Tag: Medieval

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

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

three-half-stars


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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, In Bed with a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #1), Seduction of a Highland Lass (McCabe Trilogy, #2), Never Love a Highlander (McCabe Trilogy, #3)
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: September 27, 2011
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 323
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four-stars
Series Rating: 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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Guest Review: On Highland Time by Lexi Post

Posted June 1, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: On Highland Time by Lexi PostReviewer: Tracy
On Highland Time (Time Weavers Inc. #1) by Lexi Post
Series: Time Weavers Inc. #1
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Time Travel
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

For fans of sexy Scottish Highlanders who know how to treat a woman like a lady.

When someone changes history, affecting the future, Diana Montgomery, the most experienced agent of Time Weavers, Inc., travels back to 1306 Scotland to change it back. Her mission, to find the culprit and ensure a minor clan chief dies in battle as he originally had.

Diana is well-prepared to infiltrate the small MacPherson clan. What she’s not prepared for is Torr MacPherson, the ruggedly handsome warrior with a kind heart and a steadfast loyalty—the Laird she’s supposed to ensure dies.

Diana is a member of a group called TWI, Timer Weavers Inc.  When they are made aware of something that changed in the past, but wasn’t supposed to change, TWI steps in to put things back to normal.  When Diana wakes up one day and her mansion is pretty much in the middle of a slum, the group knows that something in history changed.  She gets instructions from the head of TWI to go back to medieval Scotland.  Apparently a Scottish Laird, Torr MacPherson, was supposed to die, but didn’t, and this changed everything.  There is another group that TWI calls Disruptors and they go around changing history. I had no clue by the end of the book why they disrupt anything, but I guess it’s job security for TWI.

Diana is sent back to 1306 Scotland where she is to ensure that the Laird does indeed die when he’s supposed to and to try to find out who the Disruptor is.  She sets herself up as a relative of someone in the clan that had passed and tries to stay inconspicuous.  Unfortunately, she catches the eye of the Laird and starts to have feelings for him and he for her.  How can she ensure that he dies when she wants to spend the rest of her life with him?  She can’t stay in 1306 Scotland as it will change the course of history forever.

This was a cute story that I enjoyed reading, to a point.  When I first began reading I kept thinking that I was missing something because the way it was written made it seem like there was maybe a previous book in the series, but that’s not the case.  Because I was a little lost the story didn’t flow well for me at first.  I don’t think it was ever explained how exactly Diana’s boss, the elusive Jules who only speaks to Diana telepathically and who Diana has never met, knows exactly when in history the changes are made by the Disruptors.  Diana woke up and saw her neighborhood was a slum.  Ok, but how does Jules know exactly which point in history caused this to happen?  I have no idea.  There are also a couple of other characters in TWI that were unexplained.  There was one guy, Arthur, who “downloaded” stuff into people’s brains.  What?  It was nuts, and frustrating to not know what was going on.  Why were these people blindly following this person they’ve never met?

The romance between Diana and Torr was kind of sweet but Diana was worrying so much the entire time it was hard for me to enjoy it fully.  Torr didn’t want to fall in love so that was a big obstacle.  Then something happens near the end of the book (that I can’t tell you about) and Torr gets so incredibly pissed at Diana I thought it was over.  Of course I would have been pissed at her too, so I felt his pain.  Unfortunately he got over being pissed way too quickly for me – I would have liked to have seen him take more time to think things over.  IDK, maybe it was just me.

Overall not a bad book but there was too much of the unknown for my liking.  I needed answers to a lot of questions by the time I ended this book.

Rating: 3 out of 5  

three-stars


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Excerpt: Deception by Kris Kennedy

Posted November 30, 2017 by Holly in Promotions | 0 Comments

Kris Kennedy recently re-released a revised edition of Deception, an amazing medieval romance. I love all of her medievals. If you didn’t catch this the first time around, go forth and download!

Excerpt: Deception by Kris KennedyDeception by Kris Kennedy
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 31st 2012
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
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England, 1294USA Today bestselling author brings you a scorching hot, second-chance romance with a warrior on a mission of revenge & the woman who might just make him give up everything…even his life.

First he loved her. Then he abandoned her. Now he’s the only one who can save her.

A dashing con man on a mission of revenge…Irishman Kier once served as the ‘Piper,’ enticing wealthy, unscrupulous men into dealings with other wealthy, unscrupulous men. It was a lucrative way of life for a man without a conscience, and he was very, very good. But now he’s on a mission of revenge, and the men who once betrayed him are about to pay. He’s planned for everything, from how he’ll lure them in, to how he’ll hammer the last nail into their coffins. He’s planned for everything. Except the one woman who can bring the whole thing crashing down around him.

A woman in peril with secrets to protect… Sophia Darnly is stunned by the reappearance of the outlaw lover who abandoned her years ago. And furious. And desperate. Fleeing with a document that contains the most damning details about the wealthiest men in England, she’d being hunted by dangerous men, and has no choice but to do the most dangerous thing of all: turn to Kier to save her.

A game that could get them both killed Time has not erased Sophia from Kier’s heart, nor tamed her fiery spirit. But Kier is on a mission of revenge, and can’t allow even the woman he once loved to stop him.

When Sophia forces herself into Kier’s schemes, he has no choice but to join forces. Posing as a wealthy shipping widow and her agent, the duo set a trap for their targets, but the coals of their rekindled passion burn hotter than either of them could have imagined. And when they discover they, too, are the targets of a deadly deception, the fate of their love, and of England itself, lies in the balance.

Romantic Times’ K.I.S.S. Award, Best Historical Romance Hero of the Year

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || GOOGLE

Excerpt

KIER STOOD AT THE TOP of the stairs, watching the brigands descend into the muddy courtyard below. He stood under the slanting rain, motionless.

Then he turned and stared through the open doorway at her.

He looked like sin. His hair was dripping dark and wet over his face. His clothes were molded to his form, tunic slack and pressed to his body, breeches tight, black boots gleaming, as were the dark eyes pinned on her.

“Where were you going, Sophia?”

It was quietly said. So quiet it made a shiver run through her body, chest to belly.

“Where were you going with the ledger?”

“Kier, stop,” she said in a low, warning tone.

He kicked the door shut behind him.

Her breasts pricked with hard shivers. “Kier, stop,” she said firmly, but the resolve in her words was belied by the way she started backing up, one hand behind her, feeling for obstacles as she went. She bumped into a bench and backed around it.

“Where were you going?” His eyes never left hers as he came forward, shoving the bench out of his way. “To Cosimo? Or had you others in mind? Perhaps you meant to sell it to the highest bidder?”

“Kier, stop.”

“Surely you could have offered me rights of first refusal, could you not, now?”

His Irish was getting stronger as his emotions ratcheted up. Jagged chills raked across her chest.

“How much do you want?” he rasped. “A hundred? A thousand?”

She shook her head wildly and tripped backward another step. Her knees hit the bed and she dropped onto it.

“Kier, no, you must see—”

“See what? Perhaps you were evening the score, aye? I left you, now you leave me?”

She scooted away across the mattress, pushing with her elbows and heels. “No, ’tisn’t—”

He closed his hand around her ankle.

“Oh, Jésu,” she whispered as he pulled her toward him, bundling the sheets beneath her, until she was laid out beneath his towering body.

His eyes were like fury, his face like stone.

“You erred, lass,” he rasped.

She stifled a scream, kicked hard into him, and launched herself over the bed and took off running for the door. She made it two steps before his arm closed around her waist, stopping her like an iron bar. He yanked her back into his chest and the raw, barely-restrained power of him.

“You wanted to negotiate? Let’s negotiate,” he said, his breath hot in her ear.

About the Author

Kris Kennedy

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS

I used to work in an office, write a lot of reports, have a lot of clients. I also used to cut out early whenever I could, to write down the stories that kept coming to me. I’d been known to turn the car around mid-commute, to rush home and write down ideas rushing through my mind, before they disappeared into the mists again.

Now I write big, sweeping, super sexy romantic adventures full time. Well, part time. Whenever I’m not mom-ing. Which is an adventure all its own…

I write stories set in the wild and windswept middle ages. Hard heroes. Smart heroines. Big adventures. Mayhem. Villains. Grand love stories. Loads of sexytimes.

Did I mention the sexytimes?

The stories have won many awards, from RWA’s Golden Heart(R) Award, to the National Readers’ Choice Award, to Romantic Times’ Magazine K.I.S.S Award for Best Historical Hero of the Year. They’ve received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and been featured on many ‘Best Of The Year’ lists.


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Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland

Posted April 3, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Ever My Love by Lynn KurlandReviewer: Tracy
Ever My Love by Lynn Kurland
Series: MacLeod series #10
Also in this series: Till There Was You
Publisher: Jove
Publication Date: April 4th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Time Travel
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Two people are caught up in love—and in time—in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Stars in Your Eyes.

In search of a fresh start, Emma Barton has traveled to Scotland to try to forget her rocky love life. Luckily, the gorgeous Highlander who owns the house up the path from her rental cottage might be exactly the kind of distraction she needs. But there’s more to his intriguing qualities than she can explain—and she certainly isn’t buying into the local legends of Highland magic.

Nathaniel MacLeod is a man adrift, all thanks to the unwanted gift that forces him to continually jump between centuries. He never knows if he’ll wind up in the present day or the fourteenth century, but when Emma follows him back through time, he suddenly has more to worry about than keeping his separate lives straight…

Someone has started to notice Nathaniel’s travels and now, no time period is safe, for him or for Emma.

Nathaniel MacLeod has been traveling back in time off and on for the past 5 years.  When he hears or sees a certain date he feels the time portal open and he knows that he must get back to medieval Scotland as soon as possible.  He doesn’t know why it’s him that has to go or what the purpose is of him being there but he’s determined to figure it out.

Emma Baxter is in England to get away from her life in England.  She’s pretty much hiding from her ex-boyfriend an trying to figure out what she needs to do next in her life.  She meets Nathaniel because his is a neighboring home to the cottage she’s staying in.  They are instantly attracted to each other but Nathaniel seems to have so many secrets.

When Emma ends up stepping through a time gate and ends up in a dungeon it’s Nathaniel that has to save her.  When she does it again and the exact same events occur Nathaniel knows that he needs to figure out what part Emma plays in his time traveling but he’s not sure he can fix it and keep her with him at the same time.

This was another good book by Kurland.  I’ve only read a few books in the MacLeod series but I think after reading this one that I might have to go back and take care of that lack as meeting Nathaniel’s relatives, Patrick, Ian and Jamie was awesome. They helped both Emma and Nathaniel in many ways and seemed to be very good men.

While I really liked Both Emma and Nathaniel in this book and liked watching their relationship develop, there was a certain disconnection I felt with the book.  I’m not sure if the term is “disjointed” but I felt like the story was all over the place.  It may have been the lack of information we received about Emma and her situation back home as well as the secrets that Nathaniel was keeping about his work and family.  This issue definitely got better as the book went on and we got more info on them.  The latter part of the book was what saved this one for me.

I also was a little disappointed in the physical contact between Emma and Nathaniel.  Yes, I know that Kurland’s books are clean – no sex – but this one had them kiss once.  Once!  And that was a peck if I remember correctly.  I don’t mind clean books but I definitely think the H/h need to have a bit more contact throughout the book – at least more than a peck. But that’s just me. 🙂

While definitely not my favorite book in the series it was a good one that I found entertaining.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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