Tag: Hannah Howell

Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell

Posted September 27, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
The Scotsman Who Saved Me by Hannah Howell
Series: Seven Brides for Seven Scotsmen #1
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: September 26th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance, Westerns
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-stars

A brutal attack on Emily Stanton’s family has left her for dead . . . until she is found in the woods by a handsome stranger with a thick brogue who vows to protect her. There’s only one problem: As a woman with a noble English background, she has no business keeping company with such a man.

For Scotsman Iain MacEnroy, Emily’s high-tone accent is a bitter reminder of the oppressive regime he left behind. The last thing he needs is to be burdened by the needs of a beautiful, blue-eyed Englishwoman. But taking care of elegant, educated Emily begins to transform Iain in ways he never imagined. Could it be that the deep divisions from the old world no longer apply in the new—and that Iain and Emily can share a passion as lush and wild as the Scottish highlands themselves?

Iain and his brothers find Emily Stanton hiding with her nephew after they first find her sister and husband slaughtered and their house on fire.  Emily had been shot so the MacEnroy brothers take them back to their homestead and heal her.

Emily knows that once she’s healed that she should leave as she’s putting the MacEnroy’s in danger but she feels so safe with them – especially with Iain – that she just can’t make herself go.  Iain thinks that Emily is the most beautiful woman he’s ever met but when he finds out that she’s English gentry he grows cold.  The English gentry are the ones who forced the MacEnroy’s from their home in Scotland and burned it down.  He has no love for them and because of this has a hard time trusting Emily.  Of course as Iain gets to know Emily he finds that she’s nothing like the woman who forced them to flee their Homeland.  As Emily and Iain gets closer as time goes by they find themselves not only fighting for their lives but fighting their attraction to each other as well.

I’m not normally an American Frontier Historical romance lover but this was Hannah Howell so I needed to give it a shot.  It was definitely an decent read but not one I absolutely loved.

The story is that Emily and her sister and brother-in-law fled England because their cousin was after them.  He wanted the title that would go to Emily and her sister’s sons if they had any.  He wanted to make sure that they never had any so that he would eventually inherit the Dukedom– yeah, the guy was nuts.  I know you’re wondering about the line of succession in this book.  Apparently this wasn’t a Royal Dukedom but one that was bestowed on Emily’s ancestor for some reason.  That ancestor had the balls to negotiate about the line of succession and supposedly won so that it didn’t have to be a direct male line.  Emily’s nephew or her own son (if there ever was one) could inherit before their cousin would.

Anyway, with Emily, and soon all of the MacEnroy’s fighting to keep Emily and little Neddy alive, tensions were running high.  Because of this Iain was forced to look at Emily in a new light and realized she was nothing like the woman who had done his family wrong back in Scotland.  When he finally let himself trust and love her he was a changed man.  They made a cute couple.

The story itself was interesting but the book dragged in places. While I used to absolutely love Howell’s writing I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of it in this book.  In fact, it was quite stilted in the beginning and it was a bit disconcerting.  It just didn’t leave me in a good mindset for the rest of the book.  Despite not loving the book I’ll probably pick up the next book in the series to see what happens with the next MacEnroy brother.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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Review: Highland Groom by Hannah Howell

Posted September 4, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Highland Groom by Hannah HowellReviewer: Holly
Highland Groom by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #8, McEnroy Family #2
Published by Open Road Media
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Pages: 276
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Sir Diarmot MacEnroy, deciding his illegitimate children need a mother and his keep needs a proper lady, now stands before the altar with a gentle bride he hopes is too shy to disrupt his life or break his heart. The nuptials, however, are interrupted by the appearance of a flame-haired beauty carrying two babies, boldly claiming that she is his wife and mother of his twin infant sons. Armed with her seven large brothers, she has come to demand her dues. Having waited one year for the return of the handsome laird who wed her, bedded her, then disappeared, Ilsa Campbell MacEnroy takes matters into her own hands and sets out to reclaim the man she briefly and passionately loved. Stunned by his denial, her heart softens when she learns of the injury that has ravaged his memory. Now she faces the nearly impossible task of conquering his past—and his fierce reluctance to share his heart. Though desire flares hot and wild between them, it will take more to win his trust. It will take the magic touch of a woman in love.

Howell follows pretty much the same formula for all her novels: tiny heroine with big personality falls for giant hero who is mistrustful because of a past girlfriend/mistress/wife who screwed him over. She decides to fight for his love by being herself and he falls for her in spite of his vow to hate all women, but must hilarity/angst is had first. This one deviates in that the heroine has 14 large brothers and the hero has 6 bastard children he sort of-kind of forgot to mention to the heroine.

Ilsa thought she’d found the man of her dreams in the dashing Dairmot. He isn’t intimidated by her many brothers, professes to care for her and is quick to handfast with her when they’re discovered trysting. He says he has matters to take care of at home and will collect her shortly, then never returns. She’s devastated, but does her best to hide it. Until she turns up pregnant. When Dairmot still hasn’t shown up almost a year later, when the terms of the handfast are about to be annulled, her brothers force her to set out to find him. The last thing she expected was to find him kneeling before the alter with another woman.

Knowing she doesn’t have a choice about her future since she has twin sons with the man, she resigns herself to marriage to the man she gave her heart to. The one, it turns out, she knew not at all.

Dairmot was attacked almost a year ago and lost his memory. When a tiny redhead with 7 hulking brothers interrupts his wedding, he’s skeptical about their claims. He wants to deny them outright, but he can’t since they have papers saying he did, indeed, handfast with Ilsa. But their timeline puts them in the right frame to have had him attacked, so he vows to beware them all. Until his memory returns or he learns who his enemies are, he’s determined to keep Ilsa and her babies at arms length.

Dairmot was a complete ass, which isn’t new for Howell either. I didn’t mind so much, though, because I read her books for the heroines. Ilsa was  pretty awesome. She took a lot of crap from Dairmot, but she had her limits.  She had a redheaded temper, which made for some fun reading (especially when she punched him and knocked him on his butt). Her brothers are hilarious and added a lot of comic relief.

“So, ye decided upon a handfasting.”

“Aye. Got the lovers to tidy themselves up and took them off to the alehouse to find our cousin Liam. Set the groom in a barrel and had my brother Gilbert there,” he nodded toward a very sturdily built young man with flame red hair and blue eyes, “to sit on it whilst we discussed the matter with Liam.”

Diarmot slouched in his chair and drank his ale, wondering if it was possible for this tale to be any more humiliating.

The mystery plot isn’t anything too exciting. The kids were adorable, though, as were Ilsa’s brothers and cousins. They added so much color to the story.

While much of the story is predictable, I was still entertained. There are some truly hilarious scenes and Ilsa is awesome.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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What I Read Last Week

Posted April 21, 2014 by Tracy in Features | 0 Comments

Hey there!

How ya’ll doin?  I’m doing well considering I’m not at work.  I took today off and I’m so happy I did.  Yes, I have a lot to do around the house since it didn’t get done yesterday with it being Easter, but I swear I’m still tired from last week. lol  I didn’t get a whole lot of reading done, that’s for sure.  Today it’s just me and the cat.  Echo likes to watch the cursor on the computer.  I think it makes it a bit hard to see what the hell I’m doing, what do you think?

Anyway, on to what I read last week:

I started off the week with Dreams of Lilacs by Lynn Kurland.  This is a de Piaget novel but it’s one of her straight historicals and I think she does those so well.  This story was about Isabelle de Piaget.  She’s the youngest daughter and pretty sheltered.  She gets a note from someone telling her she has to show up in France or her family is in danger.  She manages that but shipwrecks and loses her memory for a short time. She’s rescued by Gervase who is a injured, grumpy sourpuss who for can’t stop thinking about the girl who’s now residing in his house.  The book is Gervase and Isabelle’s love story and of course solving the mystery of who wrote the note to Isabelle.  It was such a sweet book and I adored Gervase and Isabelle together.  4 out of 5

Next was Bite Me by PJ Schnyder.  This was a re-read for me.  I wanted to get on to books 2 & 3 in the series but needed to reacquaint myself with the story line. The story is about zombies in London and the werewolf alpha who fell in love with a human.  I found the novella to be just as good the second time around.  You can read my review of this story here.  4 out of 5

Next was Sing for the Dead by PJ Schnyder.  This is book 2 in the London Undead series and pretty much continues where Bite Me left off, I think.  The story is about a were-panther who is in London to help with the zombie invasion and meets a woman who is part beserker, part bean sidhe (Banshee).  She’s an interesting mix of calm and crazy and the pair fall for each other.  I liked the characters and the story in this one but the romance was pretty slim and the two fell in love really quickly. 3.5 out of 5

The Alpha Meets His Match by Georgette St. Clair has a temperamental wolf shifter, Jax, works for a security firm making money to send his younger brother through medical school.  He takes a case that has him looking for the cause of something they call the Rage virus as it affects shifters adversely and sends them into a rage/killing spree.  Jax reluctantly teams up with Bobbi Jo, a coyote shifter, who he knows is his mate but neither wants to acknowledge it.  The story has a good twist to it at the end and I liked the story. 3.5 out of 5

Last for the week was Highland Thirst by Hannah Howell and Lynsay Sands.  This is a 2 story novel that tells the stories of Tearlach MacAdie and Heming McNachton.  The pair are gathing info on their enemies (they’re vampires) and are captured by the enemies instead.  Each are taken to different places and tortured.  Tearlach is captrued along with Lucy who is being held until she agrees to marry the bastard who’d torturing Tearlach.  Heming is saved by the niece of the man who is torturing him.  Both stories were very good and I love the medieval/paranormal blend.  I’m looking forward to reading more of the two families. 4 out of 5

My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
The Devil’s Temptation by Toni De Palma

Happy Reading!


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What I Read Last Week

Posted April 15, 2014 by Tracy in Features | 0 Comments

Hello folks!

How the heck are ya?

I’m doing well. It’s Holy Week and since I work at a church that means that I’m working my tail off to get everything done in time. Because of that I’m going to be VERY brief in my post today and basically tell you what I read and their ratings. 

The Devil’s Triangle (re-read) by Toni De Palma.   I started off the week with a re-read. This is a YA book that I read for The Book Binge a year or so ago, I think, and it was just as good the second time around.  The story is about The story is about a guy who dies and is sent back to earth to help a girl named Grace. He’s given a month but he’s not sure what he’s supposed to do about Grace because he’s given no information. The story has heaven, the devil, his minions and romance all wrapped in one story.  Really good.  You can read my original review here on Book Binge. 4.5 out of 5

The Devil’s Temptation by Toni De Palma. This story is a continuation of the previous book.  We have Grace and Cooper (who is now alive and well) about 8 months after the last book ended.  This one didn’t work for me as well as it had the devil working against the couple (again) and they weren’t really coing out on top.  You can read my full review here on Book Binge. 3.5 out of 5 

Always on My Mind by Bella Andre was Lori’s story.  She’s disillusioned after a break up and is wondering why she dances in the first place.  She drives randomly and ends up taking a job as a ranch hand (with no experience). The guy does everything in his power to get her to leave but she’s stubborn.  Of course they fall in love but the getting there was oh, so good. 🙂  You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

The Affair by Lily Maxton is about a widow who is finally out of mourning and is feeling a bit free only her parents treat her like she’s a walking scandal.  She meets a bookstore owner and they have an affair but he doesn’t believe that he’s good enough for her.  The story was pretty darned good and I enjoyed it.  3.75 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

The Eternal Highlander by Hannah Howell & Lynsay Sands.  Cathal McNachton and Connal MacAdie are highlanders but also vampires.  Cathal decides that they need to seek human brides so that they can try to dilute the vamp blood.  Not everyone is thrilled with this idea – especially the pureblood vamps.  The stories are Cathal’s and how he meets his bride and how Connall meets his. Both stories were good and I really enjoyed them.  4 out of 5

Grimm Consequences by Kate SeRine is a novella in the Transplanted Tales series.  The story takes place early in Nate and Red’s relationship and has to do with Nate staying with Red.  It was a good one.  You can read my review here4 out of 5

All I Want by Lynsay Sands. The story is about a girl, Prudence, and she’s out to save her family.  All her mother wants for Christmas is for her father to stop gambling and drinking before he puts them in the poor house and debtors prison.  Prudence sets out to keep him away from the club he gambles at and ends up falling for the owner of the club.  Prudence was a bit of a crazy woman and ends up doing some pretty stupid things but it was a cute story nonetheless.  3.5 out of 5

Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez.  This is a free story that was written for the m/m Goodreads group and is all based on a picture. Prisoner 374215 is constantly tortured and treated horribly in prison. He’s a shell of what he used to be.  He does have one guard that he’s not afraid of and eventually he learns more about him.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started this short story but it was really good and I’m so glad I read it. 4 out of 5

Island Peril by Jill Sorenson is a novella in the Aftershock series.  The story has Ella and Paul on the run from drug runners when they were just out for a day of exploration in the Channel Islands.  Another good one from Sorenson!  I’ll post my review soon. 3.75 out of 5

The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding by Stacy Reid.  An unexpected pleasure. This had a girl holding a duke at gunpoint insisting that he allow her to marry her brother who supposedly seduced her.  He refuses as the brother’s already married now but he marries her and tension and pleasure commence.  Though I wanted to slap both main characters at some point in the story I really liked it. lol  4 out of 5 (read for Book Binge)

All Roar and No Bite by Celia Kyle is the second book in the Grayslake series.  Lauren is trying to help her best friend who is married to the mayor but he’s an abusive asshole.  She meets Van who is a werebear but also a sheriff.  He wants her but she’s not sure she’s ok with the whole bear shifter thing as it freaks her out.  I liked both Van and Lauren in this book.  I was so happy that we finally got a heroine who wasn’t all gung ho to jump in bed after she found out the man she lusted after was a shapeshifter!  It’s about time! lol  It all worked out and it was a fun getting there. 🙂 3.5 out of 5



My Book Binge reviews that posted last week:
Betting the Rainbow by Jodi Thomas
Can’t Stop Believing by Jodi Thomas
Between the Devil and Ian Eversea by Julie Anne Long
Stranded with a Hero by Karen Erickson, Coleen Kwan, Cindi Madsen and Roxanne Snopek

Happy Reading!


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Guest Review: Highland Master by Hannah Howell

Posted December 11, 2013 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Highland MasterJen’s review of Highland Master (The Murrays #19) by Hannah Howell.

Lady Triona McKee’s life is under desperate siege. The marriage she thought would answer her dreams has left her struggling alone to provide for her people, while an arrogant kinsman prepares to take her land. But one look into the cynical green eyes of her cousin’s boldest knight warns Triona that even a promise of help is just as dangerous. . .

Betrayal taught Sir Brett Murray to make protecting others his only life. Still, the growing desire he can’t help but feel for this entrancing widow makes him long to earn more than her trust. But in trying to save all she cherishes, he can’t see how an honor-scarred knight can stay in her world and her heart. . .unless he risks everything to prove his love is now and forever always. . .

This is book 19 (!) in the Murray series by Hannah Howell, though I didn’t realize that when I started the book. Highland Master focuses on Lady Triona McKee, a widow and laird of Banuilt, her former husband’s land. She is an excellent laird, despite the objections of many who think a woman should not be a leader and despite the efforts of her devious neighbor to force her into marriage. Her situation is getting desperate as her neighbor gets more destructive and hurtful to her clan. Then her cousin Arianna arrives for a visit. She brings knights from her clan as protection, one of whom is Sir Brett Murray. Brett and the other knights realize Triona is in trouble and set out to help, though it ends up being much more complicated than any of them expected.

This book was really a mixed bag for me. Let’s start with what I liked:

  • Triona is a great character. I love a practical, self-aware heroine, and Triona definitely belongs in that category. She tries to be grateful for what she has. She is self-sufficient and competent, but she isn’t a martyr and takes help when it’s offered. She doesn’t whine or complain, but she’s no Mary Sue either. She gets angry when it’s deserved, is stubborn, and while she’s modest she can acknowledge her strengths. I loved hearing her story.
  • While some parts of the book plodded, other parts were exciting and fast paced, especially toward the last third of the story. I am a sucker for stories where the heroine is in danger but plays some role in her own salvation. While Brett and his buddies do need to “rescue” her a few times, Triona doesn’t just sit back and let everyone else do the rescuing either. There isn’t really any battle action, but there are some exciting chase scenes and some good confrontations with the villain.
  • I enjoyed the sort of world building Howell did with Banuilt. The picture painted of the land and the people was moving and added a rich background to the story. You could really see their connection to each other and understand how they came to be in their desperate situation.

But, there were a lot of things I didn’t like too:

  • I really, really dislike when Scottish historicals try to estimate the accent and lingo. It is verra, verra distracting, and often ye dinnae ken what is being said on the first read. Och! It doesn’t make it historically accurate, just frustrating to read. I realize this is more an issue of personal preference than book quality, but it still grates on my nerves.
  • Major instalust between Brett and Triona. They are already fantasizing about each other from the very first meeting. It seemed quite out of character for both of them.
  • The book is long for no good reason. There is so much repetition that it drove me insane. How many times do we need to have a character opine on how knights and travelers must have settled Banuilt because it was so peaceful, or how Banuilt was previously such a good ally with the neighboring clan? I got it the first time–no need to keep repeating. I feel like this book would have been greatly improved by some ruthless editing.
  • On a related note, the book plodded along in many places. I think one of the best examples is the ending. After the big climax, the book keeps going and going. First Brett leaves and there are all kinds of scenes of him and Triona apart. Then he returns and I was thinking “Finally! They just need to have it out and they’ll be at their HEA,” but nope. His visit drags on, and then when they do finally work some of it out, there’s still more miscommunication going on that takes even longer to get resolved. I was genuinely getting annoyed and just wanted the book to end…and then there’s a still freaking epilogue! As I said, this book just takes too long to get to where it’s going, which made reading parts of it tedious.
  • Men in this book are pretty much evil, misogynistic women-haters or perfect male specimens of 21st-century feminism, with nothing much in between. There is a priest who is totally on board with marrying Triona against her will and allowing her new husband to rape her because he thinks women are worthless. Contrast that with all the Murrays who are absurdly women-friendly and open-minded. One scene that actually made me laugh is when Brett and Triona are first getting naked and she’s embarrassed because she has some “birthing scars” (which I assume means stretch marks?). She tries to cover up but he stops her:

    “They are the scars of a woman giving life to a child, scars as hard-won and honorable as any a noble warrior wears.”

  • It’s not that I don’t agree with the sentiment, but the idea of ANYONE, let alone a rugged Scottish knight, saying that during foreplay just made me giggle. I don’t really enjoy misogynism in my books, but I also don’t need them to be quite so didactic.

While I really liked the premise of this book, the characters, and some of the plot, there were just so many frustrating things about it that it didn’t all work for me.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

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


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