In brief: The first in the McKinnels of Jewell Rock series has breakup expert Chelsea getting more than she bargained for when she dumps Callum McKinnel. Add in a lost dog, a house break-in and an affair with the newly single Callum and it gets complicated…
The good: Fun meeting all the McKinnels – more than just the romance between Chelsea and Callum.
The not-so-good: Mac – get with it! I’m sure he just needs a good woman to get him out of his slump.
Why I chose it: Love Rachael Johns’ books, thanks to Rachael who kindly gave me the chance to read this early.
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Setting: Oregon, USA
My rating: 9.5 out of 10
Rachael Johns is one of my favourite authors and I’d read anything she wrote, even if it was sci-fi intergalactic dinosaur crime. So when she asked me if I wanted to read her first foray into category romance, I jumped at the chance. (Like really high, higher than someone should do in slightly too high heels). I hadn’t read a category romance for some time and I was in just the right mood for it. What I can tell you now is that Rachael Johns can write any genre she wants and make it 100% awesome! I loved A Dog and a Diamond (aka It’s Not You, It’s Her) – it contained everything I want in a category romance plus Rachael Johns’ trademark page sparkle plus some interesting subplots plus a family I really want to get to know in the McKinnels. I want all their stories from Mac to Sophie to even Mrs McKinnel. It’s engaging, sweetly sexy and fun!
We’re introduced to the McKinnel family by way of Chelsea, who unfortunately has some bad news for Callum, boss of the family whiskey distillery. His fiancé Bailey is about to break up with him and er…she’s doing it by remote. Chelsea is The Breakup Girl, the person you hire when you need to end a relationship but can’t do it yourself. For Chelsea, this is strictly work. But when her beloved dog Muffin disappears and Callum helps search, she realises he is actually a very nice guy. What was Bailey thinking? What is Chelsea thinking, mixing work and pleasure?
Chelsea’s a bit lonely and Callum is just the person she needs in her life. It’s not an instalove romance, but well thought, adult and believable. Callum and Chelsea become friends and she starts to trust him, more than she has anyone else for a long time. Callum finds that Chelsea fits perfectly into his life, even the awkward first Thanksgiving after his dad’s death. Could this be more than just a fling? Could The Breakup Girl be falling in love?
There are so many things I loved about this story, but I actually want you to go and read the book so I’ll be succinct. I loved the growing friendship before the romance between Callum and Chelsea. It allowed for witty banter, sweet gestures and all the things friends do for one another. It also stopped Chelsea from being the rebound girl. I liked that Chelsea was a heroine who didn’t drink (non-drinking heroines are not something I come across in my reading) yet she respected Callum’s livelihood and was genuinely interested in the whiskey making process. I liked her quirky job and her deep love for Muffin. Callum was also a great hero in that he was a seriously Good Guy but went beyond the stereotypes of that – he was thoughtful and quick thinking.
Meeting the rest of the McKinnels was great too, as it felt like I was getting to know everyone rather than the sole focus being on the romance. There are some members of that family who really deserve/need a happy ever after from, from cheeky Sophie to the eternally grumpy Mac. Quinn is also a good guy who needs to find the one and there’s an inkling or two that she could be right under his nose…
A Dog and a Diamond is just how I like my reading to be – all absorbing, leaving a smile on my face. If you’re not a reader of category romance, you really ought to give this book a go – it will change your thoughts on the genre. If you love Rachael Johns’ other books, you will adore this book too.