ONE NIGHT ONLY by Catherine Walsh

July 30, 2021

An absolutely hilarious and uplifting romantic comedy

From the publisher:

Who could have predicted this? Being at the same wedding. In Ireland. There’s a reason one-night stands are one-night stands. You’re not supposed to see each other again, especially not when you’re the maid of honor, and he’s the groom’s brother…

Sarah Anderson
 has never been more excited about anything in her life. She’s going to her best friend’s wedding. And not just any wedding. An Irish wedding. Goodbye New York, hello rolling green hills and men with beautiful accents and twinkling eyes.

But Sarah should have known that not all guests are fairy-tale princes…

There’s the chinless Uncle Trevor, whose idea of small talk is to claim climate change is a conspiracy.

Then there’s Great Aunt Eileen, who doesn’t talk at all (she’s too busy replacing the hotel cutlery with her own set).

Worst of all, there’s Declan Murphy. Best man. Brother of the groom. And the man Sarah last saw naked.

Is there anything more mortifying than bumping into a one-night stand halfway across the world? Especially as Declan seems determined to embarrass Sarah at every turn. At least when the wedding’s over she’ll never have to see him again.

But, back in New York, Sarah finds the more she tries to forget Declan, the more she can’t shake the thought of that infuriatingly charming smile and the way he wears a tux…

Was he really just for one night only, or might Declan Murphy be The One?

Prepare to laugh until you cry with this perfect feel-good romantic comedy about taking a chance on love. Fans of Sophie Ranald, Sophie Kinsella and Marian Keyes won’t be able to put this down!

The premise here isn’t new, but it works. Sarah has some history that she is determined not to repeat. For starters, her mother had an affair and took off, leaving her father brokenhearted for years. Then Sarah met Josh, and they dated for a year until she told him she was in love with him. Then he dumped her. So Sarah decides relationships just aren’t for her, but she has needs so she sticks to one night stands. Meet a guy, sleep with him, then say goodbye; clean and neat and bloodless.

Sarah’s favorite neighborhood bar is a great place to pick up men. She brings home this gorgeous man, but when she wakes up, he’s still there and doesn’t seem like he wants to leave. He’s talking breakfast, possibly more sex, but Sarah panics and kicks him out, none too gently. She has to get to work and she’s done.

Work is no picnic lately and Sarah is happy to have this vacation coming up. Her best friend is getting married in Ireland, and she can’t wait to escape. There are a week’s worth of pre-wedding activities, and as maid of honor, Sarah will be kept busy. The first night is a welcome dinner, where she is seated with some odd relatives and the groom’s brother, Declan. Who turns out to be the one night stand. And whose mother is doing a little matchmaking and trying to push them together.

Obviously, there is attraction there or she wouldn’t have brought him home to begin with, but one and done means she is not interested. But Declan is, and he pursues Sarah regardless. She is starting to enjoy spending time with him, and ends up sleeping with him again. But that’s it, two and done.

Back in New York, Sarah finds out Declan owns her favorite bar and he’s been noticing her for a while. She is trying to keep her distance but she can’t control her thoughts, or her dreams. Plus she keeps bumping into him and enjoying the time they spend together. But Sarah is very skittish, to say the least. It’s going to take a lot for Declan to earn her trust.

Eventually, they reach their happy ending but not without a lot of back and forth and hurdles for both of them. This was a fun read with a lot of laughs but there is also surprising emotional depth here. There are a lot of characters, probably too many to get to know them all at least minimally, but the main characters are interesting and definitely worth spending time with. I enjoyed this and recommend.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ONE NIGHT ONLY by Catherine Walsh. Bookouture (July 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-1800195653. 398 pages.








July 29, 2021

Highland Falls, Book 1

From the publisher:

Sparks fly between an L.A. career woman and a former Army Ranger in this delightful enemies-to-lovers romance from the USA Today bestselling queen of small-town love stories.

Welcome to Highland Falls, a small town where love is always in the air.

In just a few months Abby Everhart has gone from being a top LA media influencer to an unemployed divorcée living out of her car. So inheriting her great-aunt’s homestead comes at the perfect time. Abby heads to Highland Falls, North Carolina, to spruce up Honeysuckle Farm before putting it on the market for some much-needed cash. But instead of finding a charming getaway, she discovers a serious fixer-upper, complete with a leaky roof, overgrown yard, and a reclusive — albeit sexy — man living on the property.

Ex-Delta Force soldier Hunter MacKenzie has faced war and loss, but nothing has quite prepared him for an outgoing redhead who’s determined to turn his life upside down. Hunter doesn’t want to get involved with anyone, especially a city girl who plans to sell the only place he’s ever felt at home. But the sparks between them are undeniable. Spending time with Abby is easy. Convincing her to stay for good is another matter entirely.

I’ve read the second and third books in this series and really enjoyed them, so I went back and found the first book that I missed. Sometimes the first book in a series ends up being the best, but I actually liked the two that followed better. I think part of that is an author goes into a series knowing they have to introduce a bunch of characters who won’t play a big part in the story, but will in later books. So there are a lot of characters here that are briefly mentioned and sometimes I found that distracting.

Abby and Hunter are the most mismatched pair I’ve read about in a while. They both have tons of baggage but handle it differently. Abby is determined to get past her previous rejection and regain the fame and fortune that was taken from her. Hunter appears to have PTSD (my diagnosis, thank you very much!) and has chosen to withdraw from society completely. He lives on the farm and Abby’s Aunt bequeathed him most of the land and the barn, while leaving Abby the house and the backyard. Neither is thrilled about that but Abby desperately needs money, so she has to take on renovating the house to sell it. It is in very bad shape.

While Hunter was living on the farm, he somehow managed to avoid seeing his family or anyone, for that matter, by never going into the small town where they all live. Apparently he felt it worth his time to travel to the next town to do his shopping – a town where no one knows him or bothers him. At least that was my understanding. He is also an artist, a sculptor, and his barn houses all his creations as he refuses to show them or try and sell them.

Abby is a YouTube star with millions of followers. But when she gets dumped, the ex manages to take it all away from her. She ends up living in her car for a while, works as an Uber driver, and is just barely hanging on when she inherits the farmhouse across the country. Thinking it is the solution to her problems, she is determined to fix it up and sell it. Then she meets Hunter.

It’s pretty much hate at first sight. He hates women who wear high heels on a farm and carry a tiny dog wearing a dress. She hates that he is so taciturn and obviously has disdain for her, but she is a very friendly woman who likes to chatter, something else he hates. But grudgingly he agrees to help her fix up the place.

You can guess what happens but it takes a long time for them to get together. Usually the journey is the most fun, but it sort of dragged a bit for me. Honestly, if I had read this book first I might not have read the next two. Sometimes things happen for a reason, and I’m glad I didn’t read this series in order. There are plenty of laughs here though, and it is a sweet romance with a satisfying ending. By the way, the Kindle version is on sale for $2.99 for however long that lasts.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SUMMER ON HONEYSUCKLE RIDGE by Debbie Mason. Forever (May 26, 2020). ISBN: 978-1538716946. 400 pages.




IT’S RAINING MEN by Julie Hammerle

July 28, 2021

From the publisher:

Don’t drink and text.

Even on the cusp of forty, I had to learn that the hard way. After discovering my best friend, who I was supposed to grow old and single with, got engaged, I drowned my loneliness in one too many Old Fashioneds and woke up with thirty-nine responses from every available man in my phone. Yup, I even texted my plumber…and he turned me down.

Apparently, my liquor-infused text said that while I don’t need a man, maybe I’d be down for a constant sidekick for movies, plus-one invites, and dinner on the table after my grueling shifts as a concierge doctor―till death do us part…and was anyone in?

Through the absolute mortification of thirty-seven rejections, shockingly, I realize two men have said yes. Behind Bachelor Door #1 is Rob, my old high school crush: the comfortable, dependable boy-next-door. Behind Bachelor Door #2 is Darius, the exciting, flashy news reporter about to hit it big. Does this mean I’ll have to get out of my yoga pants and actually go on dates now?

Dax, the local bartender who got me into this disaster in the first place―remember the Old Fashioneds?―can’t believe I’ve given up on finding true love. What does a tattooed, broody twentysomething know about carving out a future for yourself, anyway?

Too bad the further into this hot mess I get, the less I know about who I am. And I’m going to have to figure out exactly what I need if I ever want to find a true happily ever after.

Adorable title, cute cover, I was in. And according to Amazon’s “about the author”, Hammerle, who is new to me, is a “USA Today bestselling, RITA (R) nominated author (who) writes romantic comedies focused on women over forty.” Our protagonist is just under at 39, but that 40th birthday is definitely looming.

Annie has two best friends, one of whom, Yessi, is married and has a child, and the other, Kelly, single and living in her basement apartment. Kelly and Annie are focused on their careers. Kelly sells real estate and Annie is a concierge doctor who recently took over a very successful practice. But she’s on her own and on call to her patients 24/7, and they take full advantage of that. So when Kelly announces she’s engaged to a man that Annie hasn’t met or even heard of, things become strained between the two friends. Then Kelly moves across the state to be with her fiancé.

After that announcement, Annie stays at the bar where they had been playing trivia and gets hammered. The bartender, Dax, is a hot young 27-year-old but he ends up taken the very drunk Annie home. She wakes up with an awful hangover and the young man sleeping on her couch. She also wakes up to the fact that she drunk-texted every man she knows and basically proposed to them. Shockingly, two men said yes.

Even though Annie is pushing 40 and knows she is way too old for Dax, they definitely have chemistry. But Annie is looking to settle down, so she is going to marry for companionship and just has to choose between the two men who said yes.

I really enjoyed this romance because the characters were so believable. I couldn’t help but root for Annie to find her happily ever after. Like Dax, I don’t believe marrying for companionship is ever a good idea, but Annie had to figure that out for herself, as well as mend fences with the friends she brushed off for her patients. This was a fast, fun read and I highly recommend!

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

IT’S RAINING MEN by Julie Hammerle. Entangled: Amara (July 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-1649370280. 400 pages.







July 27, 2021

The Ryan Family, Book 1

From the publisher:

From the bestselling author of Queen of Cowboy: regrets and old heartbreaks are unearthed in this sweeping love story as hometown sweethearts get a second chance at love—and being a family.

Retired combat medic Jesse Ryan hasn’t been home much since he enlisted twenty years ago. Now he’s headed back to Texas to help take care of his aging foster parents and run Sunflower ranch. But when he gets there, he finds his parents’ live-in nurse is Addison Hall, his high school best friend and the woman he always regretted leaving behind after their one steamy night together before he shipped out. He’s not at all surprised that their chemistry is still sparking, but Jesse is shocked to learn Addy gave birth to a little girl about nine months after he left—his little girl.

​Addy has her hands full as a single mom of a nineteen-year-old daughter who suddenly wants to rebel at everything. The last thing she needs is Jesse Ryan complicating her life even further, especially since she’s always had a crush on the handsome cowboy. But the more time she spends with Jesse, the more she wonders what might happen if they finally let their friendship blossom into something more and became the family she’d always hoped for. 

Includes the bonus novella Small Town Charm for the first time in print!

Brown writes several different series, but I especially enjoy her cowboy romances. In this story, the romance is centered around Jesse, a cowboy that enlisted and served in the Air Force. Twenty years in and he’s retiring, just in time to come home and help his aging parents with the family ranch. Addy was his best friend growing up, and they finally spent the night together his last night at home before leaving for the service. Addy never told him that she got pregnant that night.

When he returns home it’s to find Addy and her 19 year old daughter living on the ranch. Addy is a nurse, and after Jesse’s dad had a couple of strokes, they asked her to stay on so he would have a nurse nearby. She also helps out on the ranch along with her daughter, who also works there.

It doesn’t take Jesse long to do the math and figure out who the baby daddy is. But it takes a lot longer to rekindle the romance with Addy. There is a lot of family drama before Jesse and Addy get their happy ending. But the journey to get there is fun, and at times, emotional. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to the next Ryan Family book.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SECOND CHANCE AT SUNFLOWER RANCH by Carolyn Brown. Forever (July 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538735619. 400 pages.







July 26, 2021

From the publisher:


A “gripping” (Entertainment Weekly) mystery about a woman who thinks she’s found the love of her life—until he disappears.

Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her. Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers—Owen’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother.

As Hannah’s increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen’s boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn’t who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen’s true identity—and why he really disappeared.

Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen’s past, they soon realize they’re also building a new future—one neither of them could have anticipated.

With its breakneck pacing, dizzying plot twists, and evocative family drama, The Last Thing He Told Me is a riveting mystery, certain to shock you with its final, heartbreaking turn.

I haven’t read a thriller in a while and this one kept popping up as the one to read this summer, so I did. It is a fast paced story with interesting characters, but not a lot of depth. If you are looking for a quick, entertaining read, look no further. I read it in one night.

Hannah’s mother took off when she was a young child, leaving her in the care of her grandfather as there was no father in the picture. Her grandfather was a woodturner, and he taught Hannah his craft. Once a table she made landed in Architectural Digest, her career was made. She creates mostly custom pieces on commission for the uber wealthy. That’s how she meets Owen.

Owen works for one of Hannah’s regular customers. They are in NY and Owen’s boss stops by the wood shop to check on their current piece in progress. Owen is entranced with Hannah, and she is equally attracted to him. Owen is a young widower, having lost his wife in a tragic car accident when his daughter was a toddler. He hasn’t dated much over the years since he lost his wife, but he quickly realizes that Hannah is someone special. Bailey, his 16-year-old daughter, is not thrilled; she hasn’t had to share her doting father and isn’t sure she wants to. This is not unexpected behavior. What is unexpected is how Hannah relates to Bailey. Having no real relationship with her own mother, and at 40 Hannah is pretty sure she is not having her own children, Hannah leans in to the relationship as best as she can. Bailey eventually accepts her but grudgingly.

The family dynamic is upended when Owen disappears. He leaves a note for Hannah, but all it says is “protect her.” She knows he means Bailey. He leaves Bailey a longer note and a bag full of cash. hundreds of thousands of dollars, stuffed into her school locker before he takes off. Then the shit hits the fan; turns out the company he works for is in serious trouble with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Shop, as it is known, has been raided and the Owen’s boss arrested. Hannah’s best friend, Jules, is a photojournalist and she gives Hannah a heads up on the upcoming raid which is how Owen has time to disappear.

The FBI and the US Marshal’s office send agents to their home, a houseboat in Sausalito, but neither Hannah nor Bailey know anything. Hannah starts to suspect there is more to Owen’s disappearance than what happened at The Shop. This suspicion takes her to Austin, Texas, where she pretty quickly figures out why Owen has gone missing. By quickly I mean just a few days but it takes most of the book to get there.

The ending was so family-centric that it was almost jarring and hard to believe. Maybe if I had been more emotionally wrangled into the Owen-Hannah relationship it would have made more sense, but I didn’t quite get that the two years they were together were enough to make it all plausible. That said, it was a very good read and I enjoyed it. This was a Reese Witherspoon pick which I generally like, and this book was no exception.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave. Simon & Schuster; Book Club edition (May 4, 2021). ISBN: 978-1501171345. 320 pages.







HEART ON A LEASH by Alanna Martin

July 25, 2021

Hearts of Alaska, Book 1

From the publisher:

Young pups teach frozen hearts new tricks when a pack of rescue huskies inspire love and romance in a coastal Alaskan town fractured by feuding families.

Taylor Lipin has made it her life’s mission to leave her hometown and its ridiculous, century-old feud with the Porters behind. But when her sister needs help running the family inn, Taylor agrees to return to Helen, Alaska on a temporary, definitely not longer than two weeks, basis. Or so she thinks, until she’s quite literally swept off her feet and into enemy territory by three happy huskies and their drool-worthy owner, Dr. Josh Krane.

Though Josh didn’t grow up in Helen with the rest of his Porter cousins, he’s heard the stories: Porters rescue huskies. The Lipins are cat people. Keep to your pack. But Taylor is too tempting to give up–plus, his dogs love her.

As Taylor and Josh grow closer, tensions in the town escalate and the need for secrecy starts taking a toll. Soon they’ll need to decide whether their newfound love is just a summer fling or if they’ve found their forever home.

As soon as I finished reading the second book in this series (Paws and Prejudice) I sought out this book. It would have been better had I read this one first. Some series are meant to be read in order and I think this series works better that way.

First of all, the cover. The dogs are a major part of both stories, and I love that. The small town of Helen, Alaska has this century-old feud going on between the Lipin and Porter families. The history of the feud is shady, at best, but it supposedly started when one of the families tries to steal the other family’s dogs, and that was it. Porters are the dog people, and Lipins like cats. So cats and dogs!

But when Josh, a Porter, falls in love with Taylor, a Lipin, the families take sides and both are determined to break up the happy couple. They had a few weeks of peace by sneaking around, but once the families find out, all bets are off. Vandalism, threats, family sit-downs and more don’t deter the couple but the families will not stop. Until finally Josh is scared that Taylor could get seriously hurt, so he dumps her to protect her. Big mistake.

The characters, and there are a lot of them, come to life on the page and the setting is, well, small town Alaska and all that I love. Oh, and Josh is half Jewish. I’ve found it interesting to find Jews in Alaska when it seems like most (all) small town romances usually end up with a Christmas book at some point. I love those, but I like finding my people, even if it’s just one character in the story. It means a lot to me.

There are lots of laugh out loud moments here plus some steamy sex and packs of cute dogs, Huskies to be exact. Look at that cover! Completely irresistible, like this story. Can’t wait for the next book in the series (and I hope it’s Taylor’s sister Lydia’s happy ending next!)

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

HEART ON A LEASH by Alanna Martin. Berkley (April 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593198834. 368 pages.






BLOOD KIN by Matt Hilton

July 24, 2021

A Grey and Villere Thriller, Book 8

From the publisher:

A fast-paced and action-packed ride through upstate New York for fans of CHRIS RYAN and STEPHEN LEATHER.

When Nicolas ‘Po’ Villere runs into Elspeth Fuchs, an old flame, he’s surprised to find who’s by her side. It’s her son, Jacob, and he’s a dead ringer for when Po was a child. His age lines up with when Po last saw Elspeth, before she left him for Caleb Moorcock and a life in a secluded community.

Elspeth and Jacob are now running for their lives from the abusive Caleb. Po and his partner, Private Investigator Tess Grey, offer shelter. But before Po can dive into the boy’s parentage, Caleb snatches the absconded pair and drags them back to their fortified commune.

Has Po dodged a bullet? Maybe it’s best for them all if he never learns whether he’s Jacob’s father. Who’s he kidding? Po resolves to rescue Elspeth and discover the truth about Jacob no matter what . . .

Matt Hilton is a top tier author of exciting crime novels and “Blood Kin” certainly ranks with the best of them. It features Tess Grey a private detective and Nicolas “Po” Villere an ex-con who had been imprisoned for murdering his father. Po’s contention was that there were extenuating circumstances but he did serve his sentence picking up a wide variety of “skills” while incarcerated, some of these quite lethal.

The story begins while Po is waiting for Tess to finish up a day in court and he runs into Elspeth Fuchs whom he hasn’t seen in years and once was almost married to. She is traveling with her 10-year-old son Jacob. Po is fascinated by Jacob who looks very much like him and based on the number of years since they were together could actually be his child conceived while being with Elspeth. He invites them to his home to meet Tess, but Elspeth doesn’t trust their motives and disappears with her son.

A sixth sense pushes Po and Tess to follow them and they do so accompanied by Pinky a friend of theirs who has the build of a strong men, is definitely one and believes it is his function to help his friends. Their chase gets them to an enclave run by Caleb Moorcock who is Elspeth’s husband and is a tyrant and a bully with the added problem of being a murderer and dealing in drugs.

The plot certainly includes necessary conflict and the attempt to rescue Elspeth and her son from the tyranny of Elspeth’s psychotic husband. The book is easily finished in one fell swoop and the reader kept involved by the constant action and shifting in the presentation of characters. I’ve had the pleasure of reading other novels by Matt Hilton and do feel comfortable in recommending this book and all future novels by him to readers that go for police and crime books.

7/2021 Paul Lane

BLOOD KIN by Matt Hilton. Severn House Publishers; Main edition (August 3, 2021). ISBN: 978-0727890962. 240 pages.







July 23, 2021

It Happened One Summer, Book 1

From the publisher:

Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who’s cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong. 

As seen on E!Online, PopSugar, CNN, EliteDaily, Vulture, Buzzfeed, Bustle, the Nerd Daily, PARADE, LA Magazine, Country Living, USA Today, and more!

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart. 

We started watching Schitt’s Creek not that long ago, during the pandemic, and finished it a few weeks ago. Apparently, I’m in the minority because I didn’t love it. I liked the most of the characters, but I expect sitcoms to make me laugh. I think I laughed just a few times throughout six seasons, so I didn’t find it especially funny. I enjoyed the final season the most so when I saw this book was inspired by the show, specifically the Alexis Rose character, I was intrigued. Bailey is one of my go to writers; I read all her books so even though I didn’t find the show particularly funny, I could see where it would be a good jumping off point for a book.

The main character, Piper, is basically Alexis Rose. She’s a Beverly Hills social media darling, and Instagram is her world. Pretty, vapid, and shallow, as her boyfriend tells her while breaking up with her three weeks after they started dating, about the longest relationship she has had. After the breakup, Piper invites everyone she knows to break into the Mondrian Hotel pool and after being turned in as the ringleader by her “best friend”, Piper spends the night in jail. Upon her return home, her very wealthy movie mogul stepfather informs her that he has had enough. Her little hotel stunt may have cost him the funding he needs for his next film.

Piper learns that her father, who died when she was a toddler, has left her and her sister a dive bar in Washington state. Her stepfather has been paying someone for minimal upkeep but he decides that Piper needs to learn how most people live, and he gives her a bare minimum of funds and sends her off to the small town of Westport for three months. Hannah, her sister, decides to go with her. The girls are close, and Piper is thrilled she won’t be banished alone.

So the general plot is rich girl gets cut off from her money, much like Schitt’s Creek. Piper meets Brendan shortly after arriving in town, and he is not a fan. But as she and Hannah start cleaning up the bar and the apartment above, he starts to help them. Piper is not used to men wanting anything but sex from her, so she doesn’t quite understand why this man is helping her. And eventually they fall in love.

There are a lot of really funny scenes throughout the book, and some really sweet ones, too. When they finally get together, there is some hot sex as well. But for me the best part was how Piper grows and changes, all for the better. There are enough quirky characters to add another layer of interest. Also I had no idea that crab fishing was so profitable. All in all, a very interesting and entertaining romance. Best of all, this is the first book of a new series.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

IT HAPPENED ONE SUMMER by Tessa Bailey. Avon (July 13, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063045651. 416 pages.








July 22, 2021

Highland Falls, Book 3

From the publisher:

Fall in love with the latest Highland Falls romance about a single mom-to-be’s surprise delivery and the undercover FBI agent who rescues her and her heart in the small town of Highland Falls.

Single mom-to-be Sadie Gray will do anything to find her younger brother before the law catches up with him. Even if it means returning home to the small town of Highland Falls with a baby due any moment. But when that moment comes sooner than expected, and Sadie finds herself stranded on the top of a mountain—in labor–she couldn’t be more grateful for the park ranger who finds her and helps deliver her daughter safely. Soon they’ve formed a tight friendship, and while he may be hinting at more, Sadie isn’t planning to stick around after she finds her brother.

FBI agent Chase Roberts wasn’t looking for love when he agreed to go undercover as a park ranger to find an on-the-run informant. But he can’t help being drawn to beautiful, warm-hearted Sadie and her sweet baby daughter. He’s always longed to put down roots and start a family. But how can he hope to keep Sadie’s trust when she finds out that his job is to arrest the brother she’s been looking for? 

This is another sweet romance in the Highland Falls series. I’ve read the second book but somehow missed the first (again) but I found it on my Kindle and moved it up on the to-be-read list.

This book was more romantic suspense than just a romance, but it worked. I had a harder time with the love-at-first-sight aspect of the story, but I went with it anyway. Sadie is pregnant, but the baby daddy, Drew, is a real prize. He disappears, he maxed out Sadie’s credit cards, and he isn’t interested in being a father. So when Sadie’s brother gets into serious trouble with a gang and with the police, she moves home to try and help out.

The baby comes a little early, and luckily Chase and his partner are in the area. Both men are undercover, but they manage to deliver the baby before disappearing. Chase just falls in love with the baby and Sadie, and she names the baby after him but is heartbroken when he disappears. She is struggling with the baby and worried about her brother and her grandmother, but then he returns with the bad news that he is undercover. But he is so helpful and that attraction is still there, stronger than ever.

There are lots of twists in the story but the romance comes through in the end. I enjoyed this and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

FALLING IN LOVE ON WILLOW CREEK by Debbie Mason. Forever (June 29, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538717004. 400 pages.




PRETENDING by Holly Bourne

July 21, 2021

From the publisher:

He said he was looking for a “partner in crime,” which everyone knows is shorthand for “a woman who isn’t real.”

April is kind, pretty and relatively normal—yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that men aren’t looking for real women—they’re looking for Gretel.

Gretel is perfect—beautiful but low-maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not too easy. She’s your regular, everyday Manic-Pixie-Dream-Girl-Next-Door with no problems.

When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun—especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control. It’s refreshing. Exhilarating, even. But as she and Joshua grow closer, and the pressure of keeping her painful past a secret begins to build, how long will she be able to keep on pretending?

“Thoughtful, smart and painfully true.” —Cosmopolitan UK

Dating sucks. April has learned this painful lesson so well that she invents the perfect date and even gives her a name, Gretel. Gretel is everything April is not. She’s confident, has great self esteem, is independent, and of course, sexy. After so many bad dates, April decides to channel her inner Gretel when she meets Joshua.

Joshua is your basic unicorn; a genuinely nice guy. And he falls pretty quickly for April/Gretel, only he doesn’t know the real April, only the Gretel she lets him see. But soon April finds it tiring to be on all the time, and as they grow closer, Joshua realizes something is up. But April is scared to be herself until Joshua proves that he wants the real April.

This is a fun, easy read, perfect for whiling away a Sunday afternoon when it is too hot to do anything else but read. Okay, it doesn’t have to be too hot, it doesn’t have to be too anything, it’s just an entertaining read and yes, I spend a good part of my weekends reading (and my house looks like it!) But what I liked best about this book was the strong female lead character and the humor – there were a lot of laughs here. While some may see it as anti-men, I see it as anti-misogynistic men, and (wo)mansplained in a language anyone can understand. Plus a great cover!

7/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

PRETENDING by Holly Bourne. MIRA; Original edition (November 17, 2020). ISBN: 978-0778331506. 416 pages.