I OWE YOU ONE by Sophie Kinsella

February 16, 2019

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From the publisher:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Sophie Kinsella comes an irresistible story of love and empowerment about a young woman with a complicated family, a handsome man who might be “the one,” and an IOU that changes everything.

Fixie Farr has always lived by her father’s motto: “Family first.” And since her dad passed away, leaving his charming housewares store in the hands of his wife and children, Fixie spends all her time picking up the slack from her siblings instead of striking out on her own. The way Fixie sees it, if she doesn’t take care of her father’s legacy, who will?

It’s simply not in Fixie’s nature to say no to people. So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, she not only agrees—she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank Fixie for her quick thinking, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, an investment manager, scribbles an IOU on a coffee sleeve and attaches his business card. Fixie laughs it off—she’d never actually claim an IOU from a stranger. Would she?

But then Fixie’s childhood crush, Ryan, comes back into her life, and his lack of a profession pushes all of Fixie’s buttons. As always, she wants nothing for herself—but she’d love Seb to give Ryan a job. No sooner has Seb agreed than the tables are turned once more and a new series of IOUs between Seb and Fixie—from small favors to life-changing moments—ensues. Soon Fixie, Ms. Fixit for everyone else, is torn between her family and the life she really wants. Does she have the courage to take a stand? Will she finally grab the life, and love, she really wants?


It took me a little while to warm up to this book. The main character, Fixie, grew on me eventually but I found her sort of stupid and irritating for the first 15 chapters. But I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. Once I got there, the rest of the book just flew for me and I ended up loving her. I guess I liked watching as she grew as a person, got smarter about herself and her world. The romance aspect was one of those back and forth, back and forth things but it worked. The secondary characters were fairly well developed but I never quite got a handle on Fixie’s sister for some reason, but maybe that’s just me.

I enjoy Kinsella’s humor and there were many laughs to be found among the necessary angst. I ended up really liking this book and if you are a Kinsella fan, don’t miss it. If not, give it a try anyway!

02/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

I OWE YOU ONE by Sophie Kinsella. The Dial Press (February 5, 2019).  ISBN 978-1524799014.  448p.

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99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne

January 31, 2019

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From the publisher:

Readers and critics alike raved over USA Today bestselling author Sally Thorne’s smash hit debut, The Hating Game, which has sold in over 20 countries. Now she’s back with an unforgettable romantic comedy about a woman who finally has a shot at her long time crush—if she dares.

Crush (n.): a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

This next hilarious romance includes a special PS section with two Happily Ever Afters—one for this novel featuring Darcy and Tom and the other, an epilogue featuring fan favorites Lucy Hutton and Josh Templeman from The Hating Game!

 


I was one of the readers/critics who loved The Hating Game, but I did not love this new book.

Darcy was a difficult character for me to care about. I didn’t like her much so I couldn’t get invested in her relationship efforts – or lack thereof. She was so busy being tough, in the worst possibly way, that I just didn’t care whether or not she got the man. On the other hand, I loved her love interest. Tom was a great character that I really liked and cared about, so much so that I sort of felt sorry for him that he was so in love with this woman. I really thought he deserved someone better. Darcy has a brother, Tom’s best friend, and I found him to be a very one dimensional character. I didn’t feel like I knew him at all. So not great characters and a pretty pedestrian storyline.

I had really been looking forward to this book and unfortunately, it was a major disappointment. Other reviews have been much kinder, so I’d love to hear from anyone else who reads it.

01/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

99 PERCENT MINE by Sally Thorne. William Morrow Paperbacks (January 29, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062439611.  368p.

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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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A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole

December 8, 2018

The Reluctant Royals, Book 1

From the publisher:

From acclaimed author Alyssa Cole comes the tale of a city Cinderella and her Prince Charming in disguise . . .

Between grad school and multiple jobs, Naledi Smith doesn’t have time for fairy tales…or patience for the constant e-mails claiming she’s betrothed to an African prince. Sure. Right. Delete! As a former foster kid, she’s learned that the only things she can depend on are herself and the scientific method, and a silly e-mail won’t convince her otherwise.

Prince Thabiso is the sole heir to the throne of Thesolo, shouldering the hopes of his parents and his people. At the top of their list? His marriage. Ever dutiful, he tracks down his missing betrothed. When Naledi mistakes the prince for a pauper, Thabiso can’t resist the chance to experience life—and love—without the burden of his crown.

The chemistry between them is instant and irresistible, and flirty friendship quickly evolves into passionate nights. But when the truth is revealed, can a princess in theory become a princess ever after?

Selected as one of the New York Times 100 Notable Books of 2018!


Once again I read a series out of order. I read the second book first, and loved it so much I hunted down this one. If you loved the Eddie Murphy movie, “Coming to America,” you will love this book. I loved them both.

Cole is a rising star in the romance genre, and landing on the NY Times Notable books list firmly entrenches her as romance royalty. Her characters are skillfully drawn and come to life on the page, the plot moves with laughs and sex and, well, romance. Everything a good, contemporary romance should have is here in a fresh new way. Don’t miss it.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A PRINCESS IN THEORY by Alyssa Cole. Avon (February 27, 2018).  ISBN 978-0062685544.  384p.

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DATING YOU HATING YOU by Christina Lauren

November 21, 2018

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From the publisher:

Everyone knows that all’s fair in love and war. But these two will learn that sabotage is a dish best served naked.

A sexy, compulsively readable romantic comedy that dives headlong into the thrill and doubt of modern love, Dating You/Hating You by New York Times bestselling author Christina Lauren is the story of what two high-powered agents will—and won’t—do to get everything they ever wanted.

Despite the odds against them from an embarrassing meet-awkward at a mutual friend’s Halloween party, Carter and Evie immediately hit it off. Even the realization that they’re both high-powered agents at competing firms in Hollywood isn’t enough to squash the fire.

But when their two agencies merge—causing the pair to vie for the same position—all bets are off. What could have been a beautiful, blossoming romance turns into an all-out war of sabotage. Carter and Evie are both thirtysomething professionals—so why can’t they act like it?

Can Carter stop trying to please everyone and see how their mutual boss is really playing the game? Can Evie put aside her competitive nature long enough to figure out what she really wants in life? Can their actor clients just be something close to human? Whether these two Hollywood love/hatebirds get the storybook Hollywood ending, or just a dramedy of epic proportions, you get to enjoy Christina Lauren’s heartfelt, hilarious story of romance in the modern world.


The writing duo Christina Lauren has become a favorite, so when I saw this older title that I hadn’t read, I grabbed it. It didn’t suck me in immediately the way their other books have. In fact, I started it, put it down, picked it up, put it down for so long that when I picked it up again I had to start over. But then I read it straight through so it was probably more a mood thing with me than anything wrong with the book.

I really enjoyed it, there is a lot of humor and some hot sex and that always works for me. I liked the Hollywood stuff – no real names were used (I don’t think? I am pop culture clueless so maybe…) and the characters really came to life, something this writing team excels at.

A fun read although probably not as good as some of their more recent work. Still recommended.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DATING YOU HATING YOU by Christina Lauren. Gallery Books (June 6, 2017).  ISBN 978-1501165818.  368p.

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THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory

November 11, 2018

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From the publisher:

“There is so much to relate to and throughout the novel, there is a sharp feminist edge. Loved this one, and you will too.”–New York Times bestselling author Roxane Gay

The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn’t turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own…

When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn’t come as a surprise–or happen in front of 45,000 people.

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn’t the hard part–they’ve only been dating for five months, and he can’t even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans…

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik’s rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He’s even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik’s social media blows up–in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can’t be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes…


Another terrific read from Guillory, who is quickly becoming a must read author for me. This is ostensibly the sequel to The Wedding Date, but in the way that romances tend to have sequels. The main character, Carlos, was friends with the main character in The Wedding Date. So if you haven’t read that one, no biggie other than why didn’t you read that one, it was so good! And so is this one.

I loved these characters, they had their faults which only made them seem more real. It is very important in a romance to have characters that you feel invested in, otherwise, who cares. These characters were very well developed and I couldn’t wait to see how their story turned out. Happily ever after, of course, this is a romance, but with a lot of fun, food and sex along the way. And laughs. Lots of laughs.

Another hat tip to diversity here, Carlos is Latino and Niki is black so that’s there, but it is just the way it is and not a commentary on racism. This was just a great story and I highly recommend it. So do librarians – it topped the LibraryReads.org list for October.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PROPOSAL by Jasmine Guillory. Berkley (October 30, 2018).  ISBN 978-0399587689.  336p.

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THE REAL DEAL by Lauren Blakely

November 4, 2018

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April Hamilton is heading home to the wealthy enclave in Connecticut for her family reunion. She loves her family, she really does, but they don’t understand why she moved to New York City. They don’t understand how she is making a living doing face painting, and they really don’t understand why she isn’t married and moving home.

Several relatives have already warned her they are fixing her up on blind dates while she’s home, so she asks her best friend to accompany her as her “date.” He’s gay, but they won’t know. But at the last minute, he can’t make it and he suggests a bartender he knows who is also an actor on the side and an escort. Not that kind of escort, but the kind who looks good as a date but is strictly platonic. April reads his ad and loves it and arranges to meet him.

Theo Banks is gorgeous, smart and funny and boy, is he in trouble. He has never been attracted to a professional assignment before and he is not sure how this is going to work. But he really needs the money, she is willing and able to pay, so off they go to Connecticut. Where her family falls in love with him, and they fall in love with each other.

There are a lot of laughs and a lot of drama to get through before they reach their happily ever after. I loved these characters and every page of this super fun, sexy romance.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE REAL DEAL by Lauren Blakely. St. Martin’s Griffin (July 10, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250165930.  368p.

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MR. NICE GUY by Jennifer Miller & Jason Feifer

October 18, 2018

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A writing duo writing about dueling writers brings a singular perspective to this charming New York City–centric novel.

Lucas Callahan is the eponymous “nice guy” who is new to the city and thrilled when he has his first one-night stand. Unbeknownst to him, his partner, Carmen Kelly, is a coworker at Empire magazine, where he toils as a fact checker and she is the uberpopular sex columnist. Lucas learns this when he reads about their encounter in the magazine.

Mortified, he pens a scathing response and signs it “Mr. Nice Guy.” To his surprise, the magazine publishes it, and he and Carmen continue to date and write about their encounters. The column breathes new life into the magazine, and Lucas and Carmen forge a relationship of sorts that transforms as they both change and grow. Political intrigue at the magazine adds to the drama, but there are plenty of laughs as well.

VERDICT This first-time effort from author and journalist Miller (The Year of the Gadfly) and spouse Feifer, a journalist and blogger, offers a fun read that is sure to satisfy admirers of Sophie Kinsella and Meg Cabot.

©Library Journal, 2018.

10/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MR. NICE GUY by Jennifer Miller & Jason Feifer. St. Martin’s Griffin (October 16, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250189882.  400p.

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HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS by Sarah Morgan

September 3, 2017

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From Manhattan with Love, Book 5

This is one of my favorite series and I have enjoyed every one of these books. They have all been set in Manhattan but this one moves out to the Hamptons, summer playground of many city dwellers. And if you’re a dog lover, this is a must read!

Fliss and Harriet are identical twins who own a dog walking business in the city. Their business has grown tremendously since Urban Genie, the concierge service owned by the women who starred in the first three books in the series, started recommending them to their clients. The twins had a difficult childhood with a verbally abusive father, and Harriet was a stutterer as a child and Fliss her protector. As adults, Fliss still feels protective over her 3-minute-younger sister.

Fliss was briefly married to Seth Carlyle ten years earlier, and that marriage ended only a few months in. We don’t find out why for quite a while and that journey is at times heart wrenching and funny. When Fliss sees Seth at the vet’s office, she freaks out and when her grandmother suffers a fall, she offers to go out to the Hamptons to take care of her, escaping her ex. Except when she gets out there, she immediately runs into Seth. She freaks out and lies, telling him that she is Harriet. Turns out he was just helping out a friend in the city for a few days, but his practice is really out on Long Island.

Gradually he convinces her to meet with him and talk, but Fliss is used to keeping everything inside, and it is almost impossible for her to overcome all her baggage and open up to him – or to her twin. She grows closer to her grandmother, learns more about the family dynamics that play into her psyche, and eventually finds her happily ever after.

I loved this book. If you haven’t read the others in the series, it is not necessary to read them first. But if you enjoy this one as much as I did, please go back and read them in order. To be honest, I am very tempted to go back and read them all again, and that is not something I say lightly. In order:

1. Sleepless in Manhattan
2. Sunset in Central Park
3. Miracle on 5th Avenue
4. New York, Actually

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HOLIDAY IN THE HAMPTONS by Sarah Morgan. HQN Books (August 29, 2017). ISBN 978-0373803996. 416p.

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YOUNGER by Pamela Redmond Satran

September 2, 2017

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Pamela Redmond Satran was most well known for her baby name books, written with Linda Rosenkrantz and are “acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming.” Which I think is true, but Satran also wrote several chick-lit books back in the day and I loved them, but somehow I missed this one.

I only read this because of the TV show, which I found because I love the Gilmore Girls and watched the re-boot on Netflix. One of the episodes, “Summer,” featured a musical play starring Sutton Foster, who was fabulous. This led me to watching “Bunheads”, a cult favorite from the same creative team as the Gilmore Girls that only lasted one season. I loved that, so when I heard that Sutton Foster was currently starring in “Younger,” I binge watched the first three seasons of that on Hulu, and I’m now caught up in the fourth. During that binge, I noticed it was based on a book and after this very long (probably too long, sorry!) explanation, here I am.

So if you are familiar with the TV show, here’s what you need to know. There have been many name changes, starting with Liza, who is Alice in the book, Kelsey was Lindsey, Diana was Teri, and well, you get the idea. Charles is a woman in the book so no romance there. Josh is still Josh, only he’s a video game designer instead of a tattoo artist. And the book ends way sooner and without half as much drama or fun as the TV series. All that said, it was still fun to read the inspiration behind the series.

If you are not familiar, here’s the plot. Alice has been a stay at home mom whose daughter has now left college for the Peace Corps and her husband, a dentist, has left her for his much younger dental hygienist. Trying to find a job in publishing, where she worked for a few months before a difficult pregnancy, proves much harder than expected. Alice’s best friend Maggie lives in New York City and offers some advice and a place to stay while she’s looking for a job in publishing. Her advice is to do a makeover on Alice, buy her new clothes and prove to her that she can pass for a twenty-something instead of a middle aged housewife.  She does this by taking her to a bar on New Year’s Eve, where she meets and kisses Josh. He is much younger than her, but thinks she is only a few years older than he is, maybe 29? She’s really 44 but by leaving off the past decade or so from her resume, she lands a job with the same publisher she worked for before her pregnancy.

Living a lie causes all sorts of tension and working for a bitch isn’t any more fun for a pretend 29-year-old than it would be for a 44-year-old. Eventually, the truth comes out and Alice dumps Josh before he can dump her. But that wouldn’t make for a happily ever after so at the last possible second, they work it out.

I enjoyed the book and considering it was published twelve years ago, it holds up pretty well. But I have to admit I enjoy the TV show more. There are just so many more complications and plot twists over four seasons than is possible in a book of a few hundred pages.

If you love the TV show, you’ll probably enjoy the book. If you haven’t seen it, read the book then watch it. Either way you’ll have fun – I did.

9/17 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

YOUNGER by Pamela Redmond Satran. Gallery Books; First Edition edition (July 5, 2005).  ISBN 978-1416505587.  284p.

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