Tag: Amanda Scott

Guest Review: Guess What Washed Up On My Shores . . . “The Laird’s Choice” by Amanda Scott

Posted December 20, 2012 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Please welcome my mama to Tracy’s Place.  Some of you know her as Judith, some as Dr. J, some as a guest reviewer on Book Binge and some not at all.  I just know her as Ma.  However you know her, or don’t, just know she writes great reviews and will be hopefully be writing a few more for my blog in the future.  
Duty
Bound . . .
Lady
Andrena MacFarlan has been different since the day she was born. Possessing the
power to sense others’ most intimate desires, she knows her duty is to marry
the man who will take the MacFarlan name as his own and help her father regain
the chiefdom of their clan. But her unique gifts don’t prepare her for the day
when a mighty warrior suddenly enters her life. The attraction between them is
undeniable — and insatiable.

Desire Unleashed . . . Hunted
by brutal enemies, the wounded Magnus Galbraith washes up on MacFarlan land
where he is rescued by a laird’s lovely daughter. Andrena is like no one Magnus
has ever known. She has the uncanny ability to both calm and enflame him in
ways he never dreamed possible. But she has other unknown-and dangerous-powers.
Now, as Magnus seeks to avenge a brother and protect a king, the young beauty
could prove his greatest ally-or his ultimate undoing.

Historical novels aren’t
for everyone.  There are lots of
different kinds of history-based novels that are far less intense than those
written by Amanda Scott but I, for one, happen to like the heavy nature of her
writing.  She is an author that does lots
and lots of research and leaves no doubt in the minds of readers that she knows
this time period backward and forward. 
That being said, this particular novel is set in a time when  Scotland was being torn asunder by political
and clan rivalries, when the reign of Scotland’s king was on the brink of
coming to an end, when the characters in this story were caught in a clan and
family battle for power and position within the Clan Farlan (as it was then
called).    The Lady Andrena’s father,
the rightful Laird, was hopeful that with the marriage of his oldest daughter
he could secure the kinship and loyalty of a strong son-in-law, hopefully a
warrior, and one who would not feel threatened by taking the Clan Farlan’s
family name as his own. 
Thus the stage is set for
the romance of Andrena and Magnus, two very strong people who had learned to
survive under very difficult circumstances. 
Magnus had been taken as a prisoner of war during a clan conflict that
had caused his brother’s death—a death for which his father blamed him and had
essentially disowned him.   For two years
he survived as a galley slave until  he
found opportunity to escape during a timely storm.  He was literally “washed” into Andrena’s life
and when she brought him home—wet, bedraggled, and seeking sanctuary from those
who would again imprison him, the clan laird saw his future son-in-law standing
before him.  Curiously, Andrena predicted
that such would be her father’s response to Magnus’ appearance in their keep.  And so their relationship begins. 
This is a very involved
historical novel and I have to say that if the reader is one who likes a little
history mixed in with their romance, this is probably not the novel for
you.  This story reeks of history and
there were times I felt that the historical content overwhelmed the
romance.  Yet thinking back on that
reading experience, it was the history that made their relationship possible
and which constantly shaped the experiences in which their relationship grew
and matured.  Certainly the marriage was
consummated.  Arranged marriages and
especially those of political necessity never depended on love or romance.  Yet Magnus was a man of his time in many
respects and yet he was one who was attracted to Andrena, recognized that there
were facets of her personality that were, to say the least, mysterious.   Her willingness to fit in with her father’s
plans, to see the rightness of what needed to happen and to accept Magnus’
presence in her life as husband testify to the way she was raised and to the
fact that her father had treated her as a person of worth, not just a female
handy for breeding. 
It is a credit to this
author that she found a way to feature the relationship between these two very
different people in the midst of a historical context that was so convoluted
and mired with war and conflict.  The
characters in the story are both real and fictional, but all are merged
together in a literary tapestry that is seamless so that the reader, especially
one not really knowledgeable of this era, cannot distinguish one from the
other.  It is a novel that testifies to
the fact that even arranged marriages were successful, whether deeply loving or
just grandly respectful  didn’t matter.  In Andrena and Magnus’ case, what began as
political reality and burgeoning respect, gradually grew into a passionate love
affair that gave both these people an opportunity to be loved and cherished
beyond their expectations.
I want to comment also,
that I don’t think the publisher’s blurb is quite as accurate as I would
like.  This romance didn’t begin, to my
way of thinking, with that electric spark or thunderous awareness of deep
potential passion.  I think it started
with a quiet attraction, a set of possibilities that gave Magnus a new start and
Andrena the possible home and hearth she craved, but it was a marriage/romance
that grew quietly and steadily into a grand passion for them both.  Now don’t get me wrong.  They certainly found ways to light up the sheets
almost from the beginning.  But perhaps
this story is more about how their arranged union grew from political necessity
and physical consummation into a bond that made their marriage a true and
loving one.
Ms Scott is a prolific
writer and she just keeps on gracing her readers with some beautifully written
stories.  I, for one, am deeply
grateful.  We all know there are lots of
romance fiction writers and there are lots of levels of expertise and ability
“out there.”  It is a grand thing to
encounter novels that not only tell and really good story but which educate the
mind and memory as well as entertain the soul. 
This is one of those books.

 

I
give it a rating of 4 out of 5

Amanda Scott 
 

If you’d like to read more of Judith’s reviews you can check out her blog Dr. J’s Book Place


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Guest Review: The Laird’s Choice by Amanda Scott

Posted December 7, 2012 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of The Laird’s Choice (Lairds of the Loch, # 1) by Amanda Scott.

DUTY BOUND . . . Lady Andrena MacFarlan has been different since the day she was born. Possessing the power to sense others’ most intimate desires, she knows her duty is to marry the man who will take the MacFarlan name as his own and help her father regain the chiefdom of their clan. But her unique gifts don’t prepare her for the day when a mighty warrior suddenly enters her life. The attraction between them is undeniable — and insatiable.

DESIRE UNLEASHED . . . Hunted by brutal enemies, the wounded Magnus Galbraith washes up on MacFarlan land where he is rescued by a laird’s lovely daughter. Andrena is like no one Magnus has ever known. She has the uncanny ability to both calm and enflame him in ways he never dreamed possible. But she has other unknown-and dangerous-powers. Now, as Magnus seeks to avenge a brother and protect a king, the young beauty could prove his greatest ally-or his ultimate undoing
I have read other novels by Amanda Scott and have, for the most part, really enjoyed them.  All of them have been well-written, meticulously researched, and based on sound historical reality.  However, in the case of this novel, I think whoever wrote the above blurb was exaggerating a bit.  First, the heroine certainly did possess “gifts” that were beyond the norm–she had an uncanny and unexplained ability to sense trouble, to “read” people’s emotions and to perceive when they were speaking truthfully.  She did indeed have an unusual relationship with the wildlife that lived around her family home, a relationship which, according to the Prologue, began when she was a two-day-old infant.  She also was instrumental in saving Magnus’ life when he was fleeing from those who had taken him into captivity 19 months earlier as a part of the spoils of war.  It is, in my humble opinion, an overstatement to infer that their initial meeting was fraught with sexual attraction and that “sparks flew” when they were together.  I think the text will support the fact that there was an attraction that made it possible for them to both accept the possibility that Andrena’s father would want Magnus for a son-in-law, one who would strengthen the ancestral line as well as strengthen his claim as rightful Laird of the Clan Farlan.

I think it is accurate to say that Andrena was unlike any woman Magnus had met, and I think their wedding and bedding was most pleasant for him.  After all, she was beautiful, intelligent, obviously held in high esteem as the oldest daughter of the Laird and one who would eventually be instrumental in bringing him power and wealth.  He had been held as a galley slave for 19 months so taking a beautiful woman to bed was not something to which he objected.  But as fulfilling as their physical relationship may have been for him, the story will more accurately support the fact that Andrena felt cheated, unfulfilled, emotional left high and dry.  So to say that their relationship was “insatiable” was again, a bit of an overstatement.

All that being said, the story certainly educates the reader as to the stresses and strains in the politics of the time.  The Scottish clans were known for their power games and internal struggles.  It was no secret that they were a thorn in the side of the English and no true Scotsman had any love for the English to begin with.  It is also well documented that James I had his hands full bringing a stable governmental style built on laws and courts of justice not only into being but having the fortitude and ability to maintain over the years.  He was a rare monarch who deeply loved his queen and to whom he remained faithful.  The novel is really heavy on the “historical” side and so  much so that the “romance” aspect almost gets lost in the crisis, the strategizing, the plots and counter-plots.  Magnus and Andrena were certainly together during those events and Magnus came to recognize that her people skills and her uncanny perception were an added blessings when negotiating alliances and such.  But I never really had the sense that the romance was front and center, and perhaps that says more about me than anything else.  I know that the historical events were meant to be the context rather than the main focus.  Yet there were times that the history was so violent, the political tension so evident, that the low simmer between Magnus and Andrena took back seat to the action.

Maybe I am just complaining.  This is certainly not an erotic novel.  The scenes between Andrena and Magnus were gentle loving and that is to be greatly valued.  His patience and gentle loving on their wedding night pulled at my heart strings.  Yet his emotional detachment, while that may have been an important factor in his recovery from his captivity, really bothered me.  I think it also bothered Andrena and it is always emotionally upending when one partner really can’t perceive the other partner’s emotional investment in something as important as a marriage.

All in all, it is a very educational book and one I had no trouble reading.  But for those who like the romance better than the history, this will not be an easy book to read.  I found it a valuable reading experience because I like books heavy on the historical context.  But at times I would have liked Magnus and Andrena to heat up the sheets just a bit more or for Magnus’ emotional control to slip just a bit more and sooner than it finally did.  When all is said and done, this novel is a fine piece of historical romance fiction and will certainly find its place with those who really love this kind of romance novel.

I give it a rating of 3.75 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Forever. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Tempted By A Warrior by Amanda Scott

Posted July 1, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments


Judith’s review of Tempted By A Warrior by Amanda Scott

Before her marriage, it was whispered that Lady Fiona Jardine was a young woman no man could control. Now the rumors are more threatening. Her cruel and womanizing husband has vanished into the battle-scared Scottish Borderlands without a trace, and everyone thinks Fiona is to blame.

Sir Richard Seyton, Laird of Kirkhill and a powerful knight and baron, is honor bound to be Fiona’s guardian until her husband is found. Kirkhill strives to keep her safe while her enemies plot to prevent her from every being the mistress of the Jardine lands. But can he protect her from the desire that ignites at their slightest touch? For with suspicion mounting and tensions along the borders rising, surrendering to their passion could cost Kirkhill and Fiona their very lives.

Amanda Scott has been called the “Mistress of the Scottish romance” and this third novel in a series does her the credit due to an expert in her field and one who knows her way around a word processor. Set in the conflicted and dangerous 14th century, rife with wars and skirmishes between the clans and the northern English lords, Fiona knows that her life is probably not going to get any easier. Having eloped with Will Jardine as a silly and gullible 15 year old when she fell for his flirting eyes and sexy good looks, she has endured the most difficult two years of her life. Her husband is a cruel, unkind, self-centered, spoiled and thoughtless man, whose irresponsible behavior to Fiona as well as to their servants and tenants is blessed, even encouraged by his dying father. Now Will has disappeared and Fiona is in the last trimester of her first pregnancy. At 17 years of age she has aged, but her spirit is still sassy, rebellious, bitter, and wary after the brutality she has endured and the dicey future she knows may be her destiny.

Richard Seyton has been brought to her home. He is Will’s cousin and a laird in his own right. He has been given the guardianship of all Jardine holdings at the death of Will’s father, made guardian of her baby, especially if it is a boy, and made trustee of Fiona which means that now someone else holds the power of life and death over her. She is bright, mouthy and beautiful, but her youth gets her in trouble on a regular basis. Lord Kirkhill, however, is a man of honor, integrity, and responsible to his promises as he comes to take over the Jardine properties and the lives of all its people. He must solve the mystery of Will’s disappearance, try to make the Jardine holdings prosperous once again in spite of possible war and invasion, and deal with his growing attraction to Fiona.

Like most historicals set in this time period, it is impossible to tell any story without taking into account the messy politics of the times. The clans are always jockeying for power and land, and the Clan Douglas is no different. Add in the aggression of the northern English lords and their greed for land and power, and you have a political kettle of “stew” that is always set at “simmer.” Will’s cruelty has separated Fiona from her family and her support system – even back then abusers were predictable in their systematic dismantling of outside influences. This is not an uncomplicated novel. The plot is well thought out, the characters are well developed, and the reader has an opportunity to come to “know” Fiona and her family, those who care for her and her baby, and those who seem to want to do her harm. The story flows well and is not one of those that seems to have “dead spots” – places where there seems to be so much “fluff” that doesn’t add to the story, that I just zone out and start reading a word here or there and flipping pages. That is not the case here.

If you love the Scottish-based romances and you appreciate Amanda Scott and her great writing, then you will love this book. As a person with a great deal of Celtic ancestry of various kinds, I truly appreciate the passion and color of this mysterious people. Scott has brought it all to life in a marvelous novel.

I give a rating of 4.75 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

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


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Guest Review: Border Moonlight by Amanda Scott

Posted February 5, 2009 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Border Moonlight by Amanda ScottReviewer: Tracy
Border Moonlight by Amanda Scott
Series: Border Series #3
Published by Grand Central PublishingBuy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
dnf

 

Lovely nineteen-year-old Lady Sibylla Cavers is marriageable, yet she has rejected the first three candidates her father has introduced. Lord Simon Murray (appearing in the first two novels of this Borders Trilogy) is one of these three spurned suitors — and Simon is famous for never forgiving an offense. One day when Sibylla is out riding, she sees a child drowning and guides her horse into a raging river to save the child. But the powerful current sweeps her up with the child in her grip. Lord Simon, riding nearby, hears screams and heroically helps Lady Sibylla rescue the child. To her surprise, Lady Sibylla feels a powerful attraction to her rescuer.

Lord Simon, surprised to feel the same strong attraction, is tempted to forgive her earlier rejection so that he may woo this lass anew. But political intrigue fueled by the power-hungry governor of Scotland will throw obstacles in the path of Simon’s and Sibylla’s burgeoning love. Simon will fight for his inherited estate of Elishaw, while Sibylla will use all her wits to protect their future together.

I have to say that the first, say, ¼ of this book completely held my interest. With the child going into the river and then Simon rescuing Sibylla after she attempts to save the child I was very engrossed. Soon after that, however, the book started getting quite tedious. Not much of import was happening and I kept waiting for something to occur whether it was intrigue or romance, but nothing did.

It seemed that by the time I stopped reading (page 230 out of 387) that Sibylla and Simon were getting to like each other better but even after 2 kisses and time spent together I had no clue how either of them felt other than finding each others company enjoyable. IMO there was no emotion with either the romance or the political plot for me and I found it lacking.

Sadly this was a DNF.

Book CoverBook CoverBook Cover

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What I’ve Been Reading This Week

Posted February 1, 2009 by Tracy in Features | 12 Comments

Hey kiddles! How’s tricks? Things are good in the Tracy household. Never a dull moment. My oldest sprained her ankle and has been on crutches for the past few days but she’s walking on the foot now so I’m sure she’ll be crutch free by tomorrow. My youngest fell off an apparatus at school and banged her head. She was a trooper though and luckily there was no outer or inner damage. 🙂 Gotta love those kids with hard heads! lol She obviously takes after her mother.

I’m looking forward to this next weekend when Lisabea of Nose In A Book will be visiting our little slice of America. We’ll have a So Cal. Blogger Get-Together on Sunday which will be fun, fun, fun I’m sure. According to weather.com it’s supposed to be 70 and partly cloudy that day. Hopefully we can pull out some great CA weather for her.

Ok, reading…I started off with 2 great books by JL Langley: Without Reservations and With Caution. Both m/m werewolf books and both wonderful. I really liked how JL brought these men together and showed us their lives. I can’t wait for the next story in this series…which according to JL’s WIP page will be Matt’s story. Very cool.


Next up I read Sizzle by Jennifer Crusie. According to Crusie’s site the novella was the first book she wrote and she’s trying to forget it. I don’t know, it had a pretty hot scene with a desk involved. lol Although it had some great dialogue and funny scenes I didn’t love it. The hero didn’t listen and the heroine was trying to get him to do so…but I wasn’t all that interested in the heroine because in her own way, she wasn’t listening to him either.


Smart Girls Think Twice by Cathie Linz was my next read. It was a pretty cute book. There were some things I didn’t care for – like when the hero was trying to push the heroine away because he was scared of his feeling he was downright nasty – being one of them. I just don’t think there’s ever a call to be that nasty, but I can’t love every word of every book, now can I?


Next I read a short called Sandwich Play by Brigit Zahara. Ok, I hate the name of this book! I get that the guys played football in high school and that was one of the names of their plays…but I still hate it! lol It was very short but there was some incredibly hot sex involved. A widowed cop and the two men she had the hots for back in high school run into each other and love play ensues. But when the men aka vampires tell her what they are she accepts it just too easily for me. And then the book is done. Wha…??? I was wondering where the rest of it was! 🙂 I know it was a quickie but a few more pages would have done the story a world of good.


I started reading Border Moonlight by Amanda Scott with great expectations. I’d not read one of her novels but really liked the blurb for this one. Unfortunately it didn’t work for me and was my first DNF for 2009. I read it for The Book Binge and my review will be up sometime so if you’re interested in more details keep your eye out. 🙂


My last book for the week was my first foray into the work of Megan Hart. I’ve seen so many great reviews about her books I was looking forward to reading one of her novels. She did not disappoint. Broken was the book I read and it was amazing. Narrated by Sadie it brought me into her struggles with every day life having a quadriplegic for a husband and also her weakness in meeting the same man the first Friday of every month to hear about his sexual adventures. It was so incredibly well written and even when my heart was hurting for so many different reasons I couldn’t stop myself from reading it. This isn’t a light read by any means and it’s not a romance – just so you know. But it is an incredibly amazing book.
Here are a couple of reviews that go in to more depth about the story if you’re interested: Dear Author, I Just Finished Reading

Happy Reading!

Oh I almost forgot. I added a new feature over to the right…a list of books read in January and their ratings. Enjoy!


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