THE MARQUIS AND I by Ella Quinn

April 18, 2018

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The Worthingtons, Book 4

I picked up this book thinking it was a Julia Quinn book! I haven’t read Ella Quinn before and starting this series with book 4 was probably not the best idea but I didn’t realize that until I was already emeshed.

The Worthingtons are a large, somewhat confusing family unless you’ve read the previous books in the series (I assume.) But I muddled through and by the end, I still wasn’t clear on all the relationships but the main story was fine, so I’ll just stick with that.

Lady Charlotte Carpenter was kidnapped, apparently a common occurence in her family and in Regency England, who knew. But Lady Charlotte isn’t your typical British heroine, prone to vapors and hissy fits. She is a level headed young woman who has been trained in the art of lock picking, in how to use a gun and a knife, something else I wasn’t aware of as life skills taught young women at the time. But I digress.

Lady Charlotte is taken to an inn, where she is held prisoner. She is rescued by Constantine, Marquis of Kenilworth, who sneaks her out in the dead of night. But when he gets lost in trying to take her home, they are seen together and he knows her reputation will be ruined. So he announces their engagement, despite the fact they don’t know each other. But Lady Charlotte isn’t so sure she wants to marry the dashing Marquis. She has seen him at the theater in the company of courtesans, and she strongly disapproves.

Kenilworth works hard to woo her, realizing she is the right woman for him and she fights him every step of the way – until she gives in. This is a Regency romance so it is witty and the sex is not too explicit. The kidnapping angle was interesting and the romance was fun, but I would strongly recommend reading these books in order.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE MARQUIS AND I by Ella Quinn. Zebra (February 27, 2018). ISBN 978-1420145168.  400p.

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LOVE AND OTHER WORDS by Christina Lauren

April 11, 2018

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This is a lovely book that moves back and forth in time. Macy Sorensen was a young girl when her mother died of cancer.  She left behind letters and instructions for her husband, to help him raise their daughter, and Macy and her dad are very close.

One of the things her mother suggests is that they get a vacation home, and they find a small house not too far away in the wine country area where they can spend weekends and vacations. Macy is a big reader, a girl after my own heart, and one of the reasons they buy the house is because the closet off of her bedroom is large enough to create a library, and they do. But the day they move in, Macy finds a boy her own age, Elliot Petropoulos, reading in the closet. They quickly become friends, then best friends, and eventually more.

Macy in present day is a pediatric resident in a Berkeley hospital, working crazy hours. She lives with a man, an artist, and his daughter. They don’t see each other much but it is a comfortable relationship for both of them. In fact, they are engaged.

We know something catastrophic happens with Elliot, because they haven’t seen each other for eleven years. As the story unfurls, we learn more about each of them and their relationship until the back and forth catches up to present day.

I loved this book. I loved getting to know these characters and cared about what happened and why. A terrific, heartwarming read!

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

LOVE AND OTHER WORDS by Christina Lauren.  Gallery Books (April 10, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501128011. 432p.

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SUMMER ON WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs

April 9, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 1

From what I can tell, this book originally came out in 2006 and has been reissued many times over the years, the most recent was last year. I enjoy Susan Wiggs and hadn’t read any of this series, so decided to start at the beginning.

First off, I loved the setting. Willow Lake was the childhood camp where Olivia, then called Lolly, spent every summer. Her grandparents owned and ran the camp, and all the family was expected to attend and eventually work there. Lolly never really fit in, but made one really good friend – Connor. He was her friend, but also her first love and she never really got over him.

Eventually the camp closed, but her grandparents want to spend their fiftieth anniversary there and renew their vows. They ask Olivia to fix up the place. It’s been deserted for years and is very run down. They give her a healthy budget and off she goes. First up, find a contractor.

The only contractor in town is, you guessed it, Connor. The book alternates between then, the camp days, and now, the fixing up the camp days and it’s a joyous ride. Some of my best childhood memories are of going to camp, so I really enjoyed that aspect of it. Plus it’s a great romance. I am planning on working my way through the rest of the series.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SUMMER ON WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reissue edition (October 11, 2016). ISBN 978-0778330073.  464p.


THE TROUBLE WITH TRUE LOVE by Laura Lee Guhrke

April 7, 2018

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Dear Lady Truelove, Book 2

Clara Deverill must be the best sister in the world, for as her sister leaves town, Clara is left with the unenviable task of running the family newspaper and answering the lovelorn letters column. She is woefully inexperienced with both, but she is excellent at eavesdropping. When she overhears Rex Galbraith, a local rake, explaining to his friend how to keep from making a commitment and still keep his woman, she takes notes and uses that advice in her column.

Rex is not too happy to see his words in print, and when his friend’s lady reads the column, it all blows up. Rex ends up in a rather odd arrangement with Clara, and they both learn quite a bit about how the heart works. The hate-at-first-sight slowly turns to love, and it is fun to watch.

Another excellent addition to the genre – witty, intelligent and pure escapism.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE TROUBLE WITH TRUE LOVE by Laura Lee Guhrke. Avon; Reissue edition (January 30, 2018). ISBN 978-0062469878.  384p.

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THE COLOR OF LOVE by Sharon Sala

April 6, 2018

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A Blessings, Georgia Novel, Book 5

Blessings is a small, Southern town that runs primarily on gossip. Ruby Dye is receiving gifts from a secret admirer, and that is a hot topic. She’s not sure who they are from, only who she wishes they were from, “Peanut” Butterman, the town lawyer (with parents with a sense of humor) and Ruby’s friend.

Then Ruby gets kidnapped, and the whole town comes together to try and find her, including Peanut. This is a sweet romance, veering just barely on the right side of corny without going quite that far.

If you like your romances with a dash of suspense and a lot of sugar, this is the book for you. Sometimes that is all you need.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE COLOR OF LOVE by Sharon Sala.  Sourcebooks Casablanca (February 6, 2018). ISBN  978-1492646051. 320p.

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A NANTUCKET WEDDING by Nancy Thayer

April 3, 2018

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Need a beach vacation? Escape to Nantucket with this latest charmer from Nancy Thayer.

Alison had one of those rare, really good marriages so when her husband died, she never thought she’d marry again. And then she met David, who was pretty much in the same boat. But at their age, they knew pretty quickly that what they had was special and decide to get married on Nantucket, where he has a beautiful home on the beach.

Alison invites her daughters up to Nantucket for the weekend to meet her fiancé. Felicity is married with two children and her husband is working his tail off to get his green food startup running and successful. Jane is a lawyer married to another lawyer and both are completely focused on their careers. The two sisters have never been close, but a weekend alone makes them realize their similarities are stronger than their differences.

David also has children, his son is a big flirt and surprisingly to the prettier Felicity, he goes after Jane. There’s also Poppy, mother of two and being groomed to take over her father’s mega-successful business. Poppy is not too thrilled with the idea of her father remarrying but for the most part, the kids all get along. But as it gets closer to the wedding date, all sorts of obstacles arise.

This is a lovely family saga and a wonderful way to kick off my beach reading…especially considering what kind of winter it’s been! A most enjoyable read.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A NANTUCKET WEDDING by Nancy Thayer.  Ballantine Books (April 3, 2018). ISBN  978-1101967102. 320p.

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COUNTING ON A COUNTESS by Eva Leigh

April 2, 2018

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London Underground,Book 2

The Earl of Blakemere, Christopher “Kit” Ellingsworth, was awarded his title for meritorious service during the war. His mentor has also bequeathed him his estate, with one stipulation; he must be married by the end of the month.

Tamsyn Pearce is one of the most unusual heroines I’ve ever read about in a historical romance. She is a smuggler, and is in London to sell her bounty. Tamsyn’s father died, leaving the estate to her brother, who is entirely self serving. The estate supported the surrounding community, and without his help, they are all in desperate straights. Tamsyn to the rescue – the whole town helps her with the smuggling and she helps them keep food on the table.

While in London, she meets the Earl and his offer of a quick marriage really suits her. With his new income, she can help the people back home and repair her family home. Things really look up when, after the wedding, it is revealed that there is another stipulation to the funds – the wife is to be in charge of the money. Of course, falling in love really complicates things, but that is the fun of it all.

This was a good read,  charming and witty,  occasionally steamy, but always entertaining.

4/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COUNTING ON A COUNTESS by Eva Leigh. Avon; Reissue edition (March 27, 2018). ISBN 978-0062499431.  384p.

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3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COUNTING ON THE COUNTESS by Eva Leigh. Avon; Reissue edition (March 27, 2018). ISBN 978-0062499431.  384p.

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THE SECRET OF FLIRTING by Sabrina Jeffries

March 31, 2018

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The Sinful Suitors, Book 5

Monique Servais is an actress performing in London.  Baron Fulkham is a political spy, working in the government but earning his way to the top by knowing as much as possible about everyone. A friend takes him to the theater and insists they must meet the actress in the lead role. Fulkham goes along and is quite taken with her, but basically insults her. She is also attracted to him but fights it, she takes care of her ailing grandmother and has no time for romance.

A few years later, Belgium is set to become a country and there is to be a meeting in London of all the interested parties to select a ruler. Princess Aurore of Chanay is in the running but right before the historic meeting, falls deathly ill. Monique is approached by her uncle to impersonate her cousin, Aurore, they look very much alike, until she can hopefully ascend the throne.

When Fulkham sees her, he instantly knows her as Monique but she is denying it. They spend quite a bit of time together, especially after an attempt is made on her life, and they both realize they have feelings for one another but for various reasons, cannot act upon them.

This was an interesting story, but I wish it had held more closely to the truth about the beginnings of Belgium. But then it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE SECRET OF FLIRTING by Sabrina Jeffries. Pocket Books (March 27, 2018). ISBN 978-1501144486.  416p.

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UNDONE BY YOU by Kate Meador

March 30, 2018

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The Chicago Rebels Series, Book 3

I am really enjoying this series – ice hockey, hot sex and terrific romance all work for me. This book, the third in the series, is actually a novella, not as long as the other books. And it sort of runs side by side with book 2, it doesn’t move the time line any further along.

The other big change is this book is a gay romance. The team manager, the very hot Dante Morelli, is the first NHL manager to come out as gay. The team is fine with it, except for one player – there always has to be a jerk on any team. I once had a manager at Borders who kept on this really awful employee for way longer than he should have, he called him our”Germany'” – that bad employee let everyone else on staff band together and form a more cohesive team in the face of a common enemy, so to speak. There is a character here that performs that purpose as well. He is always mouthing off about the gay manager, the Russian player, the women owners of the team, etc. Needless to say, he is not the most popular player on the team.

Dante is new in town, and ends up at a very private, invitation only gay club. To his shock, he sees one of his players there, Cade, the player that he has been crushing on since he moved to Chicago. Nonplussed by seeing Cade, Dante drags him out of the club and Cade is quite happy to go along. He has had a crush on Dante since he was a teenager and Dante was a professional hockey player – he even had his poster hung up in his room. In fact the only reason he was at that club was because he had heard Dante might show up.

Dante realizes that anyone could out Cade, and he wants to have a plan ready for that to minimize any kind of public relations nightmare that could evolve. Meanwhile, there is so much heat between these two that it is apparent where they will end up. But Dante is concerned about the power relationship, he is Cade’s boss after all, not to mention the twelve year age difference.

Dante also had been in a long term relationship with a man who hadn’t come out, and he didn’t want to be in that position again. I have to say I really empathized with Dante. I have a very good friend who, years ago, was in a similar relationship, with a partner that wasn’t out, and it was painful at times. I am very happy to report that he has found love and happiness since.

With all these hurdles, this relationship seems doomed but we all know that true love will always win out and it certainly does here. There is a lot of graphic sex, as there is in all the Meador books I’ve read, and I learned a few things.

Dare I say this is another Meador romance that is so hot the ice can’t cool it off? It really is!

Just a note about the NHL – I know as sure as I’m typing here that there are gay men playing for and managing hockey teams. As far as I know, none of them have been open about it. It just seems silly to me, like Adam Rippon being the first openly gay Olympic skater. Why on earth did it take so long? But what do I know.

3/18  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

UNDONE BY YOU by Kate Meador. Pocket Star (March 5, 2018). ASIN: B074ZRHPGC. 147p.

 

 


STILL ME by Jojo Moyes

March 23, 2018

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This is the third book in what I guess is the Louisa Clark series, although not advertised as such. But if you haven’t read Me Before You and After You, don’t start here.

Louisa Clark is back and this time she’s heading for New York City. She’s gotten a job as the personal assistant to a very wealthy second/trophy wife, Agnes Gopnik. They live on the upper East side and while Louisa’s room is tiny, it’s all hers. Agnes is an interesting woman, and they get along pretty well other than the  lack of free time for Louisa. Her boyfriend, Ambulance Sam, is still back in the UK, and they are trying to make the long distance thing work.

Then Louisa meets Joshua Ryan, who bears a startling resemblance to Will Traynor. (This is why you need to have read the first two books, none of this will make sense otherwise.) She also finds a vintage clothing store where she feels right at home.

The long distance thing is working, sort of, and the Josh Ryan thing is also sort of working – without giving anything away, Louisa is somewhat torn between the two, and then the fates conspire to make things even more complicated.

This is another terrific read, full of charm, humor and just enough pathos to make it all worthwhile. Moyes’ fans will be thrilled to spend more time with Louisa – I certainly was.

3/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

STILL ME by Jojo Moyes.  Pamela Dorman Books (January 30, 2018). ISBN:  978-0399562457. 400p.

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