Author: May McGoldrick

Guest Review: Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent & May McGoldrick

Posted October 12, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Christmas in Kilts by Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Bronwen Evans, Lavinia Kent & May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Christmas in Kilts by Bronwen Evans, Terri Brisbin, Lecia Cornwall, Lavinia Kent, May McGoldrick
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: October 3rd 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A HIGHLANDER'S HOPE by Terri Brisbin A village harlot who would never dream she could have a different life meets a Highlander visitor for the holidays who brings with him an offer and hope!

LEFTOVER MISTLETOE by Lavinia Kent What happens when a highlander finds himself stranded, maybe kidnapped, with an English lady around Christmas... maybe the mistletoe will help answer that question.

A SCOT FOR CHRISTMAS by Bronwen Evans She's ready to embrace her life and future as a spinster, he's trying to have one last hurrah before he gives into his family's wishes and proposes marriage to his neighbor, but fate has other ideas when the lady and the Scot meet at a holiday house party in the wilds of Scotland.

SWEET HOME HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS by May McGoldrick A chance encounter between a ship's captain and a desperate aunt trying to keep custody of her young niece leads to a little magic during the holidays.

A HIGHLAND CHRISTMAS WAGER by Lecia Cornwall When a snowstorm forces a charming lass hiding a broken heart to take shelter in a castle with three fine Highland lairds just days before Christmas, there’s a game afoot—who will be the first to win a kiss and maybe her heart.

A Highlander’s Hope by Terri Brisbin

Iain McKillop is a widower who, by my calculations, is in his mid-40’s.  He’s ready to marry again and his nephew thinks he can use him for some sort of clan alliance.  Iain knows that there’s really only one woman for him, and that’s Robena of the MacKendimen clan.

Robena is the village harlot.  While she doesn’t love what she does she has protection from people in the clan and they care about her.  The only person who ostracizes her is the Laird of the Clan – who’s not a nice man anyway.  Robena is excited when she hears that Iain is coming to visit for Christmas because she loves spending time with him.  He puts a genuine smile on her face and of course she loves that he pays for her exclusive services while he’s there.

Robena can tell right away that there’s something different with Iain but is shocked when he asks for her hand in marriage.  He wants a wife and a mother to his children.  She doesn’t think she’s good enough for him and besides, she can’t have children – how can she be the person that Iain needs in his life?

I have to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of this story when it started but Iain and Robena soon won me over.  Iain was such a giving man and he truly loved Robena – despite her profession.  He dealt with her past men in his own way but certainly wasn’t willing for her to be with anyone else ever again.  It was a sweet story in the end and I liked how Brisbin worked out the details of their future life together.

 

A Highland Christmas Wager by Lecia Cornwall

Meggie MacLeod is traveling home with her grandmother.  She is excited to be going home for Christmas after being gone for three months taking care of her grandmother after she’d broken her leg.  Unfortunately the weather is against them and they can’t make their halfway point before the blizzard begins.  Their travelling group takes refuge at the closest keep and that happens to be the home of the man who’d taken Meggie’s virginity eight years earlier. She’s definitely not happy about being there.

Magnus McVane is the Laird that had seduced and left Meggie all those years ago.  She’d thought herself in love with him after only 3 days but after he finally had sex with her, he left to go get married.  She was devastated.  Magnus isn’t home alone, however.  He has his dead wife’s brother, Charlie McKay – yet another Laird – there with him.  Magnus is hoping to get Charlie to marry his sister, Catriona, who they all think is a shrew.  Also visiting is Laird Hugh MacAuley who is there under unknown circumstances.  When Magnus sees Meggie he’s positive he can seduce her again and then he could probably marry her as she’s an heiress.  Charlie’s got his eye on her as well though, and they end up making a wager, dragging Hugh into their game.  Whoever gets Meggie to willingly kiss them first – a long kiss, not just a peck – gets a few prized possessions from each man, but also the right to talk to her father about her hand in marriage.

Hugh is at the keep as he’s been instructed by the elders of his clan to ask for Catriona’s hand in marriage – something he really doesn’t want to do.  The elders don’t think the man has a brain and though he is laird he truly has no power.  When he sees Meggie he is attracted to her immediately and rethinks his possible proposal to Catriona.  He’s a shy man, however, and bumbles along with Meggie despite her attention to him.

This was a lovely, romantic story.  I loved Hugh and his quiet, calm personality.  He was a breath of fresh air compared to the obnoxious Magnus and the over-excitable Charlie.  Hugh and Meggie were perfect for each other and the ending of the story put a smile on my face.

 

A Scot for Christmas by Bronwen Evans

Dougray is thinking about getting married to beget an heir but he plans on a marriage of convenience so that he won’t get attached to a wife.  His first wife died and he doesn’t want to have to live through that once again. His plan is to marry a neighbor’s daughter, Fiona Mackenzie, so that he can help her father financially. He made a promise to his dying father that he would help the Mackenzie, but the man would not accept his funds – even as a loan.  Marrying Fiona is the only way he can get the funds to him.

Dougray and his cousin, Angus, are having a hunting party around Christmas time.  A party that includes his friends and their paramours, with a couple other women of questionable virtue coming along as well.  When Dougray’s best friend’s younger sister arrives he’s horrified and tries to get her to leave at once.  She refuses, of course, and instead asks him something.  She is in her late 20’s and has come to terms with her spinsterhood.  She asks Dougray to sleep with her.  She’s been in love with him for years and plans on having the memory of their lovemaking to last the rest of her life.  Dougray refuses at first but then finally agrees as he can’t resister her. He doesn’t realize until later that Emma is in love with him.  Despite his growing feelings for Emma he’s determined to marry Fiona Mackenzie. He refuses to have a wife he cares about.

This was a good story, not one of my least favorites.  I guess it was just too predictable in my opinion. I knew that Dougray would sleep with Emma, of course, and he would fall in love with her and live happily ever after.  It was written in an entertaining way, and I liked the characters, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of A Scot for Christmas.

 

Leftover Mistletoe by Lavinia Kent

Emma Spencer is having a bad day – really, a bad life.  Her dear father had passed on and her cousin had taken the Earl’s title.  Unfortunately her cousin wasn’t a kind man and she was being sent to Scotland to live with her uncle who she didn’t even know.  Emma had marriage prospects as she was quite pretty. She believes her cousin is sending her away so she won’t ever marry.  Her financial portion would then stay in his hands forever.

She was travelling when her maid disappeared with her bag.  Her trunks were coming later and with the maid gone she was left with the clothes on her back, her reticule, and very little money.  She buys passage on a coach and the only other passenger is a snoring man who takes up way too much room.  At one point during their travels they stop.  Emma doesn’t know why and soon all is quiet.  When the man finally wakes up and goes to investigate he finds that there’s no coachman and the team of horses have been driven off as well.  He’s familiar with the land so he takes Emma to a cabin where they try to brave the storm that has begun.

Emma finds out he’s James Barran and he’s on his way to Edinburgh so that he can stop his sister from marrying his best friend.  He loves his best friend, but doesn’t want his sister marrying him.  He’s bound and determined to stop the wedding but his friend Robbie kept throwing up roadblocks to stop him.  One being the fact that Robbie paid the coachman to take the horses and now he and Emma are stranded.  They head to the cabin and while they’re there their attraction to each other grows and they start to fall in love.

Kent always writes such charming romances.  This was no different.  Yes, the couple fell in love quickly but it fit with their lives and circumstances of their confinement.  I thought James and Emma were perfect for each other and complimented each other well.   The humor in the story is another thing I liked about this story.  The banter between Emma and James was engaging and I found myself smiling a lot while reading.

 

Sweet Home Highlands by May McGoldrick

Captain Gregory Pennington is on his way home to his family for Christmas but is tasked by his brother with escorting four adults and a child to a neighboring estate near his home.  He’s in a pub and is anxious to be on his way when a small child starts up a conversation. She’s a funny little imp and mature beyond her 5 or 6 years.  It turns out that this is the child that he is to escort along with her aunt, Freya, and couple of servants.  The fourth person was to be Freya’s almost-fiancé but he doesn’t ever show up.

Freya is a young woman who has raised her niece almost from birth.  She was only 17 when her sister died a week after giving birth and she loves little Ella like her own.  Ella’s father was killed in the war and his family never wanted anything to do with Ella until recently.  Now Ella’s grandmother is demanding their appearance at her home so that she can make sure that Ella is financially well taken care of.  She also intimated that Freya wasn’t a proper guardian because she wasn’t married.  Because of this Freya had an understanding with the cousin that would inherit Freya’s father’s title and lands when he eventually passed.  Freya wasn’t looking forward to the marriage but was resigned to her fate in order to keep Ella with her.

Gregory is smitten with Freya the minute he sees her.  The minutes they spend together on the journey just make him like her more and more.  Freya starts to fall for Gregory as well but she knows that she must marry her cousin in order to appease Ella’s grandmother.

As I read more of McGoldrick’s books the more I become a fan.  This story was simply romantic on all levels.  It was the kind of story that will make you sigh with wonder at how sweet it is – but not sugary at all.  Just downright a lovely story.  This is kind of a prequel to a new series that McGoldrick is putting out and I personally can’t wait for it to release.

Gregory and Freya were wonderful in the story and little Ella – that child with a personality beyond her years – was enchanting.  I liked everything about this story and highly recommend it.

 

In the end I thought this was a very good historical anthology.  A lovely compliment of authors that brought a little Christmas cheer and romance to my life.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrick

Posted December 12, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Tempest in the Highlands by May McGoldrick
Series: The Scottish Relic Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Much Ado About Highlanders, Taming the Highlander
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Miranda MacDonnell is on the run. When she inherited a mysterious relic from her mother, she had no idea the dangers it would bring. Now hunted by a relentless foe who will stop at nothing to find her, she has one choice: stow away on the ship of the notorious privateer, Black Hawk.

Rob Hawkins, the half-English privateer known as Black Hawk, has a mission from the Tudor king to find and kill the rogue commander, Sir Ralph Evers. To complete his quest, Hawk must find Miranda, a young woman Evers is pursuing. Caught in a tempest, he is shipwrecked with a "boy" who demonstrates an uncanny ability for saving him. Cast away on the mysterious Isle of the Dead, Hawk realizes that the "boy" traveling with him is actually Miranda MacDonnell and having her means that Evers will come to him. What begins as a ploy —using her as bait—soon changes, however, as he falls in love with her.

Ancient forces are at work, drawing the four possessors of the relic’s power to the Isle of the Dead in the Outer Hebrides for a final battle where good must overcome the forces of evil in this spectacular finale to the Scottish Relic Trilogy.

Miranda MacDonnell is on the run. When she inherited a mysterious relic from her mother, she had no idea the dangers it would bring. Now hunted by a relentless foe who will stop at nothing to find her, she has one choice: stow away on the ship of the notorious privateer, Black Hawk.

Rob Hawkins, the half-English privateer known as Black Hawk, has a mission from the Tudor king to find and kill the rogue commander, Sir Ralph Evers. To complete his quest, Hawk must find Miranda, a young woman Evers is pursuing. Caught in a tempest, he is shipwrecked with a “boy” who demonstrates an uncanny ability for saving him. Cast away on the mysterious Isle of the Dead, Hawk realizes that the “boy” traveling with him is actually Miranda MacDonnell and having her means that Evers will come to him. What begins as a ploy —using her as bait—soon changes, however, as he falls in love with her.

Ancient forces are at work, drawing the four possessors of the relic’s power to the Isle of the Dead in the Outer Hebrides for a final battle where good must overcome the forces of evil in this spectacular finale to the Scottish Relic Trilogy.

Miranda has the gift of sight.  She inherited this from her mother via an ancient relic that gives her this power.  She’s on the run from a man who wants her dead so that he can have the power of the stone.  She knows from a vision that her mother had before she died that Rob Hawkins – knowns a Black Hawk, is entwined with her future.  She stows away on his ship but when a storm sends him overboard Miranda jumps in to save his life.

The pair end up on an island and for a time Rob still believes that Miranda is a boy named Gavin.  When he figures out she’s a woman he’s stunned but it doesn’t change the fact that he admires her greatly for her strength and perseverance.  They are plagued on the island by one disaster after another which causes the two to become closer and eventually fall in love.  Unfortunately the man who wants the power of all four stones has found them on the island and will stop at nothing to get the stone from Miranda as well as two other women who hold stones of their own.

This was a much more exciting story than I expected.  I knew it was the culmination of everything that had gone on in the two previous stories but it was more fraught with danger than I anticipated.  Miranda, thankfully, saved Rob’s life a time or two and he saved hers as well – without the help of sight.  I loved that their shared circumstances brought them together.  They were perfect for each other and I loved seeing their feelings for each other grow by the day.

The parts of the story that involved the power of the stone and Sir Ralph Evers who wanted it all for himself was blended so well into the story.  I didn’t feel like there was any disconnect between the romance and the stones.  It was very fantastical and magical but done very well.  A great end to a wonderful trilogy.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick

Posted September 12, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Taming the Highlander by May McGoldrick
Series: The Scottish Relic Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Much Ado About Highlanders, Tempest in the Highlands
Published by Swerve, St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Innes Munro has the ability to "read" a person’s past simply by touching them, but her gift comes with a heavy price: her freedom. Forced to stay at desolate Castle Girnigoe, Innes never expects to be drawn to the wounded warrior who haunts its dark passages and challenges her at every turn.

Conall Sinclair, the earl of Caithness, carries the scars of battles with the English and the lash marks of their dungeons, but the wounds that fester within give him even greater pain. Isolating himself from his clan and the rest of the world in a tower perched on the wild Scottish coast, Conall is reluctant to let the spirited Innes close to him, however neither can deny the growing passion that ignites with every look, every touch.

But can Conall ever love a woman who can read his darkest secrets and feel the pain he hides... and can love really tame all fears? As dangerous forces close in, Conall and Innes must take the ultimate leap of faith and forge a bond of trust that will save them both...or lose each other forever.

Innes Munro is at Castle Girnigoe for her sister Ailein’s wedding to Bryce Sinclair.  When she arrives she meets Bryce’s brother, Conall who is a bit of a recluse at the castle, and is almost immediately smitten with the gruff man.  Innes has possession of one piece of an ancient relic that gives her the gift of seeing people’s pasts when she touches them with her hands.  When she runs into Conall she accidentally touches him and sees the pain and anguish he’s suffered.  She wants nothing more than to ease his pain but Conall’s a bit standoffish.

Bryce lost a hand in a battle with the English and then was captured and tortured before he was ransomed to his brother.  He doesn’t want to be taken with Innes but he can’t seem to make himself stay away from her.  He leaves the castle after his brother’s wedding so he won’t be tempted by her but when he returns he finds Innes still in residence by request of her sister.

Though Innes and Conall try to stay away from each other they find themselves falling in love.  Of course, when Innes tells Conall of her “gift” he may not want her any longer.

Another great book in the Scottish Relic trilogy.  I really enjoyed Innes and Conall’s story and their rocky road to love.  Conall was a man who carried pounds of guilt on his shoulders.  He had taken men into battle and lost hundreds and hundreds of them to death as they were outnumbered.  He felt responsible for all of the men that were lost and tried to live with the guilt every day.  When he met Innes he felt happy but didn’t want to.  He felt he needed to stay separated so that he could live with his guilt.  I loved the way that Innes made him finally see that the deaths of those men weren’t his fault. When he finally let her into his heart it was a beautiful thing. Of course I have to mention Conall’s dog/wolf Thunder.  He was just a puppy but was the size of a full grown wolf, and I loved him.  He was such a great part of the book and I was happy McGoldrick added him to the story.

Innes had always kept herself separated from the world.  Her sister and father knew of her “gift” as it had been passed down from her mother.  She didn’t plan on ever marrying and at age 27 few would have her.  When she met Conall he was more than demanding of what she should and shouldn’t do with her time. Though Innes wanted to dislike him I loved how she saw him as more than just his outer shell and gave him time to show her his true self.  Their story was a slow burn that led up to a wonderful romance.

Of course we have a villain in the story as there’s a man who is trying to collect all 4 relics so that he can have ultimate power.  He’s after Innes as he needs to take her relic and kill her in order to have the power the relic possesses.  It was a small part of the story but still good.  The first book in the series concentrated on the villain quite a bit so I was happy that this was mostly romance and that the villain got less page time.  I’m still not sure why the author chooses to put some of the parts, which are in current time, in italics.  It’s a bit frustrating as it throws me out of the book whenever it occurs – but maybe that’s just me, IDK.

Anyway, overall it was a good story and a great romance.  I’m looking forward to the final book in this trilogy to see what happens.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrick

Posted May 13, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrickReviewer: Tracy
Much Ado About Highlanders by May McGoldrick
Series: The Scottish Relic Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Taming the Highlander, Tempest in the Highlands
Published by St. Martin's Press, Swerve
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

In the heart of Scotland, this Highlander is about to meet his match in a brand new romance from bestseller May McGoldrick.

Highland warrior Alexander Macpherson has lost his wife. When he agreed to take Kenna Mackay as his bride to advance his clan’s power in the north, he expected a bit of an adjustment. He didn't expect the sharp-tongued beauty to run away on their wedding night. Still, Alexander wants his runaway bride…and he has the sneaking suspicion that she wants him, too.

Kenna Mackay thought she was safe in a priory full of nuns learning the craft of healing, but when she is kidnapped by her own husband, the battle of wits begins anew. But even as passions ignite, a deadly secret from Kenna's past rises to the surface and put their new love in jeopardy. As a heartless villain closes in, two headstrong lovers find themselves locked in a struggle between evil and the power of undying love. And this time, Alexander is determined he will not lose his wife again.

Six months ago Kenna Mackay and Alexander Macpherson were married.  That night Kenna ran off to a priory and has been there ever since.  Their fathers and Alexander’s brother work up a plot to get the two together permanently.  They figure once they’re together they can work out their issues and all will be well.  Little did the plotters know that there was an Englishman razing villages and murdering people to try and find four magical runes – one of which belongs to Kenna.

The runes each have their own power.  One allows the person to talk to the dead, one the power or healing, one allows the person to see someone’s past and the other allows someone to see the future.  The Englishman will stop at nothing to get the runes so Alexander must keep his hot-headed wife safe – especially when he figures out that he loves her and can’t live without her.

This story was pretty fun and funny.  I really liked both Alexander and Kenna.  They were both really strong-willed and they weren’t afraid to tell anyone exactly what they were thinking.  They’ve each got vicious tongues and they’re not afraid to use them.

Kenna was raised by her father after her mother died and even though she had been his little girl up to that point he then became a man who treated her poorly and demeaned her at every turn.  After being put down so many times she knew that she wasn’t what Alexander (the next Macpherson laird) needed in a wife so that’s why she ran off after her wedding.  Once she got to know Alexander better she realized that she was good for him and soon fell in love.

Alexander was a good man.  He only wanted his wife back and couldn’t figure out why she ran off in the first place.  He knows that he should have gone after her immediately after she ran but he figured she needed time.  Once they were thrown together and were on the run from the Englishman he knew that he couldn’t ever let her go.  He took good care of her but let her be her own woman as well and I liked that about him.

There was also a secondary romance with Kenna’s cousin, Emily and Alexander’s brother, James.  They fell in love quickly but there were obstacles in their way – one being that Emily was already betrothed.  They had their issues but this too was a cute romance.

The story jumps around a bit going from Kenna and Alexander’s story to Emily and James’s story to the Englishman and his lackey’s story.  I found it annoying that the parts of the book that were about the Englishman were italicized.  Why?  If they were flashback events I could understand but they weren’t so I didn’t get the point of that at all.

In the end the story was a good one but we were left hanging a bit as to what happened with the Englishman.  I’m gonna assume that we’ll find out more about the other two women who have the stones in future books but I can’t be sure about that.  It would be cool to see how things pan out, if that’s the case.  If you like a relatively light-hearted Scottish romance, then this one would be a good one to read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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