Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Club: Crush on You by Christie Ridgway

By: Mary Grzesik with inspiration from Aly Hackett & Ronlyn Howe (I’m making them honorary Italians LOL.)

I LOVED this book. I loved the sisters and their relationships with each other. Alessandra, Stephania and Guiliana (their nicknames are Allie, Stevie & Jules) are trying to save their family winery. Tanti Baci, which means ‘many kisses’ in Italian, has been in their family for generations. They decide to make it an ‘all in one’ place for weddings rather than sell out to the Bennett boys/men who own the winery next door. I have to confess to an affinity for these girls and their family. I am Italian descent and Christie really captures the funny, crazy love that the family can smother you with and she shows it to the max without getting stereotypical. I smiled through so much of this book.

Allie is called the Nun of Napa, her hubby- to- be died on their wedding day (5 years before) and it seems the town thinks she will always be single. Enter Penn Bennett who is a hot shot TV personality with a home renovation show and has come home to relax for a bit and visit his half brothers…those neighboring Bennett men. Of course the sparks fly when they meet.

"And congratulations to you,” he said, not disguising the edge to his voice. Her gaze narrowed, a quick contraction of her eyelids before her expression turned guileless again. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He leaned closer, and spoke in a near whisper. “They don’t know what hit ’em.”

“What?” She had the innocent thing down pat, and he hardened himself against it.

“That little break in your voice,” he said. “The single tear—brilliant. We’ll have to see about a booking on Inside the Actors Studio.”

The Kate Winslet wanna-be didn’t answer. With a little flounce, and another spit of gravel, she turned and headed back up the lane, her sisters once again following. As Newton and company started pulling equipment from the bed of the Ford, he and Liam were left looking after the three Baci women.


“I mean, surely . . .” It was just two guys, so he plowed forward. “C’mon. The body. That mouth. I’d like to—”

“Stop,” Liam said. “Stop right there.”

Something shot through Penn—disappointment? Nah, he wasn’t really interested in the youngest Baci sister, so it made no difference to him that his half brother had a prior claim. “Sorry, I didn’t know you and she have a thing.”

“We don’t. No one does, not with Alessandra. And you won’t be messing with her, either. Not with the Nun of Napa.”

Penn offers to help out with the renovations and even though Allie has reservations, she’s desperate to get the work done. I mean, did Penn have to be so able? And hot. And capable. And hot. And…well, you get the picture. Neither of them are willing to start a relationship. She is the Nun of Napa after all. And he is a happy bachelor with a full life in LA. I mentioned the sparks before, right? There’s no way they can escape.

Another thing I enjoyed about this book was the secondary romance between their friend Clare and Allie’s cousin Gil. Clare is set to be the first bride of the Baci Wedding Cottage...any wonder how that’s going to turn out? ;-)

There is also some pretty hot chemistry between Jules & Liam Bennett that we’ll finally get to read about when the third book, Can’t Hurry Love, releases next week.

After our typical Italian meal, which is more about socializing then eating, we always end our meal with espresso coffee, fruits and Baci chocolates. I tried to find a recipe on-line but it’s copyrighted. Maybe it’s a cop-out but that’s my recipe for dessert. My mom always gives us a box of Baci’s for special occasions. She always has some on the table after dinner along with the fruit & espresso coffee. Each Baci chocolate comes wrapped in a love note written in different languages. There are quotes and proverbs. Sometimes we check the love note before we’ve eaten the chocolate. I guess it’s the equivalent of the Chinese fortune cookie LOL.

Some examples:

"To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with."

“Laughter makes you young. Love makes you beautiful.”

Sometimes they’re corny & don’t translate well but we always get a kick out of them.


Mary G said...

Ronlyn & Aly, thanks sooo much for helping me with the post. It was a crazy day yesterday. It was great reviewing the book again as it put me in the mood for the latest one.

Ronlyn said...

Good Morning all!
(and you're so welcome Mary)
What great fun!! I'm ready for a winery tour this weekend! :-)

Alison said...

Good Morning Everyone!

Great review ladies! I have this book in my TBR pile, it sounds like I'll have to move this up in the pile. Is this the first book in this series?

krisgils33 said...

Loved this book and love the series. I'm so excited for the third one to come out....that couple has me so very intrigued. I really like books set in CA vineyards. Not sure why it works so well, but it really does. Maybe it's the beautiful scenery or the romance of the wine....any ideas??

Mary G said...

Yes it's the first book. The second one, Then He Kissed Me, features Stevie and sizzling hot Jack Parini. He's a 'prince' of a guy.

Mary G said...

You're right. I love stories in this setting too & I don't know why. Also loved Susan Mallery's Marcelli books & The Villa by Nora Roberts.

The vineyard setting is beautiful obviously but it's hard work & success depends on the weather as well as other factors. Wine is romantic too. After all we toast with it & get drunk with it LOL.

One of my fave movies: A Good Year with Russell Crowe.

Kara C said...

I'm sold! I will be reading this book ASAP! Wine, chocolate, and a great book. Perfect combination! Thanks for the rec, Mary.

Michelle said...

Thanks for the rec, it sounds like an interesting series. I'm off to see if I can hunt a copy down.

I've never been to a winery but I've added it to my bucket list :)

Hope said...

Sign me up....I haven't read anything by Christy yet, so I am excited. The write up was wonderful, I can't wait to dig in. Thanks for the rec girls :)

Ronlyn said...

I want chocolate. I blame Mary.

And I really think I am going to drag hubby to a winery. Maybe not *this* weekend, but this summer sometime for sure. They are AWESOME. And not just because you get to taste...

Mary G said...

Ha I may have to send you Baci along with the Caramilk next time LOL.

Hope said...

We got married in a vineyard, they are so romantic, especially at sunset. There are some great vineyards around here, Ronlyn *wink wink*, we actually have something called, A Taste of the Rogue, where you get a wine glass and a map at the beginning of the tour, and you go to all of the local wineries and tasting rooms, is tons of fun even for those who don't drink :)

Mary G said...

You didn't get to taste a Rogue. That's a teaser!!

Ronlyn said...

But, at tastings don't they make you spit out the wine? What's the fun in that??

Alison said...

You're supposed to spit it out? I've been doing it wrong all along!

Ronlyn said...

me too Alison. *sigh*

Alison said...

I'm gonna keep doing it wrong! Its not right to spit out good wine :)

Judy F said...

Finally. Jeesh I kept trying to get in since I got home.

Anyway. I loved this series. Its fun, sexy and smoking hot. I loved the sisters relationship and their connection to their neighbors. I am so looking forward to the next book.

Great job there Mary.

Hope said...

No you don't have to spit it out, you get small samples of all of their different wines at each the time you reach the 4th or 5th stop, they ALL taste great lol.

Mary, you crack me up!!

Tara said...

Great review Mary! I have this in my tbr pile and am now going to take this on our nice long road trip tomorrow.

I got engaged on a trip to wine country, so I love the setting already.

I don't spit out the wine either. I figure they call it wine tasting, not wine spitting so all good.

Have a wonderful 4th weekend everyone!

oklanannie said...

Great review on a wonderful series by Christie Ridgway. My first book by her was long ago entitled "Wish You Were Here" about an astronaut, a dreamer and a magical island -- I've enjoyed her writing since then. Prince Jack in the second book stole my heart! I'm looking forward to the third book starring the oldest sister in "Can't Hurry Love" to be released this month!! I'm always up for a trip to the wine country.

Happy "Canada Day" to our Canadian friends and Happy Firecracker Day to the USofA!!!