Category Archives: Highlanders

Release Day Review-Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Hard-Hearted Highlander

Title: Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Julia London

Publisher: HQN Books, April 25, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:         

An indomitable governess…a brooding Highlander…a forbidden affair… 

An ill-fated elopement cost English-born governess Bernadette Holly her reputation, her unsuitable lover and any chance of a future match. She has nothing left to fear—not even the bitter, dangerously handsome Scot due to marry her young charge. Naïve wallflower Avaline is terrified to wed Rabbie Mackenzie, but if he sends her home, she will be ruined. Bernadette’s solution: convince Rabbie to get Avaline to cry off…while ignoring her own traitorous attraction to him.

A forced engagement to an Englishwoman is a hard pill for any Scot to swallow. It’s even worse when the fiancée in question is a delicate, foolish young miss—unlike her spirited, quick-witted governess. Sparring with Bernadette brings passion and light back to Rabbie’s life after the failed Jacobite uprising. His clan’s future depends upon his match to another, but how can any Highlander forsake a love that stirs his heart and soul?

**

For all highlander lovers this is a terrific story.  We have a naïve teenager, a worldly governess and a handsome highlander.  The makings of a really satisfying read.  Rabbie is still mourning his first love and is fighting a severe depression when he agrees to help his family and clan by marrying an English debutante who lives on the adjoining land. Avaline wants no part of the brooding, unlikable Rabbie but is being forced to marry.  Bernadette at first dislikes Rabbie but eventually understands his despondency and falls madly in love with him.  This is a triangle that seems totally without a happy outcome.  That the author, Julia “fantastic” London, pulls off a HEA is because of her superb storytelling skill.

I guarantee you will like this one and come back for more from this author. All books in the series are connected by cameos of previous characters but can definitely standalone. Read them all, you’ll thank me.

The Highland Grooms Series:(Deet has reviewed all of these, search in the search box on the left column for the review)

  1. Wild wicked Scot
  2. Sinful Scottish Laird
  3. Hard-Hearted Highlander

 

 

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Recent Release Review-My One True Highlander by Suzanne Enoch

My One True Highlander

Title: My One True Highlander: A No Ordinary Hero Novel, Book #2

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlands

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, April 4, 2017

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 319

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:         

DARE TO FALL IN LOVE Scotland, 1812—Rugged Highlander Graeme’s loyalty to his clan means that their enemies are his own—even when that includes his neighbor, the Duke of Lattimer. It’s a fight he doesn’t relish, but when Graeme’s reckless younger brothers foolishly kidnap Lattimer’s younger sister, all bets are off…

Lady Marjorie Forrester may be aligned with the enemy, but capturing her puts Graeme squarely in the middle of a war. If he turns Marjorie over to his clan chief, she could be killed. If he lets her go, his brothers could face prison. In addition, the woman can’t stop trying to civilize the lot of them! What’s a Highlander to do, then, but keep the stubborn lass close…and explore the unexpected passion that develops between them? But how can Graeme protect Marjorie and his brothers when both Lattimer and his own clan are on the warpath—and will do whatever it takes to tear these two star-crossed lovers apart, in My One True Highlander, the next No Ordinary Hero Scottish romance from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Enoch.

***

The premise was a good one but I kept losing interest in this book.  Perhaps because so much of it was confined to the one setting of Graeme’s house.  That’s only speculation.  I would read a few pages and set the book aside.  This is not how I used to read a Suzanne Enoch book.  I’m a fan of this author but I found myself bored with this one. Not even the side characters of Graeme’s brothers or Marjorie’s companion could rouse me to be interested.  I take total responsibility for this attitude because I do think that those who love stories set in the Scottish Highlands will like this book, especially those who want to follow up on book one of this series. The writing is good and the characters are well developed. We met Marjorie in Book #1 and it was good to see her star in this story.

 

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Advance Review-Wild Wicked Scot by Julia London

wild-wicked-scot

Title: Wild Wicked Scot (Highland Grooms, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance/Highlanders

Author: Julia London

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, Dec. 27, 2016 (pre-order available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

Wicked intrigue unfolds as an unlikely marriage leads to a path of risky desire in the lush, green Scottish Highlands 

Born into riches and groomed in English luxury, Margot Armstrong didn’t belong in a Scottish chieftain’s devil-may-care world. Three years ago she fled their marriage of convenience and hasn’t looked back—except to relive the moments spent in wild, rugged Arran McKenzie’s passionate embrace. But as their respective countries’ fragile unity threatens to unravel, Margot must return to her husband to uncover his role in the treachery before her family can be accused of it.

Red-haired, green-eyed Margot was Arran’s beautiful bride. Her loss has haunted him, but her return threatens everything he has gained. As the Highland mists carry whispers of an English plot to seize McKenzie territory, he must outmaneuver her in games of espionage…and seduction. But even as their secrets tangle together, there’s nothing to prevent love from capturing them both and leading them straight into danger.

***

Margot was a spoiled daughter of an Earl, she was naïve but beautiful.  When her father saw a chance to make a profitable alliance with a “barbaric” Scot he didn’t even consider Margot’s wishes. Married, this teenager was thrust into a culture she couldn’t comprehend, a society that disapproved of her being English and a husband who wasn’t prepared to cater to her insecurities or whims.  After four months and yet another row with Arran, her husband, she left for her father’s home where she stayed for 4 years. That is until her father insisted she return to her husband and find evidence of his treason.

This is the first book in Julia London’s “Highland Grooms” series.  A terrific start! The characterizations of all the characters is spot on and well developed.  The story is filled with sizzling chemistry between Arran and Margot.  There is a well-developed arc of Margot going from naïve teenager to a take charge strong woman. This book is elegantly written and very entertaining.  It is a long book and it does slow down a bit in the middle but otherwise it is action packed and a hang on for the ride book.  The sexual tension is what holds these two protagonists together until they learn to fall in love.

                                                                         

 

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Advance Review- The Trouble With Dukes by Grace Burrowes

the-trouble-with-dukes

Title: The Trouble With Dukes(Windham Brides, book#1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Grace Burrowes

Publisher: Forever, Dec. 20, 2016(preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: ?

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         

THEY CALL HIM THE DUKE OF MURDER…The gossips whisper that the new Duke of Murdoch is a brute, a murderer, and even worse–a Scot. They say he should never be trusted alone with a woman. But Megan Windham sees in Hamish something different, someone different.

No one was fiercer at war than Hamish MacHugh, though now the soldier faces a whole new battlefield: a London Season. To make his sisters happy, he’ll take on any challenge–even letting their friend Miss Windham teach him to waltz. Megan isn’t the least bit intimidated by his dark reputation, but Hamish senses that she’s fighting battles of her own. For her, he’ll become the warrior once more, and for her, he might just lose his heart.

**

Ah, those Scottish warriors fresh home from the wars, rugged, unmannered and totally…well…you know.  Then there is Megan not enjoying being pursued by the less than honorable Sir Fletcher, a man she loathes but her parents seem to think is suitable. When Megan meets Hamish, The Duke of Murdoch, they have an immediate rapport, she is fascinated by the man who society whispers is a violent murderer. He is enamored of the woman who seems not to mind his reputation and needs his assistance to remove Sir Fletcher from the picture.

 Once again Grace Burrowes gives us a lovely romance with a hero who is troubled by his military service and a feisty woman who is determined to save him from himself.  This is a trope not unlike others Ms. Burrowes has written but each time we are made more aware of her grasp of the Napoleonic Wars and the aftermath.  We are treated here to that terrific Windham family that hooked us on Grace Burrowes romances starting with THE HEIR.  Now she starts a series with female cousins to the Windham siblings.  Those handsome, honorable Windham lords still play a role in the lives of the Windham brides. We are given Windham family Trees at the beginning of the book so we don’t ever get lost in the relationships.

 I highly recommend this book. You can’t go wrong for a wickedly witty, lusciously romantic book with a loathsome lord thrown in to muddy the romance.  

 

 

 

 

 

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Recent Release Review- The Rebel of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

the-rebel-of-clan-kincade

Title: The Rebel of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior, book#2)

Genre: Historical Romance/ Medieval

Author: Lily Blackwood

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Dec. 6 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 318

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:         

LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Since childhood, Magnus has been led to believe he is the Laird Alwyn’s bastard, and raised to hate the Clan Kincaid. But when he learns he is without a doubt the son of the murdered Laird Kincaid, his life as he has always known it is shattered. Now, hiding his knowledge and his fury, he returns to Burnbryde Castle, awaiting the chance to strike against the man whose treachery robbed him of his legacy. His first act of rebellion: to steal a kiss from the redheaded beauty who’s betrothed to the Alwyn’s eldest son and heir.

Since her arrival at Burnbryde, Tara Iverach has been confined to a tower to guard her virtue before she marries. But after a surprise embrace with a lean, bare-chested Highlander who claims to be the Alwyn’s oldest son, she can’t contain her excitement over her good fate. Unfortunately, he is the wrong eldest son, and she is set to marry his cruel and lecherous half brother, Hugh. Can Magnus conquer his rivals and claim his Kincaid destiny before the woman who’s captured his heart becomes his sworn enemy’s bride?

**

This is an excellent book, as long as you haven’t read the first in this series.  I know that sounds harsh but it is so much like The Beast of Clan Kincaid the first book by Lily Blackwood.  Oh yes, the names of our hero and heroine are different and the location is a few hours from the location of the first book. But the basic vengeful son plans to seek revenge on the man who killed his parents and in his down time woo away the petulant heir’s betrothed, is very much the same, down to the same petulant heir.

I meant it when I said this is an excellent book, the writing is top-notch, the characters well developed and the action scenes well drawn. So if you are new to Ms. Blackwood’s series then I’m certain you will like this book.  However if you have read the first book than you may feel a bit of dejavu.

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Release Day Review- How To Train Your Highlander by Christy English

how-to-train-your-highlander

Title: How To Train Your Highlander (Broadswords and Ballrooms, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Christy English

Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca, Dec. 6, 2016

Source: Free for Review from the Publisher

Pages: 352

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

She’s the Hellion of Hyde Park…

A foolproof plan to avoid marriage: 1. Always carry at least three blades. 2. Ride circles around any man. 3. Never get caught in a handsome duke’s arms.

Wild Highlander Mary Elizabeth Waters is living on borrowed time. She’s managed to dodge the marriage banns up to now, but even Englishmen can only be put off for so long…and there’s one in particular who has her in his sights.

Harold Percy, Duke of Northumberland, is enchanted by the beautiful hellion who outrides every man on his estate and dances Scottish reels while the ton looks on in horror. The more he sees Mary, the more he knows he has to have her, tradition and good sense be damned. But what’s a powerful man to do when the Highland spitfire of his dreams has no desire to be tamed…

Broadswords and Ballrooms:

  1. How to Seduce a Scot (Deet’s rating 4 stars)
  2. How to Wed a Warrior (Deet’s rating 4 stars)
  3. How to Train Your Highlander(Deet’s rating 4 stars)

**

This is perhaps the final book in this series. I’m not sure. But as you can see from my ratings I have enjoyed each of them.  I really would characterize this book as “Historical Romance Chic-lit” because it is a bit flirty, silly and adorable. Mary Elizabeth mistakes Harold for a stable hand and thus treats him as such.  Harold (Harry), since he’s a Duke, has never been talked to like a lowly stable hand and finds he rather likes playing the part.  That is until it comes time to fess up to his deception.

You will notice that this plot is a bit predictable but no less fun to read.  Perhaps Mary is a little over-the-top naïve and flighty…well.. actually clueless, for my taste, but I did enjoy reading this romp. If you are looking for something light, humorous and easy to read then you have stumbled upon a good book and series.  This is a standalone book in the series with characters making appearances from previous books.

 

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Recent Release Review- Campbell’s Redemption by Sharon Cullen

campbells-redemption

Title: Campbell’s Redemption (Highland Pride, book #3)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sharon Cullen

Publisher: Loveswept, Nov. 22, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 256

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

With Cait Campbell hiding Scottish fugitives from the British crown, who should arrive wearing his English-style coat but Iain Campbell, the traitorous clan leader and the man responsible for her husband’s death. Iain seeks a healer for his fallen kinsman, and out of a sense of duty Cait is obliged to help. Her uncanny ability to read people is powerless against his dark, impassive gaze, yet Iain is kind in a way that moves her.   In Cait’s company, Iain is overcome by painful memories of his best friend, her husband, who died protecting him. But grief shows weakness—a luxury he cannot permit, because Iain is playing a dangerous game with the British army. One small misstep and he could be branded a traitor or executed as a spy. But even with political tensions mounting to a fever pitch, Iain can’t get Cait out of his mind. What he doesn’t know is that Cait is playing a deep and deadly game of her own, and their love could put everything—even Scotland itself—in peril.

**

This is not only a Historical Romance novel, it is most definitely Historical Romantic Suspense and throw in quite a bit of Thriller. The romance is at the core but hang onto your seat because this is a thrilling, page turning ride from start to finish.  Cait Campbell is a broken woman who lost everyone who was important to her and gets through each day by ministering to those who need her healing arts.  Iain Campbell is a clan chieftan who looks to be friendly with the English while trying to advance Scotland’s agenda, but his people think he is a traitor. In this novel we have a twist from the usual tortured Hero, he has his problems but here we have a heroine who has the tortured past in need of the healing power of love. There is quite a bit of will-she, won’t-she. I think we all can conclude that she-will. But so much happens on the way to the HEA that it makes us wonder if either protagonist will survive.  The action and suspense is heart pounding. The love scenes are passionate.

This is a sensuous, beautiful, violent addition to a terrific series.  It is a standalone book with characters from previous books in the series playing pivotal roles. I encourage you to read the entire series.

Highland Pride series by Sharon Cullen:

  1. Sutherland’s Secret
  2. MacLean’s Passion
  3. Campbell’s Redemption 

     

     

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Recent Release review- Hero In The Highlands by Suzanne Enoch

hero-in-the-highlands

Title: Hero In The Highlands (A No Ordinary Hero Novel, book #1)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Suzanne Enoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, October 4, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 3.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 4

Description from Amazon.com:

WILD AT HEART Scotland, 1812: He’s ferocious and rugged to the bone, an English soldier more at home on the battlefield than in any Society drawing room. And when Major Gabriel Forrester learns that he’s inherited the massive Scottish Highlands title and estate of a distant relation, the last thing he wants to do is give up the intensity of the battlefield for the too-soft indulgences of noble life. But Gabriel Forrester does not shirk his responsibilities, and when he meets striking, raven-eyed lass Fiona Blackstock, his new circumstances abruptly become more intriguing. Like any good Highlander, Fiona despises the English—and the new Duke of Lattimer is no exception. Firstly, he is far too attractive for Fiona’s peace of mind. Secondly, his right to “her” castle is a travesty, since it’s been clan Maxwell property for ages. As the two enter a heated battle of wills, an unexpected passion blazes into a love as fierce as the Highlands themselves. Is Fiona strong enough to resist her enemy’s advances—or is Gabriel actually her hero in disguise?

**

I struggled to get through this book. Usually I love this authors books, but this one was difficult.  I kept setting it aside.  The problem for me was the heroine.  She was cantankerous, grouchy and altogether not very nice to the hero.  The hero, Gabriel, was at first in lust with Fiona; that I could understand.  Then he was in love with her and I couldn’t figure out why. She was totally not likable, she lied to him on many occasions and made him feel unwelcome. That is not the recipe for romance.  The side characters were often humorous and well fleshed out. The story was a good one. I do think those who like Scottish romances will like this book. Also those who can set aside some dislike of the heroine.

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Release Day Review- The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

Title: The Highlander (Victorian Rebels, book #3)

The Highlander

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, Aug. 2, 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5 (this is a new rating I will add when a book contains violence. Rating from mild to strong, 1-5)

Description from Amazon.com:

They call him the Demon Highlander. The fearsome Lieutenant Colonel Liam MacKenzie is known for his superhuman strength, towering presence, and fiery passion in the heat of battle. As Laird to the MacKenzie clan, the undefeated Marquess has vanquished his foes with all rage and wrath of his barbaric Highland ancestors. But when an English governess arrives to care for his children, the master of war finds himself up against his greatest opponent. . . in the game of love.

Defying all expectations, Miss Philomena is no plain-faced spinster but a ravishing beauty with voluptuous curves and haughty full lips that rattle the Laird to his core. Unintimidated by her master’s raw masculinity and savage ways, the headstrong lass manages to tame not only his wild children but the beast in his soul. With each passing day, Liam grows fonder of Miss Mena—and more suspicious. What secret is she hiding behind those emerald eyes? What darkness brought her to his keep? And how can he conquer this magnificent woman’s heart . . . without surrendering his own?

**

This is the third book in Ms. Byrne’s Victorian Rebels Series. All books in this series are very dark romances and this one is very Gothic inspired.  There is intimation of demons or ghosts that may haunt Ravenscroft Keep. A specter with red veined eyes that springs from the shadows. Philomena is running away from London and needs a place to hide.  Her dear friends Millie and Faith (Heroines of the two previous books in this series) help her to find sanctuary in Laird Liam’s Scottish castle, Ravenscroft Keep.  Mena has secrets that must never be revealed for it could mean her death. Liam has his own dark secrets that he never wants to reveal.  The attraction between the two is instantaneous but Mena knows she must not give in to the allure because they are fated to never be together.  Liam is so besotted that he continually tries to seduce Mena, wanting a future that Mena knows is impossible.

I really enjoy Kerrigan Byrne’s novels in this series.  They are all very dark with heroes that are not easy to love or even like.  Yet, the heroines are so damaged that we cheer for these heroes to win them over and give them peace and happiness. That this author can redeem these criminals is amazing.  This book is filled with torture, murder and very scary scenes. That is a warning. It is also filled with longing, redemption and sizzling sexual chemistry. I was hoping for a future addition to the series featuring Gaven, Earl of Thorne but I’m not sure that is possible. Perhaps we can hope for more books featuring Liam’s children, Rhianna and Andrew. Characters from the first two books play important roles in this book but it is not necessary to have read those books to enjoy this one. Although they are wonderful reads.

I recommend this book and series to Historical Romance fans who don’t mind the darker side of Victorian drama.

Victorian Rebels Series:

  1. The Highwayman (Dorian and Faith)
  2. The Hunter(Christopher and Millie)
  3. The Highlander (Liam and Mena)

 

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Review- The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Title: The Beast of Clan Kincaid (Highland Warrior, book #1)

The Beast of Clan Kincade

Genre: Historical Romance/ Highlanders

Author: Lily Blackwood

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, May 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 318

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

A Highland warrior battles to reclaim his birthright in the first of a new series filled with seduction, revenge, and soul-stirring passion…

They call him the Beast—a hardened mercenary whose heart seems as cold as his icy blue gaze. They do not know his true name: Niall Braewick, son of the Laird of Kincaid. It has been years since he escaped into the forest the night his father was murdered. Now he has returned, ablaze with a vengeful hunger. He will gain the MacClaren chief’s trust, gather his clan, and take back his lands. And take the MacClaren’s daughter as well…

Though he pulled her from the river, saving her life, Elspeth has been warned to keep her distance from her father’s hired warrior. He is a barbarian—a shame, as he is far more compelling than the lechers and fools competing for her dowry. Little does she know that, like the castle itself, she is a prize Niall intends to claim…but will he extract blood for blood and possess what is his, or will his enemy’s beautiful, innocent daughter tempt him to forsake his dream of conquest?

**

I thought I did not have this book for review but there it was on my Kindle.  I debated, should I read & review it or not since I obviously had forgotten about it for over a month.  Well I thought to just read a page or so and decide.  I read the first page and before I knew it I was way into the book and not stopping.  Yes, it is that good.

Set in medieval Scotland, Elspeth is The MacClarens eldest daughter.  He is being threatened by rival clans so he needs for Elspeth to marry to achieve an alliance.  She is knowing this is her duty and she will obey her father but she has grown very fond of the mercenary, Niall, who we know to be the rightful heir of the Kincaid lands and clan.

There is so much suspense and action in this book.  The sexual tension between Niall and Elspeth is off the charts.  There are truly evil villains who are willing to make events go their way.  Plus some twists and surprises that made this just one terrific read. This is a guaranteed page turner.

There is a hint at the end of this book as to the protagonist of the next in the series.

 

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