WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera

January 13, 2019

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From the publisher:

Critically acclaimed and bestselling authors Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera combine their talents in this smart, funny, heartfelt collaboration about two very different boys who can’t decide if the universe is pushing them together—or pulling them apart.

ARTHUR is only in New York for the summer, but if Broadway has taught him anything, it’s that the universe can deliver a showstopping romance when you least expect it.

BEN thinks the universe needs to mind its business. If the universe had his back, he wouldn’t be on his way to the post office carrying a box of his ex-boyfriend’s things.

But when Arthur and Ben meet-cute at the post office, what exactly does the universe have in store for them . . . ?

Maybe nothing. After all, they get separated.

Maybe everything. After all, they get reunited.

But what if they can’t nail a first date even after three do-overs?

What if Arthur tries too hard to make it work and Ben doesn’t try hard enough?

What if life really isn’t like a Broadway play?

But what if it is?

What if it’s us?


Have you seen the movie “Love, Simon”? It’s streaming on Netflix and is based on the book, Simon and the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. So when a friend (thanks, Caitlin!) recommended this book and mentioned that, I was in. It’s a terrific movie and this book is terrific as well.

This is a young adult gay love story, but you certainly don’t have to be a young adult or gay to enjoy it. The characters are likable and real, and I loved the New York City setting. Ben is a native New Yorker, Arthur is visiting for the summer and you get to see the city from both their perspectives, which is really interesting. But it is the characters that drew me in and kept me turning the pages. The book is often funny, sometimes sad, but always charming. Highly recommended – I hope this is made into a movie as well.

1/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WHAT IF IT’S US by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera. HarperTeen (October 9, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062795250.  448p.

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THE ONE YOU FIGHT FOR by Roni Loren

January 3, 2019

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The Ones Who Got Away, Book 3

From the publisher:

How hard would you fight for the one you love?

Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault.

Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life’s work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan…

Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother’s horrific actions. After losing everything―his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity―he’s changed his name, his look, and he’s finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy…
How do you find your happy ending?

The Ones Who Got Away Series:
The Ones Who Got Away (Book 1)
The One You Can’t Forget (Book 2)
The One You Fight For (Book 3)

“Another stunning and moving addition to her series about survivors of the shooting… Truly exceptional.” – Booklist

“Loren’s gripping third look into the lives of survivors of a mass shooting will leave readers breathless… A must-read for fans of contemporary romance.” – Publishers Weekly

“Loren continues her breathtaking The Ones Who Got Away series…deftly and elegantly explores guilt and forgiveness as Taryn learns to truly open her heart to Shaw and his love. Extraordinary. ” – Kirkus


I am loving this series and as you can see by the blurbs above, I’m not alone. Loren takes a really difficult subject, a school shooting at a high school, and follows three (so far) of the surviving girls and in this case, the brother of the shooter as well.

It is not always an easy read – I was deeply affected by the Parkland school shooting that was just a few miles from my home. But Loren handles the difficult subject matter with great sensitivity and care.

An excellent addition to the series. There is a fourth book planned.

01/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE ONE YOU FIGHT FOR by Roni Loren. Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 1, 2019).  ISBN 978-1492651468.  384p.

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Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr

December 30, 2018

I started reading this series on Christmas Eve and I’m up to book 7 and going strong. I’ve read some of Carr’s books in the Grace Valley series, which are related, (rather like Macomber’s series) but then I read that Netflix is turning this into a TV series so I wanted to read them first.

I am really enjoying these books and looking forward to the Netflix series.

“Welcome to Virgin River, a rugged outpost deep in California’s redwood forests built by men of honor for the women they love. Pull up a chair at Jack’s Bar, catch up on the local gossip, order Preacher’s meatloaf and relax. These people will do anything to help one another, strangers welcome—and you won’t be a stranger for long.”

A Note from Robyn on Virgin River and Netflix

Here’s the series order: https://www.goodreads.com/series/41475-virgin-river

Some of the cast has been announced

 


LOVE IN CATALINA COVE by Brenda Jackson

December 29, 2018

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Catalina Cove Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

In her brand-new series, Brenda Jackson welcomes you to Catalina Cove, where even the biggest heartbreaks can be healed…

In the wake of a devastating teen pregnancy that left her childless and heartbroken, Vashti Alcindor left Catalina Cove, Louisiana, with no plans to return. Now, over a decade later, Vashti reluctantly finds herself back in her hometown after inheriting her aunt’s B and B. Her homecoming gets off to a rocky start when the new sheriff, Sawyer Grisham, pulls her over for speeding, and things go downhill from there.

The B and B, a place she’d always found refuge in when it seemed like the whole world was against her, has fallen into disrepair. When a surprising benefactor encourages Vashti to reopen the B and B, Vashti embraces a fresh start, and soon old hurts begin to fade as she makes new memories with the town—and its handsome sheriff…

But some pasts are too big to escape, and when a bombshell of a secret changes everything she thought was true, Vashti is left reeling. With Sawyer and his teenage daughter determined to see her through the storm, though, she’s learning family isn’t always a matter of blood—sometimes it’s a matter of heart.


Am I finally getting the hang of reading a series in order? Maybe?

Getting a traffic ticket is the meet-cute here. The sparks fly between them and as much as they try and fight it, ultimately they can’t.

A charming small seaside town makes for a lovely setting. I just wish some old aunt would leave me her bed & breakfast but that is not my lot in life. It works in many Hallmark movies and romance novels though, and it certainly works here. I liked the Creole heroine but I wish there was a bit more reference to the culture, maybe that will come in further books in the series.

I really cared about these characters and I wanted them to get together. I loved the relationship Sawyer had with his daughter and that Vashti had with her as well. There are some really good twists in the story – one I saw coming but the other was quite the shocker.

I didn’t care as much for the sex scenes, I don’t think they were especially well done or believable. Writing about sex is not easy and in this case, I would have preferred a lot less of it (which is really not like me!)

Despite that, it was a very good read and I will definitely be looking for the next book in this series.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LOVE IN CATALINA COVE by Brenda Jackson. HQN; Original edition (October 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-1335005649. 480p.

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THE DUKE THAT I MARRY by Cathy Maxwell

December 27, 2018

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The Spinster Heiresses, Book 3

From the publisher:

Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .

Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be “sold” to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?

Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn’t have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as “love.” Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.

Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?


This is a terrific addition (conclusion?) to a series I’m really enjoying. Feminism continues to rear its head in Regency England somehow, and I don’t mind a bit.

The characters spring to life on the page and I love the humor. This is a very sexy book and I enjoyed that as well. Another winner from Maxwell.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE DUKE THAT I MARRY by Cathy Maxwell. Avon (November 27, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062655783. 352p.

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THE LAST TRUE COWBOY by Laura Drake

December 26, 2018

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Chestnut Creek, Book 1

From the publisher:

The award-winning author who “writes real cowboys with heart and soul” (Carolyn Brown, New York Timesbestselling author) welcomes you to Unforgiven, New Mexico, a small western town filled with love and second chances!
 
This cowboy’s got one last chance to prove himself.
Carly Beauchamp has loved cowboy Austin Davis since first grade. Ask anyone in their dusty, backwater New Mexico town of Unforgiven, and they’ll say “Carly and Austin” the way some say “big trucks and country boys.” But after years of waiting for a wedding ring, Carly’s done with being a rodeo widow . . .
Austin never meant to put his career on the circuit before Carly. She’s always been his future, his one and only. But now that she’s moved on, he’s beginning to see where he went wrong, and he’ll do anything to win her back. The only thing is, Carly’s suddenly acting differently, and she’s definitely hiding a secret-one that will test the depth of their love and open up a whole new world of possibilities.

My love affair with cowboy romances continues. I loved how these characters changed and grew. There were major mistakes made, and consequences that had to dealt with. There were times when I wondered if Carly and Austin would find their happily ever after as the tension was really high at times, which always makes for a good ending.

I really liked how they both had to learn from their mistakes and find a way to forgive each other and make a life together. The hard stuff in life is what makes the good stuff that much sweeter.

I’m looking forward to the next book in this new series.

12/18  Stacy Alesi AKA the BookBitch™

THE LAST TRUE COWBOY by Laura Draken. Forever (December 4, 2018). ISBN: 978-1538746431. 336p.

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THE ONE YOU CAN’T FORGET by Roni Loren

December 23, 2018

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The Ones Who Got Away, Book 2

From the publisher:

Publishers Weekly Best Books of 2018 winner!

“Absolutely unputdownable, delivers all of the feels! Roni Loren is a new favorite. Loved this.”―COLLEEN HOOVER, #1 New York Times bestseller

Most days Rebecca Lindt feels like an imposter…
The world admires her as a survivor. But that impression would crumble if people knew her secret. She didn’t deserve to be the one who got away. But nothing can change the past, so she’s thrown herself into her work. She can’t dwell if she never slows down.

Wes Garrett is trying to get back on his feet after losing his dream restaurant, his money, and half his damn mind in a vicious divorce. But when he intervenes in a mugging and saves Rebecca―the attorney who helped his ex ruin him―his simple life gets complicated.

Their attraction is inconvenient and neither wants more than a fling. But when Rebecca’s secret is put at risk, both discover they could lose everything, including what they never realized they needed: each other.


This is the second book in this series that delves into women who survived a school shooting when they were in high school. As I mentioned in my review of the first book, I live just a few miles from Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the scene of a horrific school shooting last year. It deeply affected me and most people I know. That said, I think Loren did a really good job with a very sensitive topic.

This book had an interesting twist. It centers around one of the girls, Rebecca, and the guilt she carries from the shooting. How the shooting affected her life and is still affecting her ten years later makes the story so very believable. The romance was wonderful, but it is the characters and their development that are making this series a standout for me. The third book comes out Jan. 1 and I can’t wait.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY by Roni Loren. Sourcebooks Casablanca (June 5, 2018).  ISBN 978-1492651437.  416p.

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MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND by Christina Lauren

December 22, 2018

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From the publisher:

By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.

So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.

But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.


Another winner from this terrific writing duo. I loved the characters, their back stories and the way they grew, especially Millie. I loved that Reid was such a sensitive man, we don’t always get those in romances. The story was sad at times, but the happily ever after was kick ass! I couldn’t put it down until I turned the last page.

If these authors keep pumping out three books a year like the ones they did this year, I will be a very happy reader. If you want a terrific, contemporary romance, this is your book. I loved it.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY FAVORITE HALF-NIGHT STAND by Christina Lauren. Gallery Books (December 4, 2018).  ISBN 978-1501197406.  384p.

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A VERY MERRY PRINCESS by Susan Mallery

December 21, 2018

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A Happily, Inc. Novella

From the publisher:

Celebrate the season with this warmhearted charmer from #1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery

When Princess Bethany’s father, the king, sells one of his best stallions, she insists the animal get the royal treatment. Disguised as Beth Archer, a mere stable hand, she takes him to Happily Inc, California, a quaint wedding destination that’s especially sparkly over the holidays.

Rich women have no place on Cade Saunders’s ranch. He wants a down-to-earth girl-next-door type—like Beth Archer. After a few cocoa-flavored kisses by the Christmas tree, Bethany begins to fall for her irresistibly handsome host. But will Cade still want her when he discovers she’s more familiar with a crown than a cowboy hat?


I love this series and I just happened to stumble upon this Kindle Single. I love Christmas romances but while there were tons of new ones this year, I didn’t love any of them. Authors that I loved last year fell into the “just ok” this year column. Actually, so have the Hallmark movies this year, I haven’t loved any of them. Maybe it’s me??? Bah!

Anyway, I went to my library’s ebook collection and did a search for “Christmas” – this was one of the first titles that popped up. And I am so glad it did.

I knew that there was a Princess living in Happily, Inc. but I didn’t know how she got there. And now I do. While I don’t always love novellas, I generally want more story in my stories, this one was perfect. It filled in a gap in the series that I was vaguely aware of, and it was a fast, fun read. A Christmas miracle, if you will! I loved it.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A VERY MERRY PRINCESS by Susan Mallery. HQN Books (November 1, 2017).  HQN Books (November 1, 2017).  101p.


DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Ryan

December 18, 2018

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Wild Rose Ranch, Book 1

From the publisher:

Meet the women from Wild Rose Ranch—and the men who want them—in New York Times Bestselling Author Jennifer Ryan’s breathtaking series of romance and scandal . . .

Noah Cordero is a modern-day cowboy who loves three things: ranching, his younger sister, and his step-father. John Cordero groomed Noah to take over the Montana spread where he learned to ride and work the land. But when John unexpectedly dies, he leaves half the ranch to a woman Noah doesn’t even know.

Roxy shares Noah’s last name, but not his blood. Estranged from her father, haunted by regrets, and eager to escape her notorious mother’s past, she is forced to fulfill her father’s last wishes. Inheriting means sharing a home with infuriating, challenging, and oh-so-tempting Noah. But John didn’t just make her owner of his ranch and guardian to her sister, his hidden sideline is her worst nightmare—she’s the new owner of the notorious Nevada brothel called Wild Rose Ranch where she grew up.

As their strictly business relationship starts to turn to true love, Roxy begins to wonder, what will happen when Noah discovers her dirty little secret?


Roxy is one tough broad, and I mean that in the best possible way. Growing up with a mother who’s a drug abusing prostitute is no picnic, and having a father who sends checks but has no real presence in her life isn’t much help. But Roxy prevails, and when her father dies and she inherits, things finally start going her way. Especially with her father’s adopted son, Noah.

The sparks are flying but they both are fighting their attraction. The relationship sort of stumbles along and I often felt like I missed something. But I liked the characters and I wanted them to get together and get their happily ever after, so it worked for me. I’ll definitely give the next book in the series a try.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DIRTY LITTLE SECRET by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (December 18, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062645319.  384p.

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