#BookReview: Not The Romantic Kind by Nicola Marsh

Solid Tomboy Romance. And because it *is* a romance… yes, a wedding is mentioned late in the book, and because this is set in Australia it is a “spring” wedding… in October. Which feels weird to this reader who has never been South of the Equator – nor even within 1,000 miles of it. ๐Ÿ˜€ Otherwise a fun take on the tomboy / enemies to lovers idea where he is a corporate tycoon out to build mansions on the property that meant so much to her as a kid but which her mother recently sold off. This is something I personally identified with a bit, having grown up with a small 3 acre lake outside of Atlanta being owned by my grandfather’s family before my mother’s cousins sold it off in my early 20s after both my grandfather and his twin brother died. So seeing Gemma be able to fight to save any piece of “her spot” was pretty awesome for me. Overall a fun book and on the quick/ short side at right around 200 pages, this one is a solid introduction to Marsh’s romance books for those who are new to her while also being a satisfying one for long time fans. Very much recommended.

This review of Not The Romantic Kind by Nicola Marsh was originally written on January 14, 2022.

Featured New Release Of The Week: Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M Lane

This week we’re looking at a visceral and harrowing fictionalized version of a real-world WWII event that even with my intense fascination with that period, I’d never heard of before reading this book. This week we’re looking at Under A Sky Of Memories by Soraya M. Lane.

Visceral, Harrowing, And Heartbreaking. Yet again Lane manages to take an event out of WWII, fictionalize a story into it, and show just how real and relatable it must have been to have been the real people involved here. The motivations for our three primary women here are distinct but relatable, and their journeys through the tale are seemingly all too real – so many times, you’re going to find yourself dreading that the worst is about to happen. In the end, you will likely shed tears of both happiness and heartbreak – and particularly when joined with the resources in the Author’s Note, you’ll likely learn a few things too. As in, despite both mine and my father’s life long “obsession” with WWII (in his case due to how it shaped his father and in mine due to how it shaped *both* of my grandfathers in dramatically different ways), even I had never heard of this particular event that Lane bases the story around here. Once again a very fine piece of researched fiction from Lane, and very much recommended.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The True Cowboy Of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates

For this final entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at another Maisey Yates story that is steamy.. and yet somehow also very introspective and contemplative. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The True Cowboy of Sunset Ridge by Maisey Yates.

Contemplative Steamy Romance. Wait. How can a romance novel that effectively starts off with a sex scene be contemplative? Well, you’re gonna have to trust me here… and then read the book for yourself to verify. ๐Ÿ˜€ Yes, there is hot and heavy sex here, even pretty well hate sex. So the sweet/ clean crowd… eh, maybe not for y’all. But this book also features quite a bit of solid introspection, and indeed it is this part of the book that is a refreshing change of pace to so many in the genre. At nearly double the length (380 ish pages vs 220 ish pages) of Yates’ other soon-to-release romance from Harlequin (Rancher’s Forgotten Rival, Jan 25), there is quite a bit more here, and much of it is more in the extended introspection and angst than anything else. (There are also a few more plot complications, including a fairly significant one. But really this book is about both of our leads figuring out how to clear their own heads enough to see what is right in front of them.) Excellent romance with a fair amount of cowboy to it, and a refreshing change of pace within the genre. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#BookReview: The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke

Compelling Conclusion. This is an excellent conclusion to the short novel/ novella trilogy of Heirloom Island, where all three sisters play prominent roles in each book yet with each book focusing primarily on one of the three in particular. Because it is such a great conclusion, I have to make the rare recommendation of actually starting with Book 1 of this series, The Boardwalk House, and reading through the entire trilogy – which is still shorter than some single books out there. And when you do that, you’ll be glad you had the entire trilogy at hand at one time. ๐Ÿ˜€ Very much recommended.

This review of The Abbey House by Elizabeth Bromke was originally written on January 5, 2022.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates

For this penultimate day of the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a solid series starter romance that manages to combine the comedy of Overboard with the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. For this blog tour we’re looking at Rancher’s Forgotten Rival by Maisey Yates.

Overboard x Hatfields and McCoys. This tale is essentially a ranching version of a combination of Overboard (take your pick on the 1980s version or the 2010s version) and the saga of the Hatfields and McCoys. Throw in two people dedicated to their families yet who have always wanted each other despite their families… and you get some pretty intense hate sex and a romance that Shakespeare could never be bothered with. (Yes, some might try to go the Romeo and Juliet route in their comparisons, but those were immature teenagers with a remarkably high body count. Here, our leads are more established – late 20s/ early 30s ish – and more importantly *don’t get anyone killed*.) As a series starter, it works in establishing that our male lead has several brothers and our female lead has a sister… who may be interested in one of said brothers. Overall a solid romance that elevates its basic elements into a more mature – and arguably more enjoyable for it – tale where people actually try to do the right thing, even when it may cost them everything. Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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Featured New Release Of The Week: Sapphires Are A Guy’s Best Friend by Nicola Marsh

This week we’re looking at a romance tale that manages to tell three separate second chance stories all in one excellent tale that combines second chance romance with the world of high fashion. This week we’re looking at Sapphires Are A Guy’s Best Friend by Nicola Marsh.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

Fun Merger Of Haute Couture. Jewelry, and Second Chance Romance. This is a really fun and fairly short (barely 200 pages) look at the glitzy and glamorous world of high end fashion… which Marsh then wraps a solid second chance – in more ways than one – romance into. Solidly written such that both the business and the personal are given their fair due and are equally compelling, this is *not* one for the “clean”/ “sweet” crowd. But for those that appreciate a good amount of steam – maybe not enough for a sauna, but easily enough to set off a smoke alarm… you’re gonna like this one. Very much recommended.

#TwelveDaysOfChristmasRomance #BlogTour: Falling For The Baldasseri Prince by Rebecca Winters

For this next entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a solid and short tale with a possibly questionable ending that you should absolutely read and decide for yourself about. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Falling For The Baldasseri Prince by Rebecca Winters.

Solid, Short, Semi-Questionable Ending. This is a fairly standard-ish modern royal romance ala a cross between Hallmark and Princess Diaries. And along that vein, it works quite well and particularly given its short-ish (18o ish page) length, manages to pack quite a bit of story into this tale. My biggest question is whether or not the author put too much sex in the tale – even if in just about the most chaste way possible – for it to truly qualify as a “clean romance”. Beyond that particular point though, truly a well told story with arguably extraneous ending material. But even with these last two points… read it for yourself and decide for yourself. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The Shoe Diaries by Darby Baham

For this entry in the Twelve Days Of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a tale that is, at its core, essentially a Black Sex And The City. For this blot tour, we’re looking at The Shoe Diaries by debut author Darby Baham.

Essentially A Black Sex And The City. This story is essentially Sex And The City, but replacing the mostly white cast with a mostly black one and replacing the “city” in question with DC. Same shoe fetish (though possibly amplified here?), used remarkably well as a plot device in this particular case. Same big oops moment with a former flame early on, only for the book to ultimately become a second chance romance later – with an interesting interlude in between. Minor discussions of the HBCU life and the central character wanting to be much more radical as a professional journalist than the “stodgy old white men” are allowing her to be, but at least here said “old white dudes” aren’t thinly veiled racist caricatures, as so many similar novels from less talented authors have done. (The desire to be more radical is more central than the HBCU mentions, to be clear.) Overall a strong tale that will clearly play well with a couple of demographics in particular, but may not be something that will play as well in a more general audience. Still, excellent book and very much recommended.

(Also, I should note that I’ve never watched a single full episode of anything in the Sex And The City franchise and only know the *general* plot from it being in the zeitgeist so much.)

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

For this entry in the Twelve Days of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a grounded yet funny fake marriage romance… during a traditional Indian wedding week! For this blog tour entry, we’re looking at The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff.

Solid Second Chance Romance. This is one of those second chance / forced proximity / fake dating types of romance tales, all combined during a five day traditional Indian wedding celebration. The angst between the two leads is palpable, and their own individual motivations are solidly grounded. The Indian family interventions – and ensuing irritating (for the characters) hilarity (for the readers) hijinx – are well done, and Shroff does well to explain the various ceremonies reasonably well in-story so that those not familiar with them can follow along and not get lost in the story, yet not so much that it becomes an academic treatise on each ceremony. Overall a fun, funny, and short-ish (220 ish page) romance that gives a solid break from reality for many, and really… isn’t that most of what we expect a book to do? Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
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#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Her Hometown Hero by Jacquelin Thomas

For this next entry in the Twelve Days of Romance blog tour series we’re looking at a romance tale that still provides a solidly realistic look at the lives of combat veterans – and specifically, Marines – as they come back from our modern wars broken in more ways than one. For this blog tour, we’re looking at Her Hometown Hero by Jacquelin Thomas.

Solidly Realistic Jarhead Romance. This is a very grounded, very realistic romance novel featuring two 30s ish adults who grew up together before traveling different paths in their 20s, only to wind up back in their hometown. Both backstories are very grounded with the issues they portray (even as the author combines the location name of the Carolina Panthers with the team name of the New England Patriots to create her in-world NFL team ๐Ÿ˜‰ ), and the author treats both tragic backstories with the respect and care they are due. And manages to create a much more realistic romance novel because of it. This one is more for the clean/ sweet crowd, though there are a couple of things here that may have at least some in that crowd “needing the vapors” (including the female lead staying overnight at the male lead’s house – though sleeping in separate bedrooms, in keeping with the “clean” mandate). Excellent story of finding romance even after major loss and tragedy, and very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt from the book followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: Her Hometown Hero by Jacquelin Thomas”