THE NANNY RULES by Melynda Price

August 23, 2019

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From the publisher:

Don’t touch the nanny. It’s one rule I’m most certainly going to break.

Since becoming a single father, I have two things that keep me sane—my daughter Lily and playing football for the NFL. But when my meddling sister hires a nanny without my knowledge, I’m not thrilled to come home and find the woman has taken over my house. Our instant attraction is one more complication I don’t need in my life.

But my daughter loves Amelia, and I will do anything for that tiny munchkin. Even if it means walking around with blue balls most of the time. Why does the nanny have to be so sweet—and drop dead gorgeous? She’s driving me crazy. Never in my life have I wanted a woman more.

I just need to make it through this season. I can do that. Hands free, of course. But then there’s that moment, and I know she’s thinking what I’m thinking and, well, yeah. Screw the rules…


This is a typical romance plot line, and when it is done as well as this book is, it is easy to understand why this storyline gets used again and again.

Good looking, built football player? Check!

Single dad/widower? Check!

Gorgeous nanny with a heart of gold? Check!

It’s all here, including a really cute kid, some sad background, hot sex and the happily ever after. This one checked all the boxes for me and I read it in one sitting. The football was just an added bonus – the bit of fantasy with the Browns may just come true one of these days (love me an underdog!) And I loved this book!

8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE NANNY RULES by Melynda Price. Berkley (September 3, 2019). ISBN 978-1984805386. 336p.

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NEVER A BRIDE by Megan Frampton

August 17, 2019

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Duke’s Daughters, Book 4

From the publisher:

The next thrilling installment in Megan Frampton’s scintillating A Duke’s Daughters series.

She’s a deliciously scandalous woman who is no man’s bride…

He’s a black sheep, forced to return home.

Together, they enter a make-believe betrothal that shocks London society…

After twelve years in Her Majesty’s Navy, Griffith Davies must leave his sea-going life of outrageous freedom behind, forced to rejoin London society as the heir to the Duke of Northam. But though he is now shackled to the land, he has no desire to wed some innocently dull young thing.  Who best to shield him from the matchmakers than a woman as notorious as he?

Lady Della Howlett’s reputation was tattered years ago, so entering into a false engagement with Griffith is hardly going to make matters worse. What’s one more shock to the ton to set their tongues wagging? And this pact certainly has its pleasures; the passion Griffith commands in her goes well beyond their agreement. Could her feelings might be more honorable than she’d first imagined?

Soon, Griffith and Della are arousing more than scandal, they’re courting heartbreak.  And more than their reputations could still be at risk.


I was really enjoying the latest trope of having 21st century characters inhabiting the 18th century. By that I mean strong, independent women with careers and men who appreciate them. But this time really felt like it was beyond the scope of suspending disbelief. I’ve read books two and three of this series and enjoyed them, but this one was definitely my least favorite.

Lady Della’s story was a familiar one. As a young girl, she is talked into running away with a young man her family is sure to disapprove of, and, as it turns out, with very good reason. What does she see in him? Well, he listens to her when no one else does. When she finds herself pregnant, she leaves him, somehow figuring she will manage on her own in Regency England. She ends up living with another young mother from the Caribbean, whose husband is missing. Together they take in all kinds of strays, from young girls to kittens to furniture.

Griffith is a man who loves his job as captain of a ship in her majesty’s navy. What was interesting (and completely unrealistic) is that both of these characters, Griffith and Della, are fierce defenders of the poor, the homeless, the low born. They truly are a match made in heaven, especially sexually. Della is a dominant, and Griffith loves how she orders him about and takes the lead in everything. When he tries to, he is punished.

This was just too much for me. I finished it as it was a very quick read, but I didn’t love it and I’m very sorry to say, cannot really recommend it.

8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NEVER A BRIDE by Megan Frampton. Avon (April 30, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062867407. 368p.

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LOVE AT FIRST LIKE by Hannah Orenstein

August 12, 2019

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From the publisher:

Named a Best Book of Summer by GlamourBuzzFeedCosmopolitan, and many more!

From the author of Playing with Matches, the rollicking tale of a young jewelry shop owner who accidentally leads her Instagram followers to believe that she’s engaged—and then decides to keep up the ruse.

Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.

Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.

Written with singular charm and style, Love at First Like is for anyone growing up and settling down in the digital age.


I was really excited to get this book. It seemed smart and modern and I love everything Brooklyn, not to mention the buzz was terrific. But as is sometimes the case, all the hype led to me being disappointed. I assumed, from the description, that Eliza would find some guy to help her with the social media campaign then fall in love. That is usually the basic romance trope, but that is not what happens here. Instead, Eliza pretends to fall in love and pushes this really nice guy into a relationship through sheer effrontery and duplicity.

Maybe it’s generational, but I didn’t understand the whole premise of the book. Posting an engagement on Instagram would dramatically increase sales? And continuing the lie would keep the sales coming? Setting that aside, I really didn’t understand how a character would actually consider marrying someone because it might increase their sales yet again. That is, for me, just beyond the pale.

I felt badly for Blake, but also had to wonder how someone who made their fortune in a similar business would also not be more social media savvy, despite his protestations that he had people to do that sort of thing for him. Regardless, I can’t imagine that there are millennials out there that aren’t on their phone day in and day out, whether they have staff for that or not. Maybe that’s on me though.

Finally, it was ridiculously easy to figure out the entire plot pretty much from the get go, and frankly, I like to be surprised now and then. Eliza, specifically in the way she treated Blake, pissed me off more than anything. When Eliza plots to keep her engagement ring from Blake by having her sister give him a $45,000 ring “on the house” because of the legal ramifications, that just left me cold. It was completely heartless. Maybe if Blake hadn’t been made out to be such a nice guy it would have been a little more palatable.

It is really hard for me to really enjoy a romance when I dislike the protagonist so much. The whole point of a romance is the happily ever after. Sure, the book had its charming moments, and there were occasional laughs, but when the happy ending kicked in, at that point I just didn’t care.

8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LOVE AT FIRST LIKE by Hannah Orenstein. Atria Books (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1982117795. 336p.

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WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey

August 7, 2019

8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WAITING FOR TOM HANKS by Kerry Winfrey. Berkley (June 11, 2019). ISBN  978-1984804020. 288p.

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THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai

August 6, 2019

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From the publisher:

Alisha Rai returns with a sizzling new novel, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Rhiannon. I know it is a popular name but when I hear it, or read it, all I can think of is Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac and the song (see YouTube below. You’re welcome.) Luckily, I love that song. I also loved this character. She was strong, feisty bordering on aggressive at times, and definitely a woman in charge of her own destiny. That worked for me.

We know that Rhi has experienced some trauma in her life that affects her professional career, and eventually we get most of the sordid details. So she definitely has baggage and she creates rules to protect herself. She also knows that sometimes rules can be broken.

Samson also has baggage. Not only is he a former professional football player, he comes from football royalty, with both his father and his uncle former NFL stars. But he lost his father and more recently, the uncle he took care of. He hasn’t really dated in years and his first attempt is a disaster. But Samson has a bigger problem than lack of dating skills; he doesn’t think he’s capable of a relationship because everyone he’s ever loved has left him.

The chemistry between these two is palpable and I couldn’t help rooting for them to get together. The very hot sex just adds to the fun. When they are thrust together in business, they realize they have a lot more blocks to get past in their personal lives. But this is a romance so happily ever after is a requirement.

Rai once again gives us a charming read with humor and pathos. She also tackles some important topics like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, sexual harassment in the work place, and the prejudices towards women-owned businesses, especially in the tech industry. She handles all of that beautifully, exploring these issues in a very personal way. This was a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai. Avon (August 6, 2019).  ISBN  978-0062878090. 400p.

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SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME by K.A. Tucker

August 6, 2019

8/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

SAY YOU STILL LOVE ME by K.A. Tucker. Atria Books (August 6, 2019). ISBN 978-1501133442. 384p.

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About K.A. Tucker

K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 17 books, including the Causal Enchantment, Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water series, He Will Be My Ruin, Until It Fades, Keep Her Safe, and The Simple Wild. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, First for Women, and Publisher’s Weekly. She has been nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Romance 2013 for TEN TINY BREATHS and Best Romance 2018 for THE SIMPLE WILD. KEEP HER SAFE made Suspense Magazine’s Best of 2018 list for Romantic Suspense. Her novels have been translated into 16 languages.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her family.

Keep up with K.A. on all platforms:

Website ➜ http://www.katuckerbooks.com/
Newsletter Sign up ➜ http://bit.ly/2iYqxMT
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THE BOOK CHARMER by Karen Hawkins

July 30, 2019

I don’t mind a bit of magical realism in my books so Sarah’s having books talk to her was fine by me. I loved that the books insisted they be read and by whom and Sarah was just the conduit, putting said books into the hands of said readers. But that is just a minor plot point. This story is really about Grace.

Grace is new to town but arrives with her foster mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s, and her late sister’s young daughter. So Grace has her hands full, to say the least. She had to leave a high powered, high paying job to care for them, to move to the small town of Dove Pond, where her foster mother was from, in hopes that the familiar surroundings and people will help her. She lands the poor paying job of town clerk, but with a bargain basement rental from a relative of her foster mother, her low salary is not as big a deal as one would think. Grace plans on sticking around for only a year, then finding a better paying job somewhere else. But of course, the small town of Dove Pond sinks into her soul.

The Dove family, Sarah included, all have gifts of some sort. Sarah’s is the talking books, her sister brews magical teas. Not sure about the rest of the family but probably will find out more as the series progresses. My only quibble is that this book was really about Grace. She has the romance with the happily every after, yet the book was named for Sarah, who, I would bet, has her own romance coming up (and I’m looking forward to it.)  I liked these characters and definitely will be back to visit Dove Pond.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE BOOK CHARMER by Karen Hawkins.  Gallery Books (July 30, 2019). ISBN  978-1982105549. 368p.

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INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin

July 29, 2019

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The Playbook, Book 1

From the publisher:

Series in development with Starz & G-Unit Films and Television by 50 Cent and La La Anthony!

One of NPR’s Best Books of 2018
An Amazon Best Romance of 2018 Pick
An iBooks “Best of September” Pick
A GoodReads Best of the Month pick for September
One of Booklist‘s Top 10 Romance Debuts for 2018
One of BookBubs Best Fall Romances of 2018

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.


I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around Fumbled, the second book in the series, originally brought me to this author. So yes, again, I am reading a series out of order. Luckily, there are only two books so far, so at least now I’m ready when the next book comes out! Plus can I just say that this is a great romance with diverse characters, always a welcome addition to the genre. Martin has a bit of writing quirk that may be just a generational thing, but she uses hashtags. A lot. Sometimes they are super appropriate and usually they are funny, but now and then I thought she went a bit over the top with them.

As I mentioned in my review of Fumbled, this has some real life behind it. Both these books revolve around NFL players (albeit for a fictitious team) and in real life, Martin is married to a retired professional football player. So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. One of my favorite sports romance series is from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who writes about another fictitious football team, and Martin’s books almost seem like an updated version to me.

A friend told me she never reads sports romances because she doesn’t like sports, but trust me, that is not a prerequisite. Not to stereotype (much!) but professional athletes make great romantic leads because they are young, good looking with ripped bodies, and they are loaded, leading so many women to fantasize about meeting/marrying one. And what is a good romance novel but a good fantasy?

Intercepted introduces some terrific characters and the writing is smart and funny. Marlee is terrific; strong, feisty and feminist, all traits I can relate to. Gavin is a cut above the usual jock, and is deserving of this wonderful woman. I loved watching how they come together and there is some hot sex along the way before they even get their happily ever after. All the cattiness with the football wives added a lot of humor and I loved Marlee’s best friend having her back. Good friends and a supportive family go a long way here.

Martin is definitely on to something here and I hope she continues her journey. I’m really looking forward to her next book.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.

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EVVIE DRAKE STARTS OVER by Linda Holmes

July 27, 2019

THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS by Sophie Barnes

July 26, 2019

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Diamonds in the Rough, Book 4

From the publisher:

A woman with a shocking past…

Branded a money-hungry con artist for marrying the elderly Duke of Tremaine days before his death, Viola Cartwright has found refuge in her work at St. Agatha’s Hospital. No one must know the painful reason behind her marriage. She steers clear of attachments—until Henry Lowell, heir to the Viscount Armswell, lands on her operating table after a duel. Charming and wickedly handsome, Lowell is one of London’s most inveterate scoundrels. Yet he may not be all that he appears.

And the man who can promise a future filled with love…

Posing as an unrepentant rake has helped Lowell avoid women pursuing him only for his title. But now that duty has finally called on him to marry, he finds himself entranced by the mysterious, independent-minded Viola. Then her late husband’s son returns from overseas, contesting Viola’s inheritance. Lowell longs to help her and sets out to convince Viola that a strategic union may be the best way to save all she holds dear. But can he also persuade her to take a chance on love…?


I am really enjoying the latest trope of having 21st century characters inhabiting the 18th century. By that I mean strong, independent women with careers and men who appreciate them. Viola and Lowell certainly fit the new standards and in a way that is always believable.

Viola is a skilled surgeon, trained by her father since women certainly couldn’t go to medical school back then. She marries a much older man, and is criticized for it, which I did find a bit surprising since that was certainly very common back then. Rich old men were considered catches for the young debutantes of the day so I wasn’t sure why Viola was considered a gold digger – all the young girls vied for the best titled men they could land but I guess since her father worked for a living instead of being titled gentry, that puts her out of the running. Sadly, her husband died quite soon after their marriage, leaving the marriage unconsecrated and Viola some money. Even more sadly, her husband’s son violated her before the marriage so she in no virgin.

Viola wants to use that money to open her own hospital, another seriously unlikely event of the day but what the hell, I bought it here. And Henry Lowell is the perfect man for her, although of course it takes quite a while to get to their happily ever after. The way the ton is portrayed is with the usual pettiness and vindictiveness, leaving me wondering why anyone even cared what they thought. Upper crust society was a strange beast, to be sure.

This is an interesting and well written series, and this book ends with strong hints as to the couple to be featured next. I’m looking forward to it.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE INFAMOUS DUCHESS by Sophie Barnes. Avon (March 26, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062849748. 384p.

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