THE WAY YOU LOVE ME by Miranda Liasson

February 17, 2019

I read the first book in this series, Then There Was You, and really liked it so I was excited to read this one. I liked this one too, but not quite as much as the first one. The series is set in the small town of Angel Falls, and it’s a good little town and the setting works for these types of stories. The people in the first book are briefly mentioned but this story revolves around other characters in the town.

Gabby and Caden have their difficulties, there would be no plot otherwise. Caden went through a horrible divorce, and is now a single dad raising his daughter mostly on his own. Gabby is a woman who is constantly searching for something. She’s taken all types of classes over the years, to the point where her family teases her about it. Losing her mother at a fairly young age left her with more questions than answers, especially when she finds out her mother was writing a book. Gabby’s always wanted to write and finding that out gives her the impetus she needs to take a step in that direction, especially when a renowned author is teaching the course. It’s a sticky situation when a professor gets involved with a student, no matter the age, and Caden is about as ethical as they come.

This story is sweet and meanders along with an occasional hiccup along the way. I enjoyed the escape to Angel Falls.

2/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE WAY YOU LOVE ME by Miranda Liasson. Forever (January 29, 2019). ISBN 978-1455541829. 496p.

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COWBOY ON MY MIND by R.C. Ryan

February 10, 2019

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Montana Strong, Book 1

From the publisher:

A heartwarming western romance about a cowboy who gets a second chance with his first love in the rugged beauty of the Montana mountains. . .
Ben Monroe was the ultimate bad boy – and everyone in Haller Creek knew it. But now as a sheriff’s deputy, Ben spends his time breaking up bar fights rather than starting them, and staying away from trouble…until Becca Henderson comes back into town. She’s just as beautiful as Ben remembers – and just as far out of his reach.
Coming home is exactly what Becca Henderson needed. A place of her own, a successful new business, and a chance to reconnect with the sexy cowboy she had a crush on in school. Ben has always blazed his own path and never let anyone stand in his way. It excites-and scares-her. But when an unexpected threat surfaces, Becca will see just how far Ben will go to protect the woman he loves-and fight for their chance at forever.

 


This book started out very dark in the prologue, but quickly moved into the light and a wonderful story. I loved these characters, the back story, and the setting. As a Floridian, I love reading about the seasons, just not living through them! Snow on the pages is beautiful though and Ryan does a really good job of bringing the small Montana ranching community to life. But it’s the characters that really make this story. Even the secondary characters are well developed and have interesting lives indeed.

This is a variation of the childhood sweethearts romance. Ben and Becca grew up in this same small town, but never really dated. But they both harbored secret crushes and are scared to move forward now that they are adults. All that insecurity, on both sides, increases the tension and keeps the pages turning.

There is a also a bit of suspense. There is someone driving through town taking potshots at pedestrians and it happens a few times, with no deaths thank goodness. But who is being targeted and why slowly unfurls and there is quite the dramatic denouement.

I highly recommend this series to fans of contemporary cowboy romances. If you haven’t tried one of these, this is a terrific series to try. I ripped through the first two books in this series in a day and a half. The second book, The Cowboy Next Door, comes out Feb. 26. The review will be posted then.

2/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY ON MY MIND by R.C. Ryan. Forever (June 26, 2018). ISBN 978-1538711156. .964p.

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PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Jill Shalvis

January 23, 2019

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A Heartbreaker Bay Novel, Book 7

From the publisher:

If you’re planning on falling in love…

When it comes to the confident, charismatic Caleb Parker, Sadie Lane feels the spark—the kind that comes from rubbing each other the wrong way. She’s yoga pants, he’s a suit. She’s a tattoo artist, he’s a straight-laced mogul. But after they accidentally co-rescue an abandoned dog from a storm, Sadie sees a vulnerable side to the seemingly invincible hottie.

you’d better be sure…

Caleb doesn’t do emotions. Growing up the underdog, he’s learned the hard way to build up an impenetrable wall. Perfect for business. Disastrous for relationships. He’s never worried about it before—not until he finally gets behind Sadie’s armor and begins to fall.

… someone is there to catch you.

Both guarded and vulnerable, Sadie and Caleb are complete opposites. Or are they? Shocked at their undeniable connection, can they ever admit to wanting more? That all depends on what they’re each willing to risk.


This is one of my favorite series; I love the setting, the characters and the humor. The sex is good, too! Caleb and Sadie are both really mistrustful and damaged, so seeing them get together is especially sweet. Also loved the three legged dog!

One of my favorite quotes from the book that made me laugh out loud – file this under why I love Jill Shalvis:

“Fifty Shades of Grey is only romantic because the guy’s a billionaire. If he was living in a trailer, it’d be a Criminal Minds episode.”

A one night read for me that I just couldn’t put down. Loved it!

01/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PLAYING FOR KEEPS by Jill Shalvis.  Avon (January 22, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062741851.  272p.

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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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THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY by Roni Loren

December 15, 2018

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The Ones Who Got Away, Book 1

From the publisher:

An Amazon Best Book of 2018 and a Kirkus Best Book of 2018!

A fresh new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today best seller Roni Loren that will rock your world.

Twelve years ago, tragedy struck the senior class of Long Acre High School. Only a small number of students survived, a group the media dubbed as The Ones Who Got Away. Now, web designer Liv Arias, along with the rest of the survivors, have returned to the small Texas town to tell their stories for a documentary. Which means Liv seeing former star-athlete and old flame Finn Dorsey.

A lot happened between them that night and Liv is ready to end their decade-long riff and move on. But when her attempt at closure turns into a steamy kiss, moving on proves much more difficult than either of them thought…


I live a few miles from Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The school shooting where 17 people were killed. This whole area was just devastated and I had a really difficult time of it. I wasn’t sure I could read this book but I decided to give it a try. I’m very glad I did. I think Loren did a really good job with a very sensitive topic.

It actually gave me some comfort to see these survivors, these girls, all grown up and dealing with it all. The romance rang true, and it was a good exploration of how life goes on. I immediately picked up the next book in the series…stay tuned.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE ONES WHO GOT AWAY by Roni Loren. Sourcebooks Casablanca (January 2, 2018).  ISBN 978-1492651406.  384p.

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THE ACCIDENTAL BEAUTY QUEEN by Teri Wilson

December 4, 2018

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Well, happy birthday to me! I love when my birthday falls on a Tuesday because then I feel like all the good books published that day are my gifts, and this one made a terrific present. (Feel free to call me silly but that is truly how I feel.) And a bonus: it can be your present, too! You can win a copy of this book, read on for all the details. Plus find out the inspiration for this book from Teri Wilson herself!


Charlotte Gorman is a grade school librarian and an identical twin. Her twin sister, Ginny, is a beauty queen like their deceased mother was. Ginny invites Charlotte to hang out at the swanky Orlando resort where the Miss American Treasure pageant is being held, but shortly after she arrives, Ginny has a terrible allergic reaction that would preclude her from competing – unless her twin will take her place.

For identical twins, these women are as different as night and day; Charlotte is the stereotypical dowdy librarian while Ginny is a glamazon. Nevertheless, Charlotte acquiesces in the name of sisterhood, meets and falls for one of the judges, and almost brings the pageant down.

This is a charming story with a lot of laughs and a warm, heartfelt ending. Reid (Royally Wed) also writes Hallmark Channel movies so do not be surprised if this book ends up there, obvious comparisons to The Parent Trap and Miss Congeniality notwithstanding. This is fast paced chick-lit that is sure to appeal to fans of Meg Cabot, Stephanie Evanovich, and Rainbow Rowell.

©Library Journal, 2018.

12/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ACCIDENTAL BEAUTY QUEEN by Teri Wilson. Gallery Books (December 4, 2018). ISBN 978-1501197604. 304p.

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From Teri Wilson:

I first got the idea for The Accidental Beauty Queen last summer when I served as a judge at the national Miss United States pageant, which is the pageant featured in Miss Congeniality. It’s an actual thing! Who knew?

I’d never participated in a pageant in any way before, although I always watched them on television when I was a little girl. The directors of Miss United States are big Hallmark Channel fans, and several of my books have been made into Hallmark movies so they reached out and asked if I would be interested in being their “celebrity” judge. My answer was an immediate yes…so long as they let me try on the crown. (I mean, come on. How could I not?)

I knew before I even got there that I’d end up wanting to write something set at a pageant, so I was on the lookout for inspiration. During the judges’ interviews, I met a contestant who told me she was an identical twin. When I asked if her twin sister was there to support her, she said, “Yes, she’s right out in the hallway. But if you saw us together side-by-side you’d never know we’re identical twins. She’s a real tomboy.” That was all the inspiration I needed.

I like to describe the book as Miss Congeniality meets Parent Trap. I had more fun writing it than any other project I’ve worked on. But it’s more than a pageant book or even a romance. It’s really about two sisters rediscovering their connection after a lifetime of pulling away from each other. And of course it’s about inner beauty with a big dose of women’s empowerment. I can’t wait for readers to get their hands on it!

About the Author:

Teri Wilson is the author/creator of the Hallmark Channel Original Movies Unleashing Mr. Darcy, Marrying Mr. Darcy, and The Art of Us, as well as a fourth Hallmark movie currently in development. Teri is a double finalist in the prestigious 2018 RWA RITA awards for her novels The Princess Problem and Royally Wed. Teri also writes an offbeat fashion column for the royal blog What Would Kate Do and is a frequent guest contributor for its sister site, Meghan’s Mirror. She’s been a contributor for both HelloGiggles and Teen Vogue, covering books, pop culture, beauty, and everything royal. In 2017, she served as a national judge for the Miss United States pageant in Orlando, Florida, and has since judged in the Miss America system. She has a major weakness for cute animals, pretty dresses, Audrey Hepburn films, and good books. Visit her at TeriWilson.net or on Twitter @TeriWilsonAuthr.


To win a copy of The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson, please send an email to contest@gmail.com with “BEAUTY QUEEN” as the subject.

You must include your U.S. street address in your email.

All entries must be received by December 31, 2018. One (1) name will be drawn from all qualified entries and notified via email. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age in the United States only. Your book will be sent by SIMON & SCHUSTER|GALLERY BOOKS.

One entry per email address. Subscribers to the monthly newsletter earn an extra entry into every contest. Follow this blog to earn another entry into every contest. Winners may win only one time per year (365 days) for contests with prizes of more than one book. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone.


TONY’S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani

November 20, 2018

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From the publisher:

Love, ambition, and the consequences of both lie at the heart of this spellbinding epic of two working-class kids who become a successful singing act during the big band era of the 1940s.

Chi Chi Donatelli and Saverio Armandonada meet one summer on the Jersey shore before World War II. Chi Chi is a talented and ambitious singer-songwriter working in a local blouse factory looking for her big break, while Saverio, a singer already on the rise, is fronting a touring band and has the good looks and smooth vocals that make success seem assured. It isn’t long before Saverio becomes Tony Arma and  he and Chi Chi form a duo; together they navigate the glamorous worlds of nightclubs, radio, and television. Soon they’re married and all goes well until it becomes clear that they must make a choice: Which of them will put ambition aside to build a family and which will pursue a career? What compromises will they make to achieve their dreams? And on the road to fame and fortune, how will they cope with the impact these compromises have on their marriage, family, and themselves?

From the Jersey shore to Hollywood, New York City to Las Vegas, the hills of northern Italy and the exuberant hayride of the big band circuit in between: Tony’s Wife tells the story of the twentieth century in song, as Tony & Chi Chi make studio recordings and promote them with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. As they juggle the demands of their public lives, secrets are revealed, promises are broken, and loyalty is tested as the Armas attempt to keep the music playing and their family together.

Tony’s Wife is a richly layered novel that explores how a traditional Italian-American family grapples with the seismic shifts they face in a rapidly changing world. Replete with a pageant of vivid, complex characters, this deeply human saga of love and sacrifice showcases Adriana Trigiani’s gifts as a captivating storyteller and reveals her understanding that there are many different kinds of families: that over time love can evolve in ways that nobody can predict, especially when the hearts involved are open to forgiveness, the sweet reprise of redemption.


An Adriana Trigiani book is always cause for celebration at my house. It gets passed around long before publication date as no one wants to wait to read it. Reading Trigiani is an immersive experience into Italian family life and food and love.

Trigiani brings these characters and this time period to life, from the home decor to the cars and especially the attitudes. These characters learn and grow as times change, especially Chi Chi. In a way, this book reminded me a bit of the Broadway show Jersey Boys, so if you are not familiar with the author but you like the show (or movie), you will like this book.

Tony’s Wife is a deep dive into the 1940’s music scene and a marriage. This is a compelling and heartwarming read, sure to please Trigiani’s legion of fans.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TONY’S WIFE by Adriana Trigiani. Harper (November 20, 2018). ISBN 978-0062319258. 496p..

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COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush

November 19, 2018

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Holiday, Texas, Book 2

From the publisher:

Merry Christmas from your new friends in Holiday, Texas:
The most celebratory town in the South!

When Jinx Jacobs’s motorcycle breaks down outside Holiday, Texas, the last thing she wants is to get stuck in the cheery little town, especially during the holidays. The whole place has gone Christmas crazy, but all she has to do is stay out from under the mistletoe―and do her best to keep that unnervingly attractive cop off her back.

Single dad and sheriff’s deputy Cash Walker doesn’t have time for romance, and yet something about the tempting loner twists his stomach up tighter than a tangle of tinsel. He may have finally found the missing piece in his life…but with Jinx so determined to avoid putting down roots, convincing her to stay may just take a Christmas miracle.


I continue my love affair with Christmas romances and cowboys, and in this case it is a winning combination. This is a terrific series and Cowboy Christmas Jubilee is a welcome addition.

Jinx is not your typical heroine for sure. She’s tough and antsy and is not looking to settle down, especially with a cop. Cash is a little more typical of the genre, a big good looking protector but one who is willing to let Jinx be herself and that really says a lot about him.

Both characters experience growth, and that adds depth to the story. It is a wonderful holiday romance and I loved it.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY CHRISTMAS JUBILEE by Dylann Crush. Sourcebooks Casablanca (October 30, 2018). ISBN 978-1492662648.  384p.

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NOT QUITE OVER YOU by Susan Mallery

November 17, 2018

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Happily Inc, Book 4

From the publisher:

Susan Mallery, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances, proves there’s nowhere better than Happily Inc to rekindle first love.

Silver Tesdal has a head for business and a mouth made for kissing, and banker Drew Lovato has his eye on both. But ever since he was dumb enough to let her go, she’s kept him at a distance. When the bank turns her down for a loan, Drew sees a double opportunity—he can finance her brilliant, unique idea to rock Happily Inc’s wedding industry and win back her trust.

Despite her reputation, Silver’s not as tough as she seems. Losing Drew nearly destroyed her. Still, his kisses are as tempting as his offer to invest in her business. If she can’t quite get over him, maybe she should get under him and knock him out of her system once and for all.

But her best laid plans begin to unravel as Silver finds herself falling even harder than when they were high school sweethearts. Which means that she’ll have to come clean about the secret she’s been hiding from him for years—and risk losing


Where would romances be without unrequited high school love? I met my husband when I was in college but I was 17 years old, so close enough I guess. But I didn’t let him get away.

Silver and Drew have history. Drew is determined to win Silver back, and she is just as determined to keep her distance. Drew is a smart cookie, though, and really knows how to manipulate Silver. Yes, I said manipulate. It may be cute, and it may even be welcome, and heaven knows Mallery knows how to make it work. Nontheless, when a character is manipulated, I feel manipulated and I don’t especially like that feeling.

This is one of my favorite series but this was probably my least favorite book in the series. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good read, just not as good as I expect from this author. Still looking forward to the next one though.

11/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

NOT QUITE OVER YOU by Susan Mallery. HQN; Original edition (October 23, 2018).  ISBN 978-1335474636.  384p.

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