Author: Maya Banks

Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted September 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Rowena
In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1) by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 351
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Maya Banks' beguiling new trilogy features three unforgettable brothers risking everything to save their clan and their legacy—and to surrender their hearts to love.

Ewan McCabe, the eldest, is a warrior determined to vanquish his enemy. Now, with the time ripe for battle, his men are ready and Ewan is poised to take back what is his—until a blue-eyed, raven-haired temptress is thrust upon him. Mairin may be the salvation of Ewan's clan, but for a man who dreams only of revenge, matters of the heart are strange territory to conquer.

The illegitimate daughter of the king, Mairin possesses prized property that has made her a pawn—and wary of love. Her worst fears are realized when she is rescued from peril only to be forced into marriage by her charismatic and commanding savior, Ewan McCabe. But her attraction to her ruggedly powerful new husband makes her crave his surprisingly tender touch; her body comes alive under his sensual mastery. And as war draws near, Mairin's strength, spirit, and passion challenge Ewan to conquer his demons—and embrace a love that means more than revenge and land.

In Bed with a Highlander is the first book in the McCabe’s Trilogy and it’s also one of Holly’s picks for my Summer Reading Challenge. I’m happy to report that Maya Banks has hooked me with this first book and I cannot wait to read Alaric and Caelen’s books.

Mairin Stuart is a wanted woman but not by the law or anything like that. No. She’s wanted by land and money hungry men who want to claim her and all of the riches she brings to a marriage. When she’s found at the abbey where she was hiding at and then captured, she comes across a young boy who needs her help and protection so she uses her wiles to protect that little boy. After a severe beating, Mairin and her young charge flee for their lives. The young boy, Crispin vows that his father will protect her and all they need to do is get home.

When they’re rescued by Crispin’s uncle and taken home, Mairin realizes that she may not have to marry Laird Cameron but she does have to marry Crispin’s father, Ewan McCabe, in order for him to properly protect her. She has no wish to marry someone she doesn’t know and a little part of her has always wanted someone to want to marry her for her and not what she can bring to their marriage. While living with the McCabe tribe, Mairin tries to make the best of her situation and make a place for herself within the McCabe clan and just when she thinks maybe she’s found her place in the world, she’s summoned before the King to validate her marriage to Ewan.

Ewan has the weight of the clan’s problems on his shoulders and even though he’s made progress on building his clan back up, he’s still struggling to make ends meet, make sure everyone is fed and clothed and the responsibility never ends for him. When his young son goes missing and returns with a woman who protected him from those that meant to harm him, on one hand, he’s grateful but on the other hand, he’s wary because he has no idea who this woman is and what she’s doing with him. She becomes the answers to all of his dreams and nobody is more surprised than he is that he develops feelings for her and he would go to the ends of the earth to keep her safe.

Maya Banks is new to me but she’s won me over because I have already downloaded the rest of this series to my kindle and as soon as I can, I’ll be getting to know Alaric and Caelen a lot better. I can’t wait. Ewan and Mairin were a great couple that reminded me of my favorite couples from old school Julie Garwood books and that’s a plus for me. Who doesn’t love old school Julie Garwood? This was a fun book from beginning to end and the romance was lovely. So good. I definitely recommend.

Grade: 4 out of 5

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks

Posted June 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Seduction of a Highland Lass by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #2
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars


Maya Banks, the New York Times bestselling author of romance and romantic suspense has captivated readers with her steamy Scottish historical novels, perfect for fans of Julie Garwood. In Seduction of a Highland Lass, an indomitable Highland warrior is caught between loyalty and forbidden love.
 Fiercely loyal to his elder brother, Alaric McCabe leads his clan in the fight for their birthright. Now he is prepared to wed for duty, as well. But on his way to claim the hand of Rionna McDonald, daughter of a neighboring chieftain, he is ambushed and left for dead. Miraculously, his life is saved by the soft touch of a Highland angel, a courageous beauty who will put to the test his fealty to his clan, his honor, and his deepest desires.

An outcast from her own clan, Keeley McDonald was betrayed by those she loved and trusted. When the wounded warrior falls from his horse, she is drawn to his strong, lean body. The wicked glint in his green eyes ignites a passion that will follow them back to Alaric’s keep, where their forbidden love draws them deeper into the pleasures of the flesh. But as conspiracy and danger circle closer, Alaric must make an impossible choice: Will he betray his blood ties for the woman he loves?

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on November 29, 2011.

Where the first book in the series had more external conflict, this one has a lot more internal conflict.

Alaric MacCabeis on his way to a neighboring clan to formally offer marriage to the Laird’s daughter, Rionna MacDonald, to secure an alliance, when he’s attacked. All of his men are killed and he’s gravely wounded. He manages to make it to Keeley MacDonald’s cabin on the outskirts of the clan. She’s a skilled healer and is able to save his life. When his bothers, Ewan and Caelen, show up, they decide to keep Keeley since they need a healer in their clan. Not only is Keeley charged with caring for Alaric, but Ewan wants her to attend the birth of his first child.

Keeley was cast out of her clan as a young girl after the Laird made unwanted advances and his wife cried her a whore. She’s been living alone ever since. The idea of being accepted as a healer in a new clan is appealing, but she’s not happy to have been snatched from her home with no choice. The deciding factor in her not fighting her situation is Alaric. They formed a deep bond while Keeley was caring for him.

The problem is Alaric promised to marry Rionna MacDonald. The MacDonald land lies between the McCabe keep and the new land Ewan McCabe (the laird) inherited when he married his new wife. Without the alliance the clan will be divided, not to mention the other alliances they’re working on might be jeopardized. Alaric knows his duty. As much as he wants Keeley, he knows he can’t have her. Not permanently.

Although Duncan Cameron, the villain from the first book, is still a threat in this novel, but the focus is on the internal conflict of Alaric and Keeley being in love but unable to marry. The story could have become bogged down with angst, but Banks managed a good balance between sexy-times, humor and conflict.

Keeley was a practical woman. Her clan threw her out, but she isn’t so hung up on it she’s willing to cut off her nose to spite her face. When Ewan offers her a place with the McCabe clan, she takes it. Her practicality and levelheadedness worked well with the conflict, too. Yes, she wanted Alaric, but she understood what was at stake and what would happen if they risked everything. Alaric also knew his duty, but my heart broke for him. He knew right away that he wanted Keeley and no other, but he also knew he didn’t have a choice.

I think too often in historical novels the main characters throw convention and duty out the window to the detriment of the story. Yes, it happened, but it was rare. I think for a couple to focus more on duty than on love brought a touch of realism.

The story isn’t perfect. There were times when it was bogged down with useless info. The dialogue ran toward cheesy now and again. I also found myself struggling to connect to Keeley in the beginning. Thankfully that didn’t last long. 

Overall this was a satisfying read. I enjoyed the characters and the conflict. Banks has penned a strong second novel for this series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Review: Taking it All by Maya Banks

Posted August 13, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Taking it All by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Taking It All by Maya Banks
Series: Surrender Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Letting Go
Publisher: Berkley, Penguin
Publication Date: August 5th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Fiction
Pages: 320
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Goodreads
four-stars

MAYA BANKS...I'M READY FOR THE NEXT RIDE NOW SAID USA TODAY. AND NOW, MAYA BANKS IS READY TO DELIVER. FROM THE MUST-READ AUTHOR (ROMANCE JUNKIES) OF LETTING GO AND GIVING IN--THE NEW NOVEL IN HER SURRENDER TRILOGY.
In her sensational Breathless Trilogy, New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks tested the boundaries of desire. In her new trilogy, there's only one thing left to do: cross them. And for a married couple taking steps to renew their marriage, the consequences of one single moment of inattention may come at a price the husband never expects...
Chessy and Tate have been married for several years. In the beginning, their relationship was everything she wanted. Passionate. All-consuming. She offered her submission freely and Tate cherished her gift with a tenderness that made her feel safe. Content. Wanted. Loved beyond all measure.
But as the years have gone by, Tate has become more immersed in making his business a success, and Chessy has taken a back seat to his business obligations. Growing unhappy with the status of their once blissful marriage, Chessy knows that something has to give, or they stand to lose it all.
Tate loves his wife. Has always loved her. Providing for her has always been his number-one priority. But lately she's seemed unhappy, and he's worried. Worried enough that he arranges for a night together that he hopes will reignite the fire that once burned like an inferno between them. But a business call at the wrong time threatens everything.
Chessy's safety, his concentration, his wife's faith in him as her husband--a man sworn to love and protect her above all else. Gutted with the realization that he's going to lose her--has already lost her--he readies for the fight of his life. Whatever it takes, he'll get her back, show her that nothing is more important than her love. And that if she'll allow him to prove himself one more time, he'll take it all. Everything. But he'll give back far more: Himself. His undying love.

This is a novel full of angst. Tate has been falling down in his job as husband to Chessy since his business partner bailed and he had to take over everything himself. For two long years she’s been neglected while he focused on work. While being neglected is never fun, for Chessy, who doesn’t work and looked to Tate to give her the comfort and security she didn’t get in childhood, it’s horrible. He promised she’d never feel alone or lonely, yet for two years that’s all she’s felt. When he bails on her for their anniversary and she catches him wooing a client instead, it’s too much. She refuses to live her life where she isn’t a priority and demands Tate realize that.

Tate is appalled when he realizes how far apart he and Chessy have grown. He was so focused on building his business he didn’t realize he wasn’t giving her what he should have been – his time and energy. Once she opens his eyes, he vows to do all he can to make her his number one priority. Again. Until he really drops the ball and it’s the last straw for Chessy.

I enjoyed the dark angst of the book. Chessy was frustrating in the beginning. For two years she sucked up her feelings and put on a good face. While it could have been noble, she came off as a martyr. Once she decided to put her foot down she really came into her own. While she seemed weak in the beginning, she proved she was only willing to be pushed so far.

Tate really screwed up. It was hard seeing him fail so spectacularly. When he made his second, huge mistake my heart nearly stopped. I didn’t think he could come back from that. To be honest, I’m not entirely sure how he did come back, but he did. In the end I believed in their relationship and felt Chessy’s forgiveness was true.

There were drawbacks. Tate’s pet name for Chessy is “my girl”. It was really over-used to the point of becoming annoying. I started to cringe each time it came up on page. My other frustration were the chapters from Kylie and Joss, the heroines from the previous two books. To be fair to Banks, this is a personal pet peeve. I really dislike when the previous characters get chapters in later books. They already had their books, I don’t need more from their points-of-view.

I also found the D/s aspects of the book to be kind of rushed. Especially in the end. I needed to see more in depth conversation to believe what Tate did to Chessy was truly forgotten on her part. I believe she forgave him, but I don’t see how she could have just gotten over it.

This was a compelling read. I couldn’t put it down. Definitely my favorite of the three.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Review (+ a Giveaway): Letting Go by Maya Banks

Posted January 29, 2014 by Holly in Giveaways, Reviews | 12 Comments

Review (+ a Giveaway): Letting Go by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Letting Go by Maya Banks
Series: Surrender Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Taking It All
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 4th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

THE FIRST BOOK OF THE SURRENDER TRILOGY
In her sensational Breathless Trilogy, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks tested the boundaries of desire. In her new trilogy, there’s only one thing left to do: cross them. And never have the consequences of erotic exploration been so irresistibly inviting, so shockingly intimate, and so totally unexpected…
LETTING GO
Josslyn found perfection once, and she knows she’ll never find it again. Now widowed, she seeks the one thing her beloved husband couldn’t give her: dominance. Lonely, searching for an outlet for her grief and wanting only a brief taste of the perfection she once enjoyed, she seeks what she’s looking for at an exclusive club that caters to people indulging in their most hedonistic fantasies. She never imagined that what she’d find would be the one man who’s long been a source of comfort—and secret longing. Her husband’s best friend.
Dash has lived in an untenable position for years: in love with his best friend’s wife but unwilling to act on that attraction. He’d never betray his best friend. And so he’s waited in the wings, offering Joss unconditional support and comfort as she works past her grief, hoping for the day when he can offer her more.
When he finds her in a club devoted to the darker edges of desire, he’s furious because he thinks she has no idea what she’s getting herself into. Until she explains in detail what it is she wants. What she needs. As realization sets in, he is gripped by fierce, unwavering determination. If she wants dominance, he is the only man who will introduce her to that world. He is the only man who will touch her, cherish her…love her. And the only man she’ll ever submit to.

I am not a big fan of BDSM. Though there are exceptions, I generally shy away from novels that center around that lifestyle. I have no problem if others want to indulge (in either the stories or the lifestyle), it just isn’t my cuppa. I said I wanted to read outside my comfort zone this year, however, so I decided to give this one a try.

Joss has spent the past 3 years mourning her late husband, who tragically died in a car accident. The veil of grief is finally lifting and she decides it’s time to get on with her life. She can’t mourn forever. She also can’t continue to deny parts of herself, like her need to be dominated. She decides to visit an exclusive, upscale BDSM club called The House to finally begin exploring the darker side of her sexuality. The last thing she could have anticipated happening was seeing her dead husband’s best friend, Dash, at the club. Or that he would hustle her out of the club like it was on fire. Mortified and confused, she allows him to take her home, expecting a lecture. Only Dash doesn’t want to lecture her (well, okay, he kind of does), he wants to dominate her.

Dash has been in love with Joss since the day he met her. It was hell being in love with his  best friend’s wife, but he kept his feelings hidden because he had too much respect for his best friend to make things awkward. In the years since his friend died, he’s been biding his time, supporting Joss while she grieved, waiting for her to be ready for him. Now that she seems ready to break out of her shell, he wants to be the one to pick her up.  He figures he’ll have to deny the dominate side of himself to be with her, but he knows Joss is worth any sacrifice…until he spies her at The House. He’s shocked to learn she’s always craved a dominant man and he wants to be the one to lead her into the lifestyle.  With the ghost of her husband between them, and the disapproval of their friends, can they weather the storm enough to find their way to a happily-ever-after?

This started out really strong. Joss accepting that she needed to move on with her life rang true to me. Three years is a long time to grieve for someone. That she would decide on the anniversary of his death to explore the parts of herself she’s been denying held a bittersweet irony. Her journey back to herself was one of the better parts of the book for me.

I felt Dash’s pain when it came to Joss. To be in love with your best friend’s wife? Ouch. Especially when said best friend dies and the woman you love mourns him for 3 long years. His struggle to overcome his insecurities about his place in Joss’s life since her husband is gone was realistic. I can see how the ghost of his best friend was between them.

What I found problematic were the BDSM aspects of the story. Dash didn’t read as a Dom to me. He may have dabbled in the lifestyle, but he didn’t come across as particularly dominating. She asked several times for him to take over her completely, in all aspects of her life (inside the bedroom and out). Yet he never did. There were times the sexual play got a bit kinky, but I didn’t consider what they did BDSM (though I will say, again, I am not an aficionado. You can take my opinion or leave it).

My other complaint is how disconnected the characters felt. I would have preferred to see more of Joss’s actual grieving and the part Dash played in helping her overcome it. They seemed very uneasy around each other in the beginning, almost as if they didn’t know each other well. Some scenes with them read like strangers finding their way. That didn’t ring true considering their history.

Though I had some problems with this, I am anxious to read the next story. It features Joss’s best friend and sister-in-law, Kylie and Dash’s business partner. The snippet in the back left me wanting more.

3 out of 5

Giveaway We have a print copy of Letting Go available to one lucky winner (US Only). Enter using the rafflecopter widget below. Giveaway

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This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

three-stars


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Guest Review: Rush by Maya Banks

Posted February 22, 2013 by Ames in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Rush by Maya BanksReviewer: Ames
Rush (Breathless, #1) by Maya Banks
Series: Breathless #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 5th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 396
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-stars

Gabe, Jace, and Ash: three of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the country. They’re accustomed to getting anything they want. Anything at all. For Gabe, it’s making one particular fantasy come true with a woman who was forbidden fruit. Now she’s ripe for the picking...

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

When Gabe Hamilton saw Mia Crestwell walk into the ballroom for his hotel’s grand opening, he knew he was going to hell for what he had planned. After all, Mia is his best friend’s little sister. Except she’s not so little anymore. And Gabe has waited a long time to act on his desires.

Gabe has starred in Mia’s fantasies more than once, ever since she was a teenager with a huge crush on her brother’s best friend. So what if Gabe’s fourteen years older? Mia knows he’s way out of her league, but her attraction has only grown stronger with time. She’s an adult now, and there’s no reason not to act on her most secret desires.

As Gabe pulls her into his provocative world, she realizes there’s a lot she doesn’t know about him or how exacting his demands can be. Their relationship is intense and obsessive, but as they cross the line from secret sexual odyssey to something deeper, their affair runs the risk of being exposed—and vulnerable to a betrayal far more intimate than either expected.

Despite enjoying Mia and Gabe’s characters, I had a few problems with Rush.

Mia is Jace’s little sister and that has made her off limits to Gabe for years.  There was no way he was going after his best friend’s sister.  But one day out of the blue, Gabe saw Mia on the sidewalk and something about her that day made him realize that he couldn’t deny himself any longer.  He had to make her his.

Gabe hasn’t realize that Mia has wanted him ever since her teenage years.  But Mia never in a million years that that a guy like Gabe (older, sophisticated, rich) would want a girl like her.  Mia is a beautiful, kind woman with a big heart and she definitely underestimates herself.

When Mia appears at his hotel’s grand opening alone, Gabe realizes this is his chance to claim Mia, but becoming his lover isn’t going to be that easy for Mia.  Gabe has been burnt in the past by another woman and he has all his lovers sign a contract – basically signing over control to Gabe.  He’s very dominant.  He’s unapologetic about it but he doesn’t want the media getting any wind of his sexual proclivities.  Mia needs to be sure she’s ready for what he’s going to dish out before she signs the contract.  She may be young, but she knows what she wants.

There were some aspects of Rush I enjoyed.  Like I said I liked Mia and Gabe’s characters.  I liked that she was his best friend’s little sister and I liked the age difference between them.  And the sex was hot.  But it did get repetitive after a while.  There were also some clichés on that got on my nerves.  Gabe referred to Mia as kitten a few times and liked it when she got angry, because she was like a kitten when that happened (little claws that do no damage kind of thing).  For some odd reason, I find that metaphor very annoying.  There was also an incident that I understand was meant to create conflict for Mia and Gabe but I absolutely hated it.  Gabe, reacting in a non-logical way to Mia making him vulnerable, puts her in a dangerous situation that Mia does not come out of unscathed.  Hated that.  It left a bad taste in my mouth.  And there was the corny as hell ending.  As much as I liked Mia and Gabe, all these factors added up to me not liking Rush that much.  But there was enough there that has me interested in the second book in this trilogy.

Rush gets a 3 out of 5 from me.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

You can read more from ~ames~ at Bookish Ames.

three-stars


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