Review for Highlander Avenged by Laurin Wittig

highlander avenged

My Rating:  4.5/5

Author:  Laurin Wittig
Title: Highlander Avenged

Genre:  Scottish Historical Romance

Background:

This book is the second Book in the Guardians of the Targe series. Please be aware that spoilers for the first book – Highlander Betrayal – may be in this review.

Amazon Description:
Although the English king tried to wrest it away, the Highland Targe—ancient relic and protector of Scottish lands—still lies safely in the hands of clan MacAlpin. But for how long?

Jeanette MacAlpin trained her entire life to become the next Guardian of the Targe, but that duty has now fallen to her cousin Rowan—a duty Rowan can’t seem to master. Fearful for her clan’s future, Jeanette seeks the solace of a sacred wellspring, and there encounters tawny-skinned Highland warrior Malcolm MacKenzie.

Wounded in battle, Malcolm is desperate to regain the use of his sword arm and strikes a deal with Jeanette. In return for her skills as a healer, Malcolm will advise the MacAlpins in their resistance against the English. And when he can once again swing a blade, he’ll return to the ranks of the Scottish army to fulfill his duty as a soldier.

But as passion grows between the golden warrior and the fair-haired healer, duty collides with love. Will they follow their hearts, or will clan loyalties keep them forever apart?

 

Opinions:

Narration: Third person – mostly through Jeanette and Malcom

Character Development: The two main characters of the book, Jeanette and Malcom, are introduced with problems right off. From the last book, Jeanette’s mother was killed by the English spy, and Rowan (her cousin) has become the next Guardian of the Targe. She feels lost and unsure what her future holds. She grew up learning how to manage the stone, but now her cousin has taken that away from her. Her home is literally in shambles, and with the threats of the English coming back, she has a lot on her plate. When Malcom is introduced, he is injured and very close to a life-threatening infection. He is confused from the battle he fought in months before. He is supposed to be the leader and excellent fighter for the King. He is also to become the next chief of his clan. However, after battle that almost left him for dead and abandoned, he is not well physically. His hand does not work as it should and his infection keeps returning. As the book progresses, the relationship between Jeanette and Malcom grows. Jeanette learns more about herself and hidden abilities that question the chronicles that have been passed down through many MacAlpin generations. Malcom learns about making choices and how there is something more out there than fighting. They each help each other grow into a stronger person.

Plot Development/Flow: The story flows well. At first it might be a little slow as the characters are built up and the past book is reviewed, but everything starts picking up speed when English soldiers enter the picture. In this book, more is learned about the Targe, but also more questions are raised. I liked the how Jeanette and Rowan worked together and the support of Malcom in the turn of events. The story leaves off for another story to follow.

Standalone or Part of a Series: Second book in the Guardians of the Targe series.

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Review for The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell by Paula Quinn

 

the seduction of miss amelia bell

My Rating: 4/5
Author: Paula Quinn
Title: The Seduction of Miss Amelia Bell
Genre: Historical Romance

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Background:
Amazon Description:
A HIGHLAND ROGUE

Edmund MacGregor will do anything to save Scotland from English rule-even kidnap Lady Amelia Bell for ransom. As the daughter of a duke and the chancellor’s betrothed, she’s the perfect pawn in this game. But from the moment he first lays eyes on his spirited captive, he can’t resist stealing a kiss . . .

AN ADVENTUROUS LADY

Lady Amelia’s duty is to marry well, but that hasn’t stopped her from fantasizing about true love. So when a sexy Scot appears in her home, she’s beguiled. When he kidnaps her, she’s furious. Yet as Edmund introduces her to a world of passion beyond her wildest dreams, can she leave her family behind for this handsome Highlander? And will Edmund risk the only true home he’s ever known to capture the heart of this lovely lass?

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Opinions:
My Short Summary:
Born English but raised Scottish, Edmund MacGregor would stop at nothing to keep his precious Scotland from joining with England. To buy some time, Edmund and his highlander family devise a plan to stop the signing of the Treaty of Union by kidnapping Amelia Bell – the Chancellor’s fiancé and Duke’s daughter. All does not go according to plan. For one, there is another woman that is kidnapped with Amelia. Two, Amelia Bell seems to attract bad luck. And three, falling in love is not the best idea when trying to stay on track with the plan. Add in a rival clan and you have an interesting novel.

Narration:
Multiple third person

Character Development:
The characters are well-developed in this novel. With the multiple viewpoints, the reader can understand better what the characters are really thinking and how they tick. Both protagonists are torn between love and loyalty. They step outside their comfort zones as they continue their journey together. Other characters – such as Sarah and Darach – have similar confrontations with their ideas of love. There is even love and loyalty amongst the dogs.

Plot Development/Flow:
The story flows well. There is enough romance and action to keep things balanced. The only complaint that I would have is a few spots where there are some redundancies. For instance, Amelia is troubled about doing what is right for her family (especially her father) and what she wants. The reader knows she is conflicted but the same argument goes through her head in different spots in the book. This could have been cut back a little and still be conveyed to the reader.

Standalone or Part of a Series:
Standalone in The MacGregors: Highland Heirs

Review for Midnight Captive by Arial Burnz

midnight captive

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Arial Burnz
Title: Midnight Captive

Genre:  Paranormal

Background:

Amazon Description:
Leith, Scotland – 1531

Cailin MacDougal has lived a dangerous life being the adopted daughter of vampire Broderick “Rick” MacDougal, so she had no choice but to learn to fight in order to protect herself. However, such behavior is hardly desirable in a dutiful wife who’s supposed to embroider and run a household. This aggressive side of her behavior should be easy enough to hide from her betrothed…shouldn’t it?


After being away at fencing school for seven years, James Knightly has returned as a master swordsman, ready to captain his own ship and finally wed his childhood sweetheart, Cailin MacDougal. What he finds waiting for him is a dagger-toting hellion for a bride, an immortal father-in-law, and an enemy bent on extracting revenge by threatening the family James holds most dear-the MacDougals.


BRODERICK MAC DOUGAL is lured away from his family with the promise of-at last-learning a way to protect those he loves from his clan enemy, Angus Campbell. Broderick knows he’s headed for a trap, but the bait is too tempting to resist…and he unravels the beginning of a prophecy that will lead to redemption for all vampires. The cost of such redemption, though, may be the very soul of the woman he would die for…his wife, Davina.

Reader Advisory: This story contains some explicit love scenes, described using graphic and direct language. This story also contains explicit, nail-biting scenes of violence and sword fights.

  

 Opinions:

Midnight Captive is the second book to the Bonded by Blood Vampire Chronicles. If you did not read the first book, Midnight Conquest, then you are about to read some spoilers. You have been warned!

The story takes place about seventeen years after the first book. Cailin is now woman and ready to become engaged to her childhood sweetheart, James Knightly. MacDougal and Knightly own a business together. When James father disappears, Broderick takes over his fatherly role to James. James is sent off to Germany to learn fencing before taking up the family business. Cailin, in the meantime, learns how to fight rather than learn domestic duties. She learns how to fight because Angus Campbell is still at large and trying to hurt Broderick through the people he loves. Will he succeed this time?

The story is written in third person mostly following Cailin, James, and Broderick. Broderick is determined to protect his family. Despite his better judgment, he goes off to find a way to help protect his family, leaving his future son-in-law in his place. Broderick learns a key figure in a prophecy is him, but his actions could undo the prophecy and those he loves. Cailin grew up with the knowledge of her adopted father as a vampire and the dangers of Angus around every corner. In fact, Angus was almost successful at abducting and killing her family as a girl. She, therefore, goes against her gender role and learns to fight. And not just fight, but how to fight a vampire. James does not know what Broderick is at the beginning of the story. Despite what the MacDoughals are, he is in love with Cailin and is willing to do anything to protect – which is tested in this book. In this story, we learn more about the prophecy that was mentioned at the end of the first book. Other characters from the prior book make their appearance or are mentioned. There are, however, a few new characters – good and bad.

I liked the story to this book better than the first. It seemed like there were more action/danger going on. Although shorter, the second book moves along well and leaves off for the next book in the series while finishing the current story. I was a little turned off by James when we first see him, but eventually that wore off. The prophecy and other teachings that Malloren spoke of kept my interest. I would hope to see more of that in the following books.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. If you like historical fiction/vampire novels, then you might want to try this book – after reading the first, Midnight Conquest.

 

Review for Forevermore by Cindy Miles

forevermore

My Rating: 4/5

Author:  Cindy Miles
Title: Forevermore

Genre:  Young Adult/Paranormal

Background:

Amazon Description:
On a misty cliffside, mystery and romance await. . . .

Ivy Calhoun’s life has been turned upside down. Her new stepdad has uprooted Ivy and her mom, bringing them to live in an actual castle in the misty Scottish countryside. There are stone-faced servants and shadowy corridors, and the ancient walls seem full of secrets. Ivy is at once frightened and intrigued.

Especially when she meets Logan, a gorgeous, elusive ghost who has haunted the castle grounds for decades. Ivy is immediately drawn to him . . . but Logan is not the only spirit around. Something dark and deadly is afoot, and soon Ivy finds herself in mortal danger.

Is Logan exactly what he seems? Could his mysterious past be tied to Ivy’s present? And can Ivy stop herself from falling in love with him?

 Opinions:

Forevermore is a young adult book about a young sixteen year old girl, Ivy, who moves to Scotland with her mom and step-dad (who is a laird.) She gets to live in a castle that ends up being haunted. There is an evil spirit, but also a good spirit, Logan, who wonders the grounds. Logan is a ghost from 200 years ago whom Ivy befriends and falls in love with. Together they try to solve Logan’s death to free him from his ghostly fate, all the while battling with an evil spirit in the house.  The story is written in a sweet, clean matter, which might appeal to younger teens. Still, anyone who loves ghosts and Scottish settings might want to make this a light read.

The story is written in first person through Ivy’s perspective. Ivy’s dad died a little while back and since then, she has slowly withdrawn from her friends in the US. When her mom (a nurse) meets Niall (a laird from Scotland), they fall in love, marry, and move to Scotland – this is where the story begins. Ivy’s new home is different from her Carolina home. The servants are very nice, but Niall’s grandmother, Lady Elizabeth is not very welcoming. Despite Elizabeth’s cold reception, Ivy finds some good friends at school, especially with Emma who helps her with the ghost situation. Logan is an eighteen year old spirit from 200 years ago. He knows there is something evil on the grounds and tries to get Ivy to leave. Obviously, she can’t really leave, so they work together to try to solve the evil spirit and how he died.

One thing I liked about the story is the Scottish brogue in the dialogue (with explanations for newbies reading such things.) I love reading Scottish accents, so this was a plus in a young adult novel that I wasn’t expecting. The story was interesting. Although I have read similar ideas of a young girl falling for a ghost, I liked the Scottish setting. (Yes, I am a sucker for Scotland.) I am an adult reading a young adult book – which I like to do as light reading. If I were reading the book as a younger version of myself, I would have given it 5 stars. All loose ends are tied up by the ends. I would have liked to see a little more time spent on the explanation of how the curse was placed in the book, but I won’t say much more due to spoilers.

If you like young adult books and ghosts with a nice clean storyline, then you should try this book.