PROJECT DUCHESS by Sabrina Jeffries

February 6, 2020

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Duke Dynasty, Book 1

From the publisher:

From New York Times bestselling author Sabrina Jeffries comes a sparkling new series about an oft-widowed mother’s grown children, who blaze through society in their quest for the truth about their fathers . . . and in the process find that love just might conquer all . . .

A series of stepfathers and a difficult childhood have left Fletcher “Grey” Pryde, 5th Duke of Greycourt, with a guarded heart, enviable wealth, and the undeserved reputation of a rogue. Grey’s focus on expanding his dukedom allows him little time to find a wife. But when his mother is widowed yet again and he meets the charmingly unconventional woman managing his stepfather’s funeral, he’s shocked to discover how much they have in common. Still, Grey isn’t interested in love, no matter how pretty, or delightfully outspoken, the lady . . .

Beatrice Wolfe gave up on romance long ago, and the arrogant Duke of Greycourt with his rakish reputation isn’t exactly changing her mind. Then Grey agrees to assist his grief-stricken mother with her latest “project”: schooling spirited, unfashionable Beatrice for her debut. Now that Beatrice is seeing through Grey’s charms to his wounded heart, she’s having trouble keeping him at arm’s length. But once Grey starts digging into her family’s secrets, she must decide whether her loyalties lie with her family . . . or with the man whose lessons capture her heart . . .


Sabrina Jeffries writes a good, steamy romance so I was very happy to see she is starting a new series. Because it is the first book in the series, there are a lot of characters, but she does a good job of introducing them without overwhelming. Grey is our hero, and he is a man with a difficult past. Even dukes can have baggage, (apparently to this day!) and his troubled childhood has left him wary of letting anyone in. But when he meets Beatrice, her refreshing way of speaking her mind disarms him.

Beatrice has been living out in the country in pretty much isolation, other than her extended family and the help. She and Grey have much in common, they both lost family members, and both have little use for pretense. But Grey’s mother, the thrice widowed dowager duchess, is determined to have Beatrice come out along with her daughter, Grey’s sister. To that end, while they are in mourning, they take the opportunity to teach the girls the graces, and subterfuge, that is necessary to succeed in London’s high society.

Grey is determined to never lose his heart and plans on marrying eventually, but in the way of much of the ton, purely for business reasons, for lack of a better term. But he is enraptured with Beatrice, fight it as he may. Not to mention Grey’s half-brother suspects Beatrice’s brother of killing two of their mother’s husbands. Yes, it is a bit complicated but that’s half the fun. A bit of mystery, some steamy sex, lots of secrets, and a big family all combine to create a terrific start to this new series. If you enjoy your romances historical, quick, fun, and sexy, then read this book. I’m very glad I did.

2/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

PROJECT DUCHESS by Sabrina Jeffries. Zebra (June 25, 2019).  ISBN 978-1420148558. 400p.

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HUNTING FOR A HIGHLANDER by Lynsay Sands

February 4, 2020

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Highland Brides, Book 8

From the publisher:

Four Buchanan brothers have found their brides…only three more to go in this scintillating romance from New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands…

Lady Dwyn Innes feels utterly out of place among the eligible women who’ve descended on Buchanan Keep, vying for the attention of the last unmarried brothers. She isn’t long-legged and slender like her sisters, or flirtatious and wily like other lasses. Since her betrothed died, Dwyn has resigned herself to becoming an old maid. Yet a chance encounter with a stranger in the orchard awakens her to a new world of sensation and possibility…

After weeks away, Geordie Buchanan returns to find his home swarming with potential brides, thanks to his loving but interfering family. But one lass in particular draws his attention from the moment he spies her climbing a tree. Lady Dwyn is not nearly as plain as she thinks. Her lush figure and eager kisses delight him, as does her honesty. But the real test lies ahead: eliminating a hidden enemy, so that he and Dwyn can seal their Highland passion with a vow.


This series started out hit or miss with me, but two in a row have been really fun reads so I’m on board. This book has a lot of humor, mostly centering around the heroine’s large boobs, the low cut gowns her sisters are forcing her to wear, and said boobs’ propensity to pop out on a fairly regular basis. Despite her forced lack of decorum, or maybe because of it, I really liked Lady Dwynn. She is honest and kind and empathetic, and Geordie always really likes her. Unfortunately, he had told his older brother that he has no intention of marrying, which Dwynn overheard, but things have a way of changing.

This is a steamy love story, and as in all the books in this series (at least the ones I’ve read), there is also a bit of suspense. The women who are vying to be brides for the single men also have other demands that must be met, chief of which is making the husband heir to whatever lands they own. The problem for Dwynn is that they have a mentally ill neighbor who has a vendetta against her, but also wants the land. The book takes a dark turn towards the end but of course, there is the guarantee of a happy ending. Thank goodness. I need my happy endings!

This was a really fun and sexy read and I couldn’t put it down. Looking forward to the next book in the series.

2/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HUNTING FOR A HIGHLANDER by Lynsay Sands. Avon (January 28, 2020).  ISBN 978-0062855374. 384p.

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YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley

February 2, 2020

YOU WERE THERE TOO by Colleen Oakley. Berkley (January 7, 2020). ISBN 978-1984806468. 352p.

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EXCLUSIVE/A TOUCH OF HEAVEN by Samantha Chase

January 30, 2020

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From the publisher:

Exclusive

When little-known writer Taylor Scott is granted two weeks to interview a famous reclusive author, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. So is the chance to rekindle her friendship with Mike Greene, who happens to be the author’s assistant. But as feelings deepen and time winds down, Taylor will have to choose between the story that could launch her career and an unexpected chance at love.

A Touch of Heaven

As Regan Amerson makes the emotional decision to sell their family home, her mother wins a home makeover from a reality TV show. Regan is furious, and jaded host Sawyer Bennett isn’t thrilled either. That is, until he meets Regan–and finds himself enamored by the fiercely independent beauty. She may want nothing to do with him, but Sawyer isn’t one to give up easily…


This book is a reissue of two previously published stories by Samantha Chase: Exclusive and A Touch of Heaven.  I enjoyed Chase’s Shaughnessy Brothers series and eagerly awaited each new title.  However, her other works have tended to be hit or miss with me.  Unfortunately, this collection was a miss.  Each of the stories is more of a novella length.  I find the novella to be a difficult format for romance.  The compressed nature of novella doesn’t really give enough time for the characters to develop or the story to breathe.  Both Exclusive and A Touch of Heaven shared this issue with both relationships feeling superficial.  The plots felt rushed and there was really no pay off with the couples in either story.  Both just sort of instantly fall in love and it’s a little unclear to the reader why.

Of the two stories I enjoyed Exclusive the least.  There was little tension to the plot and the mystery was very straightforward and easy to guess.  While neither Taylor nor Mike clicked with me as characters, I found Mike to be a difficult romantic lead to like.  He came across as very manipulative of Taylor and petulant when he didn’t get his way.  Taylor is passive throughout the story and one dimensional.  The story also wrapped up much too quickly with a tidy ending that did not seem earned.  A Touch of Heaven is slightly better, if only because neither lead is as unlikeable as Mike.  The premise of Regan and her mother appearing on a home makeover show had potential but again the plot felt underdeveloped and very straightforward.  Regan and Sawyer fall in love instantly, but do not seem to communicate well.  They talk about what a deep connection they have, but this is told to the reader not shown.  Like Exclusive there is a rushed and tidy ending to the story.

Overall, skip this collection as the stories lack substance or likeable characters.  Try Chase’s Shaughnessy Brothers series instead.

1/2020 Caitlin Brisson

EXCLUSIVE/A TOUCH OF HEAVEN by Samantha Chase. Sourcebooks Casablanca (November 6, 2018). ISBN 978149262268. 416 p.

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HUSBAND MATERIAL by Emily Belden

January 29, 2020

HUSBAND MATERIAL by Emily Belden. Graydon House; Original edition (December 30, 2019). ISBN 978-1525805981. 304p.

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THE PRINCESS PLAN by Julia London

January 23, 2020

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 A Royal Wedding Series, Book 1

From the publisher:

Princes have pomp and glory—not crushes on commoners

Nothing gets the tongues of London’s high society wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it’s all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefited from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater interest in Eliza.

With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there’s nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza’s contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they’ll have to work together if they’re going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it’s the prince who’ll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.


This is the introduction to a new series by the fabulous Julia London. It is set in England, but the prince is from Alucia, whatever that is. The political machinations are really what this book is all about, but it is the relationship between Eliza and Sebastian that brings the romance. Everyone loves a good scandal, so a murder in the highest echelons of society keep the gossip going. Eliza is smart, and it is her intellect that really attracts Sebastian.

The secondary characters are so well developed, especially Eliza’s family, including her father, who is blind. Eliza had been badly hurt when she was younger and is determined to never put herself in that situation again. She has declared herself a spinster and is happy with that. She is brash and outspoken and I loved her! But she also can’t help falling for Sebastian, even though she knows that can never be as he is upfront with her about his marriage prospects, which are entirely political. Of course, there has to be a happy ending, and Sebastian is smart, too, and he finagles a way to make that happen.

Lots of suspense, lots of humor and some steamy sex make for a terrific read. I’m looking forward to whatever comes next.

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE PRINCESS PLAN by Julia London. HQN; Original edition (November 19, 2019).  ISBN 978-1335041531. 400 p.

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THE COUNTRY GUESTHOUSE by Robyn Carr

January 17, 2020

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Sullivan’s Crossing, Book 5

From the publisher:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Robyn Carr delivers an emotional and triumphant novel about the fierce power of a mother’s love.

A summer rental, a new beginning…

Hannah Russell’s carefully crafted plans for her life have been upended without warning. When her best friend died suddenly, Hannah became guardian to a five-year-old named Noah. With no experience at motherhood, she’s terrified she’s not up to the challenge. She and Noah need time to get to know each other, so she decides to rent a country house with stunning views on a lake in rural Colorado.

When they arrive at the house, they are greeted by the owner, a handsome man who promises to stay out of their way. But his clumsy Great Dane, Romeo, has other ideas and Noah immediately bonds with the lovable dog. As Hannah learns to become a mother, Owen Abrams, who is recovering from his own grief, can’t help but be drawn out of his solitude by his guests.

But life throws more challenges at this unlikely trio and they are tested in ways they never thought possible. All three will discover their strengths and, despite their differences, they will fight to become a family. And the people of Sullivan’s Crossing will rally around them to offer all of the support they need.


Robyn Carr is one of my favorite authors. I love all of her series, and I was really excited when I saw there was a new addition to the Sullivan’s Crossing series. The setting is one of my favorites. But I must admit, I had a little trouble with this book.

I liked Hannah a lot, and I loved Noah. These characters were well developed and believable. On the other hand, Owen was a bit of an enigma to me. I didn’t feel like he was as well developed, even though his background was explored and was very dramatic. Something just felt off to me. Maybe it was the lack of chemistry between Hannah and Owen. They went from platonic to romantic without any real buildup. This book had a lot of telling, rather than showing, and I never like that as much.

Not my favorite, but I’m still glad I read it.

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE COUNTRY GUESTHOUSE by Robyn Carr. MIRA; Original edition (January 7, 2020).  ISBN 978-0778309055. 336 p.

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THE AMISH WEDDING PROMISE by Laura V. Hilton

January 12, 2020

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE AMISH WEDDING PROMISE by Laura V. Hilton. Forever (December 17, 2019). ISBN 978-1538700648. 352p.

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25 DAYS ‘TIL CHRISTMAS by Poppy Alexander

January 10, 2020

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From the publisher:

In this heartwarming, feel-good holiday novel, one woman needs to find a little inspiration in the 25 days leading up to Christmas to help her remember the magic of the season and the magic of falling in love—perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Josie Silver.

Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago, she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down the days and hours to Christmas. But that was before Kate’s husband left for the army and never came home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.

Kate can’t deny she’s lonely, yet she doesn’t think she’s ready for romance. She knows that her son, Jack, needs a Christmas to remember—just like Kate needs a miracle to help her finally move forward with her life. So she’s decided if there isn’t a miracle on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.

As Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever begins, she soon realizes that even with the best laid plans, you can’t plan for the unexpected. For when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, these two destined hearts might find a way to save the holiday for both of them.


For some reason, I missed this book. I had probably a dozen Christmas books to read this year, and unfortunately, I started and put down the vast majority of them. There were a couple I finished that were okay, and one that I liked a lot. So when I finally read this one, I was sorry I missed it earlier. It was really good. If (unlike me) you want to read your Christmas books before the holiday, grab this one and set it aside until you’re ready. I promise, it is worth it. I like how the book is set up like an Advent calendar. Each chapter is titled by the number of days until Christmas, counting down to the big day. It would be fun to read it that way if you are saving it for next Christmas.

This is a British import so right away I liked the quirky little town and its characters. Kate is a struggling young widow with a little boy who is having some difficulties in school. She is fierce in her love for her boy, and determined to do her best by him, one way or another. Ever since she lost her husband, she hasn’t felt much like celebrating Christmas but she decides this year it is important to celebrate for Jack. Kate is working as a Christmas elf selling trees outside a department store. She hardly makes any money and her boss is a pig. She has regular customers and one she remembers well is Daniel. He is very good looking, but she remembers him more for bringing his sister to get a tree the past couple of years. She has seen the young woman go downhill over that time, and the prior Christmas she was in a wheelchair. Daniel always thought of Kate as “Christmas Tree Girl” and appreciated how kind she was to his sister. When he comes alone this year, she realizes something must have happened.

Daniel and Kate are like two ships passing in the night until an event brings them together. They are both very lonely, and Kate especially isn’t sure she is ready for a relationship. But ultimately this is a romance so you know they will have their happy ending. At times their stories are quite sad, but essentially this is an uplifting and lovely holiday read.

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

25 DAYS ‘TIL CHRISTMAS by Poppy Alexander.  Berkley (October 15, 2019). ISBN 978-1984804006. 320p.

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BLITZED by Alexa Martin

January 8, 2020

1/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BLITZED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (December 3, 2019). ISBN 978-0451491992. 336p.

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