Review: Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Reviewed by Jen

Let me start by saying I have read other books by Julia London and have enjoyed them. I say that so you know it’s nothing I have against the author when I say how abysmal I found this book. This is the story of Rabby MacKenzie, a Scotsman being forced into marriage with a young English miss, then falling for her governess. I hated every minute of it.

Let me tell you about Rabbie. He is the most morose, maudlin, douchebag of a “hero” I’ve read in ages. To be fair, the love of his life was killed in the Jacobite rebellion. He’s got a reason to be sad and to hate the English, but this guy is miserable for the entire book. Not only that, he is thoroughly awful to everyone around him. He only agreed to marry Aveline because of some convoluted land issue that would allow his family to keep smuggling. OK. But good grief, he is constantly contemplating suicide. He is a boor, not only to his betrothed, but his entire family. And when he falls for the governess, Bernadette, he becomes no more likable. [Read more…]

Review: My Highland Rebel by Amanda Forester

Reviewed by Jen

A sympathetic hero can make all the difference in a book. For instance, my absolute least favorite trope in romance is The Big Secret. And that is the underlying thread in this book. However, I found I enjoyed the story anyway because it had a hero I could not help but to root for. So kudos to Amanda Forester for that.

Cormac is the son of the most fierce and vicious warlord in the Highlands. He wasn’t raised by his father. He was actually brought up by monks. He loves to read. He wants to be a scribe. But his father has other ideas. Red Rex wants to toughen him up, to remake him in his image. And it doesn’t matter that Cormac dreams of something different. It is conform or die. [Read more…]

Review: The Highlander by Kerrigan Byrne

highlanderReviewed by Jen

I love these books! Kerrigan Byrne has such a way with her heroes. They are dark and deadly and so very broken. Liam Mackenzie is all of that and more.

We met our heroine, Mena, earlier in the series. She was abused by her husband and wrongfully admitted to an asylum. But she was rescued by the heroes of the previous books, and now she is in hiding, sent to live with Dorian’s brother, Liam, as governess to his children. You really don’t have to read The Highwayman or The Hunter to enjoy this story, but I would recommend them, just because they are so very good. [Read more…]

Review: The Beast of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

beast of clan kincaidReviewed by Jen

I guess I’m conditioned to expect every book with “beast” in the title to be some kind of Beauty and the Beast retelling –or at least for the hero to have some kind of beastly demeanor or appearance. None of these is the case here, so if you are looking for any of those scenarios, you can move along.

Niall is called “the Beast” because he is a dangerous mercenary. He’s also the rightful laird to the family lands that were stolen from his father nearly 20 years ago. You see, his parents were betrayed and murdered by two clans they thought were their allies. Niall and his brothers escaped and went their separate ways in order to stay hidden. Now that Niall is grown, he is ready to reclaim his birthright. [Read more…]

Review: Kill or Be Kilt by Victoria Roberts

kill or be kiltReviewed by Jen

This is the third book in Victoria Roberts’ Highland Spies series, and while I could definitely see threads of the prior stories, this book holds up just fine as a standalone. Generally, I’m not a fan of an overly young heroine, especially when the hero is almost twice her age. And I don’t love it here, either. Elizabeth is only 18 year-old, and while the book constantly reminds me that she is an adult of her time, 18 is, well, 18. And the hero is decidedly full-grown at 33. That being said, there were parts of the dynamic between them that I liked. I’ll get to that in a moment. [Read more…]

Review: Highland Heat by Jennifer Haymore

highland heatReviewed by Jen

This book delivers on one of my favorite tropes: a hero so beneath the heroine in social status, they believe they can never make it work.  Duncan is a Scottish soldier, injured at Waterloo. Lady Grace is sister-in-law to his superior officer. They are light years apart in station, but from the moment she tended him on the battlefield, they were like moths to a flame.

Grace doesn’t consider herself “too good” for Duncan. She is attracted to him and is fascinated by every word he says and every action he makes. She thinks she’ll never see him again after that first day –that first kiss– but circumstances bring him into her life over and over again. And she couldn’t be happier. Stolen moments grow into heated touches and a real emotional connection… all while reality insists they can never have a future. [Read more…]

Review: A Mackenzie Clan Gathering by Jennifer Ashley

mackenzie clan gatheringReviewed by Jen

I have to admit that I was a little worried about whether I could love this story after The Stolen Mackenzie Bride was such a miss for me. But Jennifer Ashley brought the magic back with the Mackenzie clan we know and love. All the brothers, wives, and children are here, but this is really an Ian story –and we get the chance to see the man he has become with Beth and his children in his life.

It’s been a dozen years since The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie. Ian and Beth now have three children and life as a husband and father has given our hero a joy and stability he had never believed possible. Beth is still his salvation and his world, but their children have widened the bubble of domestic happiness to include them as well. The thing is… Ian is still Ian. The autism or Aspergers he has still exists; he just has learned coping mechanisms that make life better. [Read more…]

Review: Some Like It Scot by Suzanne Enoch

some like it scotReviewed by Jen

Och. Grab hold of yer kilt and git reddy… brogues abound in this Highlander romance. In fact, it has even a little more brogue than I would find ideal, and that says a lot, since a brogue is usually a big part of the fun in these kind of books. But it can be a bit much at times, to the point it becomes distracting.

Overall, this was a fairly ok read for me. It’s book four in Suzanne Enoch’s Scandalous Highlanders series, but as a new reader, I didn’t feel lost. It was the blurb on the book that drew me in. The hero is a brawny, protective Highlander, with the nickname Bear, who falls for an unlikely heroine. Catriona is tough as nails, hiding herself and her sister in the MacLawry lands.  For the first time in Bear’s life, there is a woman who doesn’t fall at his feet. She is independent and strong, but he knows she needs him. And he is determined to take care of her, whether she likes it or not. [Read more…]

Review: The Stolen Mackenzie Bride by Jennifer Ashley

stolen mackenzie brideReviewed Jen

I love this series. I really do. So much so that when I got my hands on this book, there might have been a small amount of dancing. Sadly, I may have celebrated a bit too early. This was a very difficult book for me to connect to. I found myself wanting to skim and even put it down at times. This was such a far cry from my favorite MacKenzie books, it almost like it was from an entirely different author.

This story doesn’t feature the MacKenzie men we know and love. It jumps back in time to their ancestor, Old Malcolm, and told his story set during the Jacobite Rebellion. I’m ok with an unknown hero, but what I really did not enjoy was how heavily she emphasized the historical elements throughout the book. It’s not that I don’t appreciate historical accuracy. I don’t want things to be wrong. But beyond that, I don’t care. I don’t enjoy my romance steeped in a history lesson. That is how I felt reading this, and I just wanted to get ahead to the “good parts” (ie. The romance.) [Read more…]

Review: The Taming of Malcolm Grant by Paula Quinn

taming of malcolm grantReviewed by Jen

I’ve read a couple of Paula Quinn’s Highlander books here and there, but I’ll admit, when I saw that huge birth chart in the beginning of this story, I was a bit intimidated. But fear not, you don’t have to be a longtime reader to jump into this book. It works just fine as a standalone.

Malcolm is a known rake who believes himself incapable of love. For a long time, he was content to love ’em and leave ’em, but for the past few years, he has taken a step back from his promiscuous ways. The flings only left him feeling emptier, so now he is trying celibacy on for size. That doesn’t mean his younger brother has to suffer the same fate, though. As the story begins, Malcolm is taking Cailean to his old favorite brothel to, at long last, lose his virginity. [Read more…]