COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush

November 19, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Holiday, Texas, Book 2

From the publisher:

Merry Christmas from your new friends in Holiday, Texas:
The most celebratory town in the South!

When Jinx Jacobs’s motorcycle breaks down outside Holiday, Texas, the last thing she wants is to get stuck in the cheery little town, especially during the holidays. The whole place has gone Christmas crazy, but all she has to do is stay out from under the mistletoe―and do her best to keep that unnervingly attractive cop off her back.

Single dad and sheriff’s deputy Cash Walker doesn’t have time for romance, and yet something about the tempting loner twists his stomach up tighter than a tangle of tinsel. He may have finally found the missing piece in his life…but with Jinx so determined to avoid putting down roots, convincing her to stay may just take a Christmas miracle.


I continue my love affair with Christmas romances and cowboys, and in this case it is a winning combination. This is a terrific series and Cowboy Christmas Jubilee is a welcome addition.

Jinx is not your typical heroine for sure. She’s tough and antsy and is not looking to settle down, especially with a cop. Cash is a little more typical of the genre, a big good looking protector but one who is willing to let Jinx be herself and that really says a lot about him.

Both characters experience growth, and that adds depth to the story. It is a wonderful holiday romance and I loved it.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush. Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 30, 2018). ISBN 978-1492662648.  384p.

Kindle

Audible


THE CHRISTMAS KEY by Lori Wilde

November 18, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Twilight, Texas, Book 9

From the publisher:

There’s a legend in Twilight, Texas. If you sleep with a kismet cookie under your pillow on Christmas Eve, you will dream of your one true love.

She saw him in her dreams . . .

It’s impossible! Naomi Luther was standing face-to-face with the man she’d dreamed about over a year ago. Was it the magic of kismet Christmas cookies that brought him to her? Or is there an even greater force at work? All Naomi knows is she is falling, hard and fast, for the one man all good sense says she should not have.

She was his buddy’s sister . . .

Rebellious Mark Shepherd found order in the Marines but chaos on the battlefield. In a mission gone wrong, Mark is injured and one of his fellow soldiers loses his life. Haunted by guilt, he arrives in Twilight to keep a solemn promise. But when the Luthers mistake him for their handyman, he’s swept up in playing Santa to his buddy’s orphan son . . . and falling hard for Naomi’s irresistible bright spirit and sweet, sexy smile. But what will happen when she learns the truth?


I’ve only read a couple of the Christmas books in this series and I really liked them a lot. This one not as much.

I loved the characters and they definitely redeemed this book for me. Naomi was just about too good to be true but she had problems, too, even though she kept them fairly well hidden. On the other hand, Mark Shepherd (good name for a Christmas story, no?) was all problems, all the time. A damaged veteran, this was my Veterans Day read and it fit the bill, although I did have a bit of trouble with the unorthodox treatment he received.

I found myself irritated at times as the book seemed a bit forced and repetitive. I did like the Christmas miracle though, that always works for me.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE CHRISTMAS KEY by Lori Wilde. Avon (October 23, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062468277. 400p.

Kindle

Audible


NOT QUITE OVER YOU by Susan Mallery

November 17, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Happily Inc, Book 4

From the publisher:

Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances, proves there’s nowhere better than Happily Inc to rekindle first love.

Silver Tesdal has a head for business and a mouth made for kissing, and banker Drew Lovato has his eye on both. But ever since he was dumb enough to let her go, she’s kept him at a distance. When the bank turns her down for a loan, Drew sees a double opportunity—he can finance her brilliant, unique idea to rock Happily Inc’s wedding industry and win back her trust.

Despite her reputation, Silver’s not as tough as she seems. Losing Drew nearly destroyed her. Still, his kisses are as tempting as his offer to invest in her business. If she can’t quite get over him, maybe she should get under him and knock him out of her system once and for all.

But her best laid plans begin to unravel as Silver finds herself falling even harder than when they were high school sweethearts. Which means that she’ll have to come clean about the secret she’s been hiding from him for years—and risk losing


Where would romances be without unrequited high school love? I met my husband when I was in college but I was 17 years old, so close enough I guess. But I didn’t let him get away.

Silver and Drew have history. Drew is determined to win Silver back, and she is just as determined to keep her distance. Drew is a smart cookie, though, and really knows how to manipulate Silver. Yes, I said manipulate. It may be cute, and it may even be welcome, and heaven knows Mallery knows how to make it work. Nontheless, when a character is manipulated, I feel manipulated and I don’t especially like that feeling.

This is one of my favorite series but this was probably my least favorite book in the series. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good read, just not as good as I expect from this author. Still looking forward to the next one though.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NOT QUITE OVER YOU by Susan Mallery. HQN; Original edition (October 23, 2018).  ISBN 978-1335474636.  384p.

Kindle

Audible

 


MUTTS AND MISTLETOE by Natalie Cox

November 16, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

Thirty-one-year-old Charlie isn’t in the mood for Christmas cheer...

Her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, her mother has absconded with her latest husband for the holidays, and–adding insult to (literal) injury–her London apartment has just been destroyed by a gas leak. Single, mildly concussed and temporarily homeless, Charlie realizes there’s only one place to go: Cozy Canine Cottages, where she’ll spend the season looking after her cousin Jez’s doggy day care center. And if she’s not exactly a dog person, well, no one has to know…

But her plans for a quiet Christmas in a quaint country village are quickly dashed. Peggy the pregnant beagle and Malcolm the anxious Great Dane seem determined to keep her up all night. A strange man has been casing her cousin’s house. And where is Cal, the unbearably patronizing but disturbingly handsome local vet, when she needs him?

As the days tick down to Christmas, Charlie’s life has never felt so out of control–but with some help from her new four-legged friends, she just might learn a thing or two about living in the moment, embracing the unexpected and opening herself up to love…


If you could truly judge a book by its cover, this would be the cutest doggie Christmas story ever. It’s cute, but that cover lured me into wanting more.

The basis for the story was fun and should have worked. But I never really felt like I got to know what made Charlie tick, she was an anomaly to me, and if I can’t get involved with the main character, I can’t get involved with the story. I just found her flighty, at best. And worse yet, I wasn’t sure at all when the romance happened on Cal’s end.

The dogs were wonderful, but the story just didn’t work for me. That said, there were some very funny scenes that kept me hopeful and turning pages. I finished it although I was somewhat disappointed.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MUTTS AND MISTLETOE by Natalie Cox. G.P. Putnam’s Sons (October 9, 2018). ISBN 978-0525539193.  320p..

Kindle

Audible


SEDUCED BY A SCOT by Julia London

November 15, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

The Highland Grooms, Book 6

From the publisher:

There’s no matchmaking an unruly heart

When a prominent Scottish family faces a major scandal weeks before their daughter’s wedding, they turn in desperation to the enigmatic fixer for the aristocracy, Nichol Bain. Remarkably skilled at making high-profile problems go away, Nichol understands the issue immediately. The family’s raven-haired ward, Maura Darby, has caught the wandering eye—and rather untoward advances—of the groom.

Nichol assuredly escorts Maura toward his proposed solution: an aging bachelor for her to marry. But rebellious Maura has no interest in marrying a stranger, especially when her handsome traveling companion has captivated her so completely. Thankfully, Nichol loves a challenge, but traveling with the bold and brash Maura has him viewing her as far more than somebody’s problem. Which raises a much bigger issue—how can he possibly elude disaster when the heart of the problem is his own?


These were interesting, unusual characters. Thanks to Donald Trump and Ray Donovan, I am familiar with “fixers” but I don’t recall seeing one in the nineteenth century before. And in the #MeToo era, I rather like seeing today’s morals applied in an earlier century. Maura is an independent woman seeking more than a title and a husband. I’m not sure exactly when that change happened in romances, but I know that it did and these historical romances are all the better for it. Although perhaps not as historically accurate? I don’t know, I will leave that to those that research the era.

That said, I wasn’t thrilled with how all the characters were treated. The secondary characters left much to be desired. Despite that, I still enjoyed this fast read.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SEDUCED BY A SCOT by Julia London. HQN; Original edition (October 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-1335629425. 384p.

Kindle

Audible


BEAUTIFUL SINNER by Sophie Jordan

November 14, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Devil’s Rock, Book 5

From the publisher:

Locked in with the town bad boy . . .

Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.

If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.


Hot, hot, hot! Sophie Jordan brings the heat in the latest erotic romance in the Devil’s Rock series. Devil’s Rock is a prison, so you know this is not going to be all hearts and flowers.

Cruz is definitely tall, dark and mysterious and Gabby’s boss wants the mystery solved. She’s not sure she does. Turns out Cruz was her high school crush and they have a bit of history that he is not exactly aware of. And Cruz had a massive, unrequited crush on Gabriella, too. Cruz is completely non-responsive to any and all questions about his mistaken incarceration, and frankly, Gabby is more interested in her physical reaction to him rather than the story.

I loved their back story which brought additional depth to the romance. A terrific read with plenty of sex which just added to the fun. I haven’t read all the books in this series but I’m working on it.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BEAUTIFUL SINNER by Sophie Jordan. Avon (October 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062666598.  368p.

Kindle

Audible

 


ALL CHAINED UP by Sophie Jordan

November 13, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Devil’s Rock, Book 1

From the publisher:

There are bad boys and then there are the men of Devil’s Rock . . .

Some men come with a built-in warning label. Knox Callaghan is one of them. Danger radiates from every lean, muscled inch of him, and his deep blue eyes seem to see right through to Briar Davis’s most secret fantasies. But there’s one major problem: Briar is a nurse volunteering at the local prison, and Knox is an inmate who should be off-limits in every way.

Knox feels it too—a shocking animal magnetism that drives him to risk his own life to protect Briar’s. Paroled at last, he tries to resist her. She’s too innocent, too sweet, and she has no idea what Knox is capable of. But a single touch can lead to a kiss—and a taste . . . until the only crime is denying what feels so right . . .


This is the first book in the Devil’s Rock series – of course, I’ve already read a few of the newer books but no matter, they do not need to be read in order. This is a terrific romance with Jordan’s legendary smokin’ hot love scenes. But more than just the sex, there is a lot of heart here, and plenty of emotion. It is inescapable when a man gets out of prison for saving lives in a prison riot.

Devil’s Rock is a prison, not your typical romance setting but Jordan makes it work. The woman has mad skills.

In light of all the consent issues going on in romances today, Jordan was fairly prescient in her handling of it in this earlier title. These characters are drawn to one another despite their differences which frankly, seem insurmountable, yet true love wins out as it always does. Thank goodness.

11/18  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

ALL CHAINED UP by Sophie Jordan. Avon (March 29, 2016). ISBN 978-0062423689. 384p.

Kindle

Audible


THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

November 11, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

“There is so much to relate to and throughout the novel, there is a sharp feminist edge. Loved this one, and you will too.”–New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay

The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…


Another terrific read from Guillory, who is quickly becoming a must read author for me. This is ostensibly the sequel to The Wedding Date, but in the way that romances tend to have sequels. The main character, Carlos, was friends with the main character in The Wedding Date. So if you haven’t read that one, no biggie other than why didn’t you read that one, it was so good! And so is this one.

I loved these characters, they had their faults which only made them seem more real. It is very important in a romance to have characters that you feel invested in, otherwise, who cares. These characters were very well developed and I couldn’t wait to see how their story turned out. Happily ever after, of course, this is a romance, but with a lot of fun, food and sex along the way. And laughs. Lots of laughs.

Another hat tip to diversity here, Carlos is Latino and Niki is black so that’s there, but it is just the way it is and not a commentary on racism. This was just a great story and I highly recommend it. So do librarians – it topped the LibraryReads.org list for October.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory. Berkley (October 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-0399587689.  336p.

Kindle

Audible

 


HER LAST MOVE by John Marrs

November 10, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

A fascinating study of a psychotic serial killer, one that is quite different from other novels dealing with similar themes in the sense that the actual killings by the murderer are described down to the last detail. These are very gory and might cause readers to wonder why such descriptions are utilized when more cursory ones could be used. The fact is that these are necessary for the full understanding of the mind set of the killer, and that is probably the aim of the author. At the same time Marrs does a great job of bringing into focus the thoughts and feelings of the police working the case as well as other individuals directly affected by the action.

Becca Vincent is an officer with the London Metropolitan police. She has faced the problem of being a woman in a world still dominated by men. She is longing to be assigned to an important case and prove her ability to her supervisor as well as her peers. She manages to get herself assigned to working with the group looking for the the killer. At the same time Joe Russell, a facial recognition expert, is seconded to Becca’s group in order to provide any help his particular talent can provide. In an afterward to the novel Marrs indicates that a group of these gifted individuals are actually a part of the London police and have been instrumental in bringing many law breakers to justice via picking them out from crowds.

The procedures and actions of a modern police department are well delineated by the author and make for a most interesting read. Becca is a single mother with a daughter with Downs syndrome and Joe is having problems with his marriage and making it work. Descriptions of both private lives coupled with the case they are working on together make this book a fascinating study into human feelings and emotions. Very well done and certainly a novel that will provide much interest in reading future books by John Marrs.

11/18 Paul Lane

HER LAST MOVE by John Marrs. Thomas & Mercer (November 8, 2018).  ISBN 978-1503948020. 352p.

Kindle

Audible


THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory

November 9, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

THE USA TODAY BESTSELLER
#5 LibraryReads Pick

One of…
Entertainment Weekly’s “12 Romances for V-Day”
Cosmopolitan’s “2018 Anticipated Reads”
Elle’s “2018 Must Reads”
Harpers Bazaar’s “New January Must Reads”
The Fug Girls’ “Best Books of the Year”
Elle UK’s “Books to Get You Through 2018”
Nylon’s “January Must Reads”
Hello Giggles’ “New Release Recs”
Electric Lit’s “Books by WoC to Read in 2018”
Bitch Media’s “2018 Must Reads”
BookBub’s “2018 Romance Must Reads”
Bookriot’s “Must Read 2018 January Releases”
RetailMeNot’s “2018 Must Reads”

“A swoony rom-com brimming with humor and charm.”–Entertainment Weekly (The Must List)

“What a charming, warm, sexy gem of a novel….One of the best books I’ve read in a while.”–Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Hunger

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in this fun and flirty multicultural romance debut.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…


Even when I include the publisher’s synopsis, I don’t usually include all the blurbs and self promotion. In this case, I think they are so well deserved that I did include it all.

I loved this book. It is fresh, original, and diverse. The wedding date theme is not unusual, it is the major meet-cute plot of many a romance and rom-com. It is one that I enjoy, but Guillory really takes it to the next level. There is a lot of hot sex, which always works for me, and great characters that you just can’t help but care about. I loved the way she touches on racism without being in your face but rather more in the way of that’s the way it is and this is how we deal with it.

This is a terrific, fun read that I highly recommend. Now I’m off to read her newest, The Proposal. Stay tuned…

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE WEDDING DATE by Jasmine Guillory. Berkley (January 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-0399587665.  336p.

Kindle

Audible