Tag: Murray Family series

Guest Review: Highland Devil by Hannah Howell

Posted July 23, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Highland Devil by Hannah HowellReviewer: Tracy
Highland Devil (Murray Family #22) by Hannah Howell
Series: Murray Family #22
Also in this series: Highland Groom
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 352
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

When a red-haired woman tries to steal Sir Gybbon Murray's horse on his journey back to the Murray stronghold, he thanks his lucky stars that his horse is a rude lout—and that the pretty thief is not so injured that she can't tell her tale. He's no nursemaid to delicate lasses, but Mora Ogilvy is fleeing her ruthless cousins, fearing for her life. And when she tells him of the home they've taken from her and the man they say she murdered, Gybbon cannot let such injustice stand.

Mora's pride demands she take back her lands, but not by risking the lives of this handsome, wicked knight and his family. Still, she needs to recover from her wounds, and staying close to Gybbon in his brother's keep is a seductive solution. A few weeks at his side will be a sweet memory for her when she returns to fight her own battles. Except the depth of her cousins' treachery—and the fierceness of Gybbon's love—may turn her own heart against her plans.

Mora is on the run from her evil cousin.  He admitted to her that he killed her parents and she just manages to get her seven-year-old brother, Daniel, on the run before he tries to stab her.  She gets away from him and heads off to her mother’s family, the Camerons.  While on the run she comes across a man with a horse and decides to steal the horse.  Unfortunately the horse doesn’t take well to strangers and bucks her off.

The own of the horse is Gybbon Murray.  He takes pity on Mora and offers to take her to Sigimore Cameron as he knows him well.  Sigimor agrees to help Mora as the Camerons hate the fact that her cousin, the Laird’s son, is trying to take the property from her.  With the help of the Camerons, McFingals and Murrays they help Mora figure out a way to save what’s left of her family and her property.

I had mixed emotions about this book.  You’ll see that I gave it 3.5 stars but I have to admit that is for the whole my-cousin-is-trying-to-kill-my-family part of the story – which is most of it.  I liked how the three clans get together to deal with the Ogilvy Laird and his psycho son.  The humor is high in the book and that definitely kept me reading.

What I didn’t care for in this book was the romance.  It was low on romance.  Ok, it was almost non-existent, actually.  I hate to say that but it’s true!  Mora and Gybbon meet and then they start dealing with her family issues immediately afterward.  He randomly kisses her a time or two as he’s feeling possessive but really it’s just about spending time together as they deal with her cousin.  The fact that the author had them falling in love so quickly was a bit of a shock.  I know this is how things happened back then, but I need my romance! Lol

In the end the 3.5 stars are for the family part of the book.  If I had to rate this on romance alone, I’m sorry to say it would have been a 1.5.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Murray Family


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

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
Also in this series: Highland Devil (Murray Family #22)
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 276
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books

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


Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,