Tag: Medieval historical

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: When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall

Posted November 15, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia CornwallReviewer: Tracy
When a Laird Finds a Lass by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #2
Also in this series: Beauty and the Highland Beast, The Lady and the Highlander
Published by Swerve
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Medieval, Historical, Romance
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four-stars

She is his greatest enemy and his only salvation.

Malcolm MacDonald, a lawyer in Edinburgh, unexpectedly inherits his father’s title of Laird of Dunbronach, forcing him to return to a place he hasn’t seen since he was a small child. To gain the trust of a wary clan, Malcolm must act upon their insistence that he cast aside his English betrothed and marry a Highlander.

However, they have one condition—no lasses of the barbaric clan MacLeod.

When he finds an unconscious woman in the sea, he brings her back to his clan but not before doing the one thing that could save her life—hiding her all too telling MacLeod plaid. When she wakes with no memory of who she is, Malcolm vows to keep the little he knows about her identity a secret. As new dangers threaten his clan, the mysterious lass teaches Malcolm some very important lessons about how to be a Highlander and a laird.

But secrets never stay secret for long, and when she finds her plaid, her memory returns and she flees. Malcolm is forced to make a difficult choice to win her back, facing his darkest fears and his worst enemy for a chance at true love.

Malcolm McDonald is a lawyer and living his life when he finds men from the MacDonald clan in his rooms.  They tell him that his father has died and that on his deathbed he named Malcolm as the next Laird.  Malcolm and his mother left his home and father when he was just a young boy and he’s certainly not about to change his whole life now.  He appeases the men by agreeing to go to Dunbronach and he plans on making some changes, getting a steward and then returning to Edinburgh where he can live his life in peace.  He has NO desire to be the Laird of a clan.

When he’s at Dunbronach he gets away one morning to think on things and finds a woman unconscious on the beach and wrapped in a MacLeod plaid.  He’s been told that the MacLeod’s and the MacDonald’s have been enemies for four centuries – but of course nobody remembers what the original argument was about.  So when Malcolm finds this woman with the MacLeod plaid he hides the plaid and takes her to the healer.  When she awakens she doesn’t know who she is or why she was on the beach.  She stays at Dunbronach and soon she’s falling in love with Malcolm and he’s falling in love with her and everyone else is falling in love with her as well – too bad they have no idea she’s a MacLeod!  So what happens when the truth comes out?

I always love a good amnesia story and this one was definitely good.  I loved Ronat (the girl that couldn’t remember her name) so much.  (She was named Ronat because it means “seal” and one of the girls in the clan is just sure that she’s a selkie.)  Ronat steals your heart and that of Malcolm as well.  The story was fun and interesting and I loved reading about the pair falling in love.  Malcolm had horrible guilt because he knew she was a MacLeod but he was busy trying to save his place as Laird.  Yes, he had finally decided that that was where he was supposed to be but one of his clan members had called in a distant cousin to take over who was a right bastard.   Between trying to keep the women from his cousin, Maccus, from the women cuz he’s know for raping them when he gets drunk and trying to woo Ronat without letting her know that he knows, vaguely, who she is, Malcolm is kept very busy indeed.  Of course all secrets get found out and when Ronat finds out Malcolm’s secret she’s not sure she wants anything to do with him anymore…but maybe?  Lol

It was a good story and I liked all the ins and outs of it.  It was never a dull book by any means and one that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Immortal Defender by Lisa Hendrix

Posted October 27, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Immortal Defender by Lisa HendrixReviewer: Tracy
Immortal Defender by Lisa Hendrix
Series: Immortal Brotherhood #4
Published by Berkley, InterMix
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Genres: Medieval, Magic, Paranormal
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three-half-stars

Return to the realm of the Immortal Brotherhood with a new paranormal romantic adventure featuring a crew of Viking warriors condemned to live out eternity as were-creatures...

In her Defender's strong arms, she has no defense...

Part of a band of Viking warriors cursed by an evil sorceress, Torvald has searched for years for a magic that can free him from his fate—to live forever as a were-creature, a man by night, a stallion by day. While studying with the alchemist to Queen Elizabeth, Torvald meets the lovely widow Josian Delamere and hopes she might be the one woman who can save him.

Unwilling to give up the independence of her widowhood, Josian expects to become merely lovers, but Torvald's tender seductions make her yearn for more. Just as she’s poised to surrender her heart, a hidden enemy reveals Torvald’s secret to her—and she flees the dark magic that surrounds him, in fear for her very soul.

The proud warrior can win any battle, but he cannot surmount the pain of losing Josian. Yet when her life is threatened, he will risk it all to come to the defense of the one woman who means more to him than his own salvation...

Torvald is a Viking warrior who was cursed long ago, alone with many others, to live a life of half man, half stallion.  By day he is man but when the sun sets he turns into a white stallion.

He is in London staying with a friend when he meets Josian Delamere.  They find a mutual desire in each other and some months later he heads to her home and they begin a tryst.  Unfortunately, not long after they begin Josian comes across Torvald and his friend Ari at sunset and sees Torvald turn into a stallion and Ari turn from a raven to a man.  She leaves her home and runs to her family’s estate.

Her brother-in-law is losing his mind and he decides to head to London to spout his ravings about the queen and his disloyalty to her.  Of course if one of the family is disloyal that means the entire family is disloyal as well, right?  So the entire family gets hauled off to the Tower – including Josian as she was staying with them.

Torvald feels responsible for her being there but he also finds himself falling for her. He works to get her freed from the Tower but once he does Josian is determined to find the papers that will prove the rest of her family is innocent of any wrong-doing and is loyal to the crown.  Torvald, Ari and two other cursed Vikings all help Josian in her quest and while they are together Josian finds herself falling in love with Torvald.  Could she be the woman who could break his curse?

I have to say I waited a darned long time for this fourth book in the Immortal Brotherhood series.  It’s been five years since book 3 was released but I really liked the series back then so thought I’d give this one a shot.  It was hard to remember all of the characters but I soon got into the story.  The first part of the book was slow for me.  I picked it up and put it down several times until I finally got into it – so be warned.

Torvald was a great hero.  He was strong and caring, conscientious and protective.  When Josian first sees Torvald changing she thinks he’s a demon and continues with her disdain through a goodly portion of the book.  I didn’t care for that but it didn’t sway Torvald or his feelings toward her.  He just did his best to help – not matter how Josian felt about him personally.

Josian was a bit much to take at some points in the book.  It was hard for her to deal with the whole changing thing but once she saw how her cousin dealt easily with the changes she opened herself to hearing what the men really were.  Imho that took too long into the story as I would have loved to have seen Torvald and Josian together for longer but that didn’t happen.

Overall it was a good story and definitely was interesting once Josian and her family were arrested.  I will definitely be reading the next in this series as I like the concept so much.  Hopefully we won’t have to wait another five years. 😉

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Highland Deception by Lori Ann Bailey

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

Guest Review: Highland Deception by Lori Ann BaileyReviewer: Tracy
Highland Deception by Lori Ann Bailey
Series: Highland Pride #1
Published by Entangled: Select Historical
Publication Date: August 22nd 2016
Genres: Historical, Medieval
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four-stars

Scotland, August 1642

Maggie and Lachlan must fight their growing attraction, battling suspicion and intrigue as religious and political turmoil threaten to tear their clans apart.

He has sworn he will never marry.

Lachlan Cameron is honor bound to see a wounded lass to safety, although he has well learned women are deceivers, and this lovely maid harbors a wealth of secrets. But Maggie's free spirit and charms enthrall him while he works to discover if she is innocent…or a spy scheming with his enemies to destroy his clan.

She has sworn she will never fall in love.

Maggie Murray fled her home to avoid a political marriage to an abusive man. Salvation comes when the Cameron laird, unaware of her identity, protects her as she escapes. His kindness slowly warms her, and she’s tempted to confess her real name. But his strong sense of honor would force him to return her to her father…and torment at the hands of her scorned betrothed.

Maggie is terrified of marrying Conall Erskine, the monster that her father has betrothed her to. She’s been able to put off the wedding until her 21st birthday but the wedding is upon her now and she’s not about to go through with it. She dresses as a boy and leaves her father’s keep, luckily finding a horse not too far away, and taking it to get away. She plans to head for northern Scotland to join a convent. In a roundabout way she ends up with a party from the Cameron Clan and ends up falling for their Laird, Lachlan Cameron. She doesn’t want to because she had seen her mother constantly giving her love to her father with no reciprocation and she never wanted to be like her.

Lachlan Cameron was on his way to Edinburgh to deliver his cousin when he came across a Robbie who had been living with a priest. That priest had been killed and the church burned. Robbie heads off with the Cameron’s to Edinburgh but when he sees Conall Erskine he points his finger at him as the murderer of the priest. After that one of the Cameron men intercept a letter Conall has written stating his intentions of killing his own father for political gain.

Lachlan needs to get back to his land in order to notify the other Laird’s of the letter, and to keep Robbie safe from Conall. He has no idea who Maggie is as she won’t tell him but he also has no idea that she even knows Conall. Lachlan had been betrayed in the past by a woman and swore he would never marry and certainly never give his heart to a woman ever again. When he meets Maggie, however, he starts to change his mind. The problem is that he has no clue of her identity and doesn’t trust her. He might let his past guide his future and it may be the worst thing he’d ever done.

This was a good story of love, trust, betrayal and faith. I really enjoyed seeing Lachlan and Maggie come together and work out their differences. Yes, it took a while and yes, Lachlan had major trust issues (which were frustrating, I must admit) but it all worked out in the end. It finally came down to trusting each other and having faith that the one they loved would never turn on them. I really liked that part of it all.

Maggie was a really strong heroine. She had put up with a lot during her short lifetime and while it could have broken her in so many ways it actually ended up making her a much stronger person. She knew what she wanted, and what she didn’t want, and didn’t let anyone stand in her way. Her mother had done a number on her before she had killed herself. Constantly telling Maggie how much she loved and hated her father as he cheated on her all the time. It truly had given Maggie a extremely skewed view of men overall so yeah, Maggie certainly had her own trust issues when it came to Lachlan.

Lachlan was a great guy. You could really tell what kind of man he was by the love and loyalty he was shown by his clan. Except for one person he was admired and respected. That told me a lot about him. The fact that he was trying to do the right thing with the information he had about Conall showed that he did things the right way rather than to take matters into his own hands. Yes, as I said, he had some major trust issues that got a bit old by the end but as he loved Maggie so much he was easily swayed back towards her in the end.

Overall a good highlander love story that was definitely worth reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall

Posted June 21, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia CornwallReviewer: Tracy
Beauty and the Highland Beast by Lecia Cornwall
Series: A Highland Fairy Tale #1
Also in this series: When a Laird Finds a Lass, The Lady and the Highlander
Published by Macmillan, Swerve
Publication Date: June 21st 2016
Genres: Romance, Historical, Scottish
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three-half-stars

Powerful and dangerous highlander Dair Sinclair was once the favored son of his clan, The Sinclairs of Carraig Brigh. With Dair at the helm, Sinclair ships circled the globe bringing home incredible fortune. Until one deadly mission when Daire is captured, tortured and is unable to save his young cousin. He returns home breaking under the weight of his guilt and becomes known as the Madman of Carraig Brigh.

When a pagan healer predicts that only a virgin bride can heal his son’s body and mind, Daire’s father sets off to find the perfect wife for his son. At the castle of the fearsome McLeods, he meets lovely and kind Fia MacLeod.

Although Daire does his best to frighten Fia, she sees the man underneath the damage and uses her charm and special gifts to heal his mind and heart. Will Daire let Fia love him or is he cursed with madness forever?

Dair Sinclair was once a man who would took risks like no man his clan had ever seen.  That brought his clan great wealth and they all loved him to pieces.  Until of course he came home after being captured and tortured and sent home a broken man.  Nothing his father does will break Dair out of his ravings and his wounds don’t heal properly.  The Laird (Dair’s father) sends for the local healer who doesn’t have a clue what to do.  She states, in a moment of fear, that only a virgin bride will heal Dair, the Laird sets off to find one.

The Laird ends up at the MacLeod holding after he hears that MacLeod has a load of daughters he needs to marry off.  He meets Fiona who goes by Fia while there and asks that she come try her healing on his son.  Fia agrees and heads off to Carraig Brigh with Dair’s father and her sister Meggie.  When she arrives Dair is up and about with his physical wounds healing but his emotional ones are still bad.  He had to watch his cousin get raped, tortured and hanged and he relives it every night.  He scoffs at Fia being able to help him but he finds that she does.  Of course someone who doesn’t want Dair to get well spreads rumors that Fia must be a witch because that’s the only way that Fia could have helped Dair.

While Fia was only brought to help Dair and Meggie supposedly to marry him, Fia finds herself falling in love with the man.  Of course Dair doesn’t believe he can have happiness and that puts a damper on things but it can’t stop him from falling for Fia as well.  The each have physical and emotional scars to deal with but together they can conquer anything.

This was a sweet story.  Yes, it’s a fairy tale but it was done well.  Though it was the Beauty and the Beast story I liked how she made Fia have scars as well.  They didn’t take away from her beauty and that beauty was from within as well.  I loved Dair and Fia together and how they worked through their differences time and again.

The villain in the story was quite obvious from the get go.  I didn’t like the person from the first time they were introduced onto the page and that continued.  There weren’t any surprises in the story but it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to the next in Lecia Cornwall’s fairy tale series.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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