Review: The Warrior of Clan Kincaid by Lily Blackwood

Reviewed by Jen

This third book in Lily Blackwood’s Highland Warrior series tells a familiar story, but one I did not mind retreading. The titular character here is Cull the Nameless, a man who was kept as a slave for many of his formative years before someone bought him his freedom and lead him to a life as a soldier of the king. As the story begins, his benefactor has tapped him to lead a mission to relieve the Kincaid clan of their land.

Wait, you may say, the book is called of The Warrior of Clan Kincaid, but our hero is fighting against that clan? Well, yes and no. You see, the Kincaid men are missing one of their brothers. Or rather, he was presumed dead when their parents were killed. And did I mention that Cull has no recollection of his life before slavery? I don’t mean to spoil anything, really, but it does not take a rocket science to connect the dots. You would have figured it out on your own pretty quickly, I promise. And even though it takes a little while to spell it out on page, the big reveal is in the book’s blurb, so I don’t feel too guilty for mentioning it here.

This is a premise I have read several times over the years, but Lily Blackwood does a pretty good job with it. [Read more…]

Review: The Highlander’s Crusader Bride by Cathy & DD MacRae

Reviewed by Ronelle

Half-Armenian, half-Scot Arbela MacLean is a true daughter of the desert, a princess born in the Holy Land only a few years after the Third Crusade. Determined not to be as helpless as her mother was, she’s forsaken the gentler, feminine pursuits of women her age for Turkish bow and arrow, a sword, and throwing darts. She is a warrior who fears nothing—except perhaps the day a husband is chosen for her. That day becomes much too close for comfort when her father is recalled to Scotland to take up leadership of clan MacLean.

Caelen MacKern, known as the Bull of the Highlands, has no use for a wife. His first marriage formed an alliance, and he did not grieve when his spoiled, immature bride passed away not long after giving birth to their only son, Bram. But after a devastating pestilence nearly wiped them out, clan MacKern is in desperate need of help. Against his better judgement, Caelen agrees to an offer he can’t in good conscience refuse; convince Arbela to marry him and receive the men, means, and coin he needs to rebuild. Considering the tone of their initial encounter, it doesn’t entirely surprise him when the exotic, outspoken lass has some terms of her own. [Read more…]

Review: Surrender To The Highlander by Lynsay Sands

Reviewed by Sara

Lynsay Sands was one of the first Historical Romance authors I ever read and she is the first author to introduce me to the delight of Highlander Romances. So, you can be sure that when one of her books is up for grabs, I’m taking it.

Surrender to the Highlander is book 5 of Sands’ Scottish Highlander series. In it, the Buchanan brothers pay a visit to their very pregnant sister, Saidh, only to find out she needs their help. Saidh hasn’t been able to reach her friend Edith in several weeks and she’s worried. The brothers take on the task of looking in on Edith, but when they arrive at Drummond castle they find the castle closed up due to an illness that has overtaken the Laird and several of the brothers and has left Lady Edith on death’s door. The brothers make their way into the castle only to discover it’s no illness that has plagued the castle, but rather poison. This leads to the brothers protecting Lady Edith and bringing her back to health. [Read more…]

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…]