Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller and The Plus One by Mazey Eddings #bookreviews #romcom #historicalmystery#mentalhealthawareness

Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller

Book Blurb:

Diana Biller’s Hotel of Secrets is chock full of banter-filled shenanigans, must-have-you kisses, and romance certain to light a fire in the hearts of readers everywhere.

During ball season, anything can happen— even love.

It’s ball season in Vienna, and Maria Wallner only wants one thing: to restore her family’s hotel, the Hotel Wallner, to its former glory. She’s not going to let anything get in her way – not her parents’ three-decade-long affair; not seemingly-random attacks by masked assassins; and especially not the broad-shouldered American foreign agent who’s saved her life two times already. No matter how luscious his mouth is.

Eli Whittaker also only wants one thing: to find out who is selling American secret codes across Europe, arrest them, and go home to his sensible life in Washington, DC. He has one lead – a letter the culprit sent from a Viennese hotel. But when he arrives in Vienna, he is immediately swept up into a chaotic whirlwind of balls, spies, waltzes, and beautiful hotelkeepers who seem to constantly find themselves in danger. He disapproves of all of it! But his disapproval is tested as he slowly falls deeper into the chaos – and as his attraction to said hotelkeeper grows.

“A beautifully researched and emotionally complex experience, Hotel of Secrets is an opulent slice of Viennese tradition as rich as a torte and as layered as a complicated line of Strauss. With intrigue and danger that nips on the heels of its luscious waltz, Biller’s lush and atmospheric escape is dolloped with romance and the deep, complicated and sigh-worthy characters that always shoot her to the top of my auto-buy list.” – Rachel McMillan, author of The Mozart Code.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free digital arc of this book to read and review.


What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Hotel of Secrets is an entertaining mashup of genres that had me laughing, shocked, on the edge of my seat, and sometimes all those things at once. The story mixes a spy thriller, an upside-down regency romance, a cozy-like mystery, and a historical fiction setting for a purely enjoyable reading experience.

My Reading Experience:

I had the best time reading this novel. It reminded me of a Finlay Donovan or Stephanie Plum thriller in a historical setting, with all the thrills, spills, red hearings, and a shocking conclusion followed by a second shocking conclusion. I don’t know what else I could ask for regarding an entertaining story.

I especially loved the setting – Vienna in the late 1800s- full of beauty and splendor. The hotel was once the epitome of all things opulent until Maria’s mom mismanaged it into disrepair. Maria has a plan to revive her hotel, and I enjoyed her moxy and know-how at a time when women were still the ‘angels of the hearth’ or the spiritual epicenter of the family unit. She did want she wanted when she wanted and how she wanted. All of the women in her family did.

This independent mindset of Maria comes into play in terms of her romance with Eli, the American spy too. The two of them take the traditional Regency-style romance and turn it on its ear, which amused me to no end. I won’t say anything about that because discovering it for yourself is half the fun. If you are looking for a fun read with the fast pace and danger of a thriller, loads of laugh-out-loud moments, and a uniquely fascinating romance, Hotel of Secrets has all this and more.

Read if you like:

  • Historical mysteries
  • Opulence and grandeur settings
  • A unique romance angle

The Plus One by Mazey Eddings

Book Blurb

“Mazey Eddings’s writing is authentic, emotional, and intensely romantic! To me, it’s like a Taylor Swift song in book form.” – New York Times bestselling author Ali Hazelwood

What starts out as a fake wedding date turns into something these childhood enemies never expected in The Plus One, a sparkling romantic comedy by Mazey Eddings.

She’s not looking to fix him. She’s looking to love him, if he’ll let her in.

Some facts are indisputable. The sun rises in the east, sets in the west. Gravity exists. Indira doesn’t like Jude. Jude doesn’t like Indira. But what happens when these childhood enemies find the only thing they can rely on is each other?

On paper, Indira has everything together. An amazing job, a boyfriend, and a car. What more could a late twenty-something ask for? But when she walks in on her boyfriend in an amorous embrace with a stranger, that perfect on paper image goes up in flames.

Jude has nothing together. A doctor that’s spent the last three years traveling the world to treat emergencies and humanitarian crises, a quick trip home for his best friend’s wedding has him struggling to readjust.

Thrust into an elaborate (and ridiculously drawn out) wedding event that’s stressing Jude beyond belief and has Indira seeing her ex and his new girlfriend far more frequently than any human should endure, the duo strike a bargain to be each other’s fake dates to this wedding from hell. The only problem is, their forced proximity and fake displays of affection are starting to feel a bit…real, and both are left grappling with the idea that a situation that couldn’t be worse, is made a little better with the other around.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the free digital arc of this book to read and review.


What’s it about (in a nutshell):

The Plus One by Mazey Eddings is a poignant look at what it’s like living with a mental health disorder – how it can manifest, the steps people will take to hide it, and how hard it is to admit you need help. There are romantic comedy elements, but I thought the more powerful parts of the plot concerned mental health.

Indira is a mental health professional who has never dealt with the issues she has long harbored due to her father walking out on their family. Jude is a surgeon who signed up for a position akin to doctors without borders to pay for medical school and has developed PTSD from working in such challenging areas (war-torn, humanitarian nightmares). They have hated each other since childhood. But as Indira’s brother’s wedding approaches, Jude and Indira are thrown together again. As they say, there is a fine line between love and hate.

My Reading Experience:

I was surprised by how deep this story went into mental health issues, especially PTSD. I found the portrayal very realistic. It was hard for me to read as a counselor and not be able to do anything, I’ll admit – because it feels authentically real. But societal awareness is critical because it is challenging for most people to seek help when needed. If more people are aware, that’s just more people to help ensure others get the help they need before it’s too late. I also found the acknowledgment section particularly poignant and shed many tears over it.

I loved the witty (snarky) exchanges between Jude and Indira. Enemies to lovers is my favorite trope. This one has the added element of a fake dating situation which is just fun. The pace was quick from start to finish, and I found myself thoroughly engaged from page 1 until the end. Or course, I sped read through the open-door scenes because that’s just me, but the romance develops so naturally that I couldn’t help but root for them. I particularly loved how Indira emphasized to Jude that she isn’t with him to counsel/treat him over his issues. She is just there to love him.

This story is about hope and the fact that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how it feels at any given point in time. It’s about love and light and having someone in your corner no matter what. And I love everything about that.

Read if you like:

  • Fake dating romances
  • Respectful mental health disorder portrayals
  • Open door romances

17 Replies to “Hotel of Secrets by Diana Biller and The Plus One by Mazey Eddings #bookreviews #romcom #historicalmystery#mentalhealthawareness”

    1. It is very interesting and very authentic. The author suffers from PTSD so she wrote from the heart and it definitely shows.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hotel of Secrets ticks a lot of boxes, it sounds like a blast. As a PTSD sufferer The Plus One is right up my alley. I’m so glad you enjoyed both of these, lovely reviews!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The author suffers from PTSD and you can tell she wrote from the heart. And Hotel is Secrets is wonderful entertainment 💕

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love it when a romance, especially a romantic comedy, has so much substance. Tessa, I can just imagine how immersed you were into the story because of your background. And that historical romance has so much of what I like. Thanks for two fantastic reviews💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really enjoyed The Hotel of Secrets too. I’ve just started reading The Plus One, and am loving it so far.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I just added Hotel of Secrets to my TBR. You hooked me with the line: It reminded me of a Finlay Donovan or Stephanie Plum thriller in a historical setting. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in Vienna. I also enjoyed The Plus One, Tessa. I really like how she portrays people with mental health issues, they are realistic and give people an honest look at what it is like to live with various issues like PTSD. Both great review, Tessa.

    Liked by 1 person

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