Review | The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery

The last thing Reggie Sommerville wants is to come back home for Christmas. It’s only been a year and a half since her boyfriend, Jake, proposed and then broke up with her, all in one weekend, and the prospect of facing the entire town is humiliating. But when her parents reveal that they’re renewing their vows in the lavish wedding they always wanted and her mother asks her to be a bridesmaid, Reggie knows she can’t say no. No matter how much she wants to. She expected the town would be gossiping about her relationship with Jake, but she never expected to run into Toby, her first love that broke her heart all those years ago, living in town and raising his son. She always thought things between them were long over…but this Christmas is full of surprises.

Dena Sommerville has only ever wanted one thing: to have a child. But motherhood has been alluding her because she never met the right man…until she took the bull by the horns and decided to have a baby as a single mom. She knew it would be difficult and the morning sickness alone is knocking her down for the count, but she’s determined to do this on her own. So when a handsome musician checks into the inn where she works, Dena is surprised when a friendship develops. He has his own issues to work through—that much is clear. But she can’t deny there’s something between them

This Christmas, guilted into being bridesmaids at their parents’ vow renewal ceremony, Reggie and Dena Sommerville just might find the most unexpected gift of all—love.

Buy Links | BookShop.org | Harlequin  | Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Powell’s

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was definitely ready to pick up a book to get me in the Christmas spirit and this one absolutely fit the bill. I loved the small town setting that Mallery created for this series, it felt like a place I would love to visit and enjoy. I was a little worried with dual romances happening that one would far overshadow the other but I was pleasantly surprised at the balance between the two and how the stories wove together. Each relationship had real issues and believable scenes and just felt very organic. I also really enjoyed the characters themselves and how they balanced off of each other, there were unique personalities with depth, especially with the sisters. All in all a great holiday book to kick off the season.

Susan Mallery is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.

Social Links | Author Website | Twitter: @SusanMallery | Facebook: @SusanMallery |
Instagram: @susanmallery | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | Just For the Holidays by Adriana Herrera | Review

She’s snowed in at Christmas…

with a man she must resist!

Casting director Perla Sambrano knows Gael Montez is the perfect actor for her new film project. As long as she forgets his oh-so-tempting allure and keeps her heart out of it. Because their chemistry’s no act and she needs to be careful…

The Montez men hurt the women they love. Or so Gael believes. Keeping things professional with Perla is the only way to protect her. Until a snowstorm strands them together, leading to an unplanned Christmas fling that lands them both on the naughty list!

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Buy Just for the Holidays… by Adriana Herrera | Harlequin.com

Rating: 5 out of 5.

After getting to read the first book in this series, I knew I wanted to pick up the next book. I really enjoy Herrera’s writing style as it gives a great flow and pace and makes these short, enjoyable reads. This book does have a good number of cliches and tropes, but the core of the story is a second chance romance, which I felt was done well. The setting definitely made the story cozy and sweet and I really enjoyed how the characters interacted and how their relationship progressed. I will definitely be continuing this series as well as more of Herrera’s books.

Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings. 

Connect with the Author | Website | Facebook | TwitterInstagram

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Blog Tour | A Delicious Dilemma by Sera Taino | Review

Different worlds collide in Sera Taino’s debut novel.

It’s hard to remain enemies when you’ve broken bread together

Val Navarro’s first mistake: going out dancing after a bad breakup when the chef should be focused on her family business. Her second mistake? Thinking the handsome, sensitive stranger she meets could be more than a rebound – until she discovers he’s Philip Wagner of Wagner Developments. His father’s company could shut down her Puerto Rican restaurant and unravel her tight-knit neighborhood. When Philip takes over negotiations, Val wants to believe he has good intentions. But is following her heart a recipe for disaster?

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Buy A Delicious Dilemma by Sera Taino | Harlequin.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’ve been really enjoying the titles I’ve read from Harlequin Special Edition lately and this one was no exception. It was a great example of an enemies to lovers that was done exceptionally well. I especially liked that Philip chose to be honest about who he was rather than lie about it.

If you like books that include food, then you should pick up this one. I loved the Val’s restaurant and the talk about food throughout the book. I felt like all the characters were really well rounded as well, with actual personalities and unique traits that make them stand apart.

I really enjoyed this book even though there were some moments where the pace was inconsistent, the relationships and story made up for those moments and pushed the story on.

Debut romance author Sera Taíno has been selected for Harlequin’s Romance Includes You Mentorship, an initiative launched in 2019 to reach out to diverse communities of writers and bring more own voices stories to romance readers. Her unpublished, #ownvoices novel, Incomparable, will be published with Harlequin Special Edition in 2021 as part of the mentorship initiative. When she is not writing, she can usually be found teaching, traveling, or wrangling her family.

Connect with the Author | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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Blog Tour | Twelve Dates of Christmas by Laurel Greer | Review

Can two rivals create mistletoe magic?

When a local wilderness lodge almost cancels its Twelve Days of Christmas festival, Emma Halloran leaps at the chance to convince the owners of her vision for the business. But Luke Emerson has his own plans—to keep the lodge in the family and protect his grandfather’s legacy. As they work together, Luke and Emma are increasingly drawn to each other. Can these utter opposites unite over their shared passion this Christmas?

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Twelve Dates of Christmas by Laurel Greer | Harlequin.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a Christmas romance to get you in the holiday mood, this one definitely fits the bill. I loved the hate to love relationship, from their banter to their actual relationship and how they worked together. They both had their own goals, but it was great to see them come together.

I also really loved the setting and fell in love with the location created. I definitely see myself going back and reading the rest of the series. Thankfully this one can be read as a stand-alone without having read the other books.

Overall it was a super cute romance that was well paced and easy to devour in a single setting. It also is perfect to put you in the holiday mood!

Born and raised in a small Vancouver Island town, Laurel picked up her pen to write Julie Garwood fan-fiction during junior high English class. She hasn’t put it down since. Ever committed to the proper placement of the Canadian “eh,” she loves to write books with snapping sexual tension and second chances. She lives outside Vancouver with her law-talking husband and two daughters. At least half her diet is made up of tea. Find her at www.laurelgreer.com.

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Blog Tour | Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell | Review

In this sexy, sophisticated romantic comedy, two women juggle romance and career across continents.

Charlotte Hilaire has a love-hate relationship with her work as a museum courier. On the one hand, it takes her around the world. On the other, her plan to become a professor is veering dangerously off track.

Yet once in a while, maybe every third trip or so, the job goes delightfully sideways…

When a blizzard strands Charlotte in Spain for a few extra days and she’s left with glorious free time on her hands, the only question is: Dare she invite her grad school crush for an after-dinner drink on a snowy night?

Accomplished, take-no-prisoners art historian Adrianna Coates has built an enviable career since Charlotte saw her last. She’s brilliant. Sophisticated. Impressive as hell and strikingly beautiful.

Hospitable, too, as she absolutely insists Charlotte spend the night on her pullout sofa as the storm rages on.

One night becomes three and three nights become a hot and adventurous long-distance relationship when Charlotte returns to the States. But when Adrianna plots her next career move just as Charlotte finally opens a door in academia, distance may not be the only thing that keeps them apart.

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Buy Meet Me in Madrid by Verity Lowell

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really wanted to love this book as the premise really intrigued me, but it didn’t quite get there for me. It was definitely enjoyable and a super cute romance with a lot of steam, but the pacing in some places was very slow.

I did really enjoy the characters in relation to their occupations and reasons for being in Spain, this felt very well researched (or just being knowledgeable in the subject) and gave a new dimension to the characters outside of the romance. Their romance was a tad instalove, but in this instance that was understandable since they had known each other before this book takes place.

All in all it was an enjoyable read, but there were spots where I struggled a little bit to get through it. It was a cute story and the romance was fun in the end.

Verity Lowell is a professor and occasional curator who writes queer of color romance. She likes imagining and describing a world where art, ambition, and history provide the background for diverse and steamy love stories, mostly about women falling hard for women. She and her partner and their cats live in New England and sometimes elsewhere.

Find Verity Lowell Online | Website | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | Secrets of a One Night Stand by Naima Simone | Review

She said yes to one night with a stranger… Now she’s pregnant and that stranger is her boss! Only in this Billionaires of Boston romance from USA TODAY bestselling author Naima Simone.

She told herself it was one night. Nothing more.

But her heart knew the truth…

Finding out her previous one-night fling is her new boss is the shock of Mycah Hill’s lifetime. She can’t say no to being VP for software CEO Achilles Farrell—she’s finally made her career dream come true. But knowing he’s so close… It’s only a matter of time before she’s back in his arms. It can’t end well. Achilles’s tortured family history means he’s not up for sticking around long-term. But Mycah’s surprise pregnancy is about to change everything…

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Buy Secrets of a One Night Stand by Naima SimoneHarlequin.com

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I’m fairly new to Naima Simone’s writing, having only read one other book by her so far, but I’m thoroughly enjoying her writing. The way she crafts and describes her characters no only gives you a full image of them in your mind, but it makes you feel emotionally for them as well. As a pair I really enjoyed Mycah and Achilles – both of them have their own struggles independently but also some struggles that they have to work through together. There are a fair number of tropes in this one but not to the point that I minded them. I don’t always like those that use surprise baby situations, but I felt this one was both realistic and understandable. Overall I really enjoyed their story and liked the experience of their relationship.

USA Today Bestselling author Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Nora Roberts years ago. Well not that many. She is only eighteen…ish. Published since 2009, she spends her days writing sizzling romances with heart, a touch of humor and snark. 

She is wife to Superman–or his non-Kryptonian equivalent–and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They live in perfect, sometimes domestically-challenged bliss in the southern US.

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Blog Tour | A Brambleberry Summer by RaeAnne Thayne | Review

A new season leads to a new beginning in New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne’s latest heartwarming romance!

Will the secrets of her past…

Prevent her from having the future she’s always wanted?

Rosa Galvez’s attraction to Officer Wyatt Townsend is as powerful as the moon’s pull on the tides. But with her past, Rosa knows better than to act on her feelings. When Wyatt and his adorable son become Brambleberry House’s newest tenants, Rosa finds her resolve slipping. Her solo life slowly becomes a sun-filled family adventure—until dark secrets threaten to break like a summer storm.

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Buy Links | Harlequin.com | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy read for the summer this is definitely a good one. It’s very much a low angst story and is really light and heartwarming. There are certainly some moments of tension, but nothing that is extreme. I really liked the relationship between Rosa and Wyatt, but also the one between Rosa and Wyatt’s son. I also love that it was set in Oregon, as it’s a beautiful state, so it’s pretty much an auto buy location for me. Thayne’s writing in this book was light and refreshing and made this story a perfect summer read.

New York Times bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including six RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and Career Achievement and Romance Pioneer awards from RT Book Reviews. She loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at www.raeannethayne.com.

Connect with the Author | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | Redemption on Rivers Ranch by Kathy Douglass

The return of his childhood friend

leads to the fresh start he never expected

Horse rancher Carson Rivers has his own emotional demons. There’s no place in his life for a divorced single mom pulling at his heartstrings. But when Gabriella Tucker and her adorable children move next door—the place of her favorite childhood memories—Carson’s tempted to help the heart-guarded beauty make more adult memories. Maybe Gabriella and her kids are the healing balm he’s been yearning for…

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Buy Links | Harlequin.com | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this sweet friends to lovers romance. Sometimes it can be hard when a romance includes kids, but I felt the inclusion of Gabriella’s kids and how Carson interacted with them was really well done. The writing style was easy to read and made this a quick and fun read. Though the steam level is relatively low it was still a great story. The characters and their emotional baggage was really well written and their actions were believable as they moved from friends to lovers.

Kathy Douglass came by her love of reading naturally – both of her parents were readers. She would finish one book and pick up another. Then she attended law school and traded romances for legal opinions.

After the birth of her two children, her love of reading turned into a love of writing. Kathy now spends her days writing the small town contemporary novels she enjoys reading.

Kathy loves to hear from her readers and can be found on Facebook.

Connect with the Author | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Bookbub | Goodreads

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Blog Tour | One Week to Claim it All by Adriana Herrera | Review

She’ll inherit an empire…but only if she can resist her ex—in this Sambrano Studios novel by Adriana Herrera.

She’s on track to be the new CEO.

Her ex is the only one standing in the way.

When Esmeralda Sambrano-Peña unexpectedly inherits her father’s media empire, it ruffles more than a few feathers. And no one is more conflicted about it than Rodrigo Almanzar. Esmeralda knows her father’s longtime protégé—and her ex-lover—wants the executive job for himself. Making matters worse, their renewed passion grows undeniable with every late-night meeting. Will Rodrigo prove to be the perfect partner in business and pleasure…or her professional undoing?

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Buy Links | Harlequin.com | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This one definitely sounded fun when I heard about it, so I had to pick it up. I loved the way it was written and the characters that were introduced. It really felt like it was a telenovela and was such a quick and entertaining read. I really loved Herrera’s writing style and felt that she pretty perfectly crafted the hate to love elements, which can often be hard to do well. I was not expecting the number of twists or drama that this included, but pretty much enjoyed every moment of reading it!

I’m also excited to share and excerpt of this book with everyone –

Esme’s chest fluttered with an ember of hope and longing at her mother’s words. Ivelisse was right, she’d been killing herself for the past five years—trying and failing to get her projects off the ground, but she could not get a break. Because her ideas weren’t “commercial” enough, or relatable to the “mainstream” audience. She was tired of getting doors shut in her face because she refused to compromise. As head of Sambrano Studios she could make her dream come to life. Put shows out there that reflected all the faces of Latinx culture.

If she wasn’t pushed out by Carmelina first.

“Mami, that woman is never going to let me stay. And I don’t want to sink to her level.” Ivelisse had been a wonderful mother, gentle and kind, but she was a fighter when it counted, and the mention of her old foe lit a fire behind her eyes.

“Carmelina won’t know how to fight you, baby. That woman has never done a day of work in her life. When you go in there—smart, competent, full of fresh ideas—that board won’t know what hit them.” That ember was now a tiny flame fueled by the faith Esme’s mother had in her. Still, she’d learned the hard way not to trust anything that came from her father.

“But won’t the board have someone picked out already? Someone that doesn’t come with the drama that I will certainly cause?”

Her mother averted her eyes at her question and that gave Esme pause. “Mami?” she asked wearily as she scanned the paper in her hands again, looking for whatever her mother wasn’t saying. And when she got to the very last paragraph she understood. Her body flashed hot and cold, just from reading that name. There in black and white was the last push she needed to jump right into an ocean of bad decisions.

“Him?” she asked tersely, and from the corner of her eye she saw her mother flinch.

Rodrigo Almanzar, her father’s protégé and the person who for years had been the only tie she had to Patricio. The man she’d given her heart and her body to only to have him betray her when she needed him most. The man whose very name could still make her ache with longing and tremble with fury. How could it still hurt so much after all this time?

She felt tired. Tired of this damn thing hanging over her head. Tired of all the complicated feelings she had about everything having to do with Sambrano Studios. Especially when it came to the tall, brawny, arrogant bastard who was probably hoping she’d do the very thing she’d been considering. Let her pride and her baggage make her decision for her.

And she might have, if he wasn’t the one who’d end up as president and CEO. She wouldn’t do it out of greed, or even to appease her mother, but she would do it out of spite. Rodrigo had betrayed her just so he could continue as her father’s lapdog. Now she’d take the thing he’d sold his soul for…just when he thought he finally had it.

“Actually,” she said, standing up, already feeling the fire in her gut that usually preceded her doing ill-advised things. “You’re right.” The four women in her living room were all looking at her with varying degrees of anticipation. “I’ve been saying for years that if given the chance to shoot my shot I wouldn’t hesitate to take it. This isn’t exactly how I’d hoped to get it, but now that I do, I’m not wasting it. Tomorrow, Sambrano will get its new president and CEO.”

Her mother eyed Esme with suspicion, probably guessing what had been the deciding factor for her change of heart, while her aunt Yocasta crowed with delight, “Ay, Ivelisse, what I wouldn’t give to see the look on Carmelina’s face when Esme walks into that boardroom tomorrow.”

Esme smiled wryly at her aunt, but her mind was already racing toward the other shocked face she was looking forward to seeing.

Adriana Herrera was born and raised in the Caribbean, but for the last 15 years has let her job (and her spouse) take her all over the world. She loves writing stories about people who look and sound like her people, getting unapologetic happy endings.

Connect with the Author | Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Bookbub

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Blog Tour | What Happens in Miami by Nadine Gonzalez | Review

When a man on a mission is derailed by a beautiful woman, will one night ever be enough? Find out in this Miami Famous novel from Nadine Gonzalez.

Will one night be his undoing?

Alessandro Cardenas isn’t stepping out on the Miami art scene only for the hottest parties. Someone is forging his late grandfather’s paintings—and he’s determined to uncover the culprit. But when he crosses paths with gallerist Angeline Louis, the boundaries between mystery and seduction become blurred. Does Angeline suspect his ulterior motives…even as she surrenders to his kisses? Does she have secrets of her own? Or can Alessandro trust that their once-in-a-lifetime connection is real?

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Buy Links | Harlequin.com | Amazon |  Barnes & Noble | Apple Books | Google Play | Kobo

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I found this a quick and enjoyable romance that was a fun read, but didn’t blow me away. Sandro by far was the most developed and complex character in my opinion so I really enjoyed reading about him, but a lot of the story itself didn’t feel realistic. This is absolutely fine as it is fiction, but sometimes it does jolt me when a character’s behavior or attitude isn’t quite realistic. That being said I still really enjoyed this story and the writing style, it was a great quick summer read.

Nadine Gonzalez was born in New York City, the daughter of Haitian immigrants. Eventually, she moved to Miami, Florida, and fell in love with the people, weather, and lifestyle. She started her first novel while in law school and her modern romances reflect this vibrant city and unique mix of cultures. 

Nadine lives with her Cuban American husband and their beautiful son. For more visit her website: www.nadine-gonzalez.com

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