Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Blog Tour - Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally - Review and Author Q&A

Today I'm excited to be hosting a blog tour stop for Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally. First off, let me just say I'm generally not a romance reader. It's not because I'm not a fan, it's just I haven't really ever read the genre, had a few preconceived notions and wasn't sure where to start to work through all of that. One of this year's reading challenges I set for myself was to read a mass market romance novel. So, when the opportunity arose, I decided to be a stop on this tour to have a chance to finally see what this was all about.

So, let's talk about the book y'all! 

First up, I have to share the cover. It wouldn't be a romance without it, right?!?!

Oh, and before I give you my review, let me share an author Q&A to help you get to know the voice behind the story!

Q: Did you always want to write for Harlequin?
A: Well, I’ve wanted to write romance novels since I was about ten years old (my first “book” had a heroine named Destiny and horses and a tornado…). But I didn’t actually become aware of Harlequin until I was an adult. Many readers talk about sneak-reading their mom’s Harlequin novels as teens, but my mom didn’t read romance! But once I found Harlequin books, I knew that was where I wanted to be.

Q: Share your favorite memory of reading a Harlequin romance
A: I got distracted by life for a while (it happens, right?) and stopped reading much. I rediscovered romance novels when I got my first eReader, and one of the first books I read was Beach House No. 9 by Christie Ridgway. That story made me laugh and cry and sit on the edge of my seat, and I was hooked on romance all over again. I started devouring series by Susan Mallery and Kristan Higgins, and then I started writing in earnest. And it all started with a Harlequin romance!

Q: What is a recent book you have read that you would recommend?
A: I just finished a reread of Lucy Parker’s The Austen Playbook from last year, and I adored it just as much the second time around. Lucy’s books are always full of sparkling wit, and this is one of the best opposites-attract romances (my favorite trope) I’ve ever read. I can’t wait to read her brand-new book, Headliners. 

Okay, so now let's talk about the actual book.

The story begins with MacKenzie returning to her hometown. Soon after returning, she runs into Danny. Danny was a friend of her brother's, and they were known for being the "bad boys" (I hate that term y'all, but in the context, it's just going to have to work) around town. MacKenzie, on the other hand, was known for being the straight-laced rule follower. Returning back, times have changed. Danny is now Sheriff Dan, divorced with shared custody of his young daughter. MacKenzie is back wanting to "live a little" after a failed marriage. MacKenzie and Danny have to navigate who they once were and who they are now. This means coming to terms with some "stuff" that went down in the past. What I appreciated about this book was that the romance wasn't an all of the sudden thing that happened. Given they're in their late thirties, that makes sense, and it was far more realistic in that regard. As a rookie reader (and a late thirtysomething myself), I didn't expect that, and I appreciated it.

The other piece of this book involved Sheriff Dan's actual job. There is some suspicious activity around opioids occurring in the town. He's determined to figure out what is, so he can protect his community. I liked how this subplot was woven throughout. It added some depth to the story, so it wasn't just all about the romance. This especially added depth to Dan's character as he felt obligated to protect his small community, and it was something that kept me turning the pages, in addition to the budding love between MacKenzie and Dan.

Overall, this was different than what I expected - in a good way. It wasn't entirely unrealistic or cheesy, instead it depicted how a love like this might actually go down. As I owned, this genre isn't generally my jam. However, I found I enjoyed this read, and I'd be interested in venturing in again. I found the characters likable, the dilemmas real, and I became vested in what went down which is all you can ask for in a read!

So, there you have it - my first ride into romance (#seewhatididthere), and I quite enjoyed it!

Book Summary:

“You’re all about following the rules now?

Mackenzie Wallace hopes there’s still some bad boy lurking beneath single father Danny Adams’s upright exterior. Being the proverbial good girl left her brokenhearted and alone in the past. Now she’s back in town and wants excitement with her high school crush—not love. Dan knows their connection runs deep, despite Mackenzie’s protests. But will their new personas work together—especially when Dan’s secret is exposed?

Author Bio:

Jo McNally lives in upstate New York with 100 pounds of dog and 200 pounds of husband – her slice of the bed is very small. When she's not writing or reading romance novels (or clinging to the edge of the bed...), she can often be found on the back porch sipping wine with friends, listening to an eclectic playlist. If the weather is perfect, she might join her husband on the golf course, where she always feels far more competitive than her actual skill-level would suggest.