Tag: McCabe Trilogy

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
Published by 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: Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted December 21, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Never Love a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
Never Love a Highlander by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #3
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, In Bed with a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 305
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

In a tale of strong ties and true love, Maya Banks' trilogy comes to its conclusion, as the youngest McCabe brother uses sword and seduction to save his clan - and seal his heart.

Caelen McCabe’s young, reckless heart nearly destroyed his clan. Now, putting family loyalty above all else, he steps up to marry his older brother’s jilted bride and salvage the uneasy alliance between two clans. While beautiful Rionna McDonald is a fit wife for any man, Caelen trusts no woman, especially not this sweet temptress who torments him with white-hot longing.

As the sacrificial lamb in her father’s power game, Rionna will do her duty but vows to protect her heart and her pride from humiliation. Despite everything, though, the heat in Caelen’s touch melts her defenses, and she craves the sensual delights of a husband who guards his emotions as fiercely as his clan. But when the ultimate battle for the McCabe legacy is upon them, Rionna’s true warrior spirit emerges. She will risk the wrath of her father, the fury of her enemies, and her life to prove to Caelen that his wife’s love is too precious to lose.

We met Rionna in the first novel and she played a large part in the second novel. While I think it can stand alone, I would suggest reading the entire trilogy in order.

My heart really hurt for Rionna. She just wanted to be accepted for who she was. It was hard watching her and Caelen find their way with each other. Especially since Caelen was such a man. He would say and do things without realizing the impact he was having on her. It wasn’t that he was cruel, he just didn’t think. That almost made it worse, because his intentions were good. Had he taken the time to explain himself, a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided.

Once Caelen realized how hurt Rionna was, he made a real effort to temper his words and understand her. This is the reason I loved him. Despite his man-like tendencies in the beginning, it wasn’t long before he thought of himself and Rionna as a team. Despite his penis-driven stupidity, I really liked his character. He was a man’s man, but he wasn’t afraid to show his softer side. Is there anything sexier than a man willing to be soft with his woman?

While I enjoyed the story, I did think it was bogged down with too much “Scottish” dialect. Every other sentence started with ‘Tis or ‘Twas. Over time I found myself focusing on that more than on the story. Oddly enough, I didn’t notice this in the first two novels.

I also found the ending to be a little bit cheesy and over the top. Sweet, to be sure, but..maybe a bit too much for the story.

Having said that, I did enjoy the novel. Both characters were interesting and the plot was engaging. It really tugged at my heartstrings.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

four-stars


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Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted November 3, 2011 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Holly
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 351
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-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.

I heard quite a bit of buzz about this series being very similar to some of Julie Garwood’s early medieval novels. Since those are some of my favorite books, of course I had to read these. While I would agree there’s much about this book that’s reminiscent of early Garwood, there are also many differences. I felt like a lot of the humor from Garwood was missing. About halfway through the novel I stopped comparing the two and took this book on it’s own merits. Once I did that I really fell into the story.

Mairin Stuart is the bastard daughter of Alexander, King of Scotland. Before he died, Alexander gifted Mairin with an extremely large dowry and put into trust for her firstborn child one of the most coveted pieces of land in the country. The danger to her because of this is great, so she was hidden in a convent at an early age. Though she knew the possibility existed, she still wasn’t prepared when Duncan Cameron burst into the abbey and abducted her. Duncan is the kind of man she’s been hiding from all her life. He wants nothing more from her than a child so he can secure her dowry, then he plans to kill her. On the way to his keep they catch a young boy who is trying to steal a horse from Cameron.

Mairin rescues the boy, Crispin, and they eventually escape, but not until after Cameron beats Mairin severely. Although injured, she does her best to get Crispin home. When they’re found by Cripsin’s uncle, Mairin is afraid she’s swapping one brutal captor for another, despite Crispin’s assurances that his father will protect her.

Ewan McCabe is struggling to keep his clan going after an attack 8 years ago decimated his keep and most of his lands. Though he’s struggling to feed his people, he still has one of the strongest fighting forces in the Highlands. When his son disappears, he fears the worst. His relief when Crispin is returned is great, but so is his need for answers about how he came to be with the woman who is dressed in Cameron colors.

When Ewan realizes who Mairin is, he knows she’s the answers to his prayers. Her dowry will restore the clan to it’s former glory and the land she brings will cement the future for them all. But as time goes on it isn’t her dowry that Ewan is thinking about, it’s Mairin herself. The fiery woman captures his attention and his heart. There are many threats to them, however, and things aren’t easy.

Both Mairin and Ewan were very well written. Mairin is young and innocent, but she isn’t stupid. She knows she must marry a strong man with a large fighting force, because he’ll forever be defending her land and dowry. She’d been working with the abbess to find an acceptable husband, but hadn’t settled on one when she was abducted. I liked that she wasn’t silly or naive, thinking she’d hold out for love. She just wanted a place she could call her own, with a man who would protect her, her future children and offer her respect. Her practicality appealed to me.

I think too often romance novels focus too much on the word love. The angst the couple goes through over one or the other of them not saying that four letter word can be kind of over the top. Banks did an excellent job of showing us that they were falling in love, instead of just having them obsess over the other not saying it.

In the beginning Ewan and Mairin really butted heads over the proper way to run the keep and Mairin’s place in the clan. I found this to be believable and enjoyed the way Banks had them work through their problems. They argued and fought, but at the end of the day they wanted only the best for each other and their people. I especially liked how considerate Ewan was of Mairin’s feelings. Not at first – he is a man, of course – but once he realized his actions were hurting her he did his best to temper that.

That’s not to say they didn’t frustrate me at times. Mairin was stubborn and often silly in her actions. So was Ewan. I was especially annoyed during the first half of the novel.

The outside conflicts were interesting and worked well with the internal conflicts. Banks struck a good balance between the two, though I do wish a bit more detail would have been given to the final resolution. I was left feeling…unsatisfied. Maybe like I was being baited to read the sequel, which annoys me.Especially since it worked – I’m anxious for the next book.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks

Posted October 16, 2011 by Ames in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: In Bed with a Highlander by Maya BanksReviewer: Ames
In Bed with a Highlander by Maya Banks
Series: McCabe Trilogy #1
Also in this series: In Bed with a Highlander, Never Love a Highlander, Seduction of a Highland Lass
Published by Ballantine
Publication Date: August 30, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 351
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-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.

I really enjoy Maya Banks’ writing and I was really looking forward to this book. I haven’t read a highlander book in forever and In Bed With a Highlander fit the bill.

Now when I bought this book, Holly mentioned that quite a few people said it had some similarity to Julie Garwood’s early historicals. And I have to say, this is indeed the truth. For the first few chapters, I felt like I did back in the day when I had just discovered Julie Garwood and devoured her books. But there’s a BUT to that. Those early Garwood’s had this sly sense of humor that I felt was lacking in this book. And once I realized that, I quit comparing Maya to Julie and enjoyed the book on it’s own merits.

And it is enjoyable! Mairin is a royal bastard and as such, she’s been hidden away in a convent most of her life so her father’s enemies couldn’t find her and use her to gain access to the crown or her own holdings, which are very rich. But the time of reckoning has come because she’s been found. But Mairin is a fighter. And she escapes her captor even though he’s beaten her severely. She also escapes with a young boy who was caught trying to steal a horse. And that boy turns out to be laird Ewan McCabe’s son. So the two flee to the highlands, intent on young Crispen getting back to his father. Mairin and Crispen make it McCabe land and Mairin thinks she can go on her way, but Ewan is loathe to let her go. First of all, his son made him promise to protect her so the last thing Ewan will do is let her go! Especially in her condition. So he keeps Mairin. And once he figures out her identity, he figures the best way to protect her is to marry her. This is also beneficial for his clan because they’re still recuperating from a debilitating attack 8 years prior. Her dowry will aid them in getting back on their feet without worrying about starving in the winter. Win win.

Ewan quickly realizes that Mairin is a force to be reckoned with. Since she grew up in an convent, she always yearned for a family of her own. And since she’s now a McCabe, she’s determined to make a place for herself in the clan. And her efforts aren’t always in line with Ewan’s thoughts about the roles of women. LOL I liked the way these two butted heads and eventually worked things out between them. It was also very sweet how protective Ewan was of Mairin. He wasn’t in love with her when they married, but that quickly changed as he got to know her. I liked how he was determined to make her love him too.

I thought this was a good first installment to Maya Banks’ McCabe trilogy.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5.

McCabe Trilogy

three-half-stars


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