SOMEONE TO WED by Mary Balogh

November 17, 2017

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A Westcott Novel, Book 3

Due to an illegal marriage, Alexander Westcott finds himself the new Earl of Riverdale. This was not something he coveted, especially when he finds that the previous Earl has let the estate go into disrepair. Alexander didn’t inherit money in addition to his title, so as the gentry is wont to do, he must marry money.

Wren Heyden is a neighbor of the new Earl. She has been a recluse for most of her life. Born with a large strawberry birthmark covering half of her face, she was scorned and abused by her parents until a kindly aunt took her in. She married well, and they adopted Wren, giving her a comfortable life, albeit a lonely one of her own choosing. When her aunt and uncle die, she inherits everything.

The young heiress only wants for one thing; a husband. She invites a few of her unmarried male neighbors to visit, hoping to find a husband in one of them and is quite taken with the Earl. But as much as he needs to marry for money, he isn’t going to rush into anything. They agree to start a courtship, and Wren finds herself in way over her head. He has social obligations, a large family, and wants her to participate in his life. She is very much afraid, but takes small steps to that end, and finds herself falling for Alexander.

Alexander is not looking for great passion, just companionship, and affection. But the relationship deepens, much to both of their surprise. But Wren has to learn to get past  her abusive childhood, and with Alexander’s help, she does.

This is an interesting, lovely romance from Balogh. The sex is more sensual than explicit, but the romance rings true. Another wonderful entry into the Westcott series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SOMEONE TO WED by Mary Balogh. Berkley (November 7, 2017). ISBN 978-0399586064.  400p.

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THE PERFECT MATCH by Kristan Higgins

November 15, 2017

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Blue Heron Series, Book 2

So I just realized I have read a book in this series, the fifth book, in fact, last year and never got around to reading any more until I was prompted to by my work daughter, Caitlin. I read the first book, this is the second in the series and apparently, I read the fifth book last year. Just when I thought I was reading a series in order!

This book put me in mind of another book I recently read and will be reviewing in early December when it comes out, Roomies by Christina Lauren. Both center around a fraudulent marriage to gain an immigrant the cherished green card.

Honor Holland has been best friends with Brogan since elementary school. At one point they decided to have sex and do so on occasion over the years. When Honor has her annual pelvic exam, the doctor mentions she might want to start thinking about having children. She’s 35 years old and her best childbearing years are behind her, so she decides to propose to Brogan. She has fancied herself in love with him for years, so why not. Of course, he says no and she is humiliated. To make matters worse, her best friend immediately moves in on Brogan and the next thing Holland knows, they are telling her they are in love, Holland sees red and it’s a real wine tossing, punch throwing, cat fight.

Holland’s grandmother tries to set her up with a penpal’s grandson from England who has been living in the area and needs a green card. Tom is intrigued to meet the hellion he saw rolling around the bar floor, but despite his good looks and dreamy accent, Tom acts like a real jerk. But then they meet up again, and Honor decides he is possibly marriage material.

Tom needs to stay in America for his ex-fiancee’s son. After she died, and his father took off, Charlie has been living with his grandparents who are not happy about it. They use Tom as a babysitter when they’ve had enough, which works for Tom. He fell in love with the kid the first time he met him. Honor is touched by their relationship, and after a wild night of sex, she agrees to marry him.

Of course Honor falls in love with Tom, fighting it all the way. And he with her. But they are both so damaged from their past relationships that it doesn’t look like either one of them will be able to move to where they need to be. Meanwhile, this book is laugh out loud funny, sweetly emotional and all in all, a terrific read. I loved it.

11/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

THE PERFECT MATCH by Kristan Higgins. HQN Books (October 29, 2013). ISBN 978-0373778195. 448p.

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TANGLED UP IN TINSEL by Candis Terry

November 13, 2017

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Sunshine Creek Vinyard, Book 3

I actually have been reading this series (in order!) so I was delighted to get this third book. This series is about a family who owns a vineyard, and they are best read in order to make sense of who these people are. This book centers around one of the brothers, Parker, who is trying to find his place in the family business. He is a chef with a food truck and decides to convert an old barn on the property into a wedding venue for his older brother, and then a restaurant. The wedding date gives him a firm deadline, and his brother has turned into “groomzilla” after the bride turns over the wedding planning to him.

Parker is starting from the ground up, and building out the restaurant from square one. A gorgeous young woman shows up one day, claiming to be a chef and looking for work. Gabriella is nothing if not determined; when Parker explains that he is no where near ready to hire, she is undeterred. She offers to audition, cook him a meal, and if he likes it he can make her first in line for when he is ready to hire. Not one to turn a pretty lady away, he agrees.

Gabriella has a bit of baggage herself, and she is definitely keeping it on the down low. But she cooks and looks like a dream and Parker offers her one night of pleasure. He is not ready for any kind of relationship and she’s fine with that, too. But she keeps coming around, helping out with the building, the wedding planning, the restaurant planning and Parker finds himself increasingly drawn to her, and loves working with her. Until her past explodes in his face.

This is another good read in a terrific series, a one nighter for me. Loved it.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TANGLED UP IN TINSEL by Candis Terry. Avon Impulse (October 10, 2017). ASIN B01ARKZN7M. 171p.


BLISS by Lynsay Sands

November 10, 2017

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Lady Helen Tiernay has had it with her neighbor, the awful Lord Holden. She has had to bail out some of his tenants, seen others removed from their homes and even disfigured. Thoroughly disgusted, she turns to writing letters of complaint to the King.

Lord Holden has been off fighting wars for the King. But his estate man has also been complaining to the King about the “tyrant of Tiernay.” When Holden arrives home, the King’s emissary pays him a visit. By royal decree, he is to marry Lady Helen, thus ending all the complaint letters and giving the King one less thing to worry about.

Lady Helen is appalled, and Lord Holden incensed – he has no idea who she is and has no desire to marry. But marry they will.

Lady Helen decides to keep from consummating the marriage, thus clearing the path to annulment. She tries various ways to kill Lord Holden’s ardor, from chewing garlic to serving him sour ale and moldy food. But the King’s emissary is not having it and forces them to consummate the marriage.

Eventually, Lady Helen realizes that she is falling in love with the man she thought an ogre, and he has no idea what has been happening on his estate while he’s been off fighting wars. He does know that he has also fallen in love with Lady Helen and is determined to get to the bottom of whatever is bothering her.

This is a very funny book with some great sex scenes, and even some of those often start off sensuously but end up hilarious. Set in England during 1173, I think this is the earliest historical romance I’ve ever read, and that aspect was very interesting. This is a really fun read, and I can definitely see why Lynsay Sands is so popular. I’ll be looking for more from this author.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

BLISS by Lynsay Sands. Avon (July 25, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062019615. 384p.

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NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes

November 8, 2017

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Windham Brides, Book 3

The Duke of Haverford, Julian St. David, has inherited the largest private library in all of England, 30,000 volumes and more. But he’s also inherited the debts his father and grandfather have accrued in building the collection, and he just hates all the books because of it. His younger sister needs to find a husband and doesn’t have much of a dowry, to say the least, so she decides to throw a house party. A party that lasts for weeks, culminating in a ball.

Julian is shocked at the expense but knows he needs to do it for his sister. He has no desire to marry and really the only way he could would be to marry some title seeking heiress, and that just isn’t his style. He is honorable and proud. On the other hand, his neighbor, a businessman named Sherbourne, is not quite so honorable. He has invited himself to the party and as he holds most of the Duke’s debt, he is not turned away.

When the Duke meets Elizabeth Windham, he knows she is out of reach but he can’t help but fall in love with her. She loves books and would like nothing more than to see lending libraries throughout Wales. They are a match, but circumstances are not favorable to a marriage. A dalliance, on the other hand, seems entirely possible.

This was a bibliophile’s romance to be sure, and should appeal to any book lover’s heart. It certainly did to mine, making this an excellent addition to this series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NO OTHER DUKE WILL DO by Grace Burrowes.  Forever (November 7, 2017). ISBN: 978-1455570010. 368p.

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A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe

November 5, 2017

daring arrangementThe Four Hundred Series, Book 1

 

Lady Honora Parker, Nora to her friends and family, has been banished to America from England by her father, the Earl. Nora was caught kissing her boyfriend, an undesirable, penniless artist. But Nora believes herself in love, so she hatches a plan to get herself sent back home. She finds the most notorious bachelor in New York City, Julius Hatcher, and convinces him to pretend to be her fiance for several weeks.

Julius is extremely wealthy and good looking, but is known for his playboy ways. He has his own reasons for agreeing to Nora’s scheme. His father was cheated out of the family money by some high society men, and committed suicide. Julius wants to find those men and ruin them, but needs the entree into society that the earl’s daughter can provide.

Determined to make the gossip sheets, Nora proposes one outrageous scheme after another, but Julius is protecting her reputation, despite herself. He’ll be thrown out of society fast if her reputation takes a tumble, so they are at odds. And fall in love, fighting it the whole way; she because she thinks she’s in love with the artist, and he because he is a resolute bachelor.

This is a cute premise for a romance, and there is a lot of action and fun throughout, not to mention some heat in these pages. I thoroughly enjoyed this and read it in one night. I’m looking forward to the next book, A Scandalous Deal, but will have to wait until April, 2018!

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A DARING ARRANGEMENT by Joanna Shupe. Avon (October 31, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062678898. 384p.

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THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO by Donna Grant

November 3, 2017

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Heart of Texas #1

Clayton East is an ex-Navy SEAL who doesn’t want to go home. He lost his brother years earlier and doesn’t like living on the family ranch without him. But his father is having some serious health issues, and it looks like their accountant has made off with the family fortune. His family is in trouble and Clayton has to go home and help his parents, he’s all they have left. And it’s Christmas time.

Then a big chunk of their cattle herd goes missing, along with their $100,000 bull. The sheriff manages to catch one of the perpetrators, a teenage boy named Brice Harper. Turns out Brice and his younger brother Caleb have a legal guardian, their sister Abby. After their mother walked out on the family, Abby was determined to do right by her brothers and she’s been more mother than sister to them. When she gets called about Brice, she is just heartsick.

Clayton is at the jail and she offers to pay him back for the missing cattle if he won’t press charges. But Abby has been living paycheck to paycheck, working for a CPA and taking night classes when she can. When she realizes that she’ll owe Clayton over $250,000, she is beside herself.

Clayton thinks she is beautiful, and he realizes that sometimes you have to give people a second chance. He makes Brice an offer; he can come to the ranch every day after school and every weekend and work off his debt. Clayton is hoping that he will earn Brice’s trust and find his missing cattle as well. Meanwhile, he is falling for Abby and she for him.

The Harpers start spending more and more time at the ranch, and Abby not only falls in love with Clayton but also with his parents, and they love her and her brothers. Clayton and Abby have to get past dangerous cattle rustlers, crooked accountants, have a few close calls, and finally find their Christmas miracle.

I loved this book. I felt like I really got to know these characters, was rooting for their relationship to work out, and there was a bit of heat. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

11/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

THE CHRISTMAS COWBOY HERO by Donna Grant. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 31, 2017). ISBN 978-1250165428. 320p.

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WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James

November 2, 2017

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The Wildes of Lindow Castle, Book 1

Lord Alaric Wilde is the second son of the Duke of Lindow, his older brother will inherit the title. Alaric has been wandering the world and writing travel books about his adventures. Much to his surprise, when he returns home for a visit, his ship is met at the docks by a horde of screaming fans – all women. His books are all bestsellers and a play has been written about his adventures. The books may be realistic, but the play is outrageous. No one seems to care about that and it doesn’t seem to stop the celebrity he is forced to endure.

Then he meets Willa Ffynche. Alaric has never thought of marrying, but something about Willa really gets under his skin – maybe because she hasn’t read his books. She is a very private person and has no desire to share the spotlight with the adventurer.

This new series is set in the Georgian period so that’s a little different and I enjoyed it. There are some I liked the humor and the overall sweetness of the romance, but there are also some steamy sex scenes. An excellent start to a terrific new series.

11/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WILDE IN LOVE by Eloisa James.  Avon (October 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062697288. 320p.

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THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY by Janna MacGregor

October 30, 2017

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The Cavensham Heiresses, Book 2

Nicholas St. Mauer is the son of a Duke who has forsaken him. As a student, he covered the gambling debt of a friend and his father never forgave him. Nick is determined to make it on his own, and another friend helps him on his way. Soon he is almost wealthier than his father and that is his goal.

Lady Emma Cavensham is convinced that spinsterhood awaits her. Her best friend Lena made a very poor match, her husband beat her and eventually killed her and the baby she was carrying. Because he was a Lord and well-connected, there were no repercussions to his despicable act, but Emma is determined to see justice meted out.

On an impulse, Lady Emma kisses Nick and he is besotted. But he doesn’t want to get married until his holdings surpass that of his father. Eventually, they become friends, as the headstrong Emma tries to pursue justice for her friend, imperiling her own life and her family’s good name. Nick rescues her more than once, and ultimately they realize they were meant for each other.

With thanks to Eloisa James for recommending this author, a new favorite for sure. This is a terrific read and I’m looking forward to more in this series.

10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BRIDE WHO GOT LUCKY by Janna MacGregor. St. Martin’s Paperbacks (October 31, 2017). ISBN 978-1250116147.  368p.

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AUTOBOYOGRAPHY by Christina Lauren

October 29, 2017

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Christina Lauren is the pen name of two women who write together. They write Young Adult and adult fiction, and have a new adult book, Roomies, coming out in November that is terrific. I mentioned it to a co-worker and she recommended I read this book. Thank you, Caitlin! I loved this book.

Autumn and Tanner have been best friends since he moved to Provo, Utah from California. They moved for his mother, Jenna’s job – she’s a high tech genius who left Google to become CTO of a Utah company. His father is a very well respected cardiac surgeon, and needless to say, the family is comfortable financially and very liberal. Tanner’s mom was raised in Salt Lake City as a Mormon, but when her sister came out as a lesbian and Jenna married her Jewish husband, she was ex-communicated and her family disowned both daughters. She has a healthy fear of Mormons and their narrow worldview because of her background.

Tanner is bisexual, which was fine in California and fine with his parents, but not so fine in Provo. His mother especially is adamant that he stay in the closet while living there and no one, not even his best friend knows. Until he meets Sebastian.

Sebastian is the teaching assistant in a senior seminar where the goal is for each student to write a book by semester’s end. Sebastian became a local celebrity when his book was published. He’s only 19 years old, a year older than Tanner, and it is pretty much lust at first sight for both of them. The big hitch is that Sebastian is Mormon, and not only Mormon but his father is a Bishop in the Church.

Tanner’s book for his seminar class turns into a memoir of his and Sebastian’s romance. Tanner knows he can’t turn it in and out Sebastian. There is a lot of angst, a lot of laughs, lots of secretiveness and of course some sadness as their journey progresses.

This is a beautiful story and I read it in one night. It made me laugh, it made me cry but mostly it made me think. This is a book that will stay with me for a long time. I highly recommend it.

For another coming of age/gay love story, try Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger.

10/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

AUTOBOYOGRAPHY by Christina Lauren. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (September 12, 2017). ISBN 978-1481481687. 416p.

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