June 19, 2021

A Single Dad, a Woman Grieving, and a Beautiful Contemporary Western Romance

Creedence Horse Rescue, Book 2

From the publisher:

“I don’t think I could stay away from you if I tried.”
He shook his head.
“And I have been trying. I told myself not to go to your house tonight.
I ordered my hand not to hold yours.
But apparently I can’t control myself when it comes to you, Elle Brooks.”

When a kitchen fire forces young widow Elle Brooks to move in with her friend Bryn and her motley collection of rescue animals, she doesn’t foresee ending up in the muscled arms of handsome cowboy and veterinarian Brody Tate. Spending time with the hunky cowboy and his adorable young daughter as they rehabilitate rescued horses reminds Elle of all she lost in a car crash years ago.

Brody is devoted to being a good dad for his spirited daughter. He hasn’t let romance even enter his head. But now he’s met Elle. Spending time with her is shaking up the calm he’s worked so hard to achieve, and he can’t seem to get this woman off his mind.

This author was new to me and as usual, I missed the first book in this series. But this book stood alone beautifully; I wouldn’t have known I missed anything.

Brody is a vet and a volunteer fireman, not to mention a widower for several years and the dad of a sweet young daughter. He’s visiting a friend when he spots a fire across the street. He saves Bryn from her kitchen fire, and their attraction is palpable. Bryn is a young widow, and neither of them are looking for a relationship, but the attraction is too big to deny.

In addition to being a vet, Brody also runs an animal rehab. (I think he may walk on water in his spare time.) I couldn’t help rooting for this couple to get past all their hurdles and get together. This is a sweet romance, not as sad as it may sound being they both lost their spouses. There is some humor as well. All in all, this book was a good read, good enough for me to go find the first book in the series, A Cowboy State of Mind. I found the ebook on Hoopla, courtesy of my library.

If you like cowboys and animals as much as I do, you will enjoy this romance!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WHEN A COWBOY LOVES A WOMAN by Jennie Marts. Sourcebooks Casablanca (March 30, 2021) Amara (March 9, 2021). ISBN: 978-1492689140. 336 pages.







THE STEPSISTERS by Susan Mallery

June 17, 2021

From the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery pens a love story of a different sort…a heartfelt tale of friendship between two women who used to be sisters.

Once upon a time, when her dad married Sage’s mom, Daisy was thrilled to get a bright and shiny new sister. But Sage was beautiful and popular, everything Daisy was not, and she made sure Daisy knew it.

Sage didn’t have Daisy’s smarts—she had to go back a grade to enroll in the fancy rich-kid school. So she used her popularity as a weapon, putting Daisy down to elevate herself. After the divorce, the stepsisters’ rivalry continued until the final, improbable straw: Daisy married Sage’s first love, and Sage fled California.

Eighteen years, two kids and one troubled marriage later, Daisy never expects—or wants—to see Sage again. But when the little sister they have in common needs them both, they put aside their differences to care for Cassidy. As long-buried truths are revealed, no one is more surprised than they when friendship blossoms.

Their fragile truce is threatened by one careless act that could have devastating consequences. They could turn their backs on each other again…or they could learn to forgive once and for all and finally become true sisters of the heart.

I love Susan Mallery books, and this is a really good one. I feel like she usually writes romances, and while this does have a bit of romance, it is really more about a family and women and friendship. It is the kind of story that sucks you in and I couldn’t put it down.

Daisy is the main character and like all these characters, they really come to life on the page. A little background – when her widowed father remarries, she gets a stepsister, Sage. Daisy is thrilled to have a new sister but quickly learns that Sage isn’t. But Sage is beautiful and quickly becomes popular, helping to ostracize Daisy and making her high school years miserable. Her father and stepmother have a baby, Cassidy. Again Daisy wants to be a big sister to the new baby, but her stepmother is not having it. Cassidy and Sage team up against Daisy, and make her life difficult. Eventually, Daisy’s father divorces her stepmother and the girls are permanently estranged.

They are all adults in this story, and Daisy has been married for a dozen years to Sage’s ex-high school boyfriend, and they have two kids. Daisy thinks everything is fine so she is shocked when her husband suddenly moves out with no explanation. Then she gets a phone call from her father; Cassidy has been in a mountain climbing accident, and needs a place to recover. Since Daisy inherited the big mansion from her parents, she definitely has the room and can’t say no to her father.

With Cassidy firmly ensconced in the family home, Sage becomes a regular visitor and the girls start talking. There is still a lot of resentment but with time, they form new bonds. But then just when you think the happy ending is coming, there’s a twist. Actually, a few twists, making this book completely unputdownable. It’s a heartwarming read sure to appeal to fans of Elin Hilderbrand or Jennifer Weiner.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE STEPSISTERS by Susan Mallery. MIRA; Original edition (May 25, 2021). ISBN: 978-0778331803. 416 pages.








June 16, 2021


Welcome to Thorndale, Book 3

From the publisher:

An uplifting and feel-good romance to fall in love with

Sparks and tempers fly when Ben comes to stay in Daisy’s holiday cottage

Daisy likes routine. She goes to work, makes dinner for her son, then loses herself for an hour or two in her sewing. She’s not looking for change, until Ben crashes – literally – into her life.

Ben is training for a triathlon, working himself to the limit in an attempt to forget a recent trauma. Daisy wants to help, but even as they draw closer with every week that passes, he pushes her away whenever things threaten to get serious.

Can Ben open himself up to love again? And with Daisy’s life in the Yorkshire Dales and Ben’s in New York, can they have a future together even if he does?

I haven’t read this author before so I didn’t read the first two books in the series. I never felt like I was missing anything, and in fact, didn’t even realize it was part of a series until I starting working on this review. To me, that says a lot about the author’s skill of creating a book that is part of a series, but can be read as a standalone.

That said, this book was slow going. Ben has some serious issues, and try as she will, Daisy can’t seem to break through his walls. For every step forward it felt like there were at least two steps back. Most romances follow a basic formula; boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. Or vice versa. But this boy did not get the girl until the end. I did love the ending of the book, and I liked how Ben and Daisy both helped one another to overcome their own personal obstacles. FYI, there is no sex, only a few kisses if that matters to you.

I liked the characters, I loved the small English village setting, and the ending was perfect. If you like slower paced narratives with a happy ending, then this is your book.

NOTE: Library users, I found this ebook on Hoopla!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

A SUMMER OF SECOND CHANCES by Suzanne Snow. Canelo Escape (June 10, 2020). ISBN:  978-1800324992. 221 pages.





THE DEVIL’S OWN by Liana LeFey

June 15, 2021

THE DEVIL’S OWN by Liana LeFey. Entangled: Amara (June 14, 2021). ASIN: B0893QHX7F. 228 pages.




HIGHLAND HERO by Cynthia Breeding

June 14, 2021

HIGHLAND HERO by Cynthia Breeding. Entangled: Amara (June 14, 2021). ASIN : B094GSXWNF. 264 pages.




ANNE OF MANHATTAN by Brina Starler

June 13, 2021

From the publisher:

L. M. Montgomery’s classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, gets a romantic, charming, and hilarious modern adaptation, set in New York City.

After an idyllic girlhood in Avonlea, Long Island, Anne has packed up her trunk, said goodbye to her foster parents, Marilla and Matthew, and moved to the isle of Manhattan for grad school. Together with her best friend, Diana Barry, she’s ready to take on the world and find her voice as a writer.

When her long-time archrival Gilbert Blythe shows up at Redmond College for their final year, Anne gets the shock of her life. Gil has been in California for the last five years—since he kissed her during a beach bonfire, and she ghosted him. Now the handsome brunette is flashing his dimples at her like he hasn’t a care in the world and she isn’t buying it.

Paired with the same professor for their thesis, the two former competitors come to a grudging peace that turns into something so much deeper…and sexier than either intended. But when Gil seemingly betrays her to get ahead, Anne realizes she was right all along—she should never have trusted Gilbert Blythe.

While Gil must prove to Anne that they’re meant to be together, she must come to terms with her old fears if she wants a happily-ever-after with the boy she’s always (secretly) loved.

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books, so I tend to like stories based on those characters. This was a pretty good update to the story.

Avonlea has been moved to the Hamptons from its rightful place on Prince Edward Island, Canada, which I was fine with. The thing I was most concerned with was the integrity of these characters, and Starler did them justice. I haven’t read the sequels to Anne of Green Gables since I was a child, so I don’t really remember them which probably stood me well now; the fewer details I remember means a better book for me. So I was happy. I liked seeing this 21st century Anne!

Anne and Gilbert are still at odds, but they are old enough now to realize their attraction to one another. But all that baggage has left Anne leery, no matter what her heart wants. They have obstacles to overcome to reach their happily every after, and there are many of them. The story is fast paced and for me, emotional, as I love these characters so much. I may have a few quibbles with minor details, but all in all, I really liked this book. If you haven’t read the Montgomery books, it won’t matter, this book certainly stands alone. But do yourself a favor and at least read the original.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

ANNE OF MANHATTAN by Brina Starler. William Morrow Paperbacks (June 1, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063020740. 336 pages.







MAYBE ONE DAY by Debbie Johnson

June 12, 2021

From the publisher:

In the spirit of Ruth Hogan and Adriana Trigiani, bestselling British author Debbie Johnson brings us the ultimate in “happy tears”: a heartfelt story about a woman seizing the chance to reconnect with her lost love.

The truth changes everything.

For years Jess believed that Joe—the father of her child and the only man she ever loved—had abandoned her during her greatest time of need. That belief nearly destroyed her. Seventeen years later, when cleaning out her mother’s house, Jess unpacks a box of cards and letters hidden in the attic and makes a discovery that changes everything about life as she knows it.

Shaken but empowered, Jess—and her two stalwart best friends—set out on a remarkable journey to follow a set of faded postmarks around the world. Is Joe still alive? Does he know that Jess never forgot him? Maybe their love story isn’t over.

Maybe one day they’ll find each other again…

A comparison to Adriana Trigiani always grabs my attention (Note to Ade: babe, you are way overdue for your next book!)

This was such an emotional read. There is so much heart to this story and sorrow and even some laughs that it just feels completely captivating. I couldn’t help but get involved with these characters.

Having parents do something despicable is very much in my world view having lived that, so it was not at all far fetched for me to believe the basic premise of the story. The road trip to romance was appropriate and really well done. The characters come to life on the page and their story was terrific. This isn’t a light read, but a well thought out plot with believability, always a good combination, and a lot of heart. I loved it.

I didn’t recall reading this author before, so I dug around on my Kindle and found one of the books from an earlier series, The Comfort Food Cafe, but I need the earlier books. I think I’d like to read them in order. I love finding new authors, even if they are only new to me!

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

MAYBE ONE DAY by Debbie Johnson. William Morrow Paperbacks (March 2, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063003651. 384 pages.








June 11, 2021

From the publisher:

A new, sexy standalone from #1 New York Times Bestseller, Vi Keeland.

The first time I met Hudson Rothschild was at a wedding. I’d received an unexpected invitation to one of the swankiest venues in the city.

Hudson was a groomsman and quite possibly the most gorgeous man I’d ever laid eyes on. He asked me to dance, and our chemistry was off the charts.

I knew it wasn’t a good idea to get involved with him, considering the wedding I was at. But our connection was intense, and I was having a great time.

Though the fun came to a screeching halt when Hudson figured out I wasn’t who I’d said I was. You see, that unexpected invitation I received? Well, it hadn’t actually been addressed to me—it was sent to my ex-roommate who’d bounced a check for two months’ rent and moved out in the middle of the night. I figured she owed me an expensive night out, but I guess, technically, I was crashing the wedding.

Once caught, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. As I bolted for the door, I might’ve plucked a few bottles of expensive champagne off the tables I passed, all while the gorgeous, angry groomsman was hot on my tail.

Outside, I jumped into a taxi. My heart ricocheted against my ribs as we drove down the block—but at least I’d escaped unscathed.

Or so I thought.

Until I realized I’d left my cell phone behind at the table.

Take one guess who found it?

This is the crazy story of how Hudson Rothschild and I met. But trust me, it’s only the tip of the iceberg.

This author was new to me but I am so glad I found her! I loved this story. It was completely captivating; I couldn’t put the book down until I (sadly) turned the last page. Not your usual romance trope either, but closest to the enemies-to-lovers plotline. Usually that involves a lot of history between the characters, but not here. Stella meets Hudson when she crashes a fancy wedding. He’s one of the groomsmen, she’s stolen her ex-roommate’s invitation after she ghosted her. Their relationship has a ton of potential if Stella can worm her way out of what she did.

This is a charming, terrific romcom, with a lot of heat. The story was believable and romantic, and these characters were interesting and fun. I will be looking for more of Keeland’s books. I got this one through my public library after I read a glowing review, and I’m so glad I did. I love finding new authors and Keeland is now on my radar.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE INVITATION by Vi Keeland. C. Scott Publishing Corp. (January 18, 2021). ISBN: 978-1951045401. 300 pages.







LIFE’S TOO SHORT by Abby Jimenez

June 10, 2021

The Friend Zone, Book 3

From the publisher:


“A hilarious, tender, and altogether life-affirming gem of a book.” –Emily Henry, bestselling author of Beach Read

A brilliant and touching romantic comedy about two polar opposites, one adorable dog, and living every day to its fullest. 

When Vanessa Price quit her job to pursue her dream of traveling the globe, she wasn’t expecting to gain millions of YouTube followers who shared her joy of seizing every moment. For her, living each day to its fullest isn’t just a motto. Her mother and sister never saw the age of 30, and Vanessa doesn’t want to take anything for granted. 

But after her half sister suddenly leaves Vanessa in custody of her baby daughter, life goes from “daily adventure” to “next-level bad” (now with bonus baby vomit in hair).

The last person Vanessa expects to show up offering help is the hot lawyer next door, Adrian Copeland. After all, she barely knows him. No one warned her that he was the Secret Baby Tamer or that she’d be spending a whole lot of time with him and his geriatric Chihuahua. 

Now she’s feeling things she’s vowed not to feel. Because the only thing worse than falling for Adrian is finding a little hope for a future she may never see. 

Letting your hot neighbor help you out with a crying baby in the middle of the night doesn’t seem like the best idea Vanessa has, but she is desperate and out of options. She got to take a much needed shower, plus he got the baby to stop crying. And he is hot, so there’s that.

Vanessa has some serious baggage. She lost her mom and her sister to a horrible, debilitating disease, and she is too scared to even get tested for it. Instead, she lives her life as if each day may be her last, traveling the world and entertaining her millions of followers. But her drug addicted half-sister is in no shape to take care of her baby, and Vanessa can’t say no so her life has taken a drastic turn here.

Adrian is amazing, and Vanessa is no fool so it is no surprise that they fall in love. But Adrian doesn’t understand her family medical history, mostly because she hasn’t told him. Vanessa has lived with it all her life, so she knows the difficult decisions that most likely lay ahead of her but she’s not sharing that with Adrian either. In a way, it reminded me of Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, but a slightly more upbeat version.

While this novel does have a more serious undertone, there are still a lot of laughs in this emotionally charged romance. The characters are well defined, and their relationship believable. Bottom line is that Jimenez writes excellent stories that really draw you in and this is no exception.

6/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

LIFE’S TOO SHORT by Abby Jimenez. Forever (April 6, 2021). ISBN: 978-1538715666. 384 pages.








June 9, 2021

The After Dunkirk Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

The Battle of Dunkirk might be finished, but the war isn’t over.

The saga of the Littlefield family continues with this rich and evocative second installment in the AFTER DUNKIRK series.

The German Luftwaffe attacks Britain from the skies.
With no allies, she stands alone.
Her fate hangs in the balance.

As the first Axis aircraft streak across English Channel airspace, so begins a battle for the ages; one that will determine the trajectory of the war. Braced for engagement on their individual fronts, the Littlefields plumb the depths of courage and ingenuity to defend their beloved Britain.

Fresh from the slaughter of Dunkirk, youngest brother Jeremy is called upon to create a French Resistance network composed of former naval officers.

At MI-9 headquarters, Claire Littlefield has devised an intelligence coup that could change the tide of the war. But will it work?

Lance, captured and far from home, puts his resiliency and resolve to the test.

And frustrated at being sidelined from active combat, Paul is unaware that he is being groomed for a role beyond his imagination.

A sweeping story of war filled with intimate, day-to-day details of those closest to danger, EAGLES OVER BRITAIN is a captivating tale of bravery, sacrifice, and one family’s fight to bring Britain to victory.

Utilizing persona from the Littlefield family, a group that had lived and prospered on one of the Channel Islands belonging to Great Britain, the author has taken his readers full tilt into the opening events of World War II. The first novel in the series leads the family into the retreat from France culminating in the saving of thousands of lives by many small boats picking up soldiers from Dunkirk and taking them across the English Channel to safety. In the current novel the events of the Battle of Britain are described and shown why it led to the famous declaration by than Prime Minister Churchill, “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.”     

The Littlefield family, both men and women, are all taking part in activities designed to fight the invaders coming to France, England and the Channel Islands as part of Hitler’s plans to become the leading power in Europe. Jackson brings the group into the defensive action against the Luftwaffe’s attacks on England. His research showcases groups of pilots that overcome shear exhaustion day after day to take off and repel the bombing runs of the German air force. Men that took off ,fought the invaders and if surviving returned to base, handed over often shot up planes to maintenance crews and then staggered into bed until the next sortie.      

The power of the book is in its concentration on the courage of a nation that wouldn’t give up and stood up against the Nazi design to invade England once their air force had destroyed English air power. People heard alarms, ran to shelters. Upon ending the attack they came out and pitched in with the first responders to help those that were hurt and somehow comfort those people losing loved ones to the enemy bombs.     

Love still finds a way and the book ends with members of the family forming attachments which we know will follow up into the next planned novel of the series. The ending also sets up the following book which will be positively received and enjoyed by faithful readers.

6/2021 Paul Lane

EAGLES OVER BRITAIN by Lee Jackson. Severn River Publishing (April 9, 2021). ISBN: 978-1648750717. 456 pages.