DONUTS!

December 2, 2021

I couldn’t resist putting these books together for a review. If only there were ten more, an even dozen donut books! Wouldn’t that be fun?! And FYI, Amazon is having a sale – buy one of these books, get the other for half off! Happy Holidays!

So, The Donut Trap. A brief synopsis from the publisher:

Julie Tieu sparkles in this debut romantic comedy, which is charmingly reminiscent of the TV show Kim’s Convenience and Frankly in Love by David Yoon, about a young woman who feels caught in the life her parents have made for her until she falls in love and finds a way out of the donut trap.

Jasmine Tran has landed herself behind bars—maple bars that is. With no boyfriend or job prospects, Jasmine returns home to work at her parents’ donut shop. Jasmine quickly loses herself in a cyclical routine of donuts, Netflix, and sleep. She wants to break free from her daily grind, but when a hike in rent threatens the survival of their shop, her parents rely on her more than ever.

Help comes in the form of an old college crush, Alex Lai. Not only is he successful and easy on the eyes, to her parents’ delight, he’s also Chinese. He’s everything she should wish for, until a disastrous dinner reveals Alex isn’t as perfect as she thinks. Worse, he doesn’t think she’s perfect either.

With both sets of parents against their relationship, a family legacy about to shut down, and the reappearance of an old high school flame, Jasmine must scheme to find a solution that satisfies her family’s expectations and can get her out of the donut trap once and for all.

https://amzn.to/32DbRxV

I loved “Kim’s Convenience” (it is streaming on Netflix) so I had high hopes for this book. I can definitely see the similarities. Oh, and just FYI, one of the stars of that TV series is Simu Liu, now the star of the new Marvel movie, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” and recent host of SNL. But I digress.

This book read a little young for me, it is more “New Adult” or even Young Adult, but no matter. It is completely adorable! I liked these characters and loved the family dynamic. This donut-sweet romance is fast paced with a lot of laughs. A wonderful debut, and I can’t wait to see what Julie Tieu does next.

NOTE: Circling Back to You comes out next summer!

Onto Donut Fall in Love – a brief synopsis from the publisher:

A baker provides the sweetest escape for an actor in this charming romantic comedy.

Actor Ryan Kwok is back in Toronto after the promotional tour for his latest film, a rom-com that is getting less-than-stellar reviews. After years of constant work and the sudden death of his mother, Ryan is taking some much-needed time off. But as he tries to be supportive to his family, he struggles with his loss and doesn’t know how to talk to his dad—who now trolls him on Twitter instead of meeting him for dim sum. 

Innovative baker Lindsay McLeod meets Ryan when he knocks over two dozen specialty donuts at her bakery. Their relationship is off to a messy start, but there’s no denying their immediate attraction. When Ryan signs up for a celebrity episode of Baking Fail, he asks Lindsay to teach him how to bake and she agrees.

As Lindsay and Ryan spend time together, bonding over grief and bubble tea, it starts to feel like they’re cooking up something sweeter than cupcakes in the kitchen.

https://amzn.to/3xF4CBb

I’ll be honest; I cannot resist a punny title! Of the two donut books, I preferred this one as it delves into reality food TV, a personal favorite. This is also a more adult read, and I don’t mean sex – the characters are a bit older and more mature, that’s all.

Lindsay really wants a new job, but is sort of stuck career-wise, and is back home helping out her parents in their donut shop. This is a small, family business and a traditional donut/coffee shop. In Florida, like elsewhere in America, we have these types of donut shops that are barely hanging on as Dunkin’ spreads like, well, a virus. We have The Dandee Donut Factory, a small, family owned chain (soon opening in Massachusetts!) But we also have trendy donut shops, like Duck Donuts and Voodoo Donuts (at Universal Studios in Orlando.) And famously, we used to have not one, but two topless donut shops!

Moving on. Lindsay’s trying to help her parents take their donut shop toward the trendy side, so they can raise their prices and make more money. They are resistant, of course, but when they go off and leave her in charge one day, she cooks up some interesting new flavors, like matcha tea donuts. But as she’s bringing them out, a man literally runs into her.

That man turns out to be a movie star, but Lindsey doesn’t recognize him. Instead, she tears into him for the damage. Ryan recently lost his mother, but one of his favorite memories is of the time they baked cupcakes. They were pretty much inedible, but it is a fond memory. When Ryan is invited to participate in a celebrity baking competition, he realizes he needs some help. He doesn’t want to make a complete fool of himself on national TV.

Ryan hires Lindsey to teach him to bake, and they spend several afternoons together. Lindsay knows who he is, finally, and is a bit smitten. To her surprise, so is Ryan. There are some definite bumps on their road to happily ever after, but the ride is so much fun! This is a delicious romance, sure to please fans of the Food Network and romcoms. More mashups like this, please!

12/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch


THE DONUT TRAP by Julie Tieu. Avon (November 9, 2021). ISBN: 978-0063069800. 368 pages.

Kindle Audible


DONUT FALL IN LOVE by Jackie Lau. Berkley (October 26, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593334300. 368 pages.

Kindle Audible

 

 

 


MAMA’S BOY by Avery Flynn

November 20, 2021

Last Man Standing, Book 1

From the author:

MUST HATE DOGS
Do you hate dogs? Only want to talk about yourself? Is having a sense of humor something you’ve never been accused of? Think eating for pleasure is a complete waste of time? Agree that tipping is for suckers? Then you’re the date for me.

Dixon Beckett is the kind of guy who loves his mama, treats women right, and never ever wants to fall in love again. That’s why he’ll do anything to win a bet to be the last single man standing by Christmas.

He’s got a plan, too. Create the most no-good, horrible, very bad dating profile in existence. Only someone actually responds to his ad…

The rules say he has to go on six dates with the first (or in his case, only) person who answers—even if that person is Fiona Hartigan: Hater of dogs, non-lover of any delicious food, and zero sense of humor.

But something feels off about this pariah. In fact, Dixon is almost positive Fiona is just pretending to be awful. Pretending to be the most horrible date in existence. And she’s most definitely pretending to not be as interested in him as he is in her.

The more Dixon Beckett starts to unravel the mystery of why Fiona answered his ad in the first place, the more he starts considering the most vile, awful, terrible idea ever…falling in love.

Each book in the Last Man Standing series is STANDALONE:
* Mama’s Boy
* Neanderthal
* Mansplainer


Once again I started a series with the second book, but I liked it so much I immediately went looking for the first book, which I found on Hoopla (yay public library!) The third book comes out in December, a birthday treat for me, and I can’t wait. I have a funny feeling no one is winning this bet.

This series centers around a bet between three cousins. Their beloved grandmother has passed away, leaving behind a wrapped Christmas gift but no name on the gift. They decide that the last man who hasn’t fallen in love will get the gift. But there are rules – they have to post a profile on a specific dating app, and they have to go out on six dates, selected by the other cousins, with the first woman who responds.

Dixon has no desire for a relationship and he wants that last remembrance of his grandmother. Since he gets to write his own profile, he comes up with the most obnoxious, unappealing one that he can. So he is shocked when Fiona responds.

Their first date is a bit of a puzzle for Dixon; almost immediately he starts to suspect something is off about Fiona. He thinks she is only pretending to hate dogs and food and so forth, but he can’t understand why she would do that.

Dixon runs a large and very successful cosmetics company. Fiona’s grandmother has created a line of homeopathic skin care products for women of a certain age, shall we say. She has tried on several occasions to get in to see Dixon, but has been rebuffed at every effort. She decides this is the best way to get to him. Especially when he puts it out there that he knows she is full of it, and admits to why he posted that profile and the bet. They decide to help one another; she will complete the six dates with him but after that, he will owe her a favor of her choosing. He has no idea what she is up to but doesn’t care as long as he wins the bet.

Fake dating invariably leads to true love in romance novels, and this one is no exception. But Fiona is fighting it because of her grandmother, as is Dixon. Lots of drama but even more laughs and some very steamy sex make this a terrific read that I really loved. I can’t wait for the next book!

MAMA’S BOY by Avery Flynn. Entangled: Amara (September 27, 2021). ASIN: B091NQHSK8. 312 pages.

Audible


WELL MATCHED by Jen DeLuca

November 19, 2021

Well Met, Book 3

From the publisher:

A pretend relationship gives two friends more than they bargained for in a Renaissance Faire rom com filled with flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell. 

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire—a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship. 

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…and it doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans—and open her heart—for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.


As someone who has never been to a Renaissance Faire, despite there being a huge one [http://www.ren-fest.com/] just a few miles from my home, I really love this series. I still have no desire to go, but I’ll read anything Jen DeLuca writes.

This book is less about the Ren Faire and more about this small town. The story centers around April, whose daughter is going off to college in a few months. April has been a single mom for a very long time, and she is determined to change her life once she becomes an empty nester. She wants to sell the house and move out of this small town into a city, and while she’ll always have a place for her daughter, she wants to start living her own life.

Mitch is quite a bit younger than April, and while he is a very good looking man, she can’t imagine him being interested in her. So when he offers to help her out with fixing up her house to sell it, she is grateful for the help. But he needs a favor in return; he wants her to come to a family dinner with him. His family are all high achievers and think being a teacher and coach is not much of a career. He figures if they see him in a relationship with a woman like April, all professional looking and older, they will back off. But the dinner turns into a weekend at a hotel, and one thing leads to another as it usually does with fake dating!

I loved the May-December romance, mostly because it is the woman who is older, yet it seems that Mitch is the more mature one in this relationship a lot of the time. April is dealing with some insecurities about her age and her body and simply cannot believe that this man could truly want a relationship with her. She pretty much dumps him because of that, but luckily, he’s not giving up.

There are a lot of laughs here and witty dialogue, a hallmark of DeLuca’s writing, plus some steamy scenes. I’ve loved all three of these books and would be hard pressed to pick a favorite. But it’s probably this one. These do not need to be read in order, they each stand alone pretty well, so if you haven’t tried DeLuca yet, I urge you to do so now. I loved it.

11/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

WELL MATCHED by Jen DeLuca. Berkley (October 19, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593200445. 336 pages.

Kindle

Audible

 

 

 

 


BAD INFLUENCE by Stefanie London 

November 18, 2021

Bad Bachelors, Book 3

From the publisher:

Annie Maxwell had her whole life figured out . . . until her fiancé left her when his career took off. If that wasn’t bad enough, every society blog posted pictures of him escorting a woman wearing her engagement ring. To help the women of New York avoid guys like her ex, Annie created the Bad Bachelors app. But try as she might, Annie just can’t forget him . . .

For bank executive Joe Preston, his greatest mistake was leaving the love of his life when she needed him most. Now, all he wants is to make things right–and she won’t have him. But when Annie’s safety is threatened by a hacker determined to bring down her app, Joe is the only one she can turn to. He’ll have to lay himself on the line to prove to Annie that he’s a changed man.

But will their hard-won bond survive the revelation that Annie is the one pulling the strings behind Bad Bachelors?


We were introduced to the Bad Bachelors app in the first book in this series, and while it showed up in the second book, it is at the center of the last book of this trilogy. Annie, the creator, is being threatened. Since she started the app, there have been some negative comments, but this is beyond that – someone has hacked her app and knows who she is. He even grabbed a pic of her taken from the camera on her laptop. She knows she is in trouble, and when she runs into her ex, she realizes that he is the perfect person to help her. He is an internet security expert, recently returned to New York as the youngest vice president of his new company.

Joe is happy to help. He feels guilty about the way he left Annie, following his career path and listening to his father’s advice. He even gets engaged to a woman his father deems worthy, but that ends when they realize it is a mistake. To make things even worse, Annie recognizes that ring – she had seen it in Joe’s drawer, figuring he was going to propose to her. But that never happened.

Joe is still in love with Annie, so he is thrilled to be able to help her. Things get even dicier when the threats start hitting home – Annie’s home, so Joe asks her to move in with him until things can be resolved. Of course, that starts their romance all over again.

Joe and Annie find their happy ending, and Joe eventually figures out who the threat is and how to end it. Meanwhile, Annie has a mega offer on the table to buy the app, and she is trying to figure out what to do with it. She eventually makes the right choice for her, and for Joe.

I really enjoyed this series. Each book stands alone but they are better read as a series. These are very sexy romances, so if that isn’t your preference, look elsewhere. I thought these books were very well done and terrific reads.

11/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BAD INFLUENCE by Stefanie London. Sourcebooks Casablanca (February 26, 2019). 978-1492655237. 384 pages.

Kindle

Audible

 

 

 

 


BAD REPUTATION by Stefanie London 

November 17, 2021

Bad Bachelors, Book 2

From the publisher:

It’s true, I’m well-endowed.
But everything else is a huge misunderstanding…

My name is Wes Evans and saying I’m bad at love is a big understatement. I’m the son of Broadway royalty, and the only thing I’ve really ever wanted is to achieve something without having to ride on my family’s coattails. Unfortunately, being dubbed”The Anaconda” on the notorious Bad Bachelor app wasn’t exactly what I had in mind. Now, I’ve got a reputation I can’t seem to shake, and a smash Broadway show I need to produce without the help of my family.

Enter Remi Drysdale―a sexy ballet dancer and the woman who could solve all my problems. She is a dream to watch on stage and will be the next best thing in American ballet. If I don’t mess it all up by seducing her.


Remi is a ballerina from Australia who moved to New York City for a shot at joining a major ballet company. But it didn’t work out the way she planned, and she ends up teaching kids how to dance. When one of her students brings her uncle with her, he is forced to participate. Little does she know that he is ballet and Broadway royalty. When he walks in on her practicing on her own, he realizes he found the ballerina he was looking for to star in the off-Broadway show he is trying to produce without his family’s help.

There is strong attraction there but Remi has been burned by romance in a show before, and she isn’t going there. Until she can’t help herself. Wes understands her fears but he can’t help himself either. Of course, they try and keep it secret but once the cat’s out of the bag, all sorts of trouble follows.

This was a fast read set in the world of theater, which I loved. The characters are skillfully brought to life on the page, and while some of the drama seemed a bit over the top to me, it all works out in the end. I’m looking forward to the last book of this trilogy.

11/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BAD REPUTATION by Stefanie London. Sourcebooks Casablanca (August 7, 2018). 978-1492655206. 384 pages.

Kindle

Audible

 

 

 

 


THE WEDDING CRASHER AND THE COWBOY by Robin Bielman

November 3, 2021

From the publisher:

Kennedy Martin is shocked when her ex calls days before his wedding, expressing serious second thoughts. Doesn’t he see his fiancée’s actually the glaze to his doughnut? Now she’s got no choice but to crash his wedding and convince the man he’s with the right woman.

Instead, she crashes into the absolute last man she ever wanted to see: Maverick Owens, her old college nemesis. Maverick is still as awful, infuriating, and just The Worst as ever―even if he looks way too sexy in his cowboy hat. And of course he’s convinced she’s actually at the seaside ranch to ruin the wedding.

Now the only way to get some face time with the groom and save this marriage is to participate in all sorts of pre-wedding events…with Maverick. Stuck on a canoe, making small-talk at cocktail hour, and even a hoedown with her worst enemy? This just might be the longest week of her life…


The popular enemies-to-lovers trope is in all its glory here as Kennedy and Maverick literally run into each other for the first time since college. Super competitive, both of them battled wits in their college careers. She went off to med school, and he was supposed to go to veterinary school. Instead, he’s home on his family’s ranch and needs to make sure that Kennedy doesn’t spoil things. The family ranch makes most of its money these days from hosting weddings, and Mav quickly learns that Kennedy is not an invited guest.

Kennedy and the groom used to date, but that turned into a true friendship instead. She is happy to hear he’s finally getting married, but the bride-to-be is a bit insecure about her fiance’s “friend” so she isn’t invited. But when he drunk dials Kennedy from his bachelor party and tells her he is having doubts, he also asks her to come so they can talk. Kennedy, along with her other best friend, jump in the car and head for the ranch.

Kennedy and Mav start spending time together; it helps with keeping her presence on the down low, and for some reason, he isn’t bothering her nearly as much as he did in college. He is also insanely good looking, which she is trying to ignore. As if.

Everyone finds their happily ever after in this sweet and sometimes sexy romance. This was a a lot of fun to read, and I found it pretty much unputdownable. Don’t miss it.

11/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE WEDDING CRASHER AND THE COWBOY by Robin Bielman. Entangled: Amara (October 26, 2021). ISBN: 978-1649370945. 368 pages.

Kindle

 

 

 

 


NEANDERTHAL by Avery Flynn

November 2, 2021

Last Man Standing, Book 2

From the author:

So I may be in the Last Single Man Standing competition with my cousins, but five minutes around Kinsey was all it took to take myself out. Who cares about bragging rights when you’ve just found the woman you’re going to marry? Sure, she may work for my biggest competitor. Sure, she’s not dating right now. Sure, she’s my sister’s best friend and I’ve been sworn off her. But somehow she agrees to go on six fake dates to help me save face in this competition.

What does the guy who never uses his words have to say to convince the girl of his dreams that they’re perfect for each other?

Each book in the Last Man Standing series is STANDALONE:
* Mama’s Boy
* Neanderthal
* Mansplainer


I took the author at her word that each book is a standalone as this was first read in this series. And I think she’s right; I didn’t feel like I missed anything although I realized there was a first book, if that makes sense. A lot of romance series are connected by characters who know one another, and I think this is the case here. No matter; this was a fun read.

Griff is the “Neanderthal” of the title, and it’s pretty fitting. He is known to his friends and family as someone who rarely speaks. In fact, he grunts a lot. But he is brilliant and rich and good looking, in what would be a lethal combination if not for his lack of communication skills. His sister’s best friend, Kinsey, has recently moved to the west coast as she landed her dream job at a competitor of theirs. Unfortunately, her dream job doesn’t pay enough to cover the rent in such a pricy area, so she jumps at the chance to move in with her bestie.

Kinsey visits the gym where Griff is working out and overhears some crazy conversations. She steps in, explains the correct answers, and shuts everyone up. And Griff falls in love, before he even sees her. Brains are his downfall, and Kinsey may be the smartest person he’s ever heard. Then he sees her and realizes his life as he knew it is now over. He is in love.

Griff and two of his cousins have a bet going on – the last man standing, i.e. not in love, wins the Christmas present their grandmother left behind. No one knows what it is or really cares, they just know they want it. But Griff realizes he is out of the running now and doesn’t care.

There are a couple of problems though – for one thing, Kinsey is wearing an engagement ring, or as she explains it, a pre-engagement ring. Except she bought it in a thrift shop and wears it to keep men from hitting on her. Kinsey is a knockout, a southern belle with blonde hair, big boobs, and an even bigger brain, but no one waits around to find out about her brain. By taking herself off the market, she gets taken a little more seriously at work.

But something amazing happens. As Griff’s cousins set him on date after date with Kinsey, he finds himself talking to her. In fact, he never wants to stop talking to her. Unless they are in bed, which is where they end up once she confesses to the fake pre-engagement. Griff may lose the bet but he wins the girl and the happy ending. This is a very sexy romance with a lot of witty dialogue, some laugh out loud moments, and terrific characters who grow and change. I am looking for the first book in the series while I impatiently wait for the next.

NEANDERTHAL by Avery Flynn. Entangled: Amara (October 25, 2021). ASIN: B091NPW9HK. 288 pages.

Paperback

Audible


MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY by Lauren Blakely 

October 26, 2021

Ballers and Babes Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Hands down, my favorite thing in the world is to score. Touchdowns. Don’t let the fact that I’m the leading pick in the Most Valuable Playboy charity auction fool you.

These days, I’m only a player on the field. I’ve kept my pants zipped all season long because nothing’s more important than leading my team to victory every week. Except maybe escaping from the team owner’s recently-widowed and handsy-as-hell sister who’s dead set on winning more than a date with me.

Enter Violet and a well-placed Hail Mary. She’s my best friend’s sister with a smile as sweet as cherry pie and a mind that runs quicker than the 40-yard-dash. After Violet saves the day with the highest bid, I don’t even give her a two-minute warning before I kiss her in front of the whole crowd and then announce that she’s my girlfriend. Which would be fine except my agent tells me we have to keep up the act while he’s negotiating my contract.

Violet takes one for the team and pretends to be mine, but our boyfriend-girlfriend scrimmage quickly turns into a full contact sport, and I want it to go into overtime. The problem is–I’ve been riding the bench for years. How can a guy like me, who finally has a chance to prove his worth on the field, convince the girl she’s most valuable to his heart?

*MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY is a brand new standalone sports romance written in the guy’s POV!*


I love sports romances, and this is a good one. Told from the guy’s point of view, Cooper is the quarterback for a fictitious San Francisco NFL team. He was backup quarterback for a few years, but now is leading the team and he takes that very seriously. As his best friend Trent says, he is married to football. It is the most important thing in his life and he, along with a few friends on the team, started off the season losing. But then things started clicking and they are on their way to a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Many athletes have their little superstitions and this crew certainly does. Cooper hasn’t had sex since they started winning, and his friends also have their supersitions – one hasn’t cut his hair all season, another is wearing the same dirty socks every game.

Cooper is also a big believer in helping out any charities that deal with children, so he is happy to be part of the bachelor auction to benefit a local children’s hospital. Except he has one little problem; in previous years when he was “won”, he bedded the winners. This year he is not having sex until they make the playoffs, which could be difficult, especially when the owner’s sister is determined to win him and have her way with him. Panicky, he begs Trent’s sister Violet to help him out. She is a hairdresser and is at the auction to make all the guys look good. But her work is done, and since she and Cooper have been friends since they were little kids, she doesn’t mind helping him out – especially since he’s paying for it. So she outbids everyone else and to her surprise, and his, he kisses her in front of the crowd and tells the local news reporter covering the event that they are an item.

Meanwhile, Cooper’s agent is in negotiations for his contract with the team, due to expire at the end of the season. He tells Cooper he needs to keep dating his hometown childhood sweetheart as it will help with negotiations. Turns out Violet needs to keep dating him as well; her landlord wants to raise her rent, but if her customers think they are dating, business will pick up for sure. So they agree to fake date, and as anyone who has ever read a romance knows, fake dating always leads to a happily ever after.

What is interesting here is seeing it all from his point of view instead of hers. We quickly learn that Cooper is falling for Violet, but he isn’t sure if she feels the same or is just good at acting. It was refreshing to see a man be a bit insecure about a relationship for a change. Violet is as well, and we learn that she has always had a crush on him. As things progress, their relationship certainly feels real to him but things come up that make him doubt that Violet is.

This was a terrific read, fast and sexy and fun, especially if you like football – and I do. There is also some sweetness here, which I really appreciated, along with some laugh out loud moments and some very steamy sex. Lauren Blakely is self published, which I often have issues with, but she is a pro. Her books are reliably well edited, and I highly recommend!

NOTE: This is the first book of a series, and I got it for free through BookBub. If you weren’t sure they were legit, well, they are. I got this book a couple of weeks ago and it was free, but today it is $3.99 so I’m glad I jumped on that when I did! (Unfortunately, my library doesn’t have the rest of the books in this series so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to them. I feel guilty buying books when I literally have hundreds of books still to read on my Kindle!)

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

MOST VALUABLE PLAYBOY by Lauren Blakely. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 1, 2017). 978-1545373941. 286 pages.

Kindle

Audible

 

 

 

 


THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS by Julia London

October 24, 2021

The Princes of Texas, Book 3

From the publisher:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Julia London delivers a sexy new contemporary western, where a lonesome rancher and a no-nonsense cowgirl learn that you don’t choose who you fall for–love lassos you….

As the firstborn son, it’s been drilled into Nick that he is the heir apparent to the Prince family empire. But cattle ranching has never been his true passion. Nick wants to be a pilot.  However, when his father dies, leaving Nick to clean up the mess, he knows he must do his duty before following his heart.

Charlotte Bailey can’t believe that Nick is back to run the ranch. As the office manager, she knows it’s her responsibility to help him. If only he wasn’t so brooding and cranky–and so hot it’s a wonder his chaps don’t melt right off him. But when sparks fly between them, she’s adamant about staying away from a cowboy on his way out the door.

Nick knows the ranch’s pretty, smart, and capable office manager is off-limits, but he needs her. And working in such close proximity to Charlotte every day is making Nick crazy. She smells good, she looks good, she makes him laugh, but most of all she makes him want to stay….


I’ve read Julia London’s historical romances and loved them, so I don’t know how I missed her contemporary ones. This is the third book of the series and my first foray into The Princes of Texas, but I think it stands alone just fine. It never felt like I was missing anything.

Nick is a young, good looking curmudgeon. He’s always grumpy and for some reason, Charlotte enjoys his company. It might have something to do with the wild, slightly drunken night they shared almost a year earlier. She distinctly remembers that night as the best sex she ever had.

Charlotte has been the office manager for the Prince ranch since way before Nick took over. His dad ran the place with Charlotte for many years. Nick has his pilot’s license and dreams of flying big jets for commercial airlines, but his dream is put on hold when his father dies and names him to take over the ranch. Turns out his father had some serious gambling issues, and the coffers are bare. Every day is a struggle to turn the business around. The only highlight is getting to spend time with Charlotte. She is often maddening but he can’t help how he feels about her, try as he might. He is diligent about keeping their relationship professional, but eventually lust wins out.

Charlotte has feelings for Nick, but he constantly pushes her away. She tries online dating as her friends keep pushing her, but without much success. Even Nick gets in on it, helping her pick out a couple of guys to date. Turns out that wasn’t the best idea he ever had, but it doesn’t matter, Charlotte knows where her heart belongs. Except she has a dream too, and it’s to get married, have lots of babies, and make a home in this small town.

Nick doesn’t believe she would want to be with him unless he can give her those things, and after her best friend has a baby he becomes convinced he doesn’t want any children – ever. This is a major hurdle for Charlotte, but this is a romance so you know they reach their happy ending.

I really liked spending time with these characters and this is a charming romance with a tiny bit of heat and a lot of laughs. I will be looking for the earlier books in this series – and the next one!

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE BILLIONAIRE IN BOOTS by Julia London. Berkley (March 3, 2020). ISBN: 978-0451492395. 368 pages.

Kindle

Audible

 

 

 

 


THE TAKEOVER by T L Swan

October 22, 2021

The Miles High Club, Book 2

From the publisher:

Wall Street Journal bestseller.

In bestselling author T L Swan’s second hot installment to the Miles High Club series, he’s sexy, rich, and her mortal enemy. Hate never felt so good.

I first met Tristan Miles at a meeting where he was trying to take over my late husband’s company.

He was powerful, arrogant, and infuriatingly gorgeous, and I hated him with every cell in my body. In the shock of the century, he called me three days later and asked me on a date.

I would rather die than date a man like him―though I do have to admit it was good for the ego. Turning him down was the highlight of my year.

Six months later, he was the guest speaker at a conference I attended in France.

Still arrogant and infuriating―but this time, surprisingly charming and witty.

When he looked at me, I got butterflies.

But I can’t go there.

He’s just a player in a hot suit, and I’m just a widow with three unruly sons.

I just need this conference to be over. Because everybody knows that Tristan Miles always gets what he wants…and what he wants is me.


Tristan Miles is in charge of acquisitions for Miles Media, the conglomerate he owns along with his brothers. They are all billionaire playboys, except for Jameson, who recently married. Tristan is determined to take over Anderson Media, which is in serious financial jeopardy. The owner died and his widow, Claire, has been running the company for five years, but things are not going well. When Tristan shows up in her office with an offer to buy her out, she is incensed and throws him out. A few days later, he asks her out. Saying no felt good. Tristan is rich and gorgeous and has never heard “no” before, but he respects her wishes and keeps his distance.

About six months later, Claire’s assistant and best friend, Marley, convinces her to attend a motivational retreat in France. Claire fights it at first, but soon realizes she really needs a break and off she goes. The opening speaker at the conference is none other than Tristan Miles. He singles her out, repeatedly, and eventually she decides to she could use a fling and since their chemistry is off the charts, why not.

Claire is a few years older than Tristan and they are in very different places in their lives. She married young and was widowed, and has three sons who are not always easy to deal with. He is single and a player with his whole life ahead of him. After the conference, he invites her to spend the weekend with him in Paris, and she goes. The sex is amazing, he makes her feel like the most beautiful woman in the world, and is funny and charming. But then she ends things.

Tristan has never been dumped and he isn’t sure what to do about it. He has had a few serious relationships in his life, but with a distinct type; young, blond, beautiful. Claire is older and comes with a lot of baggage, namely her kids. But he can’t stop thinking about her. One day he shows up at her house on Long Island, and meets her three sons in one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read. Her oldest Fletcher, is just cold to him and asks him to leave. He is very protective of his mother. The youngest, Patrick, isn’t sure what to think. But it’s the middle child, Harry, who goes ballistic on him.

Seeing a billionaire playboy lock horns with teenagers is hilarious, and the relationship he develops with these boys is funny but also heart warming. Meanwhile Claire keeps breaking up with him then taking him back. Repeatedly. She can’t seem to stay away, and he is determined to make a life with her. That leads to some serious issues and another really bad breakup. But these two cannot stay apart, and they all find their happily ever after.

This is my favorite book of the series. The sex is steamy as in all the books in this series, but it’s the humor that really made this special. Single moms will appreciate how protective Claire is of her children, and will swoon at Tristan’s relationship with her boys. These books all stand alone so if you want to try one, I highly recommend this book; it is equal parts super sexy, heartwarming, & hilarious! I loved it.

10/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE TAKEOVER by T L Swan. Montlake; 8/1 edition (August 27, 2020). ISBN: 978-1542017336. 479 pages.

Kindle

Audible