THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai

August 6, 2019

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From the publisher:

Alisha Rai returns with a sizzling new novel, in which two rival dating app creators find themselves at odds in the boardroom but in sync in the bedroom.

Rhiannon Hunter may have revolutionized romance in the digital world, but in real life she only swipes right on her career—and the occasional hookup. The cynical dating app creator controls her love life with a few key rules:

– Nude pics are by invitation only

– If someone stands you up, block them with extreme prejudice

– Protect your heart

Only there aren’t any rules to govern her attraction to her newest match, former pro-football player Samson Lima. The sexy and seemingly sweet hunk woos her one magical night… and disappears.

Rhi thought she’d buried her hurt over Samson ghosting her, until he suddenly surfaces months later, still big, still beautiful—and in league with a business rival. He says he won’t fumble their second chance, but she’s wary. A temporary physical partnership is one thing, but a merger of hearts? Surely that’s too high a risk…


Rhiannon. I know it is a popular name but when I hear it, or read it, all I can think of is Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac and the song (see YouTube below. You’re welcome.) Luckily, I love that song. I also loved this character. She was strong, feisty bordering on aggressive at times, and definitely a woman in charge of her own destiny. That worked for me.

We know that Rhi has experienced some trauma in her life that affects her professional career, and eventually we get most of the sordid details. So she definitely has baggage and she creates rules to protect herself. She also knows that sometimes rules can be broken.

Samson also has baggage. Not only is he a former professional football player, he comes from football royalty, with both his father and his uncle former NFL stars. But he lost his father and more recently, the uncle he took care of. He hasn’t really dated in years and his first attempt is a disaster. But Samson has a bigger problem than lack of dating skills; he doesn’t think he’s capable of a relationship because everyone he’s ever loved has left him.

The chemistry between these two is palpable and I couldn’t help rooting for them to get together. The very hot sex just adds to the fun. When they are thrust together in business, they realize they have a lot more blocks to get past in their personal lives. But this is a romance so happily ever after is a requirement.

Rai once again gives us a charming read with humor and pathos. She also tackles some important topics like chronic traumatic encephalopathy, sexual harassment in the work place, and the prejudices towards women-owned businesses, especially in the tech industry. She handles all of that beautifully, exploring these issues in a very personal way. This was a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE RIGHT SWIPE by Alisha Rai. Avon (August 6, 2019).  ISBN  978-0062878090. 400p.

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FIX HER UP by Tessa Bailey

June 22, 2019

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From the publisher:

A steamy, hilarious new romantic comedy from New York Times bestselling author Tessa Bailey, perfect for fans of Christina Lauren and Sally Thorne!

Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since.  Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World… whatever that means.

Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)

Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)

Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)

Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)

Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?

Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there’s Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her…


This is a fast, fun read with lots of humor, pathos, and steamy sex – what more could you want? I couldn’t help but get emotionally involved with both Travis and Georgie. Retiring from professional baseball with an injury in his twenties really messed with his head. He found solace by hiding and drinking alone. Until Georgie comes by, throws some old lo mein at his head and forces him out of bed. And to clean. His best friend’s little sister is showing him something he’s never had before; someone who cares about him

A difficult childhood left Travis alone and aloof but Georgie is breaking down those walls. And she can’t stand how her family still treats her like the baby they think she is. She may be all grown up but her work as a clown for children’s birthday parties isn’t convincing anyone to treat her as an adult – except Travis.

Suspend your disbelief and enjoy this funny, sexy book. I sure did.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FIX HER UP by Tessa Bailey. HQN Books; Original edition (June 11, 2019).  ISBN  978-1335659972. 368p.

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THE SUMMER OF SUNSHINE & MARGOT by Susan Mallery

June 19, 2019

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From the publisher:

The Baxter sisters come from a long line of women with disastrous luck in love. But this summer, Sunshine and Margot will turn disasters into destiny…

As an etiquette coach, Margot teaches her clients to fit in. But she’s never faced a client like Bianca, an aging movie star who gained fame—and notoriety—through a campaign of shock and awe. Schooling Bianca on the fine art of behaving like a proper diplomat’s wife requires intensive lessons, forcing Margot to move into the monastery turned mansion owned by the actress’s intensely private son. Like his incredible home, Alec’s stony exterior hides secret depths Margot would love to explore. But will he trust her enough to let her in?

Sunshine has always been the good-time sister, abandoning jobs to chase after guys who used her, then threw her away. No more. She refuses to be “that girl” again. This time, she’ll finish college, dedicate herself to her job as a nanny, and she 100 percent will not screw up her life again by falling for the wrong guy. Especially not the tempting single dad who also happens to be her boss.

Master storyteller Susan Mallery weaves threads of family drama, humor, romance and a wish-you-were-there setting into one of the most satisfying books of the year!


This book falls somewhere between women’s fiction and romance, but whatever you want to call it, it is an engrossing read. The characters are skillfully brought to life and I liked the two storylines, one following each of the sisters. They briefly overlapped now and again as the sisters are not estranged, just living their own lives as most of us do.

Sunshine is determined to turn her life around. She loves working as a nanny, but regrets the kids she left behind to follow after random men who invariably ended up hurting her. This time she is not going anywhere; she loves the young boy she is caring for and she is taking her first college class as well. The problem arises when she realizes she is very attracted to her recently widowed boss.

Margot loves helping people and this job is proving to be the most challenging one of her career. Bianca is living with her son and Margot is completely besotted – with the house. It is an old monastery that has been renovated and turned into a home, leaving much of the original intact. Bianca’s son is an historian who wants nothing more than to be left alone with his ancient documents, so he is surprised to find himself so strongly attracted to Margot. And she is equally surprised to find herself attracted to him.

Once I started this book, I was drawn completely into the lives of these sisters. If you like family stories with some romance, then you will enjoy this. I sure did.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

SUMMER OF SUNSHINE & MARGOT by Susan Mallory. HQN Books; Original edition (June 11, 2019).  ISBN  978-1335659972. 368p.

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THE FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary

June 7, 2019

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From the publisher:

What if your roommate is your soul mate? A joyful, quirky romantic comedy, Beth O’Leary’s The Flatshare is a feel-good novel about finding love in the most unexpected of ways.

Tiffy and Leon share an apartment. Tiffy and Leon have never met.

After a bad breakup, Tiffy Moore needs a place to live. Fast. And cheap. But the apartments in her budget have her wondering if astonishingly colored mold on the walls counts as art.

Desperation makes her open minded, so she answers an ad for a flatshare. Leon, a night shift worker, will take the apartment during the day, and Tiffy can have it nights and weekends. He’ll only ever be there when she’s at the office. In fact, they’ll never even have to meet.

Tiffy and Leon start writing each other notes – first about what day is garbage day, and politely establishing what leftovers are up for grabs, and the evergreen question of whether the toilet seat should stay up or down. Even though they are opposites, they soon become friends. And then maybe more.

But falling in love with your roommate is probably a terrible idea…especially if you’ve never met.


So British! And a completely delicious debut.

Tiffy is still holding out hope that her on again, off again boyfriend will be on again. Until he gets engaged. Then she’s pretty sure that it’s truly over. But she can’t seem to move past him. Months later, she finally starts grappling with the dysfunctional relationship that she was in and never realized – but as she does, she starts learning a lot about herself.

Meanwhile, work is getting crazy and her flat mate is turning into a good friend, albeit one she’s never met. His girlfriend made sure of that. But when they do finally meet, it is not what either of them expected.

This is a very funny and often emotional read. I love the British wit. The story moves back and forth between Tiffy and Leon’s viewpoints, which makes for an intimate read. You really get to get inside their heads. There are also tons of back and forth notes, that is how they communicate for at least half the book so I would file this under epistolary novels for sure.

The characters are real and well drawn and the story moves quickly. All in all, an excellent debut – I can’t wait to see what comes next. Don’t miss it!

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FLATSHARE by Beth O’Leary. Flatiron Books (May 28, 2019).  ISBN  978-1250295637. 336p.

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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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