Reviews by Liz Donatelli

A
My Christmas Number One

I had been prepared for Leonie Mack’s debut romance My Christmas Number One to be a ‘Hallmark-esque’ holiday romance complete with Christmas tree-lighting, cookie-baking, and enough snow to cool me down during California’s heatwave. Surprisingly, the fresh plot is largely unpredictable and l ...

A
The Point of It All

Christina C. Jones returns readers to the fictional, idyllic town of Sugar Valley in The Point of It All, the sequel to The Culmination of Everything. It’s a thought-provoking Black romance that engages readers with its endearing lovers, compelling conflict, and memorable dialogue packed with humo ...

B+
Not Like the Movies

Rom-com movie tropes and zany characters abound in Not Like the Movies, the page-turning sequel to Kerry Winfrey’s wildly popular Waiting for Tom Hanks. This meta-aware ‘romedy’ delivers witty banter and tender moments that make for an entertaining read. However, the threads of family crisis a ...

A
The Duke, the Lady, and a Baby

So, A Duke, the Lady, and a Baby walk into a bar… (I couldn’t resist opening with a classic bar joke.) A Duke, the Lady, and A Baby, the first novel in Vanessa Riley’s Rogues and Remarkable Women series of Regency romances, is a one-stop reading experience. It delivers extraordinary storyte ...

B
The Cowboy's Claim

Nina Crespo kicks off the Tillbridge Stables series with The Cowboy’s Claim, a Hallmark Movie-esque low-conflict, enemies-to-lovers, country boy-meets-city gal romance. Crespo introduces readers to the Tillbridges, an African American family of horse stable owners based in Maryland who have ach ...

A-
IOU

Known for her Commander in Briefs novels, author Kristy Marie touts her work as “romance with a side of smartass.” And she doesn’t disappoint. In her new romantic comedy, IOU, Marie delivers a wickedly clever love story in which comedic gaffes and situational humor provide an entertaining back ...

B
Tempt

Marie Tuhart launches her Wicked Sanctuary erotic romance series with Tempt, a kink relationship-turned-to-love story. This red-hot read offers a captivating portrayal of the sex club scene and the BDSM lifestyle. However, the author is only vaguely successful in creating a genuine romance between t ...

C+
A Taste of Sage

Food is the Michelin star of Yaffa S. Santos’ début rom-com, A Taste of Sage. This enemies-to-lovers story serves up delectable culinary details and a creative magical realism premise, but it ultimately fails to satisfy. If this novel were an entrée, then it would be salmon. It looks totally app ...

A
The Plus One Pact

An absolute delight from beginning to end, Portia MacIntosh’s British rom-com, The Plus One Pact, delivers a heartwarming romance that is sitcom-level funny. This sweet friends-to-lovers story with a chick lit vibe is narrated by twenty-nine-year-old Cara Brooks, an escape room designer and a s ...

A
A Study in Murder

Bestselling historical romance author Callie Hutton makes a memorable cozy mystery debut with A Study in Murder (book one in the Victorian Book Club Mysteries). Hutton succeeds in crafting a compelling murder mystery featuring a captivating, fabulous woman detective that hooks readers with clever hu ...