to your car, Karissa.” 

He did, but he didn’t say anything about his in-laws. Instead, he thanked Karissa for coming. “It meant a lot to Lilith to have Macy here.” 

“I can tell she had a wonderful time.” 

“I’m sorry you had errands to run. I thought you might have enjoyed staying.” 

Had he wanted her to? She wished she’d been invited. 

“I’m sorry, too. It looks like it was a great party,” she said. 

“Magical,” he said with a slight head shake. 

Was that glitter she saw in his hair? “Is there…something in your hair?” 

“They made me be fairy king. I’m going to take two Advil when I get home.” 

They had reached the car, and Macy bowed to Edward and said, “Thank you, King Thistlebottom. I was honored to be your loyal subject.” 

Karissa choked back a giggle. “King Thistlebottom?” 

He frowned and shook his head. “Don’t ask.” 

“I guess I shouldn’t address you as such at work on Monday then?” 

“I guess not,” he said firmly, and she laughed. 

“Very well, then. I can call you Your Majesty if you prefer.” 

He was already a handsome man, but that smile took handsome to a whole new level. 

“Edward will be just fine,” he said, opening the car door for Macy. 

“Oh, that’s right. You probably want to keep your magical kingdom and powers a secret,” Karissa teased. 

“I think that would be best. See you Monday.”

 ~~~~~~~~~~


Have you read Sheila Roberts yet? Have you watched any of the movies based on her books?

Do you belong to a book club? If so, what book is your club currently reading?

Two people who post a comment before 11:00 PM, April 12 will each receive a print ARC of The Best Life Book Club. 

*U.S. only
*Must be 18


Sheila Roberts is the author of more than 50 novels, including ON STRIKE FOR CHRISTMAS, which was made into a Lifetime Network movie. Also adapted for the small screen, Sheila’s THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS is a perennial Hallmark channel favorite, and CHRISTMAS ON CANDY CANE LANE debuted on TV in December 2022. The author has sold more than three million copies of her novels. Before launching her author career, Sheila owned a singing telegram company, wrote music and played in a band. A cancer survivor, she resides in Washington state with her husband, who is also an author. For more information about Sheila, visit www.sheilasplace.com.

 

Sheila social media links:

Sheila’s author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/funwithsheila

 

    Sheila’s Instagram author page: https://www.instagram.com/sheilarobertswriter/

 

    Sheila’s TikTok page  https://www.tiktok.com/@sheilarobertswriter

    Sheila’s BookBub page:  https://www.bookbub.com/authors/sheila-roberts

    Sheila’s Goodreads page:  https://www.goodreads.com/sheilaroberts

    Sheila’s YouTube page:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClUWd1SxFGzd7NEkojcjDtA


 

Thursday, April 4, 2024

Review - - A Simple Seduction

A Simple Seduction
by Janna MacGregor
Millionaires of Mayfair - Book 1
Publisher: Janna MacGregor
Release Date: April 2, 2024
Reviewed by PJ


He promised her one night…now, he wants forever.


When Lady Honoria Ardeerton, the sister of the Duke of Pelham, sneaks into her brother’s masquerade and meets the irresistible Marcus Kirkland, the Earl of Trafford, her intentions are crystal clear: one night of pleasure with no names. But their fiery passion spirals into a situation that intertwines their destinies when they’re compromised, leaving Honoria's carefully spun web of secrets on the brink of unraveling. As hidden longings and scandalous truths threaten to consume them, Honoria grapples with a revelation that could shatter them both. At the same time, Marcus is undeterred in his quest to claim Honoria’s heart.

When Honoria’s path leads her to feign love for another to safeguard Marcus and her family’s honor, the stakes become insurmountably high. Will Honoria’s secret doom Marcus’s love or will the bonds of the heart prove unbreakable?

PJ's Thoughts:


Marcus is my new book boyfriend. I'm a total goner for a redeemed rake and he is such a good one. Sure, he was wild in his youth but there were reasons. Good ones. He's all grown up now, focused on his future, and committed to his very worthy charity, one that he doesn't just throw money at but in which he fully participates. Plus, he's sexy and sensual and...and...  Well, it wouldn't be fun if he was all good guy, right? ;-) 

My heart ached for all that Honoria had endured at the hands of those who were supposed to love and protect her. I could feel her pain and anguish but also her determination to claim one night for herself. I wanted to cheer her on and wrap her in a warm hug at the same time. I wanted to encourage her to be honest with her siblings and with Marcus (she is, eventually) but understood her need to keep certain things to herself and handle them on her own terms. It's her way to put the happiness of those she loves before her own.  

MacGregor did a superb job of developing both Marcus and Honoria in this book to the point where they felt like real people in whose happiness I was fully invested. They are so good together. I loved the steam, the caring, the quiet joy, and the laughter between them. I loved that they genuinely liked one another and shared common values. They may not have been what each was looking for (her brother's best friend was not in her plans - or her protective brother's - and someone with a secret scandal that could deep-six Marcus's charity was not in his) but the heart wants what the heart wants. My heart cheered over the choices Marcus made that proved her love was not misplaced. Book boyfriend material, indeed. 

The sibling dynamic in this book is wonderful, as is the dynamic among Pelham, Marcus, and the third member of their close friend group, Ravenscroft. I'm excited to discover the direction MacGregor has in mind for all of them, including Honoria's younger sister, Pippa. If you've been reading MacGregor, you've most likely already met the Duke of Pelham (Honoria's older brother), a secondary character from her The Widow Rules series. This book gives us more insight into this arrogant duke (who is perhaps hiding a marshmallow center?), introduces a lady who has him off balance (they have a past!), and has me eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.

It won't surprise me if The Millionaires of Mayfair series ends up being MacGregor's most popular yet (and my favorite). Her writing voice sparkles and her characters shine in the author's first self-published series. It's off to a wonderful start. 



Winners - - Her Duke at Midnight

 



The randomly chosen winners are:

Rose Ward

(Kindle set of the Mythic Dukes trilogy)

and

LauraL

(Signed print copy of Her Duke at Midnight)

Rose, please send your email address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Laura, please send your full name
and postal mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Review - - Just for the Summer

Just for the Summer
by Abby Jimenez
Publisher: Forever
Release Date: April 2, 2024
Reviewed by PJ



Justin has a curse, and thanks to a Reddit thread, it's now all over the internet. Every woman he dates goes on to find their soul mate the second they break up. When a woman slides into his DMs with the same problem, they come up with a plan: They'll date each other and break up. Their curses will cancel each other’s out, and they’ll both go on to find the love of their lives. It’s a bonkers idea… and it just might work. 

Emma hadn't planned that her next assignment as a traveling nurse would be in Minnesota, but she and her best friend agree that dating Justin is too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially when they get to rent an adorable cottage on a private island on Lake Minnetonka.

It's supposed to be a quick fling, just for the summer. But when Emma's toxic mother shows up and Justin has to assume guardianship of his three siblings, they're suddenly navigating a lot more than they expected--including catching real feelings for each other. What if this time Fate has actually brought the perfect pair together?


PJ's Thoughts:


Yes, I know I'm late to the Abby Jimenez bandwagon. No, I don't have a good excuse. Other than the perennial standby, too many books, not enough time. Which is true. However, now that I've read my first Jimenez novel, and fully understand the hordes of fans (of which I am now a part) who anxiously count down the days to each new book published, I will be making time. Time to read the five books in her backlist and every new one she writes from here on out. She's just that good. 


Just for the Summer has all the feels and I was right there feeling each and every one, from laugh-out-loud hilarity to poignant sweetness, to heart-wrenching anguish, and more. Jimenez drew me into this story, into the lives of her characters, and made me care deeply about them. She didn't give them an easy road but life isn't meant to be easy. Making them real, with all the accompanying flaws, fears, vulnerabilities, and challenges gives this book the layers and complexities that make it deeply meaningful. I loved every bit of it, even the parts where I was mopping up tears. 


There are more than a few twists in Emma's and Justin's relationship and moments where I didn't see how they would work out the issues keeping them apart but their creator knew what she was doing, giving them the time and tools they needed to be in the right place at the right time. Nothing is rushed. There are no easy fixes. There is a good reason for everything that happens. And it all comes full circle at the end with a deep, heartfelt sigh, a hearty chuckle, and a hard-won happy relationship. 



Possible content triggers:

child neglect and abandonment

mental heath rep

parent in prison



Winner - - How to End a Love Story

 




The randomly chosen winner of

a print copy of

How to End a Love Story by Yulin Kuang is:

catslady

Congratulations!

Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - Her Duke at Midnight

Her Duke at Midnight
by Wendy LaCapra
Mythic Dukes - Book 3
Publisher: Wendy LaCapra
Release Date: April 2, 2024
Reviewed by PJ
 


A governess and her secret take an invincible duke by storm...


The Duke of Hurtheven will stop at nothing to protect those he loves. So, when a mysterious new governess captures his godchild’s affection, he vows to uncover her secrets. Instead, she sets him aflame.

Miss Hera Bythesea accepted a governess position to secure the character reference she needs to reclaim her secret child. But she did not count on Hurtheven—curious, relentless, and temptation in human form.

In Hera's world, Hurtheven faces a challenge his power and wealth cannot solve. But for the love of unwed mother and child, he’ll undertake any Herculean Labor.

PJ's Thoughts:

I waited six years for this third and final book in Wendy LaCapra's Mythic Dukes series. It stands to reason that my expectations were high. I'm happy to report that those expectations were not only met but exceeded in another compelling, immersive, historical romance journey from this talented author. It's also a testament to the enduring impact of her characters that after six years I didn't have to reread the first two books in the series to refresh my memory. Ash, Chev, Pen, and Alicia, as well as their own emotional journeys to love, continue to live rent free in my mind. And, I have no plans to evict them anytime soon. 

That's one of the things I most enjoy about LaCapra's writing: the depth she imbues in the characters she creates. There are no cardboard cutouts here, no surface characters lacking emotional layers. LaCapra takes the time to fully develop these characters on a page who end up feeling more like real-life friends. She gives them complex layers, repressed emotions, tangled back stories, and current challenges. She then skillfully - with humor, poignant emotion, sparkling banter, steamy chemistry, endearing qualities, personal reckoning, and the help of a few good friends - guides them to the best versions of themselves and to the love for which they've been waiting a lifetime. It's an immersive experience I never tire of and one I look forward to repeating with each new book. As with the earlier couples, I fell in love with Hurtheven and Hera, fell into their story with all of my emotions on display, and read their entire book in one day. 

The supporting cast in this book is vibrantly depicted, richly nuanced, and vitally important to the overall story. Scenes featuring Hurtheven and Hera with Ash and Alicia's children, in particular, are filled with laugh-out-loud humor, sigh-worthy emotion, and a looking glass view into the tender parts of our intrepid hero as well as the strength, courage, and fears of our heroine. Fans of the first two books will no doubt enjoy this look into the extended HEA of those couples. Those new to the series should be able to enjoy Her Duke at Midnight on its own, however, for a complete understanding of the strength - and history - of the friendship among the three dukes, plus the nuances of the various romantic relationships, I recommend reading the three stories in order. The first two are Her Duke at Daybreak (novella) and His Duchess at Eventide (full length novel). Click on the titles to read my reviews. 

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Have you read Wendy LaCapra?

Who are the fictional characters currently living in your mind?

What's the last book you read in one day?

One randomly chosen person posting a comment before 11:00 PM, April 3 will receive (from me) a Kindle set of the three books in the Mythic Dukes trilogy. 

Wendy LaCapra has generously offered a signed print copy of Her Duke at Midnight to one randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, April 3.


*U.S. only
*Must be 18