A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole

December 8, 2018

The Reluctant Royals, Book 1

From the publisher:

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!


Once again I read a series out of order. I read the second book first, and loved it so much I hunted down this one. If you loved the Eddie Murphy movie, “Coming to America,” you will love this book. I loved them both.

Cole is a rising star in the romance genre, and landing on the NY Times Notable books list firmly entrenches her as romance royalty. Her characters are skillfully drawn and come to life on the page, the plot moves with laughs and sex and, well, romance. Everything a good, contemporary romance should have is here in a fresh new way. Don’t miss it.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole. Avon (February 27, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062685544.  384p.

Kindle

Audible

 


THE ACCIDENTAL BEAUTY QUEEN by Teri Wilson

December 4, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

Well, happy birthday to me! I love when my birthday falls on a Tuesday because then I feel like all the good books published that day are my gifts, and this one made a terrific present. (Feel free to call me silly but that is truly how I feel.) And a bonus: it can be your present, too! You can win a copy of this book, read on for all the details. Plus find out the inspiration for this book from Teri Wilson herself!


Charlotte Gorman is a grade school librarian and an identical twin. Her twin sister, Ginny, is a beauty queen like their deceased mother was. Ginny invites Charlotte to hang out at the swanky Orlando resort where the Miss American Treasure pageant is being held, but shortly after she arrives, Ginny has a terrible allergic reaction that would preclude her from competing – unless her twin will take her place.

For identical twins, these women are as different as night and day; Charlotte is the stereotypical dowdy librarian while Ginny is a glamazon. Nevertheless, Charlotte acquiesces in the name of sisterhood, meets and falls for one of the judges, and almost brings the pageant down.

This is a charming story with a lot of laughs and a warm, heartfelt ending. Reid (Royally Wed) also writes Hallmark Channel movies so do not be surprised if this book ends up there, obvious comparisons to The Parent Trap and Miss Congeniality notwithstanding. This is fast paced chick-lit that is sure to appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Stephanie Evanovich, and Rainbow Rowell.

©Library Journal, 2018.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ACCIDENTAL BEAUTY QUEEN by Teri Wilson. Gallery Books (December 4, 2018). ISBN 978-1501197604. 304p.

Kindle

Audiobook


From Teri Wilson:

I first got the idea for The Accidental Beauty Queen last summer when I served as a judge at the national Miss United States pageant, which is the pageant featured in Miss Congeniality. It’s an actual thing! Who knew?

I’d never participated in a pageant in any way before, although I always watched them on television when I was a little girl. The directors of Miss United States are big Hallmark Channel fans, and several of my books have been made into Hallmark movies so they reached out and asked if I would be interested in being their “celebrity” judge. My answer was an immediate yes…so long as they let me try on the crown. (I mean, come on. How could I not?)

I knew before I even got there that I’d end up wanting to write something set at a pageant, so I was on the lookout for inspiration. During the judges’ interviews, I met a contestant who told me she was an identical twin. When I asked if her twin sister was there to support her, she said, “Yes, she’s right out in the hallway. But if you saw us together side-by-side you’d never know we’re identical twins. She’s a real tomboy.” That was all the inspiration I needed.

I like to describe the book as Miss Congeniality meets Parent Trap. I had more fun writing it than any other project I’ve worked on. But it’s more than a pageant book or even a romance. It’s really about two sisters rediscovering their connection after a lifetime of pulling away from each other. And of course it’s about inner beauty with a big dose of women’s empowerment. I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on it!

About the Author:

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


To win a copy of The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson, please send an email to contest@gmail.com with “BEAUTY QUEEN” as the subject.

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

All entries must be received by December 31, 2018. 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 book will be sent by SIMON & SCHUSTER|GALLERY BOOKS.

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.


THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON by Julia Quinn

November 26, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

A Bridgertons Prequel

From the publisher:

She was in the wrong place…

Fiercely independent and adventurous, Poppy Bridgerton will only wed a suitor whose keen intellect and interests match her own. Sadly, none of the fools from her London season qualify. While visiting a friend on the Dorset coast, Poppy is pleasantly surprised to discover a smugglers’ hideaway tucked inside a cave. But her delight turns to dismay when two pirates kidnap her and take her aboard a ship, leaving her bound and gagged on the captain’s bed…

He found her at the wrong time…

Known to society as a rascal and reckless privateer, Captain Andrew James Rokesby actually transports essential goods and documents for the British government. Setting sail on a time-sensitive voyage to Portugal, he’s stunned to find a woman waiting for him in his cabin. Surely, his imagination is getting the better of him. But no, she is very real—and his duty to the Crown means he’s stuck with her.

Can two wrongs make the most perfect right?

 When Andrew learns that she is a Bridgerton, he knows he will likely have to wed her to avert a scandal—though Poppy has no idea that he is the son of an earl and neighbor to her aristocratic cousins in Kent. On the high seas, their war of words soon gives way to an intoxicating passion. But when Andrew’s secret is revealed, will his declaration of love be enough to capture her heart…?


I thought that the kidnapping plot was passé, but Quinn brings it back and makes it work, provided you can suspend your disbelief. And I did.

While the publisher’s description calls the men pirates, as does Poppy, they are in fact privateers, a higher class of scoundrel and one usually supported by the Crown. As is the case here, plus a nice twist, that “Captain James” is in reality, a spy of sorts, a courier for the government. But it is a secret, and he cannot tell Poppy his real name or occupation. Nevertheless, she finds herself strongly attracted to him, and he to her.

During her two seasons, Poppy discovered that she couldn’t abide a man who refused to see or appreciate her intellect, and that left her woefully short of suitors that suited. But the Captain delighted in her quick wit and inquiring mind, and she in his.

After being cooped up on the ship for weeks, Captain James takes Poppy to his favorite tavern in Lisbon where they run into some trouble. Just when you think it will be smooth sailing, everything goes awry. But no worries, this is a romance after all, so they do find their happy ending.

This was a fun read and a good prequel to the Bridgerton series. And in very exciting news, Shonda Rhimes is bringing the Bridgerton series to Netflix. Read the details here: BookBub

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON by Julia Quinn. Avon (November 20, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062388209. 400p.

Kindle

Audible


DATING YOU HATING YOU by Christina Lauren

November 21, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

Everyone knows that all’s fair in love and war. But these two will learn that sabotage is a dish best served naked.

A sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love, Dating You/Hating You by New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren is the story of what two high-powered agents will—and won’t—do to get everything they ever wanted.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending, or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, hilarious story of romance in the modern world.


The writing duo Christina Lauren has become a favorite, so when I saw this older title that I hadn’t read, I grabbed it. It didn’t suck me in immediately the way their other books have. In fact, I started it, put it down, picked it up, put it down for so long that when I picked it up again I had to start over. But then I read it straight through so it was probably more a mood thing with me than anything wrong with the book.

I really enjoyed it, there is a lot of humor and some hot sex and that always works for me. I liked the Hollywood stuff – no real names were used (I don’t think? I am pop culture clueless so maybe…) and the characters really came to life, something this writing team excels at.

A fun read although probably not as good as some of their more recent work. Still recommended.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DATING YOU HATING YOU by Christina Lauren. Gallery Books (June 6, 2017).  ISBN 978-1501165818.  368p.

Kindle

Audible

 


TONY’S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani

November 20, 2018

Click book cover to purchase

From the publisher:

Love, ambition, and the consequences of both lie at the heart of this spellbinding epic of two working-class kids who become a successful singing act during the big band era of the 1940s.

Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada meet one summer on the Jersey shore before World War II. Chi Chi is a talented and ambitious singer-songwriter working in a local blouse factory looking for her big break, while Saverio, a singer already on the rise, is fronting a touring band and has the good looks and smooth vocals that make success seem assured. It isn’t long before Saverio becomes Tony Arma and  he and Chi Chi form a duo; together they navigate the glamorous worlds of nightclubs, radio, and television. Soon they’re married and all goes well until it becomes clear that they must make a choice: Which of them will put ambition aside to build a family and which will pursue a career? What compromises will they make to achieve their dreams? And on the road to fame and fortune, how will they cope with the impact these compromises have on their marriage, family, and themselves?

From the Jersey shore to Hollywood, New York City to Las Vegas, the hills of northern Italy and the exuberant hayride of the big band circuit in between: Tony’s Wife tells the story of the twentieth century in song, as Tony & Chi Chi make studio recordings and promote them with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As they juggle the demands of their public lives, secrets are revealed, promises are broken, and loyalty is tested as the Armas attempt to keep the music playing and their family together.

Tony’s Wife is a richly layered novel that explores how a traditional Italian-American family grapples with the seismic shifts they face in a rapidly changing world. Replete with a pageant of vivid, complex characters, this deeply human saga of love and sacrifice showcases Adriana Trigiani’s gifts as a captivating storyteller and reveals her understanding that there are many different kinds of families: that over time love can evolve in ways that nobody can predict, especially when the hearts involved are open to forgiveness, the sweet reprise of redemption.


An Adriana Trigiani book is always cause for celebration at my house. It gets passed around long before publication date as no one wants to wait to read it. Reading Trigiani is an immersive experience into Italian family life and food and love.

Trigiani brings these characters and this time period to life, from the home decor to the cars and especially the attitudes. These characters learn and grow as times change, especially Chi Chi. In a way, this book reminded me a bit of the Broadway show Jersey Boys, so if you are not familiar with the author but you like the show (or movie), you will like this book.

Tony’s Wife is a deep dive into the 1940’s music scene and a marriage. This is a compelling and heartwarming read, sure to please Trigiani’s legion of fans.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TONY’S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani. Harper (November 20, 2018). ISBN 978-0062319258. 496p..

Kindle

Audible


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