THE LITTLE BROOKLYN BAKERY by Julie Caplin

June 18, 2018

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Romantic Escapes, Book 2

This British import is a delightful read set in the hipster haven, Brooklyn.

Sophie Bennings had the worst possible breakup after a two year relationship when she found out her boyfriend was married. Luckily, she is offered a last minute job exchange to America and she jumps on it, escaping as quickly as she can. Sophie is a food writer, and her magazine and their American counterpart want to switch things up for a six month period, so off she goes.

The apartment she is provided with is above a delicious bakery, and the owner’s cousin, Todd, is her gorgeous co-worker. Todd is the perfect antidote to Sophie’s messy love life, but everyone warns her off him, he is a notorious player. But he’s also kind and considerate and Sophie & Todd become friends….and then more. But the relationship is doomed to fail as Todd has some serious commitment issues, and Sophie’s work visa has an expiration date.

These characters are terrific, Brooklyn becomes another character as well, and this was just a delicious read.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE LITTLE BROOKLYN BAKERY by Julie Caplin. HarperImpulse (May 25, 2018). ASIN: B077CYJ3QM.  272p. (e-book only)

 


RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs

June 17, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 9

I love visiting the tiny hamlet of Avalon on the shores of Willow Lake, and even though this is the ninth book in the series, Wiggs keeps on proving what a terrific writer she is.

This story centers around Sonnet, the former mayor’s kid who is now a young adult and is still struggling with her career choices, her difficult relationship with her father, and life in general. She returns to Camp Kioga for her step-sister Daisy’s wedding but when she sees her former best friend, Zach Algers all grown up, it’s like a punch to the gut.

Growing up as the bi-racial daughter of a single mother was not always easy for Sonnet. But Zach, whose mother died, was also being raised by a single parent and that shared experience brought them close together. But Zach had moved on after his father was convicted of embezzling money from the town coffers. He doesn’t want to return to town but he can’t say no to Daisy.

Then Sonnet finds out her mother has cancer, and is pregnant, and her priorities become crystal clear. She moves home to Willow Lake to help take care of her mother and in the process, does some real soul searching and grows up in the process.

One thing leads to another and Sonnet and Zach find each other again, this time as adults with all that implies. They fall in love, but there are some real hurdles to get over before they can find their happy ending.

Another terrific story in a wonderful series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RETURN TO WILLOW LAKE by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (February 26, 2013). ISBN 978-0778314998. 384p.

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MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY by Susan Wiggs

June 15, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 8

I think this was the most anticipated book in the series. A couple of books ago was a sort of cliffhanger featuring Daisy, and I know I was delighted to finally get to her story.

Daisy Bellamy and Julian Gastineaux met as teens at summer camp and they became best friends. They were from different worlds; Daisy, heir to the Bellamy fortune and founding family of the summer camp, and Julian, a scholarship kid.

Nonetheless, they stay best friends, keeping in touch over the years. Julian figures out the only way he’ll be able to afford college is through the armed services. He excels, as he does with everything, by working his butt off, and this time his reward is being sent to Columbia with an elite group of soldiers. Unfortunately, they are all killed.

Daisy is devastated, but eventually realizes that life must go on. She is still young, and a strong single mother to her son. His father, Logan, was a one night stand. But surprisingly, Logan is trying to be a good father and he decides the best course of action would be to marry his child’s mother. Talk about your rebound decisions, but Daisy does marry Logan and while they get along, there is no real connection between them other than their child. But they are both determined to make the marriage work. Until Julian returns.

This was a very difficult read at times, extremely emotional and gut wrenching, but ultimately love does conquer all. I think this is one of my favorite books of the series, mostly because I was so invested in these characters through the previous books and I wanted them to find their happy ending. I loved it.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MARRYING DAISY BELLAMY by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (July 28, 2015). ISBN 978-0778317715. 432p.

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THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY by Susan Wiggs

June 13, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 7

I haven’t forgotten about this series, just put the reviews on the back burner for a bit. But it’s time to catch up with some of my favorite characters in my favorite make believe setting, the beautiful Willow Lake in the glorious Catskill Mountains.

In case I haven’t mentioned this before, these books can all stand alone so can be read in any order. I started with a later book but then went back and read the rest in order. Either way, they are wonderful.

This story revolves around George Bellamy, who is dying of cancer. He has a couple of regrets as he reaches the end of his life – that his grandson hasn’t married yet, and that he is still estranged from his brother after 55 years. Determined to go out in his own way, George starts interviewing palliative care nurses and finds the perfect match for both him, and he hopes for his grandson.

George hires Claire, and she has her own mysterious past. She is happy to go along with whatever George wants, and when she meets Ross, his grandson, sparks fly. But Ross is suspicious of the nurse, and wonders if she is after his money somehow.

Claire helps George fulfill all his last wishes, and this is a lovely story about the end of life as well as the beginnings of a great romance. A few of the regular characters in the series make brief appearances as well. This was another wonderful read in a terrific series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE SUMMER HIDEAWAY by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Original edition (March 25, 2014). ISBN 978-0778317005. 432p.

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THE FIRST TIME AT FIRELIGHT FALLS by Julie Anne Long

June 9, 2018

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Hellcat Canyon Novel, Book 4

Gabe, like most elementary school principals, is an ex-Navy Seal. Ha! I wish, I’d love kids to feel that safe in school. But in this fictional tale, he really is, and he really loves kids. He is also very lonely, and fills his days and nights with meetings, coaching, and volunteering all over town. He’s also really hot with a body that draws every female eye in town. It’s not surprising that every mom in the school finds a reason to stop by his office, but he only has eyes for Eden, a single mom with an amazing kid.

There is a strong attraction there but Eden has been so busy being a single mom that she hasn’t allowed herself to get involved with anyone. But Gabe is really hard to dismiss. He’s not pushy, he just keeps showing up and they talk – really talk – about anything and everything and slowly get to know one another. Eventually, they realize it is time to move the relationship to the next level.

Eden has a secret that she has been keeping since her daughter’s conception – no one, including her family, knows who the baby daddy is. Eden knows and she’s not ready to tell anyone, that is until he shows up in town, meets his daughter by accident and realizes rather quickly that she must be his – she’s the spitting image of his mother.  This throws a complication into the whole Gabe/Eden dynamic that neither of them saw coming.

This was a really fun read with great characters and a bit of steamy sex now and then. I  also really enjoyed the humor and all the obstacles in the way of the happily ever after.

I haven’t read the other books in the series but I know that Hot in Hellcat Canyon was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America 2017 Contemporary Romance award. (I just reserved it at my library.) And I wouldn’t be surprised if this new one landed on that list as well.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FIRST TIME AT FIRELIGHT FALLS by Julie Anne Long. Avon (May 29, 2018). ISBN 978-0062672902.  384p.

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DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE by Tara Sheets

June 3, 2018

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The Holloway Girls, Book 1

This was one of those times when I absolutely judged a book by its cover and went for it. It was a serendipitous find in the library and the book reads as cute and delicious as the cover looks. And it’s a debut novel, and I always love finding a new author!

While not paranormal exactly, because I don’t do those, this book is a touch magical so if you think that is not your thing, maybe try this and see if you like it. It’s a quick read with a good story filled with interesting, quirky characters (my favorite kind.)

Emma Holloway lives in her ancestral, somewhat broken down and enchanted family home in a tiny town near Seattle. She owns a bakery called Fairy Cakes, where she makes special cupcakes – they fulfill wishes to those who need them. Not individual, I wish I would win the lotto kinds of wishes, but more general, happy good wishes. Love. Sweet dreams. Sweet success. And she accidentally sells three success cupcakes to a gorgeous newcomer who, it turns out, is building a bakery right down the road.

Emma’s business is very seasonal and she is barely holding on. Hunter Kane is a real estate mogul who is trying to buy up most of the seaside to build a high end restaurant and bakery. But he needs to get involved in the small town politics to get what he wants. And there he and Emma get to work together on the big summer kickoff.

The chemistry is lightning hot between Hunter and Emma but can they work out their differences in the name of true love? No worries, this is a romance after all.

This book is as light and sweet and fluffy as cotton candy, but a bit more emotionally satisfying. I spent a very enjoyable afternoon reading it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

6/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE by Tara Sheets. Zebra Shout (April 24, 2018). ISBN 978-1420146264.  304p.

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LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs

May 27, 2018

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The Lakeshore Chronicles, Book 6

Yes, it’s back to the tiny hamlet of Avalon for me, nestled in the beautiful Catskill Mountains. This time it’s a slightly magical Christmas story, which I can always get behind. There are actually a couple of Christmas books in this series. and this is the first one.

This time out our heroine also happens to be the town librarian, so it speaks to me, even if she is a bit cliché. She may look and sound like a stereotypical librarian when the book opens, but by the end she is someone I could be friends with. At least she is professional, and bookish, and those are qualities I see in myself and many of my co-workers.

Maureen is very excited because this is the first year she will get to direct the annual Christmas pageant. Unfortunately, she is stuck with an assistant not of her own choosing. Eddie Haven was a child star who ran into a bit of trouble and his community service requires him to help with the pageant.

You could not find two  people more different. Maureen, and every other woman in town, find Eddie gorgeous. He’s also very laid back and easygoing. Maureen, on the other hand, thinks she’s plain and dumpy and dresses to make sure she looks that way. She’s also freaking out because the library has a budget shortfall and will be shutting down. Nevertheless, Eddie is intrigued with her and yes, they fall in love and find their happily ever after but only after a lot of angst and drama along the way.

That’s the romance portion of the story. There is also a magical subplot about a young man who shows up out of nowhere and has a voice like an angel…and leaves no footprints…and you get the point. I love that slightly mysterious, mystical, magical Christmas stuff so this worked for me.

All in all, this was an enjoyable read. I would have liked to say this was my favorite (librarian character and Christmas and all) but it wasn’t. It is a very enjoyable read, however, especially if you love Christmas magic.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

LAKESHORE CHRISTMAS by Susan Wiggs. MIRA; Reprint edition (September 28, 2010). ISBN 978-0778327820. 384p.


THE FAMILY GATHERING by Robyn Carr

May 18, 2018

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Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 3

As per my usual, I stumbled across this book, loved the cover (isn’t it pretty?) and started reading. Yes, I occasionally do judge a book by its cover. Unfortunately, this is the third book in a romance series that is probably best read in order. I was a bit lost, but I liked it enough to go find the first two books, What We Find (2016) and Any Day Now (2017) and read those. Then it all came together for me and I am happy to report that this is a terrific series.

Dakota Jones has just gotten out of the army and isn’t really sure what he wants to do with his life. Like most soldiers, he has baggage aplenty so he decides to move to the small Colorado town where his brother and sister have landed. He finds himself enjoying reconnecting with his siblings and really likes the peaceful atmosphere of the small town, the friendly people and the surrounding mountains.

Dakota’s not planning on hanging around for too long, though, until he meets Sid Shandon, a bartender who seems immune to his charms. Meanwhile, there are a couple of other women who find him most appealing and make for an interesting subplot with the lengths they will go to date him. Sid and Dakota both have really interesting backstories and it is fun watching them make those discoveries and fall in love.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE FAMILY GATHERING by Robyn Carr. MIRA (April 17, 2018). ISBN 978-0778330769.  352p.

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ANY DAY NOW by Robyn Carr

May 16, 2018

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Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 2

This sequel to What We Find is a wonderful story again set at Sullivan’s Crossing, where the Colorado and Continental Divide trails converge. The first book was centered around Cal Jones, and this one is about his sister, Sierra.

Sierra’s had a troubled life,and she lands at her brother’s place for a brief stop – or so she thinks. Growing up, the siblings had parents that were difficult. Their father suffers from possible schizophrenia, and their mother spends all her time protecting him. He self medicates and refuses any traditional therapies. They traveled a lot, living on communes before ending up on a farm. Because Sierra was the youngest, she was alone with them for a while. She ended up a drug addict, but after a stint in rehab she is ready to start over. Unfortunately, she has a bit of a stalker issue as well.

Sullivan’s Landing is run by Maggie’s father, Sully, and he takes a shine to Sierra and she to him. He is the father figure she always wanted. She helps out at the store to earn her campsite and meets Connie, a firefighter and rescue worker. She is not ready for a relationship, and he is willing to take it as slow as she likes.

There is a lot of meat to this story, it is not the usual fluffy rom-com type romance. I really liked this characters, Carr does a terrific job of creating three dimensional characters that I couldn’t help get invested in. This was an excellent addition to the series.

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

ANY DAY NOW by Robyn Carr. MIRA; Reprint edition (February 20, 2018). ISBN 978-0778331186.  400p.

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WHAT WE FIND by Robyn Carr

May 14, 2018

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Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 1

This is the first book in a wonderful series, and I made the mistake of reading the third book first. I definitely felt like I was missing too much, so went back and read this one next. I’m very happy I did.

Maggie Sullivan is a neurosurgeon in Denver who is beyond stressed. An emergency car accident leaves some teens in big trouble, and triage indicates one could wait longer than the others. Unfortunately, Maggie was the one who made the call and his family is now suing her for malpractice.

With her practice shut down, Maggie decides to get out of town and decompress while the lawsuit plays out, so she goes home to Sullivan’s Crossing, the campground her father owns and run in rural Colorado at the crossroads of the Colorado and the Continental Divide Trails. It’s a family business, passed down from one generation to the next and includes a general store as well. I have to say that I really enjoyed the bits about hiking and camping as my husband does both, and I felt like I gained a bit of insight into something he is so passionate about.

Cal Jones is a camper that’s not in any kind of rush to hit the trail. So when Maggie’s father becomes somewhat incapacitated, Cal steps up to help out. Maggie is suspicious of the stranger and his motivation, but eventually his kindness and laid back demeanor win her over. Eventually, they realize they belong together and I totally enjoyed watching their journey to get to their happily ever after. Book 2 up next!

5/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

WHAT WE FIND by Robyn Carr. MIRA; Reprint edition (February 28, 2017). ISBN 978-0778319788.  400p.

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