Highland Hills, books 1, 2, and prequel (Late review and ARC reviews) – Matchmakers finding their match

The following review is part of my being in the authors’ review team, which ensures that you can read it before the book comes out or, in one case, a little late (with my apologies).

Did someone ask for a triple decker of reviews? No, I know, you haven’t, and I admit that it wasn’t planned but the shoulder injury had delayed the first review, and when I saw that the second book of the series was coming out soon, and that there would be a prequel as part of an anthology, I told myself that writing the three reviews in one post would be the perfect thing to make you want to read them all.

After all, I devoured each story when I got my eyes on them, and the more, the merrier, no?

Part 1: Matchmaking a Billionaire – Beyond the trope

What the book is about

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Matchmaking a Billionaire

Series: Highland Hills, book 1

Author: Angela Denise

Publisher: Laughing Heart Press

Date published: 25 April, 2022

Pages: 374

Synopsis (mine rather than the official blurb):

When billionaire Rory Byrne approaches Nana Mayberry to offer to develop the dating app created by her granddaughters Bryn and Holly, little does he know that it would come with a few caveats, like him having to accept going on four dates with four different ladies as part of a reality show created by the attention whore old woman, or that he would fall head over heels for Bryn. As for Bryn, she already has reservations about the whole project, but to see her baby come to life, concessions have to be made, as well as certain sacrifices. But can she sacrifice her own heart?

A perfect match?

First of all, it really took Angela Denise to get me to read a book with the word “billionaire” in the title, since it is a trope that I abhor. I’m glad that I made an exception for this book, because I would have regretted it.

The story is all sorts of hilarious, but also quite emotional, and having met Rory, albeit briefly, in Fraudulently Ever After (of which you can read my review here), I knew that I would be in for a great reading time. After all, he is a total darling, and I was happy to see that he would have his own story, trope be damned!

It also helps that Bryn Mayberry is my type of disillusioned heroine, one who had stopped believing in love and was still convinced that the matchmakers were cursed to be unlucky in love.

The downside for them both? Nana Mayberry, who really is an attention whore! She really is a handful, and a character that I love to hate.

Overall, however, it is a completely, thoroughly, totally enjoyable read!

Part 2: Matchmaking a Single Dad – DILF indeed!

What the book is about

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Matchmaking a Billionaire

Series: Highland Hills, book 2

Author: Angela Denise

Publisher: Laughing Heart Press

Date published: 11 August, 2022

Pages: 354

Synopsis (mine rather than the official blurb):

They’ve hated each other for over a decade, or at least Holly Mayberry would like to think so, but there is something about widower Cole Garrison that she can’t seem to resist, and it is not (only) his daughter Jane, she who doesn’t like kids overmuch. But when Rory Byrne cons her into teaching programming to a group of children, she realises that Jane is a child who is impossible to resist, which makes her father, and the attraction she feels for him, even more impossible to fight.

The enemy of her heart

Of the three Mayberry siblings that we’ve met (Willow – in Matchmaking Mischief – and Bryn were the first two), Holly is definitely my favourite. On top of being a total geek, she is super strong-willed and does not give two craps about things. An heroine after my own heart, and apparently one who gets under Cole Garrison’s skin quite a lot.

As for Cole himself, he is a widower with issues, and one of them is Holly. Is he a DILF? Oh, yes! He is hot as sin! But what I loved most about Cole is, in fact, his daughter, Jane. She is hilarious, and a total wiseass! And wise beyond her young age. Seriously, my type of little one.

On top of it, this book marks the return of one of my favourite characters from Bad Luck Club: Harry!!!! He is still his paranoid, extremely clean self, much to our hilarity. Although the way Nana Mayberry treats him is, well, worthy of the old bitch witch. Add the Labelles (whom readers have also met in Fraudulently Ever After) to the mix and it we have a bunch of people we will hate for the longest time. Despicable is an understatement when it comes to Cole’s first wife’s family.

In a book in part reminiscent of You’ve Got Mail (you’ll understand), Cole and Holly are beta testers for the Matchmake Me app, Bryn’s and Holly’s baby, which brings its loads of groans, but also of laughs. Plus, as Cole is fighting for his daughter, he is also fighting Holly, and the strong attraction that he feels for her.

If he is the enemy after Holly’s heart, the reverse is also true, which makes for a funny, feel-good read.

Part 3: The Matchmaker’s Mistake – A scene explained

What the book is about

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The Matchmaker’s Mistake

Series: Highland Hills, Prequel

Author: Angela Denise

Book: Ten First Dates, a prequels anthology by 10 authors

Publisher: EN Fiction, Inc.

Date published: 12 August, 2022

Total pages: 554

Synopsis (mine):

Instead of giving us a bonus scene for Matchmaking a Single Dad, Angela Denise gives us a complete prequel going back on an event that happened a year before the first two books of the Highland Hills series, a moment that Holly referred to as a mistake, and what happened that led to that “mistake”.

Short, but awesome!

It might only be six chapters and 12,000 words, but The Matchmaker’s Mistake gives us the same hilarity, the same emotions, and the same heat that we see in the first two books of the series, on top of making us meet the infamous Auggie mentioned in the two books.

I am also with Holly: I don’t want a white bread, mayo, and chips sandwich, either!

Since the novella is mostly about Holly and Cole, I will only say that it is as hot as their book is, and that you get to see that “the zip” likely started a long time ago between these two!

Should you read this before the first two books of the series? Should you read it after? Should you read it in the middle, between Bryn’s story and Holly’s? It really is up to you. Personally, I liked having read it after both Bryn’s and Holly’s books, but reading as a complete prequel is also good.

Regardless of the order in which you will read it, the important thing to know is that it is part of an anthology and that the book is completely FREE on Amazon! So no excuse not to snatch it, and then get to read nine more prequels by nine more fantastic authors.

My verdict

Feel-good, funny, hot, emotional: the works! As always, Angela Denise doesn’t disappoint with this new series. You will love the Mayberry twins and their brother as much as you loved Willow if you read her story, and you will likely find a new book boyfriend or two in Rory and Cole. And you will likely want to adopt young Jane. I know I do!

Overall, these stories are more than worthy of

A triple decker of five stars!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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