December 7, 2020

The Best Cowboy Christmas Ever, Book 1

From the publisher:

Enjoy a down-home Texas cowboy Christmas!

When handsome town sheriff Derrick Shelton meets Angelique Guillory and her young daughter at the Garrett ranch, he is immediately drawn to the woman who seems to desperately need a true family Christmas. Determined to erase the shadows from her eyes, he decides to give her the best holiday she’s ever had.

Angelique Guillory is a woman with a past, haunted by violence and searching for the family she never knew. When she and her little daughter find their way to the Garrett family and meet Derrick, she hopes to have finally found a safe haven.

But Angelique is still looking over her shoulder. Despite her doubts, with a little Christmas magic and the warmth of the Garretts, Angelique may find more love and acceptance than she ever thought possible.

Also by June Faver, the Dark Horse Cowboys series:
Do or Die Cowboy (Book 1)
Hot Target Cowboy (Book 2)
When to Call a Cowboy (Book 3)
Cowboy Christmas Gold (Book 4)

This is only my second read by this author and I’m not sure why. I really liked the first book I read back in 2018. At least this is the first book of a new series so I can feel good about that. Cowboys and Christmas in one book put this on my must-read list. This was a good story, but it definitely had some issues. To be honest, there are enough holes in this story to drive a truck through. That said, the characters were well developed and I liked most of them. 

Angelique only learns who her father is as her mother is dying. She also lost her husband, whose father is some sort of New Orleans Mafia chief who decides he is going to raise his grandchild himself. She takes off with the kid and escapes to this small town to meet her long lost father. Here come the holes…

She meets the sheriff on her way into town and apparently, it is love at first sight. She shows up at the Garrett ranch, a very rich homestead, and her father just accepts her word that she is the daughter he never knew about. No DNA test required. Her new half-siblings aren’t as gullible and tend to make her life miserable until they figure out all she really wants from them is family. And a place to live. And a job. And babysitting. And you get the idea.

I liked this book well enough to read the next one in the series. I understand it is sometimes difficult to introduce a bunch of new characters and situations but there is a better way than this.

12/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BEST COWBOY CHRISTMAS EVER by June Faver. Sourcebooks Casablanca (September 29, 2020). ISBN 978-1728214511. 352p.



IF THE BOOT FITS by Rebekah Weatherspoon

November 17, 2020

IF THE BOOT FITS by Rebekah Weatherspoon. Dafina (October 27, 2020). ISBN 978-1496725417. 288 pages.


WAITING ON A COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan

November 8, 2020

McGrath Series, Book 1


From the publisher:

Meet New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Ryan’s McGraths: a family as untamed as the land they call home. 

Tate McGrath just didn’t get it. Why was Liz Scott, his best friend—and the person he relied on and trusted most—suddenly avoiding him! When he finally tracks her down, he finds her with a man he knows nothing about and she’s been dating for weeks. Suddenly, he can’t make himself ignore her tempting curves and deep green eyes, and all he wants to do is keep her all to himself. What was going on? Could he possibly be…jealous

Liz had made the decision: stop carrying a torch for Tate and find a guy who wants to be her everything. Tate had always seen her as honest, dependable, smart, kind…Best friend, not girlfriend! And she needed to give up the dream of marrying the man she’d loved since preschool and move on. 

But when Liz’s boyfriend turns dangerous, Tate steps up to help and soon realizes he’s the cowboy hero she’s been waiting for him to be all along. 

Ryan writes some of the best cowboy romances, so I was very happy to see a new series in the works. Look at me, starting with the first book! There is some connection to her Wild Rose series, but you don’t have to have read that series to enjoy this book. It is a really good series though!

This story revolves around lifelong friends Liz and Tate. Liz knew she was in love with Tate when she was pretty young, but Tate is a player who has kept Liz firmly in the friend zone. She finally decides to give up and see who else is out there for her.

Liz meets Clint, who seems like a really good guy and she is determined to try and make the relationship work. But fairly quickly his true colors start to show. He becomes abusive and controlling, and Liz is troubled.

Tate slowly realizes that he hasn’t seen Liz in a while. Then he hears she has a boyfriend but he knows nothing about it. They are best friends, and he can’t figure out why Liz is avoiding him. But when Tate sees what’s going on with Clint, it is the wake up call he needed. His protective side rears up, and he starts to realize that he is also feeling jealous. He eventually figures out that Liz is the love of his life. 

Meanwhile, there is a lot of suspense and tension around Clint and his stalker tendencies, which helped make the pages fly by. I really liked how serious problems are addressed here, but no worries, the happily ever after is guaranteed. A great start to a new series!

Just a personal note: I actually read this book back in the summer. Right now I have a list of about 15 books I’ve read that need reviewing. If you didn’t notice, great, but I was having a hard time updating my website for a month or two. Not for any real reason other than the stress of life. I was also having a hard time reading, I couldn’t focus. 2020 can’t be over soon enough for me. So thanks for sticking around anyway, and lots more reviews to come.

11/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOUGH TALKING COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (August 18, 2020). ISBN 978-0062851932. 384p.




August 18, 2020


Chestnut Creek, Book 3

From the publisher:

From a “fabulous new voice in romantic fiction” (NYT bestselling author Lael Miller): an arrogant cowboy meets a headstrong woman determined to take custody of his niece, only to realize that she may be the family he was always searching for.
There’s not much that could rattle a cowboy like Reese St. James. But when his twin brother dies in a car accident, Reese is stunned to discover he has a six-month old niece, Sawyer. Wanting to make up for lost time, Reese heads down to Unforgiven, New Mexico, to bring her home. He doesn’t plan on Sawyer’s guardian giving him any trouble, but the intriguing, independent woman is turning out to be more than he bargained for.
Lorelei West had given up hope of having a family of her own until her sister’s tragic death brought little Sawyer into her life. And now there’s no way she’s going to let Reese take her away. Lorelei knows hotshot, good-looking cowboys like him — she’s dated enough of them — and she intends to stand her ground. Yet the more time Reese and Lorelei spend together, the harder it is to deny the attraction building between them. But opening their hearts to a baby is one thing — can they also open their hearts to the possibility of a happily-ever-after?

Lorelai is poor as dirt but determined to take of herself, her grandmother, and the ramshackle house they live in. At one time her family owned all the acreage around the house but it was sold off years earlier. Then Lorelai gets some devastating news. Her twin sister has been in a fatal car accident. The only survivor is her baby because she was with the babysitter at the time.

Lorelai didn’t even know her sister had a baby, but she is determined to bring her home and with the help of the social worker in the hospital, she gets Sawyer. Her sister was with a rodeo cowboy and he died as well. Shortly after she leaves, the cowboy’s brother shows up. He didn’t know about the baby either, but he has no other family and he wants her to grow up on the ranch he still lives on.

Reese is not your typical cowboy. For one thing, he owns the ranch and deals more with banking that cattle. He can afford to give that little baby anything and everything, but he quickly realizes that Lorelai isn’t going to be bought.

It takes a lot of time and patience for Reese to break through Lorelai’s walls, and it takes her a lot of time before she decides she can trust Reese. Then it takes a while longer for them to realize they are in love.

This was a good story with lots of drama and the socioeconomic class differences between them was stark. But I couldn’t help hoping that Lorelai would bend just the littlest bit before Reese ran out of patience so they could have their happy ending. And they did.

8/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A COWBOY FOR KEEPS by Laura Drake. Forever (July 28, 2020). ISBN 978-1538746479. 352pages.



July 12, 2020


Silverado Lake, Book 1

From the publisher:

In national bestselling author Sara Richardson’s first book in the Silverado Lake series, “the pace is fast, the setting’s charming, and the love scenes are delicious” when a risk-taking cowboy convinces a no-nonsense writer to give him a second chance (Publishers Weekly, Starred Review) — includes a bonus story by AJ Pine!
Shy and sensible romance writer Jane Harding’s carefully ordered life is crumbling around her. With her latest novel due and her teaching contract at an end, returning home to help plan her best friend’s wedding is a welcome distraction. Yet when Jane discovers that the too-hot-to-handle boy who once tempted her is now the best man — and the rodeo circuit’s sexiest bull rider — her distraction is in danger of becoming a disaster . . .
Toby Garrett is no stranger to risk. But this latest injury could end his rodeo career for good. Thankfully, his recovery at home isn’t as awful as he’d imagined, especially when he comes face-to-face with Jane. The kiss they once shared still fuels his fantasies, but when she walked away, he let her go. Now Toby is determined to fix his mistakes. Can this sweet-talking cowboy prove that the passion still burning between them is worth braving the odds?

Toby and Jane shared a kiss back in high school, but he was off to join the rodeo, and she was off to college. Unbeknownst to her hometown, Jane has become a romance novelist under a pseudonym. Like many writers, she also has another job as a teacher. But when her contract is up, she heads home to figure out her next move. Her best friend is getting married, and that will keep her busy for a while. But then she finds out Toby is the best man and things start changing.

Unrequited young love is a favorite trope of the romance genre, although it’s not necessarily my favorite. But Richardson does a really good job here, and this was a fun, sexy read. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.

NOTE:  On the cover of this book it says “includes a bonus story by AJ Pine.” I read the digital galley supplied by the publisher and the bonus story was not included. I cannot comment on that except to say I really like AJ Pine’s books.

5/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FIRST KISS WITH A COWBOY by Sara Richardson.  Forever (May 19, 2020). ISBN 978-1538717158. 432p.



May 29, 2020


Wranglers of Wyoming Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

This New York Times bestselling author delivers a “page-turning romance” (Nora Roberts) about a city girl on the run and the strong, protective cowboy who keeps her safe.

Brand Merrick is a take-charge cowboy who considers relax a four-letter word. So when an injury lands him six weeks of physical therapy, he intends to keep right on working-until his grandmother hires a therapist to stay at their family ranch. He’s not used to following orders, or slowing down, but Avery Grant has a way of getting him to do things he’d never thought he’d do . . .

Avery hates to admit it, but this super sexy rancher is testing her patience…and her professionalism. She’s a born-and-bred city girl, yet she finds herself drawn to the rugged wilderness and the equally rugged cowboy she’s here to help. But when a threat from her past follows Avery to Montana, it’s Brand who rides to the rescue-if only she’ll put her trust in him, and the growing feelings in her heart.

I still feel somewhat new to the whole cowboy romance genre as I’ve only been reading them for a couple of years. But even I know that the physical therapist is a common trope and one that I like.

Brand is deeply unhappy since he got hurt. He doesn’t talk unless you count grunting at his family when absolutely necessary. No one has seen him smile for a while. So when his mother hires a physical therapist to come stay at the ranch and work with him, he is determined to chase the guy off quickly. But to everyone’s surprise, Avery turns out to be a woman.

Three generations share this large house and work the enormous ranch. Avery quickly realizes she is not going to have it easy, but she manages to figure out a way to help Brand despite his best efforts to thwart her. Of course the fact that he is attracted to her helps a bit!

Not everything is paradise though. Avery has been having an issue with someone who appears to be threatening her. She had a few incidents at home before she came to the ranch, but once there she starts getting threatening texts from an unknown number. That adds another layer to this story.

Once his family sees how much Brand has improved, both physically and emotionally, they are all on board with Avery. And Avery and Brand get their happily ever after. A very enjoyable read.

NOTE: This book is billed as “Two full books for the price of one.” I read the digital galley supplied by the publisher and I did not have two novels, just the one story. So I cannot comment on whatever else is supposed to be included, which according to the cover is “a  bonus novel by Carolyn Brown.”

5/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

MY KIND OF COWBOY by R.C. Ryan. Forever (April 28, 2020). ISBN 978-1538716847. 656p.




April 7, 2020


Wild Rose Series, Book 3

From the publisher:

Return to Montana as a tough-talking cowboy meets his match in Jennifer Ryan’s newest Wild Rose Ranch novel.

Ex-Army Ranger Drake McGrath has come home to Montana, locked in a battle with himself, lashing out at those who love him most—driving away his ex-fiancée and alienating his family. But Adria Holloway sees beyond Drake’s tough talk to the raw pain beneath.

Raised with her twin sister Juliana by a neglectful mother at the Wild Rose Ranch, Adria also struggles to put the trauma from her past behind her. To help them both, she makes Drake a shocking deal—a no-strings relationship that’ll help them both face down their demons. Maybe it’s a way for her and Drake to heal each other, one sizzling night at a time…

The heat between them is instant and incredible. But the biggest challenges are yet to come. With Juliana battling her addiction and Drake working on his issues, Adria realizes she can’t save everyone. But Drake and Adria discover love can survive tragedy and loss—and they can have the life they never thought possible if they just hold on.

This is the third book in a series that has turned into one of my favorites, and this may be the best book yet.

Drake is a veteran suffering from physical ailments after being shot up while overseas. He is also suffering from PTSD, has hallucinations, paranoia, you name it. And need I say he is not exactly a joy to be around? Luckily, his brothers love him and are putting up with his grunting instead of talking, and his hair-trigger temper.

Adria also has survived trauma and recognizes that bit of herself in Drake. They have an immediate connection and decide on a relationship that will help them overcome their issues in the bedroom, but with no strings. As if. Adria is also dealing with her identical twin sister, who she gets into rehab after she almost dies. Drake is a good distraction from worrying about her sister.

All these characters need to overcome a lot and the struggle is real – or at least, it feels real. This was a very layered story and one that will be staying with me for a long time. Highly recommended.

4/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

TOUGH TALKING COWBOY by Jennifer Ryan. Avon (March 31, 2020). ISBN 978-0062851925. 400p.



COWBOY FOR HIRE by Victoria James

March 31, 2020


Wishing River Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

When a shy woman inherits a ranch, she’ll have to find an inner strength to succeed―and open herself up to love―in this heartwarming novel from New York Times bestselling author Victoria James.

Sarah Turner has led a very sheltered life. So when her parents pass away tragically, suddenly she’s left in charge of the family ranch with little know-how but plenty of will to keep it afloat. Determined not to lose her parents’ legacy or her newfound independence, she needs a hero fast―not to save her, but to show her how to save herself. But she’s unprepared for the ruggedly handsome cowboy who answers her ad.

“Cowboy for Hire,” the ad said, and Cade Walker is quick to respond. Betrayed as ranch manager by his former boss, he’s looking for a new place to put down roots―without the pressure to prove himself again. Except when he meets his new boss, it’s clear he’s not only there to run a ranch but to also teach Miss Independent how to run it. But as they struggle to make the ranch flourish, they’ll both need courage if they hope to find a family…together.

Each book in the Wishing River series is STANDALONE:
* The Trouble with Cowboys
* Cowboy for Hire

This is the second book in the series, and even though the publisher proclaims each book to be a standalone, I was a little lost in the beginning. I didn’t fully understand why Cade was leaving his job for this new one, and there was definitely a story behind his best friend’s marriage. But that’s just the first few pages and in the long haul, it didn’t matter and some of that became clear. I wouldn’t even have thought about it or mentioned it here except for that publisher proclamation.

Sarah is a young woman who has been extremely sheltered for most of her life. When she was a child, her brother died, and that caused the family to just implode. The only stability came in the form of their housekeeper, who is still watching out for Sarah now that her parents are gone. Sarah inherited the ranch where she grew up, except she was never allowed to have anything to do with it. When her foreman takes off, she is desperate to hire someone immediately, and hopes to learn from them. She gets real lucky when Cade enters her life.

Cade also has a lot of baggage, and like so many men, chooses to keep it all a secret. But some of his friends have pieced together the gist of it all, and luckily, they step in when he needs it most. Sarah and Cade grow very close, but Cade knows his place and it’s not in his boss’s bed, no matter how much they both want that.

I really liked how the story played out, I thought it was very well done. There were some laughs, and some tears as well. I am looking forward to the next book in this series.

3/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

COWBOY FOR HIRE by Victoria James. Entangled: Amara (March 31, 2020). ISBN 978-1640638211.  359p.




December 8, 2019

Click to purchase

The Wyoming Cowboys Series, Book 3

From the publisher:

‘Tis the season for starting over for one military man turned cowboy in this new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Cowboy and His Baby.

Former Navy master-at-arms Jason Clements is down on his luck and calling in one last favor. His cousin has secured him a job opportunity as a cowboy working at Price Ranch in Wyoming. Too bad Jason has never even saddled a horse. If he can keep this job without his PTSD getting in the way, it’ll be a Christmas miracle.

Local busybody Sage Cooper loves Painted Barrel something fierce, but it’s time for her to move on. Since her father passed away, the family ranch feels too big for just her, and there’s no chance of finding a husband in this small town. To the rest of the world, she’s just another local fixture, known for her closet full of ugly Christmas sweaters and being perpetually single.

It isn’t until Jason shows up in desperate need of a cowboy crash course that Sage discovers a tall, dark, and handsome reason to stick around. And with the holidays coming up, Sage is in need of a date for a special event—maybe they’ll turn out to be each other’s best Christmas present.

This romance ticked a lot of boxes that I really like; damaged characters, small town, cowboys, and Christmas.

Sage has no self-esteem. Living in this small town, she’s had a long-standing crush on a man who is about to marry. Someone else. She lost her mom as an infant, and her dad fairly recently, leaving her alone on a big ranch in a big empty house. She has decided to sell the ranch in the spring, and move to a larger community, in hopes of meeting someone.

Jason suffers from PTSD, but his cousin landed him this job as a cowboy, of all things. He’s never even been on a horse, much less a ranch. Desperate for help, he wanders into what passes for a library in this small town, a few shelves of books and the town’s only employee, Sage. She ignores his symptoms and lends him a helping hand with a crash course in ranching. Sage has a calming effect on Jason, and a relationship begins.

This was a warm, holiday read filled with love and grace and hope. A wonderful holiday romance!

12/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

A COWBOY UNDER THE MISTLETOE by Jessica Clare.  Berkley (October 15, 2019). ISBN 978-1984804006. 320p.


Audio book on CD


November 17, 2019

Click to purchase

Wild Rose Ranch Series, Book 2

From the publisher:

If you like bad-boy heroes, western settings, and a sexy, sassy heroine you will love Jennifer Ryan’s newest Wild Rose Ranch book! Perfect for fans of Diana Palmer, Linda Lael Miller, and Jodi Thomas.

One minute down-on-his-luck rancher Austin Hubbard slept soundly, the next, a sassy spitfire dumped a pitcher of water on his head and woke him up—in more ways than one. Hired to help him rebuild his ranch, Sonya Tucker ends up helping him put the tattered pieces of his life back together. The capable, all-business accountant is on a mission to get the ranch up and running, but can he convince the temptingly beautiful woman to take a chance on him?

Sonya was dismayed that Austin had lost it all: money, family, respectability. Things she—who’d been raised by her mother at Nevada’s notorious brothel Wild Rose Ranch—only dreamed about. But working with the long, lean cowboy shows her that Austin is honorable to his core. Together they slowly grow to see what the love between them might bring.

But then Austin’s powder keg of a family feud explodes, exposing long-buried secrets, and threatening their new-found love…

Just when I was thinking I hadn’t read a good cowboy romance in a while, this one dropped in my lap. I liked the first book in this series, but I think this one is even better. I guess like the premise of a smart woman bossing around a cowboy! At least here, it really works. It sort of turns on its head the cowboy saving the woman, although there is a hint of that as well. But mostly Sonya is fierce and in charge.

Both of these characters have a lot of baggage and troubling backgrounds, and they both can appreciate that in the other. I couldn’t help but root for them to get together, but first, they had to learn to trust one another. Another good cowboy romance!

11/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RESTLESS RANCHER by Jennifer Ryan.  Avon (November 12, 2019). ISBN 978-0062851901.  384p.