PASTA WARS by Elisa Lorello

February 17, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

 

Whoever said you can’t judge a book by its cover didn’t mean this book – I just couldn’t resist the title or the cute cover, and it lived up to both.

After a slowish start where we learn Long Islander Katie Cravens is craving more than she already has – the big house in Dix Hills (where I went to high school,) the career of a lifetime as CEO of Pasta Pronto, a frozen diet food company, and the engagement to the perfect man – it picks up steam. Steamy steam, if you know what I mean.

The oh-so-perfect life isn’t. Perfect man is cheating on her in their own bed (yuck) and Katie’s company is having some financial troubles. Enter the Caramelli family of Italian restaurant fame.

Luca Caramelli is the super hot but temperamental chef and his twin sister runs the company and they are hurting. A joint venture will help both their bottom lines and Katie dumps her cheating fiance and jets off to Rome.

Lots of conflict, heated glances and eventually some hot sex keep the pages turning until the deal is struck. Publicity is called for and a televised “pasta war” should do the trick – can CEO Katie outcook the hot Italian? And how will that affect the business merger, not to mention their personal merger?

You must read to learn all, but it’s a lot of fun getting there. (Skip if you’re carb free, this book will kill you!)

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PASTA WARS by Elisa Lorello. Adaptive Books (January 17, 2017). ISBN 978-0996488754. 256p.


ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis

February 16, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Heartbreaker Bay #3

Archer met Elle when she was a teenager and got caught in a drug sting. He hustled her out of there, blew his cover and ended up quitting the police force. Over the years he kept tabs on the troubled teen, watching her grow into a strong, beautiful woman. He even helped get her the dream job – managing an office building where Archer runs security.

Forced to work together, the heat that comes off these two scorch everyone in sight, but they are both stubborn and refuse to give in to their mutual attraction. But when Elle tries to date, Archer keeps interfering until finally they get together.

That doesn’t mean they will have anything more than a physical relationship – or does it?

I’ve really enjoyed this series, and I believe this book ends it. But I’m sure Jill Shalvis will keep on writing and I look forward to whatever comes next.

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE by Jill Shalvis. Avon (January 24, 2017).  ISBN 978-0062660138. 272p.

Kindle


MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE by Sarah Morgan

February 15, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

From Manhattan With Love Series, Book 3

I am sad to say this is the last book in this series. I read the first book, Sleepless in Manhattan, so I was all excited when I got this one. But then I realized I missed book 2, Sunset in Central Park – but I reserved it at my library so I have something to look forward to.

This series is about three women, best friends who get downsized from their jobs and form their own company, a sort of concierge service for Manhattanites, called Urban Genie. Each book centers around one of the women. Miracle is about Eva Jordan.

Eva is a chef and events planner for the company. One of their regulars, an elderly woman named Mitzy, asks Eva to go to her grandson, Lucas Blade’s apartment, fill the freezer with some home cooked meals, and decorate for Christmas while he is busy working in Vermont. Eva is happy to help and plans on spending the weekend at his apartment to get it all taken care of. Except when she gets there, she is assaulted.

Eva finds herself dialing 911 while an intruder has her pinned to the floor. When the cops (and the doorman) show up, she quickly learns that she is the intruder. The man who has her pinned is Lucas.

Lucas is suffering from a severe case of writers’ block. A best selling thriller/horror writer, he lost his wife in an icy accident a few years earlier and hasn’t really recovered. He is hiding out in his apartment and no one knows he’s there until Eva shows up. She is determined to complete the job she was hired to do, and reluctantly Lucas allows it so he won’t have to tell his grandmother he is really in town.

Turns out that Eva is more than just a great cook and holiday decorator, she also becomes Lucas’s muse, and he is on a tight deadline. After an argument, Eva walks out but he hires her back, paying her company enough money to keep them in the black for the following year, so she feels she doesn’t have a choice.

There is quite a bit of sexual tension between them, which both are trying to ignore until they cannot. Eva is a romantic and Lucas is too hurt to even think about marriage again, so they are between the proverbial rock and a hard place. Until they’re not.

As a thriller reader and fan, I know a lot of thriller writers and can definitely see some characteristics here. I loved these characters and how they interacted.

Treat yourself to this red hot romance this Valentine’s Day!

2/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MIRACLE ON 5TH AVENUE by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (November 29, 2016). ISBN 978-0373789344. 384p.

Kindle


SEVEN MINUTES IN HEAVEN by Eloisa James

February 11, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Desperate Duchesses by the Numbers, #3; Desperate Duchesses, #9 

Eugenia Snowe runs the most exclusive agency in London for governesses. There are waiting lists for her services, and she only places her governesses with the best families. So when Edward Reeve bursts into her office, demanding a governess, she tries to show him out but he’s not leaving.

He’s also gorgeous and one of the richest men in London, despite not having a title as he’s a byblow. But his half sister and brother are titled, and orphaned, and in desperate need of a governess since he is now their legal guardian.

Ward, as he is affectionately known, isn’t taking no for an answer. He plays on her sympathies and soon finds himself with a Snowe governess, but she isn’t working out. He also finds himself starting a correspondence with the beautiful Mrs. Snowe.

Eugenia has been widowed for years and never even thought about another man. Until she is pursued by the brilliant Ward. He proposes an affair but Eugenia falls in love. All Ward is concerned with is making sure his half siblings have the best possible start in life, and because he hasn’t socialized with the gentry, he has no idea who she is, other than perhaps a former governess.

Another terrific read from one of my favorite authors.

 

2/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

Avon (January 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062389459. 432p.

Kindle


BREATHLESS by Beverly Jenkins

February 9, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Old West Series, Book 2

As my regular readers know, I haven’t been reading romance, at least historical romance, for very long, just a few years or so. But as a librarian, I know how popular it is and wanted to learn more about the genre. To that end, I showed a documentary at my library that was put out by the Romance Writers of America called Love Between the Covers. It’s available for streaming from Amazon Prime and Netflix and probably other places, too, and if you have any interest in romance novels, I highly recommend it. I found it fascinating.

Many of the my favorite authors were featured, along with one I had never heard of: Beverly Jenkins. According to Wikipedia, she is an African American author “of historical and contemporary romance novels with a particular focus on 19th century African-American life. Jenkins was a 2013 NAACP Image Award nominee and, in 1999, was voted one of the Top 50 Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by the African American Literature Book Club. Jenkins’s historical romances are set during a period of African-American history that she believes is often overlooked. This made it difficult to break into publishing because publishers weren’t sure what to do with stories that involved African-Americans but not slavery.”

So a very interesting time period indeed, one I certainly knew nothing about. Breathless is set in the Arizona territory, and the main character, Portia Carmichael, manages an upscale hotel for the aunt and uncle who took her and her sister in. Portia’s mother was a whore who sent her children away when they got in the way of her business. Because of her childhood, Portia has a strong fear of men, which she gradually got over as she lived with her new family.

But she’s not all the way there yet – Portia loves her job and her home and never wants to marry. She can’t understand her younger sister’s constant flirting either. Until Kent Randolph shows up at the hotel.

Kent is an old friend of the family, and Portia hasn’t seen him since she was a girl, when he nicknamed her “Duchess.” He has been drifting for years, and is smitten the minute he sees Portia. As they get to know one another again, they both fall hard and Portia is confused, to say the least. Kent is getting past all her barriers and she his.

There are some interesting problems that crop up and I feel like I really learned a few things about the American west and black culture of the time. But it was the romance that got me!

An interesting romance for sure, but with all the requisite passion and troubles along the way to the happy ending.

2/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

BREATHLESS by Beverly Jenkins. Avon (January 31, 2017). ISBN: 978-0062389022. 384p.


IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE by Lenora Bell

February 4, 2017

Click to purchase

Click to purchase

The Disgraceful Dukes, Book 2  

Once again I start a series in the middle – literally – this is book 2 of a trilogy.

Lady Dorothea Beaumont is an only child whose mother has spent a lifetime training her to marry up. But Dorothea’s first three seasons were a disaster and she’s not at all sad about it. In fact, she spent a summer with her maiden aunt in Ireland and loved it. Her plan is to move in with her aunt and enjoy her freedom. Her mother, on the other hand, has other plans.

Dorothea is dragged out once again to a ball where Dalton, Duke of Osborne, asks her to dance. The Duke is the most eligible bachelor and hardest to pin down, so his selecting Thea for the first dance makes her immediately and eminently marriageable. Her parents are delighted, but Thea is not – instead, she runs away to the Duke, demanding he take her to Ireland and save her from marriage to an old duke. Feeling somewhat guilty, he agrees and they hit the road.

Adventures abound, not to mention love and sex. This was a fast, fun read and I hope I can find the other books in this series.

2/17  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE by Lenora Bell. Avon (August 30, 2016). ISBN: 978-0062397744. 384p.

Kindle


FLIRTING WITH FIRE by Kate Meader

January 19, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Hot in Chicago #1

I read the second book in this series over a year ago, and finally got my hands on the first one.

If you haven’t read Kate Meader, and you like contemporary romance with enough hot sex to border on erotica but not quite cross the line, Meader is your girl. She certainly is mine, I really enjoy her series. She also writes the “Hot in the Kitchen” series which is also fun.

Flirting with Fire introduces the “Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service.” All Fired Up was about Alex Dempsey, the girl firefighter in the family. This first one is about Luke Almeida.

Luke has a bit of a temper and lands himself in some trouble. The Mayor sends one of his publicists to fix it, Kinsey Taylor, who is having trouble getting Luke to do her bidding. That’s your meet-cute, and it’s all hot and fiery from there. A really fun, really hot read. I loved it.

 

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FLIRTING WITH FIRE by Kate Meader. Pocket Books (March 24, 2015). ISBN 978-1476785905. 400p.

Kindle

 


ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader

January 16, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Hot in the Kitchen, Book 2

 

Cara was in the first book but it was all about her sister. Her sister is here but this is Cara’s story. And Shane’s.

Shane is a hot Irish pastry chef who’s been stalking Jack for a job, which he finally lands. Cara is Jack’s event planner, after he walked out on the TV show she was producing, costing her a job too.

Shane and Cara meet up in Vegas during her sister’s bachelorette party and end up talking all night – and getting married. Neither wants to tell anyone about their big mistake and they both are keeping all kinds of secrets from one another and the family. But their attraction for one another is undeniable, and goes way deeper than just the physical. There is a lot going on here, and slowly they learn about each other and their feelings grow.

A romance set in the restaurant world is a definite plus for me. Another hot read from one of my favorite contemporary romance writers.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ALL FIRED UP by Kate Meader. Forever; Reissue edition (September 30, 2014).  ISBN 978-1455599615. 416p.

Kindle


ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT by Stacey Ballis

January 15, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

Stacey Ballis has turned into one of my favorite authors, and luckily there are several more books I haven’t read yet.

Lily Allen is a Chicago interior designer who lands her dream job on a fictitious (for now?!) Bravo reality show called “Swap/Meet.” The premise of the show is that a man and a woman get two rooms of their homes made over, then they each get a makeover themselves, culminating in a party with all their friends in hopes of finding dates. A sort of mishmash of way too many reality shows.

Lily has relationship issues but luckily her two best friends are always available to point out all her mistakes. And to push her into more productive relationships. But first she must suffer fling after fling until she finds her happy ending, avoiding backstabbing co-workers, producers from hell, and great sex with not so great guys.

All in all, a fast fun read for this Bravo fan. Hope Andy Cohen is reading too!

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT by Stacey Ballis. Berkley (June 6, 2006). ISBN 978-0425209820. 304p.


TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard

January 14, 2017
Click to purchase

Click to purchase

I read a Linda Howard book many years ago and didn’t love it, and haven’t picked up another one until now. I’ve never been a fan of romantic suspense but apparently I’m turning into one. First Nora Roberts, and now Linda Howard – this was a really good read.

Morgan Yancy works for a secret government agency and travels the world. Then he gets shot in his own backyard, and almost dies. His boss, Axel, decides he needs a safe place to recover so he sends him to his stepsister’s home in the tiny hamlet of Hamrickville, West Virginia. Isabeau “Bo” Maran is the police chief and lives alone in a house well off the beaten path with her beloved golden retriever, Tricks. Bo wants nothing to do with her idiot stepbrother Axel but when he offers her enough money to get out of debt, she agrees to help out.

Morgan is intrigued with the fiercely independent Bo and her insanely smart dog. Eventually they both drop their defenses and work to help one another. As Morgan heals, he is more and more determined to catch whoever shot him and sets himself up as bait to do so.

I loved watching their relationship develop, especially Morgan and Tricks. There is enough action to keep things moving and enough romance to make it all interesting. I will definitely be reading more Linda Howard.

1/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TROUBLEMAKER by Linda Howard. Avon; Reprint edition (December 27, 2016). ISBN 978-0062418999. 496p.