The Latest in RomCon® Reviews
Offering editorial reviews for the Romance Genre from our dedicated team of reviewers. Want to become a reviewer for us?
Ruth West - Friday, July 21, 2017
Title: Mail Order Groom
Author: Dana Wayne
Publisher: Y&R Publishing, LLC
Published: April 2017
Genre: Historical, Western
I thoroughly enjoyed the story, but am confused as to the title in how it relates. The Hero was not mail ordered that I could tell. The Heroine and other main characters definitely made me feel for her and the Hero as well. I enjoyed the twists and turns and the Villain was just nasty enough I wanted to do away with him as well. I think the book was satisfactorily written but needs more editing. There were areas that were a bit confusing when first started to read the paragraph/chapter that you had to remember who was talking and what they were talking about, so it could use a bit more attention in that regard.
Overall it was a good book and I really enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Barb Wallace
Ruth West - Thursday, July 20, 2017
Title: His Ex's Little Sister
Author: Bella Love-Wins
Published: July 12, 2017
Publisher: Bella Love-Wins Books
His Ex's Little Sister has a lot of depth and a decent amount of backstory that makes the book well-rounded, while being a quick read. I finished this story in less than two hours. Reid's character is charming and likable, even with his history of having abandoned his high-school girlfriend. He accepts responsibility for his actions and doesn't flinch in the face of danger. At times he's a little too pushy toward Robin but he's not anything like her ex-boyfriend that is just plain awful. I would have liked the author to expand on this further, making the book a little longer. Also, at times I found Reid's work to be an important part of the story but not as exciting as I'd have liked. I much more enjoyed the scenes between Reid and Robin. The ending came quick and though I appreciated that there was an epilogue added, I would have liked the pacing at the end to be slower.
Reviewed by Kate
Ruth West - Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Title: That Boy
Author: Jillian Dodd
Publisher: Jillian Dodd Inc.
Published: Jan 13, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Contemporary
The writing in That Boy, comes across as juvenile. Maybe it was intentional with chapters spanning back as far as fourth grade, but I would have rather had flashbacks or a series of memories from an adult's writing with a juvenile perspective. Even more mature writing would have made the story stronger. Instead the sentences were short and choppy, grammatically correct but bland to read. I could not for the life of me get into Jay's character and like her. She's kissing Danny for "learning-sake" while getting ready for a date with another boy. It made me hate her character, this juvenile behavior and yes she's a teenager but I feel like the writing and characterizations make Jay look even more immature and selfish. That Boy lacked substance that other young adult titles like The Selection, Looking for Alaska, Fangirl, Delirium, and Before I Fall are drenched in. I wanted to love That Boy, even with the writing not up to my taste and I kept reading as the main character grew older, hoping that her story would mature, but I just didn't feel a solid connection to the story or the characters.
Reviewed by: Chloe Stafford
Ruth West - Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Title: A Mail-Order Heart
Author: Janelle Daniels
Published: April 19, 2016
Publisher: Dream Cache Publishing
Genre: Western, Historical Romance
Traveling by train to meet her fiance, Clara quickly discovers she is one of nine brides promised to a man that died three days ago. Sawyer, the local sheriff is on the scene, attempting to settle the girls down and quell their fears. Clara immediately takes charge of the situation, and help settles all the girls down. Clara's personality is clearly defined based on her upbringing with twelve siblings. She is a strong character with a take-charge attitude that forces you to cheer for her from the beginning, even if she's making a mess in the process. Sawyer is also strong, causing them to tiff in the beginning, but at least he realizes that the women will need his help and isn't too bull-headed to offer assistance. I appreciate the lack of instalove between Clara and Sawyer. It is clear he feels something quite early on for her, as does she for him, but the romance isn't overplayed. The writing is easy to follow and the chapters are a quick page-turning read offering both Sawyer and Clara's point of view. With nine brides, there's a lot of characters to keep track of but the writing flows effortlessly and the ones that hold the most impact are easily remembered.
Reviewed by: Jenna Malone
Ruth West - Monday, July 17, 2017
Author: G. P. Ching
Publisher: Carpe Luna Publishing
Published: November 11, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Grounded is a phenomenal story that goes places I never saw coming. It is a fast read that is filled with excitement and energy, especially as the story progresses. Hemlock Hollow is a small town where Lydia, an Amish girl, has the opportunity to experience the English world on rumspringa. With its roots in a a strong world-building in Hemlock Hollow, this futuristic story explores the power of electricity in a way that is creative and satisfying. Lydia grapples with the government, her new relationship with Korwin, and her identity as a 'Spark'. Prepare to be enlightened by this electrifying dystopian while reading Grounded. I eagerly await snatching the second book in the series. With likable characters, an engaging plot, a fast-paced but well-developed story, and twists and turns at every corner, this book is sure to satisfy.
Reviewed by Samantha Peters
Ruth West - Friday, July 14, 2017
Title: His Highland Heart
Author: Willa Blair
Published: Feb 2, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance, Scottish
The story opens with Euan Brodie being shipwrecked on Ross lands, he is in hostile territory and has been separated from his crew. He is injured and wracked with guilt over the loss of his ship and crew. His first encounter with Muireall Munro is when he saves her from being swept out to sea.
Muireall was taken captive almost a month prior when the Ross clan raided her lands and stole her and two other girls as brides. Muireall has yet to be matched with a Ross clansman, but that will change in a matter of days if she cannot escape. She has tried more than once and has the marks to prove it. When she is cut off from the cove by the rising tide, she is sure that she will die. But Euan risks his own safety to save her and she feels a glimmer of hope that she might be able to get home.
Muireall and Euan don’t exactly trust each other, but they work together to reach caves above the tide line and hatch a plan to escape the Ross’. As much as she doesn’t want to, Muireall agrees to return the village and will try to persuade Ella, one of the other Munro girls to leave with her and to aid Euan escape.
After Muireall returns to the beach, she is immediately caught by the Ross laird, who promptly gives her to his second in command as a bride. Euan lets her go, but has promised to return her to her family. When she leave the cave and he doesn’t hear her, he follows her. Once he knows she is back in the village and decides to search for food and water and ends up finding Calum, one of his lost crewmen.
When Muireall is cornered by the Ross laird, she runs in the woods trying to find Euan. When she stubbles upon him, the Ross laird and his guard ambush them. In a fight for his life, Euan ends up killing the Ross laird and escaping with Muireall and Calum. When they make it to the cove to steal a boat, they find another crewman, unfortunately, he did not survive. Euan has promised to take Muireall home, but he must first return James’ body to his family. He asks her to try and be patient just a little longer.
When they arrive back at Brodie, Euan immediately wants to go back and find his other missing crew members, but Iain Brodie, Laird Brodie refuses to let him go, he also refuses to return Muireall to Munro until he knows what is happening with the Ross clan.
Over the next few days, Muireall is cared for by the Brodie clan and grows closer to Euan, but she just wants to go home, even when the Brodie clansmen return with news and Ella, she is impatient to leave.
When a Ross warrior shows up and tells Iain that they have one of his clansmen and will kill him if the man who murdered their laird and the girls are not returned to them, Muireall is frantic – she will not return to the Ross clan and she doesn’t want Euan to go either. Iain refuses to admit that they had anything to do with death of the Ross laird and sends the warrior back empty handed. Again Muireall asks to be sent home and is again denied.
When Euan is able to redeem himself and with the help of Muireall come up with a plan to make a peace offering to the new Ross laird, Iain gives Muireall permission to return home.
Before they leave, Euan admits his feelings to Muireall and is hurt that she doesn’t immediately agree to marry him. He returns her to her family and again makes his feelings known and is again rejected.
He leaves to return to Brodie and they are both heartbroken, until one of them finally swallows their pride and returns to their love. Even when our lovers are reunited, Ms. Blair isn’t finished with the story and throws in another twist or two.
This was a well written book, it flowed nicely, had a lot of tense moments, a lot of heartache and a little steam. I did feel like Muireall was unreasonable at times and maybe a tad selfish. And towards the end of the book, she really became annoying, rejecting Euan, yet being upset that he didn’t ask her father for her hand. If I was confused, I can only imagine what poor Euan was feeling 😊
All in all, it was a very entertaining read and I would be happy to recommend it to anyone who enjoys highland historicals.
Reviewed by Tracy Emro
Ruth West - Thursday, July 13, 2017
Title: An Heiress in Disguise
Author: Jennifer Wenn
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Releases: August 30, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance
I loved this story! I enjoyed learning about the relationship between Mina and her parents and how it grew throughout the story line. I really liked Jamie, getting to know his background and what had happened to him. I thought it was interesting that Jamie didn't trust Mina, esp considering his back story with Aurelie. There wasn't any mention of Jamie's wounds from the prologue. How did he recover? Was he avenged? Was he left for dead? So many characters were introduced when she arrived at the duchess' house, I got lost a couple times. But I really enjoyed them and would love to hear some of their stories. There were 2 times I felt this story just dropped off and picked up later in time with no explanation, but it was still really easy to follow. And I loved the surprise ending! I cheered for Jamie & Mina. I also always really appreciate a good epilogue where we get to see the characters working out their happily ever after. I definitely would read more by this author, and I would read this book again.
Reviewed by Liz
Ruth West - Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Author: Logan Byrne
Published: Feb 20, 2014
Genre: Young Adult, Futuristic, Dystopian
There are far too many similarities in Banded to the dystopian young adult book, Divergent, and even a hint of Harry Potter with the sorting hat. The likeness to Divergent wasn't entirely a surprise given the description of the book (6 factions separated in Manhattan for the good of the country), but I had hoped that the author would have put their own creative spin on things, including the world building, instead of feeling the sense of deja vu while reading this book. When reading about the simulation in the jungle, all I could think was this book is too reminiscent, same with the fighting scenes, being forced to train and fight. This was the one aspect where I thought this book could have differed significantly because the group that Kaleena is put into, isn't tasked with fighting. Instead the book went in the same direction, again, as Divergent. Now, with all that being said, Banded was well-written with decent pacing and I was anxious to read the next chapter and not put down the book. I would have loved Banded had the originality been entirely the authors and not taken from other young adult novels, so much so that I found it distracting. There wasn't a dose of heavy romance like Divergent, which I found to be the biggest difference and the fact that everyone is forced to wear bands, something that I thought could have been further developed and expanded. What makes this book absolutely wonderful and unique, is lost in the repetitiveness of similar works in the same genre.
Reviewed by Marissa Vine
Ruth West - Tuesday, July 11, 2017
Title: Read, Write, Love at Seaside
Author: Addison Cole
Publisher: World Literary Press
Published: June 14, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Sweet Romance
A light summer beach read full of romance and sizzle with a heavy dose of sweetness. Read, Write, Love at Sea starts with a predictable but romantic beginning when thriller-writer Kurt catches sight of the beauty Leanna chasing her dog into the ocean, trying to rescue Pepper while also finding herself drowning in the process from the recent storm brewing. Kurt is a well-developed character that oozes sexiness while Leanna is the ever present free-spirit. Although the book moves quickly there's no feeling of instalove from the reader or a rushed romance. It is clear that Kurt and Leanna are two very different people, yet their chemistry is undeniable. It is easy to fall in love with Leanna and Kurt. Their flirting is one of the most memorable aspects of this story, as the sexual tension is gradually built up without scenes of explicit sex or vulgar language.
Reviewed by Jenna Malone
Ruth West - Friday, July 07, 2017
Title: Forever Ours
Published: April 27, 2017
Publisher: Evermore Publishing
Category: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary Romance
Forever Ours was an easy, page-turning romance focusing on sixteen year old foster kid Claire. Reminiscent of the television show The Fosters, Forever Ours is well-written, engaging, and rather steamy for a young adult read. Chris and Claire are both likable and complex characters. Although the characters are sixteen, this book is better suited for the 18+ up crowd due to sexual content, extensive use of the F-word, and the adult situations in the story. The book is written like a new adult novel but the ages of the characters make it classified as young adult. The disclaimer on Amazon states that it was rereleased for a young adult audience which I find misleading since I would not recommend this book for the YA crowd. Having not read any previous version, I cannot say what was or was not changed.
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