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…]

Review: Conquered by a Highlander

Reviewed by Jen

There are two things that are important to Colin MacGregor: his clan and his job as an agent of the king.  Both play a role in his latest mission. He must infiltrate the home of a traitor and uncover his plans.  Geoffrey is part of conspiracy to help overthrow the pro-Catholic king to put a protestant sympathizer on the throne.  Colin needs to find out who is aligning with Geoffrey and what the king needs to do secure his interests.  After all, the MacGregors are Catholic and a protestant king would make them targets. Colin ingratiates himself with Geoffrey and his men under an alter-ego… one willing to fight for their cause.

As soon he arrives at Dartmouth, Colin meets Geoffrey’s cousin Gillian.  She has been banished to her cousin’s custody to raise her bastard son away from her noble family.  She puts up a brave face but she is miserable.  Geoffrey hates her son and he wants her in his bed.  Only her guard George keeps her and young Edmund safe –not only from Geoffrey, but all of his men who lust after her.

The relationship between Colin and Gillian develops very, very slowly.  He really falls for her son before he falls for her. And that is important because that little boy is her everything.  It was very sweet, but it took forever for these two to so much as kiss.  Too long.  In fact, I felt the urge to skim a little, though mostly it was because of all the political stuff wrapped up in the story.  I had a hard time keeping up with who all the players were and honestly, I didn’t really care. I just wanted the damn romance to happen.

I did like the characters.  Colin is a strong and capable Highlander whose heart softens beautifully for Edmund.  Gillian is a strong woman, who does whatever is necessary to protect her child.  Like I said, likeable and sweet, though not very hot.  There’s a little bit of lovin’ toward the end, but not much.

Geoffrey makes a good villain. And I like that he is smarter than he appears.  I also liked George, who had his own morality and loyalties.

I should point out that this is book four in Paula Quinn’s Children of the Mist series.  But it works just fine as a standalone.

Rating: C+

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

Click to purchase: Amazon
  Conquered by a Highlander
by Paula Quinn
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Publisher: Forever (GCP)

 

Review: Tamed by a Highlander

Reviewed by Jen

Mairi MacGregor has been nursing a broken heart for a long time.  Seven years ago, Connor left her and Scotland to serve the British king.  She begged him not to go, but he ignored her pleas.  She mourned him, then steeled her heart.  She trained herself to fight as her brothers did, to protect her homeland, and that mission has been her diversion.

But circumstances have brought her to the king’s court, where her path crosses with Connor’s again.  Seeing him is like a sword to her heart and she refuses to let herself fall for him again.  What she doesn’t realize is that Connor still loves her and he has pined for her every bit as much as she has for him.  Can the two of them overcome their pride and find their way back together?  It’s a tall order, especially in the midst of political intrigue and outside forces trying to keep them apart.

There were times in this book I truly felt sorry for Mairi.  And there were times I felt just as bad for Connor.  (It turns out that he tried for years to get her to come to England to be with him, only for her to reject him over and over.)  But more often than not, I just wanted to kick them both in the shins.  Each was terribly selfish and brought on their misery in their own ways.  After all, Connor did choose to leave Scotland.  He could have stayed with Mairi… just as she could have put her love for him before her loyalty to Scotland, and accepted his offers to join him.  Each wanted the other to make the sacrifices.  Then, once they were together again, they both were too thickheaded with pride to be honest about their feelings.  It was very frustrating.

There was a lot of political happenings going on and a lot of characters, which made things confusing for me, especially in the beginning. I never did entirely grasp who all the factions were and where all the loyalties fell, but that’s not really what I care about in a romance, anyway.

I can tell you that when our couple finally waded through their issues, the love scenes were fantastic.  After all the waiting, the payoff was good.  And just when you though everything was settled, the author throws in one more twist to keep you on your toes.  3 1/2 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley
Tamed by a Highlander
by Paula Quinn
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Publisher: Forever