IT TAKES TWO by Jenny Holiday

August 16, 2018

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Bridesmaids Behaving Badly, Book 2

From the publisher:
This USA Today bestselling author “charms with an irresistible romantic comedy” (Entertainment Weeklythat proves when best man and maid of honor compete, what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas…
Wendy Liu should be delighted to be her best friend’s maid of honor. But after years spent avoiding the bride’s brother – aka the boy who once broke her heart – she’s now trapped with him during an endless amount of wedding festivities. Luckily she’s had time to perfect her poker face, and engaging Noah Denning in a little friendly competition might just prove that she’s over him for good…
Noah Denning is determined to make his little sister’s wedding memorable. But it seems Wendy is trying to outdo him at every turn. Challenging each other was always something he and Wendy did right, so when she proposes they compete to see who can throw the best bachelor or bachelorette party in Sin City, Noah takes the bait – and ups the stakes. Because this time around, he wants Wendy for keeps. And when you’re fighting for love, all bets are off.

This was a really fun read. It’s the romance trope of childhood sweethearts belonging together forever, so if you don’t mind that it is a terrific romance. I didn’t read the first book in the series, but there is enough story given to put it all in perspective so it didn’t matter. Well, other than the fact now I want to read the first one!
The characters were well developed and likeable, even when they are behaving badly. And let’s face it, bad behavior is the most fun in any romance! If you like romantic comedies, and I do, then this is a good read for you.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

IT TAKES TWO by Jenny Holiday. Forever (June 26, 2018).  ISBN 978-1455542420. 384p.

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OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish

August 15, 2018

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From the publisher:

From an internationally acclaimed author, a disturbing and addictive novel of domestic suspense where secrets kept hidden from spouses cause shocking surprises that hit home…

There’s nothing unusual about a new family moving in at 91 Trinity Avenue. Except it’s her house. And she didn’t sell it.

When Fiona Lawson comes home to find strangers moving into her house, she’s sure there’s been a mistake. She and her estranged husband, Bram, have a modern coparenting arrangement: bird’s nest custody, where each parent spends a few nights a week with their two sons at the prized family home to maintain stability for their children. But the system built to protect their family ends up putting them in terrible jeopardy. In a domino effect of crimes and misdemeanors, the nest comes tumbling down.

Now Bram has disappeared and so have Fiona’s children. As events spiral well beyond her control, Fiona will discover just how many lies her husband was weaving and how little they truly knew each other. But Bram’s not the only one with things to hide, and some secrets are best kept to oneself, safe as houses.


Wowza! This book has been getting all sorts of accolades and it’s easy to see why. It’s a very different kind of story and a timely one. Set in London, it feels like it could be set in any suburban community.

A real page turner of a book, fast paced and interesting with great characters and more twists and turns than a hurricane. Highly recommended.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

OUR HOUSE by Louise Candlish. Berkley (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-0451489111 416p.

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FEARED by Lisa Scottoline

August 14, 2018

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A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, Book 6

From the publisher:

In the new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Mary DiNunzio’s ruthless nemesis Nick Machiavelli is back…with a vengeance.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared…

Feared, the sixth entry in the acclaimed Rosato & DiNunzio series, expertly explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.


Before it was Rosato & DiNunzio, there were the Rosato & Associates novels, 11 of them. Same series for the most part but it was rebranded six books ago. It is one of my favorite series and it never disappoints – how often can you say that? Especially with so many books!

Set in Philadelphia, Rosato & DiNunzio were an all female law firm until a couple of books ago when they hired a man. I remember being surprised back then, and now it has come home to roost. DiNunzio and all her crazy, loving big Italian family are here and you can just feel the “gravy” dripping off the pages.

I love the characters, the setting and the mystery, which had a shocking ending – perfection! Don’t miss it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FEARED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (August 14, 2018). ISBN 978-1250099594. 400p.

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2020 by Kenneth Steven

August 13, 2018

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A very profound novel that paints a picture of the damage that can be done by the advent of the “True Believer” i.e., the individual following the herd rather than thinking on his or her own. While the book is set in the United Kingdom it can be true of problems found in any country today. Shown in the novel are the many factions vying for the attention of the masses and demanding that they be granted rights beyond what is just and correct. People are forced to bend over backwards to be seen as politically correct in order not to offend the many interest groups.

Consequently, the result is a nation that has become mired in political correctness at the expense of common sense. It is felt that the politicians in office are only serving themselves. Immigration policies have gotten out of hand and it is feared by many that the country is disunited with the distinct possibility of terrorism rife just waiting to explode in violence.

And than it does. A train going from Edinburgh to London is attacked by terrorists with hundreds killed by the bombers. The reaction by the public with many differing opinions about what should be done to forestall future terrorism allows a far right wing group called White Rose to form. An untried leader coming from White Rose indicates that he will be able to fix the problems of the nation. The population splinters even more than before with no firm direction being taken to attack the internal mess that characterizes the country. Opinions and demands for action rush out of the many groups that have formed making up a population that is frozen and unable to act.

It might be that 2020 could lead to a 1984 scenario with an embedded dictatorship but most probably it would lead to the exact opposite; a nation completely splintered with no real direction and unable to solve the real problems facing it. A very provocative opinion piece with a large amount of what is forecasted being the norm today.

8/18 Paul Lane

2020 by Kenneth Steven. Thomas & Mercer (June 14, 2018).  ISBN 978-1477805169. 270p.


THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer

August 11, 2018

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Steinhauer postulates a United States on the brink  of revolution due to the uncaring and selfish policies of our elected leaders. Consequently, in the early summer of 2017, four hundred people just disappear, leaving their worldly possessions behind them.  Where have they gone to and what is the reason for the disappearance? When heard from the group styles itself the Massive Brigade and they believe that necessary change is not coming fast enough to really bring the country to again be prepared to take care of the cultural needs as well as those necessities vital for life such as food and shelter for the population.

FBI Special Agent Rachel Proulx has been following the sprouting of left wing political groups for several years and is very familiar with Martin Bishop who is the charismatic leader of the Massive Brigade. But Rachel has her work cut out for her in getting her peers and supervisors at the FBI to take thedissidents seriously. She digs into the workings and leadership of the Massive Brigade and what she discovers, including murder shocks the country and sends a wake up call to the Administration as well as the leadership of the FBI.

Character development leaves something to be desired and I felt that the emphasis on a lot of conversation does detract somewhat from what is a great idea and worthy of an Olen Steinhauer novel.

8/18 Paul Lane

THE MIDDLEMAN by Olen Steinhauer. Minotaur Books (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250036179. 368p.


COOPER’S CHARM by Lori Foster

August 10, 2018

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From the publisher:

One summer, two sisters and a chance to start over…

Before the burglary that shattered her confidence, Phoenix Rose had a fiancé, a successful store and a busy, happy existence. After months spent adrift, she takes a job at the lakeside resort of Cooper’s Charm. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly colleagues and a charismatic, widowed boss, Phoenix is slowly inching her way back into the world.

Visiting Cooper’s Charm to check up on her little sister, Ridley Rose impulsively agrees to fill in as housekeeper. Still reeling from an ego-bruising divorce, she finds satisfaction in a job well done—and in the attention of the resort’s handsome scuba instructor.

For Phoenix and Ridley, Cooper’s Charm is supposed to be merely temporary. But this detour may lead to the place they most need to be, where the future is as satisfying as it is surprising…


This is a two-fer, two romances for the price of one. I don’t always like that but Foster does a really good job developing all the characters and their stories. The main romance is Phoenix and Cooper, and her sister’s is secondary but still good. Good sex, too, for both of them, so if you don’t like the details, skip this steamy read.

The characters are really well developed, and damaged enough to be interesting. I cared enough about them to keep wondering about them after I turned the last page. I loved the setting, too. Something about these types of settings, campgrounds, I find very interesting. Maybe because it’s a bit out of my comfort zone? That said, I am going camping in December so I hope I’m not disappointed with the campground I’ll be at!

Foster is a really good storyteller and I highly recommend any of her books, and this is a good place to start if you haven’t read her. I loved it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COOPER’S CHARM by Lori Foster. HQN; Original edition (July 31, 2018).  ISBN 978-1335017529. 352p.

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DEATH IN SHANGRI-LA by Yigal Zur

August 9, 2018

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A novel originally written in Hebrew and than becoming the first of Zur’s books to be translated into English. The background for the story is one of the most exotic settings possible. The action takes place in India, several cities and a wild frontier near Pakistan. Descriptions are tendered by an author that through his own travels and adventures has seen these areas and witnessed the events described that play out as background.

Dotan Naor, an ex-Israeli Operator turned private investigator, takes up a bet he has made with an acquaintance of his who is privately a ruthless individual selling Israeli made weaponry to any buyer that can pay for them. Willy Mizrachi bets that in one year from the date he meets with Dotan he will have his son returning to work for him with a wife and child in tow. Like many ex-Israeli soldiers, his son decides to travel to the Himalayas in India in order to “find himself”. Dotan takes the bet but than finds himself forced to go after Willy who has taken the initiative to go after his son himself.

The makings of a great story and the descriptions of cities in India, their overcrowding, poverty, filth and total corruption coupled with the fascinating views of a part of the Indian subcontinent that includes Tibet and borders with Pakistan and China are unfortunately not enough to make up for a rambling style of writing. The characters not at all fleshed out move from scene to scene listlessly making for a novel that leaves the reader trying to keep up with what’s going on and who is where. The fact that Zur has published other books featuring Dotan Naor might mean that it is the fault of the translation of this novel that causes the problem, but with that “Death in Shangri-La” does not live up to the promise of the exotic setting and events that are not touched upon outside of Israel and India.

8/18 Paul Lane

DEATH IN SHANGRI-LA by Yigal Zur. Oceanview Publishing; Sew edition (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-1608092994. 272p.


SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR TO FALL, now in paperback!

August 8, 2018

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A Collection of Outlander Fiction

As regular readers know, Diana Gabaldon is on the shortlist of my favorite writers. SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR TO FALL is a collection of the novellas that have previously been published as Kindle Singles and such, now collected in this anthology and now out in paperback. I have not read the Lord John Grey stories as I read the first of that mystery series and it wasn’t for me. But I have read the Outlander novellas and they are fabulous!

SEVEN STONES TO STAND OR FALL begins with “The Custom of the Army,” and Lord John Grey being shocked by an electric eel and ends at the Battle of Quebec. Then comes “The Space Between,” where it is revealed that the Comte St. Germain is not dead, Master Raymond appears, and a widowed young wine dealer escorts a would-be novice to a convent in Paris. In “A Plague of Zombies,” Lord John unexpectedly becomes military governor of Jamaica when the original governor is gnawed by what probably wasn’t a giant rat.

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” is the moving story of Roger MacKenzie’s parents during World War II. In “Virgins,” Jamie Fraser, aged nineteen, and Ian Murray, aged twenty, become mercenaries in France, no matter that neither has yet bedded a lass or killed a man. But they’re trying… “A Fugitive Green” is the story of Lord John’s elder brother, Hal, and a seventeen-year-old rare book dealer with a sideline in theft, forgery, and blackmail. And finally, in “Besieged,” Lord John learns that his mother is in Havana—and that the British Navy is on their way to lay siege to the city.

Filling in mesmerizing chapters in the lives of characters that readers have followed over the course of thousands of pages, Gabaldon’s genius is on full display throughout this must-have collection.

Diana Gabaldon is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the wildly popular Outlander novels—Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber, Voyager, Drums of Autumn, The Fiery Cross, A Breath of Snow and Ashes (for which she won a Quill Award and the Corine International Book Prize), An Echo in the Bone, and Written in My Own Heart’s Blood—as well as the related Lord John Grey books Lord John and the Private Matter, Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade, Lord John and the Hand of Devils, and The Scottish Prisoner; two works of nonfiction, The Outlandish Companion, Volumes 1 and 2; the Outlander graphic novel The Exile; and The Official Outlander Coloring Book. She lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with her husband.


GOOD LUCK WITH THAT by Kristan Higgins

August 7, 2018

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I love Kristan Higgins, but I didn’t love this book. It is a bit of a departure for her, tackling a pretty serious subject, the plight and discrimination that fat women face in this country.  I admire her for tackling such a tough subject, but I missed her usual humor for sure. Or maybe I didn’t like it that much because it hits a bit close to home for me.

Emerson is one of those women who is so obese that she can barely get out of bed. She has a cousin who is her caretaker, and a boyfriend who brings her food. When she dies, she leaves a letter for her two best friends, Georgia and Marley.

They all met in fat camp as teenagers and remained friends over the years. Georgia and Marley share a house in New York and haven’t seen Emerson in years, so they are shocked at how large she had become and at her death. She leaves them a list that they all made together when they were in fat camp, and asks her friends to complete the list. This is a “when we are thin” list – tuck in a shirt, get a piggy back ride, eat dessert in public, and so forth.

The women tackle the list and learn a lot about themselves in the process. We are never told Georgia and Marley’s actual weight, just the body issues each of them faces. There is romance, too, but that wasn’t enough to save this book for me. I’m really curious as to what other people think of it.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

GOOD LUCK WITH THAT by Kristan Higgins.  Berkley (August 7, 2018).  ISBN 978-0451489395. 480p.

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THE SIMPLE WILD by K.A. Tucker

August 6, 2018

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From the publisher:

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.


I am a sucker any book set in Alaska and this was a good one. Set in the fictional town of Bangor in Western Alaska, this is a good look at the life in a small, rural town. The characters are only there for summer so we don’t learn much about winter but we do learn about $10 boxes of cereal and the importance of relying on your neighbors and friends. They all lean on one another to get through life. And I liked learning about the business of owning a business in rural Alaska, it was different for sure.

It is, perhaps, a somewhat idyllic view of what is undoubtedly a very hard life, but this is a love story so why not. The characters are interesting and brought to life really well. The relationships between Calla and her family members, Calla and Jonah, and Jonah and her father all ring true. Watching Calla follow in her mother’s footsteps was heart-wrenching at times but the happily ever after does make it all worthwhile.  All in all, a most enjoyable read.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge. She is the bestselling author of the Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series and the novels He Will Be My RuinUntil It Fades, and Keep Her Safe. She currently resides in a quaint town outside Toronto with her husband and two beautiful girls.

THE SIMPLE WILD by K.A. Tucker. Atria Books Paperback, August 7, 2018. ISBN: 9781501133435. 400 pp.

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FIND K.A. TUCKER ONLINE:

Website: https://www.katuckerbooks.com/

Twitter: @kathleenatucker

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kimberly.stuart.10

Instagram: @katucker_