SISTERS BY CHOICE by Susan Mallery

February 20, 2020

SISTERS BY CHOICE by Susan Mallery. MIRA; Original edition (February 11, 2020). ISBN 978-0778310020. 400p.

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BEEN THERE, MARRIED THAT by Gigi Levangie

February 11, 2020

2/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BEEN THERE, MARRIED THAT by Gigi Levangie. St. Martin’s Press (February 11, 2020). ISBN 978-1250166814. 336p.

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YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley

February 2, 2020

YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley. Berkley (January 7, 2020). ISBN 978-1984806468. 352p.

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SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid

January 31, 2020

SUCH A FUN AGE by Kiley Reid. G.P. Putnam’s Sons; Reissue edition (December 31, 2019). ISBN 978-0525541905. 320p.

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REGRETTING YOU by Colleen Hoover

January 26, 2020

REGRETTING YOU by Colleen Hoover. Montlake (December 10, 2019). ISBN 978-1542016421. 365p.

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ONE SUMMER IN PARIS by Sarah Morgan

January 21, 2020

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From the publisher:

To celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, Grace has planned the surprise of a lifetime for her husband—a romantic getaway to Paris. But she never expected he’d have a surprise of his own: he wants a divorce. Reeling from the shock but refusing to be broken, a devastated Grace makes the bold decision to go to Paris alone.

Audrey, a young woman from London, has left behind a heartache of her own when she arrives in Paris. A job in a bookshop is her ticket to freedom, but with no money and no knowledge of the French language, suddenly a summer spent wandering the cobbled streets alone seems much more likely…until she meets Grace, and everything changes.

Grace can’t believe how daring Audrey is. Audrey can’t believe how cautious newly single Grace is. Living in neighboring apartments above the bookshop, this unlikely pair offer each other just what they’ve both been missing. They came to Paris to find themselves, but finding this unbreakable friendship might be the best thing that’s ever happened to them…


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Sarah Morgan is a prolific romance writer and her “From Manhattan with Love” series is one of my favorites.  A few years ago, she shifted from writing romance to women’s fiction.  One Summer in Paris has been gathering virtual dust on my Kindle for about a year now.  As I’ve been trying to clear out the ever-growing number of to-be-read titles on my Kindle it was time to finally go for it.  This is a somewhat tricky review to approach.  On a surface level, I enjoyed reading One Summer in Paris, it is a quick read, the descriptions of Paris and its food are of course charming, but in the end, the book as a whole didn’t sit well with me.  The main highlight of the book is the unexpected friendship that grows between Grace and Audrey as they work together in a quaint bookshop.

After her husband’s devastating betrayal Grace has been struggling with feeling useless and learning how to navigate her life without her husband at her side.  Audrey, on the other hand, has already had to be more independent than any teenager should.  She has practically raised herself while dealing with a severe learning disability, while her mom struggles with alcoholism and is often neglectful if not downright abusive.  Seeing these two women from vastly different backgrounds support and learn from each other was the best part of the book.  Each of them begins to overcome their fears and gain confidence, while of course finding a little romance.  Then, however, things begin to take a turn plot-wise, all working towards an ending that feels a little forced and not earned.  A storyline involving Grace’s beloved grandmother, Mimi, in particular, feels like an afterthought and was not well developed.  Most important though, I feel that in Morgan’s desire to give her characters happy endings, Grace and Audrey never get to fully reflect on the trauma and difficulties they have experienced and how they have changed as a result.  As a reader this left me with some feelings of frustration by the end of the book.

While One Summer in Paris is packed with beautiful descriptions of Paris, its art, architecture, and food, even the complex friendship between Grace and Audrey wasn’t enough to keep me from feeling that this book still lacked something when it came to actual substance and character growth.

ONE SUMMER IN PARIS by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (April 9, 2019). ISBN  9781335507549. 400 p.

1/2020 Caitlin Brisson

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WIFE AFTER WIFE by Olivia Hayfield

January 20, 2020

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WIFE AFTER WIFE by Olivia Hayfield. Berkley (January 21, 2020). ISBN 978-0593101834. 464p.

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THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett

November 21, 2019

THE DUTCH HOUSE by Ann Patchett. Harper; 1st edition (September 24, 2019). ISBN 978-0062963673. 352p.

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AN UNORTHODOX MATCH by Naomi Ragen

October 30, 2019

10/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

AN UNORTHODOX MATCH by Naomi Ragen. St. Martin’s Press (September 24, 2019). ISBN 978-1250161222. 336p.

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SUMMER OF ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand

October 18, 2019

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From the publisher:

The #1 New York Times Bestseller
 

Four siblings experience the drama, intrigue, and upheaval of a summer when everything changedin New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand’s first historical novel

Welcome to the most tumultuous summer of the twentieth century. It’s 1969, and for the Levin family, the times they are a-changing. Every year the children have looked forward to spending the summer at their grandmother’s historic home in downtown Nantucket. But like so much else in America, nothing is the same: Blair, the oldest sister, is marooned in Boston, pregnant with twins and unable to travel. Middle sister Kirby, caught up in the thrilling vortex of civil rights protests and determined to be independent, takes a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard. Only-son Tiger is an infantry soldier, recently deployed to Vietnam. Thirteen-year-old Jessie suddenly feels like an only child, marooned in the house with her out-of-touch grandmother and her worried mother, each of them hiding a troubling secret. As the summer heats up, Ted Kennedy sinks a car in Chappaquiddick, man flies to the moon, and Jessie and her family experience their own dramatic upheavals along with the rest of the country.

In her first historical novel, rich with the details of an era that shaped both a nation and an island thirty miles out to sea, Elin Hilderbrand once again earns her title as queen of the summer novel.


I was ten years old during the summer of 1969, just a few years younger than the youngest sibling in this story. I remember a lot about what was happening then.

I was a big reader, including newspapers; we got the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Newsday, and I read them all cover to cover. I never had enough reading materials. My parents were not readers and back then books were a special occasion gift. My mom would take me to the library once a week, wait outside in her car, so I always felt rushed, not to mention that the library limited the number of books I was allowed to borrow. I don’t recall exactly, but it was something like 3-5 books at a time. I could read that many children’s books in a day. When I ran out of children’s books, the librarian let me borrow adult books. I read everything I could get my hands on.

I knew about Vietnam and it scared me. I don’t really remember Chappaquidick, but I definitely remember the man walking on the moon. All that comes up during the Summer of ’69, wrapped up in a family that lived through it all.

While the publisher notes that this is Hilderbrand’s first historical novel, the rest is pure Hilderbrand. She is known for fabulous beach reads, and this certainly fits the bill. The family, Nantucket, the romance, the squabbling, it’s all here. I was immediately caught up in the story and these characters, and she does a really good job making them all come to life.

There are deeper issues woven throughout the story; racism, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, suicide, and more all come to light, making this a very satisfying read. Lots for book groups to discuss for sure. I really enjoyed this book, though it was more nostalgic than historical for me.

10/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SUMMER OF ’69 by Elin Hilderbrand. Random House (June 18, 2019).  ISBN 978-0525510871. 384p.

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