Y’all, I had the best luck with these ARC Reviews and it has me thinking that I should be really heavily leaning into Harlequin Romance reads instead of the hit and miss Harlequin Desire line for me. Or maybe I’ll just keep reading from several different lines, which sounds like the most reasonable plan.
Anyway, if you’re seeing this post it means that Harper Collins has finally stopped failing to negotiate with the Harper Collins Union, but I’ll admit, I’m still not thrilled with them. But for now, let’s talk about these three really fantastic books that you should definitely pick up!
Also, thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin for approving my requests. I did ultimately purchase all three of these books because I was upset I couldn’t review them. So I ultimately read a finished copy of each of these books.
Wearing His Ring till Christmas
by Nina Singh
This book is so freaking good, I still can’t figure out exactly how to talk about it. Chiara has been traveling the world, working her way through, and for now, she’s in Bali and she’s also broke. Unfortunately, her family wants her home for Christmas, quite desperately, and, in fact, her dad sent her money for a plane ticket only she no longer has it. Evan, meanwhile, is a millionaire/billionaire (idk and also, what is the distinction, actually?) in the tech field and he’s supposed to be wooing these Italian business people, but his interpreter cancels at the last minute. Enter Chiara. Turns out, she speaks Italian and so she helps Evan, for quite a fee, for one night. That one night leads to sparks that lead to her somehow agreeing to be his fake fiancé.
While the plot is really fun and fast-paced, what really made this book shine for me, is the emotional depth of this book. Chiara’s mom passed away (honestly, I cannot remember from what) and so there is a lingering element of grief there. Evan’s family is pretty cold and distant and it’s so interesting when Chiara gets introduced to them. Somehow the third-act breakup hit me SO hard and I was just so deeply invested. I just really enjoyed this book on every level and cannot recommend it highly enough! My words are not doing it justice. Just know that it is phenomenal.
Their Icelandic Marriage Reunion
by Sophie Pembroke
Another Hollywood couple book that had me so deeply invested! I’m just really into this new iteration of celebrity romances it seems. What is it about a marriage in trouble/divorced couple coming back together that just really gets me so deeply invested right off the bat? I wish I knew, but honestly, this book was a delight. The friend and assistant helping push Winter and Josh back together (or to get “closure”) was just excellent and I loved the way Pembroke writes. Also, this is another Hollywood romance where Winter and Josh met on set and Winter is now a hot shot director and Josh is sort of taking a break. I loved the conversations that arose because of how Winter felt like Josh was constantly overshadowing her and she wasn’t really allowed to be her own person. I also loved how Josh had to examine his belief that marriage and love should be easy and not take a lot of work. In fact, there’s not really anything I didn’t enjoy about this book, with the exception of the third act conflict. I really didn’t love how that went down. But all in all, I can’t wait to read more from Pembroke in the future and can see myself re-reading this book multiple times over the years.
Forbidden Kisses with Her Millionaire Boss by Hana Sheik
This book delivered some unique characters, settings, and holiday celebrations that I really appreciated, alongside a sweet romance that I liked, but didn’t love. So let’s start with what this book is. Karl is an event planner and a very successful one at that. He’s in Kenya to make sure that a wedding his company has been planning goes off without a hitch when he encounters Lin. The two have an instant connection and ultimately wind up working together while trying to resist the allure of the other. Obviously they fail at that because this is a romance novel.
Both Karl and Lin have sort of tragic family histories. Karl’s family disowned him essentially and Lin’s father died of cancer, her mother left when she was two, and her grandfather has some EXPECTATIONS. The two of them both bond over and avoid talking about their pasts throughout the book, but eventually manage to work through a lot of things. I say that I both did and didn’t believe their romance and part of that is because Karl just felt a lot reserved for so long that when he finally gave in, I was like, “Um, so quickly??”
But in terms of the characterization I liked and appreciated, Karl is not straight as he spends quite a bit of time comparing his fascination with Lin with his ex-boyfriend, Isaiah, who has sort of led to him swearing off love. And Lin is Muslim woman, though that aspect of her character doesn’t get much page time (literally it gets a sentence). But still! Representation! And then the big event Karl and Lin are working on is a Kwanza themed vow renewal celebration.
So, lots of good things in this book, but overall, it didn’t fully bring me in and sweep me along.
I think I need to read more in this specific category because I wound up enjoying these books a lot! Usually I think I like a more high heat romance, but honestly, I didn’t find myself really missing the heat in these. And I really enjoyed the way the tension built in them. So all in all, a great choice for me, I think! Do you have a preferred category line?