Category Archives: Jen DeLuca

Review: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

Title: Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Well Met Series Book Three
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 335 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire—a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…and it doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans—and open her heart—for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.


Well Matched by Jen DeLuca is a charming fake dating romance. This third addition to the Well Met series can be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the first two books as well.

With her daughter Caitlin heading off to college in just a few months, forty-year-old April Parker is planning ahead for her empty nest. A single mother, April is getting her house ready to sell so she can move closer to her work. She closely guards her heart in order to avoid getting hurt again so she does not date.  April is an introvert who is rather serious but she has loosened up a bit since her sister moved to town. She and Mitch Malone are social acquaintances but neither knows each other well. Will that change when April agrees to pose as his girlfriend at an upcoming family event?

Mitch is always cheerful and oozes charisma. He is a much-loved coach and gym teacher and he is great with kids. He is very involved in the annual Ren Faire and he is a fan favorite in the human chess event. Mitch is well liked by everyone and he has an extensive dating history. Which is why April is very surprised when he asks her to be his fake date at his grandparents’ anniversary dinner.

Because she always protects herself from getting hurt, April does not typically get to know anyone very well. This is true when it comes to Mitch so her opinion of him is a little superficial.  Needless to say, April is a little taken aback when she realizes that she has a lot to discover about her fake boyfriend.

Well Matched is a delightful romance that is quite steamy. April can be a bit frustrating at times, but she is an overall likable character. Mitch is self-confident but he also has his share of vulnerabilities. The storyline is engaging with realistic issues for April to overcome.  Over the summer, April and Mitch’s relationship takes an unexpected turn, but will she risk her heart again? With a conflict brewing late in the novel, Jen DeLuca brings this third installment in the Well Met series to a heartfelt conclusion.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Jen DeLuca, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Well Matched, Well Met Series

Review: Well Played by Jen DeLuca

Title: Well Played by Jen DeLuca
Well Met Series Book Two
Publisher: Berkley
Imprint Jove
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 332 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.

LibraryReads Pick

Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.


Well Played by Jen DeLuca is a charming contemporary romance. Although this newest release is the second romance in the Well Met series, it can be read as a standalone.

Twenty-seven year old Stacey Lindholm always feels a bit of a letdown when the yearly Renaissance Faire comes to a conclusion. The end of this year’s Faire coincides with the engagement of her friends. Although she is happy for them,  Stacey’s vague sense of dissatisfaction with her own life worsens. After drowning her sorrows one evening, she messages her summer fling, Dex MacLean and to her shock, he responds. They spend the next eleven months emailing and texting each other and she is excited to see him at the fast approaching ren fair.  However, Stacey is stunned when she discovers Dex has not been the man she has been getting to know for all these months. She is furious and hurt, but will she allow him to explain why he has deceived her?

Stacey’s life took a major detour just as she was about to embark on her career.  Although she does not regret the reason she returned to Willow Creek, she feels stuck in a life she never wanted. Through her daily text and email exchanges, Stacey gets to know herself a little better while at the same time delighting in her discoveries about Dex.  While she does not know where a relationship between them would go, Stacey is eager to see how things go between them in person.

Well Played is an entertaining romance with an intriguing premise. Stacey is a likable lead protagonist who  has to decide between family expectations and following her heart and dreams. Her love interest is very sweet and caring but can she forgive him for not being completely honest with her?  With a late in the story conflict, Jen DeLuca brings this heartwarming romance to a sigh-worthy conclusion. Old and new readers of the Well Met series will enjoy this latest installment.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Jen DeLuca, Jove, Rated B, Review, Romance, Well Played

Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Title: Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 335 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through First to Read


All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.


Well Met by Jen DeLuca  is an utterly charming romance.

Emily Parker is reeling from a break up with her longtime boyfriend when she relocates to help her older sister April recover from a car accident.  Although busy taking care of her niece Caitlin and her sister, she is loving spending time with them.  When Caitlin signs up to work the Renaissance Faire (which is an annual fundraiser), Emily is dismayed to discover she has to volunteer as well.  However, Emily is surprised by how much she enjoys working alongside Stacey Lindholm, Christine “Chris” Donovan and Mitch Malone.  Unfortunately she is not at all thrilled at having to spend time with the Ren Faire’s grumpy coordinator Simon Graham.  Needless to say, Emily is a bit confused when she finds Simon’s  pirate alter ego very hard to resist.  Will Emily’s and Simon’s unexpected summer romance continue once the Ren Faire is finished?

Emily is sarcastic and snarky but she also has a heart of gold.  Despite the circumstances, she is truly enjoyed getting to know her older sister and niece better.  A planner by nature, Emily is a little concerned about what she will do with her life once April is fully recovered. Having put her life on hold for her ex-boyfriend, the only thing she knows for certain is a career change is in order.  After spending the summer getting to know the townspeople, Emily cannot fathom starting over somewhere else. But can she count on her job at Chris’s coffee shop/bookstore to continue when summer ends?

An English teacher at the local high school, Simon is a bit uptight and a stickler for details. He is also resistant to any changes to the Ren Faire but everyone he works with is ok with him running the show. Once he dons his pirate garb, he is fun-loving and flirty. But with summer drawing to a close, Simon is once again very serious and intense as he prepares for the upcoming school year.

The relationship between Emily and Simon runs hot and cold for a good part of the novel.  Emily does not need his disapproval and he does not appreciate her light-hearted approach to life. But a funny thing happens as they transform themselves into their Ren Faire characters. As the Faire draws to a close, Emily’s self-doubts threaten to overwhelm her just as her romance with Simon is heating up. At the same time, Simon’s inability to move past a heartbreaking loss threatens their chance for a future together.

Well Met is a delightfully breezy romance that is quite captivating. The characters are endearing and easy to like. The storyline is engaging and the Ren Faire is a fun backdrop for the unfolding story. Emily’s and Simon’s romance is a slow burn but it is still enjoyable watching them fall in love. The conflict that arises between them is quickly resolved with a very heartwarming scene.  I absolutely loved and highly recommend this marvelous debut by Jen DeLuca.


Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Jen DeLuca, Rated B, Rated B+, Romance, Well Met