April 28, 2020


Sons of Sinclair, Book 1

From the publisher:

Cain Sinclair has a plan. In order to finally bring peace to his clan, he will wed the young female chief of their greatest enemy. Only problem: capturing her and forcing her back to Sinclair castle doesn’t exactly make her want to say yes. Ella Sutherland may be clever, passionate, and shockingly beautiful, but what she isn’t is willing.

Every attempt Cain makes to woo her seems to backfire on him. A gift? The kitten practically claws his eyes out. A competitive game of chess? Even when he wins, he loses. It seems the only time the two ever see eye to eye is when they’re heating up Cain’s bed. Still, the only thing Ella truly wants is the one thing he cannot offer her: freedom.

But when Cain discovers she’s been harboring a secret―one that could threaten both clans’ very existence―he’ll have to decide between peace for the Sinclairs or the woman who’s captured his heart.

I was first introduced to Scottish historical romance from the incredible Diana Gabaldon, and she sort of spoiled me for any other writers. But it takes her years to write a book, so I’ve read a bunch of other authors. This was my first read from this author, and this book is set way earlier than anything else I’ve read. It opens in 1589! It was a more brutal time period for sure, and though there are some battles depicted and discussed, they are much more in the background. Other than when our hero and heroine meet.

The Sinclair clan killed the Sutherland chief, leaving his only child, his daughter Ella, as chief. So it is not really a surprise that she leads the charge to kill the Sinclair chief, making his eldest son Cain the new chief of the clan. Ella is captured, and Cain, who is smarter and more strategic than his war-loving father, decides that by marrying Ella, he will be able to take over the Sutherland clan without any bloodshed. Except she doesn’t want to marry him; in fact, she asks him to kill her.

Cain’s mind is made up but he realizes he will need to convince Ella so he sets about trying to do that. He has some success, but like any good romance, for every step forward, there is a half step backward. But as they spend more time together, Cain learns to appreciate Ella’s sharp mind, and Ella learns to appreciate Cain’s even temperament and willingness to listen.

There is a lot of action in this story, and it was a real page-turner for me. I enjoyed learning about how people lived in that time period, and I really appreciated the author’s notes at the end, giving it even more context. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

4/2020 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

HIGHLAND CONQUEST by Heather McCollum. Entangled: Amara (April 28, 2020).  ISBN 978-1640637474. 384p.


PROJECT DUCHESS by Sabrina Jeffries

February 6, 2020


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.




February 4, 2020


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.





March 3, 2019

Click to purchase

Highland Brides, Book 7

From the publisher:

A laird’s daughter kidnaps a Highlander—and loses her heart… in New York Times bestselling author Lynsay Sands’ new historical romance

Lady Evina Maclean has heard much about Rory Buchanan’s skill as a healer. What she hasn’t heard is how good the brawny Highlander looks bathing in a waterfall. But Evina can’t afford the distraction, for her ailing father urgently needs care. Only when she’s rendered Buchanan unconscious and dragged him back to her family’s castle does the truth emerge—it’s not Rory she’s kidnapped but his brother Conran.

Other ladies try to ensnare Conran with flattery. Evina hits him over the head with the hilt of her sword to save her kin—and Conran likes the spirited redhead all the more for it. He’s learned enough from his brother to heal Evina’s father, but there are other dangers swirling around the Maclean clan. And while the beautiful, independent lady has sworn not to marry, this wrong Highlander may be just the right man for her.

I started this series with book 5, and I didn’t love it. But I forgot that and read book 6, which I liked a lot so here I am. I really enjoyed this latest entry in the series so now I think I will try at least one of the earlier books.

I love historical romances with strong women characters, and Sands introduces a new one here in Lady Evina. She rides her horse astride, carries a sword and is expert enough in sword fighting that she helps train the men. So when her father is dying, out of desperation she takes off in search of Rory Buchanan, who is reputed to be the most skilled healer in all of Scotland. She arrives at the Buchanan property to find a horse with a saddlebag stuffed with medicinal herbs, but the rider is apparently showering under the waterfall. When one of her men approaches him, he lashes out and Lady Evina rushes in and knocks him out with her sword.

They take the unconscious healer, tie him to the horse, and set off at a rapid pace for home. Lady Evina is praying that her father is still alive when they get there. Eventually the healer comes to, they make it back and he immediately starts seeing to the laird.

The confusion arises because it turns out the man she kidnapped is not Rory, but his brother, the always helpful Conran. He was out helping his brother collect medicinal herbs when he was called away to attend a patient, leading to the mistaken identity. Conran doesn’t bother to correct them, he has helped his brother enough that he knows what to do.

Conran and Evina have instant attraction. When she tells him she is married, he backs off immediately. Then he finds out that she is actually widowed, and he decides a dalliance with the merry widow might be fun. Except turns out Evina was married and widowed as a child, leading to some very uncomfortable sex and a compromising position.

There is also a bit of suspense throughout this story, as there was in the other books I’ve read in this series. This time it appears someone is trying to kill Evina, and that suspense keeps building, helping make the pages fly by. This was another terrific read, and the Highlands setting is a good way to help me through the Droughtlander.

3/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

THE WRONG HIGHLANDER by Lynsay Sands. Avon (February 5, 2019).  ISBN 978-0062890672. 288p.