Genre: Scottish

Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Corwall

Posted April 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia CorwallReviewer: Tracy
The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #3
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, When a Laird Finds a Lass
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Romance, Historical, Magic, Scottish, Fairy Tales & Folklore
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four-stars

Laire MacLeod’s father has married a mysterious widow who is a vain beauty that deals with potions and spells. Laire does not drink them with the rest of her family and is the only one who could see through her stepmother’s games. When Laire flees to find help from her Uncle the Lady’s huntsman follows her with orders to kill. Laire must survive in a dangerous new city and find the antidote to a poisonous potion before it is too late.

Iain Lindsay is cursed. He is bound for seven years to be the hunter of a Lady who uses him to bring back birds to use in her potions. When Laire MacLeod escapes the Lady’s nets, Iain tracks her to Edinburgh, where she’s found shelter with an unusual band of thieves, but he cannot bring himself to harm her. Instead, he finds himself falling in love with the MacLeod beauty.

But a Highlander’s oath is his bond, and the price for helping her is death, both his own, and of those he loves.

Laire MacLeod is frightened for her family.  She is one of 11 daughters – her father has been married 8 times.  Laire has loved all of the different women in her father’s life until he married Bibiana.  Laire knows that there is something strange going on with her.  Her sisters aren’t acting normal.  Her father is so entranced by Bibiana that he can literally not take his eyes off of her.  Laire decides that she needs to get away and seek help for her family before Bibiana does something horrible to them but Bibiana sends her huntsman after Laire.

Ian Lindsay, once a Laird in his own right, is bound to work for Bibiana for seven years.  That time is almost up and he wants desperately to get away from the witch, for that’s what she is, a witch.  When he is sent out to find Laire and bring back her heart he doesn’t want to do it.  He was attracted to Laire and doesn’t want to hurt her but he also knows there is no naysaying Bibiana.

Ian follows Laire to Edinburgh and plans to kill her but when he gets there he starts to see the potential of a real life and not one that involves Bibiana.  Laire is determined to find something that will stop Bibiana from hurting her family and she won’t let anyone stop her, no matter what it takes.

The Lady and the Highlander was a great book.  It was magic and fantasy blended so nicely with a Scottish highland romance.  The story was a take off of Snow White but I thought the way that Cornwall wrote the story was very original.  The “dwarves” weren’t dwarves at all and were actually child thieves.  I’m not sure what it was about the story that drew me in so quickly but I thought it was a charming story.  Yes, it was nutty as we didn’t really understand what Bibiana was doing to the people until later but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the book.

Cornwall definitely has a gift for rewriting fairy tales.  I’ve enjoyed her interpretations of Beauty and the Beast as well as The Little Mermaid as well as this book.  I hope she continues writing the Highland Fairy Tale series because she’s writes them really well.

Rating: 4 out of 5  

four-stars

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Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

Posted April 4, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: My One True Highlander by Suzanne EnochReviewer: Tracy
My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch
Series: No Ordinary Hero #2
Also in this series: Hero in the Highlands
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Genres: Historical, Scottish
Pages: 320
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four-stars

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. He cannot send the lady back without his kin getting in trouble. And when a damsel this beautiful is dropped into your lap, it’s hard to let her go...

Marjorie should be terrified she’s been captured by highland scoundrels, but it’s hard to live in terror when your captor is a devilishly handsome and sinfully tempting as Graeme is. She cannot stay by his side forever—no matter how her heart may pound at the thought—but Graeme seems to have other plans. This wicked highlander is out to seduce her and doesn’t plan to stop until she’s in his arms...forever...

Graeme, Viscount Maxton, is an impoverished Chieftan in the Maxwell clan.  He doesn’t see eye to eye with the Maxwell Laird but he stays out of his way and it works.  That is until the Laird comes to visit and basically tells Graeme that if he kills the Duke of Lattimer the Maxwell Laird would give him money and forgive the tithes that he’s late on.  Graeme is disgusted with the Laird but just shrugs it off.  He wants nothing to do with Dunncraigh and his issues with Lattimer.

Marjorie is headed to the highlands for her brother’s wedding.  He doesn’t know she’s coming but she decided to attend because A) She loves her brother and wants to meet his betrothed and B) London is frustrating the hell out of her.  She thought that now that she was a Duke’s sister (and not a ladies companion) and had money that she’d have it all but no one in London even acknowledges her being much less accepts her.  In fact people were nicer to her when she was a companion!  Once in the Highlands she stops with her companion and ends up getting kidnapped.

Graeme’s brothers, Brendan – 16, Dùghlas – 14 and Connell – 8, kidnapped Marjorie when they overheard her companion talking about how she’s the Duke of Lattimer’s sister.  Brendan gets the idea that they can ship her off as a bargaining tool to Dunncraigh and all will then be right with their world. Graeme, however, doesn’t see it that way, but he’s not sure what to do with the lass now that she’s there.  He eventually decides he needs to marry her but Marjorie aka Ree fights that.  Once she gets herself free she decides not to escape.  She doesn’t want anything bad to happen to the boys and she actually has kind of started to like Graeme.  Once she falls in love with him, however, she has to decide if she loves him more than she loves the dream she’s always had of being the belle of the ball in London.

This was a cute book.  Yes, it’s a story with a bit of Stockholm syndrome going on but I thought the way that Enoch wrote it all made it seem ok.  Also, let’s face it, this is a romance and fiction so…it is what it is. 😊

I loved the characters in this book.  Graeme was an honorable guy and despite the crazy thing his brothers did he was trying to make the best of it.  His parents had died and he had taken over the title, the lands, the cotters and the raising of his brothers when he was 20 years old and Connell was just 2 days old.  He’s had a lot of responsibility and has always done the right thing.  He was confused about his feelings for Marjorie at first but he soon embraced them and I loved that he did.  His brothers were cute – especially Connell.  He about made the whole book for me because he was so precocious. He also had a very large heart when it came to animals who needed a home. Loved. Him. Brendan was a typical surly teen and Dùghlas was just following along with his older brother.  They both ended up having a good side to them and I loved how they stood up for Marjorie in the end.

Overall it was a sweet romance and one I really enjoyed reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki

Posted March 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: The Highland Duke by Amy JareckiReviewer: Tracy
The Highland Duke by Amy Jarecki
Series: Lords of the Highlands #1
Published by Forever
Publication Date: March 28th 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars

She'll put her life on the line for him . . .

When Akira Ayres finds the brawny Scot with a musket ball in his thigh, the healer has no qualms about doing whatever it takes to save his life. Even if it means fleeing with him across the Highlands to tend to his wounds while English redcoats are closing in. Though Akira is as fierce and brave as any of her clansmen, even she's intimidated by the fearsome, brutally handsome Highlander who refuses to reveal his name.

Yet she can never learn his true identity.

Geordie knows if Akira ever discovers he's the Duke of Gordon, both her life and his will be forfeit in a heartbeat. The only way to keep the lass safe is to ensure she's by his side day and night. But the longer he's with her, the harder it becomes to think of letting her go. Despite all their differences, despite the danger-he will face death itself to make her his . . .

Akira is a healer in the small town of Dunkeld.  After the battle of Hoord Moor she heads to battlefield to see if she can help any of the wounded.  She finds a man who has been shot in the thigh and tries to help him.  When they hear people coming he quickly sends her to find a horse and they head out.  You see, the man is a Duke and if he is found to be fighting on the side of the Jacobites he will be imprisoned or killed and have his lands taken from him.  Geordie and Akira take off and hide from the dragoons that are never far behind.  Geordie dropped his flask with his family’s crest on it so the dragoons know who to look for.

Akira and Geordie avoid the red coats and make it to Geordie’s lands but not before they fall in love with each other.  Akira, who’s very proper gives in to Geordie’s advances when he says he’ll take care of her thinking that he’s going to marry her. When he offers to make her his mistress instead she’s heart-broken. She had no idea he was a duke until they got to his castle but that played no part in her feelings for him. He is divorced and he knows that Queen Anne and the bishop will never approve the marriage.  He loves her but he doesn’t know what else to do.

The dragoons haven’t given up and they are determined to get Geordie to admit he’s a traitor.  They’ll even use Akira to get to him and it may actually work.

I really liked the premise of this book and there was a whole lot about it that I liked.  I really loved Akira and her strength.  She’d been the sole caretaker of her mother and 3 sisters for the past 10 years and she was happy to do it.  She was an amazing woman and I truly admired her.  She also stood up to Geordie when she needed to and that was awesome as well.

The first part of the book, while they’re on the run from the dragoons before they hit the duke’s lands, was pretty slow, imho.  It was decent but I had to stop myself from skimming ahead on more than one occasion.  I know this was meant to be a time when Geordie and Akira get to know each other but there was so much internal thought I found it quite sluggish.  I thought that once the pair hit Gordon land things would pick up a bit but it was only a little.

Things really came to a head when Akira headed home and the dragoon who had been after Geordie made his move.  I really liked the last ¾ of the book but unfortunately it didn’t make up for the other parts.  This got higher marks because I really loved that Jarecki wasn’t afraid to match up a Romany woman with a Duke and made it work.  Of course I wasn’t quite convinced at the end of the book that those who were after Geordie were going to give up, but maybe that’s just me.

Geordie grew on me.  At the first part of the book I didn’t care for him at all but he showed his true worth throughout the story and I really liked him by the end.  He was a good man who had lost his way but had finally found the right path.

Overall I liked the story I just had issues with tempo.  Hopefully the next book in the series will be more evenly paced.

Rating 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso

Posted March 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne BassoReviewer: Tracy
No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso
Series: The McKennas #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Historical, Medieval, Scottish
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

Scottish Highlands, 1334: The McKenna clan flourishes under a family of warriors, fierce and righteous, faithful to their own until the last. But to produce an heir, the widowed eldest son must risk his heart again . . .

Lady Joan Armstrong Fraser was once the indulged and pampered daughter of a laird. But marriage to a brute changed her. When he sets her aside, she has only her wits and her beauty to protect herself and her child from the chaos of her former home. She will have to find another husband—a man whose strength is more than a weapon against the weak. A man she can trust . . . if such a man even breathes.

Sir Malcolm McKenna has known Lady Joan since her childhood, a spoiled princess as dangerous as she is lovely. But when she steps forward to protect him against a false accusation, he discovers a character stronger than he guessed—and an attraction he yearns to explore . . .

Malcolm McKenna has been accused of devirginizing a woman, promising her marriage and then disappearing.  The woman is the daughter of the McPhearson laird and he’s so mad now that his daughter has given birth that he’s put a price on Malcolm’s head. When Malcolm hears about this he’s shocked! Though he was drunk during the fete that this liaison supposedly took place, he thinks he’d remember deflowering a woman!  Malcolm’s father, Laird McKenna, decides to meet with the McPhearson to work out the issue.  They decide to meet on Armstrong territory as it’s neutral territory.

Joan Armstrong is a woman who married a monster. He was brutal and abused her both verbally and physically.  He finally put her aside and got an annulment stating that she was insane.  She doesn’t like the stigma of insanity but she’s certainly happy to be out from under his thumb.  Unfortunately coming home with her two-year-old son isn’t a happy reunion.  Her father doesn’t want her there because of the embarrassment Joan has brought to him and the family/clan.  She tries to do all she can to help but it’s never enough for her father.  She knows she’ll never remarry so what will she do if her father does remarry – she’ll no longer be needed.  When the McPhearson’s and the McKenna’s show up Joan is happy to look after them but being on the outside of the discussion she sees what no one else does – that Malcolm’s truly wrongly accused.  When the truth comes out the McPhearson wants Malcolm to marry his daughter anyway but in a stroke of inspiration Malcolm states he’s already engaged to Joan.

To say that Joan’s not happy about Malcolm’s declaration is an understatement but Malcolm is attracted to her and knows that he can care for her and her son.  He finally talks her into agreeing and they head off to McKenna lands.  Joan has agreed to marry Malcolm but will she ever be able to trust a man again and open her heart.

This was a great story.  I loved Joan and the love she had for her son.  She’d had such a bad marriage and she truly deserved happiness but she never thought it would come to her in yet another marriage.  I loved how Malcolm slowly brought her out of her shell and was so patient with her.  He knew that she’d had a rough go of it with her previous husband and though he wanted to bed her he took things slow and easy with her.  He was a good man through and through and he made a great hero.  Once Joan opened up a bit we got to see that she was a good woman as well.  I thought that the pair were perfect together and was so happy when everything worked out.

Besides Joan’s husband and his dastardly deeds during one portion of the book there really wasn’t a villain involved in No Other Highlander.  I really enjoyed the story being relationship driven and not having to worry about a whodunit as well.  The book was fun and funny as well as touching and emotional which to me was a good mix.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

Posted January 23, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon CullenReviewer: Tracy
Campbell's Redemption by Sharon Cullen
Series: Highland Pride series #3
Also in this series: Sutherland's Secret, MacLean's Passion
Published by Loveswept
Publication Date: November 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
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four-stars

Like his ancestors, Iain Campbell, the Marquess of Kerr, swears loyalty to whichever government happens to be in power. Privately, however, he despises the British for the slaughter following the Battle of Culloden and finds himself playing a dangerous game of deception. When he defends a fellow Scot under cloak of darkness, Iain is wounded and must put his life in the hands of a mysterious healer. The prickly, bewitching woman saves him with her touch, though she denies Iain the pleasure of a smile from her sensuous lips—which only makes him want her all the more.

Cait Campbell has no fondness for the marquess and his political machinations. Now he makes a treacherous patient, since Cait is harboring Jacobite fugitives in her cellar. But with Iain confined to bed rest, Cait sees another side of the fierce warrior. How can she hate a man whose eyes sparkle in candlelight, a man whose voice stirs her soul? She soon discovers that he loves the Scottish people deeply—and, despite her painful intuitions, Cait is tempted to let Iain love her, too.

Cait is happy with her life.  She’s a healer living on the outskirts of Campbell land.  It’s been four years since her husband died and she’s doing well.  She heals both the Scottish people as well as the redcoats that come to her.  She doesn’t like helping them but she’s a healer so that’s what she does.  She also believes this will create goodwill between her and the soldiers and they’ll leave her alone.  When Iain Campbell brings the commander of his warriors to be healed she’s happy to help but she wants nothing to do with Iain.  Her husband, John, was Iain’s commander when he was alive and died by a bullet intended for Iain.  Cait can’t help but find Iain responsible for John’s death even though logically she knows he’s not.  Part of her solitude is harboring Scottish fugitives from the English.  She’s not willing to give that up for anyone.

Iain has felt guilty for John’s death and though he told John as he was dying that he would take care of Cait he hasn’t.  The guilt was too much for him to be around Cait but once he was back in her house he couldn’t keep himself away.  He has feelings for Cait but she’s not willing to make an affair with him public.  Unfortunately the redcoats Cait thought she was keeping away didn’t stay away and when she’s threatened Iain will stop at nothing to protect her.

Another great story in the Highland Pride series.  Iain Campbell, in previous books helped both MacLean and Sutherland but yet everyone thought he was an English sympathizer when the truth was he was a spy. Because I wasn’t totally sure of his loyalties going into the book I was cautious.  Cullen made me a lover of Iain very quickly as his care for Cait was so honest and real.

Cait was a stubborn woman from beginning to end.  She had lost everyone who she had ever loved and she wasn’t willing to get involved with Iain and take the risk of losing him.  Luckily Iain was persuasive with Cait and was able to make her believe his love for her.  I really loved the two of them together.  Individually they were strong characters but together they were a bit invincible.

There was a bit of intrigue in the story as well and I thought that was well done.  It was woven well into Cait and Iain’s story and made it that much better. The whole of the story was well worth reading and I very much enjoyed it.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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