IF NOT FOR YOU by Debbie Macomber

March 22, 2017

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Beth Prudhomme recently moved to Portland, Oregon from Chicago and landed a job as a high school music teacher. Her favorite Aunt Sunshine, a famous artist and old hippie, lives nearby. Beth’s mother is super controlling, but she’s back in Chicago and has promised not to visit for one year.

Beth makes a good friend at school, another teacher named Nichole. Nichole is married and has a baby. She invites Beth over for dinner, wanting to fix her up with her husband’s best friend, Sam.

The two clash almost immediately. Sam is a tattooed, bearded auto mechanic and thinks Beth is a stuck up priss. Sam just makes her uncomfortable, she’s never met anyone like him and can’t understand why her friend would fix them up. They both decide to duck out early, and are driving away when Sam witnesses Beth get into a terrible accident. He jumps from his car and rushes to her, holding her hand and telling her she is going to be all right, but he is really scared that this woman he just met is going to die.

He ends up visiting her at the hospital, and feels compelled to keep going back and they fall into an easy friendship as she starts down the long road to recovery. He brings his guitar and plays for her, and they realize their shared love of music and that maybe they have more in common than they thought.

Eventually, they fall in love but neither of them wants to admit it or have that sort of relationship. He’s been burned before, and burned badly, and she’s in a panic about what her parents might think – her father’s a scholar and her mother’s a snob.

Eventually they work through all the early hurdles only to find even bigger ones down the road. Nevertheless, they get their happily ever after.

It is a truly compelling read – I read it in one night. The story has real depth but still moves fast. It’s the characters that really drew me in, and I’m sure they’ll stay with me for some time to come.

3/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

IF NOT FOR YOU by Debbie Macomber. Ballantine Books (March 21, 2017).  ISBN 978-0553391961.  384p.

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BLUSH FOR ME by Kristen Proby

March 21, 2017
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A Fusion Novel, Book 3

Katrina Meyers manages Seattle’s hottest wine bar, Seduction. Deathly afraid of flying, nonetheless she finds herself on “a death trap with wings” with some scary turbulence to boot. Her seatmate is hot, hot, hot Ryan “Mac” MacKenzie, and he’s only too happy to help out the scared gorgeous woman in the next seat. And then he can’t stop thinking about her.

Mac runs an super-successful wine touring business and ends up at Seduction. Mac and Katrina are having quite the physical relationship but neither wants to admit there is more to it than that.

There is great chemistry here, and well developed characters that are believable, making this a terrific scorcher of a romance. Love this series!

3/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BLUSH FOR ME by Kristen Proby. William Morrow Paperbacks (March 21, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062434791. 304p.

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A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT by Meredith Duran

March 11, 2017

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Rules for the Reckless, Book 5

Meredith Duran writes a smart and sexy book about a strong woman and politics in 1860’s Great Britain.

Jane Mason lost her parents and her father’s brother became her guardian. Her father was a maverick businessman who made a fortune and then turned to politics, trying to better lives in Great Britain. But he was also smart enough to leave the money in trust for his daughter. His brother takes over his seat in Parliament, but he is not the man his brother was. He is consumed by greed and is determined to get his hands on his niece’s fortune.

Jane was brought up educated and to speak her mind, but her uncle hides her away in the country and tries to will it out of her. Jane is smart enough to know that she is treading on thin ice, and pretends to become the “brown mouse” that her uncle wants. When she is informed that she will be marrying her cousin, she is determined to find a way out of that marriage and out on her own. She arranges a “marriage” but her uncle finds out and stops it. She learns this from Crispin Burke, a very good looking but evil politician in cahoots with her uncle. He offers her a way out if she will spy on her uncle for him and she agrees.

When Crispin is attacked and left for dead, Jane manages to “marry” him, finding her way out of the arranged marriage and into independence. Except Crispin doesn’t die. Instead he awakens with amnesia, believing Jane to be his wife and forgetting all the bad politics he’s been involved in. Together they form a strong alliance for good, but Jane is afraid once he gets his memory back he will get rid of her – and she has fallen in love with him.

Lots of political intrigue permeates this story but it is the romance that is the most intriguing. A very entertaining and enthralling read.

3/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT by Meredith Duran. Pocket Books (February 28, 2017). ISBN 978-1501139024. 400p.


PERFECT FOR YOU by Candis Terry

March 9, 2017
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A Sunshine Creek Vineyard Novel, Book 2

 

I loved the first book in this new series so I was very happy to get the second. Set in a vineyard in the small town of Sunshine Creek, (near Vancouver, I think?) this book focuses on another of the gorgeous Kinkaide brothers, Declan.

Jordan was the focus of the first book in the series, A Better Man, and his twin Declan is the focus here. The twins are fraternal and as different as night and day. Declan is the serious one. As a child he had learning disabilities which weren’t diagnosed for years, so he always struggled. That made him determined to excel at something, and that something became financial management.

His long time assistant, Brooke, works with him in his California office. After his parents death, things are upended at the family vineyard and Dec needs to get home, and that’s where this story starts.

With no flights available for a few days, Brooke suggests driving the 15 hours to Sunshine Creek and reluctantly Dec agrees. Little does he know how life-changing that drive will be. His super efficient assistant turns out to be a fearless, fun loving girl, and Dec is at a loss how to handle it. Slowly it dawns on him that he is enjoying himself, something his very serious self hasn’t experienced in a long time. And Brooke finally admits to herself that she is in love with her boss, but wonders how she will get through the wall he has built around himself.

Lots of ups and downs along the way, but the path leads directly to romance. This was a one nighter for me, I couldn’t put it down. Do read this series in order though, it will be more enjoyable to get all the back story before moving to this new book.

3/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PERFECT FOR YOU by Candis Terry. Avon (February 28, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062471840.  368p.

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Reckless Read Giveaway!

March 3, 2017
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To celebrate the publication of

A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT by Meredith Duran

Fifth in the Rules for the Reckless Series

One lucky reader will win an autographed copy of

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Fool Me Twice!

FROM THE USA TODAY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF FOOL ME TWICE, THE 2015 RITA AWARD WINNER FOR HISTORICAL ROMANCE

AND LUCK BE A LADY, AN RT BOOK REVIEWS NOMINEE FOR BEST BOOK OF 2015 HISTORICAL NOVEL

I am really delighted to be a stop on the blog tour for Meredith’s latest!

Praise for A Lady’s Code of Misconduct:

“Political intrigue and conspiracies abound in Duran’s engrossing fifth Rules for the Reckless Victorian romance (after Luck Be a Lady), which boasts plot twists galore…Duran is at the pinnacle of her craft as she weaves together humor, forgiveness, and love in a flawlessly executed plot. Jane, Crispin, and the rest of the characters are all well drawn, and the love scenes strike the perfect balance of steamy and sweet. Each layer in the story is suspenseful and delightful, making this the best installment so far.” Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW

“A sham marriage, political intrigue, and a case of amnesia provide a backdrop for this absorbing Victorian romance. Although Duran (Luck Be a Lady, 2015, etc.) has written a novel as layered as an onion, the characters are well-drawn and the plot flawlessly executed. Add in some very steamy sex, and the fifth installment of Duran’s Rules for the Reckless series can’t help but delight. This book weaves its spell so thoroughly that the most fortunate reader will be the one who has time to read the entire thing in one sitting. A masterful tale of suspense, forgiveness, and love.” Kirkus STARRED REVIEW

About A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT :

USA TODAY  bestselling author Meredith Duran’s A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT is the fifth sizzling novel in the Rules for the Reckless series—a sexy and evocative Regency romance between a famous heiress and an infamous crime lord. 

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
 

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…
 

About Fool Me Twice:

In the vein of Sarah MacLean, a sexy and evocative Regency romance between a vengeful duke and a fiery redhead from an author who is a veritable tour de force in the genre. “Readers need to make room on their keeper shelf for Meredith Duran” (Fresh Fiction).

A LADY WITH A SECRET

Running for her life, exhausted and out of options, Olivia Holladay wants nothing more than the chance to make a home for herself. So when she realizes that the infamous Duke of Marwick might hold the key to her freedom, she boldly disguises herself as the newest and bravest in a long line of the duke’s notoriously temperamental housekeepers. Little does she know that the wickedly handsome Alastair de Grey has very different plans for her.

A MAN WITH A PASSION—FOR VENGEANCE

As his new employee, Olivia is a fearless upstart. As a woman, the daring redhead is just what Alastair needs to rouse him from darkness to the siren call of revenge. He has suffered a betrayal so deep that he will use whatever means necessary to destroy his enemies—even his brazen and beautiful domestic. But his vengeful plan fails to account for his single weakness: an irresistible and growing passion for the enigmatic Olivia.

meredith-duranAbout the author:

Meredith Duran is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition); Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World List of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA TODAY bestseller and RITA Award Winner Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

To win an autographed copy of FOOL ME TWICE by Meredith Duran, please send an email to contest@gmail.com with “FOOL ME TWICE” as the subject.

You must include your U.S. street address in your email.

All entries must be received by March 10, 2017. One (1) name will be drawn from all qualified entries and notified via email. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age in the United States only. Your prize will be sent by Simon & Schuster.

One entry per email address. Subscribers to the monthly newsletter earn an extra entry into every contest. Follow this blog to earn another entry into every contest. Winners may win only one time per year (365 days) for contests with prizes of more than one book. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone.

3/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

 

 


SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK by Sarah Morgan

February 26, 2017
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From Manhattan With Love (Book 2)

Paige, Eva and Frankie have been best friends forever. The first book in this series, Sleepless in Manhattan, introduced all the characters but was really Paige’s romance. Somehow I missed this book and jumped to the third, Miracle on Fifth Avenue, which was Eva’s book, only to end up here with Frankie’s story.

My first thought was to read the books in order, especially since there are only three. But reading this second book last, I realized there is enough back story given that for a while I almost felt like I had read it already. Then it veered more into Frankie’s story and it stopped feeling that way.

Frankie hides behind baggy clothes and fake glasses, due to some poor romantic choices early on. So when Matt finds out the glasses are fake, she freaks out. And in a way, so does he. Matt’s sister is Paige, and they’ve all been friends their whole lives and Matt thought he really knew Frankie. And he’s been in love with her for years but knew he couldn’t rush her. But the glasses made him realize she was hiding more than he realized.

Gradually he worms his way into her heart, but her past keeps her from believing she could have a relationship that lasts. Her parents divorced when she was a teen due to infidelity and her mother essentially became  the town whore after that. Lots of baggage always makes for an interesting romance and it really does here.

I do wish the NYC setting was more prominently featured, it feels like it could be set in Any City, USA, which is a real missed opportunity. I love these characters though, and that makes all the difference. Can’t wait to see what Sarah Morgan has up next now that this series is done.

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SUNSET IN CENTRAL PARK by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (August 30, 2016). ISBN: 978-0373789238. 384p.

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PASTA WARS by Elisa Lorello

February 17, 2017
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Whoever said you can’t judge a book by its cover didn’t mean this book – I just couldn’t resist the title or the cute cover, and it lived up to both.

After a slowish start where we learn Long Islander Katie Cravens is craving more than she already has – the big house in Dix Hills (where I went to high school,) the career of a lifetime as CEO of Pasta Pronto, a frozen diet food company, and the engagement to the perfect man – it picks up steam. Steamy steam, if you know what I mean.

The oh-so-perfect life isn’t. Perfect man is cheating on her in their own bed (yuck) and Katie’s company is having some financial troubles. Enter the Caramelli family of Italian restaurant fame.

Luca Caramelli is the super hot but temperamental chef and his twin sister runs the company and they are hurting. A joint venture will help both their bottom lines and Katie dumps her cheating fiance and jets off to Rome.

Lots of conflict, heated glances and eventually some hot sex keep the pages turning until the deal is struck. Publicity is called for and a televised “pasta war” should do the trick – can CEO Katie outcook the hot Italian? And how will that affect the business merger, not to mention their personal merger?

You must read to learn all, but it’s a lot of fun getting there. (Skip if you’re carb free, this book will kill you!)

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PASTA WARS by Elisa Lorello. Adaptive Books (January 17, 2017). ISBN 978-0996488754. 256p.


ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis

February 16, 2017
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Heartbreaker Bay #3

Archer met Elle when she was a teenager and got caught in a drug sting. He hustled her out of there, blew his cover and ended up quitting the police force. Over the years he kept tabs on the troubled teen, watching her grow into a strong, beautiful woman. He even helped get her the dream job – managing an office building where Archer runs security.

Forced to work together, the heat that comes off these two scorch everyone in sight, but they are both stubborn and refuse to give in to their mutual attraction. But when Elle tries to date, Archer keeps interfering until finally they get together.

That doesn’t mean they will have anything more than a physical relationship – or does it?

I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I believe this book ends it. But I’m sure Jill Shalvis will keep on writing and I look forward to whatever comes next.

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis. Avon (January 24, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062660138. 272p.

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MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE by Sarah Morgan

February 15, 2017
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From Manhattan With Love Series, Book 3

I am sad to say this is the last book in this series. I read the first book, Sleepless in Manhattan, so I was all excited when I got this one. But then I realized I missed book 2, Sunset in Central Park – but I reserved it at my library so I have something to look forward to.

This series is about three women, best friends who get downsized from their jobs and form their own company, a sort of concierge service for Manhattanites, called Urban Genie. Each book centers around one of the women. Miracle is about Eva Jordan.

Eva is a chef and events planner for the company. One of their regulars, an elderly woman named Mitzy, asks Eva to go to her grandson, Lucas Blade’s apartment, fill the freezer with some home cooked meals, and decorate for Christmas while he is busy working in Vermont. Eva is happy to help and plans on spending the weekend at his apartment to get it all taken care of. Except when she gets there, she is assaulted.

Eva finds herself dialing 911 while an intruder has her pinned to the floor. When the cops (and the doorman) show up, she quickly learns that she is the intruder. The man who has her pinned is Lucas.

Lucas is suffering from a severe case of writers’ block. A best selling thriller/horror writer, he lost his wife in an icy accident a few years earlier and hasn’t really recovered. He is hiding out in his apartment and no one knows he’s there until Eva shows up. She is determined to complete the job she was hired to do, and reluctantly Lucas allows it so he won’t have to tell his grandmother he is really in town.

Turns out that Eva is more than just a great cook and holiday decorator, she also becomes Lucas’s muse, and he is on a tight deadline. After an argument, Eva walks out but he hires her back, paying her company enough money to keep them in the black for the following year, so she feels she doesn’t have a choice.

There is quite a bit of sexual tension between them, which both are trying to ignore until they cannot. Eva is a romantic and Lucas is too hurt to even think about marriage again, so they are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Until they’re not.

As a thriller reader and fan, I know a lot of thriller writers and can definitely see some characteristics here. I loved these characters and how they interacted.

Treat yourself to this red hot romance this Valentine’s Day!

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (November 29, 2016). ISBN 978-0373789344. 384p.

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SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Eloisa James

February 11, 2017
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Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #3; Desperate Duchesses, #9 

Eugenia Snowe runs the most exclusive agency in London for governesses. There are waiting lists for her services, and she only places her governesses with the best families. So when Edward Reeve bursts into her office, demanding a governess, she tries to show him out but he’s not leaving.

He’s also gorgeous and one of the richest men in London, despite not having a title as he’s a byblow. But his half sister and brother are titled, and orphaned, and in desperate need of a governess since he is now their legal guardian.

Ward, as he is affectionately known, isn’t taking no for an answer. He plays on her sympathies and soon finds himself with a Snowe governess, but she isn’t working out. He also finds himself starting a correspondence with the beautiful Mrs. Snowe.

Eugenia has been widowed for years and never even thought about another man. Until she is pursued by the brilliant Ward. He proposes an affair but Eugenia falls in love. All Ward is concerned with is making sure his half siblings have the best possible start in life, and because he hasn’t socialized with the gentry, he has no idea who she is, other than perhaps a former governess.

Another terrific read from one of my favorite authors.

 

2/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

Avon (January 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062389459. 432p.

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