Tag: Dawn Halliday

Guest Review: Highland Surrender by Dawn Halliday

Posted June 10, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

Tracy’s review of Highland Surrender by Dawn Halliday

Determined to put his roguish past behind him, the Earl of Camdonn arranges to marry the proper Lady Elizabeth. But when an accident lands the Earl in the expert hands of a beautiful Highland medicine woman, all well-laid plans are thrown to the wind- and, just as in the old days, his passions run high…

Ceana MacNab has terrible luck with men. Resigning herself to the healing arts, she has steeled her heart against love. Then fate sends Cam her way. Even though he’s a well-bred Earl-and Ceana a low-born Highlander-their all-consuming passion may lead the way to lasting bliss.

Cam is on his way home after being in England for 5 months. He’s anxious to be there and introduce his household to his English lady betrothed, Elizabeth. But when they are almost home they are set upon by Highwaymen and Cam is shot. He is rescued by Ceana who is the local healer. Instantly Ceana and Cam have an attraction to each other. They have some pull that seems to cloud everything, including their judgement.

In the attack Elizabeth is taken from the carriage. She is thrown in the bushes and found by Cam’s stable master, Rob. Rob takes Elizabeth back to Camdonn castle but as with Ceana and Cam, Elizabeth and Rob feel a strange pull towards each other.

What happens when both Elizabeth and Cam figure out that they are in love with other people? And what happens when Elizabeth’s evil guardian and uncle finds out about Elizabeth and Rob?

This was the continuation of Cam’s story that began in Highland Obsession. Cam is trying to do what he feels is right and trying to forget what happened with Sorcha (when he kidnapped her from her marriage bed). He is determined to marry Elizabeth – even when he starts having these feelings for Ceana. But when he can’t deny himself any longer and goes after Ceana – she refuses him as there is a curse on her family and she cannot marry for fear that Cam would die. This certainly lends a more paranormal feel to the story, but while it was interesting I didn’t feel it added too much.

Then there’s Rob and Elizabeth. Elizabeth, for fear of retaliation from her evil uncle, is the perfect hostess and lady. She says the right thing and does the right thing but that’s not really who she is. She’s a little bit wild and when she starts having feelings for Rob and he for her she discovers that there’s way more to sex than she ever thought.

I enjoyed this story, I think, more than I did the first book in the series. I found Cam and Ceana, Rob and Elizabeth’s attraction to be very sweet and romantic at first. It was like a star-crossed lovers story and I very much enjoyed it.

Elizabeth’s uncle was just a mean bastard and I understand fully why she feared him but I thought that that part of it was taken just a tad bit too far. The beating of the ladies maid in order to keep Elizabeth in line was quite distasteful to me – but obviously it was to Elizabeth as well.

Overall I enjoyed the romances in this book. I’ll definitely be reading more from Halliday in the future.

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

Rating: 4 out of 5

You can read more from Tracy at Tracy’s Place

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What I Read Last Week

Posted May 17, 2010 by Tracy in Features | 14 Comments

It’s Monday again! I can’t believe the weekend went by so quickly but I guess that’s how it always is when you have days off.
This weekend was a bit crazy with kids. I took my oldest to get her 6th grade graduation/promotion pictures. These were actually retakes because when she had them done at school she had worn a t-shirt that said center of attention. lol They were pretty funny lookin. Anyway, we dressed her in the dress she’d planned on wearing for graduation – we bought it a month ago – and yeah, it was TOO SMALL! Well, we got it zipped enough to take the picture but there’s no way she’ll fit in it in another month. That girl really needs to stop growing. We then shopped for yet another dress – oy.
Then my youngest had to go to the doctor as well so we heaped that on the pile of weekend activities. She’s much better now though so it’s all good.
Other than the weekend the rest of the week was relatively quiet so that was nice.
All right – on to what I read…
First up was Big Bad Wolf by Christine Warren.  A rewritten and expanded version of Warren’s Fur Factor.  The book was just as good as the first time but it had a lot of editing issues which were annoying. You can read my review for The Book Binge here4 out of 5

Next up was Love Means…No Shame by Andrew Grey.  This was the story of Geoff who takes over his family farm after his father dies.  While there he meets Eli who is an Amish man who is taking a year away from the community.  Eli and Geoff start a relationship but Eli is concerned about his family and them being shunned if the community finds out he’s gay.  This was an incredibly good story.  I really liked Grey’s writing and his characters – they felt like old friends. I’ve already bought the other two in this series and plan on reading them soon. 4.5 out of 5

In and Out by LB Gregg was my next read and boy did I love this one.  You can read my thoughts here. 5 out of 5

I read the three books that are in the Lucani Lovers seris by Stephanie Julian for The Book Binge (I did a lot of TBB reading this week and plan to do more next week to catch my ass up!).  The first book was Kiss of Moonlight, the second was Moonlight Menage and the third was Edge of Moonlight.  All four books I found to be very good.  4 out of 5 for all the books.  I’ll let you know when my reviews post.
My Tracy’s TBR Challenge Read for the week was The Love Affair of an English Lord by Jillian Hunter.  I had a very hard time getting into the book and actually debated not finishing it – but I’m glad I stuck with it.  The story was about Dominic who was stabbed and thought dead.  He’s actually quite alive and after being chased ends up climbing in a window at his neighbors house and ends up in the closet in the trunk of her unmentionables.  Chloe Boscastle finds Dominic in the closet and is persuaded by him to not tell anyone he’s there. This begins a clandestine relationship that is very sweet and romantic.  I very much enjoyed the story and will look into seeing about reading about the rest of the Boscastle family. 4 out of 5
Next was Delicious by Shayla Black.  I really like Black as well as her alter ego, Shelley Bradley, but this book was not a favorite.  I met Luc in the previous story and expected him to be at least similar in personality.  This book showed him in a whole new light and frankly I didn’t like him very much at all.  I read this one for The Book Binge so will let you know when my review posts. 2.5 out of 5

Last book for the week was Highland Surrender by Dawn Halliday.  This was Cam’s story.  We met Cam in Highland Obsession and he was a little crazed.  This story showed him bringing his new English betrothed home to Scotland. They are set upon by Highwaymen and Cam is shot.  He is found by Ceana who is a healer and she takes care of him.  This is Cam and Ceana’s story as well as Rob (Cam’s half brother) and Elizabeth’s (the English lady) story.  I liked it.  Read this one for The Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts. 4 out of 5
My Book Binge review that have posted this week (besides the one above)
Happy Reading!

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Guest Review: A Highlander Christmas by Dawn Halliday, Cindy Miles and Sophie Renwick

Posted February 24, 2010 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Judith’s review of A Highlander Christmas by Dawn Halliday, Cindy Miles and Sophie Renwick

A lost beauty melts the cold heart of a Jacobite warrior in Dawn Halloiday’s “Winter Heat.” Stranded in a blizzard, Maggie MacDonald is rescued by Highland warrior Logan Douglas. But a tempest of another kind brews when Logan discovers that Maggie has been promised to a cruel suitor.

Sophie Renwick brings two strangers together with an unexpected Victorian “Yuletide Enchantment.” Isobel MacDonald is spending Christmas at her ancestral Highland estate when she loses her treasured clan pin in the woods. The enigmatic Prince Daegan offers his help in finding it, but the stranger’s charms are more powerful than she imagines.

And the haunts of the past bring new meaning to the holidays in Cindy Miles’ contemporary “A Christmas Spirit.” Paige MacDonald’s Highland tour takes a surprising turn when a storm forces her to seek refuge ina forbidding castle already inhabited by the dead-sexy spirit of Gabriel Munro.

The Scots of today have a way of declaring something they really like as being “lovely.” It is one of their favorite words, and truthfully, this collection of stories about members of the MacDonald Clan is lovely! Each novella has a very readable story line, with characters that hold their own and who engage the reader from the beginning of each story. The varied timeframes add to the interest but the unique spirit of the Highlands permeates each story. The first story is built around that unreal cultural tradition—at least to us who are alive now—that prohibits women from marrying someone of their own choice except in rare situations. The feudal ownership of women by the laird of each clan is hard for us to accept and even harder to read about nowadays, and this story is no exception. But the warrior who saves Maggie’s life is a man of honor and principle and their growing attraction and eventual love seem doomed by the laird’s friendship with a cruel and abusive clansman.

The second story is the stuff of which fairy tales are made. Who would dream of coming to a friend’s home in the Highlands and being abducted and enthralled by a ancient fairy Prince with whom the heroine falls in love? It is a seemingly gentle and quiet story but the writer surprises the reader as the tension grows and the happy ending of the story is in doubt.

The third story is quite unusual—who would have thought that a curator at the Smithsonian on vacation in the Highlands would fall in love with a nine-hundred-year-old ghost who is everything that Paige has dreamed or desired. How this crazy and wonderful relationship between a live and warm woman and a gorgeous Scots warrior ghost develops is just delightful and I found myself thinking of these two after finishing the story.

I love Scotland and I love Highland romances. So I am biased about this anthology and enjoyed it very much. Each of the writers has crafted a tale that is hard to put down and is, in its own way, inspiring. The power of love does indeed inspire all of us—that’s why we love to read romance. Whether in the Middle Ages or contemporary settings, everyone loves a lover and there’s lots to love here.

I give this book a 5 our of 5 rating
You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place
This book is available from NAL. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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What I Read Last Week

Posted January 5, 2010 by Tracy in Features | 16 Comments

Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a safe and fun New Year’s Eve. I tried to stay awake but just couldn’t! I finally turned the light off at 11:40pm because I just couldn’t stay awake any longer. lol

The girls went back to school today. They were actually excited to get back to all of their friends. I think that will last about a day and a half and then they’ll realize that with school comes homework! Oh well.

My hubby has been saying that he’s going to start Taekwondo with my youngest for months now. Yeah, that hasn’t happened – he’s put it off for one reason or another time after time. So for Christmas I signed him up for 4 months, got him a uniform and said he’d start January 5th. He was happy, but I think he’s a little afraid that he’ll not catch on quickly. He’s a smart guy so I know he’ll do fine. I’ll take pictures…he’ll hate that! lol As far as work is concerned I’m pretty darned glad the holidays are over.

My office is nutty around Christmas and Easter and it’s nice to have it settle down to being somewhat normal.

Oh and my mom, Judith, the woman who got me reading romance when I was 13, is now doing a guest reviews for The Book Binge! Her first review posted today – The Untamed Bride by Stephanie Laurens. She loved the book and said it very well. The woman is a Ph.D and knows how to write! This was one I gave her because I just couldn’t get through it. Just shows you that there’s something for everyone out there. 🙂

Hey – I found the picture of my eye tattoo! I knew I had it somewhere! Lol Here it is:) If you missed it you can see the cover up here.

On to what I read this week:

My first read was A Highlander’s Christmas by Dawn Halliday, Cindy Miles and Sophie Renwick. Three novellas in 3 different time periods with women who are linked by their clan pin that’s been handed down through the ages. You can read my review here.

Next up was Cheating Chance by James Buchanan. I really liked this story a lot. It was an m/m book that had an openly gay, goth agent for the Nevada Gaming Commission, Nick, and Brandon, an in the closet, biker boy cop with Riverside, CA PD meeting at a Goth convention in San Diego, CA. They hook up and then start an online relationship. The story covers the issues – long distance and of course Brandon’s closetedness (is that a word? It is now) – and pleasures of Brandon and Nick’s relationship. When Nick starts to be looked at as a person of interest in a murder, which he had nothing to do with it’s puts things on edge for both Nick and Brandon. This was just a fabulous book and I really liked both the relationship aspect of the book as well as Nick’s investigation into his former co-workers death. The attention to detail was so interesting when it could have very easily been dry. I will be reading the next book about Nick and Brandon. 4.5 out of 5

Next was my re-read for my Re-Read Challenge: Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie. You can read my review/thoughts here. 5 out of 5

On New Years Day I decided that I needed to read some of the manga that had come to me from the Great Yaoi Swap. My girls couldn’t understand how every time they came into the office where I was reading I was reading a different book. I kept saying: It’s like a comic book. They just didn’t get it. lol. Anyway, I started with Love a la Carte by Haruka Minami. I really liked the graphics in this one and the story about the members of a photography club were great. There was some borderline non-con sex, but it was ok. 4 out of 5

Manga #2 : Junior Escort by Sakurako Hanafubuki. I didn’t really care for this one much at all. I didn’t really like the main story of the 2 actors getting together. Then, dear Lord, there was a story in there about a 5th grader and a kindergartener. I. Shit. You. Not. It was horrifying and I was thoroughly disgusted. Just wrong! 2 out of 5 Manga #3: Rising Storm by Yuzuha Ougi. A guy takes a part-time job taking care of the horses for a rich family. The master of the castle decides he wants to be with him but decides that the only way that can happen is if it’s in the form of punishment for say, breaking things. It was a little weird at first but then was just amusing as the master kept putting priceless items right where the boy would break them. Pretty funny. But then it went into this dreamlike thing and got kinda bizarre. 3 out of 5
After that I delved into the latest saga with the Midnight Breed’s by reading Shades of Midnight by Lara Adrian. I didn’t particularly care for the last installment in this series so I was a little anxious to read this one. I have to say I really liked it. I thought that Kade’s story was really good and if you’ve been involved in the series I think you’ll like this one. There was a bit of a small pity party going on towards the end of the book but I didn’t think that it took all that much away from the story. 4.25 out of 5

After that was my Tracy’s TBR Challenge Read which was Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas. Why, you ask, would I buy a book right when it came out just to have it sit on my shelf for months? I have no friggin clue. That question is right up there with why is the sky blue and why do zebra’s have stripes. I don’t have the first idea and will probably never know. sigh Ah well. Anyway, I really liked the 3rd installment in the Hathaway series. Although I felt that Harry was a bit rough around the edges I liked his character a lot. Poppy was good for him and I liked seeing his transformation. I could have done with the last bit that was added in there (and if you’ve read the book you’ll know which bit I’m talking about) but it wasn’t awful – just unnecessary in my opinion. 4.5 out of 5
And last for the week was Captive Desires by Diane Whiteside – a book I read for The Book Binge. I’ll let you know when my review posts. That was it for me last week. I hope you have a great one! Happy reading!

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What I Read Last Week and My Vacation

Posted August 4, 2009 by Tracy in Features | 11 Comments

Hello again!

I hope you’re all doing well and that you had a good week. My plans to be on the computer a lot last week fell more than short but I had a wonderful vacation anyway.

I told you a little about the day we got there. After that we managed to make it to the KC Zoo where my oldest, who was in charge of the camera, managed to get lets of pictures of animal butts. WTF? lol She couldn’t quite explain that one but luckily she got their faces as well and the camera was digital so the delete button came in handy! 🙂 My sister, her s-i-l, my mother and my youngest and I all went out for my youngests birthday (my sister wasn’t around for her actual birthday so it was a delayed celebration) and went to the Webster House in KC which is a beautifully restored school house that was built in 1885. They have dining, antiques and a multitude of other things. My youngest thought she had died and gone to heaven. It was a fun day.

My father took us all out (and when I say all I mean there were 10 of us) to a Brazilian grill called Em Chamas which is in the town that my sister lives, Parkville. It is a fabulous place that offers incredible cuisine from southern Brazil (I of course thought of Ana who is from Brazil while I was there). It was pretty much a 2 course meal which starts with a buffet of 30 items: green salads, cold salads, seafood, cheeses, breads, mashed potatoes & steamed veggies, among other foods. Then when you are ready you flip over this little disc that is placed at each place setting and they start bringing the meat out: lamb, beef, pork, chicken – and 14 different kinds/flavorings (if you have a minute click on their menu). It’s amazing and so damned good! I’d have to say the Alcatra com Queijo (sirloin with provolone), the House Specialty (I can’t remember the name but it was the top of the top sirloin), and the pork ribs were my favs. Then when you’re done with the meat or just want to take a breather you flip your little disc over to the “no” side and they stop until you flip it back. Let’s just say we pretty much waddled out of there. lol

A lot of the time the kids just wanted to stay home and play pool in the basement. I seriously thought we were gonna have to start a 12 step program for my youngest since she was addicted to pool but since she’s been at my other sisters house (in Alabama) she’s calmed down (and yes they have a pool table as well).

My sister and her s-i-l run a Decorating Den Interior Designs business and though they run it out of the basement office they had a couple of installations while I was there and so I got to help with those. She said she’d email me a couple of before and afters of the rooms we did so I’ll be able to show you…later. My camera, for some crazy reason, is choosing to act up right now and so I can’t show you pictures. Bummer.

The other wonderful I did while I was there was meet fellow blogger and DIK lady Sarai!!!! We met at Cheeseurger in Paradise and talked for 3 straight hours. She is just so wondefully funny and so stinking nice! I loved talking to her. Then of course we made our way over to Books-A-Million (yes, I know I had just been there! And yes, I bought more books!) and talked more books for a while. Unfortunately the night had to end but I’m so very happy that we got that time together.

That’s about the extent of my vaca. It was fun and relaxing and it was so good to just sit and talk with my sister for hours – and play with the kids without having to worry about chores, etc. Just fun stuff.

And now I’m home and getting kind of another little mini vacation. My hubby has gone to Sturgis for the bike rally and won’t be back until Saturday and the kids are with my ‘rents at my sisters house in Alabama so I’m home alone for the week. I don’t have to cook, or clean (did that before I left) or get kids in bed at a certain time. Like I said, a mini vacation! lol

I didn’t get much reading done last week but what I did read was pretty good. And I just realized with all the new and new to me books that I’ve gotten recently that I’ve completely crapped out on my Tracy’s TBR Challenge the past two weeks. So – I’ll be better with that this week…at least I’ll try to be better.

First was Slightly Dangerous by Mary Balogh. No, I didn’t read the other books in this series but after reading Tumperkin’s post about this book I just felt compelled to buy it and read it. And I’m so glad I did. I really liked it a lot! There was a time when I was getting altogether too frustrated with the heroine because she was being unbearably rude, but overall it was just fab. It was one of those where you really can’t see the hero and heroine coming together but yet it happens and in such a realistic way. 4.5 out of 5 (thanks Tump!)

Then I read ePistols at Dawn by ZA Maxfield. This was the story of a man, Jae-Sun, who works for a tabloid who’s altogether pissed at the fact that someone has dared to satirize his most loved coming-out novel. He starts emailing the woman who has had the gall to do this but turns out she’s a he, Kelly. This was a good story but I’m not a huge fan of big misunderstandings and this had a couple. The writing was good but I felt an on again, off again connection with the characters which threw me a few times out of the book. I’m torn about my rating for this one so I’ll not say for now until I figure it out. 🙂

And lastly (I know, you’re shocked that there’s only 3 books) was Bengal’s Heart by Lora Leigh – book 19 in the Breed series – which I read for The Book Binge so I’ll let you know when my review posts.

If you’re interested my review for Highland Obsession by Dawn Halliday posted today of at TBB. You can go here to read it.

Happy Reading!

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