June 18, 2018

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Romantic Escapes, Book 2

This British import is a delightful read set in the hipster haven, Brooklyn.

Sophie Bennings had the worst possible breakup after a two year relationship when she found out her boyfriend was married. Luckily, she is offered a last minute job exchange to America and she jumps on it, escaping as quickly as she can. Sophie is a food writer, and her magazine and their American counterpart want to switch things up for a six month period, so off she goes.

The apartment she is provided with is above a delicious bakery, and the owner’s cousin, Todd, is her gorgeous co-worker. Todd is the perfect antidote to Sophie’s messy love life, but everyone warns her off him, he is a notorious player. But he’s also kind and considerate and Sophie & Todd become friends….and then more. But the relationship is doomed to fail as Todd has some serious commitment issues, and Sophie’s work visa has an expiration date.

These characters are terrific, Brooklyn becomes another character as well, and this was just a delicious read.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LITTLE BROOKLYN BAKERY by Julie Caplin. HarperImpulse (May 25, 2018). ASIN: B077CYJ3QM.  272p. (e-book only)



June 17, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 9

I love visiting the tiny hamlet of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, and even though this is the ninth book in the series, Wiggs keeps on proving what a terrific writer she is.

This story centers around Sonnet, the former mayor’s kid who is now a young adult and is still struggling with her career choices, her difficult relationship with her father, and life in general. She returns to Camp Kioga for her step-sister Daisy’s wedding but when she sees her former best friend, Zach Algers all grown up, it’s like a punch to the gut.

Growing up as the bi-racial daughter of a single mother was not always easy for Sonnet. But Zach, whose mother died, was also being raised by a single parent and that shared experience brought them close together. But Zach had moved on after his father was convicted of embezzling money from the town coffers. He doesn’t want to return to town but he can’t say no to Daisy.

Then Sonnet finds out her mother has cancer, and is pregnant, and her priorities become crystal clear. She moves home to Willow Lake to help take care of her mother and in the process, does some real soul searching and grows up in the process.

One thing leads to another and Sonnet and Zach find each other again, this time as adults with all that implies. They fall in love, but there are some real hurdles to get over before they can find their happy ending.

Another terrific story in a wonderful series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2013). ISBN 978-0778314998. 384p.



June 15, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 8

I think this was the most anticipated book in the series. A couple of books ago was a sort of cliffhanger featuring Daisy, and I know I was delighted to finally get to her story.

Daisy Bellamy and Julian Gastineaux met as teens at summer camp and they became best friends. They were from different worlds; Daisy, heir to the Bellamy fortune and founding family of the summer camp, and Julian, a scholarship kid.

Nonetheless, they stay best friends, keeping in touch over the years. Julian figures out the only way he’ll be able to afford college is through the armed services. He excels, as he does with everything, by working his butt off, and this time his reward is being sent to Columbia with an elite group of soldiers. Unfortunately, they are all killed.

Daisy is devastated, but eventually realizes that life must go on. She is still young, and a strong single mother to her son. His father, Logan, was a one night stand. But surprisingly, Logan is trying to be a good father and he decides the best course of action would be to marry his child’s mother. Talk about your rebound decisions, but Daisy does marry Logan and while they get along, there is no real connection between them other than their child. But they are both determined to make the marriage work. Until Julian returns.

This was a very difficult read at times, extremely emotional and gut wrenching, but ultimately love does conquer all. I think this is one of my favorite books of the series, mostly because I was so invested in these characters through the previous books and I wanted them to find their happy ending. I loved it.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (July 28, 2015). ISBN 978-0778317715. 432p.



June 13, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 7

I haven’t forgotten about this series, just put the reviews on the back burner for a bit. But it’s time to catch up with some of my favorite characters in my favorite make believe setting, the beautiful Willow Lake in the glorious Catskill Mountains.

In case I haven’t mentioned this before, these books can all stand alone so can be read in any order. I started with a later book but then went back and read the rest in order. Either way, they are wonderful.

This story revolves around George Bellamy, who is dying of cancer. He has a couple of regrets as he reaches the end of his life – that his grandson hasn’t married yet, and that he is still estranged from his brother after 55 years. Determined to go out in his own way, George starts interviewing palliative care nurses and finds the perfect match for both him, and he hopes for his grandson.

George hires Claire, and she has her own mysterious past. She is happy to go along with whatever George wants, and when she meets Ross, his grandson, sparks fly. But Ross is suspicious of the nurse, and wonders if she is after his money somehow.

Claire helps George fulfill all his last wishes, and this is a lovely story about the end of life as well as the beginnings of a great romance. A few of the regular characters in the series make brief appearances as well. This was another wonderful read in a terrific series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (March 25, 2014). ISBN 978-0778317005. 432p.



June 9, 2018

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Hellcat Canyon Novel, Book 4

Gabe, like most elementary school principals, is an ex-Navy Seal. Ha! I wish, I’d love kids to feel that safe in school. But in this fictional tale, he really is, and he really loves kids. He is also very lonely, and fills his days and nights with meetings, coaching, and volunteering all over town. He’s also really hot with a body that draws every female eye in town. It’s not surprising that every mom in the school finds a reason to stop by his office, but he only has eyes for Eden, a single mom with an amazing kid.

There is a strong attraction there but Eden has been so busy being a single mom that she hasn’t allowed herself to get involved with anyone. But Gabe is really hard to dismiss. He’s not pushy, he just keeps showing up and they talk – really talk – about anything and everything and slowly get to know one another. Eventually, they realize it is time to move the relationship to the next level.

Eden has a secret that she has been keeping since her daughter’s conception – no one, including her family, knows who the baby daddy is. Eden knows and she’s not ready to tell anyone, that is until he shows up in town, meets his daughter by accident and realizes rather quickly that she must be his – she’s the spitting image of his mother.  This throws a complication into the whole Gabe/Eden dynamic that neither of them saw coming.

This was a really fun read with great characters and a bit of steamy sex now and then. I  also really enjoyed the humor and all the obstacles in the way of the happily ever after.

I haven’t read the other books in the series but I know that Hot in Hellcat Canyon was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America 2017 Contemporary Romance award. (I just reserved it at my library.) And I wouldn’t be surprised if this new one landed on that list as well.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FIRST TIME AT FIRELIGHT FALLS by Julie Anne Long. Avon (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-0062672902.  384p.



TOO WILDE TO WED by Eloisa James

June 7, 2018

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Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 2

From the publisher:

No one is more surprised than Lord North when he returns from war to find his ex-fiancee in his ancestral home…working as a governess in a sexy, fiery new Wildes of Lindow Castle romance by New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James…

The handsome, rakish heir to a dukedom, Lord Roland Northbridge Wilde—known to his friends as North—left England two years ago, after being jilted by Miss Diana Belgrave. He returns from war to find that he’s notorious: polite society has ruled him “too wild to wed.”

Diana never meant to tarnish North’s reputation, or his heart, but in her rush to save a helpless child, there was no time to consider the consequences of working as a governess in Lindow Castle. Now everyone has drawn the worst conclusions about the child’s father, and Diana is left with bittersweet regret.

When North makes it clear that he still wants her for his own, scandal or no, Diana has to fight to keep from losing her heart to the man whom she still has no intention of marrying.

Yet North is returning a hardened warrior—and this is one battle he’s determined to win.

He wants Diana, and he’ll risk everything to call her his own.

I usually love Eloisa James’s books but I struggled with this one. I found the storyline a bit convoluted at times and lacking the usual charm and wit of most of her books. The heroine, Diana, was more annoying than interesting and there wasn’t a whole lot of romance in this romance. It was an okay read but frankly, I was disappointed.

As an aside that truly means nothing, I found the cover odd, it looks more like a contemporary romance than historical.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOO WILDE TO WED by Eloisa James. Avon (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-0062848802. 304p.


June 3, 2018

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The Holloway Girls, Book 1

This was one of those times when I absolutely judged a book by its cover and went for it. It was a serendipitous find in the library and the book reads as cute and delicious as the cover looks. And it’s a debut novel, and I always love finding a new author!

While not paranormal exactly, because I don’t do those, this book is a touch magical so if you think that is not your thing, maybe try this and see if you like it. It’s a quick read with a good story filled with interesting, quirky characters (my favorite kind.)

Emma Holloway lives in her ancestral, somewhat broken down and enchanted family home in a tiny town near Seattle. She owns a bakery called Fairy Cakes, where she makes special cupcakes – they fulfill wishes to those who need them. Not individual, I wish I would win the lotto kinds of wishes, but more general, happy good wishes. Love. Sweet dreams. Sweet success. And she accidentally sells three success cupcakes to a gorgeous newcomer who, it turns out, is building a bakery right down the road.

Emma’s business is very seasonal and she is barely holding on. Hunter Kane is a real estate mogul who is trying to buy up most of the seaside to build a high end restaurant and bakery. But he needs to get involved in the small town politics to get what he wants. And there he and Emma get to work together on the big summer kickoff.

The chemistry is lightning hot between Hunter and Emma but can they work out their differences in the name of true love? No worries, this is a romance after all.

This book is as light and sweet and fluffy as cotton candy, but a bit more emotionally satisfying. I spent a very enjoyable afternoon reading it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE by Tara Sheets. Zebra Shout (April 24, 2018). ISBN 978-1420146264.  304p.



June 2, 2018
matchmaking for beginners

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If there’s anything worse than being left at the altar, Marnie MacGraw experiences it first hand after she talks her panicky groom into marrying her, but he still leaves her two weeks later. The only one who isn’t surprised is Blix, her fiancé’s eccentric aunt who feels a kinship with Marnie. They are both matchmakers with an other-worldly gift, but Blix is dying.

Marnie moves on, gets engaged to her former high school boyfriend in Georgia, then gets the shocking news that Blix has died, leaving Marnie her Brooklyn brownstone and causing family grief on both sides. Off to Brooklyn she goes, where she meets Blix’s friends and tenants, including the man Blix thinks she belongs with.

Dawson (The Survivor’s Guide to Family Happiness) makes Brooklyn feel like a lovely small town, but it’s the sweetness of the characters and the sprinkling of magical realism throughout that makes this a charming read. For fans of What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty or The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender. ©Library Journal, 2018.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MATCHMAKING FOR BEGINNERS by Maddie Dawson. Lake Union Publishing (June 1, 2018). ISBN 978-1503900684.  370p.




May 30, 2018

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A River Ranch Novel, Book 2

Tanner Ford is a hot cowboy with a penchant for a very dangerous sport; bull riding. He has been on top of the sport for years, and is thrilled when he draws the toughest bull for his ride. From reading several cowboy romances, I have learned that you get more points for the toughest bulls, you can’t win on an easy ride, and it’s a matter of luck and the draw.

Tanner is in his glory until he gets thrown, trampled and gored. He survives but has a lot of rehab ahead of him because he is determined to get back on the bull. Yes, he’s already one of the biggest money winners in the sport, not to mention he comes from a very wealthy ranching family, but it’s what he loves. So when his sister tells him she’s arranged for the best physical therapist for him, he’s really happy. And then she tells him that the woman was going on vacation to Fiji but she’s agreed to work with him as long as he goes there. Not only does he go there, he upgrades her hotel and they fly there on the family’s private jet.

There’s only one fly in the ointment and that is the physical therapist herself – it’s Lauren Lewis, Tanner’s high school girlfriend and love of his life. She unexpectedly broke up with him right before leaving for college and he’s never gotten over it. But he knows he needs the help so off they go.

The cowboy has to shed his jeans and boots and try to keep his hands off Lauren – their chemistry is as hot as it was in high school and he’s not the only one who thinks so. Finally, they decide to give in to it and have a Fiji fling, ending things when they return home. But what kind of romance would that be?

The descriptions of Fiji made me want to get on the next plane, until they had some Florida hurricane type weather. I’ll just stay here for that, thank you very much. I liked these characters and their past brought a lot of tension to the story in a very good way. This was a fun, sexy read and I really enjoyed it.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ALL NIGHT WITH THE COWBOY by Soraya Lane. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (May 29, 2018). ISBN: 978-1250131034. 304p.



May 27, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 6

Yes, it’s back to the tiny hamlet of Avalon for me, nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. This time it’s a slightly magical Christmas story, which I can always get behind. There are actually a couple of Christmas books in this series. and this is the first one.

This time out our heroine also happens to be the town librarian, so it speaks to me, even if she is a bit cliché. She may look and sound like a stereotypical librarian when the book opens, but by the end she is someone I could be friends with. At least she is professional, and bookish, and those are qualities I see in myself and many of my co-workers.

Maureen is very excited because this is the first year she will get to direct the annual Christmas pageant. Unfortunately, she is stuck with an assistant not of her own choosing. Eddie Haven was a child star who ran into a bit of trouble and his community service requires him to help with the pageant.

You could not find two  people more different. Maureen, and every other woman in town, find Eddie gorgeous. He’s also very laid back and easygoing. Maureen, on the other hand, thinks she’s plain and dumpy and dresses to make sure she looks that way. She’s also freaking out because the library has a budget shortfall and will be shutting down. Nevertheless, Eddie is intrigued with her and yes, they fall in love and find their happily ever after but only after a lot of angst and drama along the way.

That’s the romance portion of the story. There is also a magical subplot about a young man who shows up out of nowhere and has a voice like an angel…and leaves no footprints…and you get the point. I love that slightly mysterious, mystical, magical Christmas stuff so this worked for me.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read. I would have liked to say this was my favorite (librarian character and Christmas and all) but it wasn’t. It is a very enjoyable read, however, especially if you love Christmas magic.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010). ISBN 978-0778327820. 384p.