INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin

July 29, 2019

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The Playbook, Book 1

From the publisher:

Series in development with Starz & G-Unit Films and Television by 50 Cent and La La Anthony!

One of NPR’s Best Books of 2018
An Amazon Best Romance of 2018 Pick
An iBooks “Best of September” Pick
A GoodReads Best of the Month pick for September
One of Booklist‘s Top 10 Romance Debuts for 2018
One of BookBubs Best Fall Romances of 2018

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.


I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around Fumbled, the second book in the series, originally brought me to this author. So yes, again, I am reading a series out of order. Luckily, there are only two books so far, so at least now I’m ready when the next book comes out! Plus can I just say that this is a great romance with diverse characters, always a welcome addition to the genre. Martin has a bit of writing quirk that may be just a generational thing, but she uses hashtags. A lot. Sometimes they are super appropriate and usually they are funny, but now and then I thought she went a bit over the top with them.

As I mentioned in my review of Fumbled, this has some real life behind it. Both these books revolve around NFL players (albeit for a fictitious team) and in real life, Martin is married to a retired professional football player. So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. One of my favorite sports romance series is from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who writes about another fictitious football team, and Martin’s books almost seem like an updated version to me.

A friend told me she never reads sports romances because she doesn’t like sports, but trust me, that is not a prerequisite. Not to stereotype (much!) but professional athletes make great romantic leads because they are young, good looking with ripped bodies, and they are loaded, leading so many women to fantasize about meeting/marrying one. And what is a good romance novel but a good fantasy?

Intercepted introduces some terrific characters and the writing is smart and funny. Marlee is terrific; strong, feisty and feminist, all traits I can relate to. Gavin is a cut above the usual jock, and is deserving of this wonderful woman. I loved watching how they come together and there is some hot sex along the way before they even get their happily ever after. All the cattiness with the football wives added a lot of humor and I loved Marlee’s best friend having her back. Good friends and a supportive family go a long way here.

Martin is definitely on to something here and I hope she continues her journey. I’m really looking forward to her next book.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.

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PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev

June 5, 2019

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From the publisher:

Award-winning author Sonali Dev launches a new series about the Rajes, an immigrant Indian family descended from royalty, who have built their lives in San Francisco…

It is a truth universally acknowledged that only in an overachieving Indian American family can a genius daughter be considered a black sheep.

Dr. Trisha Raje is San Francisco’s most acclaimed neurosurgeon. But that’s not enough for the Rajes, her influential immigrant family who’s achieved power by making its own non-negotiable rules:

·       Never trust an outsider

·       Never do anything to jeopardize your brother’s political aspirations

·       And never, ever, defy your family

Trisha is guilty of breaking all three rules. But now she has a chance to redeem herself. So long as she doesn’t repeat old mistakes.

Up-and-coming chef DJ Caine has known people like Trisha before, people who judge him by his rough beginnings and place pedigree above character. He needs the lucrative job the Rajes offer, but he values his pride too much to indulge Trisha’s arrogance. And then he discovers that she’s the only surgeon who can save his sister’s life.

As the two clash, their assumptions crumble like the spun sugar on one of DJ’s stunning desserts. But before a future can be savored there’s a past to be reckoned with…

A family trying to build home in a new land.

A man who has never felt at home anywhere.

And a choice to be made between the two.


Another love story that takes its lead from Jane Austen, which is not a bad thing. Here we have a Mr. Darcy (the “D” in “DJ” is for Darcy) with Trisha standing in for Elizabeth Bennett. It works. For me, an added bonus is the food-centric story. DJ is a chef and Trisha is a scientist who forgets to eat. Really. But when she eats DJ’s food, she is transported.

The two of them are strongly, and strangely, attracted to one another. DJ is aware there are class differences between them, which makes him self conscious and overly sensitive. Trisha is such a workaholic that it is hard for her to move beyond that – except for her family obligations. And those she feels very strongly.

DJ and Trisha fight their way through this story until I started wondering how on earth they would ever get together. Well done, Ms. Dev, well done. This was a delicious read that harkens back nicely to its inspiration. A thoroughly enjoyable romance.

6/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PRIDE, PREJUDICE, AND OTHER FLAVORS by Sonali Dev. Berkley (May 7, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451490827. 320p.

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THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang

May 15, 2019

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From the publisher:

From the critically acclaimed author of The Kiss Quotient comes a romantic novel about love that crosses international borders and all boundaries of the heart…

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.


I loved Hoang’s first book, The Kiss Quotient, so much that it made my best books of 2018 list. It is entirely possible that this new one will end up on this year’s favorites list as well. It topped the LibraryReads list for May, and with very good reason.

Hoang has created a niche in the romance genre, or maybe even two; one of her protagonists is autistic, the other is of mixed race.

In this book, she switched things around so our hero is the one on the spectrum, and our heroine is half American, half Vietnamese. But Hoang takes it a step further and really delves into the immigrant experience in America.

Khai is a complex character, as is Esme and I love the character development, it definitely adds to the story and I couldn’t help but root for this couple. Even the secondary characters are interesting,  especially Khai’s mother and his brother. We don’t get to know much about Esme’s family as they are still in Vietnam, but we learn her backstory, about the poverty she grew up in and still lived in until this opportunity arose. Esme is no fool and she seizes every advantage to try and build a better life for her family, hopefully in America.

We know that Khai is very successful but I would have liked to learn a bit more about that. It is suggested that is very frugal which Esme takes for lack of funds, not understanding what is going on and frankly, neither did I. But that is just a minor quibble.

There are some really funny moments in this book, as well as some heartbreaking ones. It was an emotional read for me, and I know I won’t be forgetting these characters any time soon.

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE BRIDE TEST by Helen Hoang. Berkley (May 7, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451490827. 320p.

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THIS IS NOT A LOVE SCENE by S. C. Megale

May 6, 2019

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From the publisher:

This Is Not A Love Scene rings brilliantly true from the first page to the last.” ―David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author 

Funny, emotional, and refreshingly honest, S.C. Megale’s This is Not a Love Scene is for anyone who can relate to feeling different while navigating the terrifying and thrilling waters of first love.

Lights, camera―all Maeve needs is action. But at eighteen, a rare form of muscular dystrophy usually stands in the way of romance. She’s got her friends, her humor, and a passion for filmmaking to keep her focus off consistent rejection…and the hot older guy starring in her senior film project.

Tall, bearded, and always swaying, Cole Stone is everything Maeve can’t be. And she likes it. Between takes, their chemistry is shockingly electric.

Suddenly, Maeve gets a taste of typical teenage dating life, but girls in wheelchairs don’t get the hot guy―right? Cole’s attention challenges everything she once believed about her self-image and hopes for love. But figuring this out, both emotionally and physically, won’t be easy for either of them. Maeve must choose between what she needs and what she wants, while Cole has a tendency to avoid decisions altogether. And the future might not wait for either.

 


Let me start off by saying I LOVE THIS BOOK! I don’t read a whole lot of young adult fiction, but I heard about this book in a webinar with the publisher about books they were excited about. This book came up, so I requested a copy. At the time, Megale’s publicist didn’t even have galleys so she sent me hers, which I then lent out to librarians who do read/recommend YA. So far I’m batting 100%, everyone I know who has read it has also loved it. One of the reasons I started blogging about books is because I’m so opinionated, and when I find a book I love I want everyone to read it. So go read this book!

Maeve is a character that you can’t help but root for. She is in a wheelchair but that is no deterrent to this strong young woman. She is determined to live her best life and she truly succeeds. Of course she has plenty of teenage angst along the way. I liked her parents and her friends a lot, the characters are all well drawn and brought to life. The author shares some similar issues with the protagonist, and perhaps that’s why this story rings so true. I won’t be forgetting Maeve or her story for a very long time.

This is an intelligent love story filled with pathos, humor, and enough drama to keep things interesting. This is Not a Love Scene is an important and wonderful read, sure to make my best books of the year list. Don’t miss it!

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THIS IS NOT A LOVE SCENE by S. C. Megale. Wednesday Books (May 7, 2019).  ISBN 978-1250190499.  320p.

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CRASHING INTO HER by Mia Sosa

April 2, 2019

4/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

CRASHING INTO HER by Mia Sosa. Avon Impulse; Reissue edition (April 2, 2019). ISBN 978-0062878762. 400p.

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