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.