Thursday, May 30, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - Seasonal Habits of Husbands and Honeybees

Seasonal Habits of Husbands and Honeybees
by Emmaline Warden
A Genus of Gentlemen - Book 2
Publisher: Emmaline Warden LLC
Release Date: May 28, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Harrison Metcalf, the newly appointed Earl of Everly, has only ever been in love with Margaret Reedy, his uncle’s widow. When she marries another, and he is once again alone, he decides the cost of love is far too steep to hazard again. Alas, duty calls, and he is required to procure a wife and secure the line. He will fulfill his obligation, but he could never knowingly marry someone who requires love.

Phoebe Kent would happily trade beekeeping for the uncomfortable noise and the press of bodies the social season requires. But with her parents’ fear of spinsterhood, she knows marriage is a must. If only she could approach her inevitable union in the straightforward way one does a business deal.

With an agreement made, and a contract written, Harrison and Phee embark on the beneficial bargain that is to be their marriage. They never fathomed that nightly card games and pesky kittens would be a surefire path to flirting. Contract modifications are made as a touch becomes a kiss, and a kiss becomes a night, and the two settle into their new life as husband and wife. But can their burgeoning love prevail when it was never part of the plan?

PJ's Thoughts:

This is what I said in my review of Love and Other Perennial Habits, Emmaline Warden's debut novel, when it released in February of 2023: "This warm hug of a book should put debut author Emmaline Warden on the radar of romance readers everywhere. If I hadn't known it was written by a debut author I would have thought it the creation of a seasoned writer of many books. The characters are beautifully developed, the story flows, the humor is well balanced with emotional depth, and the romance is sigh worthy. I was fully immersed in the journey from beginning to end." The same can be said of the newly released second book in her A Genus of Gentlemen series, Seasonal Habits of Husbands and Honeybees. 

The slow-burn, marriage-of-convenience journey between Phee and Harrison is endearing, sigh worthy, and an absolute delight. I love the time, care, and attention to detail that Warden uses in portraying this couple. It becomes apparent rather quickly that Phee is neurodivergent (though in those days she would have just been "odd"), resulting in her being misunderstood and, in some cases, ridiculed by members of the ton. I love her. She's unfiltered and set on her path. She's also slowly blooming as she awakens to confusing feelings for a man who encourages her to be her true self and what that will mean for her life going forward. How Harrison treats her, eases her path, even when he's baffled by her, sets the tone for their emerging friendship and eventual romance, winning my heart in the process. 

Harrison, while highly sought by society mamas for their daughters, is carrying a fair amount of emotional baggage, baggage well hidden behind a carefully cultivated mask that only his best friend is privy to. He's committed to his marriage with Phee, if only as friends, but gradually, bit by bit, desire sneaks in, then feelings, then realization that only Phee - and a wee kitten - have the key to unlock that baggage that's been weighing him down. 

Honestly, the way these two tug at my heartstrings. Essentially, they save one another and I am here for it. I adore them, their journey, and the fact that the author keeps them true to themselves, especially Phee. The epilogue is laughter - and joy - inducing evidence of that. 

Emmaline Warden is quickly becoming one of my favorite historical romance authors. Her books really are like a warm hug, with complex characters, intriguing settings, humor, multi-layered storylines, slow-burn (open door) romance, and heartwarming, happy endings. I have my fingers crossed that Warden has at least one more book planned for this series. Harrison's best friend, Averndale needs his happily ever after and I am eager to tag along. 

Do you enjoy stories with atypical characters or settings?

Do you - or do you know someone - who keeps bees?

Have you read Emmaline Warden yet?

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, May 31 will receive a print copy of either Love and Other Perennial Habits or Seasonal Habits of Husbands and Honeybees (winner's choice).

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Review - - The Promise of Tomorrow

The Promise of Tomorrow
by Mary Ellen Taylor
Publisher: Montlake
Release Date: June 1, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

When Olympia leaves her small Virginia town, she doesn’t expect to look back, much less ever come home. But after a year on the road, her sister’s engagement pulls Olympia into everything she left behind: her family, her husband, and the grief she’s been trying to forget.

She’s determined to stay a few days, maybe a week—just enough time to visit gravestones and sign off on the divorce her husband, Spencer, asked for. But he’s reeling from their shared loss, as well as complications with his aging parents, leaving his heart just as fragile as Olympia’s. The more time they spend in each other’s orbit, the less sure they are they’ll be able to walk away for good.

As family secrets come to light and family bonds stretch to the breaking point, Olympia must decide where she’s going next and where she belongs. She’s used to coping with life’s complications alone, but maybe the best way to heal is together.

PJ's Thoughts:

So. Many. Feelings. When I pick up a Mary Ellen Taylor book I know I'm in for an emotional ride and The Promise of Tomorrow is no exception. She reels me in and keeps me hooked with relatable, flawed characters who engage my emotions, holding me at their mercy until their stories have been fully told, and storytelling skill that leaves me feeling like I'm right there with them, every step of the way.

No man - or woman - is an island and that is especially true in this book. There are many relationships skillfully interwoven throughout the book, all important in their own ways to the healing, forgiveness, and growth necessary for Olympia, Spencer, and others to move forward. I appreciate the fact that Taylor doesn't cut corners with any of them. Real life people don't change overnight and neither do her characters. They do, however, gradually evolve as a result of events in their lives, leading to a softening in some cases, strengthening in others, and the possibility of new beginnings in others.

I especially enjoyed the alternating chapters in this book told by Spencer and Olympia and the flashback social media posts detailing Olympia's personal journey of the previous year. They give the story a full scope of perspective, heightening the stakes and immersing me even more deeply into their evolution, individually and as a couple. I pulled so hard for these two. 

Lastly, Taylor is especially adept at creating settings for her stories. Whether you've visited Virginia or not, her descriptions bring Blacksburg and the surrounding area to life, making it easy to imagine hiking the mountain trails, exploring the dry lake beds, and hanging out at the best pizza place in town on a busy football weekend. 

If you enjoy multi-layered stories with complicated relationships, challenging circumstances, complex characters, and hard-won second chances, give this one a try. 

Content triggers: miscarriage, grief, Alzheimer's, cancer

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Review - - All's Fair in Love and War

All's Fair in Love and War: A Novel
by Virginia Heath
Miss Prentice's Protegees - Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: May 28, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

In the
first installment of a Regency romp of a series, a governess who believes in cultivating joy in her charges clashes with the children’s uncle who hired her, only to find herself falling in love.

When Harry Kincaid’s flighty older sister decides to join her husband on an Egyptian expedition, Harry, a former naval captain, is left in the lurch, minding her three unruly children and giant, mad dog. But Harry has a busy career at the Admiralty that requires all his attention, and he has no clue how to manage the little rascals or when his sister is coming back. In desperation, he goes to Miss Prentice’s School for Young Ladies prepared to pay whatever it takes to hire an emergency governess quick sharp to ensure everything in his formerly ordered house is run shipshape again.

Thanks to her miserable, strict upbringing, fledgling governess Georgie Rowe does not subscribe to the ethos that children should be seen and not heard. She believes childhood should be everything hers wasn’t—filled with laughter, adventure, and discovery. Thankfully, the three Pendleton children she has been tasked with looking after are already delightfully bohemian and instantly embrace her unconventional educational approach. Their staid, stickler-for-the-rules uncle, however, is another matter entirely.

Georgie and Harry continue to butt heads over their differences, but with time it seems that in this case, their attraction is undeniable—and all is indeed fair in love and war.

PJ's Thoughts:

I was thoroughly charmed by this first book in Virginia Heath's new historical romcom series. I love a slow-burn, adversaries-to-lovers, opposites-attract story. Throw in witty banter, high energy kids, a goofy lummox of a dog, and a couple perfectly matched - even if they are the last ones to figure that out - and I was more than eager to hitch a ride.

I love the balance of humor and emotion in Heath's books, facets that are on full display in this one. The characters are well developed, with complex layers, even the children. I enjoyed how the children are used to slowly unveil those layers, helping Harry and Georgie both begin to see that there is more to one another than first impressions may have indicated. I found myself laughing out loud many times during the story while also appreciating the depth of feelings that float to the surface, especially as the time nears for life-changing decisions to be made...and Harry makes a right mess of it.

As for the grand gesture? Well that elicited both laughter and tears (happy ones), a fitting conclusion for this couple, their extended family, and Georgie's best friend, who I hope we'll be seeing much more of in the next book of this series.

Friday, May 24, 2024

Winner - - The Heiress's Daughter


The randomly chosen winner

of a print copy of

The Heiress's Daughter by Anne Gracie is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Review - - A Gamble at Sunset

A Gamble at Sunset
by Vanessa Riley
Betting Against the Duke - Book 1
Publisher: Zebra Books
Release Date: May 21, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

When a duke discovers the woman he loves was tricked into marrying another, the master chess player makes the now-widowed Viscountess the highest-stakes wager of his life in a last-ditch effort to win her affection: he will find husbands for her two sisters—or depart forever. Thus begins a sparkling new series from acclaimed author Vanessa Riley.

Georgina Wilcox, a wallflower with hidden musical talents, is furious when her reclusive older sister—the recently widowed Viscountess—refuses sorely needed help from the Duke of Torrance, the only gentleman who has shown kindness to the bereft Wilcox sisters. Georgina decides to get back at her sister and shock the Viscountess by kissing the first willing stranger she meets in the enchanting gardens of Anya House. Unfortunately, her sister is not the sole witness. A group of reporters and the 
ton’s leading gossips catch Georgina in a passionate embrace with a reticent composer, Lord Mark Sebastian.

The third son of an influential marquis, the tongue-tied Mark is determined to keep the scandal from ruining Georgina’s reputation and his own prospects of winning the celebrated Harlbert’s Prize for music. Under the guise of private voice lessons, the two embark on a daring gamble to fool the 
ton into believing that their feigned courtship is honorable while bolstering Georgina’s singing genius to captivate potential suitors. Sexist cartoons, family rivalries, and an upcoming ball test the fake couple’s resolve. Will their sudden fiery collaboration—and growing attraction—prove there’s nothing false about a first kiss and scandalously irresistible temptation?

PJ's Thoughts:

I love fake engagements. I love complex families. And I love well-researched historical romances with secrets, betrayals, and unexpected turns. Riley uses all of these in the first book of her new trilogy, laying the groundwork for what I expect will be a compelling and deeply emotional payoff at the end. 

Riley breathes life into these characters and into the fabric of the city and times in which they live. She takes her time with the Wilcox sisters, with Mark, and especially with the Duke of Torrance, unfolding their stories slowly, with dips and turns, as we begin to understand what drives each of them. And, as we eventually come to learn, there are unexpected layers that will make their journeys all the more complex. I was fascinated by the fear, hope, desperation, and determination all roiling beneath the surface of these enigmatic characters. 

There's a lot of set up in this first book with attention given to each of the sisters as well as Mark and the duke. I'm okay with that. While I enjoyed Georgina's and Mark's slowly progressing romance, the real meat of this story is in the dynamics among the sisters and, especially, each of their relationships with the duke. There are so many layers to be explored and I am here for all of them.

While the storyline for Mark and Georgina is brought full circle in this first book, there are many more threads to be explored further in the next two books. I am already looking forward to Scarlett's journey in book two. This brilliant young woman with a scientific mind has already shown a propensity for pushing boundaries, uncovering secrets, and challenging the patriarchy. I'm eager to discover what Riley has in store for her. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Review - - Bayou Redemption

Bayou Redemption
by Susan Sands
Louisiana - Book 4
Publisher: Tule Publishing
Release Date: May 21, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

She wants to find Mr. Perfect, but first she needs to fine tune her own Ms. Perfect…

Skilled cardiac surgeon Elizabeth Keller is determined to turn over a new leaf. Not easy when you live and work in the same small town where you grew up and your family’s rocked by scandals. Plus there’s the painful fact everyone remembers your brilliant, beautiful, blonde mean girl adolescence. But Elizabeth doesn’t give up easily. Ask anyone including the new hot surgeon gunning for her job.

When Dr. Charlie Beaudoin arrives in Cypress Bayou, he’s relieved to put the past and New Orleans behind him. His new partner is as gorgeous as she is captivating, and definitely suspicious of his professional intentions. At first Charlie works to establish respect, trust and friendship with Elizabeth because he needs the job. But when a hurricane threatens the town and hospital, he and Elizabeth pull together to create a safety plan and soon the lines between professional and personal blur.

But when the skies clear and secrets and threats surround them, will their budding romance and fragile trust survive?

PJ's Thoughts:

I love a good redemption character arc but after reading the first two books in Susan Sands' Louisiana contemporary romance series, redemption is not a word I would have associated with cardiac surgeon, Dr. Elizabeth Keller. Far from it. But, in book three, Elizabeth began showing subtle clues that perhaps there was more to her than readers had thus far seen. Perhaps this was a character who actually was worthy of redemption. 

Bayou Redemption is Elizabeth's story and it's everything I could have wanted. There are no easy fixes for Elizabeth, especially in a small town where people have known her since birth and have long memories. For a true redemption to occur, I need to see accountability, remorse, growth, and a true desire to change. Sands gives all that and more in this character. By the end of the book, I was actively cheering for Elizabeth, a woman who I had once actively jeered. She won me over completely. Kudos to the author because earlier in the series that is something I would have told you could never happen. 

Woven among the threads of Elizabeth's redemption are family ties, mended friendships, workplace complications, a hurricane, a touch of mystery, and a new cardiac surgeon who just might hold the key to healing Elizabeth's wounded heart completely. I love the relationship that grows between Charlie and Elizabeth, beginning as adversaries (at least in Elizabeth's mind), then gradually allies, friends, and finally, partners of the heart. They both deserved a happily ever after and theirs was one I bought into hook, line, and sinker. 

If  you enjoy chaste, small-town romance with a vibrant community, fully-developed characters, complicated relationships, Southern charm, and heart-tugging, feel-good romance, give this book a try. It can stand on its own but for a complete understanding of the scope of Elizabeth's growth, plus the journeys of the characters with whom she has a long - and complicated - history, I recommend reading the four series books in order. I loved them all. They are, in order: Home to Cypress Bayou, Secrets in Cypress Bayou, A Bayou Christmas, and Bayou Redemption


Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Review - - The Prince's Bride

The Prince's Bride
by Charis Michaels
Hidden Royals - Book 2
Publisher: Avon
Release Date: May 21, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Lady Marianne “Ryan” Daventry was betrothed to an obscure French prince when she was just a baby. Years later, the young prince entered exile and was never heard from again. Lady Ryan considers the betrothal off; she can hardly marry a dead man. Now another French royal has inherited the princedom and he claims the old betrothal still stands—with himself as the bridegroom. Rather than fight the cruel new prince, Lady Ryan sets out to reveal him as an imposter. She needs only to locate the original lost prince and prove he’s still alive.

Prince Gabriel d’Orleans is still living, but he’s very difficult to find. He goes by the name of Gabriel Reign and lives in the forest, working as a horse trainer for wealthy clients. He’s hardly a pauper, but he’s also not a prince. His life in the woods conceals his true identity and keeps him safe—but also alone.

Using an old childhood letter as her only guide, Lady Ryan sets out for Savernake Forest to find the missing prince. When danger thrusts them together unexpectedly, Lady Ryan is shocked at his rustic life and his commitment to his new identity. More shocking is her fierce attraction to the rugged horseman. Meanwhile, Gabriel never planned to be discovered and he certainly never planned on falling in love. But passion has a way of upending the most careful of plans, and even the strictest boundaries are no match for a love story that is meant to be.

PJ's Thoughts:

I had a hard time putting this one down. Charis Michaels kicks things off with a bang (actually, it's a scream) that throws Gabriel and Ryan together and into an inevitable journey that held me spellbound from start to finish. 

There's so much to love about this book, beginning - and ending - with Gabriel and Ryan. He's a loner (for good reasons), rarely leaving the safety of the forest. She's determined to drag him into the open. He lives in a cave. There's only one bed. And a waterfall. She'll do whatever it takes to save her family. He only wants her gone. But he also wants her. It's a no-win situation. Or, is it?

I loved the chemistry between these two but more so the tenderness that grows as they begin to know one another as adults. Gabriel is such a complex, decent man, sweet and innocent in some ways while strong and determined in others. He has, after all, been living a reclusive life for many years. Ryan, a strong, competent woman who has always put others first, is fierce in her determination to save her family but will she do so at the expense of this man who has been through so much already? The deep conversations between them are heart-tugging. The care that develops - on both sides - seems inevitable and only makes their journey more compelling and endearing. The love and assistance that comes from unexpected sources fills their lives with laughter, hope, and the long-awaited joy of reunion. And the final scene encompasses all of my swoony, big girl, fairytale dreams.  

I'm not sure I've ever read a story quite like this before. It's fresh, fun, heartwarming, romantic, deeply emotional, and checked all of my happy reader buttons. Fans of book one in the series, Say Yes to the Princess, should enjoy seeing Elise (Gabriel's sister), Killian, and their growing family while readers new to the series should have no trouble beginning with The Prince's Bride, if that's their preference. I, however, am glad I read the books in order and am already looking forward to discovering what happened to their youngest sister in book three. 

Monday, May 20, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - The Heiress's Daughter

The Heiress's Daughter
by Anne Gracie
The Brides of Bellaire Gardens - Book 3
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 21, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Heiress Clarissa Studley yearns to be loved for more than her fortune. Warmhearted, but plain and shy, she wishes to marry, but has two firm rules: no rakes and no fortune-hunters — her father was both, and she’ll never forget the misery he caused.

So, when Race, Lord Randall, starts to pay Clarissa attention, she knows she must keep him at a distance. Attractive and charming he might be, Race’s reputation precedes him and she’s observed first hand his flirtatious ways with London society beauties. But Race sees a beauty in Clarissa that others cannot, and for the first time in his life, he is truly in love. And when a rival for Clarissa's affections appears — a handsome, wounded war hero, heir to his great-aunt’s fortune — Race becomes desperate as Clarissa seems tempted to make a safer, tamer choice.
Can Race convince Clarissa that his love is true and that she can trust him with her heart? And can Clarissa put aside her unhappy past, and follow her heart, despite the risk of loving a rake?

PJ's Thoughts:

One of the things I most enjoy about Anne Gracie's books is the relationships, especially the families formed. Whether biological, by marriage, or chosen, her family units are treasures that leave me sighing with delight and eager for return visits. In The Heiress's Daughter, we're treated to all three within the lush, private area of Bellaire Gardens. 

Of course, comprising those family units are Gracie's characters and developing those characters is another of her many skills. I love the time and care she takes to bring them to life, giving them layers and intricacies that make them feel so very real. Clarissa and Race (who are first introduced in book two of this series, The Rake's Daughter) are excellent examples of that. How could I not love both of them, and especially love them together? If Clarissa's back story did not tug at my heart, I would have no heart. What that woman was put through by someone who should have loved, encouraged, and supported her. To become the kind, generous, loyal woman she is in spite of the treatment she received is testament to the special person she is, one worthy of the great love she feels is beyond her reach.

And then there's Race: handsome, flirtatious, liaisons scattered in his wake, and not a fortune hunter. In other words, a rake, just as Clarissa's father had been. But, is he really? There are so many hidden layers to this character and I'm here for all of them. He falls first. He falls hard. And he's willing to put in the work to convince Clarissa of his genuine feelings for her, which is not easy. It's safe to say I fell just as hard for him as Clarissa eventually does. I love his kindness, his humor, and his steadfast determination to bring Clarissa to the point where she sees - and believes - the beauty that makes her precious to him. Did I mention how much I adore this guy? 

If you enjoy character-driven stories with plenty of humor, feel-good emotion, family dynamics, and happy endings, look no further than Anne Gracie's The Heiress's Daughter. It's an absolute delight. 

This book stands well on its own but I enjoyed it much more for having read books one, The Scoundrel's Daughter and two, The Rake's Daughter first. Reading book two gave me a much better understanding of Clarissa, her back story, and her relationship with her sister (heroine of book two) while reading book one allowed me to better enjoy the characters from that book as well as the events in their lives that play out in The Heiress's Daughter. For more information about books one and two, click on the titles to read my reviews. 

Have you read Anne Gracie?

Do you have a favorite book or series by her?

Have you ever lived in or visited a group of homes with an internal shared garden?

Clarissa has a fondness for roses and even makes creams and rinses using them. Do you garden? What are your favorite flowers to grow or simply enjoy?

One randomly chosen person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, May 22 will receive a print copy of The Heiress's Daughter.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18

Sunday, May 19, 2024

Winner - - Tomorrow is for the Brave


The randomly chosen winner of

a print copy of

Tomorrow is for the Brave by Kelly Bowen is:

Diane Sallans


Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Winner - - Mistakes We Never Made


The randomly chosen winner

of a print copy of

Mistakes We Never Made by Hannah Brown is:

Jami Birnbaum


Please send your full name and mailing address to

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Winner - - Three Little Wishes


The randomly chosen winner

of a print copy of

Three Little Wishes by Debbie Mason is:



Please send your full name and mailing address to:

theromancedish (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, May 17, 2024

Review - - Random in Death

Random in Death
by J.D. Robb
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release Date: January 23, 2024
Reviewed by Nancy

Jenna’s parents had finally given in, and there she was, at a New York club with her best friends, watching the legendary band Avenue A, carrying her demo in hopes of slipping it to the guitarist, Jake Kincade. Then, from the stage, Jake catches her eye, and smiles. It’s the best night of her life.

It’s the last night of her life.

Minutes later, Jake’s in the alley getting some fresh air, and the girl from the dance floor comes stumbling out, sick and confused and deathly pale. He tries to help, but it’s no use. He doesn’t know that someone in the crowd has jabbed her with a needle—and when his girlfriend Nadine arrives, she knows the only thing left to do for the girl is call her friend, Lieutenant Eve Dallas.

After everyone on the scene is interviewed, lab results show a toxic mix of substances in the victim’s body—and for an extra touch of viciousness, the needle was teeming with infectious agents. Dallas searches for a pattern: Had any boys been harassing Jenna? Was she engaging in risky behavior or caught up in something shady? But there are no obvious clues why this levelheaded sixteen-year-old, passionate about her music, would be targeted.

And that worries Dallas. Because if Jenna wasn’t targeted, if she was just the random, unlucky victim of a madman consumed by hatred, there are likely more deaths to come.

Nancy’s Thoughts:

Few series reach fifty-eight books. Most run out of steam well before then, and the last few often seem pale retreads of the earlier ones. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with Random in Death. The plot is tight and twisty, and we learn new things about familiar characters.

As you can see from the blurb, Eve Dallas’s friend Nadine Furst and her lover, Jake Kincaid, play prominent roles in this story. Regular readers have often seen Nadine step to the fore, but this is the first extended look at Jake and at the two of them as a couple. Jake may be astoundingly famous, but he’s a decent guy, the kind fans would hope Nadine would fall for. He and Avenue A offer their help at every step of the investigation. At the end, they offer something priceless, which I won’t spoil, to Jenna’s family. 

The murder appears to be random, with Jenna crossing the killer’s path at the wrong time. But is it? Aware that a random killing is among the hardest to solve, Eve and her team search doggedly for an explanation of why Jenna and why now. Before they find the answers, the killer makes a mistake that gives them a lead.

Many of the elements of the story are standard police procedural components. Where did the murder weapon come from? Who had access to the components? Did the killer know the victims? If not, did they fit a type? What keeps the story in Random in Death fresh is the array of characters. Robb gives each victim a family different from the others, uniting them grief or anger for their daughters.

Along the way, other familiar characters play their roles. We learn what Jamie Lingstrom is doing. He’s a tech genius who wants, much to Roarke’s frustration, to become a cop rather than work in the much more lucrative private sector for Roarke or someone like him. Jamie teams up with Quilla, a clever, independent teenager who first appears in Concealed in Death. They play an important role in the investigation.

There are also updates on the joint building project of Peabody and McNabb and on Mavis and her family. Dr. Louise DiMatto and former licensed companion Charles Monroe contribute to the hunt, as do Dr. Charlotte Mira, Eve’s homicide cops, and the forensics team at Cop Central. We see these characters frequently, the scenes with Nadine and Jake offer a new, interesting element. Nadine has had relationships before, but this one seems different. And, of course, there’s Roarke, who has evolved in the series into Eve’s very effective partner in crimefighting as well as in life. Overall, though, I think the continuing appeal of this series is Robb’s ability to keep the plot fresh without letting it get scattered and to add a bit here and there to the characters readers already know and like.

Random in Death can stand alone, but readers who start with this book will miss Eve’s evolution from a loner to someone with an extensive found family and the gradual growth of her relationship with Roarke that eventually forged them into a unit. Given the tight plot, great pace, and beautiful character bits, I rate this book as five stars, highly recommended.