Genre: Scottish

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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Guest Review: Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Posted December 30, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Tracy
Falling for the Highlander by Lynsay Sands
Series: Highlander series #4
Also in this series: The Highlander Takes a Bride
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
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three-half-stars

Lady Murine Carmichael has known her share of bad luck. But when her debt-ridden half-brother tries to sell her off in exchange for a few Scottish horses, it’s the final straw. If keeping her freedom means escaping through harsh countryside alone, so be it. She has barely begun her journey when she lands an unlikely escort—the brawny Highlander who just refused to buy her virtue.

Dougall Buchanan was disgusted by Lord Danvries’ shameful offer, but Murine herself tempts him beyond measure. Even bedraggled and dusty, the lass glows with beauty and bravery. Dougall wants to do more than just help her flee. He wants to protect her—with his life and his heart—if she’ll only let him. For Murine may be pursued by a powerful foe, but nothing compares to the fiery courage of a Highlander in love.

Murine Carmichael has seen a lot of death in the past few years.  Her brothers and her betrothed were killed then her mother died not long after that.  Her father then was ill and but had died just when she thought he was getting better.  Her half-brother, Montrose, picked her up and told her that he was now her guardian.  While Murine wasn’t thrilled with the idea she dealt with it.  She even managed to deal with it when Montrose gambled away her dower.  When Dougall Buchanan and his brothers show Montrose fine horses and he can’t pay for them he tries to bargain with them.  Dougall’s not interested.  Then Montrose gets desperate and offers his sister as payment – to use until he gets tired of her.  Dougall, his brothers and Murine are all shocked and disgusted at this suggestion.  Obviously Dougall refuses and leaves.

After hearing another suggestion by Montrose about offering her up to one of his neighbors for coin, Murine decides it’s time to get the hell out of dodge.  She knows that traveling alone is extremely dangerous but figures facing death is better than what Montrose has planned for her. She heads off on her pet bull, Henry, to try to reach one of her friends.  Not far from her brother’s house she runs into the Buchanan brothers.  They are nice enough to hide her from his brothers and agree to take her to her friend, their sister, Saidh. Along the road there are many perils and accidents that beset the group and mostly directed at Murine. During the course of the travel Dougall and Murine get close and lust ensues that soon turns to more.  Unfortunately with Montrose trailing the Buchanan’s and Murine will they be able to stay together?

This was a cute story.  I really liked a lot of the book and was pulling for Dougall and Murine throughout.  The camaraderie between the Buchanan brothers was another plus to this book as they were close but still had scuffles like most brothers do.

I really liked Dougall in this book.  He was stubborn and strong-willed but protective and kind as well.  He had morals and was a decent guy whose parents had raised him right.  Murine took a bit of getting used to.  She was kind of oblivious a lot of the time which annoyed me.  She didn’t seem the type to be oblivious so when it happened it was frustrating. Examples…she was running from her brother but when she was traveling and saw people in the woods, she never said anything? She thought she heard someone in the house she was in by herself but never mentions it to Dougall when he comes in right after?  There were so many things that she questioned to herself but never once said anything to Dougall or his brothers.  What the hell?  Why not? She was trying to get away from her brother but she sees random people or hears random things and shrugs it off? Uh, no, don’t believe it for a minute. In most Sands historicals the heroine always ends up doing some crazy things but this just takes the cake. Now, that being said she was strong when she needed to be.  She saved lives when there was a fire as she had saved Saidh’s life in a previous book.  She kept getting hit in the head and kept getting up.  She got shot by an arrow but took it like a trooper.  She was a good person for the most part, really.

Overall it was a good story that I had some issues with.  It certainly won’t stop me from reading more of Sands’ historical novels as their more on the fun/slapstick fun side and I like that about them.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Posted December 14, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily BlackwoodReviewer: Tracy
The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood
Series: Highland Warrior #2
Also in this series: The Beast of Clan Kincaid
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish
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four-stars

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.

Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.

Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

Magnus has always believed – because his mother told him – that he was the bastard son of Laird Alwyn.  He’s spent his life trying to be a good warrior and get his father’s attention.  Then he found out that he is actually the son of the slain Laird Kincaid.  The Alwyn was instrumental in getting his parents killed and now he’s working with his Kincaid brother to take down the Alwyn.  Of course he’s doing this all while in the Alwyn home.

Tara has been in a convent since she was 15 years old and her parents died.  Her sister was sent off to court by their guardian and she gets letters from Arabel every once in a while.  One day at the convent her guardian and his two sons show up, tell Tara that Arabel is dead and take Tara away to marry Arabel’s betrothed.  Tara knows that she needs to get away because that’s not what she wants at all.  She ends up at the Alwyn keep however, and meets Magnus.  They are drawn to each other and when she finds out that he’s willing to help her escape she’s hesitant to trust him but does it despite her misgivings.  When she finds out that Magnus may not be as trustworthy as she thought Tara will have to take it upon herself to get away from the Alwyn’s for good.

This was a great addition to the Highland Warrior series.  I really liked book one in the series and this was no different.  Magnus was a great hero and I loved reading about him.  I felt so bad about the way he’d been treated his whole life.  Yes, things started to change for him but it was too little, too late as he’d already found out what a bastard the Alywn was.  He was completely enamored by Tara from the first meeting.  He wanted to do nothing but protect her from the eldest Alwyn son, Hugh, who was a toad.  Magnus was a good person – kind and honorable.  He’s damned sexy too. 🙂

Tara was definitely high-spirited in a really good way.  She knew what she wanted and wasn’t afraid to go after it.  She wasn’t one to sit around and left everyone else decide her fate and I liked that about her.  I thought that it was sad that her sister had died and that she couldn’t figure out what had happened to her.  She had the determination but no one was willing to give her the info she needed.  I did think that she jumped to conclusions with Magnus during the book but I appreciated that the author realizing that herself instead of trying to justify her distrust.

In the end a very good book.  I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book as I’m sure it will give us the story of the third – and still currently missing- brother.

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
Genres: Historical, Romance, Scottish, Magic
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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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