Win the May ’18 bookshelf of signed thrillers!

May 1, 2018

Welcome to the May bookshelf of signed thrillers! Lots of terrific books to win this month. More books may be added throughout the month, so check back often.

To enter, go to the Win Books page.

Best of luck!

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THE SIXTH DAY by Catherine Coulter & J.T. Ellison A Brit in the FBI, Book 5. When several major political figures who are linked to sophisticated drone assassinations die under mysterious circumstances, the Covert Eyes team follows leads to a wealthy cybersecurity genius and descendant of Vlad the Impaler who is desperate to unlock the secret of curing his severely ill twin brother’s blood disorder.

OVERKILL by Ted Bell: When his young son is dramatically abducted from a burning ski tram in the Swiss Alps at the same time Russian leader Vladimir Putin escapes an attack on his presidential jet and goes missing, Alex Hawke recruits a group of elite soldiers and hostage experts for a rescue mission that is complicated by Putin’s plans for a triumphant return to Moscow.

WICKED RIVER by Jenny Milchman: As newlyweds Natalie and Doug Larson attempt to get away from it all on a backcountry honeymoon in the isolated Adirondack forest, a man stalks them from the shadows, threatening everything they hold dear.

BLACKOUT by Alex Segura: The new book in Alex Segura’s Pete Fernandez series, in which a cold case brings Pete back home, where he ends up in the crosshairs of a fanatical and dangerous cult leader, threatening his newfound sobriety and his life as well.

YESTERDAY’S NEWS by R.G. Belsky: Belsky introduces Clare Carlson, a journalist who became an overnight media superstar and won a Pulitzer with her coverage of the disappearance of eleven-year-old Lucy Devlin. Now, new evidence, new victims, and new suspects plunge Clare back into this sensational story—challenging every fiber of her ethical code and forcing her to confront dangerous elements and long-hidden truths from her own past.

A DEATH OF NO IMPORTANCE by Mariah Fredericks: A highly skilled ladies’ maid working among in the upper echelons of 1910 New York society uses her insider knowledge of her entitled employer’s family to investigate the class-driven case of her mistress’ brutally murdered playboy fiancé.

FORSAKEN by Michael McBride: When scientists at a research station in Antarctica awaken a strange and ancient organism that they are unable to control, a half-human hybrid that is still evolving is unleashed on the world and has the hunger and power to wipe out the human race.


You can win autographed copies of these books! If you are new to the site, each month I run a contest in conjunction with the International Thriller Writers organization. We put together a list of books from debut authors to bestsellers, so you can win some of your favorites and find some new favorites.

What makes this contest really special is that all of the books (except eBooks) are signed by the author! Books with multiple authors will be signed by at least one of the authors.

Penguin Random House books for giveaway were provided by the publisher. #PRHpartner

Don’t forget, if you subscribe to the newsletter or follow this blog, you get an extra entry into every contest you enter. Check out the Win Books page for more information on all these books and how to enter this month’s contest.

Thanks for reading, and good luck!



May 27, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 6

Yes, it’s back to the tiny hamlet of Avalon for me, nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. This time it’s a slightly magical Christmas story, which I can always get behind. There are actually a couple of Christmas books in this series. and this is the first one.

This time out our heroine also happens to be the town librarian, so it speaks to me, even if she is a bit cliché. She may look and sound like a stereotypical librarian when the book opens, but by the end she is someone I could be friends with. At least she is professional, and bookish, and those are qualities I see in myself and many of my co-workers.

Maureen is very excited because this is the first year she will get to direct the annual Christmas pageant. Unfortunately, she is stuck with an assistant not of her own choosing. Eddie Haven was a child star who ran into a bit of trouble and his community service requires him to help with the pageant.

You could not find two  people more different. Maureen, and every other woman in town, find Eddie gorgeous. He’s also very laid back and easygoing. Maureen, on the other hand, thinks she’s plain and dumpy and dresses to make sure she looks that way. She’s also freaking out because the library has a budget shortfall and will be shutting down. Nevertheless, Eddie is intrigued with her and yes, they fall in love and find their happily ever after but only after a lot of angst and drama along the way.

That’s the romance portion of the story. There is also a magical subplot about a young man who shows up out of nowhere and has a voice like an angel…and leaves no footprints…and you get the point. I love that slightly mysterious, mystical, magical Christmas stuff so this worked for me.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read. I would have liked to say this was my favorite (librarian character and Christmas and all) but it wasn’t. It is a very enjoyable read, however, especially if you love Christmas magic.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010). ISBN 978-0778327820. 384p.

FIRESIDE by Susan Wiggs

May 26, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 5

Another beautiful saga in what has become one of my favorite series. It is always remarkable to me that an author can create a series – and this one is 11 books long – and keep each story as fresh and fun and fantastic as the others. Sure, some may be better than others, but all are wonderful. I am a very happy reader.

This story is actually very timely, dealing with immigration issues that are in the news every day now but probably not as much when it was written. Prescience!

There are certain tropes in romance novels that appear again and again. The father with a child he never knew about is a fairly popular one because for the most part, we know it happens, and it works, as it does here.

Bo Crutcher is the star pitcher for the Avalon baseball team and he has a real shot at the majors, but he needs some help. Part of the process of going pro is learning how to deal with the media, so a media camp type thing is scheduled. But then AJ, the son he never knew he had, shows up and Bo has to take care of him. His mother was Mexican-American and got caught up in an ICE sting. She is detained and cannot get out. Bo tries to help but it is a long, expensive process and AJ needs a home.

Kimberly van Dorn was a big shot publicist in California who had a very public breakup and firing. She flees to the tiny town of Avalon, where Bo first spots her at the airport. He thinks she is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and tries to talk to her, but she is way too gun shy to talk to any man. But they keep running into each other, after all Avalon is a very small town. And when he realizes he can’t go to the media school, Kimberly steps in to help.

Eventually they both realize their feelings for each other but Bo still has to deal with the immigration stuff, too. They reach their happily ever after but there are a lot of bumps along the way. Kimberly was not my favorite character but I still loved this book.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FIRESIDE by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reprint edition (June 26, 2012)). ISBN 978-0778314899.  416p.


YOU ME EVERYTHING by Catherine Isaac

May 25, 2018

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From the publisher:

Set in the French countryside on an idyllic summer vacation, a delicious, tender novel about finding joy and love even in the most unexpected places. 

Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend—and William’s father—Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Lush gardens, a gorgeous pool, delectable French food, and a seemingly never-ending wine list—what’s not to like?  Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam fall in love with his own son.

But Adam has other ideas, and another girlfriend—and he doesn’t seem inclined to change the habits of a lifetime just because Jess and William have appeared on the scene.   Jess isn’t surprised, but William—who has quickly come to idolize his father—wants nothing more than to spend time with him. But Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down—because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody—especially William—must discover.

By turns heartwrenching and hopeful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman’s fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.


Jess has raised William alone with a bi-annual visit from his father. They are not close, to say the least. But luckily, her parents have helped quite a bit, at least until her mother got sick. Her mother has Huntington’s Disease, which is pretty much your worst nightmare.

Jess takes William to spend the summer at the hotel his father owns and invites some friends to go along, too. What should be an lovely summer has plenty of ups and downs to keep things from being too perfect.

This book reminded me a bit of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. It definitely gets maudlin near the end, but it takes an inordinate amount of time to get there. So little happens that the book felt overly long, which was surprising from Pamela Dorman. She is one of those editors that I look for and will generally read anything she puts out. This one was a tiny bit disappointing. I liked the romance, the French setting, the food, and the characters. Dorman books tend towards literary fiction, which is more character driven than plot driven, despite whatever genre they might fall into. I just wished there was more story to this story.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

YOU ME EVERYTHING by Catherine Isaac. Pamela Dorman Books (May 1, 2018). ISBN 978-0735224537.  368p.



May 24, 2018

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Scandal & Scoundrel, Book III

Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, is a very ambitious man. He has worked his way up through the government as one of their best spies, and his dream job is in sight but just out of reach. To get the job, he needs a wife.

Spies do not make the best husbands. They are secretive and travel extensively, but that is not Bebingstoke’s problem. He is, in fact, already married, but shortly after he wed, his wife left him and moved to France. They have been out of touch for many years. But he needs her to get this promotion, so off to France he goes.

Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, has grown quite to used to being on her own. When her husband shows up, they strike a deal to have her return to England. They were once very much in love, but neither was mature enough or strong enough to make the marriage work. This is their second chance, not that either one of them will admit it.

This was a very enjoyable read with a lot of wit and some heat. I don’t think I read the earlier books in the series and it didn’t seem to matter. Well done.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE DAY OF THE DUCHESS by Sarah MacLean. Avon; Reissue edition (June 27, 2017). ISBN 978-0062379436.  400p.



May 23, 2018

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From the publisher:


An addictive psychological thriller about a group of women whose lives become unexpectedly connected when one of their newborns goes missing.

A night out. A few hours of fun. That’s all it was meant to be.

They call themselves the May Mothers—a group of new moms whose babies were born in the same month. Twice a week, they get together in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park for some much-needed adult time.

When the women go out for drinks at the hip neighborhood bar, they want a fun break from their daily routine. But on this hot Fourth of July night, something goes terrifyingly wrong: one of the babies is taken from his crib. Winnie, a single mom, was reluctant to leave six-week-old Midas with a babysitter, but her fellow May Mothers insisted everything would be fine. Now he is missing. What follows is a heart-pounding race to find Midas, during which secrets are exposed, marriages are tested, and friendships are destroyed.

This is one of the latest psychological thrillers with an unreliable narrator; in this case, there are several. Plus there’s a missing baby and the setting is Prospect Park in Brooklyn, and my son lives right near there and spends many weekends in that park. So I was hooked.

But….I had a hard time following all the characters and I found it very slow. I know I’m in trouble with a book when I keep putting it down and looking for something else to read. It took me a week to read this, and I read 5 or 6 other books during that time. I was determined to finish it – Kerry Washington, after all, and Brooklyn, and a missing baby for heaven’s sake. But no, this was just not my favorite.

Any time there is a baby missing, that automatically ups the suspense, at least for me. But here it didn’t work, it just got lost (no pun intended!) as the story wanders off too many times. I much prefer a tighter book. There is a trope with these kinds of thrillers where the main incident is brought back time after time with a bit more information given after each revisit, and I have seen that done to great effect many times. Here, it just felt slow and repetitive.  I also didn’t understand why each chapter started with an email of parenting tips; I found it distracting (was that why?) and ultimately pointless.

All in all, not a great read for me. But if you like mommy books like those from Liane Moriarty (which I loved), or unreliable narrators, The Perfect Mother may be the perfect book for you.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PERFECT MOTHER by Aimee Molloy. William Morrow; 1st Edition edition (January 2, 2018). ISBN 978-0062678416. 448p.


FIELD OF VALOR by Matthew Betley

May 22, 2018

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Logan West Thrillers Series, Book 3

This is an exciting, action packed novel featuring Logan West and his deadly task force. While it is based on some facts from a previously written book about a world wide plot to take down the U.S. government and pit America against China, it can be read in one gulp. The plot is the same as other Matthew Betley books with West and his task force. A huge amount of military style action and danger filled sequences set on a stage in the U.S. itself. The area is near Washington D.C., i.e., Virginia, Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The enemy is a gigantic, extremely well funded international organization with the means to rival many first world countries.

Leadership of this titanic organization runs to the very top of the U.S. government with the means to learn secrets only held by a few.

Betley does include some humanizing facts about the warriors comprising West’s task force. Two of the members are in the starting stages of a romance with the girl as much of a fighter as her boy friend. Logan himself is married with his wife aware of the dangers he faces and worried about him for that. The book is a fast read, as indicated as much action as can possibly be crammed into it’s pages, and certainly a draw for those books featuring Logan and his task force coming out in the future.

5/18 Paul Lane

FIELD OF VALOR by Matthew Betley. Atria/Emily Bestler Books (May 22, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501161988. 400p.


May 21, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 4

The fourth entry into this terrific series centers around two minor characters that appeared in previous books – Greg’s ex-wife Sophie Bellamy and veterinarian Noah Shepherd.

Greg has had custody of their kids since the divorce, but once teenage daughter Daisy had a baby, she moved out despite being such a young, single mother. But their younger son still lives with Greg, and Daisy lives nearby.

Meanwhile Sophie, an international attorney, has been working on a two year long intense case at The Hague. When the case finally is resolved, there is a party to celebrate but the party is cut short by terrorists and she is kidnapped. Surviving such a horrific incident really puts her life in perspective for her and she decides her life isn’t worthwhile without her kids. So she surprises everyone when she moves into the small town in the Catskills.

On moving day, it is snowing and once she gets to town it basically turns into a blizzard and her car gets stuck in a ditch. Veterinarian Noah Shepherd rescues her but she pretty much has to stay with him as there is no safe way for her to get to her new home. Luckily, he seems like the nice guy he really is and she’s not too uncomfortable staying with a stranger until the storm lets up. And that is the meet-cute.

There is definite chemistry going on with Noah and Sophie, but of course there are problems too. Noah’s last girlfriend broke up with him when he told her he wanted kids, and Sophie already has more or less grown children. And Sophie is ten years older than Noah, a fact that he finds out pretty early and doesn’t care about, but she does.

Have I mentioned before that some of the books contain recipes? This one does, too. just a nice added bonus as far as I’m concerned. I love this whole series and this book is no exception, it’s wonderful.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SNOWFALL AT WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reprint edition (October 24, 2017)). ISBN 978-0778331322. 432p.


Six Picks: Beach Reads

May 20, 2018

Very eclectic list!


May 19, 2018

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Forbidden Hearts, Book 3

I didn’t read the first two books in this series, but I didn’t feel like I was missing out – until I finished this book, and liked it so much that now I know what I was missing. I will find the first two books in this series for sure.

This is a character driven story, and I really enjoyed watching Eve grow from a naive, shy, sheltered young woman into a strong woman who knows her mind and isn’t afraid to express herself. Eve has always had a crush on her older brother’s best friend, Gabe, and when her brother’s wedding approaches, Eve and Gabe are forced to spend time together.

Gabe is the housekeeper’s son so always felt like a bit of an outsider. He is a typical romance bad boy, tattooed etc., but he’s also a really nice guy. He feels like he is too old for Eve and that they have too much dividing them, like the fact that she is an heiress who is forbidden to date him. Despite his strong feelings of attraction for her, Gabe is keeping his distane for these reasons and more – he is also hiding something and it takes a while for it to come out, and until it does, he doesn’t want to get involved with Eve.

Eventually, they work out their problems and as always, true love finds its reward along with plenty of steamy sex. I really enjoyed this book and will look for others by this author.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HURTS TO LOVE YOU by Alisha Rai. Avon (March 27, 2018). ISBN 978-0062566768. 384p. Kindle


May 18, 2018

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Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 3

As per my usual, I stumbled across this book, loved the cover (isn’t it pretty?) and started reading. Yes, I occasionally do judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, this is the third book in a romance series that is probably best read in order. I was a bit lost, but I liked it enough to go find the first two books, What We Find (2016) and Any Day Now (2017) and read those. Then it all came together for me and I am happy to report that this is a terrific series.

Dakota Jones has just gotten out of the army and isn’t really sure what he wants to do with his life. Like most soldiers, he has baggage aplenty so he decides to move to the small Colorado town where his brother and sister have landed. He finds himself enjoying reconnecting with his siblings and really likes the peaceful atmosphere of the small town, the friendly people and the surrounding mountains.

Dakota’s not planning on hanging around for too long, though, until he meets Sid Shandon, a bartender who seems immune to his charms. Meanwhile, there are a couple of other women who find him most appealing and make for an interesting subplot with the lengths they will go to date him. Sid and Dakota both have really interesting backstories and it is fun watching them make those discoveries and fall in love.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FAMILY GATHERING by Robyn Carr. MIRA (April 17, 2018). ISBN 978-0778330769.  352p.